By Jim Beers
crime (krim) n. serious violation of human law.
Even a poor non-lawyer like me understands that all US laws are based on and authorized (or else they are Un-Constitutional) by The Constitution of the United States. Theoretically (according to some) The Constitution is a "living document" that "evolves" as out tastes and the fortunes of politicians dictate: other folks like yours truly believe that The Constitution is a firm document that spells out what is and what is not "legal".
Modifications of The Constitution are provided for in Article.V. where it states that Congress may call a Constitutional Convention and propose Amendments. The history of Amendments is checkered to say the least. Remember Prohibition and all the violence and corruption it bred? Did anyone know or admit to the impact of the authorization of a federal income tax that was intended only for millionaires? Was there any awareness of what it meant to change the way US Senators were chosen from appointment by State Legislatures to a popular vote? Nevertheless, The Constitution is what it is and if not honored will ultimately lead to anarchy, chaos, and the rule of the most ruthless among us.
If someone violates a law, he or she violates The Constitution since, as previously noted, The Constitution is the basis and authority for the legitimacy of any law. With this in mind, let's consider two of the many Un-Constitutional practices that have arisen in recent years due to citizen apathy, the unlikelihood of prevailing in open argument in a Constitutional Convention, and the disregard for Constitutional wording rampant today among politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and radical groups seeking radical change.
The 2nd Amendment to The Constitution of the United States says, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Question: If the "right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" how can anyone "infringe" my "right to keep and bear arms"?
Cities like New York (1911) and Chicago (1982) infringed the right of all Americans to "keep and bear arms under the banner of "disarming" gangsters and their gangs. States like Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Massachusetts "infringe" this right under an unmentioned Constitutional right (like the notorious "right to privacy" that was invented to authorize taking the life of unborn children) of State Legislators and Governors to do as they want in "their" State.
Because of these precedents that have been tolerated by those scalawags mentioned in the last sentence of paragraph 3, those that would eliminate the 2nd Amendment without the bothersome and likely unsuccessful process of arguing for it in a Constitutional Convention are emboldened. It seems entirely likely, to them today, that simply electing sympathetic politicians and obtaining appointments of sympathetic judges however that is done (i.e. giving money and election help of many forms). That this Constitutionally repugnant process goes forward is unmentioned by non-gun owners that fail to understand that if the 2nd Amendment is susceptible to such lawlessness, it is only a matter of time until every other Amendment is destroyed similarly by determined foes of the rights mentioned in those Amendments.
Let us consider one other aspect of this issue that seems to be ignored by all participants. How can it be "legal" for politicians and bureaucrats WHILE ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL to advocate infringing on "the right to keep and bear Arms"? How can National Park Service employees design, lobby for, and enforce infringement of 2nd Amendment rights? How can the Mayor and City Council of the District of Columbia design, establish and enforce a gun ban that clearly infringes 2nd Amendment rights? Don't all these people collect salaries and retirements paid for by all citizens? Since these people are violating The Constitution are they not criminals (i.e. one who commits a crime)?
Is it not an additional violation of law to collect a salary while working to undermine your employer? It is like working for a salary from an oil company while spending your working hours trying to ban all uses of oil: public employees (politicians and bureaucrats) used to be sworn "to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Just as a rogue oil company employee would be fired and forced to return the illegally acquired salary, isn't a public employee (whether elected or hired) obligated to comply with The Constitution while on the public payroll? If National Park Service employees want to advocate 2nd Amendment infringement, let them quit and work to have their elected Representatives call for a Constitutional Convention. If an elected official doesn't like anything about the Constitution let him work to call a Constitutional Convention. Absent an Amendment resulting from a Constitutional Convention such government (State and federal) employees should not be hired or if hired should be fired. Those that have or are advocating or implementing infringement of 2nd Amendment rights should be fired and any salaries paid them while they did so should be returned. Infringing 2nd Amendment rights should be treated no different than infringing other Constitutional freedoms from freedom of speech and freedom of religion to freedom from discrimination to the right of females to vote. To infringe on any of these rights is a crime, to infringe on these rights while being paid to uphold The Constitution is an additional crime as well as an abomination.
The 5th Amendment to The Constitution of the United States concludes with these words, "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Questions: Is it "public use" for the federal government to own, ease, lease, or otherwise control or acquire control over private property that is subsequently closed to "public use"? Is private property "taken" only when purchased or does "taking" begin with and include any overt move by the federal government to initiate a process that will inevitably lead to direct acquisition or easement or control of all or parts of private property?
The federal government has been acquiring land for National Parks since 1916, for the US Forest Service since 1905, and for the National Wildlife Refuge System since 1903. Granting the tenuous but arguable point that a National Park that preserves and interprets a national historic site or that a National Forest that manages a large forest for public benefit or that a National Wildlife Refuge that manages a habitat that is significant for species of National Concern are all legitimate examples of land legitimately "taken for public use": how can any government employee or agency or Administration justify any restriction on "public use" other than use that might harm the resource for which the land was "taken"? The answer is of course there is NO legal justification for such restrictions on non-harmful public uses. For example, Wilderness Declarations; Road Closures; Area Closures; unmanaged and dwindling fish and wildlife resources; logging bans; grazing lease revocations; Gun Bans (prosecute illegal gun uses just as illegal automobile uses or any other illegal behavior should be prosecuted); expensive permits and entry fees, and needlessly complex rules and regulations that intimidate the majority of citizens are all examples of "private property taken for public use" where legitimate and beneficial "public use" is denied. If these legitimate public uses are forbidden shouldn't the property be returned to the public? Shouldn't any public employees, public agencies, or elected politicians (all of whom collect publicly funded salaries) that plan, initiate, or maintain such denials of legitimate public use be prosecuted for violating this Constitutionally authorized reason for such public land acquisition - public use under the 5th Amendment.*
*(Section 8 gives Congress "Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful buildings".)
Any questioning of federal land acquisition and closure is not complete without consideration of the latest "innovations" being used to justify more acquisition, closures and private property control.
First there is the scandalous secrecy and use of federal funds for land acquisition and closure based on "sightings" of a bird no one has seen in 60 years; the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Secret appropriations, a "search that began in Arkansas but soon spread from Louisiana to North Carolina based on nothing but the claims of those that benefit from this fairy tale exposes a Congress of no worth and bureaucrats with no veracity. With absolutely no verification of the existence of this bird that has been extinct for 60 years; land was bought, land was eased, logging uses of private property threatened, hunting was threatened; surrogates for federal officials like The Nature Conservancy and Cornell University grant recipients wandered far and wide designating lands to be acquired and timber management that "had to be restricted" (without compensation) as has been done for decades on behalf of the red-cockaded woodpecker. The mania frenzy that is whipped up by such specious claims about species needs by "scientists" has come to be a tool to override any public input or reasonable public debate about such acquisitions or such use of public funds.
Second there is the biggest use of subterfuge for government acquisition since the Trojan Horse. US Representatives and Senators, leery of growing local resentments about planned government land acquisition and control but anxious to get money and support from national groups clamoring for more and more, never-ending government control of real private property have come up with a giant scam of questionable legality. I am referring here to Congressional "Heritage Area" Designations with attendant funding given to land control advocates. I saw this in Virginia (an 8-County Historic Heritage Area) and it is now being perpetrated in North Dakota (an 800 sq. mi.; 5-County Heritage Area).
Is it "public use" to give federal public funds to a non-public, non-profit Foundation to "Increase recognition of unique resources", or to "Develop a strong sense of place", or to identify "New opportunities for funding and partnerships", or to develop "Sustainable place-based economic development", or to attain "Balanced preservation and promotion"? Of course not!
Just as in Virginia, the non-public, non-profit is a surrogate and silent partner for the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and a hodgepodge of historic and environmental extremists that want control of all the private property they can possibly get. The federal funding allow this gaggle of radicals to alternately cajole and intimidate local governments and rural communities. Road projects will be stopped, sewage improvements given even more expensive requirements, land uses will be subjected to more and more controls, and rural living will be more and more difficult as certain parcels are targeted for acquisition, others are targeted for easements and teams of feds and radicals and TNC operatives treat local landowners to the "good-cop/bad cop" treatment regarding acquiring or easing parcels or using their own property productively.
"Heritage Areas" are a government land acquisition process begun as something else to counter public objections and to foster public secrecy that is anathema to a Constitutional Republic. Defining when the acquisition process begins is long overdue to avoid such subterfuges in the future.
When the dust settles remaining parcels and communities will be less productive and then acquisition and land control easements will be "taken" as cheaply and easily as a hungry northern pike grabbing a cheap Chinese spoon trolled behind an outboard.
Questions about land acquisition legitimacy and when the land acquisition process begins must be asked and answered before the real citizen protector - The Constitution of the United States - can be invoked. Like public criminals (both politicians and bureaucrats) destroying selected portions of The Bill of Rights while on the public payroll, public criminals closing public lands to public use, acquiring lands for public use knowing no use will be allowed, and/or engaging in land acquisition subterfuges like Heritage Areas should be prosecuted for violating The Constitution. Unless and until we regain control of these federal politicians and federal bureaucrats THAT WE PAY TO WORK FOR US UNDER CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS we will continue to lose our Rights, our Public Property, and our Private Property. Those that would destroy our rights and freedoms are powerless if they are denied these rogue politicians and self-serving bureaucrats. The Constitution of the United States has and will once again preserve Liberty if only we can reinforce and protect it as we should have been doing all along for the past 100 years.
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