Monday, June 29, 2020

A Bolt from the Blue- How a Pandemic, Economy and a Closing Mall Brought Thousands Together

Lightning Strike (August 2015 by Matt Carden)

Sometimes it is hard to see a silver lining in the storm clouds that surround us.  Other times the clouds bring more than just a Silver Lining.  Every so often, the dark and menacing storm clouds of life bring lightning; a bolt from the blue that  that flashes through the darkness that appears to surround and engulf; a concentration of energy that tears the darkness asunder and becomes a beacon to for all to see.  

Few could imagine a confluence of events- which began on a global stage- that would give rise to a nearly spontaneous gathering and reunion of thousands, who attended dozens of different local high schools from the late 1970’s to the early 1990’s.  The December 2019 outbreak of SARS-COVID-19 in Asia spread across the planet, eventually reaching Arizona in March of 2020.  April and May saw “Stay Home” orders in Arizona; a closure of the State, the likes of which few, of any, had experienced in their lifetimes.   Despite the relaxation of the “Stay Home” orders, social distancing protocols bring significant changes to the operation of indoor mall spaces. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, shoppers do not seem eager to return to to the habits and practices of retail before the pandemic.  “Survival of the fittest” can easily be witnessed in retail world. This Darwinian process is brutal and effective.  Strong businesses who can adapt will survive.  Business that is struggling, whether financial, managerial or just from bad luck, will quickly die. 

And so it was, on June 19, 2020, a letter from the General Manager announced that Metrocenter, a mall in northern Phoenix; once the model for indoor malls nationwide; once the set for a movie that help launch the career of at least one major Hollywood star; once the place for you, your friends and your car to see and be seen on weekend nights as you were “cruising Metro”- a pastime and right of passage for over a generation of the youth of the Valley of the Sun;  would close its doors forever.   

Thus would end our tale; until someone said, “maybe we could cruise Metro one last time...” And there in, as the Bard would say, lies the rub.  

This story really begins in the early 1970’s.
Construction began on what would become Metrocenter at the southwest corner of Interstate-17 and Peoria.  When construction started, Metrocenter was not even inside the Phoenix city limits. The land was unincorporated Maricopa County.  Metrocenter opened in October 1973.  This mall was not only the largest in Arizona, this mall was the first multilevel indoor mall in the United States with an unheard of five anchor tenants.  Metrocenter soon became the place to shop.   The original anchors were Sears, Rhodes, Diamonds (later Dillard’s), The Broadway, and Goldwaters.   

By the time the 1980’s arrived America became a country ready to spend money. The Phoenix Metropolitan Area’s economy was booming.   Several defense contractors were located in the Phoenix area; these included Motorola, Honeywell, Sperry and many others.  With President Reagan’s defense increases in the 1980’s, the Phoenix economy saw benefits.  Perhaps there is no better symbol of the 1980’s, than the Mall.  Soon, Metrocenter was not just the place to shop, Metrocenter became the place to see and be seen as well.  

Even Hollywood knew there was “something” about Metrocenter.  In 1989 Metrocenter itself played the part of “The San Dimas Mall,” with co-stars Keanu Reeves and  Alex Winter in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

No one can give the date of the first night there was cruising at Metrocenter.  Cruising has always been a true “grassroots” activity of teenagers.   Metrocenter seemed built for cruising.  A long, oval outer road, Metrocenter Parkway, circles the mall and its parking lots.  One could park at the edges of the parking lot and be just a few feet from the parkway.  By the early 1980’s, thousands of cars would drive Metrocenter Parkway, often never being able to exceed fifteen miles an hour due to the traffic.  Business on the outside of the Parkway, especially places like Peter Piper Pizza or Golf ‘N Stuff, were grateful for the teens and their money- as long as it was going for Pizza and video games.  Other retailers were less than happy, saying customers could not reach their businesses due to traffic.   The conflict between cruising and business did not stay at Metrocenter.  The conflict found its way to Phoenix City Hall.  For High School students across the Valley of the Sun, this was a case of “the adults” dictating in a hypocritical manner.  After all, those that were complaining, or sitting on the City Council had once “Cruised Central” (Central Avenue runs through the middle of downtown Phoenix).  The City Council wanted to protect business.  

In 1985,  the Phoenix City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting cruising at Metrocenter. 

From the Arizona Republic Jun 7, 1985: An anti-cruising ordinance takes effect at Metro center today, but city officials are crossing their fingers and hoping they won't have to enforce...

The cruising did not stop, and the ordinance was enforced.  Over the years, other steps were taken.
Anti-Cruising Sign
Finally, on weekends, roads-blocks  were set up around Metrocenter and traffic patterns changed. The Phoenix Metro area grew and grew and grew.  Eventuality,  urban sprawl as much as any other factor, killed cruising at Metrocenter.  That same growth and sprawl, along with other factors such as the local economy, killed Metrocenter as well.  

By 2019 one could argue that Metrocenter stood only from the will of the building itself.  Although WalMart now occupied the space originally held by The Broadway, and although there have been many ideas for revitalizing Metrocenter suggested over the years, for those of us who remember Metrocenter in the 1980’s, the days of of the Grand Old Mall were gone.  The death notice came in the form of a letter from Metrocenter management dated June 19, 2020. The letter announced that due to COVID, the economy and other factors, Metrocenter would close forever June 30, 2020.  

The day after the letter announcing the closure of Metrocenter, Tracy Smith, a 1986 Graduate of Thunderbird High School in Phoenix, created a Facebook Group to see if any of her friends would want to “Cruise Metro One Last Time.”   Little did Tracy know that her small Facebook Group would go from one member to over 14,500 members between June 20 and June 29.   Suddenly, a small grassroots movement became an explosion of enthusiasm.   

Thousands gathered at Metrocenter on Saturday, June 27, 2020 for the Last Saturday Night Cruise.  Metrocenter Parkway saw traffic unlike any it had seen since the height of Cruising Metro in the 1980’s. There was loud music, loud cars, and thousands of people gathering with friends they had not seen in years and making new friends along the way.  There was a police presence and even Phoenix’ Finest seemed to have a good time as well.  This crowd was gathered for fun and to relive the happy days of youth, and it showed.

Fortunately, there is one more Cruising Night still to come.  Even with new COVID restrictions, on Tuesday, June 30 at 6  o’clock p.m.,  thousands will gather one last time.  The participants are encouraged to wear masks; encouraged to maintain social distance; encouraged to drive around the mall (cruising is by default an activity that allows for social distancing); but mostly they are encouraged to have fun.  

It has not been unusual over the Second Quarter of 2020 to see groups of hundreds and sometimes thousands gather publicly- but most of these have been to protest; some of these protests have turned to riots and violence.  Protesting COVID restrictions, protesting discrimination, protesting against the police have filled newspapers and seem to run constantly on our television screens.  Rarely over the last few months have we seen “good news.”  A huge crowd gathering for fun seems unusual to say the least.  That thousands would gather to relive their younger days because a global pandemic caused economic downturn and a local mall to close, is not an idea that even a fiction writer would invent.  

One Last Cruise has become more than just a drive around a circular parkway.   The One Last Cruise has become an example of the reasons to have faith and hope.  Despite the turmoil; despite the political conflict; and despite the negative images that seem to constantly assail the senses, individuals can come together to celebrate life.  One can even argue that it is because of a pandemic that people are joining together for this celebration and remembrance of days gone by.  

In the middle of the darkest night many have ever experienced; in the middle of a storm of disasters, the likes of which most alive today have ever seen; a bolt from the blue has turned night today.  No matter what else is happening in the world; despite disease and disaster; despite riots and chaos; people WILL come together to share happy memories and celebrate life.  One Last Cruise has proved there is good still in the world and reasons to have faith and hope.  

Let it never be forgotten, that at the moment when the news was its darkest, we gathered in a parking lot and on a circular drive, to celebrate the past and express faith and hope in a future yet to come.  



If you enjoyed this article and wish to see more like it, please like and follow The Carden Chronicles on Facebook, @CardenBlog on Twitter or at http://www.cardenchronicles.com

Share/Save/Bookmark

Share/Save/Bookmark

Thursday, June 25, 2020

On Changing the National Anthem

One of the best lines from Forest Gump is “Stupid is as stupid does.”

With that in mind, the idea of getting rid of the Star Spangled Banner as the National Anthem because Francis Scott Key was a slave holder is beyond belief!

The Star Spangled Banner was originally a poem entitled “Defense of Fort McHenry” written by Francis Scott Key while on board a British “Ship of the Line” (the 1800’s version of a Battleship). He was there attempting to negotiate a prisoner exchange at witnessed the attack by the British on the Fort on September 14, 1814. It became the National Anthem in 1931.  The song has NOTHING to do with slavery.   

Just because a person who was a slave holder over 200 years ago wrote the lyrics, does not mean we should get rid of the song as the National Anthem.  

Ironically, it is the words written by another slave holder that have help inspired thousands and thousands of individuals across this planet to fight for the right to be free... those words being: 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights- that amount these rights are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness...”

Are we going to abolish a cornerstone document of freedom, because it’s author held slaves?

Share/Save/Bookmark

On Slavery Reparations

Thoughts on the California Slavery Reparations that were approved in the State House and are on the way to the State Senate:

Why?

California entered the Union as a FREE state.  Slavery was never legal in the State of California.   During the Civil War (aka the War of Northern Aggression for my friends from the South) California was in the UNION.  So why does California feel it needs to pay Slavery Reparations? (Hint - it’s a political stunt). 

Slavery Reparations have been paid - they were paid in some of my ancestor’s blood.  They were paid in the 800,000 UNION casualties (recent studies have shown the original 620000 casualties number was grossly underestimated).  

A war was fought - partially or mostly as a result of Slavery.  Yes, some freed slaves fought on BOTH sides (the Confederacy integrated its Army In February, 1865 - the war actually ended in June 1865 with the last battle in Texas).  Some slaves fought with the south on the promise of freedom.   

The fact remains that hundreds of thousands died and were wounded in a large part to end slavery and provide freedom.  We won’t get into the punishment taken by the South over slavery- it certainly could be argued that the utter destruction the South suffered, the post Civil War legislation passed by the Congress, and the financial devastation suffered by the South was a result of their support of slavery.  

If we want to talk reparations for Civil Rights violations that have been suffered by people alive today- GREAT! Let’s have that discussion.  THAT is what should be discussed.  

But SLAVERY Reparations? We paid that price over 150 year’s ago, and it was paid in blood.

Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

An Open Letter to New York

DEAR STATE OF NEW YORK-

While I appreciate the fact that you want to protect your residents, please remember the COVID outbreak hit YOUR STATE before we had our first case in ARIZONA.   Therefore, in all likelihood, THE DISEASE CAME FROM YOU!  YOU GAVE IT TO IS.  

This stopping and possibly fining anyone with an out of state plate on their vehicle is WRONG and UNCONSTITUTIONAL- a STATE MAY NOT PREVENT TRAVEL.   INTERSTATE TRAVEL IS A PROTECTED RIGHT per the Constitution.  OF COURSE we in ARIZONA understand that YOU don’t respect the Constitution anyway- and consider it to be something you can ignore.  AFTER ALL, look at how you treat the Second Amendment!!!!

YOU have the highest counts in your state and stating that residents of a state that have a 10 per 100,000 residents infection rate - WHICH IS .01% INFECTION- must be quarantined for two weeks screams of absurdity.  

Are you sure that you are not just discriminating against RED STATES (ok, you have Washington State on your list but why not CA? Their infections just climbed 40%) You already disparage and insult us by saying we are just “flyover country.”   Your residents refer to us as uneducated and uncultivated.   I’m sure YOUR citizens probably think WE don’t really matter anyway and good riddance.  

We will remember this.   Perhaps it is time we ban NEW YORKERS.  YOU have thousands of more case than we do.  Perhaps we should boycott products from your state- again, they could have been touched by people who are infected. But you know what, we are above that.   We won’t stoop to YOUR LEVEL.  But YOUR ACTIONS, still anger us.  (PERSONALLY, I’m finally starting to understand why people in the 1800’s may have thought of their STATE FIRST- then the rest of the Union).  

So keep your ban on us uncultured, uneducated, rednecked people from flyover country - it just shows how RIDICULOUS your states actions and attitudes are. 

With a LACK of RESPECT, 

Signed, 

An ARIZONA NATIVE

PS- Governor Cuomo, go to hell!

Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, January 27, 2020

Are You 18-20 This Election? Your Vote MAY Count- BUT YOU DON'T! Not To the Candidates or Your Government

All across the United States, there are young people looking forward to their FIRST Presidential Election.   I remember the first time I voted for President.  I thought, "Wow! I am an adult and now MY opinion on who should be President counts!"   The difference between when I voted, and when 18 to 21 year-old's vote this year?   Well, the Candidates and the Government were not as "obvious" DO NOT CARE ONE LITTLE BIT about the voting block of those aged 18 to 21.
So, Who Cares What Under 21's Think?


Let me be clear with what I am saying.  Your Government and almost EVERY Candidate for President do not care what 18-21 year-old's think, nor do they care how you will vote!  How do I know? Well, just a few weeks ago Your Government said that you may be an adult at 18, but you are no longer old enough to decide for yourself if you want to use, or continue to use tobacco, or vaping products.   And that is just the latest restriction on those under 21.

Mr. Michael Bloomberg is pushing this even further.   Mr. Bloomberg does not want the 2nd Amendment to apply to those under 21.   Now, to be fair, Mr. Bloomberg does not want the 2nd Amendment to exist at all.  However, Bloomberg has been pushing for those under 21 to be restricted from purchasing ANY firearm.   Federal Law says only those 21 or older can purchase handguns.  But Bloomberg wants it to be 21 for ALL Firearms, and some States have actually passed laws that prevent anyone under 21 from purchasing any and ALL Firearms.  Most of the Democratic Candidates for President think this is actually a good idea (it appears that Mayor Pete Buttigieg has not made any significant proposals to restrict firearms).

So, lets look at the ENTIRE picture.   You are 20 years old.   You are married (you may get married at 18).  You have a child (You are legally allowed to make decisions for your child).   You have a job and therefore you pay taxes (I guess it is NO surprise that the government believes anyone of any age should be required to pay taxes).   BUT, if you live in a rough area, buying any type firearm to defend your family is against the law in some jurisdictions (and Bloomberg wants it to be NATIONWIDE).   BUT WAIT! What if you BREAK the law and try to purchase a gun in one of these Jurisdictions?  Basically you are going to be charged with something like "Attempted Firearms Purchase by a MINOR" - you are only 20 after all, not 21.   But don't worry, YOU WILL BE PROSECUTED AS AN ADULT!!!!

You may not be allowed to smoke or vape. BUT, you ARE old enough for a "lethal injection" for capital offenses.

Mr. Bloomberg wants to make sure that the 2nd Amendment applies only to those 21 or older (for now), but DON"T WORRY, your Government can DRAFT into the Armed Forces at 18 or you may ENLIST (and yes they will issue you a gun). 

You may not DRINK at 18, but you can file bankruptcy.  You can sign contracts. You are COMPLETELY LIABLE AS AN ADULT. But you really aren't.

Of course none of this really matters.  Those of us that the Government listens to (somewhat) are all over 21 already!   Many are Senior Citizens and OF COURSE no one is going to try taking OUR rights away. 

EXCEPT For those ideas that Mr. Bloomberg has- ideas he put forth in New York!  Like telling Adults that they were not able to decide for themselves what size DRINKS they can buy at convenience stores.   And what about his ideas that some people may be TOO OLD to buy guns.  To be fair, there has been no mention of that in these elections.  But lets face it, BLOOMBERG and JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE wants to RESTRICT current gun laws-- not just for those under 21- for ALL of us (again, it appears that Mayor Pete Buttigieg has NOT made any significant proposals to restrict firearms).

The Government and the Presidential Candidates KNOW that 18-20 year-old's are NOT going to run to the polls and vote.   The Government and the Presidential Candidates KNOW they can pass ANY LAWS THEY WANT restricting the rights and privileges of 18-20 year-old's without having to deal with any blow-back in the polls.  Oh, they may pay lip service to these "young adults" and talk about how it is THEY who will live with climate change, but if they really were worried about what those young adult voters would do. they would have taken away young adults ability to use nicotine or to VAPE to QUIT SMOKING (Like the United Kingdom ENCOURAGES) until a NON-ELECTION year. The fact that this was done just prior to an election means politicians will campaign bragging how they placed restrictions on VOTING AGED ADULTS and say it is a GOOD thing.

Once upon a time, Government restricting voters for legal activities, or Candidates like BLOOMBERG campaigning that they want to REPEAL enumerated rights would have sparked outrage. Now it is status quo.

What's next?  It's just people in their 90's who are being restricted....

Or maybe 25 is when one should have the full rights of an adult....

But maybe the Catholic Church is right to prevent those over 79 from voting in Papal Elections... perhaps that should be a rule for (fill in the blank).

Now before anyone gets worked up, remember, its 18-20 year-old's that government is restricting.

They may be able to vote, and they may be legal adults, but, \they are just kids....
Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, December 30, 2019

Over 40 Years of Discrimination Corrected, Despite Question of Mootness

It is amazing what excuses can be used to "justify" institutionalized discrimination.  Although one often hears arguments of "it wasn't really discrimination" or "that's how society was back then- but society has since changed," using an argument of "mootness" to allow the discrimination to continue causes one to question the very nature of "justice."

However, after 42 years, this injustice was finally corrected.

This issue is one that began over 42 years ago.   Three individuals were involved in a military operation of some significance.  One individual was the pilot of a single seat craft, while the other two were pilot and co-pilot/gunner of the second craft.  The two pilots were honored; medals were conferred.  The third individual, who was in-fact a different race than the two pilots, received some honors, but no medals were awarded.

When the question of  why the copilot had not been awarded a medal first came up, the General Officers involved stated there was an old order they were following that allowed them to award medals directly and immediately, in cases where the act of heroism was obvious and there would be no doubt that the Senate Committee which would eventually review the endorsement for the medal, would approve (this was an older order that had been put in place to reduce the number of medals being awarded posthumously-sometimes these men would have to wait years for the medal to be awarded due to the time it took items to work through the Senate).  The General Officers argued that the pilots' actions were clear cut .  The General Officers then argued that although normally the endorsement of the award of the medal would be sent to the Senate Committee for their endorsement, that committee had been dissolved, and therefore there was no one to award the medal.  Therefore the award of the medal was now moot.  They argued this had nothing to do with the race differences.

Fast forward 42 years.  Both men the copilot flew with and fought with have since died in action.  Quite literally, the copilot is perhaps the only one from the original mission left.  For years he had to put up with comments that can be best worded as discriminatory because of who he is.  But just before Christmas, we found out that everything changed.

General Chewbacca was finally awarded a medal for his actions at the Battle of Yavin 4.  I had a chance to have a short interview with General Chewbacca. 

Carden: General Chewbacca, first I want to thank you for your time.   I wanted to talk to you about what some might think is a sore subject, you not being awarded a medal after the Battle of Yavin 4.  What were your thoughts at the time?

General Chewbacca:  Rarrr, Rarr, Grrr Rrarr! Wa, Rrra Grrr. Warrr Rrr. Gerrr Rrar Wrar Rurrr. 

Carden: I definitely will agree that Luke and Han deserved the medal, but many of us felt you did as well...

General Chewbacca: Arowrk Raarghh Yawrrrk Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr Aowwww Awwrk Growwk Vaaarrk Waaark Raarghhh

Carden:  Again, you make a good point, but historically, there has been some very pointed discrimination because of your race- I mean, calling you a "big walking carpet."
General Chewbacca:  Raarghhh Waaark Growwk Varowrk Raarghh Yawrrrk Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh!

Carden:  Absolutely not, General, I would never say anything or imply anything about, the Princess, General Leia Solo.  So your opinion is that was "taken out of context?"

General Chewbacca:   Growwk Raarghhh Waaark Varowrk Raarghh Yawrrrk  Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh! Warrr Rrr. Gerrr Rrar

Carden:  Yes, General, I do like my shoulder joints in the place they are.  If I may be so bold, though perhaps the "idea" that Wookies have been known to pull arms out of sockets when they are upset, is one of the symptoms of the public views of Wookies?

General Chewbacca: Varowrk Raarghh Yawrrrk Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr Aowwww Awwrk Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr Aowwww Awwrk Growwk Vaaarrk Waaark Raarghhh

Carden: That is my point exactly, if we look the number of arms that Jedi removed... Take a look at General Kenobi, he cut off people's arms from Coruscant to Tatooine, but we never see you removing someones arm from their sockets.  Yet people always bring up "not upsetting a Wookie!"

General Chewbacca: Aowwww Awwrk Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr Aowwww Awwrk Growwk Vaaarrk Waaark Raarghhh Varowrk Raarghh Yawrrrk Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr Aowwww Awwrk Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr 

Carden: So with that, I suppose the question is what is next for you?

General Chewbacca: Nrawwwwk Nowrrrrragh Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr Aowwww Awwrk Waaaaarrk Nrawwwwk  Aowwww Awwrk Rawrrk Vowarrrk Narowrrr Aowwww Awwrk Growwk

Carden: Of course, General, the issue of "body hair shaming" is one that you are uniquely qualified to address.  We all wish you luck with this important issues. May the force be with you.

General Chewbacca: Waaark Growwk Varowrk Raarghh
Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, December 2, 2019

SCOTUS Case of the Term: NYSRPA v NYC

Today the Supreme Court will hear what may be "THE CASE" of this term, and perhaps the case of the decade: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York City.  The issue before the
The Right to Arm Bears
Court? What does the Second Amendment mean when it says the right to "bear arms?"  This question was not specifically addressed in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) nor in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010).  Without a doubt, this will be one of the "most watched" cases this year.

For those that do not have immediate recall of the exact text of the Second Amendment, the text reads,"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."  The Heller case specifically dealt with the question, "Does the Second Amendment 'right to keep and bear arms' only apply to the 'militia' (or National Guard)."   In the majority opinion, Justice Scalia went through the history of the "Right to Defend One's Self."  In summary, the majority opinion of the Court stated the Second Amendment did not only apply to the militia, but rather, the "militia" as it was understood at the time, meant "all" citizens who would be called to defend the state in time of war or extreme civil unrest.  It was also explained that in essence, the clause "a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" in modern English (as opposed to 18th century English) meant "Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."   The ruling in this case however, only applied to the Federal Government, as the District of Columbia falls under Federal jurisdiction. 

In 2010, the McDonald case dealt with the question of whether the Second Amendment applied to the states.  This case specifically looked at whether the Second Amendment applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.   The majority opinion, written by Justice Alito stated that indeed, the Second Amendment did apply to the states.  In both Heller and McDonald the court stated that a state may not impose a ban on firearms, but that provisions such as banning felons from possessing firearms where Constitutional.

Since the Heller and McDonald rulings, there have been no other significant Second Amendment cases heard by the Supreme Court.   Further, the Heller and McDonald opinions have left a great deal of confusion and conflict on how Second Amendment challenges should be ruled on, leaving a patchwork of conflicting rulings from the Courts of Appeal.   Additionally, one phrase, written by Justice Scalia in the Heller majority opinion has created confusion on the scope of the Second Amendment. 

In his majority opinion in Heller, Justice Scalia wrote:
As the quotations earlier in this opinion demonstrate, the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right. The handgun ban amounts to a prohibition of an entire class of “arms” that is overwhelmingly chosen by American society for that lawful purpose. The prohibition extends, moreover, to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute

Unfortunately, many in the media, the public and some of the lower courts have viewed the statement that "the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute" means that the Second Amendment only applies to the home.  However, this is not what Justice Scalia stated.  He stated that the need was "most acute" in the home.  Justice Scalia was merely pointing out that because a person spends more time in the home, than in any other place, and because the home is the place where one expects to feel most relaxed and most secure, the need to be able to defend one's self in one's home is highest.  This, however, does not mean that the need to defend one's self in public, does not exist or is not important.  The "misreading" and "misinterpretation" of the Heller and McDonald cases, as well as the Court's failure to hear any substantive Second Amendment cases since 2010, caused Justice Thomas to write a scathing dissent on the Court's decision not to hear a challenge to a gun control law in California.  Justice Scalia went so far as to call the Second Amendment a Constitutional Orphan.

This brings us to New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. New York City  The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association has asked the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to New York City regulations that prohibit an individual, with a license to have a pistol in their home, from taking that firearm outside of the home.   The NYC regulations required that an individual with a home pistol license ONLY use one of SEVEN shooting ranges inside the limits of the City of New York.  The law further prohibited an individual from transporting a firearm licensed to a home in New York City from transporting that firearm to a second home (a vacation home on Long Island for example).  Finally the regulations even prohibited the individual from taking that firearm to a Gun Smith within the City of New York, without written permission from the Chief of Police.

On appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the appeals court, using "intermediate scrutiny" ruled in favor of New York City, stating that the Governmental need to reduce crime and ensure public safety outweighed the individual's Second Amendment right.   There was no explanation on how a firearm that was locked in a gun case, and locked in an individual's vehicle truck away from any passengers and separated from any ammunition (requirements to transport a firearm from point A to point B by New York law) would increase crime or decrease public safety.  Further the Appeals Court stated that since the individual would be transporting the firearm outside the home, there was no "acute" need for self defense.

The NYSRPA appealed to the Supreme Court.   After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, and well after all written arguments were presented to the Court, New York City and the State of New York both decided that the last thing they wanted was for the Supreme Court to hear this case.   This opinion was expressed by other states with strict gun control laws.   New York and other states are all in fear that the Supreme Court will rule that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to BEAR arms as well.

In an effort to keep the Supreme Court from hearing this case, in July 2019, NYC and New York both changed regulations to allow some transport of firearms outside the city limits of NYC.   The City of New York then sent a letter to the Supreme Court asking the Court to dismiss the case as moot.  The fear of a "pro-gun" ruling by the Supreme Court is so great, that Sen. Whitehouse (D- RI) filed a brief more or less "threatening" the Court if they did not dismiss this case as moot.   The Court did reject the NYC letter asking the case be dismissed, but did order both parties to be prepared to argue why this case is not moot, when the Court hears the case this morning.

There are three possible outcomes for this case.   The first possible outcome is that the case will be found to be "moot."   It is likely that Counsel for both sides will try to convince Chief Justice Roberts in particular on the issue of mootness.   The belief on both sides of the argument is that each has four Justices in their corners so to speak (although predicting what the Court will do is dangerous).  Each side believes that Chief Justice Roberts will be the deciding vote.  The other two outcomes are the apparent ones. If the Court decides the case is not moot, then the Court will have to decide what the Constitution means by "bear arms."   This will likely end up being a 5-4 ruling, regardless of the direction the Court takes.

Currently, there are several dozen cases that have been put on hold pending the outcome of this case, and this case may end up having an impact for generations to come. 

(The transcript from the oral arguments that were held this morning will be available by close of business today, and the audio recordings of the arguments will be available at end of this week.)

Share/Save/Bookmark

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Stop the Vaping Ban!!

So SMOKING POT is OK- but VAPING IS BAD?????  And now the AMA is calling for a BAN on vaping! This is the BIGGEST Crock of $4I+ I have EVER seen.   The UK equivalent  of the CDC (Public Health England) says VAPING is safe- 95% safer than smoking and they ENCOURAGE people to vape to quit smoking- AND IT IS WORKING!!!!   And Great Britain does NOT have the "vaping illness" that the US does -- HINT- ITS CAUSED BY BLACK MARKET THC & Vitamin E cut fluid!!!!

The fact is, research in the UK has said not only is vaping FAR safer than smoking, but it also has NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER of "second hand vaping issues."

This ANTI-VAPING CAMPAIGN MUST stop.   What has the CDC and the US Government learned since prohibition? NOTHING!    All that banning Vaping will do is drive more people to smoking and climate a safe way to STOP SMOKING.

We have LAWS that say marijuana (and its active component THC) is ILLEGAL.  We have SUPREME COURT that has said State Laws that legalize pot DO NOT supersede Federal Law and the 10th Amendment issues have been superseded by the Commerce Clause (see Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005))  And yet the FEDS CHOOSE not to enforce the law.  Instead we are hearing that VAPING must be outlawed.  

THIS MUST STOP NOW!!

Contact your Representatives and Senators.  Tell them to STOP THE VAPING BAN!





Share/Save/Bookmark