A Letter to LifeLock Over its Bias Against the NRA

This is a letter that I wrote to LifeLock after they cancelled their affiliate program with the NRA:

To Whom it May Concern:

I have been a LifeLock member for many years. It is a great service that I have recommended to countless people. However, I find your politically biased discontinuation of the discount I receive as an NRA member unconscionable. As a member of the NRA and an NRA certified instructor, I help hundreds of law-abiding citizens each year to safely and legally keep and bear firearms. The vast majority of my students are people that wish to feel secure in their own homes. In Baltimore, MD, where I live, that is a big deal because it is one of the most dangerous cities in the nation. Many of my students are single moms that simply want to protect their children. One of the classes that I teach for the NRA is Refuse To Be A Victim (see https://rtbav.nra.org). That class has nothing to do with firearms. It is about personal security and it includes a section on cyber-security. I used to recommend your service when teaching that section. I will do so no longer.

Your organization exists to safeguard people and so does mine. We find the actions of all violators of the law, especially those who use firearms in those violations of the law, to be reprehensible. We do not now, nor have we ever, promoted or encouraged any sort of law breaking. The NRA was founded in 1871 and is the nation’s longest standing civil rights organization (yes, the Second Amendment is a civil right). Our existence worked against white segregationists who sought impose unconstitutional gun laws to prevent newly freed African slaves from exercising their right to keep and bear arms as written in our Constitution. They needed those rights so they could protect themselves from the lynch mobs in the racist south. To this date, over a third of my firearms students are of African heritage, far more than the representation they have in the population.

Even now, many gun laws in my state of Maryland discriminate based on race, income, and sex. In the gun store I instruct for, we see a far higher number of applications to buy firearms made by African-Americans rejected than we do for Caucasians. Our city of Baltimore is predominantly African-American and suffers from diminished opportunities and lower income due to social engineering and generations of concentration and real estate redlining. Maryland’s oppressive gun laws force people to pay $200 just to exercise their right to legally keep and bear firearms, something that hits income-deprived people significantly harder. The residents of the city cannot even legally practice with firearms as the city prohibits gun ranges. In our state, women that have been temporarily hospitalized for postpartum depression are prohibited from owning handguns for life. People are stripped of their Second Amendment rights without having been indicted or found guilty of a crime. The NRA fights against such injustice, yet you fight against the NRA.

Having said this, I recognize that LifeLock is a private organization that has every right to choose how to conduct its business, including who it chooses to have as affiliates. However, your company’s actions are profoundly hypocritical in that you have affiliates that sell alcohol such as CostCo. Alcohol causes more deaths, ruins more people’s health (including children born with fetal alcohol syndrome), and destroys more families than firearms in the US ever will. Yet, you have no problem with a purveyor of alcohol being an affiliate.

What exactly has the NRA done that made a single one of these horrible crimes happen? The reality is that you are simply virtue-signaling to try and make your organization, one whose deception in the past led to a $12 million FTC settlement in 2010 and a $100 million FTC settlement in 2015, look socially acceptable. Your company should go the end of pack of virtue signalers. LifeLock is virtue-challenged.

I will find another company that provides comparable services and switch. Furthermore, I will make sure that everyone I know understands the depth of your bias.

Respectfully,

Andrew G. Knaster, Ed.S., MIS, MABS
NRA Certified Instructor and Life Member
#IAmTheNRA

Advertisements

A Happy Medium on Dealing with Guns and Public Safety

Many people, including a group of Democrats in Congress, are insisting that we include things like No-Fly lists in the decision process before allowing someone to buy a gun.  There is one significant, but not insurmountable, issue with that.  Inclusion on a No-Fly list does not require due process of law.  Owning a personal firearm is a constitutionally granted right.  You cannot take away a constitutional right to life, liberty, or property without due process.  This was initially documented in the Magna Carta and made part of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Nonetheless, we are discovering that if FBI watch lists were referenced during the terrorist’s legal purchase of a Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol, he would have been prevented from buying them. (BTW, for those who don’t know about guns, a semi-automatic firearm only can shoot one round per trigger pull whereas an automatic firearm can shoot multiple rounds per trigger pull).  The Republicans are insisting that there are inaccuracies on these watch lists.  There are, but this can be dealt with using existing technology and processes.

The Transportation Security Administration is responsible for the issuance of Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC).  Let’s say that a person needs to get into a federally restricted access area for work.  That person needs a TWIC, which has a picture, a microchip, and counterfeiting countermeasures built in, to enter the restricted access area.  Let’s say that the applicant for a TWIC is on a watch list or has some other potentially disqualifying factor.  The applicant’s application will be denied, but the applicant will also be given instructions on how to proceed with getting that decision overturned (see https://www.tsa.gov/for-industry/twic#quickset-twic_faqs_10).  If the applicant files for redress or requests a waiver, and is still not approved, the applicant can request a formal hearing with an administrative law judge (see https://www.tsa.gov/node/2852).  That is a due process hearing.  Would having to go that far take time and effort?  Yes.  Would a person who was initially prevented from exercising Second Amendment rights possibly be able to have those rights restored? Yes.

I am an NRA Life Member and Certified Instructor.  While I don’t want to run the risk of losing my rights or heading down a slippery slope, I could embrace this approach if the same level of diligence that is applied by the TSA would be applied to present and future firearm owners.

If you like this approach, do something about it.  Write letters to your representatives and senators.  IMHO, we’re focusing too much on firearms and not enough on those who wield them illegally.

How a White Guy Understands Black Lives Matter

A key to understanding something written or said by someone else is understanding the context in which it was written or spoken. For example, to fully understand the Constitution, you have to learn about the lives and times of the authors and the people they wrote the document for. Those things framed the meanings of their words. In a similar fashion, to understand the Scriptures, you have to understand what the words meant to the hearers. That’s why theologians study Greek, Hebrew, and ancient near eastern history. The same practice holds true for understanding the Black Lives Matter movement as a white person. Study history, both recent and that of the early years of this country. Research the failed social engineering attempts of forced bussing and building the projects. Learn about the impact that the gentrification of the inner cities is having on people. Read literature such as Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Read Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and write down a list of the injustices he mentioned. Watch a movie like The Help (or read the book) and continually remind yourself that it was set in 1963. Listen, I mean really listen, to the album Anomaly by Lacrae. Learn the truth about Margaret Sanger and the anti-black sentiment she held as she founded Planned Parenthood. Most importantly, ask a black person that you know to explain what the movement means to him or her. Then, and only then, put feet to your convictions and become part of the solution, for if you don’t, you’re just part of the problem.

A “Conservatarian” View of the SCOTUS Same Sex Marriage Decision

I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I’ve invested a good amount of time in this issue. I don’t need to reiterate what others have said about the intricacies of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Simply started, the Equal Protection clause states that all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law, period.  What bears stating is the legal precedent in referencing the Fourteenth. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there were “Jim Crow” laws in the southern states that required the states, under law, to segregate based on race. Facilities were supposed to be “separate but equal.” They rarely were equal. President Woodrow Wilson, an overt racist, practiced gross discrimination. The equally overt racist Democrats of the late 1800s through the mid 1960s did everything possible to undermine the anti-segregationist policies of the Republicans. The southern states felt their state sovereignty allowed them to discriminate within the borders of their states. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth was the constitutional basis for the federal government to overrule state sovereignty because the federal government is responsible for ensuring all citizens get equal protection under the law. Given the preponderance of states that have marital equality laws, it was not, in my mind, a far stretch to apply the same principles that shot down Jim Crow. What the Fourteenth does not touch is the right of people that are not agents of the state from discriminating except in areas such as housing and employment. This ties into the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. By law and practice, churches are not agents of the state. Congress cannot force a non-agent to act. I am an ordained minister. I cannot be compelled to perform any service for anyone. I don’t know the individual laws of every state where marital equality is the law, but I can tell you that Maryland’s law is well-crafted and explicitly protects the clergy. Here is the text of Question 6, the public referendum for marital equality in Maryland,

“Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.”

I am a libertarian. I voted for Question 6 even though I will not personally perform a same-sex ceremony. I am not discounting what I believe to be the biblical truth on the topic. I am standing behind the right of two people to enter into a legally binding contract, which in the eyes of the state, is what marriage is.

The reason we have this mess is that our bloated government stuck its nose into marriage, a thing formerly under the scope of religious bodies. It chose to grant legal privileges to married couples. Once it did that and the individual states began to legalize same sex marriage, it was inevitable that it would have to respond.

Before we are too quick to respond to this ruling, think of where America would be if Jim Crow was still in existence.

The Oligarchy Times, a Reminder that the Obamanation has More Issues than the Ones in the News Today

The Oligarchy Times, Volume 2, Issue 3

In this issue of the Oligarchy Times, we have another look at Obamacare because the President really cannot be allowed to run away from the disaster he created just because has created so many others in addition.

Four months ago, in regard to people losing their health insurance as a result of the inappropriately named “Affordable Care Act,” Harry Reid said that “there are plenty of horror stories being told…all of them are untrue” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSJOLivL-NU).  I was doing some research on a paper for my doctoral program, and look what I came across…an article that was printed in the Contemporary Pediatrics journal just three weeks before Mr. Reid’s claims.  I know, it must be that the Koch brothers and the Benham brothers chipped in and bought Contemporary Pediatrics and Fox News gathered all of the fake survey respondents.  It’s just one more fake scandal.  Oh good, now I can rest safely in the Obamanation.
aca pediatrics

 

President Obama’s Promise Zones

Promise Zones? Really? The president promised Detroit that he would not let it fail. He promised us that if we liked our doctors and our insurance, we could keep them. He promised us that he would close Gitmo. He promised us that he would lead the most transparent administration in history. I look at his promises like a bad case of gas.  They stink from the moment they are made and eventually they are followed by crap that needs to be cleaned up!