Remedial Civics 100 for Public School Victims, Lesson 2

Lesson 1

I’ll begin by telling you something your parents should have told when your were two years old:

Sometimes you can’t have what you want, no matter how much you want it; no matter how many of your friends also want it.

This being Civics 100, I’ll be addressing unconstitutional laws.

-sigh- “u-n-c-o-n-s-t-i-t-u-t-i-o-n-a-l” As in, “not allowed by the US Constitution.” It was one of your reading assignments. No, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is the Declaration of Independence, which you also should have read. You volunteered for this class.


[Billy, what are you doing with a bucket of ice in my class? Get that out of here.

“Ice Bucket Challenge…”? All right, get the bucket out of here and bring me a paper tomorrow explaining whether or not the Challenge is a chain letter…

Look. It. Up. “c-h-a-i-n, l-e-t-t-e-r”

…whether or not it’s a chain letter, and how accepting the bucket challenge financially benefits ALS groups. It’ll count towards your Economics grade.

How many words? As many as it takes to demonstrate some comprehension of the subjects.

-glares at class- Anyone else looking for extra credit?]

Who can define “democracy” Billy?

The American system of government where the people vote and decide on stuff.

Wrong. Fortunately, that’s what this class is meant to get straight in your heads. If you’d said “a generic system of government,” you’d have been right…

[Billy, stop crying. You’re 17 years old, not two. Get used to being told when you’re wrong.]

Anyway. Billy, definition is generic. There are several variants and modifications of “democracy.” The Athenians, who originated the formal implementation of the idea, limited the vote to eligible citizens, and denied the vote to large classes of people, including foreigners, women, people under the age of 20, and anyone who didn’t own land. That’s the original, pure-quill democracy. Like it?

America uses a variant. Our current system of government was designed as a constitutional republic.

Starting with “republic:” That means we elect representatives to vote on things for us, instead of having a direct vote by the eligible citizens. And yes, we also limit eligibility; you have to be 18 years-old, and not a felon. You have to be a citizen. In the past, blacks and women were excluded, but we fixed that.

Anyone want an extra credit project on whether direct vote state “initiatives” or “propositions” meet the Constitutional requirement that states provide a republican form of government? No? Maybe later.

“Constitutional” is the part you kids seem to be having trouble with lately. Yes, I’m talking about the way CNN and the mainstream media are manipulating you into supporting gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment.

“Con-sti-tu-tion-al, Re-pub-lic.” That means we vote — through or elected representatives — within the framework of the constitution that established the national government…

John? Good question! The Articles of Confederation created an alliance — a “confederation” of fully independent states. With the Constitutional Convention, a new federation of states under one government was formed. One may easily argue that the Fourth of July, 1776, is not our nation’s birthday. One can also argue that the Constitutional Convention was an illegal coup under the then-effective Articles. Anyone want to do a paper on that?

Stripped to basics: the Constitution is the states agreeing to federation, and assigning certain powers and duties to the shiny new central government. That’s what the feds get to do. And no more. The Constitution is a contract between ratifying states. And remember that when people throw the term “social contract” at you.

I say, “no more,” because we have the original Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was a contract amendment, likewise agreed to by the contract signatories — the states. Smart folks realized that simply assigning the central government powers and duties wasn’t enough, because said government might decide to grab a little more power, claiming to require it to perform assigned duties.

So these smart people amended the contract to specifically limit the government, to prevent them doing just that.

[No, miss. “Separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution, Samantha…

Don’t call me “miss.” I’m a boy. And my name is Fabio.

Samantha, you’ve got what look to be 38 Double-D tits, and it’s unlikely there’s a penis in your panties. Show me a chromosome test with a normal XY allosome pair, or I’ll continue to call you a girl.

I identify as a boy.

Refusal to accept reality is one generalized definition of insanity; that’s why gender dysphoria is listed in the DSM as a psychiatric disorder. You’re excused from the class, with an “incomplete.” If you can’t figure out whether or not you have a penis, you aren’t going to be capable of understanding Constitutional reality. Bye.]

To address Miss Samantha’s claim, “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution; the phrase comes from a Jefferson letter. Regrettably, even those smart people didn’t think even the federal government would be freaking stupid enough to meddle in religion, so they didn’t hit that as explicitly as they might’ve.

It did occur to them to forbid the government doing things like restricting free speech, recognizing religions (which is the unfortunately vague part), restricting private ownership of weapons, violating privacy, and much more.

[No, Dexter. The Second Amendment is not a collective state right. Look up HELLER and MCDONALD. Nor does it allow limits based on vague public safety. Special assignment, son: turn in a paper next Monday. Define “infringe.” and since I see it coming, the common usage of “regulate” in 18th century America (hint: look up “Regulator clock”). Further, examine the separate uses of the words “people” and “person” versus “state.” Specifically explain each usage — or lack thereof — in the first, second, fourth, fifth, ninth, and tenth amendments. Show and understanding, in particular, of the separate usage of both in the Tenth Amendment.

Why, yes. As a matter of fact I do have a prepared list of extra credit assignments. I’m used to these foolish arguments popping up from the uninformed.]

Show of hands: Who read the Constitution? Hmm, could’ve been worse.

Who read the Bill of Rights? No? Then you didn’t read the Constitution. That’s part of the states’ contract.

[Who reads fine print all the time, Emma? You, I hope. Otherwise you’re liable to sell your immortal soul next time you buy an app for your smart phone. Yes, it happened. Look that up, too.]

So… You want to ban “assault weapons.” You can’t. Not constitutionally. Vote in all the referendums you like. Hassle your state reps. But in the constitutional framework, that is excluded from what government is allowed to screw up.

[Thanks, David. I knew someone would bring up “states rights.” But I noticed you were one who didn’t read the whole Constitution. States do retain rights, see Amendments 9 and 10. But the Second Amendment — ratified by the states — delegated the protection of a preexisting right to keep and bear arms… weapons, even “assault weapons — to the central government. States specifically gave up the right to restrict their citizens’ right to weaponry.]

OK, who wants to tell me the Constitution is a “living document” subject to reinterpretation as society evolves? No?

Good. You’re beginning to catch on.

Imagine you bought a car. You owe $500 a month for five years. Three years in, the contract holder tells you that you have to pay $800 a month because times change and his expenses have gone up.

Five years in, he tells you you can’t have your unencumbered car title, because sales have been off, and he needs you to keep paying for a few more years to maintain his profit margin.

Of course, that isn’t fair. Or legal. It violates the written contract. Same with you constitutionally-challenged children trying to rewrite the laws to take away the lawful property of millions of innocent people. Guns, I mean.

Now your car dealer could have come to you to renegotiate a contract, and maybe you’d be stupid enough to sign the new deal screwing you over with no benefit to yourself. More likely, you’d demand something in return, or no deal. Maybe free quarterly preventative maintenance.

Likewise, the Constitution has a provision for “renegotiation:” Article 5. The thing most of you didn’t read.

So you want to ban guns. All you have to do is get at least two-thirds of both the House and Senate to go along with it. (Review lecture 1 for how to get a bill passed.) Then you have to get the legislators of at least three-quarters of all states (See lecture 1 again), to pass it.

The other legal way to do this is to get three-quarters of the state legislatures (Lecture 1, yet again) to go along with a Constitutional Convention. That’s tricky because a Constitutional Convention isn’t limited to addressing the one thing — like firearms bans — that you want. Everything is on the table. Abortion, raising the voting age to 55, mandatory five years of minimum wage military service for 18 year-olds, reinstituting outright slavery. Everything. Anything. No matter how despicable or distasteful even to you.

Ready to take your chances?

Yes, that means the changes you want are hard. It’s supposed to be hard. The fine folks who drafted the Constitution thought they’d done a decent job. The states got something they could agree to. Job done.

But they realized that it wasn’t perfect unto the end of time. So they incorporated a process for future changes. But, again, they made it difficult because they’d done their best…

[What’s that, Soon? Slavery? How terrible the Constitution was? I thought you raised you hand about reading the thing.

One, slavery is evil. Two, the majority of participants at the Constitutional Convention thought so, too. Three, enough delegates would go along with the whole thing if it flat outlawed slavery (as many wished). So they reached a compromise.

Read Article 1, Section 9. They settled on phasing slavery out in a fashion that allowed those dependent on the institution time to cover their asses. Slavery was going to end. They saw it as inevitable. Later, in the 19th century, technological advancements were going to make slavery not only evil, but economically destructive to the slavers.

Who wants extra credit for a paper on the causes of the American Civil War of Northern Aggression, or whatever you want to call it, versus those Union demands that were dropped in an attempt to avoid war? You’ll have to examine the cotton gin versus economics of keeping slave workers.


Suddenly, a constitution written by rich, white guys who planned the abolition of slavery doesn’t look so bad, does it? Maybe they were smarter than class-skipping children who eat Pods.]

We’re digressing…

[Look. It. Up. Use that phone for something other than Snapchat.]

We’ve wandered. I’ve explained that we are not an unlimited, direct democracy where the ignorant can vote themselves bread and circuses… [Look it up; Juvenal… not “juvenile.”]. The Constitution is meant to protect all rights, no matter how much you want to violate them. You have to work within the system, overthrow it, or ignore it. Choose your poison.

In the end, slavery was banned through a constitutional process, not withstanding an intervening war in which slavery was nothing more but a subject for propaganda on both sides. The constitutionality of secession, and suppression of secession, is a topic for a seminar in itself.

You want to “ban” gun violence. Will you work within the system, overthrow it, or ignore it?

And what will your opposition choose, depending on your choices?

Class dismissed.


Remedial Practical Civics 100, Lesson 1

Lesson 2

A bunch of teens in Florida skipped school and went to Tallahassee to demand more of the same gun control that failed to save their classmates. Like petulant two year-olds, they whined and screamed when they weren’t given what they want when they want it.*

In short, they failed their civics class.

OK, kids. Here’s the down and dirty on what your teachers should have taught you about how the legislative process works…

David! Take the Tide Pod out of your mouth!

First, you were likely told (if told anything) that a citizen tells a legislator what he wants, the legislator drafts a bill, the bill is entered in the house/senate/whatever (this generic, as it depends on locale), it gets voted on, and the governor signs it into law.

Emma! Do not stick that fork in the electrical outlet!

Believing that to be the case, it’s… slightly understandable why the poorly educated public school victims didn’t understand their rejection. Here’s the reality.

1. Citizen wants something.

He either spends months or weeks (and sometimes years) working his way through staffers until someone brings it to the legislators attention with a recommendation to submit a bill.

Sometimes there are ways to bypass the staff filters. It helps if you’ve made large campaign contributions in the past, or can make a credible suggestion that such are forthcoming.

The other way is to get the media on your side. In your case, CNN et al used you to push their preexisting agenda. You didn’t use them. If you’d used them, your class president would have created an astroturf “media” association, instead of a long time CNN producer pretending to be a stay-at-home mom and organizing you.

2. So the legislator knows what you want. He doesn’t write the bill. He doesn’t have the time. You have to write, annotations to appropriate state statutes and all. (And that’s how come the NRA’s fingerprints are sometimes on legislation you don’t like; they remembered to do what you forgot or never knew.)

3. Congratulations, you have a proposed bill. Now Honorable Joe Blow’s staffers are going to throw it on the slush pile of other proposed bills. If they can get to it in time for the next session, they’ll scour it for booby traps like “pi equals 3.1” or legalizing naked Jello hamster/human marriage (people try that sometimes).

4. Your bill is clean. Interested legislator submits it to the calendar. Now the calendar will be checked to see if there are more bills than the legislature has time to address. If folks don’t think your bill is quite as important as another, you may not make the cut. Sorry; try again next session.

Or your bill is scheduled for consideration…

5. …in every committee that covers any topic covered by your bill: Crime/Judiciary, Finance (it’s going to cost something to implement, right?), and anything else. Any one of them can stall it, or kill it.

6. Kill it? How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

Judiciary: “Wait? We’re going to raise the age for rifles to eighteen because a chumbucket shot up his old school? Didn’t anyone tell these kids that it’s already illegal for a prohibited person to buy a gun, conceal it, carry it into a gun-free zone, and kill people? We don’t need this. Inexpedient To Legislate!”

Finance: “Umm… confiscate 100,000 AR-pattern rifles? Compensating the owner for the taking at $700 to $5,000 per gun? That’s as much as half a billion bucks we don’t have. If we raise taxes to fund that, none of us are getting reelected. ITL!”

Or even “One known, crazy, prohibited person murdered folks, and these darn kids blame the 120 million honest gunowners who didn’t do it? And the one AR, when there are roughly 16 million ARs out there that weren’t used? And maybe three quarters of billion other firearms? Did they confuse Pods for their Adderall again? ITL!”

“Wait. We banned “assault weapons” nationwide for ten years. It didn’t work then; why would it work now? ITL!”

I’ll give you a hint for improving your odds: All that lobbying and campaign-donating you did for Joe Blow? You’d better have greased up several more legislators as well.

And then there’s the amendment process to fix perceived flaws in your bill. Remember that.

But let’s say your bill, after months of wrangling, is scheduled for a floor vote. That brings us to Thursday’s scholastic fiasco..


7. Did I mention that you need a bill sponsor in the other legislative body, too? That your bill has to pass both houses? You were doing all of the above with Senator Jack Sucks, right?

But back to Thursday. You ignorant kids tried to jump the line. You don’t get to do that at Disney World, and it doesn’t work in the capitol. What you did was piss off a lot of other people who did bother to spend the bucks, and months or years, to get their own bills — equally or more important in their eyes. You told them that your bill isn’t important enough to work at, but tis more important than them.

You just blew off a lot of people, including potential allies.

8. So your bill makes to the floor. I’ll bet it was going to a vote. Sorry, kids; floor debate time. If you’re lucky, it might only take a day or two. But for something as controversial as the large-scale abrogation of human/civil rights, you could be looking at weeks of debate.

In both chambers.

But say the bill(s) finally get voted on, and somehow pass.

You thought it was going to the governor, didn’t you? Why, bless your hearts.

9. Now the house and senate bills go to reconciliation, because, what with committee changes and floor amendments, even if you got sponsors for identical bills in both chambers, it’s virtually impossible for both to have made it through with identical changes. Another committee has to iron out those differences. While procedures vary, expect the final markup bill to go back to the respective chambers for a final vote.

This politics shit ain’t as easy as you thought, huh, cupcake?

But in your happy-go-lucky world, the bill finally reaches the governor.

10. Will he sign or veto? Will he ponder, “Photogenic cry-on-demand kids backed by a CNN producer versus a really large opposed voting bloc. Can I still get reelected if I sign? Or will not signing get me tossed?”

I’ll guarantee that your opposition has been hammering the gov’s office with letters, faxes, emails, SMS, and phone calls the whole time. Did you?

A. The governor vetos. Back to the chambers, repeat most of above and hope you can bribe up the votes to override.

B. Happy, happy, joy, joy! He signs it. You now have a law and ARs magically evaporate, or whatever.

11. Well… No. Your shiny law may have an effective date on signing or in the future. Either way, it isn’t really enforceable until the law gets edited into state statutes. If you didn’t include an amnesty period for silly stuff like turning in firearms, you made instant criminals of 100,000 honest people.

But you have another problem. The courts.

What; you thought you were done when the gov signed your class tyranny project?

The fact is, very, very good lawyers are going to file suits against enforcement of your Intolerable Act. They’re going to bring up MILLER, LAMONT, CAETANO, HELLER, MCDONALD, and BOWERS vs. DEVITO. Do you even know what those are? Then WTF are you doing pontificating on firearms policy?

An attorney who really wants to ridicule you will cite HAYNES, and note that your law doesn’t apply to felons.

In your defense, with exception of Thomas, the Supreme Court has misplaced its one testicle. SO if you can get the circuit court to uphold part of your law, you might get a partial victory.

So your law is law. Good luck with that. California, Connecticut, and New York tried registering “assault weapons” (making them among those rare places where the term means anything). Care to guess how that went?

CA: 2.33% compliance. Over 97% of gunowners told them to fribble off.
CT: 13.44% compliance, with the rest more or less saying, “Try it.”
NY: 4.45% compliance. The rest were too busy giggling to issue a statement.

That was just registration. Not confiscation. Do you really want to try your luck? Or, rather, the luck of the cops you’re sending out to do the dirty deeds? (Unless you were volunteering to take point. No?)

I’ve noticed that some victim disarming idiots point to Australia’s success in firearms confiscation. But have you wondered why they keep having new amnesty periods? I’ll give you a hint: After 22 years of confiscations and amnesties, the Australian government now estimates they have achieved approximately 20% compliance.

Closer to home, California began a confiscation program. As an example of how well that’s working:

Santa Cruz County law enforcement agencies teamed up with agents from the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms for a two-day operation on Tuesday and Wednesday to recover guns owned by individuals who are prohibited from possessing them, according to the Santa Cruz County Law Enforcement Chief’s Association.

Multiple agencies from the state and local levels. Two days. 47 addresses. They have the addresses and names because they have registration. If these laws work, they knew exactly where to go to arrest who with what.

They were able to bust one guy. With one gun.

California has a backlog of some ten thousand new prohibited persons (and growing). At the rate of one half a gun per day, that will take how long…

That’s a math test. Answer it. No; it isn’t common core, so the right answer matters.

20,000 days. Just shy of 55 years. Not counting people constantly joining the list.

Lecture over. It’s time for your final exam.

Telling your anti-rights agenda teachers to shove their candyland version of politics gets you an automatic passing grade.

Figuring out you were wrong about the whole thing is an A+.

* Side note: You kids played hooky from school. A legislator paid for your transportation to and from Tallahassee, and bought your meals. Such a sacrifice on your part.

All those grownups who showed up to oppose your CNN’s 18 U.S. Code § 241 production? They took unpaid time off work to defend their rights (and yours, though you haven’t figured that out yet). They paid their own ways, and bought their own food. They sacrificed for something they truly care about.

You’d best factor that principled and dedicated opposition into your plans.