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  • 10/20/2021 7:25 PM | Anonymous

    November Ballot Proposals  by Tom Reynolds

    On November 2, 2021, New York voters will vote on five proposed amendments to the New York State Constitution.  These five ballot measures may have a greater impact on the future of the Empire State than the candidates running for election.

    Be sure to flip your ballot over and vote on them.

    Proposal One:

    In 2014, we (the voters) passed a constitutional amendment that substantially changed the redistricting process, which happens after every 10-year census.  Now, before that process has even been used, the Legislature is pushing to change it.

    Proposal One would:

    • repeal the requirement that the two co-executive directors of the redistricting commission be members of different parties;
    • repeal the requirement that a commission redistricting plan be approved by commission members of both parties; and
    • repeal the requirement that a redistricting plan be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, if the Senate and the Assembly are each controlled by the same political party.

    This is exactly the opposite of the way a fair redistricting process should operate.  It seems clear that the purpose of this proposal is to cause the majority party to have unfettered control of the process. 

    Do you believe Democrats would be for this if Republicans currently had control?

    Proposal Two:

    It would amend the New York State Constitution to provide that “each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” Progressives are framing this issue as one of racial and environmental justice.   

    Everyone wants clean air and water but this sounds like another club to beat us over the head with their radical “green” agenda. 

    Would this give them another lever to ban lead ammunition?  Of course, it would.

    Of course, this sounds really good but the devil is in the details.

    Proposal Three

    It would remove the NY constitutional requirement that a voter wishing to vote in an election be registered to vote at least 10 days prior to that election.

    It would open the door to the passage of a same-day voter registration law, an open invitation to more voter fraud.  How would local election boards effectively check if the registration is valid?

    Proposal Four:

    This would allow no-excuse absentee balloting in New York. 

    Currently, the New York State Constitution allows absentee balloting only if: a voter expects to be outside of his/her county of residence on Election Day; or a voter is unable to vote in person due to disability or illness.

    Unlimited absentee balloting creates a climate in which voter fraud is very difficult to detect.

    But if you don’t believe there is voter fraud in New York- and especially New York City – and you believe one party rule will refrain from fraud even though they have the levers of power to do it…

    Proposal Five:

    It would expand the jurisdiction of the New York City Civil Court from $25,000 to $50,000.

  • 10/13/2021 1:25 PM | Anonymous

    Happy belated Indigenous Peoples Day!  by Tom Reynolds

    In his never-ending effort to be “woke”, Joe Biden does away with Columbus Day because of Columbus’ connection to slavery.  Biden honors Indigenous People, instead. 

    A special shout out to the Aztecs on their holiday.

    The Aztecs had religious festivities at the end of their 20-day months and human sacrifice was an essential feature of these festivities.  (And you thought giving up something for Lent was hard.)

    Human sacrifice also was part of the legend around the founding of the Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlan, which was accompanied by the sacrifice and skinning of the daughter of the King Coxcox of Culhuacan.  (By contrast, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton decided on the current site of Washington D.C. over dinner and a glass of wine.)

    Another aspect of Aztec human sacrifice was children who were made to cry before the sacrifice. The tears were thought to wet the earth and thus appease the gods. If a child did not cry, the priests would sometimes tear out the nails of the child to make him or her cry.

    The Aztec practice of human sacrifice also served a political purpose.  Since the Aztecs were small in number compared to the other subjugated tribes and, thus, there was always a danger of an alliance between these tribes against the Aztecs.  To avert this, Aztecs demanded humans as a tribute from the subjugated tribes.  As a result, these tribes would constantly raid each other to procure humans for sacrifice. This minimized or eliminated the chance of an alliance between the tribes.  (Sounds like the current effort to keep the left in power by dividing people over race and gender issues.)

    Five years before Columbus discovered America, in 1487, “Templo Mayor” was dedicated in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, with a four-day celebration. How many were sacrificed during that time is a subject of scholarly speculation with the lowest estimate is 4,000. 

    It is hard to know how many Aztecs died under the sacrificial knife. Many reputable scholars today put the number between 20,000 and 250,000 per year for the whole Aztec Empire.  (Hitler, Mao and Stalin would have been proud of the Aztecs.)

    Indigenous People Day would not be complete without mentioning the Incas of Peru.  Although a little less bloodthirsty than Aztecs, the Incas had also enslaved the indigenous people further south along the Andes.

    Human sacrifices were practiced by the Incas to ward off danger, famine or an epidemic. The victims were usually children, sometimes men and virgins.  (Apparently, virgins have been sacrificial favorites, everywhere.) 

    More recently, archaeologists have discovered a site in northern Peru of mass child sacrifice.  Over 140 children were probably sacrificed about 550 years ago on a site known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas.  Later the number of sacrificed children’s remains found rose to 269, with the discovery of another nearby site. 

    An interesting aspect of the Inca Empire is described in the book “A Socialist Empire: The Incas of Peru by Louis Baudin.  He writes that the regime imposed by the Inca rulers on the indigenous populations they had enslaved was a precursor of Marxist-style socialism.  Private property and individual initiative were prohibited; money and commerce did not exist.  Private life was subject to tough state regulation: people had to dress in a similar way; marriage was allowed only following the eugenic laws of the state, to avoid “racial contamination”.  Like any tyrannical system of this type, it was oppressive and didn’t work, so much so that the subjugated indigenous enthusiastically helped the few Spaniards who came to get rid of it.  (Sounds like the Incas deserve the Margaret Sanger award for eugenics.) 

    Wow - and the Aztecs and Incas enslaved other indigenous peoples.   Well, at least they weren’t racists.          

    Back in the U.S.A., the Indigenous People were not as advanced as the Aztecs and Incas had been. 

    Did you know that the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery did not apply to all slaves?  The “Five Civilized Tribes” of the southeast - Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole - also participated in the institution of slavery.  Because these tribes were located outside the sovereignty of the United States, constitutional amendments did not apply to them.  (Kinda like today’s Leftists who don’t believe the Constitution applies to them.)

    According to journalist Aliana E. Roberts, by 1800, the “Five Tribes” had developed “plantations that rivaled those of their white neighbors.”  She also notes that the percentage of black slaves in the population was not insignificant.  In 1860:

    •   Cherokee Nation citizens owned 2,511 slaves (15 percent of their total population),
    •   Choctaw citizens owned 2,349 slaves (14 percent of their total population), and
    •   Creek citizens owned 1,532 slaves (10 percent of their total population).
    •   Chickasaw citizens owned 975 slaves, which amounted to 18 percent of their total population.

    These were proportions equivalent to that of white slave owners in Tennessee, a large slaveholding state.

    Most other North American tribes also practiced some form of slavery, even before Columbus.  (Wait a minute – Columbus didn’t introduce slavery to America?)

    We should surely be glad that the “woke” left, under Joe Biden, has decided it’s better to honor Indigenous Peoples than Christopher Columbus.  Although, it’s lucky for those Indigenous Peoples that they weren’t “White European Heritage Peoples” or they would have to lose their new holiday because they practiced slavery.  If the day had to again be renamed, the “woke” would demand that it honor someone who did not practice slavery; that, of course, would eliminate just about every race and country in the history of the world.  But if you wanted to name it for someone who did not practice human sacrifice, Christopher Columbus is available.

  • 10/08/2021 12:14 PM | Anonymous

    Achille Lauro  by Tom Reynolds

    Yesterday was 36th anniversary of the beginning of the Achille Lauro hijacking.  The Italian MS Achille Lauro was hijacked by four men representing the Palestine Liberation Front off the coast of Egypt.  During the hijacking, a 69-year-old Jewish American man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered by the hijackers and thrown overboard.

    Learning of the hijacking and that there were Americans on board, members of the Reagan administration in Washington, D.C. moved to take action. The Terrorist Incident Working Group (which included National Security Council staff member Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North) met in accord with predetermined counter-terrorist procedures. The Group recommended that the Pentagon dispatch a team of special operations forces to Europe in case the ship needed to be seized to rescue the hostages.

    By October 9th, the Reagan administration had implemented a plan for the Achille Lauro to be liberated by the U.S. military. SEAL Team Six embarked on board the USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship. It was decided that the raid would go ahead as long as the Achille Lauro was in international waters, but would be put on hold if it was found in Egyptian waters.

    On the morning of Thursday, October 10, 1985, Oliver North had contacted Israeli Major General Uri Simhoni, the military attaché at the Israeli embassy in Washington. He relayed to North that the four hijackers were at the Al Maza airfield near Cairo. American sources confirmed that the Egyptians were planning to transport the men out of the country at night, presumably to Tunis, aboard a commercial EgyptAir jet. The four hijackers boarded an EgyptAir Boeing 737 accompanied by Abu Abbas (later discovered to be the mastermind behind the operation), Ozzuddin Badrakkan (a PLO official), and several members of Egypt's counterterrorism unit Force 777. The flight was set to fly to Tunisia.

    Planes from the USS Saratoga intercepted the airliner and forced it down to Sigonella Italy where SEAL Team Six surrounded the plane.  This led to an armed standoff between Seal team 6 and 300 Italian soldiers.  The leader of SEAL Team 6 radioed, “I am not worried about our situation. We have the firepower to prevail. But I am concerned about the immaturity of the Italian troops. ... A backfire from a motorbike or a construction cart could precipitate a shooting incident that could lead to a lot of Italian casualties”. 

    Eventually, the diplomats worked something out.

    Abbas and Badrakkan were allowed to escape by the Italian government but an Italian Court convicted the four hijackers of various charges.

    This was not some Tom Clancy novel but a real-life incident and on October 16th, you will have the chance to meet and hear Oliver North at SCOPE’s annual banquet at breezes in Utica.  It’s a chance to meet living history.  A chance to hear someone who knows how military missions are supposed to be handled (as opposed to the recent debacle in Afghanistan).  A chance to hear someone who worked in the Reagan White House.

  • 10/07/2021 8:49 PM | Anonymous

    Doctor Robert Young on Politicized Science  by Tom Reynolds

    At the Second Amendment Institute’s “Defending Freedom Action Summit” September 25-26, “Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership’s” Dr. Robert Young had some strong words about the efforts of the political leadership of the medical profession in promoting gun control.  He sheds some light in areas many of us rarely see.  The following are some excerpts from his presentation.  

    “For 27 years, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO) has been fighting the politicization of gun policy by know-it-alls in our profession.  The medical profession, at large, thinks it knows everything about everything, from Gender Identity to Firearm Safety and on to Climate Change, all in the name of Public Health. Their problem is they don’t know what they don’t know. Learning how to diagnose & treat illnesses and do surgery qualifies us only in those areas”.

    “Public health interventions have been very important in preventing infectious disease in populations. Such authentic Public Health work has led to far more healthy lives and fewer early deaths than any other human endeavor. Developing medical treatments and preventive interventions have saved millions more lives”.

    “So why do doctors want to veer from this ancient, honorable lane”?

    “We don’t. Very few physicians want anything to do with the political goals of their professional organizations. That’s why the American Medical Association (AMA) now represents less than 20% of American physicians, down from 80% some 50 years ago, when men were men, women were women, and doctors were doctors”.

    “But the AMA’s leadership has become progressively more . . . ‘progressive’, as private practice has been mostly replaced by institutionally owned medical practices with physicians having to meet insurance demands to get paid. These pressure providers to meet the agendas of those organizations, not just to do what is best for their patients”.

    “And that, my friends, is the socialist, ‘progressive’ approach to modern medicine”.

    “Science is not a definitive oracle. It is a process that requires fair minds, openness to criticism, and the ability to change beliefs as research yields contrary data. These abilities seem sorely absent in most of the gun control industry”.

    “Careers depend on getting funding from the Bloombergs, Soros’s; their allied schools, foundations and organizations; and the government—none of which value individual responsibility.  It doesn’t take a graduate degree or statistical expertise to see the faults in advocacy research. You’ll find:

    o   Personal bias and cherry-picked data choices & interpretation

    o   Correlations passed off as causation, using irrelevant analogies and false attributions

    o   Inanimate firearms treated as if they cause shootings

    o   Casting blame and vilifying those who disagree

    o   Irrelevant questions & straw arguments used as diversionary tactics

    o   Data requests from other investigators being refused

    o   Statistical significance purporting to have real-world importance”

    “Finally, don’t let disputes among so-called “experts” distract you. The truth is out there. Without any reasonable doubt, the facts are on the side of liberty and individual responsibility”.

    “The foundation of our great American right to Keep and Bear Arms is not science but principle. We have the inherent responsibility to defend ourselves and our loved ones and are entitled to arm ourselves with the tools that enable us to do so, wherever & whenever”.


    Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO), a program of the Second Amendment Foundation, is a nationwide volunteer organization of health care professionals and supporters who value honesty and human rights. Its Second Amendment activities are all volunteer, as they are all full-time practitioners. They are the doctors who know guns. This material was also presented at this year’s Gun Rights Policy Conference, also September 25-26.

  • 10/05/2021 8:23 PM | Anonymous

    FBI Statistics

    Gun control politicians, at both the federal and state level, are salivating at the opportunity to use government resources in the name of public health to finance studies critical of the 2nd Amendment.  Before wasting more of our tax dollars on propaganda, they should read the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics Survey of Prison inmates.  Defenders of the 2nd Amendment will find it interesting and gun control advocates will want to ignore it.  In the section, “Sources and Uses of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016”, it investigated state and federal prisoners’ possessing firearms during the commission of a crime.

    You can read the actual report here:  Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016 (  SCOPE summarizes the important points below.  (Emphasis added for clarity.)

    “About 29% of state and 36% of federal prisoners serving time for a violent offense possessed a gun during the offense”. (About three fourths of these actually used it).

    Comment: Only between one-third and one -quarter of violent criminals (who got caught) used a firearm.  Therefore, two thirds or more used something other than a firearm when committing the crime.  (See FBI report later in this Article.)

    “About 21% of state and 20% of federal prisoners said they possessed a gun during their offense” (both violent and non-violent offenses included here).

    “Handguns were by far the most common type of firearm possessed or used by prisoners during the crime for which they were sentenced. About 18% of all state and federal prisoners (violent and non-violent crimes) in 2016 reported that they had possessed a handgun during the crime for which they were serving a sentence. Two percent or fewer possessed a rifle or a shotgun.  Most state (79%) and federal (80%) prisoners did not possess any type of firearm during the crime for which they were imprisoned.

    Here’s a summary of the above data on prisoners at the state and federal level serving time for both violent and non-violent crimes:

    • 80% did not possess a firearm
    • 20% possessed a firearm  
    • 18% had a handgun
    • 1% had a shotgun
    • 1% had a rifle
    • 43.2% off the street or from the black market
    • 25.3% from an individual
    • 10.1% at retail
    •     8.2% at retail from an FFL
    •     1.9 at retail from a private seller or unknown.  (“0.8% obtained it at a gun show”.)
    • 6.4% from burglary
    • 15.0% other

    Note: about two-thirds of them actually used the firearm during the crime. 

    Comment:  1% of all the criminals in prison who were surveyed used some sort of rifle.  The AR 15 Modern Sporting Rifle is derided by gun control addicts as an Assault Rifle and subject to multiple laws and proposed laws...and yet it was used by less than 1% of all criminals.

    “Among prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense, 90% did not obtain it from a retail source”.

    Here is a breakdown of where the criminals obtained the firearm:

    Comment: Only 10.1% of firearms used in crime were obtained using legal means.  But the gun control advocates spend their resources on creating more impediments to legally obtaining a firearm, while not creating impediments to the biggest problem, illegally obtained firearms.  Perhaps their goal is not crime control but removing all legal firearm possession from law abiding citizens? 

    Male prisoners were more likely than female prisoners to have possessed a firearm during their crime.

    Blacks were the most likely to use a firearm and whites were the least likely to use a firearm.

    The use of a firearm in a crime declined with age.

    From the FBI report, “Crime in the U.S. 2018”, it reported that from 2014 through 2018, the following was the breakdown in murders.

    Murders by:        2014       2015      2016      2017      2018
       Rifle                     235         215         300        390        297
       Knives/Cutting Instruments
                                   1,545     1,525      1,558     1,609    1,515
       Blunt Objects (hammers, etc.)
                                      431         436          464        472       443
      Hands, Fists, etc.
                                      668          647          664       710       672
    Comment: In all years, rifles were used less in murders than either knives/cutting instruments or blunt objects such as hammers or personal weapons such as hands and fists.  And yet, the left-wing political leaders still focus on the AR 15

    While we are writing about sources of guns, the following was published by the Associated Press on June 21, 2021 - about two months before billions of dollars in military equipment was left in Afghanistan for the Taliban.

    “…at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010’s, with some resurfacing in violent crimes…AP’s total is a certain undercount”.

    “Government records covering the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force show pistols, machine guns, shotguns and automatic assault rifles have vanished from armories, supply warehouses, Navy warships, firing ranges and other places where they were used, stored or transported. These weapons of war disappeared because of unlocked doors, sleeping troops, a surveillance system that didn’t record, break-ins and other security lapses that, until now, have not been publicly reported.”

    In fairness to accuracy, the billions left in Afghanistan weren’t all firearms.  Helicopters, drones, vehicles, etc. were also left.  According to a Forbes article on August 23rd, 356,000 rifles of all sorts were left and the lowest priced were $749 so the rifles loss was “only” somewhere in excess of $266 million. 

    The same government that wants to deny you your constitutional rights has managed to arm one of the world’s worst terrorist organizations.  Will the Taliban subject their soldiers to a NICS check before arming them with US rifles?

  • 09/23/2021 3:24 PM | Anonymous

    Worst Attack on the Capitol  by Tom Reynolds

    Nancy Pelosi referred to January 6th, 2021 as the “Worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812.”  Oh really?

    On November 7, 1983, a blast went off on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol’s north wing. According to one estimate, the bomb caused $1 million in damage.  Later, National Public Radio received a message from a group calling itself the Armed Resistance Unit (ARU) which took credit for the attack.  “We purposely aimed our attack at the institutions of imperialist rule …”

    The ARU was the May 19th Communist Organization, a group of self-described “revolutionary anti-imperialists” formed in the late 1970’s. The group was also the first American terrorist group entirely organized and led by women. Women picked the targets, made the bombs and implanted the devices. Its new sisterhood to replace sororities!

    May 19th was responsible for a string of violent operations from 1979 to 1985: armed robberies that led to the murder of police officers and security guards, prison breakouts and a bombing campaign that, in addition to the U.S. Capitol, targeted government buildings in Washington and New York.

    After a five-year investigation, in May 1988 FBI agents arrested seven members of the “Resistance Conspiracy”. They were charged with executing the Capitol bombing as well as triggering similar blasts at Fort McNair and the Washington Navy Yard.  All were eventually sentenced to lengthy prison terms for these or related crimes.

    Susan Rosenberg was one of them and on January 20, 2001, on his last day in office, Bill Clinton commuted her sentences. Wikipedia has referred to her as an “American activist, writer, advocate for social justice and prisoners’ rights and a former terrorist.” You would think “former terrorist” is not the kind of title you’d have on your resume, but in some professions, such experience is an asset.  As of 2020, Rosenberg served as vice chair of the board of directors of Thousand Currents, a non-profit foundatiothat provides institutional support and raises funds for Black Lives Matter.

    On March 1, 1954, four Puerto Rican communists walked into the US Capitol building. The three men and one woman were not wearing buffalo horns or carrying Qanon flags. Instead, they unfurled a Puerto Rican flag – and then pulled out their guns.

    Rep. Alvin Bentley (R-MI) was shot in the chest. Rep. Ben Jensen (R-IA) was shot in the back. Rep. Clifford Davis (D-TN) sustained an injury to the leg. Rep. George Fallon (D-MD) was shot in his hip. And Rep. Kenneth Roberts (D-AL) was “kneecapped” by a bullet.

    Rep. James Van Zandt (R-PA), who was a 56-year-old World War I veteran at the time, personally tackled and captured one of the gunmen. (Apparently, Congress was made of sterner stuff back then.) Van Zandt didn’t just curl up on the floor and cry like several congresspersons did on January 6th, he charged in and got ‘er done!

    The four Puerto Rican shooters were charged with insurrection and attempted murder. They were all given 40- to 50-year prison sentences for their crimes.  Jimmy Carter pardoned them all in 1977. The governments of Mexico and Cuba pinned medals on the four insurrectionists for shooting Members of Congress inside the US Capitol and for attempting to topple the American government through violent action.

    The bullet holes in the chamber are still there, but you can’t see them these days because Nancy Pelosi still won’t let visitors in the building because of the “Worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812”.

    It is noteworthy that the Puerto Rican shooters were charged with insurrection.  Pelosi has also said that January 6th was an insurrection but, to date, no one has been charged with insurrection or treason.  Question: can you have an insurrection if no one “insurrects”?

    It’s also noteworthy that January 6th has not been used as a basis for Pelosi (and friends) to call for more gun control.  Oh wait – none of the “insurrectionists” thought to bring a gun to the insurrection.  Apparently, the January 6th insurrectionists were really bad at insurrecting.  Perhaps Pelosi should call for banning buffalo horns?

  • 09/21/2021 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    On Killing Remotely  by Tom Reynolds

    SCOPE recently wrote about Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Phelp’s book “On Killing Remotely” which contained a lot of inside information on how military drones are operated.  With the latest controversy over a drone killing in Afghanistan, it seems appropriate to write about that incident and more about the book.

    There are usually three parties involved when a missile is fired from a drone (Remotely Piloted Aircraft - RPA):

    The pilot controls the aircraft and releases the missile.  The pilot may be a few miles from the RPA or he may be on the other side of the world.

    A second RPA puts a laser on the target and it’s this laser that pin points the target and guides the missile.  (If the 2nd RPA is not available, the pilot goes on his own.)

    The third party is the tactical commander who authorizes the missile to be fired.  This can be anyone from the local intelligence officer to the President of the United States.  This person is responsible for establishing the identity of the target, ensuring that the rules of engagement are followed and that appropriate laws are obeyed. 

    When there is adequate time, the three parties share information but when immediate action is needed, they have to trust each other’s judgement.  They especially have to trust the judgment of the tactical commander who has identified the target as someone they are justified in “taking out”.

    All on the “team” are supposed to obey orders.  If anyone has concerns and does not obey, that is a career threatening move.  However, that does happen.  When an American citizen who was openly working as an ISIS terrorist was targeted, the “team” refused to kill him, because he was an American citizen.  The commanding officer was reassigned and the job was given to the CIA, which eventually did kill him.  (Note, obedience to orders is a mainstay of the military but when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley, openly disregards the highest authority – the President - that sets an example that van echo through the ranks.)

    There are subtle ways of disobeying without openly disobeying; it’s called missing your target.  Who can say if it was intentional - or not.  Phelps believes it happens but, for obvious reasons, no one is publicly admitting to it.  Hitting a moving target from a drone flying thousands of feet above the ground and commanded from thousands of miles away is not a foolproof operation.   

    Phelps book recounted a story that is appropriate to the recent Afghanistan killing.  A terrorist on the kill list knew he was targeted and knew the Americans’ rules of engagement.  The terrorist was followed, remotely for months, but no opportunity to kill him appeared because he always kept at least one of his children with him, which kept him safe under our rules of engagement.  Our military waited for him to be alone and when he finally made the mistake of going out without one of his children, they instantly reacted and killed him. 

    Occasionally, a target is cleared to be hit without collateral damage but before the missile can strike someone unexpectedly enters the area.  There may or may not be the time or the ability to react.  For instance, the laser could be moved to target another nearby area – if there is a safer area available and there is time available to do it.

    One of the most psychologically difficult tasks is staying around after the strike to document its level of success.  Watching the victim’s family members pick up the body parts of someone you just killed can take a toll.  Phelps recommends that a 2nd RPA be tasked to do this, not the one that fired the missile.

    Which brings us to the incident in Afghanistan where a car believed to be loaded with explosives and an imminent threat to American forces was targeted.  But in what may or may not be a case of mistaken identity, children and others were killed.  All we know is what is being reported (not always the best source since it is primarily the NY Times, which usually proceeds on the assumption that America is wrong).

    The NY Times says that, according to the military, the drone had been following a white sedan for several hours after it left what may or may not have been an ISIS safe house.  It had been loaded with a suspicious cargo earlier in the day and more was added later in the afternoon.  US officials believed that cargo to be explosives but some claim it was water for his family.  US officials claim to have intercepted communications between the driver and the ISIS safe house instructing him to make several stops, which he did.  Eventually, the driver went to his home, which was near the airport.  The military knew little of his identity but they believed he was an imminent threat to the troops at the airport.  The drone operator scanned and saw only a single adult male greeting the vehicle, and therefore assessed with “reasonable certainty” that no women, children or noncombatants would be killed.  (The driver’s relatives claim that some children ran out to greet him.)  General Milley said there were secondary explosions but the NY Times claims not.  (The pot calling the kettle black?)  The NY Times words their story in a way that makes the Afghans seem more credible than the US military.  Is that a surprise?  

    Obviously, stories are different and it will take further investigation to determine the factual story, if it can ever be determined.  But…the US has a history of taking great pains to avoid killing civilians – as explained above.  While there can always be exceptions and mistakes do get made, it’s doubtful that the US would intentionally fire a missile that would kill innocent children.  Especially since the driver was not driving to the airport at that moment and, thus, he wasn’t forcing an immediate decision.  Was the area clear when the missile was fired and the children ran out at the last moment?  There can also be other factors, such as the drone running low on gas and forcing a hurried decision before it had to leave the area.  Ultimately, it was the tactical commander’s decision based on the best information available, which doesn’t always mean sufficient information but decisions have to get made on what you have where you are.  Did any of the other team members disagree?  The drone operator scanned the area and said it was clear.

    One thing that Phelps does say in his book that there is always an after-action report done at the end of the shift.  That might spread some light on what happened.

    A tragedy, that’s for sure when children are killed.  Was it a case of mistaken identity or was the driver really working for ISIS?  Since we don’t have access to the Taliban, we may never know.

  • 09/13/2021 11:33 AM | Anonymous

    Miscellaneous  by Tom Reynolds

    HR 4953, the National Firearms Amendments Act of 2021 is a massive attack on the Second Amendment.

    This bill takes any semiautomatic rifle or shotgun, modern or not, that can accept a detachable magazine and makes it subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA). They will all be treated like an automatic firearm.  All the red tape, all the penalties for not registering, all of the other restrictions will get applied.

    What makes this bill potentially dangerous is that it could easily be included as part of a Reconciliation Bill.  These bills are not subject to the filibuster rules so only a majority is needed to pass them.  The NFA is part of the tax code so a filibuster could be evaded, as a result. 

    This bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, which covers taxes.

    Contact your Representative and urge them to oppose HR 4953.


    A reminder for all those considering lodging for the October 16th banquet in Utica:  September 15th (This Wednesday) is the release date for the special block hold pricing for this event. 

    Holiday Inn -     $119 +  tax / night   315-724-2726

    Hampton Inn-   $119 + tax / night    315-733-1200

    Fairfield Inn-     $119 + tax / night    315-798-9600

    Best Western-   $98.99 + tax / night 315-732-4121

    Mention SCOPE for the quoted rate.

    No doubt there will be rooms available after that date but the negotiated rate may not be available. 

    Photo Op with Oliver North

    There will be photo opportunities with Mr. North by a professional photographer, Steve Lourenco. He has set up a dedicated site for the candid shots taken throughout the event. These can be purchased directly from the website. All pricing includes shipping & handling. 

    Between 5PM & 5:30 PM attendees are welcome to sign up for a posed photo with Ollie, up to 50 guaranteed ops may be scheduled ahead with a pre-ordered 5x7 for $15. Sign up can happen via email between now and the event to or upon arrival at the event, Patricia Lourenco will take names the night of the event. Cash or check due upon arrival.

    Thomas SowellThe beauty of doing nothing is that you can do it perfectly. Only when you do something is it almost impossible to do it without mistakes.  Therefore, people who are contributing nothing to society, except their constant criticisms, can feel both intellectually and morally superior.

  • 09/10/2021 8:44 PM | Anonymous

    Young on Old Meanings  by Tom Reynolds

    In Wednesday’s email, SCOPE talked about the Left’s attempt to turn Constitutional Originalism around and use it against the 2nd Amendment.  As usual, Doctor Robert Young was thinking along lines similar to SCOPE when he wrote an article in Doctors For Responsible Gun Ownership entitled “Corpus Linguistics & Bearing Arms: Much Ado About Nothing”.  Below are some of the highlights from his article and the full text can be read at: Corpus Linguistics & Bearing Arms: Much Ado About Nothing .

    Dr. Young wrote about Dennis Baron’s attempts to flip Constitutional Originalism, written in the Duke Center for Firearms Law (DCFL).  Young wrote:

    “DCFL contends that because nearly all the examples they find of the phrase ‘bear arms’ in the English language are used to refer to military conduct, the Second Amendment must only guarantee ‘the people’ the right to ’bear arms’ in the service of the state (i.e., a state-appointed militia). Just so they don’t look entirely one-sided, Baron does qualify ‘. . . [I]t’s not clear that any text has one single, original meaning that everyone would have shared.’”

    “Baron also quotes the amicus brief by Everytown for Gun Safety [sic] in NYSRPA v. Corlett to say that ‘. . . America [was] never [a] place . . . where people carried weapons freely and routinely, particularly in urban areas.’ Utter nonsense, which anyone familiar with American history through the entire 19th century could refute.”

    Dr. Young then goes on the attack:

    “The militia developed from the beginning of the colonial period as groups of townsmen who came together to provide for their mutual protection…the Colonies’ militias were simply the assembled groups of local ones under the command of elected leaders. This was still essentially individuals making their own decisions to come together, exercising their Second Amendment rights ‘to keep and bear arms’ in the common defense, an extension of their pre-existing right to self-defense.”

    “The point Baron’s linguistic method makes is that ‘. . . nonmilitary uses of ‘bear arms’ are almost nonexistent in any sort of text’ of the Founding era. But let’s ask, how exactly are ‘the people’ supposed to get the arms they ‘keep’ at home to the militia’s gathering place if they don’t have the equal right to “bear” them to there, as well as in battle?”

    Dr. Young concludes the debate with quotes from people who were actually alive during the Revolutionary period:

    “We have scores of quotes by the authors of the Constitution and their peers that manifest their insistence on the importance of the citizenry owning and using (therefore carrying as well as ‘bearing’) arms routinely for proper purposes, including hunting, target practice, and self-protection. Gentlemen in America like Washington and Jefferson carried pistols routinely. More common folk had their muskets and rifles at hand whenever they decided they could be useful.”

    “From WallbuildersJohn Dickinson, Constitution signer: affirmed that inalienable rights such as self-defense were rights ‘which God gave to you and which no inferior power has a right to take away.’

    Fisher Ames, a framer of the Bill of Rights: ‘The right . . . of bearing arms . . . is declared to be inherent in the people.’” 

    “From Buckeye FirearmsThomas Jefferson: ‘Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.’
    Jefferson, again: No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.’
    And again: ‘The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature [as to] disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’

    “From the Lonang Institute: Revolutionary militia colonel and then Federal judge, Henry St. George Tucker, 1803: ‘In many parts of the United States, a man no more thinks of going out of his house on any occasion, without his rifle or musket in his hand, than a European fine gentleman without his sword by his side.’  

    These quotes are just a fraction of the evidence. There is a great deal more, from many, many sources. “

    “The Second Amendment’s purpose is timeless, and meant the same in 1789 as in 1998, and as in 2021.”

  • 09/08/2021 4:43 PM | Anonymous

    The Left on Rights by Tom Reynolds

    Recently, there have been some interesting articles about our rights.  A bit legalistic but still interesting thoughts.

    One article asked why owning a firearm and healthcare are both being defined as “rights”? What if the traditional “right” to own a gun was changed and redefined in the same way as the new “right” to healthcare?

    Healthcare as a “right” was a selling point for Obamacare, which mandated that everyone must have health insurance and if you can’t afford it the government will pay for it.  If owning a gun is a “right” in the same way that the Left defined Obamacare, then the government should mandate that everyone has to have a gun and if you can’t afford one the government will pay for it.  The right to keep and bear arms would mean that you have the right to have someone (the government) provide you with a firearm.      

    Let’s flip it and define the “right” to health care in the same way that the 2nd Amendment is traditionally defined.  The 2nd Amendment traditionally means that you are allowed to own and carry any firearm you can legally acquire. You can buy one, receive it as a gift, or build one yourself. And once you acquire it, it is like any other property, it cannot be taken from you without the due process of law. (At least that’s how it is supposed to work, according to the Constitution.)

    Applying this to Healthcare, it would mean that we have the right to see a doctor and pay for his services. It would give you the right to contract with anyone who might provide you with health care. Someone else might voluntarily pay for it out of charity or you might contract with an insurance company to pay for it. If you can obtain health care by any such legal means, government may not stop you or take it away from you.

    A right means you have the freedom to act, not that anyone, particularly the government at the expense of taxpayers, will provide you with the means.  Does the 1st Amendment right to free speech mean the government has to provide you with the means of speaking or writing?

    Under either definition of a “right”, the Left loses the debate when both “rights” are defined in the same way.  But consistency was never a goal of the left.

    In another attack on 2A rights, some gun grabbing organizations are again trying to chip away at “Heller and McDonald” by trying to turn Constitutional Originalism back on itself.  Originalism generally implies that the common meaning of words at the time of the Revolution is how the Constitution should be interpreted.   The left argues that the “right to…bear arms” outside the home was only used in a military sense when the Constitution was written, therefore, only the military could “bear arms” outside the home.  Civilians could “keep” arms in their homes but they could not “bear arms” outside the home.  (I wonder what Daniel Boone would have said about that interpretation?) 

    The 2nd Amendment was definitely aimed at civilians having the right to “keep and bear arms”.  Why would the founders have added a phrase that only applied to the military in the middle of an amendment that only applied to civilians?   “Keep” and “bear” are only 2 words apart in one sentence.  Is it likely that they would two opposite meanings?

    Words could – and still do – have different common use meanings.  Does a law forbidding carrying a firearm in a bank also prohibit carrying a firearm by a river?  What prevents “bear arms” from applying to both the military and civilians?

    One article argued that the primary responsibility of the federal government is to protect our liberty and our individual rights as guaranteed by our Constitution; its primary responsibility is NOT to keep us safe.  The oath that Presidents and other government officials take would seem to give some support to that idea since the oath requires them to preserve and protect the Constitution and says nothing about keeping us safe. 

    Also, courts have ruled that police do not have an obligation to protect us. So, if the government’s job is to keep our rights safe, and not keep us safe, there is no basis for taking away our guns since to “keep and bear arms” is one of our rights that the government must protect.

    However, the preamble to the Constitution says it was established to “provide for the common defence”, so there is a basis for saying that the Constitution is both to protect our rights and keep us safe.  And on such questions, lawyers make a living.

A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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