Thursday, July 26, 2012

Column for July 26, 2012

Private businesses can do things that either endear themselves to you or drive you away from them.  I personally have a boycott on several local businesses because of their customer service, their political decisions, or the way they have treated me as a customer.  Recently, I found one business that just may get my business the next time I am in the market for a new automobile.

One large media outlet (that has a television broadcast channel position somewhere in between 4 and 6) thought that it would be a good idea to publish on their web site, a list of every concealed weapons permit holder in their viewing area.  Specifically, the permit holders are from “Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Nash, Northampton, Person, Sampson, Vance, Warren, Wayne, Wilson and Wake counties.”  For instance, I can tell you that there are four concealed carry weapon permit (CCW) holders on the street on which I live and 435 of them in my home town of Selma.

Keep in mind that the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado just happened within the last week, so this data publication was worked and planned for a long time.  It was not just thrown together in response to the shooting as a call for gun control.  It was a well thought out project.  Grass Roots North Carolina, a state wide gun rights group took notice of this and alerted the thousands of North Carolina residents on their email list of the data release.  I saw this information from several sources, so I went and checked out the information.  In many cases, the data lists only the number of permit owners on a particular street.  In other instances, street addresses are actually given.

What does this mean to the public?  Although this is public information, this television station’s web site aggregates this data into one place for the entire area.  There are two ways of looking at it.  Either this list gives criminals a list of addresses at which they can potentially steal weapons, or it gives them a list of places to avoid since there is the potential of getting shot while breaking into a home.  Either way, it is, in my opinion, a breach of public trust and privacy for the purpose of attempting to push an anti-gun agenda.

One business has officially taken a stand on this television station’s action.  A large automotive dealership chain in the Triangle area has decided to exercise a boycott of its own.  Chris Leith has placed an official statement on the dealership’s public web site.  This is only a partial quote.  As you may be aware WRAL published an article that upset many of our customers and members of our community.  The people affected were those like me; strong believers in our US Constitution and our 2nd amendment rights…As for me and my company, I’m a concerned citizen and strong believer in our constitutional rights.  I have made contact with WRAL and I have instructed them to remove anything that bears the Chris Leith name.  At this point they have chosen not to pull the article and therefore I have severed ties with them.  I really hate that this situation has occurred and I hope my actions will speak louder than words. [sic]” 

Now that takes guts.  Normally I find some liberal weenie severing ties with and pulling advertising from a conservative media outlet or some talk show host over an off-handed comment.  However, this is a business decision to sever ties with a media outlet that has chosen to “out” gun owners, and specifically those who (like me) possess a concealed carry weapons permit.  Chris Leith has taken a stand that an attempt to expose gun ownership and specifically CCW permit holders is an unacceptable assault on both privacy and gun rights.  He has taken what is in my opinion, a courageous stand.  I appreciate that and will most likely reward him by shopping there first when I am looking for a new automobile.

For the record, it is my official opinion that nobody should not need to have a CCW permit to carry a handgun.  What part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is so difficult to comprehend?  As famous author Robert Heinlein said, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Six years

This week's "LaPlante's Rants" newspaper column marks 6 full years of writing my weekly commentary for "The Selma News".  This week's column will be published here once it has been published in print.  All previous columns have been published right here on this blog.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Column for July 19, 2012

If you are like me, you look around you, watch the news, and wonder why you even bother with some things.  Quite honestly, I have been trying not to be so cynical lately.  Since I only have one column per week in which to express my opinions, I don’t want to take that one opportunity and rail on the same things time after time.  Sure, there are some core messages and values to which I do and always will adhere.  However, I don’t want to make every column about how Obama, Congress, the Supreme Court, our Governor, government, high taxes, and socialism all stink and how far from the vision of the Founding Fathers we have strayed as a nation.

Sometimes, I want to withdraw from my passions about politics and religion.  I would rather not care about church doctrine, good government, and the direction in which our nation is heading.  I would rather spend the time that I invest into writing this column and doing my television show into doing some stock trading, taking a college class, or holding my three-month-old.  My infant son has quite a personality at three months.  He smiles and laughs constantly, is fascinated by the world around him, and even gives me looks with his eyes while he is suckling on a baby bottle that reflect the joy he is already showing at that early age.  I would rather be watching a toddler TV show with my three-year-old, who asks me all the time, “Daddy, will you lay down and watch Caillou with me?”  He loves to lie on my bed and watch his favorite PBS cartoon on my television.  I would even rather be watching some chick flick or TV show with my bride.  As I write this, she is watching “The Bachelorette” without me.  When I am stuck in a hotel room for work on a Monday night and it is Bachelor or Bachelorette season, I even watch the show in my hotel room just so I can talk to my sweetie and feel connected to her.   I don’t mean to exclude my nine-year-old, but he is usually in bed by the time I sit down to compose my rants. 

I would rather have no concerns about my town, my county, my state, or my country.  I would rather not ponder the dangers of capitulating to radical Islam, treaties that have no real benefit to America but rather usurp the Constitution, the sprint current towards socialism, the upcoming election, or useless laws that only serve to leave a legacy or restrict freedom.  I still have concerns about things other than politics and religion, though.  Actually, I was thankful today for the beating the economy has taken.  I just got a great interest rate for a mortgage refinance that is going to knock at least five years off the length of my loan and keep my monthly payment the same or lower than it has been for ten years.  If President Obama and a liberal Congress had not run our economy into the ground, I would not have been able to get such a low interest rate.  Still, I would rather have a booming economy, since it is better for the country as a whole.

I would rather count down the days until I take my family on a vacation to Great Wolf Lodge than read the news about how Governor Beverly Perdue just signed another thirty-eight bills into law and yet vetoed the state budget recently.  There are another twenty bills on her desk on which she must take a decision.  Fifty-eight pieces of legislation passed along to the Governor?  As I looked over the 38 already signed, I see a lot of stiffening this penalty, making that crime carry a harsher sentence, blah, blah, blah. 

Important works of legislation will probably be better worked and passed in 2013, after the next election.  For instance, I can’t comprehend the US House of Representatives attempting to repeal Obamacare recently.  It is a foregone conclusion that such a bill, even though passed by the House, will never make it through the Senate, much less through President Obama.  Such serious legislation needs to be passed with a conservative Congress and President.  Well, the same applies to the State of North Carolina when it comes to voter ID laws, dealing with illegal immigration, and spending.

I suppose that I could rail on how President Obama just bypassed legislation concerning welfare requirements with an illegal executive order after hypocritically threatening the Supreme Court over the possibility of overturning legislation that was duly passed into law.  Then again, this type of stuff is really getting old, and hopefully, short lived.

Sure, things such as these cheese me off no end.  I truly wish that I could just ignore them, go about my merry way, and be blissfully oblivious to it all.  But if I did that, I would be ignoring who I am and was created to be.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Column for July 12, 2012

Sometimes I wonder why some people stay in their local churches.  Usually, I write more on political and public affairs topics, but this week I am perplexed as to why some people don’t just look around and say, “Why am I still here?”  Over the years, I have had to take decisions about the direction I was going in my own spiritual walk.  Those decisions have taken me away from some congregations and people and towards others.  As you grow in maturity as both a Christian and as an individual, at times you have to decide whether to stay or go.  When I have seen the values being promoted by individual congregations, I have had to decide whether or not the values were solid and palatable.  When they were found to be at odds with my convictions and knowledge, I have had to walk away, and invariably, I do so with a clean conscience.

I am perplexed by some church leadership nowadays.  When I look back over church history and even American history, I read of men of great conviction with a keen sense of righteousness.  I also run across spineless jellyfish.  I have met many of the latter but far fewer of the former.  Though I prefer men who stand erect rather than limp-wristed weaklings, not every minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is going to be a firebrand.  I get that.  I don’t expect every minister to lead people into revival or even political convictions, but I do expect them to point to virtuous living, traditional values, and commonly understood matters of righteousness; in other words, orthodoxy.

I read yet another article the other day about the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America going astray from their roots.  Historically, Presbyterians have counted men like John Knox, Billy Sunday, Mr. Rogers, and numerous US Presidents and Vice-Presidents amongst their ranks.  The Presbyterian Church USA has been theologically liberal for a long time, which has led to church splits over the years and new denominations forming as off-shoots.  Basically, people stood up, separated themselves from bad doctrine, and decided to go with their convictions.

The latest liberal unorthodox position by the PCUSA is that corporal punishment should not be allowed, meaning you should not spank your children as a form of discipline.  Over the years, I have read the materials put out by organizations opposed to spanking.  Some have been secular; a few have been supposedly Christian.  Usually the Christian groups are only one or two people who put together a web site on the internet.  Usually these people claim that they have the most accurate knowledge and everyone else has been wrong about their understanding of Biblical principles for several thousand years.

About a year ago, the Presbyterian Church USA decided to change their constitution to allow openly homosexual people to become ordained ministers, elders, and deacons.  The problem is that this flatly contradicts thousands of years of orthodoxy.  Again, supporters claim that those that cling to the orthodox position are just bigots that don’t understand their allegedly superior knowledge of God and His truth.  The billions of people who came before them and the millions that are their contemporaries must be wrong and they must be correct.  I didn’t write the Bible, I just read it and came to terms with it.

The one correct recent decision that the Presbyterian Church USA took was to keep from redefining marriage as a union between any two people rather than being specifically between one man and one woman.  Then again, just three years ago, they decided to disallow homosexuals to be ordained in their denomination.  That position was reversed within two years.

There are many good, wholesome members of the Presbyterian Church USA that I know and love.  Some are friends, some are family.  For the life of me, I can’t understand their tolerance of decisions such as these.  I realize that this is not going to go over well with them and maybe even other fellow believers.  However, I also believe that it is because so many people became complacent with their convictions that we have the state of affairs that we have in this country, both spiritually and politically.

Forget the particular denomination mentioned.  If your congregation or association plays loose with issues of morality, righteousness, and truth, I implore you to do some soul searching, regardless of the group.  When I see large organizations and/or denominations going apostate and becoming one with the world from whom they were called to be separated, I weep for them.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Column for July 5, 2012

This week we celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  I am going to quote what I wrote as an introduction to the Town of Selma’s ceremonial reading of the Declaration.  Hopefully, some of you got to hear it and the Declaration read Wednesday night.

“The American Revolution against Great Britain began in 1775.  On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed a resolution to declare colonial independence in the Second Continental Congress.  The vote on that resolution was delayed for several weeks.  On June 11, 1776, the congress appointed a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence from Great Britain.  One June 28th, a draft of that declaration was presented to Congress.  On July 2nd, Lee’s Resolution was partially passed by Congress,  declaring,  “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”   The declaration document was debated and revised, and on July 4th, the Second Continental Congress approved the final draft of the American Declaration of Independence”.

I consider July 2nd to be our actual Independence Day, not July 4th.  This is not just because July 2nd is my birthday, but because the actual vote for American independence came on that day.  John Adams thought much the same way.  He wrote to his wife on July 3rd, 1776, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.  It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more”.

The Second Continental Congress voted for independence to escape the tyranny they had been experiencing, which was enumerated in the Declaration, point by point.  Tyranny can come in various forms.  The Founding Fathers were keenly aware of this.  Samuel Adams, cousin to John Adams (and not just one of my favorite beers), said “How strangely will the tools of a tyrant pervert the plain meaning of words.”  Never has this quote been as poignant as it is today.

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue has vetoed the state budget so that she can look magnanimous in her stance for increased funding for public schools.  This is nothing more than a ploy to build her legacy as someone who allegedly cares about children and education.  However, discerning people realize that it’s nothing more than political showboating.  The plain meaning of adequate funding is being perverted.

The recent decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States on both the State of Arizona’s immigration law (SB1070) and on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) show that the quote by Samuel Adams to be glaring accurate.  To declare that states no longer have the ability to control immigration to their respective sovereign jurisdictions (as originally intended) is federal tyranny over states.  The Arizona decision along with the Obama administration’s refusal to enforce immigration laws cause states to shoulder the burden of educating illegal immigrant children, requiring large state education budgets.  The fact that Obamacare was ruled as constitutional as a form of taxation has forced the single largest tax increase in American history.  It takes away your freedom of choice over whether or not to carry health care coverage, and requires you to participate in commerce, whether you choose to do so or not.  That, my friends, is a form or tyranny.

The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare was a surprise to me, since I figured that even a high school civics student could have figured out that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was highly unconstitutional.  Sure, there were some provisions I liked in the bill, but they were small ones.  Sure, the health care laws could use revision, but this gigantic bureaucracy was not the way to go, nor is it the American way of doing things.  If the law is an exercise in tyranny, limits freedom, and is a major financial burden, then the parts I like are irrelevant and not worth the government’s interference and tyrannical power.

In the first paragraph, I quoted the brief narrative on the Declaration of Independence for a reason.  Folks, we started a revolution for far less than we are putting up with now.  When will we have had enough?