25th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall Fall: Tyranny Still Thrives Today

On this day 25 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell . This soon led to the physical collapse of the Soviet Union. This pivotal moment in history freed millions of people behind the Iron Curtain, including members of my family in Lithuania.

Below is footage from that fateful day:

Here’s a picture I took of a remnant of the Berlin Wall at Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Library in August 2012.

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall was symbolic in that it led to the physical collapse of the Soviet Union. It was also the tireless efforts of Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II–along with the indomitable freedom-loving people of Eastern Europe (including members of my family in Lithuania)–who brought the end of the USSR. From Solidarity in Poland to the Baltic Way in the Baltic Republics, the perseverance of those in Eastern Europe helped pivot the end of the Soviet Union.

Though the USSR collapsed, its pernicious ideas still permeate today. Putin’s Russia is Neo-Soviet, and he says the Hitler-Stalin Pact was justified. Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, and countless other countries still practice tyranny today. And American universities whitewash Soviet crimes and even justify them. Marion Smith of Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation wrote an important op-ed in Wall Street Journal highlighting the danger of communism’s lurking presence:

To tear down that wall will require the same moral clarity that brought down the concrete and barbed-wire barrier that divided Berlin 25 years ago. The Cold War may be over, but the battle on behalf of human freedom is still being waged every day. The triumph of liberty we celebrate on this anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s destruction must not be allowed to turn to complacency in the 21st century. Victory in the struggle again totalitarian oppression is far from inevitable, but this week we remember that it can be achieved. 

It’s important to educate people about global communism’s horrors and call for equal condemnation of Soviet crimes. I urge you to support groups like Victims of Communism to further educate the country about the horrors of global communism.

Remember to never forget.

New Counter Cultured Article: Be an Individual in the Era of Big Government

I’ve penned a new column up at Counter Cultured today titled “Be Classic in the Era of Big Government.”

Here’s an excerpt:

I was recently listening to MKTO’s megahit “Classic” for some inspiration. While this song is centered on love, it can be applied to anything. If you haven’t heard the song, below is a sample of the song’s lyrics:

You’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
Thinking I was born in the wrong time
It’s love on rewind,
Everything is so throwback-ish (I kinda like it, like it)
Out of my league
Old school chic
Like a movie star
From the silver screen
You’re one of a kind living in a world gone plastic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic

While government may not have direct involvement in every cultural phenomenon, its promotion of paternalism and complacency is greatly seen in pop culture, religion, business, and politics today. It’s better to be classic, or independent-minded, than a conformist in an era marked by invasive big government.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

NRA News Appearance: Richmond Times-Dispatch Article on DC Gun Ban Repeal

I appeared on NRA News’ Cam and Company Show with my friend Cameron Edwards this past Monday. Here’s the link to the segment.

Virginia Shooting Sports Association’s blog wrote about my appearance below:

Over the weekend, Leadership Institute Northeast Regional Field Coordinator Gabby Hoffman had an Op/Ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch making the case for repealing the ban on carrying handguns in Washington D.C.  In the opinion piece, Hoffman wrote about how Virginia’s concealed handgun law has made the Commonwealth a safer place, and how crime has dropped at the same time gun sales have increased exponentially in the last six years:

If D.C. adopts gun laws similar to those of Virginia, the nation’s capital will witness a reduction in crime when law-abiding residents are permitted to conceal-carry.

Hoffman spoke with NRANewsCam Edwards on Monday and talked in more detail about how D.C.’s residents would benefit if the City Council adopted a carry ordinance similar to Virginia.

 

 

Winning: Concealed Carry Ban in D.C. Has Been Ruled Unconstitutional

Fellow residents of the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia metro area) have something to celebrate: a ban on concealed carry has been ruled unconstitutional in D.C.!  The plaintiffs’ lead attorney, Alan Gura, first reported this and provided  the opinion from the U.S. District Court of Appeals on Palmer v. D.C.:

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

 Since I live near D.C., I’m absolutely thrilled to learn about this ruling. If you’ve ventured to certain parts of D.C.–namely Northeast or Southeast D.C.–you’ve read about, heard about, or witnessed violence in the nation’s capital. Many incidents in D.C. could have been prevented had this ban on concealed carry not been in effect. Many instances point to this.

For example, a D.C. resident named Dario Flammer was attacked by a group of guys near Logan Circle in June 2013. Following the incident, Flammer said he refused to become a victim again. NBC Washington reported:

Flammer says the attackers shouted homophobic slurs in Spanish.

Flammer plans to take steps to avoid becoming a victim again.

“I’m going to get a license and get a 9mm,” he said. “That’s the truth.”

Last September, Washington Navy Yard was subjected to a horrible shooting  when unhinged military contractor Aaron Alexis killed 12 military personnel. A July 11th report on the Navy Yard shooting noted that a directive issued by President George H.W. Bush making military bases “gun-free zones” left those at Navy Yard defenseless:

“Police departments may hold the mistaken belief that the personnel working within gated military installations in the United States, such as the Navy Yard, are heavily armed and capable of defending against threats. The truth, however, is that the majority of the individuals working on military bases are not armed,” the report said.

Hope D.C. residents can enjoy the same luxury of gun rights as we do here in the Commonwealth:

I will have further commentary on this ruling later this week, so stay tuned!

New Counter Cultured Article: Big Gov’t Has No Right to Measure Female Worth Via Birth Control

I’ve penned a new column at Counter Cultured titled, “Dear Big Government: Birth Control Doesn’t Measure Our Worth.”

Here’s an excerpt:

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a landmark ruling that put a muzzle on the contraception mandate contained in Obamacare. This is a small but important victory for religious liberty and limited government.

Per usual, abortionistas decried this ruling as the end of women’s rights. (Cue the melodrama! The death of womankind is upon us!) They decried, “Get my employer out of my bedroom!” while simultaneously begging our government to fund their sexual escapades. One gal–Guardian U.S.’s Jessica Valenti—even suggested that women “should organize a safe-sex f***-in at every Hobby Lobby across the country.” (Gross.)

If this is what passes for female empowerment today, our gender has truly been set back.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

SCOTUS Rules in Favor of Freedom Today

Two landmark Supreme Court decisions were decided on today. Here’s how I responded on Twitter:

Here’s the gist of these two cases:

  1. 1) Union case: In Harris v. Quinn, SCOTUS limits power to compel contributions to public employee unions but does not forbid it. Says collective bargaining can’t be imposed on employees that aren’t full public-sector union employees. Essentially, this stifles public sector union control to some extent. (Collective bargaining is bad policy.)
  1. 2) Hobby Lobby: From SCOTUS blog: “SCOTUS holds govt can’t require closely held corps w/ religious owners to provide contraception coverage.” HUGE win for religious liberty.

Freedom of association is an inalienable right enumerated in the First Amendment of our Constitution. It allows us the right to subscribe to a belief system without having to compromise or go against our conscience. It allows for dissent/debate in the public square. SCOTUS basically affirmed that government can’t coerce people into paying dues or paying for contraception.

This is a good day for freedom.

#winning

Hail to the Redskins

This morning, it was revealed that the U.S. Patent Agency cancelled the Washington Redskins’ trademark because the name is “disparaging” to Native Americans.

This doesn’t come as a surprise. What government agency hasn’t tried to ban speech or ideas that don’t fit their big government mold?

 

As a result, I felt inclined to respond to the hysteria on Twitter.

Then several of us were prompted to troll the #NewRedskinsName Twitter hashtag, so I contributed several tweets to it:

Where’s the left’s priorities? Facts? Clearly they’re nowhere to be found.

Additionally, government has no right to determine “right” speech or ideas.

But but but, the Redskins name is so offensive? Only 17% of people in this country think that way.

Shame on the U.S. Patent Office for cancelling the Washington Redskins’ trademark. This is a very bad precedent that emboldens government to control and discourage private businesses.

Not surprised…50 Democrat U.S. Senators recently wrote a letter to the organization pressuring them to change their name. (Because, priorities!) Anything that doesn’t fit the big government mold is deemed offensive. (Yay to restricting free expression!) I don’t know anyone here in D.C. who feels distraught over the Redskins name, except for few thin-skinned “progressives” who complain about everything. (Even an AP poll from January found that 83% of people approve of the Redskins name.) Might as well rename them as the Washington Whiners or the Beltway Barnacles to better reflect D.C…

Historically speaking, the Redskins name was chosen to honor Native Americans and their bravery in battle. How does this disparage them? How are their rights being undermined? Might as well be consistent and rename the Cleveland Indians, Florida Seminoles, Oklahoma, Minnesota Vikings, and all other “culturally-insensitive” athletic teams?

But hey, America is weak here and abroad. Who cares? The cause of fighting imaginary bigotry must continue! (Sigh.)

Those who disparage the Redskins are nothing but a bunch of tyrants. As a resident of the DMV, I will continue to support the Redskins and their name.  Hope others continue to do so too.

#HTTR