Monday, January 14, 2008

Petitioning Our "Leaders"

A while back at the urging of David Codrea of The War on Guns, I sent emails to "my" congressmen in regard to the nomination of Michael Sullivan as director of the BATFE. I finally got a response from Senator Bob Casey. He wrote:

Dear Mr. McManigal:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding the nomination of Michael J. Sullivan of Massachusetts to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). I appreciate hearing from all Pennsylvanians about the issues that matter most to them.

Mr. Sullivan’s nomination was voted out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on November 8, 2007. His nomination is currently pending before the full United States Senate. I am currently in the process of evaluating Mr. Sullivan’s personal, professional, and academic accomplishments. At the appropriate time, I will make a judgment on Mr. Sullivan’s nomination. It is important that we have strong, effective leadership at the top of the ATF. Please be assured that when making a decision, I will have your views in mind.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to frequently visit my web site, In the months ahead, I will continue to develop the site in order to allow you to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington. If you wish to e-mail me, you can do so on the web site.

Bob Casey
United States Senator

Here is my response to him (which I had trouble getting to go through for a while):

Mr. Casey,

I realize you are no friend to peaceable gun owners, but this matter goes beyond this single issue.

The ATF has a sordid history of abusing its authority. Mike Sullivan has contributed to this abusive atmosphere greatly during his tenure. He has also demonstrated a lack of intergrity in carrying out his duties as US Attorney of Massachussets. His office has been cited by a judge for "extraordinary misconduct".

You say "It is important that we have strong, effective leadership at the top of the ATF." Leaders lead; they do not make up the rules as they go along, as Mike Sullivan has been doing. One only need examine the campaign of intimidation against gun retailers which has been accelerated under Sullivan's "leadership". With an agency of questionable Constitutional authority, such as BATFE, it is imperative that the new director errs on the side of individual liberty rather than on the side of governmental control and power.

I am confident that you are not ignorant of this man's history. To say that you are wiating for the appropriate time to make a judgement on his nomination makes me think that you value his stance against the Second Amendment and against American gun owners more than you are troubled by his ethical shortcomings. This is deeply disturbing to me. Michael J. Sullivan has no business having any position of authority. I hope you will not ignore these facts.


Kent McManigal

"Illegal Laws" and "Counterfeit Laws"

This point was inspired by a comment from my friend Eric Sundwall. He stated "I still think Kent should be utilizing 'illegitimate' laws as opposed to 'illegal' laws. Something cannot be A and not A." Perhaps.

Imagine for a moment that no Bill of Rights exists. It must be easy to imagine, since the feds do it every day. Now suppose that the Constitution, which is supposed to be the supreme law of the land, said that all witches must be burned at the stake. Then suppose the Congress passed a law a few years later, without amending the Constitution, that said that witches were free to practice whatever religion they liked, as is everyone else. According to the Constitution that law would be illegal (but it would not be counterfeit). Even the corrupt Supreme Court has stated that any law which violates the Constitution is not a law that must be obeyed.

Or suppose the new law allows witches to live, as long as they pay a "religion tax". That law would be illegal according to this imaginary Constitution, and it would also be counterfeit as it attempts to regulate or control something other than aggression or fraud.

Now suppose the Constitution says that the right of the people to own and to carry weapons shall not be infringed, yet Congress passes laws which say what kinds of guns the people can own, forbid certain people from owning any guns at all, dictate how those guns must be sold, sets up a huge vindictive agency to punish people who own and sell guns, and so forth. That bunch of laws would be both illegal, according to the Constitution (and a former incarnation of the Supreme Court) and counterfeit. In most cases counterfeit "laws" are also illegal, but not always.

If the Constitution blocks or violates individual liberty, it is wrong. Never forget that. I hope that has cleared up any confusion.