Sunday, August 30, 2015

To Connecticut Politicians & Officials: Look At The Real Causes of Domestic Violence, NOT at Inanimate Objects!

To all of Connecticut's elected politicians, as well as to all hired and appointed officials (and with hope for the well-being of all my fellow citizens of Connecticut),

With all due respect to your offices, I submit the following thoughts and comments. I know that most of you work very hard to try to do what you think is right. What we, the citizens of Connecticut need from each of you is for you to NOT practice or rely on sectarian political affiliations, BUT for you to return wholeheartedly to practicing and living by the principles of our State and Federal Constitutions. We need all of you to lead in truth, yes, in real truth, not in political convenience, relativism, or emotionalism. We need you to lead the people in the biblical and constitutional verities that transcend time and human weaknesses.

The other day, I found myself reviewing the many hours of comments and questions surrounding this year’s proposed bill HB6848. Yes, I agree that domestic violence hurts people. It hurts the immediate victim, the family, and the abuser, and it undermines our society. I don’t care if the abuse is perpetrated by men, women, youngsters, or elders, AND, I do NOT care what the weapon is, whether a voice, a knife, an attitude, a gun, a foot, a baseball bat, or a fist: abuse of any person is not right. BUT, we need to stop all the whining about abuse. We all, as a society, need to grow up and face facts about the real causes of abuse, so that we can deal with it head on. We need to stop hiding the real causes of abuse. We need to stop fantasizing that by removing a group of inanimate objects from society, firearms, that then somehow the primal cause of abuse would stop or lessen. I am not trying to be derogatory, but that limited portrayal of the situation is delusional and guaranteed to fail in its professed objective.

I know my conclusion is true, because I grew up in an abusive home, many decades ago, where I often bore the brunt of parental violence, in the form of emotional, verbal, and physical abuses. But, despite having lived through all that, now, at the age of 67, I can honestly say that abuse of a relative few among us does NOT justify infringing on the natural and constitutional rights of the rest of our citizens. I personally went through things that no kid should have to, occasionally and repetitively hurt, temporarily paralyzed emotionally, having the daylights scared out of me, even thinking I was going to die on more than one occasion. 

Yet, like most abuse victims (according to nationwide statistics, linked below), I NEVER saw a firearm, or even a knife, being used in any manner related to the abuse that I endured, nor was use of our existing firearms ever even hinted at when the abuse was in progress. Anything else that was handy was the abuser’s tool of choice, whether a hammer or spray gun, a stick or a rake handle, an insulting bellow, a belt wielded in rage, and what of the abuse of neglect, when the other parent was so fearful for herself/himself that he/she neglected to protect threatened children. Guns were not the abuser, nor the cause of it, any more than water is the cause of the violence when a victim is forcibly drowned. As with all abuse, it was NOT the instruments used in the abuses, but sinful human nature that perpetrated the domestic abuse in our house.

Furthermore, getting the focus off of my own history, I used to work with a really nice guy, who, at one point, had to physically and violently interdict his teenage step-son’s attack on the boy’s mother. The man and his wife had tried going to counseling with the aging teen, about the kid’s degenerating behaviors (prior to the attack). It was just that ONE TIME that (let’s call him) “Joe” had to step in with a strong, violent, measured response to halt the boy’s threat on the mother’s life. After all, the abusive (adult-sized) teen WAS trying to choke his mother to death. When the step-father thwarted the attack and prevented the large teenager from killing his mother, the abusive teen then had the gall to call the police and file an assault complaint against the step-father! Disgusting!

The poor man had to go to court, be on probation, and attend anger management counseling! The kid had tried to kill the mother, and did eventually “go to juvenile” or something like that… but the step-dad was penalized in ways that never should have happened! Talk about a miscarriage of justice! That man was one of the mildest, most gentle, kind, and godly men I’ve ever met, but because the abusive kid was the first to call the cops (in the same way that Ex Parte orders could be abused), the righteous man was put in jeopardy and severely penalized for keeping his wife safe and alive.

The lesson here is that an abusive person may be more clever than a righteous one, especially since the evildoer often knows how to work the system to her/his own advantage. What happened to that man, at the hands of his step-son and our judicial system, should make the hair stand up on everyone’s necks, because of the court’s unholy injustice against that man and his wife. That case, alone, justifies every single concern that was raised, on 3/11/2015, about the lack of due process in HB6848, as has been raised about a lot of other anti-gun, anti-rights legislation. As Abe Lincoln said, "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts....", but today, the ruling powers and courts think that they own the citizens, or that the citizens are too stupid to be able to do their duty of holding officials accountable to our Constitutions.

Moving on, to statistics, have you ever wondered about the relationships or correlations, in the last few years, among the increasing number of firearms permit holders, the increased number of gun and ammo sales, and the slump in violent crimes against persons in our country? Here’s a good reference book, based on this University of Chicago study by Lott & Mustard. The Colorado Legislature and other states have heard these accurately represented statistical discussions. Our Connecticut Legislature, and other State leaders need to stop playing convenient emotional favoritism and start doing what is constitutionally and factually right.

As I listened, again, to the various testimonies and arguments presented on 3/11/2015 to the Connecticut Judicial Committee, regarding HB6848, I saw with even more clarity that grievous oversights and omissions had been made in that bill, as was true of the nefarious SB1160 bill, that passed in 2013. Despite all the protests and claims of anti-gun proponents to the contrary, the biggest issue with virtually all anti-firearms legislation is that, in violation of our State and Federal Constitutions, law-abiding citizens are and remain the main targets of all such legislation. Criminals and those with evil intent have already proven their disdain or disregard for law, and the perpetrators or would be perpetrators choose to gather their weapons by any means possible, irrespective of any laws that you or any government might choose to pass. 

What do legislators and governors not understand about the fact that the ultimate effect of any law that serves to curtail the uninfringed ownership and use of firearms by law-abiding citizens is ONLY in the best interests of those who are bent on perpetrating evil? What is bad for evildoers is good for society, and what is good for law-abiding citizens is bad for those who undermine and attack society. I say these things, not to be pedagogical, nor preachy, but to plainly state that, when considering crime and justice, the actions of our State “leaders” all too often seem to ignore these facts of life.

For the past 106 years’ worth of anti-gun legislation, most of that anti-arms legislation has had little or no respect for our State or Federal Constitutions, and all those laws have had even less impact on crime or violence in our state and country. Existing anti-gun laws are notorious for having no real respect for constitutional due process. Besides constitutional issues, there are violence-related issues that appear to have been totally overlooked in the preparation of HB6848, etc. There appears to have been a habitual and callous lack of proper research and validation of the causes and issues surrounding crime and violence, which raises serious questions whether the anti-gun crowd cares at all about, or even understands, the basic stats involved in this issue: for example:

Anyone with a brain knows that firearms are not the solution to our social, spiritual, or economic problems. BUT, on the flip side neither are firearms the vile nemesis that anti-gunners portray them to be. People have to stop portraying guns as if they had minds, lives, and wills of their own. We, the public, must stop letting ourselves be confused by certain groups or people who ignorantly or deliberately misrepresent the issues. We must STOP accepting the anti-gunners’ opinions and portrayals of guns as scapegoats, for their view avoids and fails to address the need for personal social responsibility that all people need to take for their own actions as human beings. We must STOP blaming guns as the reason and excuse for human sin and depravity. These same false blamers don’t blame cars, or knives, or baseball bats for violence! Stop blaming guns!

Unlike the criminals, the deliberate evildoers, or those who just ‘snap’ now and then, the moral, law-abiding citizens are the backbone of society and must NOT be restrained from nor infringed upon in our rights to self-defense. That ability to defend self, and those around us, helps to restrain evil… and THAT is good for society.

But, with regard to people ‘going off’ now and then, even primitive cultures realized that people get wacky sometimes, and they realized that there’s no way to predict it and nothing that anyone can do to stop that from happening. In the Malay culture, people would “run amok” now and then, slaughtering numerous fellow citizens of that society. You’ve seen the bumper stickers saying that “XYZ happens”, referring to random incidents of evil. Well, no spiritual counselor, political leader, nor family member can ever guarantee that they can predict or prevent anyone they know from doing the horrible things that happen in such circumstances. 

The Malays didn’t have firearms, but still many souls would be slaughtered when someone ran amok. They didn’t ban spears or knives, just because one person went bonkers now and then. We need to focus on spiritual and moral development, crime and its causes, and not focus on the inanimate tools used to commit crimes or random violence. If people and leaders are going to continue to focus on the tools used by crazy people or criminals, then they better get busy writing bills that ban all knives and pressure cookers. Anyone in their right moral mind knows that that suggestion is ludicrous, just as banning guns and ammo are ludicrous. We are failing, as a society, to justly and expeditiously deal with evil. Instead of blaming inanimate things, we need to focus on getting our own lives straight with God, and on being better friends, neighbors, and family members, that we all might become better at resisting the evils of this world.

Getting back to the implications of my own experience with abuse and “Joe’s” unjustly handled situation, during the 3/11/2015 Judicial Committee hearings, concerns were raised about inappropriate or false filings of TROs. Also, one or two individuals mentioned that an unspecified, lesser portion of the “51% of granted Ex Parte orders” related to firearms. There was no indication of whether further discussion was effected. Did anyone bring up the fact that seven out of every eight violent crimes, including domestic violence, are NOT committed with firearms (see my articles, below). Did anyone sort out the relative number of Ex Parte orders that are eventually dumped for one reason or other? Mr. Dubitsky asked for information about this, but is anyone really interested in basing law on fact and realistic probabilities? Is the Connecticut legislature the slave to emotionalism, or willing and able to stand on facts?

There, also, seems to have been zero discussion of the statistics or relationship between legal versus illegal firearms ownership, as related to domestic violence, or any discussion about how to control the abuse of knives, feet, fists, rope, hammers, kitchenware, or any of the multitude of varied weapons used in domestic violence, in preference over firearms, or because of immediate convenience in impassioned moments. I submit that, in attempts to quiet and please a few people and/or to find a cheap-shot, ‘feel good’ means to avoid dealing with the real causes of abuse, those who drafted and sponsored HB6848 greatly erred regarding their justifications for the proposed legislation.

For your edification, I offer the following Google searches and my own research about firearms and violent crime. Laws should NEVER be passed based on emotionalism or incomplete information, as both of those things prejudice the decision-making process, and thereby endanger the rights and well-being of all our citizens.

FBI violent crime trends by weapon:  

US DoJ non-fatal domestic violence info (especially Table 7):

US DoJ Family Violence Stats (especially Table 2.7):   

These next two articles contain my own research and commentary on this topic: 

With all due respect,

Craig Szwed

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