The day after

For those of us engaged in defending our birthright to keep and bear arms, yesterday wasn’t the first time we’d heard of Highland Park, Illinois. The city’s unconstitutional ban on “assault weapons,” decreed in 2013, was challenged in court. After the Seventh Circuit upheld the ban, in 2015 Friedman v. Highland Park went to the Supreme Court.

After winning Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010), and given the lower courts’ pattern of not complying with those precedents, we were optimistic about our chances. SCOTUS, however, declined to hear the case.

Justices Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia disagreed with their colleagues’ decision. The former penned a biting dissent:

“Based on its crabbed reading of Heller, the Seventh Circuit felt free to adopt a test for assessing firearm bans that eviscerates many of the protections recognized in Heller and McDonald. The court asked in the first instance whether the banned firearms ‘were common at the time of ratification’ [of the Second Amendment] in 1791. 784 F. 3d, at 410. But we said in Heller that ‘the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.'”

“The court concluded that state and local ordinances never run afoul of that objective, since ‘states, which are in charge of militias, should be allowed to decide when civilians can possess military-grade firearms.’ But that ignores Heller’s fundamental premise: The right to keep and bear arms is an independent, individual right. Its scope is defined not by what the militia needs, but by what private citizens commonly possess.”

“Moreover, the Seventh Circuit endorsed the view of the militia that Heller rejected. We explained that ‘Congress retains plenary authority to organize the militia,’ not States. Because the Second Amendment confers rights upon individual citizens — not state governments — it was doubly wrong for the Seventh Circuit to delegate to States and localities the power to decide which firearms people may possess.”

“Lastly, the Seventh Circuit considered ‘whether law-abiding citizens retain adequate means of self-defense,’ and reasoned that the City’s ban was permissible because ‘If criminals can find substitutes for banned assault weapons, then so can law-abiding homeowners.’ … That analysis misreads Heller. The question under Heller is not whether citizens have adequate alternatives available for self-defense. Rather, Heller asks whether the law bans types of firearms commonly used for a lawful purpose — regardless of whether alternatives exist.”

“The Seventh Circuit ultimately upheld a ban on many common semiautomatic firearms based on speculation about the law’s potential policy benefits.”

“The [Supreme] Court’s refusal to review a decision that flouts two of our Second Amendment precedents stands in marked contrast to the Court’s willingness to summarily reverse courts that disregard our other constitutional decisions. … There is no basis for a different result when our Second Amendment precedents are at stake. I would grant certiorari to prevent the Seventh Circuit from relegating the Second Amendment to a second-class right.”

So Highland Park’s ban remained in effect, infringing on the birthrights of law-abiding citizens and supposing that somehow it contributed to “public safety.” Yesterday, almost seven years later, we saw bloody evidence of this anti-American idiocy.

This morning we should be hearing an agonized mea culpa from every liberal whose actions facilitated yesterday’s massacre. But no — from the Oval Office to the Land of Lincoln, these vapid leftists are demanding more “gun control.” Check out this gem from the governor of Illinois:

“It’s the Fourth of July, a day for reflection on our freedoms. Our founders carried muskets, not assault weapons, and I don’t think a single one of them would have said that you have a constitutional right to an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine or that that is more important than the right of the people who attended this parade today to live.”

When we hear that kind of ignorance from a guy who actually got enough votes to be elected to his state’s highest office, and considering that Illinois has some of the nation’s most repressive “gun control” laws, it removes all doubt about why the place (notably Chicago) is a kill zone.

As if to cement its position in progressives’ Culture of Death, in the wake of the Dobbs decision Illinois is promoting itself as an “abortion oasis.” Apparently it’s proud to be Murder Mecca.

Meanwhile, two cops were shot in Philadelphia last night. (They’ll survive.) There was unrest and widespread destruction of property in Akron — this time the excuse to bust shit up was a police-involved shooting. (A week earlier, officers fired back at a guy who shot at them. Seems legit.) We had ourselves a thuggy, mobbish dustup at our own city park, a stone’s throw from Second Chance Ranch.

And as we could’ve predicted, the Infanticide Class took to the streets nationwide to screech “anger, sentiment and heartache” over their “lack of independence.” Violence from these shrews is just around the corner, I promise you that.

It’s never time for Liberty-loving Americans to lay down the tools of defense and sovereignty, but as our poisoned culture spirals downward this might be the worst time of all. Anyone who disarms — or who allows themselves to be disarmed — is a fool, and a State which presumes to mandate it is an enemy of Liberty.


I greeted the dawn today with more aches and pains than I’d expected — yesterday’s labor had taken its toll on my aging frame. Deb was in no better condition than me. We set our sights low, accommodating our creakiness with smaller tasks that could be done from a seated position with as little lifting as possible.

Deb went to work consolidating her father’s accumulated coins for a trip to the bank. (If you’re the child of someone who grew up during the Great Depression, you understand.) She directed me to the junk drawers in the kitchen for a purge-and-pitch routine.

I’ve been known to say that in order for a room to be tidy it has to have a junk drawer. In this kitchen we’ve had three, a couple of small ones and a large one. I never really used them unless I needed something that every kitchen junk drawer holds — screwdriver, pliers, scissors, tape, pen, measuring tape.

When I pulled out the first small drawer and began sifting through its contents, I threw out dozens of pieces of plastic ware from takeout orders, chopsticks and sauce packets. I was amused to find four measuring tapes, eight pairs of pliers, five screwdrivers, two rolls of cellophane tape and so many pens that I was compelled to count them — 42.

To give you an idea of how long we’ve been at Second Chance Ranch, in the drawer next door were paper menus and sheets of coupons, many for establishments that no longer exist. Those I didn’t count, but I’d estimate that there were at least a hundred menus and such.

Rubber bands and twist-ties. Chip clips. Instruction sheets. Tubes of dried-out glue. Unused birthday candles. Nails and screws and parts for who-knows-what. I kept the tools and a few useful bits, filling an entire trash bag with the rest.

The Junk Drawer Experience could serve as a symbol of what we’re up to here. As it turns out, we’ve made a habit of hanging onto metric tons of completely useless shit — from the garage to the workshop to the office, now we’re confronting the result.

Is it hoarding? Hell, I dunno. Is shyness autism?

One thing’s for sure — our American Life on The Mountain will be much simpler. I wouldn’t be surprised if we decided to shed even more of our possessions once we get there. The process, though difficult, has been quite therapeutic for both of us.


One year ago today, Deb and I took Mercy on her first road trip — from our campground in Harrison we traveled south into the Boston Mountains and visited the upper Buffalo River at Ponca.


Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon