Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 32

It’s the same old problem. It is really difficult to work up an enthusiastic rant on a beautiful Spring day in the Ozarks. The dogwoods are in full bloom, the trees are rank with birds in transit and the grass is coming back to its full growth. The drive (70 miles) to Miami, OK this morning for the sacrament service provided the proper setting of preparation. The only climate change I am interested in is the one which is dependably provided by God with each coming season. No time for boredom here; there is a new challenge offered every time another calendar page is torn off.

Browsing the net I happened to visit a site called Inside Higher Education and gleaned some astonishing numbers. At issue was the ratio of actual class room personnel to administration and the accompanying changes in the ratio. On average, in 2004 50.6% of the employees were in daily contact with students supposedly imparting knowledge. By 2006, the figure had diminished to 48.6% with the balance being involved in administration. These figures were from four different categories of colleges and universities. With public non-profit leading the way and two year commuter colleges bring up the rear with the least administrative personnel.

The commenters on the site provided some insight for what I considered an imbalance. They pointed out that there was little in the ancient academy I attended for positions to handle diversity, racial preferences, governmental interface and dozens of other issues which require a director and an office staff. Back in the day, when some kid got out of hand, “coach”, the ag guy or the principal handled it. “Handled” is just another way of saying closed fist. In that institution, admittedly small, we had a 2 to 1 student/teacher ratio and 81.125% were faculty. I am generously including the secretary as administration. The only thing today’s student is going to learn from an administrator is how to deal with a bureaucracy. Given the state of government at all levels that lesson may indeed be valuable.

As you can plainly see, this is a growing problem. At the current rate of increase we may wind up with the professorate added to the endangered species list.
I hardly know where to begin on this one. First, a disclaimer; I am now and have been since I was 9, a firearms owner and user and currently a life member of the National Rifle Association. During one period of my life I held a Federal Firearms license and operated a gun store (Cochise Trading Co..) I understand and review the second amendment to the Constitution on a regular basis.

Among the rights restored to the emancipated slaves in 1860 was the equality of protection by the second amendment. All Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. But—it is not so in the District of Columbia. Ownership there is prohibited by law. Inasmuch as the population of the District is largely African-American, this prohibition is especially difficult to understand. I thought we straightened this out nearly a hundred fifty years ago.

The result of this ban is a population largely defenseless in the face of a well armed criminal element. Small wonder they have the highest murder rate of any large American city. Fortunately, a lower court overturned the ban saying it was unconstitutional. Now the District is appealing to the Supreme Court. It will be the first time in many years that the issue has been brought before the court. The single most contentious point is whether the second amendment is a guarantee of an “individual” right. Most scholars agree that it is but as usual, there are nay sayers. They ignore the simple fact that a continuous string of the amendments are clearly a matter of individual rights and choose to exempt that one alone from the rest as a collective right—that is to say, a militia.

Since few of us live in the District, why do we care? We care because it is an attack on individualism. It projects the government as our protector.. They portray a picture of a cop on every street corner, willing and able to protect each individual citizen from thugs and crazed druggies. We are well aware that that is not the truth. Yes, any officer will happily rise to your defense if he witnesses a crime in progress. Unfortunately, he is rarely there and will likely only be called in later to help clean up the mess. It is a ridiculous fiction to believe that the law has the capacity to protect you in your home.

I bring this to your attention because it has a long term affect on your right to defend your home and loved ones. I have watched a relentless attack on the right to firearms ownership over the last half century. I am sickened by the obvious lies and half truths which are used to support the opposition position.

No oppressive government—Nazis, USSR, Fascists or tin pot dictator—has ever attempted to control the people without first disarming them. Stay interested in this issue because it could well matter to you whether you are a gun owner or not.
When you are a grumpy old man there is always something to complain and rant about. I do have to admit that the glory of God’s great wonders have left me a little subdued but I’m sure I’ll hit my stride again.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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