Midnight Tweets from #HB2: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Blue Shirts Rally at the Capitol

Pro-life advocates organize and gather inside the Texas Capitol to support HB2 sponsored by Rep. Laubenberg (R-Parker) Photo Courtesy of Texas Alliance for Life

Danny Zeng | July 3rd, 2013

OK, I admit. The first one is biased…BUT that picture shared by Governor Perry is priceless. The other ones are great pro-life arguments made by everyday folks on Twitter. Overall, the overwhelming amount of tweets under #Stand4Life, including many posted by first-time Twitter users (discernible by an egg picture), was very encouraging. Around midnight, the House State Affairs Committee voted 8-3 in favor of HB 2 out of the committee. The bill will now go to the full House for consideration. Pro-lifers prevailed in face of rampant vulgarity and “hail satan” chants!

The Good

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The Bad

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The most recent Texas Tribune poll states otherwise: 62% of respondents (including 61% of women) show at least some support for abortion restrictions. National Journal released a poll that shows 48% of Americans favor a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks, a four-point lead over the opponents. The same polls shows that a majority (51%) of young people aged 18-29  favor such a ban (and 41% oppose). In addition, 50% of women are in favor of such ban as opposed to 44% against. This again goes to show that people who descend upon the Capitol do not represent Texans and the American people.

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To them, it’s a joke.

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Wow…

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When they speak of “human rights”…well you can read it again from Kirsten Powers’ column from yesterday

Human-rights movements have traditionally existed to help the voiceless and those without agency gain progressively more rights. Yet in the case of abortion, the voiceless have progressively lost rights at the hands of people who claim to be human-rights crusaders. Abortion-rights leaders have turned the world upside down. They want us to believe that a grown woman is voiceless, that she has less agency than the infant in her womb who relies on her for life. A woman has so little agency, we are told, that she is incapable of getting an abortion before the fifth month of her pregnancy. To suggest she should do so is a “war on women.” It’s an insult to women dressed up as “women’s rights.” (The Daily Beast July 2, 2013)

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Thanks but no thanks. I don’t think we’ll take advice from a self-avowed “progressive Democrat.” But apparently some young women would stand for “hail satan?”

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Please explain the moral distinction between “pro-abortion” and “pro-choice”

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“The unborn” who is indisputably on a path to BE born and is at the most vulnerable stage of his/her life…Yes, I’d say we care more about “the unborn” versus a fully-grown adult.

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Dream big. I like it.

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The whole structure of the federal constitution is to outline, limit, and separate power into three branches of government and establish a system of checks and balances to protect the kind of “inalienable rights” proposed by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, “that among these are Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness” umm in that order where Life takes precedence (perhaps common sense?) over liberty and pursuit of happiness. I’m curious to see the right to abortion in the Constitution.

The Ugly

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Not worthy of comments.

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Forget Reason: Self Defense is Simply Human Nature

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State Rep. Allen Fletcher speaking in favor of HB 972 in the Texas House
Courtesy of Austin American-Statesman

Danny Zeng | May 6, 2013

Washington Post did a followed-up story titled, “A clear case of self-defense rallies supporters of gun rights,” about an incidence that happened in January, when a Georgian Mother shot a burglar who broke into her house when both of her children were home. That’s the point that defenders of gun rights have been making time after time: it’s about self-defense; it always has been.

In the past few months, this debate was distorted in the public discourse to support a menu of “reasonable” measures. Whenever a piece of legislation is broken down into component parts, people are more likely to support individual parts than the legislation as a whole.  That’s the polling tactic used by gun-control advocates throughout this debate. It’s the same tactic used to push Obamacare through. An overwhelming majority, Republicans and Democrats, supported provisions such as a coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, tax credits for individuals and small businesses, and closing the Medicare “doughnut hole;” even though Obamacare overall remains divisive. The Texas Legislature is presently wrestling with campus carry bills. The argument for us is still the same: it’s about self-defense.

Though an important detail ignored – intentionally or otherwise – in the WaPo story is the burglar’s history of criminality. ABC reported in January, “Last year he [Paul Slater] served 6 months in jail for battery and has at least six other arrests on his record.” The story never even mentions this point. In fact, the lingering impression is almost sympathetic to Zakia Slater’s (wife of the burglar) predicament. Her role as a schoolteacher, a mother of six, and a depicted “victim” in the situation attempt to humanize the other side of the conflict. This distracts from the fact that her husband’s a criminal, an important fact that underlies the whole logic behind gun-rights advocates for self-defense.

Same rationale, rooted in human nature, applies to support for campus carry. Why should we as college students living in one of the most high-density areas in Austin deny possibilities of irrational violence and criminality  and deprive ourselves of effective means to self-defense? Simple faiths in the security of our campus and the professionalism of our police force have failed to prevent campus shootings and violent crimes in recent years. DOE’s Office of Postsecondary Education reports 649 burglaries, 124 motor vehicle theft, 66 aggravated assaults, and 51 forcible sex offense, and 33 robberies on Texas college campuses.  In this sense, to be against campus carry is to be for status quo, a situation that exposes us to dangerous and perhaps irrational minds in our society.

Melinda Herman did what any mother would do for her children. In moments of inexplicable chaos, I can’t imagine any self-preservative motive greater than one’s inherent instinct to protect people we love. I do realize that in the Hermans’ case, the gun is within the confines of her home, but the underlying logic is nonetheless the same: the possession of a firearm is the only effective mean to stop a violent perpetrator, as opposed to a slew of ridiculous guidelines offered by universities across the country:

  • Wichita State University counsels students in the following manner: “If the person(s) is causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide you may choose to be compliant, play dead, or fight for your life.”
  • The University of Miami guidelines suggest that when all else fails, students should act “as aggressively as possible” against a shooter. The guidelines, taken from a Department of Homeland Security directive, also recommend “throwing items and improvising weapons,” as well as “yelling.”
  • Otterbein University, in Ohio, tells students to “breathe to manage your fear” and informs them, “You may have to take the offensive if the shooter(s) enter your area. Gather weapons (pens, pencils, books, chairs, etc.) and mentally prepare your attack.”
  • West Virginia University advises students that if the situation is dire, they should “act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.” These items could include “student desks, keys, shoes, belts, books, cell phones, iPods, book bags, laptops, pens, pencils, etc.”
  • The University of Colorado at Boulder’s guidelines state, “You and classmates or friends may find yourselves in a situation where the shooter will accost you. If such an event occurs, quickly develop a plan to attack the shooter … Consider a plan to tackle the shooter, take away his weapon, and hold him until police arrive.

The Texas House gave Rep. Fletcher’s campus carry bill, which includes an “opt out” provision allowing institutions to decide its own gun policy, a preliminary OK over the weekend. The eyes will now be on the Senate and the Lieutenant Governor who has the power to reassign Birdwell’s bill to another committee. The fight goes on. We are that much closer to a more sensible campus carry law that would contribute to the safety of our campuses throughout Texas.