The law will be broken

Watch this space next week. You might be able to participate in breaking a law.

The legislature appears likely to pass a law over the Governor’s veto that violates the Free Speech and the Freedom of the Press guarantees of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It’s HB436, the so-called gun bill.

One provision says that any “person or entity” that publishes the “name, address, or other identifying information” of anyone who “owns a firearm” could be jailed for as much as one year.

Overridden bills will become law thirty days afer two-thirds of the members of each legislative chamber vote to override the veto. 

Within minutes of the time the law becomes effective, the Missourinet will publish the names of some gun owners. In fact, we will publish the names of every legislator who votes on this bill. Most of them will be gun-owners. Publication of a public record of the names of gun-owner legislators who vote for or against the override will violate the law. 

We take the First Amendment seriously at the Missourinet. It is the foundation of everything reporters do. The First Amendment is what sets this nation apart from other nations in this world. Freedom of the Press. Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Speech. The right to peacefully assemble. The right to redress grievances against the government.

We suspect we won’t be the only ones whose news organizations are represented at the House and Senate press tables who quickly will violate this law if the legislature enacts it.

Any gun owners or other readers who would like to join us in standing for the freedoms of the First Amendment will be invited to add their names to the list under “comments” to that blog if the legislature overrides the veto and threatens reporters or anybody else with a year in jail for exercising those First Amendment rights.






Rick the ingrate

The Missourinet forgot to skewer Texas Governor Rick Perry a few days ago when we talked to him during his job-recruiting visit to our state.  But the fact is this:

By rights, Missourians should consider Texas little more than a southern colony. If it hadn’t been for Missourians, there might not be a  state for Rick Perry to govern, which makes his visit even harder to swallow. 

Plenty of other people have commented on what they see as the hypocrisy of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, which presumably advocates for Missouri business, welcoming him to our state and even giving him a big forum to encourage Chamber members to move to a state that Missourians helped create.  We won’t go into that very much here.  But Missouri deserves more respect than Governor Perry seemed to give it with his raid.  

To begin with, it was Moses Austin, a Potosi lead entrepreneur, who came up with the idea of establishing an American Colony in Texas, the first incursion of American settlers into Spanish territory.  He got permission to bring 300 families, descendants of which proudly claim membership in “The Old 300” organization.  Moses died before he could lead the settlers but his son, Stephen, carried on his father’s dream.  It was while traveling from New Orleans to San Antonio that he learned Mexico had declared its independence from Spain, which allowed closer ties between Austin and the state of Coahuila y Texas.  He took the first 300 families to his settlement in 1825 and got the government to let him bring in 900 more in a few years. 

Austin sowed the seeds of trouble for the Mexicans when, under the power given him, he created a Constitution of Coahuila y Texas.  He also formed an armed group to protect his colonists, an effort that some consider the start of the Texas Rangers.  

Austin’s Americans grew increasingly restive as citizens of Mexico and when Santa Anna started trying to push the settlers out of Texas, the settlers fought back.  The first shooting happened at Gonzales.  A Republic of Texas was proclaimed and six months after the revolution began, Sam Houston captured Santa Anna and Texas became its own nation.   Austin died  at the end of 1836. 

Governor Perry works in a city named for this Missourian.  One would think, therefore, that  he would have more respect for Missouri. 

Apparently not.  At least he didn’t try to take Moses Austin’s bones back home with him.  Texas tried that in 1938 and we wouldn’t let it happen.  Moses and his wife still sleep in Potosi. 

Then there was Green DeWitt.  Green DeWitt was the Ralls County Sheriff  when he, with Austin’s support, got permission to take 400 respectable, hard-working, Catholic families to Texas.  The capital of his colony would be Gonzales.  DeWitt died in 1835.  The story is told that his widow and daughter made a dress into a banner that read “Come and Take It,” a reference to the cannon the Mexicans gave to the community to fend off Indian attacks.  The flag was waved during the battle of Gonzales that started the Texas revolution. 

The revolution that created a state for Governor Rick to govern began in a town founded by a Missourian.  

More than 30 men from that Missourian’s town marched to San Antonio to help the besieged garrison that had taken refuge in the Mission San Antonio de Valero. Some of those men were Missourians or had Missouri ties. 

One was John Smith, a carpenter and engineer from Hannibal who had gone to Texas to collect a debt and stayed there, deserting his Missouri family.  Some sources say Smith was the last adult to leave the Alamo after the siege began, carrying a message to Houston asking for help.  He later became San Antonio’s first mayor and was a member of the Texas Congress.

Jacob Durst left Missouri in 1830. His name is “Darst” in Texas.  He was one of those who dug out the hidden cannon at Gonzalez and fired a load of shrapnel at Mexican troops. 

George Washington Cottle, a member of a pioneering Lincoln County, Missouri family joined other Cottles who settled in the Gonzales area.  Daniel W. Cloud was a Kentuckian who had come to Missouri, as many Kentuckians did in those days, but found little success as a lawyer here, so he headed to Texas.  Missouri native George Tumlinson was also one of those who went to the Alamo from Gonzales. 

Several others with Missouri ties were inside the walls of the Alamo on that final day including two cousins, Asa and Jacob Walker, relatives of Joseph R. Walker, the first sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri.   And the legendary Jim Bowie lived some of his childhood years in southeast Missouri. 

The “Father of the Santa Fe Trail,” William Becknell, moved to the northeast corner of Texas in 1835, fourteen years after leading Missouri’s first successful trade mission to a foreign country (Santa Fe, then Mexican territory).  One story says former Congressman David Crockett spent some time at his home waiting for associates before going on to San Antonio.  Becknell established a company of mounted volunteers in the summer of  ’36 to protect his region from Mexicans.  After the revolution he became a successful livestock raiser and broker.  When the first United States congressional elections were held in Texas, Becknell was appointed to supervise them.  He died in Texas in 1856. 

Missourians considered Texas such a Missouri-friendly place that our Confederate government sought refuge in Marshall where it established the Confederate capitol of Missouri.  The Confederate commander of the western theatre, E. Kirby Smith, gathered the governors of four Confederate states at Marshall to discuss whether he should disband his army.  Missouri Confederate Governor Thomas C. Reynolds didn’t want to give up although a month had passed since Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia.  But the other three governors decided the cause was lost.  So Smith told United States officials that he had disbanded his army—except for the Missourians.

In June of 1865, Reynolds, Missouri commander Sterling Price, Jo Shelby’s Iron Brigade, and others headed for Mexico, refusing to admit the South had lost the war.  They lowered their banner into the Rio Grande and crossed the border.  Some of the Missourians returned home. Others went to Mexico hoping to take part in another revolution.  But when the revolution collapsed three years later they came back across the river and eventually most came back to Missouri.  

Despite all of the things Missouri has done for Texas, Rick Perry has trotted into Missouri— the parent state of Texas for crying out loud—and has allowed himself—various editorial writers have more or less said– to become a tool of business interests playing political games with a tax increase bill.   

Rick the ingrate, the Governor of Missouri’s prodigal child, Texas.  

And to think Missourians fought and died so he could pull something like this.

tsk, tsk, tsk.

Just for the helluvit

We talked about Hell a few days ago during Sunday School and for some reason during that discussion, the upcoming veto session of the Missouri Legislature came to mind. We decided to ask a special correspondent with expertise on the subject to offer a perspective on the issues the lawmakers will consider when they begin their session next month.

We have summoned the spirit of a 13th-14th century poet who died about 170 years before Columbus discovered something in the water between Portugal and China–the North and South American continents. Our poet spoke Italian in his own time. But in the 692 years since his death he appears to have determined that eternity needed something more than harp playing and singing hosannas. So he started studying modern English and in what passes for a situation comedy in the afterlife, watching the machinations of Missouri politicians.

La Comedia di Missouri Assemblea Generale

by Dante Alighieri, il Sammo Poeta

Inviato speciale del Missourinet

In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost. It was Maundy Thursday in the year 1300 by the calendar we used then as I described in the poem you call “The Divine Comedy” my inability to find salvation and my fears that I might fall into a deep and dark place. And indeed, I found myself there, led by a fellow poet who revealed to me the nine depths of Hell and the behaviors that casts mankind into that place.

Pray listen, O Reader, to the story of those souls of the Assemblea Generale who for reasons of cowardice or gain might seem to have lost the straight way in the deep dark wood of your politics and face the chance they shall fall into that deep and dark place that brings not honor to their service to mankind.

They shall consider whether a large tax bill written without poetry or apparently even the thought of literary exactitude should be enacted despite the obvious significant flaws that a more perceptive writer has explained to them. It is because influential entities of your time, financed by one with much wealth who wishes not to pay tribute to the government for any of it, seek immediate gain at the expense of the less powerful. There, pride, avarice, and envy are the tongues men know and heed as they demand the flawed works of their colleagues be set in place tho unfairness and harm might be settled upon the less fortunate and the elderly. They weep not as a stone within them grows.

Others would speak of their own lack of courage as they consider enacting that which is clearly in violation of the sacred Constutiton to which they have sworn an oath of fealty and of which they often construe in manners befitting their purpose. But it is fear, not courage, that defines their mortal existence including one who admits the issue is “completely unconstitutional” but who pledges to support it nonetheless because “it is not worth the fight for me to vote against it.”

Or another who fears that as a “rural-area Democrat,” he shall be punished for failing to “vote for any gun bill” regardless of the violence that his vote shall perform to the oath of fealty he has taken to the same sacred charter he had promised to uphold.

Oh blind, Oh ignorant, self-seeking cupidity. Consider your origin. You were not formed to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge.

As I wrote in my original poem that you know as “Dante’s Inferno,” the voyage across the River Styx comes only after the oarsman is told, “So it is wanted there where the power lies.” And where, in your Assemblea Generale does the power lie today? It appears not to lie within your chambers and within your intellect. And to where does that power wish to transport you?

To the nine rings of Hell, the outer ring of which is that place of Limbo, the place of virtuous pagans, the least painful of the circles? Or to the second circle that is reserved for those overcome by lust, for letting your appetites overrule their reason, where they are blown back and forth by the winds of great storms and of large donors? Perhaps it is the third circle where the gluttonous cannot see or heed their neighbors or the fourth circle where the avaricious and the miserly who alternately hoard and who squander resources among the favord also see not beyond their own appetites.

Perhaps the fifth circle where those who cause misery by their anger directed at others are left in a “black sulkiness which can find no joy in God or man or the universe.”

The sixth circle, reserved for heretics, might seem the place for those who pledge fealty to a sacred document but fear to stand by their pledge and are willing to “let the courts work it out.”

And the seventh? Ah, here, we see three sub-rings, one for those who commit violence against people and property. A second is for profligates who are mauled by fierce dogs because they have destroyed lives by destroying the means by which life is sustained, perhaps with a large increase in taxes on the potions and poultices the ill must have. And the final ring within the seventh circle shall be the residing place of, among others, userers whose eyes see only their own purses and who do not see beyond them.

The eighth circle likewise has rings within it, ten in all, wherein shall be found those who populate the hallways of the Assemblea Generale, for they are the panderers and seducers, the flatterers, those who commit simony (who pay to receive sacraments and often hide their payments by passing them through committees or non-profit groups that need not announce their presence and their wealth to the broader race of people), the false prophets who warm of great wealth or great disaster if their wishes are not favorably granted. Surely the members of the Assemblia should give heed their possible fates in the ninth ring, for this is the place for the corrupt politicians who are immersed in a lake of boiling pitch. Hypocrites are in the sixth ring, thieves in the seventh, fraudulent advisors and evil counselors populate the eighth. The ninth circle is for the sowers of discord whose bodies are divided by demons as they have demonized and divided others.

And the tenth ring within the eighth circle shall be saved for the falsifiers, the counterfeiters, imposters, and perjurers who give false and evil advice.

My journey took me to the ninth and the final circle which is set aside for those who live in treachery and who are traitors to their kindred, to their cities and countries.

I have shown through my poem the fate that could await those who place courage behind personal interest, who bow to those who see only their own pocketbooks, who seek only division and anger, who persecute the powerless, and who are blown about by the winds of the influential while endangering the welfare of the broader mass that relies on them for wisdom.

O human race,born to fly upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so fail?

Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground.