Book Review: Repeal the Second Amendment: The Case for a Safer America by Allan J. Lichtman @AllanLichtman @StMartinsPress

The following review does not necessarily reflect
the views of the reviewer or of the blog owner
but is intended to share the author’s study of the
amendment to aid in a better understanding
of the controversial issues involved.

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Repeal the Second Amendment
The Case for A Safer America
Allan J. Lichtman
St. Martin’s Press, January 2020
ISBN 978-1250244406
Hardcover

In Mr. Lichtman’s non-fiction Repeal the Second Amendment: The Case for A Safer America, he digs deeply into the history of the U.S.A. to detail what was happening then, providing perspective and understanding as to what prompted the writing of this amendment. Snippets from pertinent discussions and disagreements around drafting the document were enlightening. An original draft used “country” in “…being necessary to the security of a free _____”; but “country” was replaced with “state”. The reason isn’t surprising, but is remarkably disappointing.

The amount of intricate research that went into this book was astounding. I certainly did not expect a review of historical documents for the use of the phrase “to bear arms” in order to determine if it referred to militia or individuals. Or for sentences to essentially be conjugated to show that if the amendment addressed the individual, the explanation clause would be redundant.

Being born and raised in WV, with my paternal parental unit competing in shooting matches every Sunday, I’ve heard a lot about “The Second”. One tiny detail my father and his fellow firearm fanatics omit though is that the government conducted a census. There was a government-maintained list of every single gun-owner, and each and every gun he owned. The same men I’ve heard vehemently insist on their “right” to bear arms are the first people to bristle at the suggestion of anyone else on the planet knowing which and how many firearms are currently in his possession.

The gun-owners of which I speak are also almost-angrily, proud members of the NRA, I guess by ignoring the fact that the National Rifle Association originally felt differently about the 2nd amendment. It wasn’t until late 20th century that the NRA reversed their own findings (without explanation or even acknowledgement). Maybe they are not bothered by the attempt to incorporate Santa Claus into gun ads. Or the NRA approaching the Vatican to name a “Patron Saint of Handgunners”.

To me, these pages were packed with historical facts. Some I knew, some I suspected, and several became blatant when the bigger picture emerged. My understanding of both historic and present-day policies, rules and regulations has been enriched. Because of the plethora of interesting information that I’ve not found elsewhere, I introduced and donated this book to “my” high-school seniors and I am looking forward to hearing their thoughts.

Reviewed by jv poore, February 2020.

Book Reviews: Never Look Down by Warren C. Easley and What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott

Never Look DownNever Look Down
A Cal Claxton Mystery #3
Warren C. Easley
Poisoned Pen Press, September 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0464-7
Hardcover

Cal Claxton is a liberal-minded lawyer practicing in a small town outside of Portland, Oregon. His practice and his interests bifurcate his activities and he spends a good deal of time bouncing back and forth between the two locations. He’s also a dog owner. Caxton, who propels this series of legal mysteries, is a former Los Angeles prosecutor who has moved over to the defense realm, although he doesn’t spend much time in court.

This story penetrates one of the highlights of cities like Portland, which attracts a vibrant subculture, in this case, the often homeless artful youth who find their kicks as taggers, writers, graffiti artists and other scribblers. Like all cultures, there are subcultures, one of which is usually called climbers. They are the daredevils who place their often elaborate art high on buildings in places which seem impossible to reach. One such who calls herself K209 is gaining notice for the quality and her risky locations.

One dark night from four stories up, she observes the murder of a woman. K209 escapes and the hunt is on. The killers and the cops seek to capture the elusive youngster and we reads many chapters in her anguished clever head.

As Cal Claxton is drawn into the case, the author uses his ongoing character to consider some aspects of the gun culture in our society. The characters and the novel are nuanced, balanced and worth every bit of their space. Portland is nicely evoked, the writing is strong and the plot develops higher and higher tension as it progresses.

If the story line is flawed at all, it is due to the frequency of Claxton’s travel between the town of Dundee where he is trying to expand his small practice and his office in Portland where similar efforts command his attention.

It is a minor flaw. I recommend this novel as an enjoyable and thoughtful experience, whatever your personal attitudes are toward gun control.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, October 2015.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

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What Waits in the WoodsWhat Waits in the Woods
Kieran Scott
Point, April 2015
ISBN 978-0-545-69111-6
Hardcover

On the very first page of this YA suspense novel, the terror begins. This first unseen threat is scared away, but it’s only the beginning of many frightening episodes Callie must suffer during her camping trip into the woods of upstate New York. She doesn’t want to be there. Camping and hiking are not her things. She’s more interested in reading great books and writing stories. But Callie is new to her small community and goes along to bond with her two new BFF’s. Besides, her boyfriend will be part of the group, and it will only last for four nights.

From the start, though, strange events make the outing more than just the endurance of a few days spent with bugs, brambles, and sleeping three girls to a tent. The alpha female taunts the others, they lose their way, unexplained figures appear and disappear, a beheaded doll is found fireside, and a charismatic young man shows up and volunteers to help. Will that flirty, macho individual help them survive, or is he going to kill them all with the woodsman’s weapons he carries? Tensions common to teenagers complicate the dynamics further, and everyone in the group becomes a suspect.

I would rate this PG-13 for the violence and five stars for the page-turning thrill and the emotional and rational growth of the teenaged protagonist.

Reviewed by Joyce Ann Brown, October 2015.
http://www.joyceannbrown.com
Author of cozy mysteries: Catastrophic Connections and Furtive Investigation, the first two Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries.