Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Build-Your-Own Überpost!

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from reader GuardDuck, informing me that serial-commenter Markadelphia, who was politely voted off the island three years ago, still seems a little obsessed with me, calling me and by extension my readers out for our "support" for Donald Trump.

I was tempted.  Oh so tempted.

But no.  I will not respond with an überpost.  I've spent the last couple of weeks wrestling with the decision and collecting links, but I will resist.  Instead, I'm going to post some images and links, and let you build your very own überpost in your head!

Markadelphia asks:
Kevin has spent years writing on his blog about the education system and Yuri Bezmenov, an ex KGB guy, who has warned the US about a totalitarian takeover. Now he and others like him in the right wing blogsphere are ACTUALLY VOTING FOR THIS TO HAPPEN.

Kevin, I had planned on leaving you alone but this complete capitulation to Putin via Trump is such a monumental example of hypocrisy that it necessitate inquiry. You rail against Russia's influence in the US and now you are going to help make that happen by voting for Putin's puppet. I have to wonder...WTF, dude? All of the long posts about Bezmenov...the education system...communists plots...ALL now rendered worthless. Where is your integrity, man? I'll be looking for your response on your site.

Given the right wing bloggers' penchant for authoritarianism, illustrated quite well in any sort of engagement with them in comments sections, my only guess here is that they are for totalitarianism if the right people are in charge. If they have some naggy liberal trying to make the world a better place and making them do stuff that they don't wanna, well, fuck that!

But if they have a system where they can keep their guns to guard against government tyranny and still jail people for being against that government and not being patriotic enough then, by gum, the are ALL IN!!!
Knowing through about seven years of dealing with Markadelphia that nothing I say will reach him, I decided I'd try pictures. Here are a few I collected for this post:

 photo real_candidates.jpg

 photo mrz091516-color_1_orig.jpg
 photo ExtremelyCareless.jpg
 photo Disqualified.jpg

 photo 70b90442-a9c3-4a9b-ac38-302d11638b1d.jpg

Edited to add this very appropriate one via Joe Huffman:

 photo Hillary_Fasces.jpg


And here are some pieces I really think you ought to read if you're interested in my position on this election. (That's directed at my readers, not Markadelphia. I know he cannot grasp the points of these pieces, so it's not worth wasting his time on them.)
- Excerpt:
Which points to the fifth objection: in giving reasons for Trump, I oppose the Constitution and support “authoritarianism.” First of all, I don’t even know what the latter is—beyond the discredited Adorno study that the Left still uses to tar everyone to its right as Nazis. If we simply go by the Wiki definition—“authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms”—that sounds to me much more like the administrative state than anything Trump has proposed. Or do you mean “fascist”? Then say so. I have some idea of what that is. Or do you mean “tyrant”? I certainly know what that is. Are you saying Trump is one, or wants to be, or that I welcome either?

More risible—downright intelligence-insulting—is to read liberals accuse conservatives of wanting to trash the Constitution. Really. The Left has been insisting for more than a century that our Constitution is fatally flawed, written for another age, outmoded, hypocritical, hopelessly undermined by slavery and racism and sexism and property requirements, and so much else. Conservatives who argue for originalism and strict construction and federalism—sticking exactly to the letter of the Constitution—are called racists because everyone supposedly knows that the former are mere “code words.”

This is a very large topic, and for those interested, there is an equally large body of scholarship that explains it all in detail. For now, let’s just ask ourselves two questions. First, how do the mechanics of government, as written in the Constitution, differ from current practice? Second, how well are the rights Amendments observed? As to the first, we do still have those three branches of government mentioned. But we also have a fourth, hidden in plain sight within the executive, namely the bureaucracy or administrative state. It both usurps legislative power and uses executive power in an unaccountable way. Congress does not use its own powers but meekly defers to the executive and to the bureaucracy. The executive does whatever it wants. The judiciary also usurps legislative and, when it’s really feeling its oats, executive power through the use of consent decrees and the like. And that’s just the feds—before we even get to the relationship between the feds and the states. As to the second, can you think of a single amendment among the Bill of Rights that is not routinely violated—with the acquiescence and approval of the Left? I can’t.

All this happened because, for more than a century, the Left has been working at best to “change” and “update” the Constitution, and at worst to ignore it or get around it. This agenda is not hidden but announced and boasted of. Yet when someone on the Right points out that the Constitution—by design—no longer works as designed, that the U.S. government does not in practice function as a Constitutional republic, we are lambasted as “authoritarian.”

That’s a malicious lie. The truth is that the Left pushed and dragged us here. You wanted this. We didn’t. You didn’t like the original Constitution. We did and do. You didn’t want it to operate as designed because when it does it too often prevents you from doing what you want to do. So you actively worked to give the courts and the bureaucracy the last word, some of you for high-minded reasons of sincere conviction, but most of you simply because you know they’re on your side. You said it would be better this way. When we opposed you, you called us “racists.” Now that you’ve got what you wanted, and we acknowledge your success, you call us “authoritarian” and “anti-Constitutionalist.” This is gaslighting on the level of “If you like your health care, you can keep your health care.” Exasperating and infuriating, yet impressive in its shamelessness. But that’s the Left for you: l’audace, l’audace—toujours l’audace.
- Excerpt:
So when Clinton supporters ask me how I could support a “fascist,” the answer is that he isn’t one. Clinton’s team, with the help of Godzilla, have effectively persuaded the public to see Trump as scary. The persuasion works because Trump’s “pacing” system is not obvious to the public. They see his “first offers” as evidence of evil. They are not. They are technique.

And being chummy with Putin is more likely to keep us safe, whether you find that distasteful or not. Clinton wants to insult Putin into doing what we want. That approach seems dangerous as hell to me.
Those two pieces pretty much encompass my response to the Putin/Tyranny question, but they do far more than just that, and I recommend you read them in their entirety.

With respect to Clinton and gun control, please look at these:
- Excerpt:
When it comes to gun control, Hillary Clinton said last Friday, "Australia is a good example" for the United States to follow. That comment suggested the leading Democratic presidential candidate's plans in this area are much more ambitious than she usually lets on—so ambitious that implementing them would require ignoring or repealing the Second Amendment. By Monday a spokeswoman for the former secretary of state was already backpedaling, saying Clinton did not mean to endorse mass gun confiscation, a central element of Australia's approach to firearms. But if that was not Clinton's intent, she has an alarmingly cavalier attitude toward laws that impinge on constitutional rights: The details don't matter as long as you mean well.
  • AARP's Election 2016
- Excerpt:
What would you do to address terrorism?

Hillary Clinton: Well, these are legitimate fears. I believe that people are rightly concerned about violence. Terrorism is part of that violence, and we have to do the best job we can to keep America safe. So I’ve laid out a very comprehensive plan about taking on the terrorists, going after them where they operate, doing everything we can to take away their territories so they can’t mastermind attacks from afar. But we also have to go after them online because that is where they recruit, radicalize and direct attacks. And we need to do a better job of getting there early, rooting out people who are vulnerable and preventing that from happening. But I’m looking at violence broadly.… It’s also why I’ve advocated gun-safety reform, like comprehensive background checks, closing the gun-show loophole, closing the online loophole—because, you know, it’s not only terrorists we need to be worried about. Terrorism is part of it, but gun violence kills 33,000 Americans a year...We’ve got to get serious about stemming violence and terrorism in every way we can.
Even if it violates the Second Amendment, apparently. And remember, over half of those "gun violence" deaths are suicides, but the real numbers aren't scary enough for some reason.  Probably because of this:

 photo NOW_its_a_problem.jpg


And equally apparent, it would appear that Australia's much-vaunted gun control laws have helped as much in Melbourne as they have in Chicago: Young, Dumb and armed: How Melbourne became a gun city. Excerpt:
In June, word spread that an AK-47 was available for $20,000.

The Soviet-era assault rifle is the weapon of choice for Third World armies and terrorists, but this one was destined for the streets of Melbourne.

The notion that a military-grade weapon could be in the hands of local criminals is shocking, but police have already seized at least five machine guns and assault rifles in the past 18 months. The AK-47 was not among them.

Only a fortnight ago, law enforcement authorities announced they were hunting another seven assault rifles recently smuggled into the country. Weapons from the shipment have been used in armed robberies and drive-by shootings.

These are just a handful of the thousands of illicit guns fuelling a wave of violent crime in the world’s most liveable city.
Apparently Hillary missed the Econ 101 portion of Fr. Guido Sarducci's 5-Minute University:


Supply and Demand. That's it.

There's more, but as I said, I don't want to write another überpost. If you read the attached links, you can write your own in your head, but if that's not enough, you might want to peruse these too:

Restatement on Flight 93

The Ghost of Tina Kerbrat

Missouri:  The Shoot Me State - yes the NYT still waves the gun-control banner.  I fisked this piece already.

A couple of pieces on Hillary's health:

One from Instapundit with multiple links and one about her recent bout with "pneumonia."

And one more image I just had to share:

 photo Hillary_Bigfoot.png

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why Comedians Don't Make Jokes About Hillary

From Jeff Dunham:


If he dies in a mysterious helicopter crash (he flys 'em), you'll know why!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quote of the Day

Seen around the web:

Nothing Says "Deplorable" like an NRA membership.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Lying. It's All That They've Got.

So, the legislature of Missouri has overridden Gov. Nixon's veto and Missouri is now a Constitutional Carry state - the eleventh.  So far.

The Editorial Board of the New York Times is hyperventilating.  Their op-ed today is entitled, "Missouri:  The Shoot Me State."  I kid you not.  Shades of Florida being tagged "The Gunshine State" when they passed shall-issue concealed carry in 1987.  What happened there?  Well between passage of that law and 2014 the homicide rate declined from 11.4/100k to 5.8, violent crime declined from about 7,500/100k to less than 3,500, rape declined from 50.2/100k to 30.4, and aggravated assault declined from 606.3 to 366.4.

"Gunshine State"?  Missouri ought to embrace their new moniker.

As is typical for the Media when it comes to gun control, all they've got is lies and hyperbole, and this piece starts off with a bang (no pun intended):
The law will let citizens carry concealed weapons in public without a state gun permit, criminal background check or firearms training. It strips local law enforcement of its current authority to deny firearms to those guilty of domestic violence and to other high-risk individuals.
An earlier version of the piece used the phrase "necessary authority," but that was changed with no notification of the edit.
The measure has drawn no great national attention,
Perhaps because ten other states have such laws on the books with no negative outcomes?
but it certainly provides further evidence that gun safety cannot be left to state lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby.
Otherwise known as "their constituents."
Democrats opposed to the Missouri bill called it a “perfect storm” of lowered standards for the use of deadly force and an invitation for people to be armed without responsible controls. The measure was enacted by the Republicans, despite strong public opposition and warnings about the threat to public safety from the state Police Chiefs Association. Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the groups fighting the gun lobby, noted that stand your ground laws result in disproportionate harm to communities of color.
By that measure, "gun control" results in "disproportionate harm to communities of color," since places like Chicago with strict gun control laws have astronomically high levels of death and injury by gunshot. Ask the writer of this recent Pro Publica piece, How the Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives.  But continuing:
Mr. Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the measure in June, saying it would allow individuals with a criminal record to legally carry a concealed firearm even though they had been, or would have been, denied a permit under the old law’s background check.
Which means he lied, since anyone with a felony record, or a conviction that could have resulted in a sentence exceeding one year (regardless of what sentence was actually handed down), or anyone under a domestic violence restraining order or found guilty of a domestic violence charge is - by Federal law - prohibited from possessing a firearm. Period. Doesn't matter how they carry it. So if their criminal record would have prevented them having a permit, it should prevent them from having a FIREARM.

But the New York Times' Editorial Board doesn't tell you that.
Mayors Sly James of Kansas City and Francis Slay of St. Louis warned against restricting the power of the local police to deny guns to those who commit domestic violence.
And they lied too. It's FEDERAL law, and local police are quite empowered to enforce it.

But the New York Times' Editorial Board doesn't tell you that, either.
Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a lawmaker from Ferguson, which erupted in protests after the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, warned that enacting the stand-your-ground standard would mean another “bad Samaritan like Zimmerman.” She was referring to the shooting death in Florida four years ago of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, by George Zimmerman; in that case the judge’s instructions to the jury contained some of the language of the stand your ground law.
Oooh! A twofer! Michael Brown might have been "unarmed," but he was physically charging the officer he'd just tried to disarm. The "Hands Up! Don't Shoot" meme has been thoroughly discredited.

Except in the eyes of the New York Times' Editorial Board.

An earlier version of the piece claimed Zimmerman's defense rested on Stand Your Ground, but at least they noted that revision of the article to retract that. Doesn't matter anyway, since if you're on your back getting your head bashed into the sidewalk by your assailant, you - by definition - cannot retreat. Again, Martin might not have been armed. That doesn't mean he wasn't lethally dangerous.

Except in the eyes of the New York Times' Editorial Board.
Missouri is joining 10 other states that loosened gun laws to allow concealed firearms in public without the need for a permit. Federal gun controls still require background checks on buyers, but only at federally licensed dealers. Unfortunately, there is a separate and busy uncontrolled market where buyers at gun shows and on the internet do not have to undergo background checks.
Ah yes, the infamous "gun show loophole." AKA private sales. Just one more push for backdoor registration. Except, of course, by people with criminal records who won't bother to fill out a Form 4473 no matter what the law says.
In the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has called for extensive gun safety measures, including a ban on the assault weapons favored by mass shooters, closing background-check loopholes, ending the gun industry’s outrageous protection from civil damage suits and denying guns to risky suspects on the government’s no-fly lists.
And once again the Orwellian Word Police have substituted "gun safety" for "gun control." Is gun. Is not safe.  That's kinda the point.  And the "gun industries outrageous protection from civil damage suits"?  You mean the kind of suits that resulted in dismissals like Cincinnati's lawsuit against Beretta where the decision reads in part:
A manufacturer has no duty to warn of an obvious danger. Knives are sharp, bowling balls are heavy, bullets cause puncture wounds in flesh. The law has long recognized that obvious dangers are an excluded class.
Those lawsuits weren't seeking civil damages for defective firearms (suits which can still be brought and have been won.) The suits that manufacturers are protected against are the ones brought as "lawfare," intending to bankrupt gun manufacturers competing against government entities with essentially bottomless pockets. Lawsuits that threaten to have far broader implications, as was noted in the dismissal of New York v. Sturm Ruger et. al:
Although this public nuisance lawsuit is brought by the Attorney General on behalf of the State of New York-while the Hamilton action was one initiated by private parties for negligent marketing-both were brought against handgun manufacturers and sellers.   Plaintiff's attempt here to widen the range of common-law public nuisance claims in order to reach the legal handgun industry will not itself, if successful, engender a limitless number of public nuisance lawsuits by individuals against these particular defendants, as was a stated concern in Hamilton, 96 N.Y.2d at 233, 727 N.Y.S.2d 7, 750 N.E.2d 1055.   However, giving a green light to a common-law public nuisance cause of action today will, in our judgment, likely open the courthouse doors to a flood of limitless, similar theories of public nuisance, not only against these defendants, but also against a wide and varied array of other commercial and manufacturing enterprises and activities.

All a creative mind would need to do is construct a scenario describing a known or perceived harm of a sort that can somehow be said to relate back to the way a company or an industry makes, markets and/or sells its non-defective, lawful product or service, and a public nuisance claim would be conceived and a lawsuit born.   A variety of such lawsuits would leave the starting gate to be welcomed into the legal arena to run their cumbersome course, their vast cost and tenuous reasoning notwithstanding.   Indeed, such lawsuits employed to address a host of societal problems would be invited into the courthouse whether the problems they target are real or perceived;  whether the problems are in some way caused by, or perhaps merely preceded by, the defendants' completely lawful business practices;  regardless of the remoteness of their actual cause or of their foreseeability;  and regardless of the existence, remoteness, nature and extent of any intervening causes between defendants' lawful commercial conduct and the alleged harm.

But the New York Times' Editoral Board doesn't want you to know that, either.

Assault weapons? Someone once described the idea of banning "assault weapons" as a method of preventing mass shootings as the equivalent of banning palm trees to prevent people being crushed by falling elephants. The New York Times itself published a piece two years ago entitled The Assault Weapon Myth which noted:
This politically defined category of guns — a selection of rifles, shotguns and handguns with “military-style” features — only figured in about 2 percent of gun crimes nationwide before the ban.
--
Most Americans do not know that gun homicides have decreased by 49 percent since 1993 as violent crime also fell, though rates of gun homicide in the United States are still much higher than those in other developed nations. A Pew survey conducted after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., found that 56 percent of Americans believed wrongly that the rate of gun crime was higher than it was 20 years ago.
--
“We spent a whole bunch of time and a whole bunch of political capital yelling and screaming about assault weapons,” Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu of New Orleans said. He called it a “zero sum political fight about a symbolic weapon.”
--
More than 20 years of research funded by the Justice Department has found that programs to target high-risk people or places, rather than targeting certain kinds of guns, can reduce gun violence.
I guess the Editorial Board of the New York Times doesn't actually read their own paper.

This is my shocked face.

The current op-ed concludes:
Donald Trump, endorsed by the National Rifle Association, favors more armed civilians ready to engage in what he calls a defensive “shootout.” This is one of the most pathetic measures yet of his pandering, when he should be leading, on an issue of vital importance to the public.
Except the public seems to feel otherwise, at least according to polls by Gallup, CNN, Pew and Rasmussen.

But the New York Times' Editorial Board knows better.

At least they want you to think they do.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

You've Been Served!

From Ace of Spades by way of Instapundit, here's an interesting Moment of Zen.  As Ace said, "Watch to the End.  It gets good."



Yes.  Yes it does.

Monday, September 12, 2016

As Seen on Facebook

One can but hope...

 photo Hillary.jpg

h/t Firehand

Quote of the Day - Flight 93 Election Edition

From a pretty important essay over at Claremont, The Flight 93 Election. It's a fairly long piece (not überpost-length, but not 800 words, either) so this excerpt will be too:
One of the Journal of American Greatness’s deeper arguments was that only in a corrupt republic, in corrupt times, could a Trump rise. It is therefore puzzling that those most horrified by Trump are the least willing to consider the possibility that the republic is dying. That possibility, apparently, seems to them so preposterous that no refutation is necessary.

As does, presumably, the argument that the stakes in 2016 are—everything. I should here note that I am a good deal gloomier than my (former) JAG colleagues, and that while we frequently used the royal “we” when discussing things on which we all agreed, I here speak only for myself.

How have the last two decades worked out for you, personally? If you’re a member or fellow-traveler of the Davos class, chances are: pretty well. If you’re among the subspecies conservative intellectual or politician, you’ve accepted—perhaps not consciously, but unmistakably—your status on the roster of the Washington Generals of American politics. Your job is to show up and lose, but you are a necessary part of the show and you do get paid. To the extent that you are ever on the winning side of anything, it’s as sophists who help the Davoisie oligarchy rationalize open borders, lower wages, outsourcing, de-industrialization, trade giveaways, and endless, pointless, winless war.

All of Trump’s 16 Republican competitors would have ensured more of the same—as will the election of Hillary Clinton. That would be bad enough. But at least Republicans are merely reactive when it comes to wholesale cultural and political change. Their “opposition” may be in all cases ineffectual and often indistinguishable from support. But they don’t dream up inanities like 32 “genders,” elective bathrooms, single-payer, Iran sycophancy, “Islamophobia,” and Black Lives Matter. They merely help ratify them.

A Hillary presidency will be pedal-to-the-metal on the entire Progressive-left agenda, plus items few of us have yet imagined in our darkest moments. Nor is even that the worst. It will be coupled with a level of vindictive persecution against resistance and dissent hitherto seen in the supposedly liberal West only in the most “advanced” Scandinavian countries and the most leftist corners of Germany and England. We see this already in the censorship practiced by the Davoisie’s social media enablers; in the shameless propaganda tidal wave of the mainstream media; and in the personal destruction campaigns—operated through the former and aided by the latter—of the Social Justice Warriors. We see it in Obama’s flagrant use of the IRS to torment political opponents, the gaslighting denial by the media, and the collective shrug by everyone else.

It’s absurd to assume that any of this would stop or slow—would do anything other than massively intensify—in a Hillary administration. It’s even more ridiculous to expect that hitherto useless conservative opposition would suddenly become effective. For two generations at least, the Left has been calling everyone to their right Nazis. This trend has accelerated exponentially in the last few years, helped along by some on the Right who really do seem to merit—and even relish—the label. There is nothing the modern conservative fears more than being called “racist,” so alt-right pocket Nazis are manna from heaven for the Left. But also wholly unnecessary: sauce for the goose. The Left was calling us Nazis long before any pro-Trumpers tweeted Holocaust denial memes. And how does one deal with a Nazi—that is, with an enemy one is convinced intends your destruction? You don’t compromise with him or leave him alone. You crush him.

So what do we have to lose by fighting back? Only our Washington Generals jerseys—and paychecks. But those are going away anyway. Among the many things the “Right” still doesn’t understand is that the Left has concluded that this particular show need no longer go on. They don’t think they need a foil anymore and would rather dispense with the whole bother of staging these phony contests in which each side ostensibly has a shot.
RTWT. Twice.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Quote of the Day - GeekWithA.45 Edition

From the comment thread to Too Many Guns:


Also: Testing out the new Disqus embedded comment feature.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Here's Something You Don't See Everyday

And I hope Roger Waters chokes on it.

Firehand of the blog Irons in the Fire posted this over on Facebook.  I felt the need to share two Rabbis orthodox Jews (Haredim) known as The Gat Brothers (Gil and Arie) covering Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and killing it:


Too Many Guns

Back in 2006 when I wrote The Other Side, I identified the base belief of our opposition:
...one blatant truth remains: There are too many guns.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what every single one of us who believes in the right to arms must never forget:

The Other Side BELIEVES THIS. Absolutely. Without question.

It is their single article of faith.

And it is why we cannot trust them when they assure us that they "don't want to take our guns away," because if the "one blatant truth" is that there are "too many guns," then the only answer is to reduce the number of guns.

This is simple logic.

If the single tenet of the gun control faith is that there are too many guns, the end purpose of "gun control" must be to eliminate them, or - at a minimum - reduce the number to some arbitrary "this is OK" level which I suspect must be significantly close to "nobody but the police and the military can have them" as to be indistinguishable from zero.
My favorite Merchant O'Death emailed me a link to an article in GQ Magazine, illuminatingly titled Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns, a cri de coer for a computerized firearm registration system, a searchable database of all firearms records, period. Excerpt:
The National Tracing Center is not allowed to have centralized computer data.

“That's the big no-no,” says Charlie.

That's been a federal law, thanks to the NRA, since 1986: No searchable database of America's gun owners.
And THAT is reason enough for me to be a paying member of the National Rifle Association.

Now, I'm FASCINATED by the emphasis that is placed on high-profile shootings mentioned in the article: 
The San Bernardino case was an urgent. The Boston Marathon bomber case was an urgent. Gabby Giffords: urgent. Charleston. Aurora. Fort Hood. Columbine. Washington Navy Yard. Sikh temple. Just figure every crime you ever watched endless horrifying footage of on TV involved somebody here in Martinsburg searching through a rat's nest of records and then experiencing a moment of jubilance upon seeing that, yes, this is it, here is the 4473 that belongs to that lunatic. (Or his mother. Or his uncle. Or the pawnshop dealer who sold it to someone else. Tracing the gun beyond the initial point of purchase is on the cops.) 
And:
“The day of the Newtown shooting,” Urrutia says, “I was the whole day here. A day and a half. When I sleep? I slept here.”

That's the one I hear most about. Everyone I meet eventually wants to tell me what that day in 2012 was like.

“Newtown was traumatic,” Charlie tells me. “People were bawling and tracing and bawling. Everybody's going, ‘Oh, my God, somebody's done what? It's a kindergarten class? Who, what, how many?’ There's confusion. We start to get a little bit of stuff. Everybody's jumping around, waiting for anything they can get. We gotta get this, you know, right? We gotta do something, we gotta do something, we gotta do something. C'mon, c'mon, let us, give us a chance, right? Put us in. You know? Give us, give us—give us a way to contribute. Let us do our part. Because that's, you know, that's what I get out of this whole thing.
But what did tracing the firearms really do for "solving" those crimes? Damned little. In the San Bernardino case it got them a possible accomplice, that's all.  The article notes:
Sixty-five percent of the time, workers at the tracing center are able to successfully trace a gun used in a crime back to the original purchaser.
What is curiously not mentioned is the fact that the original purchaser may have sold it on, or had it stolen, and the trail goes dry there. No metric for that event is given.  In fact, no mention is made at all of private gun sales.  The closest the author gets is:
Just figure every crime you ever watched endless horrifying footage of on TV involved somebody here in Martinsburg searching through a rat's nest of records and then experiencing a moment of jubilance upon seeing that, yes, this is it, here is the 4473 that belongs to that lunatic. (Or his mother. Or his uncle. Or the pawnshop dealer who sold it to someone else. Tracing the gun beyond the initial point of purchase is on the cops.)
But that paragraph is followed by this:
This is the maddening, inefficient way gun tracing works, and there is no effort afoot to make it work any better. For all the talking we do about imposing new limits on assault weapons, or stronger background checks, nobody talks about fixing the way we keep track—or don't keep track—of where all the guns are.
Of course, the "gun lobby's" concerns are poo-poohed:
The NRA, which, in the words of its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, regards the ATF as “jackbooted government thugs,” demands that Congress keep an eye on things.

“Hitler and Stalin, like every dictator who perpetrated genocide during the 20th century, assiduously confiscated guns before starting the genocide,” wrote gun-rights activist Dave Kopel in a recent NRA publication.

“Registration. Confiscation. Extinction. Each step makes the next step much easier.”

None of which has anything to do with what actually happens here. People here are trying to help cops on the street nab bad guys. “We are a factory producing investigative leads,” says Charlie. That is the point of the place in its entirety, despite anybody's worry.

“They say, ‘They've centralized the records. We're comin'!’ ” Charlie says. “Checking all different angles. ‘Are you keeping—you know, how are you keeping information? Are you collecting information you shouldn't be? Are you accessing information you shouldn't have access to? Has the computer world at the tracing center gone too far? We might need to back you off a little bit.’

“You go, ‘Back us off? Back us off?’”
Now this part was interesting:
On just one of the days I visited the tracing center, there were 5,000 trace requests in the hopper awaiting attention. There would be about a thousand more the next day.

In 2013, recognizing how important tracing is for solving crimes, and for providing intelligence regarding patterns of illegal gun trafficking, President Obama asked for more of it: He signed a memorandum demanding that all firearms recovered in the course of criminal investigations be traced.

But Congress didn't give Charlie any funds, or manpower, to accommodate an influx. In fact, his budget has been flat since 2005.
No, Obama gave the trace center a pile of make-work so it looked like he was "tough on crime." Instead he threw a monkey wrench into a system that doesn't work all that well to begin with, and so media outlets could once again paint the NRA as the boogeyman.

This is all part of the Gun Control Trifecta - a "Universal Background Check" - so that all (legal) transfers have to involve a Form 4473.  A computerized national registration system so that, after a few years, the government has a list of most of the (legal) gun owners out there, and at least most of what they own, all done without instituting a Canadian style registration system (which failed, as you'll recall).  Once registration has reached an acceptable threshold, then they can do something about "the number of guns."

After all, the one blatant truth remains: There are too many guns.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

World's Best Blog Post is Ten Years Old

Oh my god.  It's TEN YEARS OLD.

If you're unfamiliar with it, IMNSHO this blog post at Unqualified Offerings - and the accompanying comment thread - is the best thing EVAR in the Blogosphere - Blog.

Warning, don't start reading this if you have to get up early tomorrow.  The comment thread is 1,104 posts long.

And it's not the best just because my comment ended the thread, either. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This is My Shocked Face

So a writer at Alternet gives a litany of woe for post-Katrina New Orleans, and Salon.com picks it up.  Excerpt:
35. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority reported that 62 percent of pre-Katrina service has been restored. But Ride New Orleans, a transit rider organization, says streetcar rides targeted at tourists are fully restored, but bus service for regular people is way down, still only at 35 percent of what it was before Katrina. That may explain why there has been a big dip in the number of people using public transportation in New Orleans, down from 13 percent in 2000 to 9 percent now.

44. Over two of every five children in New Orleans lives in poverty — about double the national rate. The current rate of 44 percent is up 3 percentage points from 1999 and up 12 points from 2007. Overall, there are 50,000 fewer children under the age of 18 living in New Orleans than there were in 2000. In 2000 there were 129,408, and the latest numbers have dropped to 79,432 according to the census figures reported by the Data Center.

50. Since Katrina, home values have risen 54 percent and rent is up 50 percent. The annual household income needed to afford rent in New Orleans is $38,000, but 71 percent of workers earn on average $35,000. The average yearly income for service workers is $23,000 and only $10,000 for musicians. New Orleans has only 47 affordable rental units for every 100 low-income residents. Thirty-seven percent of households in the city are paying half of their income for housing, which is much higher than recommended. Thirty-six percent of renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing, up from 24 percent in 2004. The New Orleans metro area ranks second in the top 10 worst metro areas for cash-strapped renters, according to the Make Room Initiative. Government leaders bulldozed over 3,000 apartments of occupied public housing right after Katrina but now say there is a critical immediate need for at least 5,000 affordable low-income apartments.
It goes on like this for twelve more paragraphs before concluding:
But $76 billion came to Louisiana because of Katrina. This information makes it clear who did not get the money.
If you read the article, you'll note that he doesn't even suggest where all that money might have gone.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quote of the Day: Adaptive Curmudgeon Edition

Firehand tagged me over at Bookface, pointing me at this piece by Adaptive Curmudgeon, Thoughts On Z-Blog's "On Being Revolting in the Modern Age." Said Z-Man post is here.

I wish I'd written Adaptive Curmudgeon's post. Excerpt (but by all means, read the whole thing):
My big observation of the “Hillary’s private server with State secrets affair” wasn’t about the press. It was about the people; or rather roughly half of the people. A moment passed that felt colder and more unsettling than the usual “they’ve fucked us again” situation.

Think about it like this; the FBI infuriated half the electorate and that half… did nothing. Yet it wasn’t a moment of defeat. It wasn’t a wail of despair, not gloom, not anger, not resignation, not desperation. It was a subdued tone of quiet finality. An acceptance that corruption is so deep that no one, nobody at all, can pretend otherwise.
Go. Read.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bending at the Knee

Author Terry Pratchet wrote in his Discworld novel Feet of Clay,
Royalty was like dandelions. No matter how many heads you chopped off, the roots were still there underground, waiting to spring up again.

It seemed to be a chronic disease. It was as if even the most intelligent person had this little blank spot in their heads where someone had written: "Kings. What a good idea." Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees.
In 2005 when former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan published her column "A Separate Peace" (which inspired my post Tough History Coming), she was pilloried for her seemingly fawning dependence on "elites" to get us out of the mess we were in (and still are.) Specifically this passage:
Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."
Just the other day Ms. Noonan penned another column along the same lines, "How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen". An excerpt:
Affluence detaches, power adds distance to experience. I don’t have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.
I don't think that's it at all, really. The surprising thing is that for a couple of hundred years the "elite" did feel that way. The peasants never meant much to the Ruling Class until it became apparent that the peasants could object and make their objections hurt. Then and only then did the hoi polloi gain any real political power, and as Mao observed, that political power grew out of the barrel of a gun.  That "grounded respect" came from the only place that matters to those with power.  (See my 2004 essay Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them.)

The thing I found most interesting in comparing these two articles was the subtitles.  The subtitle to "A Separate Peace" was:

America is in trouble--and our elites are merely resigned.

The subtitle to "Global Elites" was:

Those in power see people at the bottom as aliens whose bizarre emotions they must try to manage.

After ten years she's made some progress in figuring out the issue. Our elites disdain us at best, hate us at worst. But she's far behind Mark Steyn who observed as far back as 2005:
My favourite headline last week was in the International Herald Tribune: "EU leaders and voters see paths diverge." Traditionally in free societies, when the paths of the leaders and the voters "diverge", it's the leaders who depart the scene. But apparently in the EU this is too vulgar and "Anglo-Saxon", and so the great permanent Eurocracy decided instead to offer up Euro-variations on Bertolt Brecht's jest about the need to elect a new people.
The UK's embrace of Brexit, the Democrat electorate's embrace of Bernie Sanders, the Republican electorate's embrace of Donald Trump, et cetera, ad nauseam, just proves to them that the Great Unwashed cannot be let near the levers of power - for our own good, you understand.

We should all bend a knee. And LIKE it.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pantsuits

OK, this one was new to me.  Not exactly the same scene from the film Downfall we're used to seeing:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quote of the Day - Classic Iowahawk Version

From the depths of 2013 comes this timeless and ever-true comment by David Burge, aka Iowahawk:
Journalism is about covering important stories.
With a pillow, until they stop moving.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

More Truth in Fiction

I'm currently reading The Far Arena by Richard Ben Sapir, the story of Roman gladiator Lucius Aurelius Eugenianus, frozen in a glacier for 1900 years who is brought back to life.  Pretty good book.  But here's the quote, from the gladiator to the people he's dealing with - the Russian doctor who revived him, the America petroleum geologist who dug him up, and the Norwegian Catholic nun who provides translations for his ancient Latin.  The gladiator has killed someone, and his keepers are trying to figure out what to do about it.  The nun suggests that they should go to "the authorities."  Eugeni responds:
“The authorities? The authorities?” I laughed. “Why is it people think the authorities are some form of gods with either great justice or great, cunning evil, rather than the same plodding fools they see in their daily lives, and most of all in their mirrors?"
And just a bit later:
"The purpose of an authority is to remain an authority, not dispense justice."
As I said, pretty good book.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Civilizational Suicide

Over on Facebook, Firehand linked to an excellent essay by Patrick Deneen, "David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies at Notre Dame."  Professor Deneen begins his piece How a Generation Lost Its Common Culture:
My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture.
I would argue that many have been taught to actively hate their own culture, but the majority?  As Elie Wiesel once observed:
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
I strongly recommend you read Professor Deneen's entire essay, but here's the money shot:
Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctable outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide.
(Bold emphasis mine.)  Which is why I've been saying for years that the only thing that can save education is to take off and nuke the current system from orbit until the rubble bounces.

But I'm pretty sure it's too late for that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The USP - University Shaped Place

Reader Bram left a comment to my last post, The "Education" System from a Primary Source with a link to a short piece by Fred Reed of "Fred on Everything" fame.  The title of this post comes from that piece, College Then and Now: Letter to a Bright Young Woman.  I urge you to read it in its entirety.

The only thing I would add to it is the observation that the public school system producing the incoming Freshmen has also declined dramatically since "The Sixties," so that ten to twenty percent of college-prepared students is now probably less than 5% compared to a few decades ago.