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

Saturday, May 31, 2003

I WANT THIS SIGN!



There's a few more just as good over at the Feces Flinging Monkey.

I may have to blogroll him. That's good stuff.
OK, What Happened with Gutrumbles?

Rob, the Acidman's last post wasn't too encouraging. Now I get a "Cannot find server" error when I try to check his blog.

Pardon me for the paranoia, but...

I'm worried about you, man. Please be OK.

[UPDATE]

I can't get into Rachel Lucas's blog, or Michelle's A Small Victory.

(sniff, sniff)

Another fire at HostingMatters?

InstaPundit is unavailable too. Looks like it.

Paranoia assuaged. (Unless it's all a conspiracy.....)
Looks Like My Archives are Bloggered Again

I don't know why.

This is irritating.

Internal links still seem to work, though.
All Assault Weapons Ban, All the Time

Here's another "striver.".

"Return of Assault Weapons Feared in U.S." A Toronto Star piece. I feel a fisk'n coming on!
They go by names that suggest power and danger — the "Streetsweeper," the TEC-9, the MAK90, the AK-47.

And that's exactly what these military-style assault weapons bring. The power to kill indiscriminately.
As opposed to, say, the Marlin 336, the Mossberg 500, the Remington 7400, the Browning BAR, the ... but you get the idea. It's not the weapon, it's the human being behind the trigger.
Now there is fear here that the bullet-spraying semi-automatic weapons are heading back to American streets.
This assumes that they A) were on the "street" in any numbers to begin with, and B) the law had anything to do with them leaving. Neither of which assumption can be proven given the available data.
The gun debate in the United States has moved back to the forefront as a 1994 ban on assault weapons lurches toward an expiry date and it promises to become a pivotal issue in the next presidential election.

U.S. President George W. Bush surprised many when he distanced himself from the powerful National Rifle Association during the 2000 campaign, advocating an extension of the assault-weapon ban that ends in September, 2004.

But there are signs here that Bush now appears to want to have it both ways, tacitly supporting the extension to court suburban support in key states, while doing nothing overtly to stop a move that could see Congress simply avoid a vote on the extension and let it die.
Politics. Ain't it a bitch?
That would be a powerful nod-and-wink to the firearms lobby, which, by some accounts, poured $1.6 million into the 2000 Bush campaign.
Wow. $1.6 mill? Out of a total of $193,088,650 according to OpenSecrets.org. Boy, I bet they really noticed that slightly less than 1%. And now he rewards them by saying he'd support extension of the ban. What a backstabber, eh?
"Does George W. Bush want to be known as the pro-assault weapon president?" said Joe Sudbay, the public policy director of the Washington-based Violence Policy Center.
No, he wants to be known as Mr. President. He's a politician.
"He may be trying to have it both ways now, but it will be pretty clear by Sept. 13, 2004. He either supports the extension or he doesn't ... he either extends it or he doesn't."
Whoa. Thanks for that stunning piece of logic.
The 1994 law made it illegal to import, manufacture, transfer or possess 19 types of semi-automatic weapons, although the law was "grandfathered," meaning anyone who legally owned such weapons before that date could retain them.
"Loophole! Loophole!" he screams.
Tom DeLay, the Texas Republican and House of Representatives majority leader, said last week he didn't believe the extension would come to a vote in the Republican-dominated House. DeLay's statement drew a surprising rebuke from the Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, showing that the gun ban does not easily cut across Republican-Democrat lines in this country.

While many Democrats are fearful of defeat if they are targeted by the gun lobby in the coming elections, there are many Republicans representing so-called "soccer mom" suburban constituencies who could become electoral toast if they are seen to be backing a measure which would bring the deadly weapons legally back to the streets of America.
That's the beauty of it. They don't have to "back a measure." Just not vote "yes" on any new bill proposed to revoke the sunset.
White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer said last week Bush has not had any change of heart from his 2000 campaign promise. But he offered no explanation as to why Bush has given no presidential muscle to the promise. He has not been shy about stumping the country pushing for his tax-cut proposals, but has said nothing publicly about assault weapons.

"The House does everything the president wants," New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said. "He wants a dividends tax cut, they do it. He wants one bill or another, they jump. In fact ... they say `how high?' He's got to walk the walk (on guns). If the president wants this bill to come to his desk, it will. If the president doesn't, he can have his minions whisper to the House, `kill the bill,' and he'll never reach it."
I think Up-Chuck overestimates just how much Bush can lead the members of the House around. The gun question is an entirely different question to constituents compared to a tax cut. Nobody except a member of the democratic party elite opposes keeping more of their own money.
In 1994, the ban passed the House by a mere two votes, but it has been something less than a rousing success, even the anti-gun lobby concedes.
So LETS RENEW IT! Yeah, that sounds like Democratic logic.
Many weapons manufacturers simply cosmetically changed the specs on the weapons to circumvent the ban, cynically adding "AB" to their model numbers, indicating they were changed "after the ban."
"Loophole! Loophole!"
In 2000, 28,653 died of gunshot wounds in the U.S.; 94 children and teens in Louisiana alone. The gun death rate during that year was 10.4 per 100,000 population.
Down from 34,050 and a rate of 14.84 in 1981. And your point is....?
The Violence Policy Center released a study last week indicating that 41 of 211 law enforcement officers gunned down in the line of duty between Jan. 1, 1998, and Dec. 31, 2001 — almost one in five — were felled by assault weapons.
A report which I illustrated misidentified 19 of the 41 weapons as "assault rifles." Five of the 19 were "banned" handguns, but the other 14 weapons identified as "assault rifles" weren't on the "banned" list either by description or name at all. As I said in my earlier piece:
Four (4) with M1 Carbines, eight (8) with SKS rifles, two (2) with Mini-14's, three (3) M-11's, and two (2) TEC-9's. First, the M1, SKS, and Mini-14's are not and have not been classified as "assault weapons" - no lethal pistol grip on those guns. They look like "nice" semi-automatic rifles because they have the pretty non-lethal wood stocks, rather than the ugly, lethal plastic and metal ones. The M-11 and the TEC-9 are not rifles, they're handguns. That's NINETEEN (19) of the 41. And, if these guns were created "solely to kill people," what of the other 170 officer deaths? They were killed with weapons designed to tickle people?

Now, according to this site between the years of 1998 and 2001 (inclusive) there were 229 officer deaths by firearm, not 211. And according to this table the number of police deaths, at least for the last couple of decades (and excluding the 72 killed in the Twin Towers in 2001) has been apparently unaffected by the relative explosion in the mid 1980's of "assault weapons" (as defined by the law) into the general populace. They're trying to make it sound like the presence of "assault weapons" has somehow
added 41 deaths that otherwise would not have occurred. The evidence does not support this. But that's the conclusion you're supposed to draw. "Ban 'em, and these cops would have lived!"
This piece is much the same.
During a three-week reign of terror last October, the Washington snipers used a modified Bushmaster assault rifle, an XM15 M4 A3. The company's sales have soared since 1994.
And, as I have pointed out elsewhere, the "Washington snipers" fired a single shot at each victim. They could just as well have used a target rifle. Their choice of weapon was irrelevant.
The teens behind the 1999 Columbine massacre used modified TEC-9s.
No, according to the Denver Post, only Kliebold had a Tec-9. And aren't you forgetting the SAWED-OFF SHOTGUNS BOTH OF THEM CARRIED? Not to mention the fact that they were also carrying "a backpack and a duffel bag filled with bombs." And you're worried about a TEC-9?
"There's not a dime's worth of difference in the performance characteristics between the guns on the banned list and the guns not on the banned list," said NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre.
Hey, they didn't misquote him!
Anti-gun advocates want an even tougher ban to replace the 1994 law, but, right now, there is little hope in Washington the law will be improved. It is more a question of a dogged fight to keep the status quo.
It didn't work, so LET'S DO IT AGAIN ONLY HARDER!
Bryan Miller of Philadelphia knows something about fight and he doesn't buy the conventional Washington spin.

Miller joined the advocacy group CeaseFire PA after his brother, an FBI agent, was slain at District of Columbia police headquarters in 1994. It was a case of mistaken identity. The gunman, carrying a concealed TEC-9, was looking for the head of homicide. Mike Miller was in the "cold case" squad.

"He went the wrong way ... but somebody was going to die, anyway," Miller said. Since then, Miller has worked tirelessly to control guns in his country.
"...but somebody was going to die, anyway." Yup. And he could have used a non-banned Browning Hi-power. Or a sawed-off shotgun. His choice of a Tec-9 was immaterial. Someone was going to die.

"Tirelessly to control guns in his country?" More like "tirelessly to disarm the victims." Nothing these people want will prevent someone intent on killing from doing so. Gun control is not crime control. It didn't work in England, and it can't work here.
"These guns are ugly," he said in an interview.
WE HAVE A WINNER!

That's it exactly. They're ugly, scary-looking guns, so we must ban them! Pitchforks! Torches! Kill the monster! Kill the monster!
"We have tapes of those kids firing away in Columbine. We have families of victims and people like me who have lost loved ones to these guns.

"We have lots of support. And we are just getting started."
My condolences. Seriously. But you and the families didn't lose their friends and loved ones to "those guns." You lost them to the bastards pulling the triggers. And until you figure that out, you've got a helluva lot of people on my side opposing you.

Wake up.

'A Premeditated Usurpation of Authority'

PublicoLa (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) has a link up to: Was the Congress Granted the Constitutional Authority to Regulate Firearms Through its Taxing Power? which is a Sierra Times piece. There's a link to an earlier Publicola piece too. Very good. Go read both.
Honor and Integrity

The Laughing Wolf has an excellent post up (nod to WindsofChange for the pointer) on this topic. The piece opens:
You know the world is changing when the anchors on the morning news show start talking about honor and integrity. Not merely talking about it, but calling for its return in near reverent tones. Strong, yes, but reverent as well.

Such conversations are delightful, and things I thought I would never hear on a nationally broadcast news show. At least I did not think I would ever hear them in a positive context. Such values started coming under attack back in the late 60s as I was coming up, usually in an attack on all virtues.

Such things were Western Imperialism, the path of the white, middle-class male, and as such to be denigrated. They represented moral absolutes, and in the age of cultural relativism that was not allowed since it would imply, infer, or flat out state that some values were better than others.
Go read. Leave a comment.
How TRUE!



If you don't read Day by Day, you ought to. It's a lot like Doonesbury, only funny.

Friday, May 30, 2003

"It's frightening when you think that we started out with just ten commandments"

That's the punchline of a Frank and Earnest cartoon where the two bums are standing in a law library, agog at the vast ranks of legal tomes.

Now it appears that the residents of New York City are getting a feel for all the "good work" their local legislators have done over the last hundred years or so.

Arthur Silber has this story about NYC's shall we say rigorous enforcement of every law they can dig up in an effort to cover the city's budget shortfall.

I've long believed that legislative bodies should have to spend two-thirds of their time reviewing old laws and deciding whether they should be scrapped. At a minimum it would minimize the passing of more. I read somewhere that in 2000 the California legislature passed, and the appropriately named Gray Davis signed, over 900 new laws.

NINE HUNDRED NEW LAWS IN ONE YEAR.

How is anyone supposed to keep up?

And who the hell is responsible for foisting bills 150 pages long?

If you can't explain what you want to accomplish in five pages or less, BREAK IT UP INTO PIECES. Or don't bother.

All I have to say is Ayn Rand was right on this one:
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one *makes* them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on the guilt."
Atlas Shrugged
Can you say "Zero Tolerance" boys and girls? I knew you could.

(I've got to read that book.)
Now THERE'S a Mental Image that Sticks With You!

Acidman posts:
By the way, I prefer nipples that resemble .45 caliber bullets
I'm not touching that line.
More Serious This Time

The Friday Five this week isn't a fluff piece.

Here we go:

1. What do you most want to be remembered for?

This assumes I place some importance on "being remembered," which I don't. I do care about being thought of as a good, honest man, though.

2. What quotation best fits your outlook on life?

"It stands to reason that self-righteous, inflexible, single-minded, authoritarian true believers are politically organized. Open-minded, flexible, complex, ambiguous, anti-authoritarian people would just as soon be left to mind their own fucking business."
-- R.U. Sirius in 'How To Mutate and Take Over The World'
3. What single achievement are you most proud of in the past year?

Nothing in particular.

4. What about the past ten years?

Convincing the woman I love to be my wife.

5. If you were asked to give a child a single piece of advice to guide them through life, what would you say?
"One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them."
-- Thomas Sowell
Be trustworthy. Trust, but verify. And above all else - THINK!

Socially Acceptable Bigotry


Glenn Reynolds points to this piece concerning the bigotry of the left. A taste:
When somebody makes a prejudicial comment about Republicans in my presence, I play a private game. I replay the sentence in my mind—only I substitute a word like "black" or "lesbian" or "Mexican" in place of the word "Republican." In performing this verbal sleight-of-hand, it becomes increasingly apparent that the speaker of the sentence may harbor views not generally considered to be tolerant or open-minded.
No, really?

But I loved the climax of the piece:
The bigotry of America's Left-leaning intelligentsia is based upon cold logic that unfolds in the following predictable, if venal, fashion: I'm very smart. I'm well educated. So are most of my friends. I give generously to liberal causes. I'm a kind and caring human being. I defer to nobody in my exemplary set of values. I care about equality. I believe in a just society. These values are integrated into the core of who I am. I work diligently to teach these values unto my progeny. And these are just the values that, generally speaking, have been represented by the policies and actions of the Democratic Party.

The corollary logic continues: I don't have much respect for the values of the Republican Party. Oversimplified, Republicans stand for the rich, for the status quo, for selfishness, and for war-mongering. These logical trains of thought are tinged with intellectual arrogance and gross stereotyping. Of course, some liberals who speak ill of Republicans have an ulterior motive. They use the tactic to undermine the credibility of all Republicans, who must be evil, stupid—or both.

Reagan, and his crowd, were a bunch of cowboys. NRA supporters are dumbfucks from Wyoming. The Christian Right is the imbecilic underbelly of the South, led by money-grubbing preachers. George W. may have gone to Yale and the business school, but he's basically a shallow frat boy and—yikes!—a Christian. Locals who line up with such thinking tend to be knee-jerk right-wingers with low IQs.

In short, the justification for bigoted comments directed at those with whom the educated Left disagrees politically is based on two foundations: 1) We're a lot smarter than they are; and 2) We're better people than they are. That logic leads to three inescapable conclusions: We're right. They're wrong. QED: All Republicans are assholes.
Yup. That about covers it. It never occurs to them that they might be wrong.

Go read the whole thing.

And leave a comment.


OK, Can Anybody Explain What the Hell They're Saying?

JoinTogether has this little blurb up:

Assault-Weapons Ban Has Little Effect on Gun Makers
As the debate continues on whether to extend the federal assault-weapons ban, firearms experts say the ban has had only a slight financial impact on gun manufacturers, CNS News reported May 27.

"As an overall industry, the ban didn't have that much of an effect one way or the other," said Andrew Molchan, publisher and editor of the American Firearms Industry, which tracks production and sales of firearms.

While some smaller companies may have suffered more of a financial impact, Molchan said large gun manufacturers maintained profitability because they successfully adapted their products to match the law's requirements.

Bushmaster Firearms of Windham, Maine, for instance, increased its sales by 900 percent since the 1994 ban. However, the company is opposed to the ban's extension.
Bushmaster makes nothing but "assault weapons" as defined by these morons. And they've had a 900% increase in sales! Ooooh! What a great law!
Gun-control advocates argue that allowing the ban to expire would erase the progress made in fighting crime caused by assault weapons.
What progress? The incidence of "assault weapons used in crimes" is so low that you can't draw a statistical conclusion! And it also depends on how you define assault weapons. In this piece I showed that the Gun Ban Violence Policy Center misidentified 19 firearms as "assault rifles" used in the killings of police officers. I guess it all depends on how you twist the data to meet your agenda.
"We'll see the manufacture of what are now banned weapons returning to circulation," said Rob Wilcox, spokesman of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "They obviously have a certain appeal to the criminal element."
Oh yeah. Criminals really dig those flashhiders and bayonet lugs.

Sheesh.

So, what are they saying? Don't extend the ban because it didn't hurt the "assault weapon" manufacturers? Do extend the ban because it helped reduce gun crime? Does anyone else detect a bit of wishy-washyness here?
It was all About Oiiilllllll!

Courtney's all over this hot story: The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because we made them do it by cutting off their oiiiiillllll!

I never realized that liberal victimhood had been exported to Japan. No wonder their economy is in the crappper.
Our Collapsing Schools

AlphaPatriot has this post about Memphis' failing schools which demonstrates in detail that throwing money at the problem isn't the answer. Go read. There's nothing that I could add except "Memphis isn't alone."
Wait...That Didn't Come Out Right...

On a lighter note, the Associated Press reports that Kelly Hu, last seen as Lady Deathstrike in X2: X-Men United, is now performing "The Vagina Monologues". Says Hu:
"I don't even move off the stool. It's a totally different thing going on for me - a totally different muscle to exercise..."
Ahem. There goes one fantasy....
I Thought School was OUT for Summer

According to Sitemeter, the last four visitors came from the servers of: Michigan State University, Southern Illinois University, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, and Washington State University.

Am I a source of interest to academics for some reason?
Steven Den Beste Weighs in on the Dimensions of Political Belief

In another excellent logical analysis, Den Beste disassembles an essay by Michael Totten that expounds on the "Left/Right" divide, by explaining that Mr. Totten's linear scale is erroneous. Political beliefs are multidimensional, and in Steven's piece he tries to analyse just how many degrees-of-freedom (ain't that an accurate term) describe the space of political belief.

Money quote:
This is where Michael's argument, based on a single axis, breaks down. The people he refers to as "liberals" aren't liberal. For lack of a better term, we'll have to call them "leftists" for the moment. The vocal leftist movement which has been revealed in the last year in the US manifests as being elitist (i.e. not liberal), idealistic (not realistic) and conformist (not tolerant). There's a lesser dedication to equality (over inequality) but it's not totally consistent because it is a side effect of a basic choice of groups over individuals and to some extent of socialism over capitalism. And within the US right now, they're revolutionaries because they strongly disagree with the status quo. It is because they are revolutionaries that we tend to categorize them as being "leftist"; it has nothing to do with liberalism as such (especially since they aren't liberal).
Excellent piece. Go read.

And You Should Rely On the Government that Disarms You....Why? Followup.

Another nod to Kim du Toit for this link concerning recent shootings in New York City
FEELING LUCKY, PERP?

That's the choice New York's mindlessly enforced gun laws force upon otherwise law-abiding people.

Consider:

* Mohammed Dramy, a 40-year-old Gambian immigrant, was shot dead Tuesday during an apparent robbery in Harlem.

The perpetrator is still at large.

* Meanwhile, two bodega employees, Jose Acosta, 69, and Victor Alejandro, 23, are alive following an attempted armed robbery the same day.

And it's a perp who's dead.

Sadly, Acosta and Alejandro are now charged with criminal possession of a weapon.

As three armed would-be robbers entered their store waving guns, Acosta pulled out a .22-caliber pistol, fatally shooting one; the others escaped.

Now, Acosta and Alejandro are looking at jail time.

Which is better than being dead.

But is it fair? Of course not.

Should they have sought a gun permit?

Yes, but the complicated application process in New York City dissuades people from applying.

At best, it takes six months to get a so-called "premises" permit for one's home or business. And now it appears that the city has sharply reduced the number of licenses it approves.

Meanwhile, the bad guys have no trouble whatsoever finding weapons - and they never will, no matter how many gun-control laws are passed.

Acosta and Alejandro face a trial for using an unlicensed weapon to defend their business - indeed, their very lives.

Even so, they're better off than Mohammed Dramy.

All things being equal, Acosta and Alejandro need to be let off the legal hook.

And New York needs to reform its gun laws.


And this doesn't even mention the case of Ronald Dixon. The prosecutor in that case made sure that Mr. Dixon wouldn't get a jury trial by reducing (but not dropping) the charges to a point at which Mr. Dixon is not entitled to a jury trial. I guess he's still afraid of jury nullification. Mr. Dixon's story has dropped into oblivion since March. I have no idea what the outcome (if any) was.


Thursday, May 29, 2003

Last Entry on the Johns Hopkins Gun Lawsuit "Fact" Sheet

I started this series here, and continued it here. I thought I'd go ahead and finish it. I'm only going to discuss one last "Myth/FACT" from this "striver":
Myth:The Lawsuits are simply designed to bankrupt the gun industry.

FACT:The lawsuits are actually designed to change the way gun makers design and market their products.
I guess no longer designing or marketing qualifies as "changing the way" it's done.
In fact, the lawsuit filed by the NAACP doesn't even ask for money damages, just changes in the way manufacturers do business.
But as I've pointed out, it isn't necessary that the gun control groups win. The gun manufacturing industry isn't that big. The NAACP lost its lawsuit, but not before the trial ran FIVE WEEKS. How much did the legal fees run? All the case preparation? And that's one trial.

The gun-control lawyers have deep pockets - yours. Remember, 13 cities sued the gun industry. Your tax dollars at work. Suits brought by individuals and organizations are funded either by lawyers already rich from tobacco settlements or funded by chairitable organizations (according to Overlawyered.com) such as: The George Gund Fund, The Joyce Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott, Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund, Eugene & Agnes Meyer Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Institute, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the YWCA, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the National Urban League. The gun manufacturers don't have those resources. How would you like it if your business was sued in 13 different jurisdictions? How long do you think you could keep your doors open under that kind of financial stress? Even getting to the point where the cases get thrown out is expensive.

Go ahead, pull my other leg. That hound don't hunt. But it drops a fine striver.
Give Up Your Guns. It Will Make You Safer. No, Really!!

Safer for the guys who are coming to oppress or kill you.

Instapundit provides a link to this Strategy Page report:
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is surreptitiously arming his war veterans and violent youth brigades with guns so that they can crush the planned street protests to topple his regime next week.

Army sources promised chaos and bloodshed on a scale never seen before, if protesters tried to march into Mugabe's official residence in Harare.
And the eUNnuchs will sit and wring their hands and, at most send in some people to take a guess at how many died. If Mugabe lets them in.

Yup. We should really get behind the UN's plans to ensure that only legitimate governments have small-arms. Sure we should.
Q: Shouldn't it be illegal?
A: Only if you are a Puritan and afraid that someone, somewhere is having fun.


This looks like WAY too much fun: The Palouse Practical Shooters Boomer Shoot!

Great website, too. Thanks to reader Ry for the link.

At the quarterly Arizona AR15.com shoots a lot of binary Tannerite gets used, but nobody uses ANFO.

Idaho, eh? I don't have a 700 yard capable rifle - yet. But when I do, I might have to make a road trip.

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

Or at least I'm apparently not yet loathed.

Perusing my Sitemeter data, I see I've gotten 36 hits just today, and some of you have spent some not inconsiderable time perusing the site. I also note a significant fraction of visitors come from .edu sites. Interesting. College students? (STILL curious as to who's repeat visiting from the Johns Hopkins server.) I'm still waiting for my first hatemail for true validation, though.

Is anybody besides me and Jack reading our debate over on The Commentary? (Permalinks aren't working there.) Jack pointed out in his last post that my two-part "Blog that Ate Poughkeepsie" post ran over 10,000 words. Oy. Please tell me I'm reaching a wider audience than one. Please.
And You Should Rely On the Government that Disarms You....Why?

Kim du Toit links to this story:
CS SPRAY MAN FACES LEGAL ACTION

I acted in self-defence says disabled robbery victim

A DISABLED man who used CS spray to fight off a robber is now facing the threat of legal action.

Wheelchair-bound Nicholas Ashworth, aged 22, sprayed his alleged attacker in the face with the CS spray.

He then climbed out of his wheelchair and limped across the road as the man screamed in pain. A passing police patrol spotted him in distress and stopped at the scene. Officers then arrested both men.
Why arrest both, you might ask?
A police spokesman said that they were investigating the illegal use and possession of CS spray.
That's right! You can't carry mace! Or pepper spray! Or anything else the State considers an "offensive weapon" - even if you use it in self-defence as this poor guy did. England - where it's safe to be a mugger, or a home invader, or a carjacker, or...

Read the whole story.
Dig Out Your Wallets

I'm not going to do this except on extremely rare occasions, but here I feel I must. Keepandbeararms.com has a fund drive for the Silveira v. Lockyer appeal to the Supreme Court, and here's their 10 reasons SCOTUS should hear the case:
(1) The Supreme Court has not heard a case on the fundamental right to keep and bear arms since United States v. Miller in 1939 — 64 years ago. The Court hears First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment cases virtually every year. And if only four of the nine Justices decide to hear the case, it will be heard.

(2) There are conflicts between federal circuit courts that need to be resolved by the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit Court's ruling in Silveira is directly contrary to the Second Amendment findings in the Emerson case from the Fifth Circuit Court. Furthermore, six Ninth Circuit Court judges dissented in Silveira because they thought Judge Reinhardt's ruling on the Second Amendment was wrong. Six dissents are rare and a huge factor in the U.S. Supreme Court deciding to grant certiorari (to hear the case). Those six votes in Silveira may be the most important votes for the individual right to keep and bear arms in the entire past one hundred years.

(3) The conflict of circuits is long-standing, another factor in granting certiorari. Emerson conflicts with the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh federal US Courts of Appeal. The Supreme Court may have refused to hear Emerson because the certiorari petition (the formal request that the Supreme Court hear a case) focused primarily on the commerce clause, instead of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

(4) The certiorari petition in Silveira is thorough and complete but for minor edits and additions. Hundreds and hundreds of careful hours of research and writing have gone into this important project. It cleanly presents the clear Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights of individuals to keep and bear arms for family, home, business, and community defense. It is a civil case, not a messy criminal defense. And it does not have wasteful side arguments that clutter other firearms litigation.

(5) Extensive modern scholarship suggests that Emerson and the dissenting views in Silveira have the better argument regarding the meaning of the Second Amendment. The Silveira certiorari petition references over twenty of the relevant books and articles, and develops the points succinctly.

(6) Since 1939 the Miller case has been cited to support negative decisions in every federal circuit but the Fifth in Emerson. The Silveira cert petition exposes the poor reasoning of Miller thoroughly and asks that those parts of it that are historically and constitutionally wrong be overruled.

(7) Silveira presents the Supreme Court with an opportunity to write on a clean slate, to overrule Miller, and to overrule Presser v. Illinois, which refused to apply the Second Amendment to the States. There is an overwhelmingly powerful argument on our side: the Fourteenth Amendment, and the fact that most of the "individual right" amendments have been ruled as applying to the states. For example, Massachusetts cannot deny its citizens freedom of the press, because they are protected by the First Amendment; nor Wyoming force its citizens to testify against themselves, because they are protected by the Fifth Amendment.

(8) The lower court decision in Silveira was written by the most-reversed federal circuit judge, Stephen Reinhardt, a notorious liberal activist judge. The dissents, however, were written by several very well respected circuit judges: Kozinski, Kleinfeld, and Gould, and joined in by an unusually large group of additional dissenters. They send a strong message to the Supreme Court to hear Silveira and reverse Reinhardt.

(9) Specific detailed issues about different kinds of firearms, i.e., what the anti-gun crowd mendaciously calls "assault weapons", are reserved for trial by the Silveira certiorari petition, since there has been no trial to determine facts as yet. The Supreme Court is not a trial court and will only hear the fundamental constitutional questions raised by the Silveira certiorari petition — that is, does the Second Amendment, like so many other Amendments, apply to the states? And is it an individual right, like all the other rights spoken about in the Bill of Rights? These questions have become extremely important in both legislation and in politics in the last few years. The Court will have to deal with them -- and we believe they will deal with them now, rather than later.

(10) The certiorari petition, brief and other materials in Silveira make a deliberate, carefully crafted effort to persuade all nine Supreme Court Justices of the need to recognize a strong individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Arguments are being developed that should resonate with the various viewpoints held by the different Justices. The individuals working on Silveira have decades of experience in Bill of Rights litigation before the Supreme Court with a great deal of success in other very difficult areas of law. Earlier Second Amendment activists largely slept through the civil rights movement and made no progress at all for individual Second Amendment rights until Emerson. Every effort is being made to present the Silveira arguments in ways that maximize prospects for success.
If this means anything to you, go over to their site. Go to the bottom of the page AND DONATE.

This is the best chance we have to get the question answered - are we or are we not still a nation of the rule of law? SCOTUS can, once again, dodge the bullet, but this is the best case we've ever had. And the NRA isn't being helpful here.

YOU Are Responsible for Your Protection

I heard about this on the radio this morning, but Instapundit had the link to the story: Man tried to hijack, crash Qantas plane - TRIED being the operative phrase.

Money quote:
The 40-year-old man stabbed two flight attendants and injured two other people before he was overpowered by crew and passengers aboard QF1737.
No more "Let the experts handle it."
Another Vote for the Competition

Wyatt over at Giant City has a short post up on "Second-Guessing the Second Amendment".

Money quote:
Has she just gotten caught up in pop culture’s latest wave of anti-American angst, the most notable aspect of which (lately) is this notion of an outdated Second Amendment? When she declared her disdain for gun owners, she did so with great conviction and a big smile. I smiled back at the time, simply marveling at the sort of hubris - or ignorance - that must be required to second-guess some of the greatest political and philosophical minds of the 18th century.

I can't decide if I should invite her to the range or buy her a ticket to Rwanda.


She obviously believes that the State will protect her.
I HATE Blogger...

Checked in this morning, I get HALF of ONE post.

Marvelous.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

OK, Check My Logic On This:

The Violence Policy Center, that [sarcasm] stalwart unbiased source of nothing but facts in the gun debate [/sarcasm] has a new scaremongering publication out:

Bullet Hoses: Semiautomatic Assault Weapons—What Are They? What's So Bad About Them?

There's this ten-point list of their EEEEEEVil features:
1. Semiautomatic assault weapons (like AK and AR-15 assault rifles and UZI and MAC assault pistols) are civilian versions of military assault weapons. There are virtually no significant differences between them.
Well, they're SEMI-automatic. I call that "significant."
2. Military assault weapons are "machine guns." That is, they are capable of fully automatic fire. A machine gun will continue to fire as long as the trigger is held down until the ammunition magazine is empty.
Nice of you to make the distinction
3. Civilian assault weapons are not machine guns. They are semiautomatic weapons. (Since 1986 federal law has banned the sale to civilians of new machine guns.) The trigger of a semiautomatic weapon must be pulled separately for each round fired. It is a mistake to call civilian assault weapons "automatic weapons" or "machine guns."
Well, hell. Nice of you to FINALLY make the distinction after telling all your buddies back in 1998:
Assault weapons - just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, COUPLED WITH THE PUBLIC'S CONFUSION OVER FULLY AUTOMATIC MACHINE GUNS VERSUS SEMI-AUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPONS - anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons."
Seems you were encouraging confusion back then.
4. However, this is a distinction without a difference in terms of killing power. Civilian semiautomatic assault weapons incorporate all of the functional design features that make assault weapons so deadly. They are arguably more deadly than military versions, because most experts agree that semiautomatic fire is more accurate—and thus more lethal—than automatic fire.
Wait a minute. What?
5. The distinctive "look" of assault weapons is not cosmetic. It is the visual result of specific functional design decisions. Military assault weapons were designed and developed for a specific military purpose—laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone, also known as "hosing down" an area.
Which is it, "accurate semi-auto fire" or "hosing down" an area? Make up your damned mind.
6. Civilian assault weapons keep the specific functional design features that make this deadly spray-firing easy. These functional features also distinguish assault weapons from traditional sporting guns.
Again, accurate fire or spray fire. Which is the deadly one again?
7. The most significant assault weapon functional design features are: (1) ability to accept a high-capacity ammunition magazine, (2) a rear pistol or thumb-hole grip, and, (3) a forward grip or barrel shroud. Taken together, these are the design features that make possible the deadly and indiscriminate "spray-firing" for which assault weapons are designed. None of them are features of true hunting or sporting guns.
And who said the Second Amendment was a protection for "sporting guns?" If I recall correctly, the 1939 U.S. v Miller case hinged on whether or not Miller's "shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches" was a suitable militia weapon. Well, if semi-automatic "assault weapons", by your definition "incorporate all of the functional design features that make assault weapons so deadly" then they fill the bill, don't they? They meet the Miller test, and are then protected by the Second Amendment, right?
8. "Spray-firing" from the hip, a widely recognized technique for the use of assault weapons in certain combat situations, has no place in civil society. Although assault weapon advocates claim that "spray-firing" and shooting from the hip with such weapons is never done, numerous sources (including photographs and diagrams) show how the functional design features of assault weapons are used specifically for this purpose.
Well, as you yourself pointed out, this is less lethal than aimed fire. Pick a position and stick to it, would you?
9. Unfortunately, most of the design features listed in the 1994 federal ban—such as bayonet mounts, grenade launchers, silencers, and flash suppressors—have nothing to do with why assault weapons are so deadly. As a result, the gun industry has easily evaded the ban by simply tinkering with these "bells and whistles" while keeping the functional design features listed above.
Aw, gee, sorry that the rules were so stupid? So were we. But we were sorry that they were stupid and passed. Your buddies tell us that the "Assault Weapons Ban was a big success" and needs to be renewed, but you're telling us it was useless? And still needs to be renewed?
10. Although the gun lobby today argues that there is no such thing as civilian assault weapons, the gun industry, the National Rifle Association, gun magazines, and others in the gun lobby enthusiastically described these civilian versions as "assault rifles," "assault pistols," "assault-type," and "military assault" weapons to boost civilian assault-weapon sales throughout the 1980s. The industry and its allies only began to use the semantic argument that a "true" assault weapon is a machine gun after civilian assault weapons turned up in inordinate numbers in the hands of drug traffickers, criminal gangs, mass murderers, and other dangerous criminals.
Don't lay that off on US. You guys were the biggest marketing boost these weapons ever had. Every time you try to ban something you quadruple the market, if not more.

Get this straight: I bought my POST-ban AR-15 because you morons were trying to make it illegal for me to have one. It's my "militia" rifle. My "sport-utility" rifle. My "homeland security" rifle.

You can't have it. Period. End of story. Bite me.

Besides, if I follow your logic it means I ought to be able to get a less-lethal fully-automatic assault rifle. That would make you happier than my tack-driving precision rifle does now.

Doesn't this doubleplus ungood newthink make your heads hurt?
Enough About Me. Let's Talk About What YOU Think About Me!

No, I'm not narcissistic. That's a line from a Bette Midler movie that has stuck with me like a popcorn husk between molars, for some reason. (Quiz: Which movie?)

This blog is precisely two weeks old today. I'm coming up on 300 site hits, and I've got a couple of readers who return and spend some time. I've got a little bit of linkage already. I've put up some pretty serious stuff, and some pretty silly stuff, and some funny stuff. Hopefully it's been enough to give you an idea of the personality sitting on the other side of the glowing phosphors or oscillating liquid crystals banging this stuff out. I thought I'd spend a few minutes fleshing out some details about moi, your gentle host.

I'm 41. I spent most of my life being 35, so it was kind of a relief actually hitting that age chronologically. Then I hit 40. 40 hit back. I'm married, have been coming up on eight years. I have a daughter (step), 24, and two grandkids, 4 (girl) and 3 (boy). They all live here with us. (Those three years of just me and my wife are but a distant, glimmering memory now...)

I am who I am, I think, primarily because of reading. I feel pity for people who don't or won't or can't read for pleasure. Short of a bodice-ripper, I don't think there's a book out there that can't teach you something. (Oh, wait. Battlefield Earth...No, that taught me never to read L. Ron Hubbard again.) My primary influence was Science Fiction. At about 12, I discovered The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. I, and I was never the same kid again. I went for SF, and I found Robert Anson Heinlein.

Exposing a pre-pubescent to R.A. Heinlein is a dangerous thing. Especially when you set him up with things like Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, and The Menace From Earth, and then you hit him between the eyes with Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. And then follow those with Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. Anything that man wrote, I read. Even his crap was better than most people's best work.

But I also read Asimov, Clarke, Poul Anderson, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Silverberg, James Blish, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, Ben Bova, Alan Dean Foster, Piers Anthony... Many more. It's called "speculative fiction" for a reason. It awoke, or at least encouraged, an interest in how things work - from cars to guns to computers to governments. But Heinlein's responsible for my politics. I found Henry Louis Mencken and P.J. O'Rourke much later. By then the foundation had set.

I'm not a Libertarian, though. Nor am I a Republican or a Democrat (though that's what my voter registration says - I like screwing with their primaries.) I'm sure as hell not a Green. I don't "affiliate." I figure that anyone willing to run for elective office should be immediately disqualified. At least, anyone willing to run for national office. I've forgotten who said it, but someone did: "Anyone who rises to the level of national politics is either a cutthroat or a useful idiot." Or both. The ones that are both are the really dangerous ones.

My politics and my personal philosophy are also based in the works of two other writers: John D. MacDonald, and Robert B. Parker. Their characters of Travis McGee and Spenser, which I read through my adolescence, resonated with my personal sense of rightness and honor, socially responsible independance: in short - morality.

Since this is becoming a bibliography, I thought I'd throw in a list of my favorite books. The order is not absolute, but generally accurate:
1. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein

2. Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. I, Edited by Robert Silverburg

3. Dune, Frank Herbert - possibly the most finely constructed novel I have ever had the pleasure to read.

4. Understanding Physics, Isaac Azimov (non-fiction) - A trilogy, excellent for a high-school student. Clear explanations of basic physics for the layman.

5. The Past Through Tomorrow - A Future History, Heinlien, a collection of his short stories tied together.

6. Barrayar, Lois McMaster Bujold. Hell, ANYTHING she writes with Miles Vorkosigan in it, but Barrayar has one of my favorite scenes.

7. Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology:, Isaac Asimov - a chronological compilation of short biographies of history's greatest scientific thinkers.

8. 1632, Eric Flint - If you consider yourself a patriotic American, this book is a helluva romp. And an interesting history lesson.

9. The Deed of Paksennarion, Elizabeth Moon. This is a fantasy, which I don't read a great deal of, and the story drags a bit in the middle, but the ending redeems it. Wholly.

10. The General, David Drake. A five-part series that I've re-read probably ten times.
And that's the SHORT list. At present, I've got something like 1,000 books in the house, and that's only because I had to get rid of 400 or so because I had no more space to store them (kids, you know.)

I'm a shooter. I don't hunt, though I might eventually do some varminting. I like to go to the range with two or three guns and spend the day shooting. I like hitting small things far away, and many things fast up close. I reload, so I can afford to shoot. I still don't get to shoot as much as I'd like, and now blogging has cut seriously into my reloading time, but it's worth it. Blogging's cheaper, I'll give it that.

Oh well, enough for now. I might expand on this later, or I might not. That's what blogging is about.
More on Socialism, or "Equal Misery for All! (Except for those in charge)"

Samizdata has posted in full the comment of one of his readers because he believes it needs more attention. It's a short essay on "How to create a social democratic Utopia via the ballot box, rather than the bullet in the back of the neck." He's right. Go read.

I had to add this, also from Samizdata:



Damn, that's funny.
Socialized Medicine - Equally Bad Care for All

Dad Dies Waiting for Surgery (New Zealand - nod to Kiwi Pundit for the link)
A 43-year-old father died of a heart attack at home after bypass surgery at Wellington Hospital was postponed twice this month.

Kapiti man John Russell was admitted to hospital for the scheduled operation both times but was sent home because of a shortage of intensive care beds. He died on his kitchen floor the following week, on May 17.

He had been waiting five months for his operation.

Capital and Coast District Health Board papers issued yesterday show Mr Russell is one of 12 heart patients to have their operation postponed recently.

The postponements occurred despite figures showing the health board has reduced the number of patients waiting longer than six months for elective heart surgery to 36.
But there's more. According to Kiwi Pundit:
Wakefield hospital was available just around the corner, but last year the state hospital board terminated a program that would have allowed patients to be referred to the private hospital if necessary.
And he has a link to this business story with details about how the private hospital's cardiac surgery unit is underutilized.

Oh yeah - I want the government put in charge of health care in the name of "fairness" - NOT.
So you're a feminist?...Isn't that cute!

Mike S. Adams strikes a blow for the First Amendment in the college environment of "tolerance."

Way to go, Mike.

The piece begins:

Dear UNC-Wilmington Board of Trustees:


It has recently come to my attention that a feminist student at UNCW has taken offense to a sticker on my office door which reads "So you're a feminist . . . Isn't that cute." I found this out after obtaining a copy of a letter her father wrote to you, the Board of Trustees. I could comment at some length on the obvious hypocrisy of this student's decision to ask her father to defend feminism for her, but I won't. Let me get straight to the point: I did not put that sticker on my office door.


(DISCLAIMER: And I wish this weren't necessary - I am all for the rights of individuals regardless of their plumbing. This piece isn't about feminism it's about "tolerance" in the college environment, and the apparent double-standard exercised by liberal educators and their victims acolytes. So there. If you want to post hate-mail accusing me of being an australopithecine misogynist, I suggest you go spend some time reading Michelle, Rachel, and Connie, all of whom I admire greatly. If they're not "liberated," nobody is.

Of course, this assumes that a prickly "feminist" type would be found dead here, but one can hope. Wait, that didn't come out right....)
Why I Love Lileks and want to have his....want to write as well as he does:

Today's Bleat is gooooood stuff.

Excerpt:
Right before I woke up I dreamed I had an assignment: write a bad feature story in the style of the New York Times. When I woke I had the last sentence still in my head; I stumbled next door to the studio, woke up the Mac, and typed this sentence:

Over in the field, a hound was hunched over excreting a “striver,” the local’s term for the hard, elegantly tapered stools for which the wild dogs are renowned.

I recounted this dream to my buddy Bill, the copy editor who sits a few feet away from me at work, and we agreed that a “striver” would be the new term for a piece of writing that was painstakingly crafted, produced with some difficulty, and was an absolute piece of crap.
ROFLMAO! Go read. He's got some interesting things to say about beer, too.
Well, There Go My Chances...

I'm going to bow to inevitability here. NZ Bear's New Blog Showcase competition is starting to pick up. This blog is currently third with my post Is the Government Responsible for Your Protection, Part II, but a distant third. First place? Electric Venom's 20 Warnings About My Blog (a.k.a. "A Blogger's Manifesto"). And it's an excellent post. I think that specific post will end up on my Blogroll under "Read This if This Site Offends You."

I bow in your general direction, Venomous Kate. You deserve to win. That was righteous.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Back from Watching The Matrix Reloaded

WARNING!! SPOILER ALERT!! READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT AND STILL WANT TO!

I have only one question - in the climactic scene where the Trinity fights the Agent, just after she is thrown through the wall, and just before she dives out the window, WHERE THE HELL DO THOSE TWO MACHINE-PISTOLS COME FROM???

She sure as hell wasn't concealing 'em in that patent-leather catsuit.

Ah well, it's just a movie.
Lileks Does Not Run My Life!

Regardless of what James Lileks has to say about it, my wife and I will be going out tonight to watch The Matrix Reloaded again. ("Trixies" my rosy red....)

So there.

That means I won't be blogging (much) tonight.

Sorry.

(Obligatory gun nut spoiler: The full-auto pistol Morpheus uses is a Glock 18 - with a 33 round magazine. His kung-fu is very strong.)
Grieve for the Fallen

I don't want to make this an ongoing thing, but:

TPD officer killed while chasing man
A Tucson police officer was fatally shot Monday afternoon while chasing a man involved in a hit-and-run collision in Midtown, authorities said.

Officer Patrick K. Hardesty, 40, became the first Tucson Police Department officer to be killed while on duty in 21 years.

Police said late Monday that the man detained after the shooting had been charged with first-degree murder in the officer's death. He was identified by police as John Montenegro Cruz, 33.

No motive for the slaying has been released.
My condolences to his friends and family. My thanks for his willingness to sacrifice.
French Puzzle Over Why U.S. Got So Angry

That's the title of this Sacramento Bee piece.

Money quote:
"What is a little disconcerting for the French is an American president who seems to be principled," said Jean Duchesne, an English literature professor at Condorcet College in Paris. "The idea that politics should be based on principles is unimaginable because principles lead to ideology, and ideology is dangerous."
So, politics should be, by definition unpricipled? No wonder they thought Bill Clinton was great.

Whack that man with a baguette.
Great. Juuuust Great.

Here I am, in the running for Best New Blog of the Week, and, once again, Blogspot either won't let viewers in, or only shows them part of the page.

Oh frabjous joy.

I know that anything free is worth what you pay for it, but still....
Godwin's Law Does Not Apply

Dave Kopel and Richard Griffiths have an excellent piece up on National Review Online, entitled Hitler’s Control: The lessons of Nazi history

Acquainting a new generation of television viewers with the monstrosity of Hitler is a commendable public service by CBS, for if we are serious about "Never again," then we must be serious about remembering how and why Hitler was able to accomplish what he did. Political scientist R. J. Rummel, the world's foremost scholar of the mass murders of the 20th century, estimates that the Nazis killed about 21 million people, not including war casualties. With modern technology, a modern Hitler might be able to kill even more people even more rapidly.

Indeed, right now in Zimbabwe, the Robert Mugabe tyranny is perpetrating a genocide by starvation aimed at liquidating about six million people. Mugabe is great admirer of Adolf Hitler. Mugabe's number-two man (who died last year) was Chenjerai Hunzvi, the head of Mugabe's terrorist gangs, who nicknamed himself "Hitler." One of the things that Robert Mugabe, "Hitler" Hunzvi, and Adolf Hitler all have in common is their strong and effective programs of gun control.

Simply put, if not for gun control, Hitler would not have been able to murder 21 million people. Nor would Mugabe be able to carry out his current terror program.
That's simplistic, in my opinion. Simply having guns does not mean that they will be used with effect. There's a cultural / philosophical aspect to the question as well. For example, I think the philosophy of self-defense has been stripped from the English through decades of government propaganda. But without the means with which to defend yourself, there's not a philosophy out there that will save your ass, or your people's, when the excrement hits the rotating air impeller.

Go read.
Welcome to Visitors

Truth Laid Bear has started a New Weblog Showcase, and I'm in the running. With links to the showcase from both InstaPundit and The Volokh Conspiracy, I expect I'll get at least, oh, six new visitors. So welcome. Spend some time. Leave a comment. (Please. I'm begging.)

Oh, and a link would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much. Come again soon!
Grieve for the Fallen

Grocery shootout ends in death (Nod to Publicola for the link.)

Lena and Ralph Casey telephoned their daughter, Teresa, at 4 a.m. Saturday with an urgent message: A burglar was rustling through the community grocery they own next to their home.
Teresa and her husband, Ricky A. Thompson, arrived within minutes, armed. Ricky Thompson confronted the intruder inside the store, authorities said.

A gunfight broke out. The two men fired across the small aisles, moving around the store as bullets ricocheted.

Thompson, 43, a well-known mechanic and firefighter in Seven Springs, was struck in the chest and killed.

The burglar was hit at least four times. He fled the store, carrying a canvas duffel filled with batteries, a loaf of bread and other goods. Outside the store, Ralph Casey fired a few shots as the man ran from a side door and darted between parked vehicles.

Then, Teresa Thompson jumped into a Monte Carlo, plowed through a wooden fence in front of the Caseys' home and knocked the intruder down, injuring his legs.

She said in an interview later Saturday that she jumped out and, with her adult daughter, Nita, grabbed pieces of the broken fence and beat the man on the head.

"He still had the gun in his hand," Mrs. Thompson said. "He tried to shoot, and I think it went off, but it missed. Then I took the gun. I tried to shoot him with his own gun. But it was jammed up."

She asked the man why he was there, what he was doing.

"He said he was hungry," Mrs. Thompson said. "My husband's dead, and he said he was hungry."
Go read the rest. My condolences to Mrs. Thompson and the rest of their family.

Monday, May 26, 2003

The British Still Aren't Getting It


A recent BBC News "Talking Point" question was How can guns be made less accessible? Well, seeing as they've made damned near everything illegal, and what is left legal is under draconian restriction, I was quite interested in what the Brits had to say. Let's sample a few, shall we?

The problem isn't the guns, it's the total inability of the police to police the streets! If people carrying illegal thought the might get stopped and arrested it might deter them. But the chances of them being arrested are about zero. We don't need more laws we just need to enforce the very strict ones we already have. We need less "sound-bites from Ministers and more Police on the streets. After all, when did you last see a Police Officer on the beat?
Andy, UK

Someone else who believes that the government is responsible for his safety.

This Government's standard response to such problems is to launch a spin campaign to convince the public that they are taking action - it is far easier than doing something effective.
Chris, UK

A cynic! But he doesn't give any suggestions for "something effective."

The new legislation should offer an amnesty for those who surrender their weapons to police within a time frame. We have seen this policy of amnesty in parts of Africa such as Angola and Sierra Leone.
Namabanda Mubukwanu, UK

And those are such safe places to live, aren't they? I mean, Sierra Leone lifted their curfew just last year!

We should also ban toy guns for children. I can't think of a sicker, more twisted 'toy' and corrupting influence on a child. And the age limit should be raised for movies that feature an excessive use of guns. Never mind 18, we should introduce a 21 certificate for violent films. And maybe the BBC could help by not showing as many war films at Christmas and on Sundays. Drop the violence completely.
Iain Harrison, UK

I'm rendered nearly speechless at the inanity of Mr. Harrison. Way to go, Iain!

Ban gun shop websites! I just put in gun shop in a search engine and came up with at least 700 results. This is too much.
Helen, UK

Well, hell, while we're at it, let's ban pornography and news sites, too!

Are these people naturally morons, or is it something in the water?

The latest figures prove that the government's current legislation on firearms is not working. Will making this legislation tougher solve the problem? In a word - no. The people that are obtaining these weapons are the kind of people that have no respect for the law or their fellow citizens. Why not stop wasting money on actions that are all show and no substance and tackle the real problems like how are these weapons getting here in the first place and why aren't they getting destroyed the moments they are impounded?
Ian, UK

Apparently this Ian drinks bottled water occasionally. But not enough.

Gun crime is hugely related to how guns are portrayed in the media, especially the music industry. Some gangster rappers glamorise guns in their music. If that can be tackled, then gun crime will fall.
Daniel, UK

I thought it was toy guns and violent films?


If Steve:

How about prison for the rest of their natural lives with hard labour and no chance of parole if a gun is used in any crime? Make the punishment a good deterrent!
Steve, UK

and Warwick

Deterring crime with severe sentences is a very ineffective measure. Unless one lives in a police state, criminals just assume that they won't get caught. A more effective method would be to extend the weapons amnesty concept by offering a reward for weapons that is set higher than their street value. Of course, this has to be handled carefully to avoid fuelling demand. It would also face opposition from the tabloid reading types, but if it works, so what? Fighting crime shouldn't be the crude popularity contest that it is.
Warwick, UK

were to meet, would there be a particle / antiparticle annihilation?

Oh, and offering more than "street value" for street weapons? First, where would they get that much money, and second, why would they want to fuel gun smuggling by the containerload? Warwick, I suggest you start drinking Evian. Perrier in a pinch. I understand the French economy needs a boost.

One obvious solution is to make them illegal. If that doesn't work then, er, make them more illegal. Oops, sorry, I forgot, the government tried that and it didn't work. How about banning people from wearing clothes, so they can't hide a gun if they have it?
Dave Tankard, UK

Cynic, cynic, cynic. That last idea? I shudder to picture it. Most Brits don't look like Page3 girls. And aren't British winters brutal? Dave Tankard, eh? I bet he's not drinking water.

I doubt that tougher penalties alone will work. The government should go for a complete ban on the import of all replica guns, and a ban on air guns, except in licensed clubs. If it puts a few gun shops out of business, then I would rather my taxes be used to buy them out than see the current trend in shootings continue.
Nick, UK

Yeah! You need more gun laws! Er, weren't the recent shooting deaths of two young women committed with a machine gun?

Once again the government, with the backing of various police chiefs are looking at bringing in new laws to "control gun crime", despite having the most draconian laws in Europe which they appear singularly unable to enforce! I take it the law abiding will suffer as usual?
Gordon, UK

Gordon seems to take offense at your suggestion, Nick.

Funny isn't it - the government announce all kinds of things they're going to do about gun crime, and then days later we find out that the rate has doubled since they came to power. You don't think they're cynically managing the news (and you) do you? No, perish the thought!
Andy Edmonds, UK

More cynicism. Tsk, tsk.

Five years for every round possessed and 10 years for every round fired, that would be a deterrent. An Uzi clip being fired would put someone in jail for 450 years, that would deter all but the most hardened criminals.
Drb, UK

Well, that's an idea. One of the few actually presented. I don't think it would work, but it's an idea. And I have no idea where they'd put all those criminals. I understand that their jails are already full to bursting.

Guns will become inaccessible to law abiding citizens. Criminals however will still be able to get their hands on weapons.
Doug, UK


"Will become", Doug? They're close enough to that now as to make no difference. According to the Home Office there were, in England & Wales, 125,363 firearm certificates on issue at the end of 2000, and 600,733 shotgun certificates. That's down from 133,600 firearm certificates and 623,100 shotgun certificates in 1997. Assuming a complete overlay between firearms certificate holders and shotgun certificate holders that's about 600,000 people out of a population of 52 million who possess at least one gun. At most, with no overlap, that's 725,000. That's 1.1 to 1.4% of the population. Oh, wait, that's legal owners. Jebus only knows how many illegal possessors there are. The last amnesty netted a reported 40,000 weapons - but almost none from the crime-ridden areas. And I doubt a single one of those 40,000 were on a certificate.

Makes you wonder just how many "off certificate" weapons there are, doesn't it?

Besides, it doesn't matter how many guns the law-abiding permit holders have. They can't use their guns for defense of self or society anyway, under current UK law.
Why I Still Have Hope for America

Cub Scout crawls grave to grave, honoring the dead

"Pivoting his body with his right arm and holding a neon-green ruler in his left hand, James Milam, 10, crawled from grave to grave at Nashville National Cemetery yesterday morning, carefully placing an American flag exactly one foot from each gravestone."

Go read it.

And if you have a single cynical thought while reading it, don't ever come back here.
Our Collapsing Schools

Seems they're not just collapsing.

Mrs. du Toit has a MUST READ post up on her site, on...

No. Just go read it. It's too important to miss.

Go. NOW!

And read the comments, too.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Sorry about the light posting

Yesterday we celebrated my daughter's 24th birthday by having a picnic in the park in the afternoon, but I spent the majority of the morning working on "The Blog that Ate Poughkeepsie".

I got home about 9:00 PM and was up until 12:30AM last night finshing it. Then I had to get up at 5:30 this morning so I could run my IHMSA pistol match. (Every 4th Sunday of the month at Tucson Rifle Club.) I got back home about 2:00 PM and took a nap. Right now, my wife, daughter, and grandkids are over at my in-laws. The silence is nice. I've been catching up on my reading.

Steven Den Beste has a post up concerning England joining the EU that I find worrying. Hell, I find the EU worrying, because as far as I'm concerned there are no checks and balances to restrain the power of the EU government with relation to the member countries, nor the individual citizens of those countries. A "United States of Europe" it's not.

Rachel's grandfather died. Drop her an e-mail with your condolences, if you would.

Michelle's prepubescent husband had another birthday. What is he now? 16? :^)

Emperor Misha is on a roll with his continuing phillipics concerning the Islamofascists™

The Volokh Conspiracy has moved. Change your bookmarks.

Instapundit has links to two articles concerning Germany - one on the political ramifications of its opposition to the war in Iraq, and one on Germany's collapsing economy. And, Glenn, I'm no econoblogger either - but it worries me too.

Kim du Toit has contributed again to the American economy by finding a reasonably priced M1 Carbine. And lots of ammo for it. (Why couldn't I have married Connie? Ah, well, I don't think it's possible to have done better in the wife department than I did. I'll just have to envy Kim's gun collection.)

Clayton Cramer hasn't posted since Friday, but what he lacks in quantity he makes up in quality.

Ravenwood has some good stuff up. Scroll down to "Government Schools at Work." Then weep for our lost children.

Acidman is on hiatus. He's gone to illegally fish for trout. (At least he's not using dynamite.)

Comments are still open over at Bill Whittle's Eject! Eject! Eject! for his most recent post Magic. He has over 300 now on just that one post. I will not envy, I will not envy, I will not envy.....

Frank at IMAO is offering the really cool "Nuke the Moon" T-shirt.

And finally, Courtney has a truly evil plan to stuff Acidman's e-mail while he is gone fishin' with - and I quote - "every annoying e-card, pics of cuddly kittens, and e-hugs we can find. Want to join in?"

BUWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Um, no. No I do not. Really. No, I'm not kidding.....

I'm off work tomorrow, but I'll have honeydo's to get done. Hopefully I'll get some blogging in. And I can't WAIT to see what Jack will have to say in response to my last two posts to The Commentary. Hopefully I didn't blow one of his frontal lobes.
The Blog that Ate Poughkeepsie, concluded:

I've finally finished my response to Jack over at The Commentary. It's up

Damn that was a lot of work.

Somebody go read it.

Friday, May 23, 2003

"Americans for Gun Safety" is Good for Something

I referenced their web site in the last post, and I took a couple of minutes to peruse the site. I found this press release for their latest report: The Enforcement Gap: Federal Gun Laws Ignored. I haven't had a chance to read the report in detail yet. (Disclosure: I do not trust AGS, as I said in an earlier post. If you missed it, Isntapundit has a post detailing AGS's founder, funder, and leader Andrew McKelvey explaining why.)

Regardless, I don't think they've played too fast or loose with the numbers here, and those numbers illustrate my earlier point about the BATF not doing its job. Well, to be fair, I don't know if the BATF is at fault or if the Department of Justice is, but the fact remains that suing the gun manufacturers because some dealers are bad is the wrong thing to do.

One example from the summary page:

"The report points to the Washington, DC-area snipers as an example of corrupt gun dealers escaping prosecution. They obtained their murder weapon from Bulls Eye Shooters Supply, a Tacoma, Washington store that failed three audits and could not account for 238 missing firearms, including the sniper's gun. The owner has kept his firearm dealer license, and the store remains open."

Hey, I'm a gun nut, and even I find that difficult to believe. Not that they failed three audits and not that 238 weapons are missing (the Bushmaster was one of the missing), but that the store still has a license. What the hell is the BATF for? "Stomping kittens" can't be in the jobscope.

The report further details that only about 2% of federal gun crimes actually get prosecuted. ("That law didn't work! Let's pass a new one we won't enforce! And when that one fails, we'll blame it on the NRA and then we'll pass some more!" That's how it's been working up until just recently.)

The one really interesting statistic that I've had problems hunting down is this one:

"From 2000 through 2002, roughly 450,000 applicants were rejected from purchasing a firearm after signing the ATF form certifying that they had no record that would deny them a firearm. The denied applicants included:

260,000 who were denied because of a previous felony conviction.

60,000 who were denied because crime of domestic violence or a restraining order.

25,000 who were denied because of an outstanding arrest warrant.

Yet, only 1,594 charges were brought by federal prosecutors..."


But we're told constantly that the Brady background check prevented these "prohibited persons" from buying a gun. No it didn't. It just forced them into the black market. The black market that, by all appearances, the government isn't using the tools it has been given to combat. Don't you think it would have been a good idea to comb those applications and pick up at least the known violent offenders who were stupid enough to sign their names to a felony confession?

Thank you, AGS.
More on the Johns Hopkins Fact Sheet

Yesterday I started fisking a Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy "Fact Sheet" on the lawsuits against gun manufacturers brought by cities, counties, and individuals. I only had time to do three of the "myths," but I promised I'd get back to it.

Promise kept.

"Myth: Once the gun leaves the manufacturers's hands, there is nothing the manufacturer can do about who buys it, or how it is used.

"FACT: In fact, there are many things the manufacturers can do. Gun makers can design their products with built-in safety devices so they can't be fired by young children or other unauthorized users. Like the makers of most other products, they can play an active oversight role with their dealers. Research shows that many criminals obtain guns that were first sold by a fairly small number of unscrupulous or careless gun dealers. Manufacturers can and should refuse to supply guns to these dealers. They can also train dealers to better identify and discourage illegal gun buyers."


Uh-huh. I've already covered what these people think "built-in safety devices" should do - render a gun unable to shoot. If you have a gun for self-defense, it has to work when you need it. That's why the police are exempt from these requirements. They want this ostensibly to prevent "young children" from firing a gun accidentally. Yes, this does happen, but let's look at the realities, shall we?

First: There are an estimated 65,000,000 handguns (just handguns) already in private hands. Any modifications to new guns will have no effect on this existing pool. If guns are as dangerous as we are led to believe, requiring us to modify newly manufactured existing designs to protect young children, then there must be an epidemic of accidental deaths of the young children who are exposed to the threat these guns pose. We've been told over the last decade that 10, 11, 12, 13 kids a day are the victims of guns. And this has been swallowed hook, line, and sinker to mean accidental deaths of small children.

"And what about the more than 4,000 children who die in gun-related accidents each year? That's 11 kids a day. And we're not talking about crimes, or intentional shootings. We're talking -- or not talking enough -- about accidents." - Jean Hanff Korelitz, What a few good women can do, Salon.com, March 13, 2000.

Not quite.

Let's define "children" as I must assume The Johns Hopkins Center means - kids too small to know about the dangers of guns, but still able to pull a trigger. Let's be generous and put that upper limit at, say, 10 years old. (When I was 10 I knew where my father's guns - and ammo - were, and how to load and unload those guns. I also knew what those guns could do. But for the sake of argument...) I'll leave the lower limit at zero, as the worry seems to be small kids shooting themselves or other small kids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control WISQARS website in 2000, out of a population of 42,971,230 children 10 years old and below, there were 41 accidental deaths by firearm. In 1999: 32. In 1998: 59. In 1997: 54. In 1996: 51. In 1995: 58. In 1990, as far back as age-specific data goes, there were 105. I'm not going to sit here and say "these numbers are insignificant." I'm not a heartless bastard no matter what you might think, but I am going to say that trying to attack this problem through forcing gun manufacturers to put new "safety features" on new guns is like trying to kill a mosquito with an icepick. While blindfolded. When the mosquito is in another room. It's obvious upon reflection that "child safety" cannot be the intent.

And it's not like the industry hasn't been addressing this problem. Accidental gun deaths aren't due to defective weapons, but to unsafe handling and storage. And those aren't the responsibility of manufacturers, but end users. We don't need integral trigger locks and magazine disconnects, we need to better educate gun owners and their kids. And by and large the industry and trade associations and the NRA have provided safety training to gun owners and their families. That's something you cannot say about Johns Hopkins or Americans for Gun Safety or any other "gun control" organization.

The number of accidental deaths by firearms has been declining since we started keeping track in the early 1900's. It's at its lowest point ever currently. But so long as Americans have and exercise the right to arms anything, tragic accidents will occur. We don't seem equivalently concerned that far more children in that age group die by drowning (801 in 2000.)

Second: "Research shows that many criminals obtain guns that were first sold by a fairly small number of unscrupulous or careless gun dealers"? Why is this the responsibility of the gun manufacturers? Note the wording. "First sold" means those guns might have been straw-purchases, where a person who is not prohibited from buying a gun does so for someone who is. It might also mean that an honest citizen bought a gun from a dealer, and then innocently sold it to someone who was prohibited. If you were not aware, private citizens do not have access to the background check system. Only licensed dealers do. Or, the guns could have been stolen from the store or from the original purchasers. Also what the Johns Hopkins Center doesn't tell you is that it's the responsibility of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to regulate the dealers. It's their job to close down "unscrupulous" dealers. But instead they seem to spend most of their time harrassing innocent victims and stomping kittens, so much so that Illinois Democratic Congressman John Dingell detailed some of these abuses and called the BATF "jackbooted American fascists" in House testimony in 1995.

Further, the BATF numbers showing "a small number" of dealers as being at fault are often not "dealers" at all. They're distributors - middlemen between the gun manufacturer and the guy with a storefront. Now I ask you: If a distributor sells to dealers in Miami or the suburbs of Chicago, isn't he far more likely to be the source of guns that end up used in crimes than a distributor who sells to dealers in, say, Nebraska? If a dealer is the problem, then why doesn't the BATF pull their license?

Third: "Manufacturers can and should refuse to supply guns to these dealers." One manufacturer might, but the dealer would then be forced to pick up a different line. That hardly solves the problem. So all manufacturers should refuse to sell to that dealer, right? Really? Nope. That's grounds for a lawsuit on the basis of restraint of trade and collusion. And the dealer would win.

Finally, "They can also train dealers to better identify and discourage illegal gun buyers"? Let's say you're a gun dealer in a suburb of Chigago. A young black man enters your establishment and is dressed like a gang-banger. He wants to buy a 9mm handgun, and his ID shows that he is over the age of 21. He fills out the paperwork and the dealer runs the background check, which comes out clean. The dealer suspects that this handgun is going to be used, sooner or later, in an illegal manner. So he should refuse the sale, right?

He runs the very real risk of a lawsuit for "profiling." It's not politically correct to refuse to sell someone anything legal on the grounds that you don't like the way they look.

Get this straight: regulating the trade in guns is the business of the legislature. The gun control organizations have pursued this path for decades, but they've run into a brick wall. So now they're trying to A) bankrupt gun manufacturers and/or B) use judicial activism to accomplish what they cannot through legislation. And it's wrong.

More later, maybe.
Comments, we got comments!

Hey! The comments are back up! It wasnt' Blogger, it was the comment server.

Use 'em while they're hot!
I Love James Lileks

And I want to have his baby....wait, no...I want to write like he does. (Yeah, that's the ticket!)

Today's Bleat is a masterpiece, especially if you're a Trekker.

Damnit, I missed the season finale of Enterprise. Anyway, here's some savory bits from the column:

"It was all about 9/11. Proves my point, which isn’t really mine at all and is crushingly obvious besides, but one I’ve been making for years anyway: Star Trek TV shows explicitly mirror the geopolitical climate of its times. Each one is an analogy for the era in which it’s conceived. I’ve written this before but I’m too lazy to find it in the archives, so I’ll repeat myself. Warning: this will contain small fragments of unbelievably dorky insider references. Apology: I know this is of limited interest. Explanation: it’s my website. Accusation: you think I’ve cared one whit about Buffy for seven years? No. Have I said one word against the Slayer? No. I respect people’s adoration of the show. I understand these things. Hell, I still watch Twin Peaks reruns.


"The original show was your post-Kennedy New Frontier view of the future, with an oversexed cowboy at the helm. You wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Kirk’s first command had been the NCC-109. We all know what that show was about; it’s been pecked to death, so let’s move on.

"Next Generation was the New World Order version of Trek. The Enterprise wasn’t a warship threading its way through uncharted seas - it was a space-faring UN agency with a career diplomat in the captain’s chair. A French diplomat, for heaven’s sake.


"In the original series, the Klingons were the Soviets. In the Next Generation, they were still the Soviets, but now there was a chilly entente. This was a smart move, dramatically speaking; it allowed the show to more time with the Klingons, who were far more fun than any of the stuffy wads-o-rectitude on the Enterprise. (You can trace the entire Klingon subculture to the episode where Riker has a brief tour of duty on a Bird of Prey.) All of a sudden everyone realized these guys were actually alcoholic pirates with a mean sense of humor and a complex social code. And who were the humans? Sober missionaries who never got involved, just showed up to sign treaties. Booooring.

"Oh, NextGen did give us a new species: a villainous bunch of misshapen dwarves called the Ferengi, whose social system was ordered entirely around profit. Capitalists."


Go read. It's all good.