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

Thursday, July 31, 2003

NO BLOG FOR YOU!

Really busy today, and I'm going shooting this weekend with someone who's just getting back into it, so I'll be loading ammo tonight (and probably tomorrow). No new posts for a bit. Sorry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

This Pretty Much Ends Whatever Hope I Had for Middle East Peace

(Via Lileks) Go watch this slide show and then tell me that the Islamicists want peace.

When dogs are rabid, you put them down.

I hope Iraq is acting like flypaper to these wackos, I really do.
Sorry if I'm Late

But I just found Steven Den Beste's Amazon Wishlist.

Damn, I knew the guy had a sense of humor to match that intellect!

I'm not sure why he'd want a Demag AC650 construction crane (perhaps to drive through a downtown area with the boom swinging freely as in Terminator 3?)

I do see the attraction of a personal submarine, however (at only $4*10**7! [that's $40,000,000 to non-engineers] what a bargain!)

And I certainly can understand the Warp Drive upgrade for the Clueless, but

Britney Spears in a bikini?? That's bad enough, but the associated pint of maple syrup just puts it over the top!

Oh, and Steven? You're getting your 16 minutes of fame. Just in random 30-second increments.
Just So You Don't Think I'm Only a Fan of Modern Guns

While I do like the FN P90 for its futuristic looks, I'm also a fan of older guns (though I personally draw the line at the front-stuffer charcoal burners). In fact, like many, I've lusted after one of these

ever since I saw "Quigley, Down Under." This is, of course the 1874 "Quigley" Sharps made with loving care by Shiloh Sharps of Big River Montana. I would probably wimp out and get it chambered in the commercially available .45-70 rather than the shoulder-thumping .45-110 though.

It is a beautiful piece, isn't it? Wish I had a spare $3k.
Can You Say "Double Standard?"

In conjunction with the story of the officer who shot a handcuffed suspect in her cruiser - but wasn't prosecuted because it was "an accident," here's another case of preferential treatment for law-enforcement. It seems that Multinomah County, Oregon Sherriff's Dept. Sergeant Patrick Coffeen had an unregistered machinegun. Now, this will normally land your butt in Club Fed, but not Mr. Coffeen. No, in a plea agreement Sergeant Coffeen plead guilty to attempted unlawful possession of a machine gun, a Class C felony, rather than actual unlawful possession. He had to pay a $2,500 fine, and has lost both his job and his right to arms (which means he won't be working in law-enforcement again.)

Money quote:
"You can't have that weapon unless the federal government gives you permission, and he didn't have that permission"
And the gun ban control groups want to expand that requirement for possession to all guns, not just NFA weapons.

If you have to have permission, IT'S NOT A RIGHT!
Happy Birthday, Gnat!

Lileks announces Gnat's 3rd Birthday. (Bottom of the page)

You're going to have to watch that one, James. She's BRIGHT (and by that I don't mean atheist.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Kim du Toit Needs Help!

Kim ran National Ammo Day last year, and was disappointed in the result.

So, as he says in this post, if he's going to fail, he's going to fail BIG! And he needs our help to do it. I suggest that all of us gun-bloggers go sign up and go spread the word.

Now it will be National Ammo WEEK, and involve two weekends in the fine political tradition of stretching the facts.

Let's get moving!

ALREADY the Reynolds/Lucas Ticket has Competition!

Mark Byron has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2008 race. With Rick Santorum as his VP!

Go read his cabinet appointments. He's stealing from us!
This is Why My House Has Guns, but NO BARS

(Third story on this page.)
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Single mother Tina Marie Satterfield tried to make her home safe from crime, but she died early Monday, trapped inside the burning house by window security bars.

"She was like a mother to the other girls. She'd make them smile," said Bob Monette, manager of the topless club Deja Vu. Satterfield, 24, danced there to support her daughter, Mia, Monette said.

Satterfield, two other Deja Vu dancers and three children died in a fire caused by smoking materials, fire officials said. Mia, 6, survived the fire.

"It wasn't a party house. My sister just doesn't like to be alone," said Teresa Lundberg, Satterfield's half-sister.

Lundberg recalled that Satterfield had installed the bars out of fear of neighborhood crime.
Sweet Freaking Jebus, Doesn't ANYONE Take Responsibility for Their Actions Anymore?

City of Madera, police officer sue stun gun maker over death
The city of Madera and a police officer who killed a suspect after drawing a handgun instead of a Taser device, have put the blame on the manufacturer of the stun gun, alleging the company failed to provide appropriate training.

The city and officer Marcy Noriega have filed a lawsuit against Arizona-based Taser International for the death of Everardo Torres, 24.

Noriega shot Torres in October last year while he was sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car.


Noriega told investigators she intended to stun Torres with her Taser but she accidentally drew and fired her service weapon.
Sounds like the fault of officer Noriega and her training to me. How in the hell can it be Taser's fault?
Torres had been arrested on suspicion of resisting and delaying police as they tried to quell a loud party.

The city and the officer allege that the manufacturer had a duty to provide notice of the risks involved and that the firm knew its training methods were flawed.
Oh for jebus's sake. The POLICE DEPARTMENT is at fault for improperly training the officer. They APPROVED it.
They also claim say it wasn't the first time law enforcement had mistakenly fired bullets instead of an electronic charge, pointing to allegedly similar incidents in other states.

A lawyer representing Taser said the company would have no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

The Torres family filed a federal wrongful death complaint against Madera and Noriega after the city rejected a $10 million claim.

The city of Madera had reportedly offered the Torres family a $350,000 settlement, but the family has declined the settlement, the Fresno Bee reported in Tuesday's edition.

No criminal charges against Noriega were filed after the District Attorney's Office concluded that the shooting was accidental.

Bruce Praet, a lawyer who is representing Madera and Noriega, said that officers no longer carry their handgun and Taser on the same side -- something that contributed to the Torres shooting.

Taser International produces less-than-lethal weapons for use in the law enforcement, private security and personal defense markets.

The Taser shoots an electric charge that overrides the central nervous system and contracts muscles. This momentarily incapacitates a person without causing permanent injury.
The first time I saw this was at the Sacramento airport - two apparent handguns, one on the belt, one lower down on the leg in a "tactical" holster - and I said right then that they were begging for a negligent discharge. The Taser looked very similar to the duty Glock, and under pressure you're going to draw the gun you're used to drawing. But Taser isn't at fault here - the officer is - the Department is.

Oh hell, let's sue the gun manufacturer. It went "BANG!" when the officer didn't really mean for it to.

(Department of "Kill all the Lawyers.")
Past Time for Some Gun Stuff

During the effor to pass the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act Representative William Hughes (DGun-ban, NJ) tacked on an amendment that prohibited any new full-auto weapons to enter the civilian market following enaction of the law.

As a practical matter, this didn't make any difference where criminal use is concerned, but it did have two interesting effects. First, manufacturers scrambled to make and register as many new full-auto receivers as they could before the ban took effect, and the existing pool of full-auto weapons suddenly skyrocketed in value. The result was that, essentially overnight, the pool of civilian possessable full-auto weapons doubled. And a lot of people who didn't want one before, did now. Economics 101 - supply and demand.

Now, I'm not really a full-auto fan myself. They're a lot of fun, but horrendously expensive to shoot much (and if you shoot a full-auto, any range time qualifies as "much.") I've always wanted a classic Thompson, though. The Tommy-gun has always seemed a beautiful weapon. The original 1928 model, deeply blued, with a 50-round drum:

is a piece of art. And priced like it.

I wouldn't pass up a belt-fed, either, and for that my tastes run toward the H&K MG3, which was an updated and rechambered MG-42 of WWII vintage. Instead of the original 8x57 round of the MG42, the MG3 fired the standard NATO 7.62x51 (.308) round - at 1200 rounds per minute. That's a sound that has been described as "God tearing phonebooks." Here's a pair on a pintle-mount:

These go for in the neighborhood of $8k and up now.

But my real interest in a full-auto weapon is modern. I'm a science-fiction fan, and I like to watch Stargate SG-1. In recent seasons the stars have been carrying the Fabrique Nationale (FN) P90 submachinegun - this little beastie:

FN doesn't sell this gun for civilian use anyway (damnit) but it looks so futuristic I'd really like to have one. It fires an specially designed 5.7x28mm cartridge and the factory round is a 31 grain FMJ with a steel penetrator and aluminum core at 900 rounds per minute. The small diameter (.22 caliber), steel penetrator, and very forward center of gravity allow the projectile to penetrate ballistic armor very well, yet still upset and tumble in the target. It does not, however, fragment well. Expensive, though - FN claims the pricer per round in 1,000 round lots at about $0.41. OUCH! Magazine capacity is 50. The magazine is perhaps the most unique thing about this unique firearm - it rides on top of the firearm and carries the rounds perpendicular to the axis of the bore. Here's a shot of the gun and a spare mag:

It's not remarkably expensive, either. According to the FN site they sell for $1,350.

However, with the double-whammy of the Hughes Amendment and the fact that FN doesn't sell that weapon on the civilian market, I'll never get one it seems.

(Edited @13:30 to correct the Lautenberg/Hughes amendment error. Specifics of this legislation can be found here and here. I've got no excuse - I'm currently reading the last cite. Thanks to Publicola for setting me straight on that one.)

UPDATE: 13:50 - I swear this is a coincidence (great minds and all that) but Hell in a Handbasket made a post on the P90 Sunday. He even mentions Stargate SG-1. Is that weird or what?
Thirty-five States Now, and They're STILL Predicting the Wild West?

MSNBC weighs in on Missouri's renewed attempt to join the majority of the nation in "shall-issue" concealed-carry legislation. So of course we get to read things like this:
The bill's champions say that allowing concealed weapons could make things safer because criminals would have second thoughts about holding up a store where other customers and maybe even the clerk are packing. Opponents, on the other hand, foresee a Wild West mentality and warn against the increased presence of firearms in the workplace.
Right. The "No Guns Allowed" signs do such a marvelous job of keeping crazed killers out.
"The fact that concealed weapons are currently outlawed in Missouri creates an incentive for businesses looking to expand or relocate in Missouri by increasing safety in the workplace," said Kristi Wyatt, senior vice president for government relations.
Riiiiight. How, exactly does not allowing law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm "increase workplace safety?" Time for another cartoon:

(Kevin Tuma)

The article isn't completely anti-gun, but I am constantly amazed by gun-bancontrol supporters repeated use of "Wild West" and "blood in the streets" arguments when it has been proved conclusively by over thirty other states that this never happens. See "Cognitive Dissonance" below.
"To Stop Gun Violence, Go to the Source"

That's the title of this Washington Post column by Jabari Asim. There's more than a little common sense that you hardly ever hear in this piece. Such as:
In between going to work and teaching my sons to duck and cover, I never paused to think about gun-control ordinances, and I doubt the predators who tormented our block did either. It was hard to get worked up about such laws, which clearly had little relevance where we lived.

--

Some folks see flaps over firearms as clashes between the gun lobby and peace-loving liberals. Similarly, the battle brewing between Hatch and Washington officials is cast as a fight over home rule, not public safety. Neither of those confrontations may mean much to an ordinary citizen who just wants to get from her car to her house without a bullet bringing her down.

All this debate tends to overshadow a distressing fact: it is not firearms that disproportionately harm black people; black people disproportionately harm black people. I can't help concluding that folks who really care about the health of besieged communities should concentrate on the shooters instead of the guns.
Go read the whole thing.





New President, Military Occupation of a Foreign Nation, Deposed Dictator Not Found, Sporadic Resistance...

Where have we seen this before? Rand Simberg has an excellent satire up. Go read.
More Cartoons

Chuck Asay, Colorado Springs Gazette.

As an aside, Robert L. Bartley has a column up from Monday's Opinion Journal concerning press objectivity. Here's the money quote:
The opinion of the press corps tends toward consensus because of an astonishing uniformity of viewpoint. Certain types of people want to become journalists, and they carry certain political and cultural opinions. This self-selection is hardened by peer group pressure. No conspiracy is necessary; journalists quite spontaneously think alike. The problem comes because this group-think is by now divorced from the thoughts and attitudes of readers.
Truer words... (Link via Instapundit.)

Mike Ramirez, LA Times

Jim McCloskey, Staunton, VA News-Leader.

I'm not sure if Jim's cartoon was supposed to be approving, but many haven't yet figured out that to the majority of us in the red states, "Cowboy" isn't an insult.

Cognitive Dissonance


I read Steven Den Beste's USS Clueless pretty religiously. He is, as James Lileks put it, the Spock of the Blogosphere, with a keen, logical mind. Quite often I will read something he has produced that resonates with me well apart from the topic on which it was written. That was true of today's essay, Fan Mail from Flounderers. Today's column was about the anti-Bushwar protester's inability to make a case against the invasion of Iraq and their bewilderment at their failure to have any effect on either the American public at large, or the government in particular. It's an excellent piece (as usual.) But in it I found a most concise explanation for the behavior of not only the leftist anti-Bushwar movement, but also the gun-bancontrol movement:
When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn't seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as "escalation of failure".)
Thank you, Steven, for putting it so succinctly.

Insanity has been described as "repeating the same behavior while expecting a different result." Or, as I've described it, "That didn't work, so we must try it again only harder!" This is otherwise known as cognitive dissonance, but Steven describes it perfectly in a paragraph.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Invitation to my Readers


With the latest Instalanch from the "Elect the Great in 2008" hoopla, I've gotten about 1500 hits over the last two or three days, many of which are people who have not read my blog before. From perusing Sitemeter from time to time, I see that many of you are spending some time reading more than one page of this site.

While I do this largely for my own entertainment, I wouldn't do it if I didn't have readers, and I'm not doing it exclusively for my entertainment.

I'm an advocate. This is my soapbox. It is my goal to make the undecideds, the people who don't think much about their individual rights - particularly their right to keep and bear arms, think about them.

But it's a one-sided exchange for the most part.

I became an activist about 1994. I got on the internet in 1995. I discovered that I liked to write, and that I'm pretty fair at it. (I'm no Steven Den Beste, but hey, who is?) I wrote for the late, lamented Themestream.com for several months, and had some excellent exchanges with people who agreed and, more importantly, disagreed with me. Then it folded, and I stopped writing for a while. Then I found AR15.com, but that's not preaching to the choir, that's me standing in the audience while the Mormon Tabernacle is at full pitch. Some of those guys make me look like Diane Feinstein.

Via AR15.com I was introduced to the Democratic Underground (no link - on purpose), and I went there, read for a while, picked my jaw up off the floor and started posting. It was, as they say, a target-rich environment. I lasted several months and just over 1800 posts. Just before I was booted (by the SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR) one of the lower-level administrators said to me: "Dear PITA:" (Pain In The Ass) "Don't shut up. I wildly disagree with most of your positions on this subject, but you are a damn fine advocate. And you make me think. And that is important." I like to think so.

I could have cobbled up another e-mail address and returned, but as Robert Heinlein said of visiting Russia: "Once is educational, twice is masochism." Going back under a pseudonym would have gone against what I believed. I stand here, as I did there, using my own name.

Again, I stopped writing. Then I found the Blogosphere, and I was tempted. I was finally enticed to start this blog by agreeing to discuss gun control with Jack of The Road Not Taken at his alternate site The Commentary. So here I am, spending far more time than I should.

So, an invitation: if you've read something here you disagree with, send me an e-mail. I'd be happy to discuss it with you either on this forum or privately. Do try to be civil, though. This topic (like abortion) tends to raise blood pressures, tempers, and voices. But it CAN be discussed in normal tones, and it should be. Emotion got us where we are today. Only logic will suffice to correct that.

If you agree with me, then point your anti-gun and undecided friends and relatives to this site. (I know you've got 'em.) The more the merrier.

People are afraid of what they don't understand. Education is the key.

Thank you for your attention. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

--
 
UPDATE:  As of August 6, 2013, due to the herculean efforts of reader John Hardin, the original JS-Kit/Echo comment thread for this post (read-only) is available here.
You'd Think It Would Be Obvious...

VP nominee Rachel Lucas has this bit of advice for crime-beleaguered citizens of London.

I won't spoil it - go read!
Payback is a Bitch, Isn't It?

I mentioned this as an aside in a post on the status of another gun industry bankrupting lawsuit back at the end of June, but it's starting to make more headlines now. Valor Corp., the distributor that orignially sold the Raven .25 caliber automatic pistol that 13 year-old Nathaniel Brazill stole from a neighbor and used to shoot teacher Barry Grunow is now suing Grunow's wife for recovery of legal fees after the jury finding of 5% liability was thrown out on appeal.

Ms. Grunow sued the legal owner of the gun for the previous EIGHT YEARS, the pawnshop that sold the gun 13 YEARS BEFORE THE CRIME, Valor - the distributor that sold the gun originally, and the school system. (Edited to add: The gun was the same age as the shooter. Kinda makes you wonder which was the "defective product" doesn't it?) She settled out of court with the gun's legal owner for $300,000, with the pawn shop for $275,000, and with the school system for $245,000. Valor was originally slapped with a $1.2 million judgement. She refused an offer from Valor to settle for $200,000, so they decided to countersue after the judgement was thrown out and Ms. Grunow appealed.

Good for them.

The widow claims that the estate has no money, and that she's afraid she'll lose her house. So, what happened to the $820,000 in settlement money?

My guess is that Bob Montgomery (who prior to this headed the Florida lawsuit that resulted in a $13 billion settlement against the tobacco companies) took most if not all of it in expen$e$ and court co$t$. I would be quite curious as to how much money the widow actually ended up with, and how much now lines Mr. Montgomery's pockets.

Not that he needs it.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the widow actually still owes money to the lawyers for costs and expenses. Those "contingency" based lawsuits often don't include costs and expenses. If you win the lawyer gets a percentage plus those costs. If you lose, you still owe.

Fairly complete coverage of the story can be found here. ("Fairly" as it relates to "complete" - the coverage is hardly "fair." But I loved it when one article refers to the VPC as the "Violence Poverty Center." Would that it were true, but the VPC seems well-funded.)

The Strategy is Working

According to this report, anyway.
Shootout in Saudi Arabia Kills Eight

Six suspected militants were killed Monday in a firefight with Saudi police, who raided a farm where they were hiding out. Two police also were killed.

The shootout, which came amid an anti-terror crackdown in the kingdom, took place in al-Qassim, 220 miles north of the capital, Riyadh, state-run TV quoted a Ministry of Interior statement as saying.

The firefight came after the suspects, armed with guns and hand grenades, refused an order to surrender by police surrounding the farm, the statement said.

One militant and eight police were injured, and four people were arrested for harboring the suspects.

Saudi Arabia has launched a series of terror raids after May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh killed 25 people and nine attackers. More than 200 suspects have been reported arrested and more than a dozen killed in almost weekly raids on alleged terror cells throughout the kingdom.
And why did the terror raids occur in Riyadh? BECAUSE SAUDI ARABIA ASSISTED IN THE INVASION OF IRAQ.
The raids also followed repeated calls from the U.S. government for Saudi Arabia to do more to curb Islamic militancy after Sept. 11. Of the 19 hijackers in the attack, 15 were Saudi.
For some reason, a lot of people tend to ignore that fact.
One raid, announced last week, yielded the arrests of 16 suspects linked to al-Qaida _ the terror network blamed for the Riyadh bombings and the Sept. 11 attacks _ and the seizure of a buried arsenal that included 20 tons of bomb-making chemicals, (!) detonators, rocket-propelled grenades and rifles.

A U.S. Congress report on Sept. 11 released last week accused Saudi Arabia of not doing enough to counter terrorism.
Gee, ya THINK?
The unclassified version of the report also said that one suspected organizer still at large paid many of the expenses of two Sept. 11 hijackers and "had access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia." It did not say if Saudi government funds were involved.

Saudi officials have rejected those conclusions.
I'm shocked, I tell you! SHOCKED!
"We are confident about ourselves and it is just a matter of mere talk," Defense Minister Prince Sultan was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as saying Sunday night. "The American administration under the leadership of Bush has declared officially that the kingdom is not a party in these issues."

Osama bin Laden, head of the al-Qaida terrorist network, was born in Saudi Arabia to a prominent family. He turned against the Saudi government after it allowed the United States to station troops and equipment here during the 1991 Gulf War. The Saudi government revoked his citizenship.
It IS working!

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Denizens of the Blogosphere! I Present to You the Nominees for the 2008 Administration as Selected by YOU!




(Subject to changes and additions without notice. No warranty expressed or implied. Not valid in some areas. Check your local laws. I have no idea why there is a huge-ass gap below this line before the first table. Huge-ass gap reduced by making table code one continuous mass of code with no line breaks. Thanks to Jay Manifold for the tip. Note to Jay: This does NOT increase your chances of an appointment.)

The 2008 (Party Name TBD) Ticket!
Position Nominee(s)
President Glenn Reynolds
Vice President Rachel Lucas, Donald Sensing
Sec. of Agriculture Adam H., Julie Neidlinger, Bobby A-G
Sec. of Interior Say Uncle, Kevin Aylward
Sec. of Commerce Jane Galt, Brink Lindsey
Attorney General Eugene Volokh
Sec. of Defense WAR! Donald Sensing, Kim du Toit, Emperor Misha I
Sec. of Labor Mitch Berg
Sec. of Education Connie du Toit, Joanne Jacobs, Thomas Sowell
Sec. of State Steven Den Beste, Bill Whittle, Venomous Kate
Homeland Security Kim du Toit, Emperor Misha I, Charles Johnson
Sec. Energy Laurence Simon
Sec. of Transportation James Lileks, Gary Leff, Patrick Crozier
Sec. of the Treasury Mindles H. Dreck, Daniel W. Drezner
Sec. of Health & Human Svcs. James Lileks, Sydney Smith
Sec. of HUD Aaron the Liberal Slayer
Sec. of Veteran's Affairs C. Dodd Harris IV
Sec. of EPA (Probably not needed)
Director of OMB Andrew Sullivan
Chief of Staff Bill Whittle,
Press Secretary Bill Quick, Scott Ott, Bill Hobbs, Ken Layne, Virginia Postrel
Director of the Office of Drug Policy (Probably not needed)
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Prather

Ambassadorial and Other Positions
Position Nominee(s)
Amb. to (screw with) the UN Sic Semper Tyrannosaurus
Amb. to France Frank J., Sean Hackbarth
Amb. to Iran (after the revolution) Pejman Yousefzadeh
Amb. to England Andrew Ian Dodge
Amb. to Saudi Arabia Charles Johnson
Amb. to Israel Laurence Simon
Amb. to Germany (or Belgium - he's not picky) Sean Hackbarth
Amb. to Cuba (after Castro kicks) Steve H.
Amb. to ThailandKathy Kinsley
Head of CIA/NSA Fred Pruit, Steven Den Beste
National Technology Advisor Eric Raymond
Head of NASA (disassembly of) Jay Manifold, Rand Simberg
Solicitor General Pejman Yousefzadeh
Sec. of Defeated Former Enemies' Security Jay Manifold
Campaign Chairman/Chief Fundraiser Andrew Sullivan
Undersecretary of WAR! Austin Bay, LT Smash
Chairman, Joint Chiefs LT Smash
Whore Eager for Any Appointment Matt Margolis, Michele Catalano, Tim the Michigander
Director of the BATF Kim du Toit

(Nominations are still being accepted.)

Last updated 7/31, 17:48

Saturday, July 26, 2003

More on the Dime's Worth of Difference

And why Glenn Reynolds and Rachel Lucas should be elected in 2008!

Kevin Tuma's take:

A picture worth a trillion dollars...

Friday, July 25, 2003

THIS is the Funniest Thing I've Seen in a While

Link via Common Sense and Wonder - The Difference Between Italy and the EU, a short film.

My wife, who has worked with all manner of Europeans, says it's bang-on accurate.
Glenn Reynolds for President!

NOTE: THIS POST IS UPDATED CONSTANTLY! (Nominees are now listed here.)

And Rachel Lucas for VP!

Jeff at Alphecca states the case plainly:
I mentioned that both the Democrats and the Republicans suck and we need something, someone in-between -- a libertarian -- to promote for president.

--

Anyway, in my previous post I speculated (fantasized) that in two or three election cycles (say, 2008 or 2012) we in the blogosphere could promote and get elected a true small "L" libertarian candidate for president. It would help if some in our sphere of friends got elected to Congress.

--

I was thinking about who I would like to see in the White House in 2008 or 2012. Who meets these requirements? And my thoughts keep coming back to my blogfather Glenn Reynolds for President and for Vice-President I could suggest (grooming her for eight years hence) Rachel Lucas. Folks, we have plenty of years of preparation for this and I really think we can do it. Of course, I also believe I will win the PowerBall lottery tomorrow...
I've said for a long time that the only way to get really good people into office anymore is to draft them.

"Greetings! For the next (2, 4, 6) years you will be serving as (Representative, President, Senator). Please report to the Public Office Registration Center by 12:00 on such-and-such date."

And anybody who actually wants to run for office above City Mayor should be immediately disqualified for mental reasons - they're either power-hungry or just plain nuts.

But that'll never happen, so what we have to do is draft the candidates and run a grass-root blogosphere-based campaign.

And hack the vote counting machines.

Great idea, Jeff! I can see the cabinet now!

Eugene Volokh for Attorney General!

Kim du Toit for Secretary of Defense!

Bill Whittle for any damned position he wants!

Who can name the other cabinet candidates?

Poster art! We need poster art! Where's Cox & Forkum when you need them?

Let's get this thing rolling!

(You don't think the puppy-in-a-blender thing will come up during the campaign, do you?)

Update: Triticale recommends

Jane Galt for Commerce

Joanne Jacobs for H.E.W. (I confess, I'm unfamiliar with Ms. Jacobs. Link?)

Emperor Misha I for Homeland Security.

Let's hear some more!

UPDATED: 10:21PM

Here's some more recommendations. I WANT FEEDBACK, DAMMIT!

Cabinet:

Agriculture ?

Interior ? Can't we combine Interior and Homeland Security? Call it "Interior Security" or just plain "National Security"?

Commerce Jane Galt (Don't know her well enough, myself, but she comes with a recommendation.)

Justice Eugene Volokh

Defense WAR! Donald Sensing - Brilliant, retired marine ARMY (mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!), and a man of the cloth too!

Labor ?

Education Mrs. du Toit - Connie knows education.

State Steven Den Beste - he'll reason our enemies into insanity! And outthink them at the same time! And clear out the halls of the State Department in favor of people who THINK!

Homeland Security Toss up: Emperor Misha or Kim du Toit - nobody should be able to do it better than a naturalized citizen!

Energy Laurence Simon of Amish Tech Support has been recommended.

Transportation ?

Treasury Mindles H. Dreck from Asymmetrical Information has been nominated.

Health & Human Services Two nominations: Joanne Jacobs and James Lileks. I go for Lileks. If he can manage home and Gnat, its good enough for me!

Housing & Urban Development Can't we scrap this one?

Veteran's Affairs Roll this into WAR!

Environmental Protection Agency Scrap this one too.

Office of Management & Budget ? I think Den Beste and Sensing and two or three others ought to combine on this one.

Chief of Staff BILL WHITTLE! (Or maybe just make him head speechwriter?)

Office of Drug Control Policy Another one to scrap.

U.S. Trade Representative ?

Ambassador to the UN The ambassador to the what?

UPDATE! 7/26/03 10:00AM

Jeff at Alphecca recommends Bill Quick of DailyPundit for Press Secretary, and has come up with a campaign slogan already:

ELECT THE GREAT IN 2008!



Scott Ott of Scrappleface has been recommended for Press Secretary, but really, we want to tell the world the truth (only as much as they need to know.) Scott wouldn't be that different from the various previous Press Secretaries, only more blatant. (But it would be fun!) And Bill Quick gets a nomination for the (useless) position of Ambassador to the UN. I think I'd leave him as Press Secretary.

I'm going to have to build a spreadsheet, aren't I?

I've got one of my own to recommend (a new advisory position?): National Technology Advisor - Eric S. Raymond of Armed and Dangerous.

OK, NOW we're getting Ambassadorial nominations! Such as Frank J. as Ambassador to France! (Bejus, I LOVE IT!)

Keep 'em coming! This is too good!

As an adjunct to this, one respondent informs me:
I've heard Glenn Reynolds has a place in Tahoe. Why not give him a warm up for the White House by electing him Governor of California this October 7?
I'm not sure I'd wish that job on ANYONE.

Fred Pruit of Rantburg has been nominated CIA/NSA director.

Keep 'em coming!

UPDATE: 11:00PM 7/26

I've got an IHMSA match to run tomorrow morning, early, but tomorrow afternoon I'll try to get a comprehensive list of the nominees for each position. And I'll even include the (immediately disqualified) volunteers. Such as Bill Hobbs who is vying for Press Secretary, too.

UPDATE! @2:15PM I finally got the table of candidates up. Some formatting problems I can't figure out, but the data is right. WooHoo!
Here's Something Interesting

Ravenwood covers two items: First the Washington Post's reaction to Orrin Hatch's bill to repeal the D.C. gun ban. Money quote:
The best way to dry up this supply of guns would be for Congress to enact a federal law extending the District protections to Maryland, Virginia and all other states.
Which, if you weren't able to translate that for yourself, Ravenwood puts plainly:
In case you were wondering, by "protections", they mean "gun ban", and by "all other states", they mean yours.
The second item is the reaction by politicians to the NYC City Council shootings, which I recommend you read. But the money quote here is the one I've been using all along when it comes to the political fear of the .50BMG rifle:
Of course, you should also ask yourself just what is it that these politicians are doing, that they are so worried about being dragged out of their offices and shot because of it.
Or capped through the armor of their limousines.

Alexander Tytler, for the Three of You Who Don't Know the Name

Reader Ray dropped a comment below:
So long as the public is stupid enough to think they can get things from the government (politicians) at no cost they will be socialists.

How you stop this is beyond me. This is I believe the root cause of the growth of and infringement by bureaucracy into our lives.
This reminded me again of the quotation, popular among conservative sites, that is attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, (1747-1813) Scottish scholar, lawyer, poet and historian who was contemporary with the forming of the United States. (Also often referred to as Alexander Tyler.) I have found no definite link to Lord Woodhouslee for this quotation (and I've looked) but what the quotation says is food for thought regardless of its source:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship.

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence

From bondage to spiritual faith

From spiritual faith to great courage

From courage to liberty

From liberty to abundance

From abundance to selfishness

From selfishness to complacency

From complacency to apathy

From apathy to dependency

From dependency back again into bondage
The only way to stop it that I know of, Ray, is education. It is possible to teach people that there's no such thing as "something for nothing."

And that, I believe, is why our education system has been destroyed.
I GOTTA Get Me One of THESE!

Thanks to Rachel Lucas for the pointer, ThoseShirts.com (maker of my other favorite - the "Celebrate Diversity" shirt) is selling this Cox & Forkum masterpiece on cotton:

Go here to order yours!
More Tinfoil! More Tinfoil!

Well, THIS is interesting. According to sitemeter today I have received visits from:
NIPR.mil (three times)

epa.gov

DIA.mil (twice)

and uscourts.gov
One of those NIPR.mil visits covered 10 pages and took over 24 minutes! (I hope you found it informative.)

Comment sections are open for questions, or you can just e-mail me. (Don't you guys have to work?)

I'd also like to say Suomi to my visitor from hut.fi and Goede dag to my visitors from xs4all.nl and chello.nl.

To the visitor from gc.ca, I say "Get back to work, hoser!" :-)



More Evidence That Our Collapsing Schools Aren't Accidental

Also from Samizdata:
What 1776 was really about?

I have been enjoying the television documentary of the American war of Independence shown over on the BBC (yes, that pinko channel!), presented by military historian Richard Holmes.

Bestriding around the countryside, Holmes is excellent. He even looks the part with his bearing and military moustache - you could imagine him in an army officer's uniform circa 1940.

During his trip Holmes asked some locals on a bus travelling near Charleston about what the war meant to them. One elderly lady gave an articulate take, arguing about the issues of taxation, representation and liberty. And then he spoke to a young guy, probably in his early 20s, who came out with this gem. I paraphrase slightly:
Well, it was all about rich folks, who just did not want to pay their taxes. If it hadn't been for them, we'd be British, and enjoy (!) socialised medicine.
So there you have it. Some of the younger American generation wish that George Washington had lost so that all Americans could use the National Health Service.

Don't know whether to laugh or cry, really.
Neither do I.

Read the comments on this one, too.
More on Tony Martin

Samizdata has this post up concerning the continuing Tony Martin saga. Money quote:
The system is not just broken, it is insane.
Go read. And see where we're headed.

And don't miss the comments, either. Toren Smith, on hiatus from The Safety Valve makes this perceptive point:
I'm beginning to think that one of the ways one can judge the degree to which a society has progressed towards a government-controlled police state is to look at the reaction of the police to encroachment on "their turf." In a free society where the police are truly viewed as the servants and protectors of the citizens, the cops respect the rights of the citizens and see them as partners in the battle against crime. In a place like New York or San Francisco where the government is pressing towards complete control of the citizens, the cops bitterly resent any interference with their monopoly on the use of force and treat all citizens as simply potential criminals. In any citizen-criminal battle, cops in such places are always careful to make sure the citizen doesn't "get away with it" and even in cases of the most righteous shooting, one can expect charges to be pressed as a warning to other uppity peasants. (Always self-righteously defended, usually along the lines of "we can't have vigilantes running around on the streets," as if someone shooting a burglar who broke into their house is the same as some guy hunting down crack pushers as a part time job.) The final corrupt state of such a society can been seen in England, where all pretense has been dropped and citizens who act in a "police-like" manner towards criminals are seen as a much greater threat to the government than the criminals and are thus treated with greater severity than the criminals themselves. The next step is the gulag, although I expect it will make its appearance in a difference guise, perhaps as "sensitivity training facilities" or "community service centers" or some such.
Can you say "Ronald Dixon"? "José Acosta"? "Memphis District Attorney Bill Gibbons"?

I thought you could.

And that argues that the system isn't insane. This behavior is purposeful.

And I think he's right.

Do We Have Enough Volunteers to Justify These Restrictions?

If so, I'm glad. If not, Donald Sensing is right to be concerned. However, he does point out some odd and apparently illogical barriers to joining the military.

More government stupidity (redundancy alert!)
More on Scotland and Guns

Just as I expected, the decrease in permit holders in Scotland wasn't enough - they're all concerned over the net increase in legally owned guns. According to this report:
Concern over guns amid rise in sale of firearms

THE number of legally held firearms in Scotland has risen over the past 12 months amid police warnings that bona fide weapons are continuing to fall into the wrong hands.

Four days after a constable was critically wounded in a shotgun attack in a Glasgow police station, it has emerged there are now 60,599 legally held handguns in Scotland, an increase of 2.5 per cent.
First point, that's got to be an (innocent?) error. Handguns are banned in Scotland, just as they are in England. I believe the author meant 60,599 legally held shotguns. According to the earlier story there are just under 80,000 firearm and shotgun certificates in Scotland. The overwhelming majority of long arms in the UK are shotguns. Question: Was the shotgun used in the attack legally owned?
The latest figures reveal that, although fewer firearms certificates were issued last year, more guns were purchased by licensed owners than in 2001. The same Scottish Executive report has also revealed that the number of registered firearms dealers has risen for the first time since 1994, to 285.

Last night, the deputy justice minister, Hugh Henry, admitted he was concerned, but added that he was heartened that the number of certificates issued has continued to fall.
In other words, "Our plans for completely disarming the law-abiding are progressing nicely, though we wish we could do it faster."
He said: "We must continue to highlight the dangers posed by guns and other weapons and ensure that the bare minimum (Read: "ZERO") are held in our communities. The majority of people in Scotland continue to show a sensible and responsible attitude to the ownership of these weapons, (Read: "They think guns are icky and gun owners are slavering murderers - unless, of course, the gun owner is a government employee.") and are working with the police to ensure that we maintain the progress made since tightening the regulations on gun ownership." (Read: "They're turning in their neighbors for any violation of the law that will result in revocation of their firearm permits, just like good little peons should.")

On Sunday night, long-serving policeman, PC John Cunningham, was shot while he was on duty on the front desk of Shettleston Police Station, Glasgow.

A Strathclyde Police source expressed concern at the increase in guns under private ownership. The source said: "There are obviously very strict laws surrounding gun ownership, but the reality is that legitimate guns often become targets for serious criminals and they can fall into the wrong hands during burglaries."
Of course, if the bad guys can't get a shotgun, the market in suppressed Uzi's is, I understand, pretty good.
The number of people caught carrying offensive weapons, knives in particular, has risen dramatically across the country in the past four years.
Well, if I lived where owning a firearm for self-defense was illegal, and shotgun-toting criminals felt safe enough to blast a cop at the police station, I might give serious consideration to carrying something with which to defend myself. "Better judged by twelve than carried by six" so the saying goes.
According to the latest figures from the Scottish Executive, the number of people caught with dangerous weapons on Scotland’s streets rose by 18 per cent between 1998 and 2002 with the number of people caught with knives rising almost 30 per cent over the same period.

The SNP justice spokeswoman, Nicola Sturgeon, accused the Executive of not making public safety a key priority. She said: "The fact is that the amount of cases of people caught carrying a blade in public has gone up by nearly 30 per cent and the hard reality is that every single one of these cases has the potential to cause a fatal injury. These figures are totally unacceptable."

Responding to the increase in arrests for possession of dangerous weapons, a Scottish Executive spokesman claimed it was simply a direct result of successful policing. He said: "While any increase in any type of crime is a concern it is true to say that the increase in the reporting of crimes involving knives and offensive weapons has been, at least in part, a result of recent sustained police efforts to tackle the culture of violence."
Ah, yes, the "culture of violence" - that they think they can control by banning weapons. Hasn't worked too well, has it? So let's try it some more, only harder, eh?
Note They Used AR-15's on the Badge

Guns they can't (legally) get in the UK anymore.

The associated article states:
The design is based on a poster put up by a Fenland landowner with a picture of two crossed rifles and the words: "Warning - This Property is Protected by Tony Martin Security Services."
Go read the whole piece.

I love the free market!
You've GOT to Wonder How Many WEREN'T Intercepted

According to this BBC report, a freight truck was stopped at Dover trying to enter the UK and thirty Uzis were found (along with ammunition and suppressors) hidden in a spare tire.

So, how many got through? I believe the estimate for intercepting drugs here is about 10-20%?

Oh yeah. Disarming the innocent really cut down on the influx of guns in the UK, didn't it?
Heard About that Berkely "Study" of the Psychology of Conservatives?

Jonah Goldberg disassembles it - with great humor - at National Review Online.

Link via Dodd from Ipse Dixit. Same place I found the cartoons mentioned below.
If You Like the Political Cartoons I Post Here...

Go to Cut On the Bias for three terriffic ones.
THIS is Why I Read Lileks!

Today's BLEAT:
My favorite article today concerned the French computer game industry, and yes there is such a thing. Turns out that it’s in the pissoir for all the usual reasons - the companies can’t fire anyone when business heads sud, the taxes are onerous, and, uh, the games suq. But the French PM believes that the industry deserves to be subsidized, because French computer games reflect European values.

Well, yes, if they’re subsidized, bought by no one. It got me to thinking about French versions of some popular games:

Half-Life. An interdimensional gateway opens up, and thousands of murderous creatures from another world spill through. Your mission: help them establish their own parallel society in your country.

Doom: An interdimensional gateway opens up, and the minions of Hell itself enter a Martian moonbase. Your mission: nothing! Lucky you, they invaded in August, and that’s your month at the beach.

Grand Theft Auto: You steal Deux Cheveaux and attempt to escape from the police at speeds up to 30 MPH

Medal of Honor: WW2. This was a massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the Resistance. At its peak it had 400,000 members who logged on and did nothing. Then someone named “Yank44” signed on, and the system crashed when all 400,000 members attempted to remove the picture of Marshal Petain from the wall of their cottage.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Accurate, Pithy, and Gun-Related!


Cox and Forkum, of course!

I Hope it's a Best-Seller

Looks like Tony Martin's going to write a book, and title it My Right to Kill.

I expect that will result in a mass case of the vapors.

Good.
Another School Shooting

In Germany. Four shots fired, one teacher wounded, shooter commits suicide.

Yup. It must be the guns.

(Link via Keepandbeararms.com)

THIS Got the Secret Service's Panties in a Wad?


(Mike Ramirez, LA Times)

I like this one, too:

Of course, in this one Bush is holding the gun.

Don't those Secret Service guys have anything better to do?
Civilian Disarmament Proceeds Apace in the UK

According to this BBC story
Gun permits at all-time low

The number of firearms and shotgun certificates issued in Scotland has dropped to its lowest recorded level, new figures show. There were just under 80,000 certificates at the end of 2002, a drop of nearly 4,000 from the previous year.

But the number of legally-held weapons rose slightly from 2001, according to a report from the Scottish Executive.
So there are 4,000 fewer permit holders but more gun owners with "arsenals?"

According to the 2001 census, the population of Scotland was about 5,062,000 of which about 3.8 million were above the age of 19 and eligible for a firearm or shotgun certificate. That means the percentage of legal owners is just about 2% of the eligible population. And declining.
More on the NYC City Council Shooting

According to this KeepandBearArms.com article, Councilman James E. Davis was carrying a concealed weapon, but didn't have a chance to draw it. The CNN story linked reports
Davis was known to carry a licensed gun, but was unable to draw the weapon
("See! See! Concealed weapons are useless for self defense!" shrill the gun control groups.)

The KABA.com piece does raise the valid question: If Mr. Davis was opposed to gun violence and in favor of gun bans, why did he have a gun?

The CNN piece also continues with the comments of Mr. Davis's brother, Geoffrey:
"The system killed my brother," he shouted. "Just the same way they killed Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the system knew that my brother would continue fighting for the betterment to stop violence. That's who killed my brother. The system."
No, Mr. Davis. Mr. Askew killed your brother.

Unless it was those invisible brain-altering psychosis-inducing waves that guns give off...

More on the D.C. Gun Ban

I covered the introduction of Sen. Orrin Hatch's bill to repeal the D.C. gun ban here, and pointed you to Publicoa's coverage of it here. Now the Cato Institute responds. Excerpts:
In February, joined by two other attorneys, we filed the Parker case, a civil lawsuit in federal court on behalf of six D.C. residents who want to be able to defend themselves with a handgun in their own homes. When we informed the NRA of our intent, we were advised to abandon the effort. Surprisingly, the expressed reason was that the case was too good. It could succeed in the lower courts then move up to the Supreme Court where, according to the NRA, it might receive a hostile reception.

--

Nearly two months after we filed our lawsuit, the NRA filed a copycat suit on behalf of five D.C. residents and moved to consolidate its case with ours. Both suits challenged the same regulations, asked the same relief, and raised the same Second Amendment arguments. But the NRA included several unrelated constitutional and statutory counts, each of which would prolong and complicate our case and give the court a path around the Second Amendment.

--

Thankfully, on July 8, federal judge Emmet Sullivan, wishing "to avoid any protracted delay in the resolution of the merits in either case," denied the NRA's motion to consolidate. That means the NRA failed in its attempt to control the legal strategy. Just one week later, Sen. Hatch introduced his bill. The timing is suspicious, to say the least. If enacted, Hatch's D.C. Personal Protection Act could result in the dismissal of our lawsuit. After all, plaintiffs cannot challenge a law that no longer exists.

Everything points to an NRA effort to frustrate Parker. Why was the bill introduced by Hatch rather than some back-bencher? Why not wait for a court decision (the legislative option is always open, even if the court were to go the wrong way on the Second Amendment)? Why did the NRA file its suit at the outset? Why raise extraneous legal claims, then move to consolidate with Parker, a clean Second Amendment case? Why include Ashcroft when he's so obviously an improper defendant? Essentially, the NRA is saying, "If we can't control the litigation, there will be no litigation."
Tuesday in response to a Randy Barnette piece, I said "Perhaps the NRA's maneuverings aren't as self-serving as they often appear to be."

Then again, perhaps they are. Hanlon's Razor says "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." However, the NRA leadership has never struck me as stupid. The jury, at least for me, remains out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

You Need to Read This

I'm STILL struggling through Rand's Atlas Shrugged (after the first 350 pages it's either getting better no other option or I'm getting numb) but one of the points she bludgeons into a bloody pulp makes is absolutely true, and still relative - as illustrated by Randy Barnette's most recent post to GlennReynolds.com. Excerpt:
As you probably know, the idea that truth is “socially constructed” has been in vogue in academia for some time. I never took it that seriously and only mention it in passing in The Structure of Liberty. I did not think very many people could possibly believe it, or at least believe that, if true, it had any practical implications. Hey, even if the world is socially constructed, if we cannot willfully reconstruct it as we prefer, then it’s pretty much as irrelevant as the old speculations that we are just a brain in a vat or that the universe exists in a drop on some cosmic chemist’s workbench.

Since the 2000 election, however, I have begun to realize for the first time that the Left really and truly lives in a socially constructed world — a world where “truth” is their own construction.
Go read the whole thing.

And think. Hard.
Dept. of Our Collapsing Schools

I found this by way of Caerdroia. Sung to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General":
I am the very model of an Education Minister;
My arguments are tortuous, my motivation sinister;
But though my plans are ropy, and my reasons even ropier,
I'm laying the foundations of a socialist utopia.

I'm well aware the arguments the Tories use to blame us is
that schools without competition will foster ignoramuses.
But tolerating independent schools will be hypocrisy
since freedom's incompatible with genuine democracy.

I want to see that everyone learns socialism properly,
and this is only possible inside a state monopoly;
All schools that I don't recognise will therefore be prohibited
and any private tutors will be flogged or even gibbeted.

All middle-class morality I promise to eliminate;
Exams I shall abolish, since they certainly discriminate;
A college with a vacancy selecting its own candidate
will quickly wish it hadn't, when it finds I have disbanded it.

I'll throw away all covenants and charters international
with which I disagree, and which must therefore be irrational;
I short, in all of Europe from the Parthenon to Finisterre
I'll be the most intolerant, intolerable Minister.
It would be funny if it weren't apparently true.
It isn't Paranoia if They ARE Out to Get Ya!

Sitemeter let's you look at quite a bit of data for free. One thing it tells me is that about 1% of my visitors come from the server at Emmet, Marvin & Martin, LLP (Hi there!!) and among the services provided by Emmet, Marvin & Martin, LLP is "Intellectual Property Litigation." In fact, they say:
Our litigators also have expertise in the area of intellectual property. Our attorneys in the department have had extensive experience in litigating claims for trademark infringement and unfair competition in both federal and state courts, and claims under the Copyright Act. We have also represented clients in proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark office. In addition, we have developed expertise in the areas of false advertising, trade secrets and theft of ideas litigation, rights of privacy and publicity, and libel and slander (both individual and trade libel or disparagement).
Should I be worried?
JoinTogether Really is Shameless

In this bit of propaganda, JoinTogether promotes having the Consumer Safety Commission regulate "gun safety" because:
more than 20,000 Americans under age 20 (are) killed or injured each year by guns
Once again, what are the facts?

According to the Centers for Disease Control WISQARS tool, in 2000 there were 6,706 unintentional non-fatal gunshot injuries for people 19 years of age and younger, and 193 accidental gunshot fatalities for the same demographic.

That's 6,899 accidental deaths and injuries for "children" under the age of 20. If you drop the age of the "children" to 18, the numbers are 5,232 and 174 respectively, for a total of 5,406. The rest of the deaths and injuries are intentional - and "gun safety" won't affect those unless (as I'm sure they mean it) "gun safety" means "guns that won't fire."

The blurb also states:
The report found that up to one-third of unintentional shootings could be prevented by changing gun designs, or adding features such as devices that keep guns from firing when dropped or indicate when the gun is loaded.
Riiiight. One-third (2,922 approximately) could be prevented if all NEW guns had the features they suggest? What about all the OLD guns out there? This is simplistic in the extreme.

But then, that's the strategy, isn't it? Take the statistics, warp them to suit, and make simplistic attention-grabbing arguments. Then claim everyone who calls you on it as a heartless gun-lover who wants to see babies die.

This is the kind of crap that made me an activist.
BOHICA! (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again)

It would appear from initial reports that someone, either a council member or someone accompanying a council member, managed to get into the New York City City Hall and opened fire on one or more councilmembers. Security guards returned fire, at least a dozen rounds were fired, and at least two people were hit. One, councilman James E. Davis has died. Mr. Davis was heavily involved in gun control. According to this Fox News report, he was speaking to the shooter when the man drew and opened fire. According to this MSNBC report the shooter targeted one person and shot him several times (I assume the victim was Davis.)

As of this moment, the situation is extremely confused. The second person hit has also reportedly died, and is the shooter. Police are apparently still looking for a man in a blue suit. (In NYC? Please!)

Mayor Bloomberg has stated that the act wasn't terrorism, but how he'd know is beyond me.

Apparently the shooter was able to sneak a handgun past the metal detectors and kill a gun control proponent.

Wanna bet the gun control groups use this incident to fight for renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban?

Update: Reports are now that the shooter, one Clarence Askew, is dead, and that Davis shot him, or, alternately, a security guard did. Apparently they came in together, and neither had to go through a metal detector. Odd.

I think I scooped Instapundit on this one.

Further update. Reports that Davis fired back are apparently in error. The perp was killed by security.

More: Here's the AP release on the incident. More of the same.
Oh, Sure. This'll Work.

Emasculated England Dept.

Reuters reports that those wacky Brits are considering a new tactic in the fight against crime, asking the criminals to apologize in order to avoid court.
Criminals could avoid being taken to court if they agree to apologize personally to their victims, under plans outlined by the UK government Tuesday.

The proposals -- dubbed "restorative justice" -- could see offenders held to account by their victims, in some cases by-passing the court system, Home Secretary David Blunkett said.

"Supporting victims and witnesses better is not just about what happens in the courtroom, it is also about the impact that crime has on their lives," he added in a statement.

"Being a victim of crime can be a harrowing and traumatic experience...Restorative justice means victims can get an apology from their offender.

"It (also) provides the victim with an explanation of why the crime was committed."
Doesn't that just make you feel good? Isn't that just caring and spiritual?.
The announcement comes just a week after figures showed a 28 percent rise in violent crime in England and Wales over the past year.

The data also showed a 16 percent increase in drug-related crime, although overall crime dropped by two percent.

The Home Office said the initiative would target offenders guilty of anti-social behavior as part of a wider strategy to put victims at the center of the criminal justice system.

It will be used to keep some offenders away from court, as well as being tied into sentencing and probation conditions, a spokesman said.

The scheme brings victims and offenders into contact, either face-to-face or through a mediator. As well as helping victims, restorative justice "forces offenders to understand the damaging effect their crimes have on their victims," the spokesman said.

The Chief Executive of charity Victim Support, Dame Helen Reeves, said the strategy was good news for victims of crime.

"This strategy brings the promise of statutory rights for victims...which should bring substantial benefits for people whose needs have too often been overlooked in the past," she said.
How about caning for "anti-social behavior." Then the perp can apologize.

Spoons was right.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Randy Barnett Makes an Excellent Point

Randy's been guest-blogging for Glenn Reynolds at GlennReynolds.com over at MSNBC. I commented on an earlier post below. His most recent entry is about "reasonable regulation," and it's a good read. Some excerpts:
Several readers have offered comments on the issue of “reasonable regulation,” which I said no individual rights scholar claims to be any more objectionable than time, place, and manner regulations of speech. They only insist that, under the Second Amendment, such regulations would be subject to the same judicial scrutiny as regulations on speech and the press. No more, and no less.
That had been my position prior to what it is now: This far, no further until the right is recognized as individual and protected under the umbrella of the 14th Amendment against infringement by the states. Randy has something to say about that, too:
There is less gun regulation today precisely because the right to bear arms is not protected by courts. Because prohibition and confiscation are not off the table - constitutionally speaking - gun-rights advocates feel the need to resist politically almost every gun regulation being proposed as a stepping stone toward prohibition and confiscation.

--

Here then is the irony: If those who truly believe in the necessity of some gun regulations would only concede that the Second Amendment does protect an individual right, and the courts would accept this position as well, gun owners would relax and many more regulations - even unreasonable ones - would pass. Those who sincerely believe in gun regulation should urge the courts to protect the right to arms. We will only reach a “middle ground” when the right to keep and bear arms is secure.
And he's right - especially about "even unreasonable ones." If our guard is down, (as it has been regarding the Fourth and Fifth amendments when it comes to "The War on (some) Drugs" and now "The War on Terror") then we'll let our legislatures pass laws that we otherwise would not. It is because the courts have not recognized the Second Amendment as protecting a fundamental, individual right that we are ever-vigilant against ever-increasing infringement of that right.

Perhaps the NRA's maneuverings aren't as self-serving as they often appear to be.

He has much more to say, especially about registration, but he ignores the sheer logistical idiocy of the task in favor of discussing the risk of future confiscation. (I prefer to cover all the bases, myself. I'll cut him some slack because he did comment about the length of his post.)
Larry Elder Notwithstanding, I Still See Only a Dime's Worth of Difference

Cox & Forkum (of course)



And I'm not alone.

I'm not yet willing to entertain the idea of voting for someone other than Dubya next year.

But it's not a done-deal, either.
I Bet the Decision Gave Him Heartburn, Too.

Judge Jack B. Weinstein, after a jury found manufacturers not at fault, rendered his decision in NAACP v. AA Arms Inc. saying (according to this Washington Times report):
While agreeing there is "clear and convincing evidence" that gun dealers are guilty of "careless practices," U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled that members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were not "uniquely harmed" by illegal use of firearms.
"Pish, tosh! A mere technicality!" squawks the anti-gun crowd. While the defense of this lawsuit cost the defendants upwards of $10 million.

This isn't just an effort to legislate through the courts, it's also an effort to bankrupt the manufacturers.

If you're interested in reading the decision, it's available here in four parts in Adobe PDF format.

I haven't had time to read the whole thing, but these stood out:
That the industry has improved its practices in recent years was demonstrated by defendants. The number of individuals and entities licensed to sell firearms at the distributor or dealer level, FFLs, has been sharply reduced, making supervision by the ATF, manufacturers, and distributors easier.
That's not an "improved practice" of the industry but the result of ATF rules changes. And yes, it does make supervision by the ATF easier. Supervision by the manufacturers isn't part of their job description. The distributors are supposed to comply with the applicable laws. Then there's this:
Members of the industry continue to fail to take many obvious and easily implemented steps, such as requiring retailers to avoid multiple or repeat sales to the same customers. Such steps are an effective way of checking illegal handgun diversion as revealed by the fact that Virginia, which was a major supplier of illegal hanguns to New York, almost immediately largely choked off that supply when it enacted a law limiting multiple sales to the same person.
What happened to the BATF investigating multiple sales? Sellers already have to report multiple purchases to the BATF. What the hell are they doing with the information? Wouldn't it be better to investigate multiple purchasers and prosecute them if they prove to be gunrunners? Where is the law enforcement liability here?

And finally:
In short, the NAACP has demonstrated the great harm done to the New York public by the use and threat of use of illegally available handguns in urban communities. It also has shown that the diversion of large numbers of handguns into the secondary illegal market, and subsequently into dangerous criminal activities could be substantially reduced through policies voluntarily adopted by manufacturers and distributors of handguns without additional legislation.
Apparently the good judge hasn't taken Economics 101. The one Father Guido Sarducci sums up succinctly in his "Five-minute University" bit as "Supply and-a Demand. That's it."

Ask the English all about Supply and-a Demand, Judge. The market will be served.
Can We Hang the Remains From those Big Swords?

According to this AP report:
"We are certain that Odai and Qusai were killed today," said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez at a news conference in Baghdad. "The bodies were in such a condition where you could identify them."
Well, there goes two biological weapons.
You Go, Girl! - Updated

I was going to comment on English farmer Tony Martin's impending release on parole, but Rachel Lucas beat me to it. I can't better that.

A "danger to burglars". Heh. I certainly hope so.

Update:

Reading around, I found Spoon's commentary on this. (Sometimes I wonder why I bother when it's done so much better by so many others.) Money quote:
Americans are rightly grateful for the assistance that the British have provided over the past year. It would be a mistake, though, for us to let that gratitude blind us to the fact that Britain is becoming culturally every bit as alien to us as France or Germany. A shared language and a strong leader can slow Britain's drift away from us, but they can't stop it. Britain is a European country. Sooner or later, they're going to give us cause to remember that. Hopefully, when that does happen, our own leaders won't have put us in a position to let that damage America's interests.
Go read the whole thing.
Now HERE's an Interesting Idea

Randy Barnett, Boston School of Law professor, filled in for Glenn Reynolds for his MSNBC column, GlennReynolds.com. His two posts were about the right to arms, and I recommend you read both as they adress the anti-gun argument that the Second Amendment is meaningless because we don't have a "well-regulated militia" anymore. The first piece is here, and the second is here.

Money quote:
So what would Congress be able to do, if it wished, to organize the militia? Here is my suggestion:

Suppose Congress required the local National Guard (the “organized militia”) to organize monthly shooting instruction in small arms — including sidearms and automatic rifles — using weapons supplied by the Guard in government-built local shooting ranges. To be eligible, you would need to be a citizen and to pay at least the cost of the ammunition you would expend. A gun-safety lecture before each session would be mandatory. Do you suppose such shooting sessions would be popular and well-attended? I sure do. I think it would be wildly popular. The government could even make money selling official “U.S. Militia” paraphernalia. And it would all be perfectly constitutional.

As a result, citizen volunteers would be made to feel a part of the militia responsible for collective and personal self-defense. Being entirely voluntary, no one would need to conscientiously object. But tens of thousands of American citizens would also receive instruction in gun safety that could be highly beneficial and save lives. Although I am not a gun owner, I have taken a gun-safety course and it was very illuminating and even chastening. A carrot here would be far more effective than a stick in getting millions of current gun owners to learn more about gun safety.
That is an excellent idea.
Well, if the Press Actually Gets it Right, This Time

MSNBC is reporting that "Saddam Hussein’s sons Udai and Qusai Hussein were “likely” captured or killed in a U.S. raid in northern Iraq Tuesday."

That'd be a relief.

Maybe they can tell us what happened to Daddy.

Fox News reports:
MOSUL, Iraq — U.S. soldiers stormed a house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul (search) Tuesday, killing four key allies of Saddam Hussein (search) who were hiding inside, and a U.S. official told Reuters there was a "decent chance" that Saddam's sons were inside.

The house, a large villa, belonged to Saddam's cousin, and it was burned to the ground after a loud, four-hour gunbattle.

Residents of the city, 280 miles north of Baghdad, said the American soldiers were searching for Saddam's sons, Qusai and Udai, who have been reported in the area.

"Individuals of very high interest to the coalition forces were hiding out in the building," Lt. Col. William Bishop of the 101st Airborne Division told Reuters.
So, a definite possibility of a probable maybe?



More Cartoons! (Beats writing another essay!)


Artist is Larry Wright, Detroit News


Chip Bok, Akron Beacon-Journal


J.D. Crowe, Mobile (AL) Register


John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Mike Ritter, Arizona Tribune



And here's what I have to put up with in my local yellow-rag (and just one more reason I don't subscribe): Dave Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily (Red) Star



Monday, July 21, 2003

WoHoo! 10,000 Hits!

This morning at about 10:58 Mountain Standard Time (this is Arizona, after all) The Smallest Minority received it's 10,000th hit. Somebody from Virginia Tech's server.

I really have to post more, don't I?
Must Be Something in the Memphis Water

AlphaPatriot points to this story about the sixth home-defense shooting in five weeks in Memphis. Excerpt:
This is what happened about 2 a.m. Friday, according to a police report:

The robber took a screen off a back room window of the house, raised the window and crawled inside. He confronted the homeowner, Estella Schaefer, 65, and demanded money. He apparently was not armed.

It took Schaefer 15-20 minutes to look for money as he waited and she then gave him $200 in cash.

The robber told Schaefer, "'I know you've got more money than that. Someone told me,'" the police report says.

That's when Schaefer reached into her china cabinet and pulled a .32-caliber black revolver, shooting twice at the robber as he ran toward her to take the gun away from her.

He failed to get the gun, but Schaefer was cut on her left knuckle during the struggle. She declined medical assistance.

The robber ran out a side door and north on Meagher.

Police found a trail of blood going out of the house and for about half a block on a sidewalk on Meagher. They believe the robber was wounded.

Schaefer, who could not be reached by The Commercial Appeal for comment, told police that she didn't know if she hit the robber with either shot and had never seen him before.

Police described him as a black man in his mid- to late 20s, standing 5-foot-7 and weighing about 200 pounds.
Now, let's see what we have here:

A 65 year-old woman.

A 20-something 200 lb. male.

A loaded .32 caliber revolver "unsafely" stored in a china cabinet. (And, being a .32, it would most probably qualify as an evil, useless "Saturday Night Special" with no "sporting purpose.")

Per normal police recommendations, the woman tried to comply with her assailant's demands - after all, she gave him $200. It wasn't enough. THEN she resisted.

Results?

The woman was able to get to her weapon. ("Safe storage" would have made her gun unavailable to her.)

A minor injury on the part of the 65 year-old woman.

The gun wasn't taken from her by the younger, much larger male.

The younger, much larger male most probably has at least one and probably two .32 caliber holes in him.

The younger, much larger male left the premises.

But we're told that women using handguns for self defense is a myth. Yes, according to the Violence Policy Center "The false message...was clear: the greatest threat posed to a woman was an attack by a stranger and, the best form of protection a woman could rely upon was a handgun."

Now, just who is spreading a "false message?"

One other thing: Note in the VPC fear-mongering piece that they limit themselves to women killing their assailants. No mention is made of what actually defines a successful self-defense: Making your attacker STOP. Ms. Schaefer's assailant may not (probably will not) die as a result of his injuries. But he was stopped. But to those valiant defenders of life at the Violence Policy Center, that doesn't count.

And another: In D.C. what this woman did would be illegal. No handguns are allowed in D.C. In New York she'd have to have a pistol permit - that costs a ridiculous amount of time and money to get. (Read here for a typical example of the costs of getting a permit in NYC.) And she most probably wouldn't get a premises permit. Without that, she'd be in jail today.

For defending her life.