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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Is it worth $985 to live free of Hoplophobia?

Ran across this over at Very cute. The Phobia Clinic Go look. Here's a sample:
HOPLOPHOBIA: (Hoplophobia, Fear of Firearms, and Fear of Guns)
1: hoplophobia: a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of firearms that compels avoidance, despite the understanding by the phobic individual and reassurance by others that there is no danger. 2: hoplophobia: a strong fear of, dislike of, or aversion to firearms.

Our board certified team specializes in helping individuals overcome fears, phobias & anxiety of all kinds, and is particularly focused on problems such as hoplophobia. With a success rate close to 100% we can offer to refund our fee to clients if they are not successful in overcoming the fear.
Hell, I can probably cure you for a lot less. Say $650?

A Followup to Steven's Post on Crime and Race

Now that I've had time to read and digest Steven Den Beste's essay I have just a couple of comments. Overall, I agree with his points, but I have a some issues with his argument. First, I'd like to point out that the object of my post was directly in conjunction with the abuse of firearms in crime, and the overwhelming (6:1) ratio of young black men to all other young men who are both the victims and the perpetrators of violent crime. Steven writes:
[I]t leaves open the question of why it is that inner city blacks are so much more at risk, and whether anything can be done to help them. There have been many attempts to do so, and they're something of a cause célèbre in certain circles. Their apparent failure is used by many as evidence that there are still lingering effects of slavery and discrimination, even after all this time.

Is it true? Certainly there are still such effects; things are vastly better now than they were when I was a kid, but we haven't yet reached the point of having a race-blind culture. But there's also the fact that a lot of blacks live in the suburbs, hold professional positions (some with great responsibility), make a good living, and don't seem to be any more prone to crime than anyone else. And recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean who are also Negroes don't seem to have the same troubles. Whatever is going on is more complicated than skin color.
I did not intend to imply that "whatever is going on" is due to "skin color." It just so happens that skin color is one of the recognizable traits. You also have to add youth and sex, urbanization and culture. Steven also wrote:
But I'm not sure we can conclude that the correlation of high crime to race is actually significant.
I would certainly say that you can't conclude causation, but correlation? Even Jesse Jackson has concluded differently.

Steven asks:
Are we rather seeing the result of a residue of natural filtration, whose tendencies to crime are then reinforced through local concentration?
If you remove the words "to crime," isn't that another description of culture? Steven concludes with this question:
Before we can solve a problem, we have to understand what the problem is. And we have to begin by asking whether there even is a problem. Are we just seeing a physical concentration of the low end of the curve?
Um, Steven, there is a problem. That problem is defined by the fact that young, black, urban males perpetrate and are the victims of violent crime at six times the rate of the rest of their age and sex demographic. The reason is cultural, and it is the same reason that young black urban males do poorly in school. It is not socially acceptable in their peer groups to be academically proficient, and it is socially acceptable to be violent. Recent immigrants from Africa and the Carribean, while sharing the same skin color, age group, sex and urbanization, do not share the culture. This is illustrated well by a May 19 Washington Times Weekly Edition article (no longer available online without subscription) entitled "African immigrants balk at views of U.S. black leaders." Money quotes:
Many immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean do not wish to be classified as black, because black leaders here have failed to reach out to the immigrants and identify their concerns, said members of the panel, which was composed primarily of representatives from the liberal black establishment.”


Studies have also found that African-born residents in the U.S. are better-educated and have among the highest per-capita incomes of any immigrant group....


The Economist reported in 1996 that ¾ of African immigrants have some college experience and that one if four has an advanced degree....


Many immigrants are not even aware of the “color line” that prevents minorities here from excelling, other panelists said in amazement.
Perhaps because the "color line" is completely overblown, but a fixture in the culture that African and Carribean immigrants reject?

The whole point of my (unfortunately butchered) piece is that violent crime in America is excessively concentrated in a very small, identifiable group. The volume of violent crime in that very small group is large enough to significantly elevate the national statistics. The general response to this has not been to attempt to address this specific problem, it has been (in large part) an effort to implement wholesale "gun control." That effort affects overwhelmingly the people who are NOT perpetrators of violent crime, but affects not at all those who are. It's the definition of insanity - repeating the same behavior over and over while expecting a different result.

As Steven has illustrated in great detail, the U.S. government is currently investing billions of dollars and hundreds of lives in an attempt to change a culture - on the other side of the world. That culture is directly responsible for taking the lives of several thousand Americans over the past few decades. Here in this country we have a culture responsible for taking thousands of American lives every year, and we are not attempting to change that culture at all. We must be supporting it, because otherwise the loss of one in every thousand young black men between the ages of 15 and 30 every year to violence ought to be enough of an incentive all by itself to produce a paradigm shift in that culture.

Instead, we argue about "gun control."
When It's This Good, All I Can Do is Link To It.

The Spoons Experience disassembles, folds, spindles, mutilates, and tears the manufacturers tag off of a recent BBC piece on American women and guns. A teaser:
I want to talk about the bint who wrote the BBC piece, Limey Reporterette Vanessa Collingridge (Nota Bene -- with that sentence, I've just broken 17 laws of the European Union, and have technically committed a war crime in Belgium).

Go read. Don't imbibe whilst doing so.

(Did that sound Limey enough?)
Endorsed by Kim du Toit

In an earlier post I related the story of Don Strickland who recently used a North American Arms .22 Magnum mini-revolver in an attempt to foil a robbery. (Next Time, Stick it in His EAR)

Now Kim du Toit has added one to his arsenal as a "Truck Gun" in much the same way Mr. Strickland did.

Hmm.. my truck gun is my Kimber Custom Classic Stainless.

But I will admit that for concealed-carry, the mini-revolver is a LOT more concealable. And it beats having nothing at all. A cylinder full of .22 magnums is nothing to sneeze at.
I'm Honored!

Steven Den Beste weighs in on the specific questions of crime, race, poverty and the bell curve at least in part because of my post RACIST! below. He does his standard thorough job. After I have a chance to consider it in detail, I'll have a response.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Dept. of Our Collapsing Schools

Via Common Sense and Wonder comes the link to this Fred Reed piece entitled The Two Cultures. A taste:
I sometimes think the country is dividing itself into two cultures. The first, and much the smaller, will be of those who read widely and know much, who are cultured and live in a wider world than the merely present. The second will be of those who received high grades without understanding that they were being cheated by their elders. An abyss will separate the two.

The chain of cultivation, once broken, is not easily rejoined. We are doing everything we can to break it. It is a shame. People deserve more. We are doing this, as nearly as I can tell, so that the dull and uninterested will feel good about themselves. We are doing it to conceal that some of us are better than others.

Yes, better. That word.

In the past it was recognized that certain qualities were superior to others, and that people who cultivated those superior qualities were superior to those who didn't. The honest were thought superior to the thieving, the kind to the cruel, the provident to the shiftless, the wise to the foolish, the learned to the ignorant. Today one must not hold these views. They constitute the crime of elitism, which is the recognition that the better is preferable to the worse.

One must never, ever notice that some people are better than others.

Not to notice the inescapable requires either stupidity or moral blindness. Since few people are very stupid, we have chosen the road of blindness. We feign stupidity for reasons of politics.
Much more in the same key. Excellent essay, and a good companion piece to Bill Whittle's Responsibility.

Go read.
OMFG, That's Funny!

Via Rand Simberg's Transterrestial Musings comes the link to The Lemon's "Lifecycle of a News Story!" (With pictures!) My favorite part:
Bill Whittle will land just long enough to post a 104 page essay on why America will come out on top.

And it will rock.
Go read. That one gets archived to the hard drive.
Now THERE'S an Economic Advisor I Can Get Behind!

Artist is Chip Bok, of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal.

Highly recommended reading (no pun intended) is Jimmy's A Pirate Looks at Fifty. Very enjoyable look into a man who once told school counselors when asked what kind of life he expected to have if he continued in his ways, "An interesting one." And he was right.
...The Blind Shall Be Made to See...

This is too cool. Via Samizdata, I found this article:
Cell transplant restores vision

A blind man can see again after being given a stem cell transplant.

Mike May, of California, had been blind for 40 years since an accident at the age of three where he lost one eye and was blinded in the other.

During that time he had some ability to perceive light, but could not make out form or contrast.

He said he had no visual memories from his early childhood.

The operation transplanted corneal and limbal stem cells into his right eye.
It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing, and a huge improvement over complete blindness IMHO. Go read the whole article.

Stem cell research appears to hold great promise in a great many areas.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Top Ten Signs You Had a Bad Day at the Range

10: The 12 year-old girl with the Mini 14 beats you in the High Power Match

9: The wind knocked down more targets than you did

8: You measure your groups using a yardstick

7: You remember to bring all 10 new magazines for a function check but forget to bring the rifle they fit in.

6: The guy in the stall next to yells "Hey, watch this!!" right before everything goes dark.

5: You realize you forgot to put on your ear muffs right after you pull the trigger on your Barrett .50BMG rifle.

4: The only target you hit all day long was the urinal cake in the restroom.

3: After you step out of the restroom the cute counter girl tells you 'Nice 2" stubby'

....but you don't own any revolvers.

2: While shooting skeet you bring down Air Force One.

and the #1 sign you have had a bad day at the range....

1: Your new buddy keeps refering to the prone position as the missionary position.

(Thanks to AR15 contributor SgtAR - content slightly edited.)

That's it for tonight, folks. It's getting late and a storm is rolling in.
That Would Be a Threat Level III Vest, Wouldn't It?

Day by Day
Bias? What Bias?

Dale Amon, a contributor to Samizdata, points to this Fox News editorial by Eric Burns in response to a peice by Walter Cronkite. The money quote from Eric's piece is this:
The majority of young men and women who enter journalism do so not because they want to report the news but because they want to make a difference in society. In other words, they want to report certain kinds of news. They do not want to convey facts or explain processes; they want to shine spotlights on abuse. In some cases they are motivated by idealism; in others, by the hope that some of the light will reflect back on them.
I read Bernie Goldberg's book Bias shortly after it came out, and when it isn't being a Dan Rather hate-fest, Bernie says much the same thing. And he also makes this point: Journalists don't see the bias because the overwhelming majority of them think the same way. To them, they are "fair and balanced" because their position (as far as they are concerned) is "middle of the road." In fact, in one of the "Dan Rather" bits, Bernie quotes Dan as saying that he considered the New York Times "Middle-of-the-road." In another he provided the story of the New York socialite who couldn't believe Nixon won the presidential election because: "I don't know ANYBODY who voted for him!" Same idea. Reality doesn't match perspective.

Wall Street Journal editor emeritus Robert Bartley made essentially the same observation recently:
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.
The interesting thing from my take is that with the rise of Fox News (which is far from "fair and balanced" itself) the other news organizations are having to respond because of market pressure - liberally biased news reporting is losing its following and its revenue. What a shock. The liberal elite claims that there is no liberal bias in media and point to the fact that Big Media is owned by giant (and therefore obviously conservative) corporations. Like most liberal ideas, that's missing some important facts. For one thing, if the news media (reporters, editors, producers) are of a common mindset, then that's the mindset you're going to find in the news produced, regardless of who runs the company. Second, the giant corporations haven't been interested in directing the tone of the news, but in making a profit - a point well illustrated by Fox News' cometary rise in popularity. Now we're seeing MSNBC and CNN trying out "conservative" talking-heads in an effort to emulate Fox's ratings (and income.) Rupert Murdoch changed the paradigm. He was the conservative force driving Fox News in its conservative direction, but I think it more market-driven than ideology-driven. He just found a way to make more money than his competition.

Which brings us to most destructive thing I've seen when it comes to the industry: News as a profit center.

It has been argued that until the (commercial) success of the TV news magazine 60 Minutes the network news programs were run as a "loss-leader" - a "prestige" thing. (Walter Cronkite as "the most trusted man in America.") The national and local news programs were provided to meet the FCC requirement for community service, and reporters did stories on things that needed to be reported on (and were, often, pretty boring.) Once the business people found out that the news department might provide a revenue stream rather than be a sucking vortex to the bottom line, then the news (both local and national) became ever more sensational in order to draw viewership and advertising dollars. This (oh, please, jeebus) hit its high-water mark with the coverage of the O.J. Simpson circus, but we still see it in cases like Jonbenet Ramsey, Kobe Bryant, Laci Peterson et al.

So now what we generally get is a mix of sensational (but overall unimportant) stories (many of which used to be handled by the "entertainment" columnists but are now covered by front-rank "journalists"), and actually newsworthy stuff that is (whenever possible, it seems) reported with a "liberal" slant, and is far too often (as I illustrated when I started this blog) incomplete, inaccurate, misleading and sometimes even deliberately mendacious.

Nobody would consider Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, or any of the other blow-dried newsreaders "the most trusted person in America" any longer.

And it's carried over into print journalism, too. (It can be argued that it actually orginated there and it's simply returned to its roots, but that's an essay unto itself.) What I decry, though, is what I consider to be an overall decline in the quality of the reporting being done. There used to be a mnemonic taught in journalism school, FACT: Fast, Accurate, Complete, True. Now they concentrate on Fast and Sensational. To hell with accurate, complete or even true. As Matt Drudge put it:
"I suppose I could have blown up a few trucks, put bad food back on the deli counter or accused the military of nerve-gassing deserters and kept my journalistic integrity throughout. But I realized early on, it is easier to sleep at night if you can say at every step that you reported the truth as you knew it."
No wonder the "mainstream" media dislikes Drudge so much.
Nationalized Health Care Dept.: Equally Bad Care for All

Sorry I missed the article when it was still free, but Kiwi Pundit points to this NYT story blurb on the state of National Dental Care in Wales:
Carmarthen Journal; A Nagging Pain in Britain: How to Find a Dentist

Wales is so lacking in British government-subsidized dental treatment that 600 people recently lined up outside dental office in Carmarthen seeking one of 300 advertised appointments to see National Health Service dentist; some pitched tents overnight and others came from 90 miles away; ever fewer British dentists are willing to endure grueling, assembly-line work required to take part in National Health Service.
Here's another story (complete, this time) on the problem:
NHS dentist shortage is exposed

The full extent of the shortage of NHS dentists is exposed today.

New statistics show that fewer than half of Londoners are registered with a state dentist - the worst record in the country.

The figure has fallen to as low as 21 per cent in some areas - raising concerns about the state of dental health in the capital. Critics blame health chiefs for failing to prioritise dentistry and say urgent action is needed to widen access to NHS care.

Thousands of patients across Britain are being forced into private-dental care because of the shortage of places on NHS registers.

Earlier this month, 600 people queued outside an NHS dental practice in Wales because it was taking on new patients.

The latest figures show that on average, only 40 per cent of Londoners are registered with a state dentist, compared to 74 per cent in Great Yarmouth, 71 per cent in Ipswich and 82 per cent in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

The worst affected areas in the capital are Kensington and Chelsea, where only 21 per cent of residents are on the register; City and Hackney, where 29.4 per cent have a state dentist; and Tower

Hamlets, where only 28 per cent have a place. By contrast, 48 per cent in Haringey are registered, with 46 per cent in Westminster.

Many of those who cannot register with a state dentist and are unable to afford private care are forced to visit NHS drop-in clinics, where staff do not have access to their records and only provide emergency care.

Dr Evan Harris, health spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "This is bad news for Londoners' teeth. As dentists leave the NHS in droves, the Government is putting money into providing dental access centres for emergencies, instead of people getting care throughout the year. Also, patients have to travel further."

In 1999, the Prime Minister promised that within two years, everybody who wanted access to an NHS dentist would have it.

However, the number of dentists working for the NHS has declined - many claiming that poor pay forces them to go private. State dentists, who are selfemployed and work as "independent contractors" for the Government, receive about £18 for filling a tooth. The private patient fee is about £50.

A spokeswoman for the British Dental Associat ion said : "Because dentists are contractors, it is up to them where they work and how many NHS patients they treat. We worry that increasingly only emergency care will be available on the NHS."

John Renshaw, chairman of the BDA's executive board, said: "The NHS pays dentists a standard fee. This discourages dentists from working in some areas. The Health and Social Care Bill will give primary care trusts the power to set payments, which should improve the situation."
Here's ANOTHER story about just how hard it is to get dental care in Wales:
I broke law to help others

A NORTH Wales pensioner last night told how he helped scores of people desperate for dental care - even though it was illegal.

For years Russell Hall has fitted people with dentures. He even advertised his services in the Yellow Pages.

The 70-year-old told the Daily Post: "I know what I have done is illegal, but when there are people coming up to you desperate for help, then I was not going to turn them away."

Mr Hall, of Hafod Road West, Penrhyn Bay, is a retired dental technician but not a qualified dentist.

Yesterday, he was fined £1,250 by Llandudno magistrates after client Marjorie Porter, of Penrhyn Bay, complained to the General Dental Council.

He was also ordered to repay her £360 and prosecution costs of £1,616.

In court he claimed less than half the population had access to an NHS dentist, leaving people no option but to seek illegal aid.

A dental technician makes false teeth but is not allowed to work in a person's mouth. That has to be done by a qualified dentist.
I just shelled out about $1,100 to an periodontist to have my wife's teeth worked on (after she suffered for six months because she hates going to the dentist.) But at least we were able to make the appointment(s) and get her seen.

Please, jeebus - no nationalized health care here.
Dept. of Our Collapsing Schools

AlphaPatriot weighs in on this story about the Tennessee State Board of Education setting the graduation requirement to 60% in order for a school to stay off the "low-performing" list.
Tennessee high schools will need to graduate only 60% of students to stay off the state's low-performing list.
I can't do it any better. Go read.

And home-school your kids if it is at all possible.

Friday, August 22, 2003

That's Not a Walther!

Feces Flinging Monkey once again links to something odd and interesting, the Internet Watergun Museum. But I must quibble. On this page:

the middle gun on the bottom row is labled "pistool Walther." That's no Walther, that's a broomhandle Mauser!

The one immediately to its right, simply labled "pistool" could be a 1902 Browning Automatic.

(Sometimes being the repository for all this arcane knowledge seems lame pays off.)

And as an example, of the RACIST!™ paintbrush we have this report that Ted Nugent is suing over being accused of making RACIST!™ comments. He's suing because one of his concerts was cancelled over the accusation, and he's suing "the City of Muskegon; Mayor Stephen Warmington; City Manager Bryon Mazade; Meridian Entertainment, the concert's promoter, and others as defendants." Money quote:
"In a world of political correctness, there is no more reputation-destroying term than racist," Nugent said in the statement. "And the alleged statements falsely attributed to me could not have been more inaccurate or misleading, completely counter to what I stand for."
Nugent's full statement is available here. This story is the only one I found that had any clarification on just what Nugent said:
A May 5 interview on Denver radio station KRFX-FM's morning show was cut short because DJs Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax said Nugent went too far when he used several racial slurs.

The interview focused on guitars until Nugent used the word Jap, to which Lewis and Floorwax immediately protested, The Rocky Mountain News reported. Nugent then used another Asian slur and the DJs called him on that.

Nugent next used the n word when talking about comedian Richard Pryor's humor and said that, years ago, one of the Funk Brothers used the term to compliment Nugent's guitar playing.
On this topic, let me refer you to Bill Whittle's most recent essay, Responsibility:
To be Politically Correct these days, you must accept the collectivist belief that words are like weapons, endowed with their own internal, innate power, and this power, like that of a chambered bullet, cannot be trusted to be used responsibly and so must be outlawed and banished from the community.

PC advocates have strict rules for what they call Hate Speech, and using such speech essentially makes you a criminal.

So much for the First Amendment. But the Bill of Rights never meant much to these people; indeed, they see it as an impediment to human progress.

Implicit in this belief is that I have the power to harm you by my use of language. Notice that all the responsibility falls on the speaker; the listener, the subject, is completely powerless, and has achieved the highest status with the group: victim. Note also that this worshipping of the victim, is in essence, the elevation of the most powerless and the least responsible to divine status. It is a very basic sleight of hand, that allows the controlling elites to maintain that they are only trying to help the poor and downtrodden, when in reality their actions are clearly nothing more than a naked grab for power that would shame the most ruthless corporate CEO.

Who decides what is hate speech? The group decides. If one person in the group seriously finds something offensive, then that term or phrase or entire concept is added to the list or proscribed terms, and this is how we get to office memo’s being critical of the term “brainstorming” as being offensive to epileptic co-workers.

If we buy into this idea of Political Correctness, we do several things, all ruinous: we give other people the power to demean us, we remove any chance at reasoned debate on any issue, and most importantly, in a group of 290 million professionally offended people, we come to a vocabulary of perhaps twenty or thirty words that have been so bleached of potential offensiveness and meaning that language itself becomes worthless.

If you have not read 1984 by George Orwell, you have deprived yourself of an entire education right there. There lies the eternal dictatorship, the ultimate all-pervasive Superstate. And how did such a monstrosity come into being? By controlling language. Not only controlling what could be said, but by so simplifying and infantilizing language that entire concepts become literally unthinkable because there were no words for them. Here we sit talking about Freedom, Liberty, Responsibility and all the rest. What if the act of speaking one's mind was described only as “ungood.” What if the only adjectives applied to a life of subjection and servility were “double plus good,” the very words subjection, slavery, servility, submission banished generations ago?

You look out into the street and see someone tearing down a poster of Big Brother; the offender is hauled away, never to be seen again. How do you describe such an action without courage, audacity, rebellion, resistance and freedom? You can’t. You can’t describe them to others, and you can’t think about them yourself. Ungood behavior. You’re a prisoner of your limited, puerile language, and that is precisely where the Politically Correct movement wants to take us, to a world where language and thought is rigidly controlled – by them.

To those who want to limit speech they see as hateful, I can only utter these simple words of protest: Go straight to fucking hell you miserable authoritarian cocksuckers!

Forgive me, I know that offended some of you. But remember this: words are words. They are encapsulated ideas, and the only harm they can do us is the harm we ourselves allow them to do us.

How much better, how much stronger and healthier are we, when we dare anyone to use whatever terms they chose, and rather than sitting as powerless victims, rise in angry and righteous indignation to fight the human filth that use words like nigger, spick, gook, mick, kike, dago, and all the rest? How much more secure, how much more inoculated, are we when we can hear these words knowing that those who use them are discredited and terrified infants so out of ideas and argument that they must resort to such childish tactics to reassure themselves? What words can hurt us when we refuse to be hurt by words? What simple and powerful wisdom is bound up in Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me?

I have been called a few choice names in the course of these writings, and I have quickly learned that I do not want to be admired and respected by totalitarians, willfully uneducated idiots, smug and jaded suburban revolutionaries, and apologists for dictators. If people like that agreed with me I would be ashamed of myself. I’m proud to anger those people, and whatever names they choose to call me I consider a badge of pride, considering their source. We can indeed judge ourselves by the loathsomeness of our enemies.

The defense against hate speech is not to put our hands over our ears, our eyes, and someone else’s mouth. The way to fight this human virus is to do what we have been doing: hold those who use such language up to ridicule and scorn, to use our own words as a people blessed with freedom of speech, and to let such archaic and diseased notions and epithets die a quick death in the marketplace of better ideas.

It is a far more dignified, self-respecting and adult way to deal with life’s travails than crying and stamping your feet when someone calls you a bad name. Those people will always exist, even within the competing factions of a PC universe. If we have free will, we can control our own hearts. And if we let mere words hurt us, we have abdicated this responsibility, and given it to someone else.

It is tantamount to surrendering an impregnable fortress without a shot being fired.
"Jap" is a slur? I'm married to one! As I mentioned below, my wife and I went to see Bad Boys 2 last Sunday. The scene I commented on where Will Smith and Martin Lawrence haze a young man, Will Smith uses the "N-word" repeatedly. It's not a slur when blacks use it, but anyone outside that group will be immediately painted RACIST!™ for doing so, regardless of context or intent.

Ah, the power of words.

Is Ted Nugent RACIST!™? I don't know. I doubt it. He seems to strike me as the kind of guy who takes the measure of the individual, not the group. Is he "insensitive" - Politically INcorrect?

Damned straight.

He's also a staunch defender of the right to arms.

So of course he's a RACIST!™, right?

UPDATE to the UPDATE: Dateline 8/25/03 2:20 PM

I found another article concerning precisely what Nugent said here (though how long the link will be valid I don't know.) Here's the pertinent part:
The Nuge, never one for his subtlety when it comes to politically incorrect views, recently made some disparaging remarks about Asians while on Denver morning show program Lewis and Floorwax.

Reportedly he began to talk about guitars, complaining that they used to be made by "Japs". It gets worse.

Kathy Lee, Lewis and Floorwax's producer, is Korean-American. Instead of an apology to Lee, Nugent said "Maybe she'd prefer the term gook?" and asked her to "Go get me some sweet and sour," according to host Rick Lewis.

Nugent has said that his words were not harmful as his intentions were only in jest. He then went on to compare his statements to those of other minority artist such as N.W.A. and Richard Pryor - then bandied about a derogatory word about African-Americans.
Ahem. Let me repeat Bill Whittle's words:
How much better, how much stronger and healthier are we, when we dare anyone to use whatever terms they chose, and rather than sitting as powerless victims, rise in angry and righteous indignation to fight the human filth that use words like nigger, spick, gook, mick, kike, dago, and all the rest?
Nuge? You're an idiot.

Thursday, August 21, 2003


A recent post on Samizdata brought up a point that gets little attention by gun rights proponents because we get tired of being painted with the "RACIST!" brush. (It's almost another Godwin's Law that once someone screams "RACIST!" that all intelligent discourse has ended.) That post linked to this one on the Useful Fools website that discussed the difference in crime levels between the U.S. and Europe, and then it goes into some specific homicide data by ethnicity. The conclusion of the piece is that, while the U.S. is considered by Europeans to be a horribly crime-infested nation, the fact is that we have quite a bit less crime than Europeans do, with the single exception of the crime of homicide. And if you look carefully at homicide, you will find that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators and victims of homicide are - wait for it - black. Specifically, young black males. If we could somehow magically reduce the number of black-on-black homicides in our statistics to the general level, our homicide rates would be the equivalent of the average major European nation. This argues then, that guns are not our problem.

But mentioning this fact tends to get gun rights proponents labelled "RACIST!" for some reason, as this comment to the Samizdata piece illustrates:
"[The US] murder rate is high largely due to the multicultural nature of our society."


I'm disappointed, I never thought such a blatantly racist view would be given support here. What's gotten into your heads?

"well the crime rate would be lower if it weren't for the n*ggers"...nah, f__k that.

Posted by: b-psycho on August 15, 2003 11:10 PM
I've already discussed the roller-coaster homicide rates the U.S. exhibited through the 20th Century that were unaffected by "gun control" efforts. I touched on the race point (very) briefly here:
But here's something really interesting that will undoubtedly get me labled as a racist: Who makes up the overwhelming majority of the homicide victims? In 1999 a total of 4,998 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 (inclusive) died from homicide. Of those, 2,453 were black males - 49%. But black males between the ages of 15 and 24 (inclusive) represent only 7.6% of the population of the US of that age. Read that again - 7.6% of all Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 provide 49% of the victims of homicide by all methods for that age group.

Now, is it a "gun storage" problem, or is it something else?
So, let's look at homicide, shall we?

This site lists a large amount of crime data gleaned from the FBI's Uniform Crime reports. For example, in 2000 the U.S. suffered 1,424,289 violent crimes: 15,517 murders, 90,186 rapes, 407,842 robberies, and 910,744 aggravated assaults. Just for fact checking, I compared the homicide data with this FBI site, and it agrees. According to this FBI page, of those 15,517 homicides, 51.5% (7991) of them were committed by blacks (I do not use the hyphenated-American terminology, sorry if I offend anyone,) and 46.7% (7,246) of the victims were black. (This assumes one homicide per offender, of course.) According to the table, blacks made up 12.1% of the population in 2000 (and if that rate of homicide keeps up, they'll be a significantly smaller minority in a few years.) The rate per 100,000 population for white victims was 5.0 homicides per 100k. The rate for black victims was 31.9.

Let's run some numbers. The total homicide rate in the U.S. was 5.5/100,000 population, and the total number of homicides was 15,517.

15,517 x 100,000 / 5.5 = 282,127,272.

That agrees well with the 2000 Census count of 281,421,906, which is the number I'll use. To check, 84.2% of the population is white, or:

281,421,906 x 0.842 = 237,000,000

(Per the Census, 211,460,626, but police statistics tend to include hispanics as white, and they are 35,305,818 thus the total is 246,746,444. Split the difference, 240,000,000. Close enough.)

The homicide rate for whites is 5.0/100,000, so:

240,000,000 / 100,000 x 5.0 = 12,000.

Say what? There were only 15,517 homicides in total according to the FBI. Something smells fishy. Let's continue, though. Blacks represent 12.1% of the population, so:

282,000,000 x 0.121 = 34,100,000

The Census says 36,419,434. Split the difference, 35,000,000. The homicide rate is 31.9/100,000, so:

35,000,000 / 100,000 x 31.9 = 11,000.

Oooookay. 12,000 + 11,000 = 23,000. That's an error of 48% Something is obviously awry.

Let's try a different source. I have found the Centers for Disease Control WISQARS Fatal Injury Report tool quite helpful, so I'll use it again. The latest data is for 2000, so let's see what it says.

Total homicides: 16,765.
Total population: 275,264,999.
National homicide rate: 6.09/100,000 (Higher than the FBI's 5.50)
Black homicide victims: 7,867 - Proportion: 46.9%, in agreement with FBI data.
Rate per 100,000: 22.28 - Considerably lower than the FBI says.
Other homicide victims: 8,898 - Proportion: 53.1%
Rate per 100,000: 3.7 - Again, considerably lower than the FBI says, but the ratio of 6:1 does agree with FBI numbers.

Now, if the U.S. had an overall homicide rate of 3.7/100,000 the total number of homicides in 2000 would have been 10,185. The total number of homicides for the black demographic: 1,306. A reduction of 6,561.

Another nice feature of the WISQUARS tool:

Number of firearm related homicides, all ages, all races, both sexes: 10,801
(36% of the total homicides - 5,964 people, were killed without a firearm, for a non-firearm homicide rate of 2.17/100,000.)
Number of black victims of homicide by firearm: 5,699 (53% of all homicide victims by firearm)
Number of black male victims between 15 and 35 years of age: 4,528 (79% of the total black victims of homicide by firearm, 42% of all victims)
Number of all other male victims between 15 and 35 years of age: 3,274 (30% of all homicide victims by firearm)
Number of black male victims between 15 and 35 that died by firearm: 4,343 (84% of the black male victims, 40% of the gunshot homicides.)
Number of all other male victims between 15 and 35 that died by firearm: 2,402 (73% of the white male victims - close enough to parity.)
And note, 62% of all gunshot homicide victims are males between 15 and 35 years of age.

The homicide by firearm rate for males between 15 and 35? Seventeen per hundred-thousand population.

So, does this prove anything? No. But it suggests, and pretty strongly. It suggests that the homicide by firearm problem is concentrated in a small, identifiable group. It suggests that homicide is heavily concentrated in the overall black demographic, and especially in young black men. And it suggests that instead of pursuing wholesale gun control laws that affect everybody, we ought to be pursuing policies that directly address that problem, because "gun control" doesn't. And it isn't a case of whites killing blacks, either. The fact is, it's blacks killing other blacks in disproportionate numbers, and it's largely restricted to urban (read "gang-related") violence. See these Bureau of Justice Statistic charts showing the trends in homicide by race of offender and victim. Read this LA Times article to get some kind of feeling for the problem, or this USA Today piece. Money quote, from the second piece:
"Between 1976 and 1999, 94% of black murder victims were killed by other African-Americans. Nearly two-thirds of black homicides were drug related."
Homicide is an epidemic in the young black male demographic. If it were a communicable disease, we'd be wearing ribbons and spending money on drug research. Instead we're banning "assault weapons" and trying to pass licensing and registration laws that this very demographic is going to ignore. (See: England, gun bans, "Yardies", etc.) And the public health organizations and independent groups are trying to treat firearms as if they were the disease vector.

Now, let's look at some European homicide rates from Interpol. (Interpol puts the U.S. rate at 5.54 in 2000 in agreement with the FBI. All data is year 2000 unless otherwise noted).

France: 3.7
Switzerland: 2.25.
Spain: 2.91.
Portugal: 3.32
Germany: 3.37.
The Netherlands (1998 data): 10.87. (That's not a misprint, nor an anomaly.)
Norway: 2.66.
Sweden: 10.01. (2001 data, but not anomalous.) (Nope. This data is BS. Apparently Sweden's rate is about 1.2 and steady.)
Finland: 0.71.
Denmark: 4.03
England & Wales: 1.5
Scotland (same gun laws as England & Wales): 13.3 (also not anomalous.) ERROR! See the bottom of the article. This data is suspect, because it absolutely does not agree with Scottish government data that indicates a homicide rate of about 2.0.
Northern Ireland (if anything, stricter): 9.90. (This does appear anomalous, but the data available is minimal.)
The Republic of Ireland: 1.54 (and historically steady.)
Italy: 3.75.
Poland: 3.4
Luxembourg: 14.01! (But they've had three seriously bad years in a row. With a tiny population, a small number change results in a large rate change.)

So, what does this suggest? Well, remember, the USA has a non-firearm homicide rate of 2.17 - about equal to a lot of European nation's entire homicide rates. I have seen gun-control proponents state that if we eliminated all handguns, our national homicide rate would drop to a level like this. (And if frogs had wings...) But what it does indicate is that the level of homicide predominantly among our black population, and specifically concentrated among young black men skews our national homicide rate significantly. It also suggests something else: that homicide rates are very "culture-specific." Switzerland, a heavily armed nation, has relatively small homicide rate. Finland, with a large preponderance of personal firearms, has a tiny homicide rate a rate of about 3.0, while right next door Sweden has a rate nearly twice the US's (depending on which rate you want to believe) of about 1.2 as noted above. And on the other side of Sweden, Denmark's homicide rate is less than half Sweden's. (Or not. The Interpol data isn't reliable.) (The Fins kill themselves at a prodigious rate - primarily by asphxiation - but have yet to take up the bad American habit of killing several other people first.) England, with all its gun control problems still maintains its tiny homicide rate, but Scotland has the same gun laws and its rate is higher than the U.S. rate has ever been, and has been higher still. (15.35 in 1998 for instance.)

It also suggests that our near 1:1 parity of firearms per person in this nation (admittedly concentrated among perhaps 35% of the adult population) is not the cause of our homicide rates. So what about other kinds of crime? The U.S. is almost universally viewed as a lawless wild west. How about it? This question is somewhat stickier, because different countries record crime differently. Homicide is pretty straightforward - somebody died at someone else's hands. But is slapping someone equivalent to beating them with a tire-iron? (Legally it is here - it's assault and battery and can be recorded as such.) What about rape? Are the levels recorded affected by how likely a woman in country A is likely to report a rape compared to country B? How about burglary? Well, Interpol records "breaking and entering," so we'll look at that:

United States: 728.80/100,000
England & Wales: 1,728.98
Scotland: 1,831.36
Northern Ireland: 933.27
Republic of Ireland: 595.27
Switzerland: 837.96
Spain: 530.40
France: 633.97
Portugal: 87.12
Germany: 1,272.16
The Netherlands (1998): 3,100.40
Sweden (2001): 1,323.90
Finland: 1,690.52
Denmark: 1,868.06
Poland: 943.73
Luxembourg: 1,045.75
(No data for Italy or Norway.)

With the exceptions of France, Ireland, Spain and Portugal (and I'm suspicious of Portugal's numbers) every other nation listed has a higher to much higher incidence of "breaking and entering." Property crime seems rampant in Europe. How about "robbery and violent theft?"

United States: 144.98
England & Wales: 160.75
Scotland: 82.83
Northern Ireland: 104.08
Republic of Ireland: 38.53
Switzerland: 30.22
Spain: 229.92
France: 187.69
Portugal: 51.94
Germany: 72.31
The Netherlands (1998): 92.28
Sweden (2001): 95.83
Finland: 53.06
Denmark: 59.14
Poland: 138.49
Luxembourg: 82.44
Italy: 65.35
Norway: 47.47

Assuming this data is collected uniformly for all the nations (a big assumption) it appears the U.S. isn't all that lawless after all. England's rate is higher, France's is higher still, and Spain's is way out there. These are all considered "First World" industrialized democratic nations. Again, Sweden - straddled by Finland and Denmark, has a significantly higher crime rate than either of its Scandanavian neighbors.

And again, remember that the preponderance of criminal activity in this country is done by a tiny identifiable minority of the population - young black men. Is it racist to point out the facts? Consider this quote:
There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see it's somebody white and feel relieved. - Jesse Jackson
Yes, that Jesse Jackson, from a U.S. News & World Report story, January 17, 1994. (I'd seen it before, but Clayton Cramer has the cite.) Even Jesse recognizes the cold hard facts.

Crime is epidemic among the population of young black men. Death by gunshot is the leading cause of death for young black men. According to this Bureau of Justice Statistics report, 6.6% of the total U.S. black male population was in prison in 1996, compared to 0.94% of the population of white males. That means that if you're a white male, you probably don't personally know anyone serving time, but if you're a black male you're quite likely to.

But we're told that guns are the cause of our crime problems.

No, they're not. They're a symptom. A symptom of a much bigger problem - a problem that we aren't addressing because to do so in any meaningful way is politically incorrect. It's RACIST!™ to recognize the problem, dont'cha know! It's RACIST!™ to suggest that perhaps 40+ years of making the welfare safety net a hammock has been destructive to the black family. It's RACIST!™ to suggest that perhaps "midnight basketball" programs are a sorry joke when it comes to solving the problem of inner-city violence. It's even RACIST!™ to suggest that the War on (some) Drugs™ has been the fuel for some of the worst violent crime the black community is plagued with. It's RACIST!™ to suggest that the predominant inner-city black culture is killing its sons. And it's spreading.

Sit some weekend and watch Black Entertainment Television and tell me that the overall culture being portrayed there as desireable is a good thing. (You can say much the same about MTV's programming, too, which I do NOT find encouraging.) We've set up a negative feedback loop, and that loop is eating the heart out of a generation, and causing incredible carnage and waste. How can wanting to fix THAT problem be bad?

No, it's much easier to attack guns. They're only defended by RACISTS!™.

(Note: At the time of publishing, the CDC servers appear to be down, so fact-checking my ass using the WISQARS tools will have to wait until they come back up. WISQARS is back up. Check away.)


As "Della" (perhaps not a real name) pointed out in my comments, the Interpol numbers for homicide in Scotland are apparently WAY wrong. The Scottish government statistics site reports the following homicide data:

1997 90 victims - rate: 1.8/100,000
1998 97 victims - rate: 1.9
1999 119 victims - rate: 2.3
2000 105 victims - rate: 2.1
2001 107 victims - rate: 2.1

I don't know why the Interpol numbers are so different. Mea culpa. I should have back-checked the Interpol numbers but did not. Especially because I found the numbers shocking. However, this is what the Internet is good for.

This data does make suspect the other Interpol numbers. What it doesn't do is negate the point of the article.

I will inform those people who have linked to this piece of the update, and I will do additional research.

Further update: Yup, the Interpol homicide data is apparently crap. Which makes you wonder if it's all crap. Sweden's homicide rate seems to be a pretty stable 1.2/100,000. Finland's is about 3.0.

What good is internation crime data that's unreliable?

However, I intend to leave this post up. The errors will allow those so inclined to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I still stand by the basic premise which is backed up by FBI / BoJS statistics that I have no reason to doubt.

My apologies for not fact-checking the crap out of this stuff. Mike over at Feces Flinging Monkey advised me while I was working on this:
"Different countries tabulate, and define, crime in different ways. Comparisons are very difficult.

"People lie about this stuff - a lot! Don't trust anybody if you can't see their data and their methods."
Even international police organizations, it appears.

LAST UPDATE: @10:21PM 8/22/03. I've left the original text, but struck out most of the stuff based on known erroneous Interpol stats. I stand behind, however, these points:
The data indicates that culture is the primary defining factor in crime.

The data indicates that the preponderance of criminal behavior in the young black American male demographic seriously skews the overall criminal data in the U.S.

The response to these facts has not been an attempt to address the specific identifiable problem of crime in the black community, it has been "gun control." And it has been - predictably - a failure.

Continuing this path will continue to be a failure.

One significant reason that the specific identifiable problem has not been addressed is "political correctness" - point out that the Emperor has no clothes and you will be branded RACIST!™ Nothing further will result.
I'd like to say this has been fun, but it hasn't. I don't like being in error, but sh!t happens. The question now is, will the gun control forces just keep working to disarm people who are not contributors to the crime problem and continue to avoid addressing the biggest part of the crime problem?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Ok, I don't post anything, and I get over 300 hits in one day? Technorati says that I haven't been Instalanched. What exactly does this mean?

I got up a 2:30 this morning, and I have to get up at 4:00 AM tomorrow, plus Bill Whittle's finally published his latest essay Responsibility which I intend to read before I go to bed, so this is it for at least another day or so.

My next essay, which will be on the topic of crime, is underway and I'm already learning things. I like it when that happens. Research for these is often fascinating. Hopefully I'll get it done and posted on or before Saturday. My IHMSA match is Sunday, and that ties up most of the day.

Anyway, for all you readers new and old, thanks for dropping by. If you read anything you really liked (or hated), please feel free to drop a comment either on the site or by e-mail to gunrights AT comcast DOT net.

(Perhaps if I don't post anything tomorrow, I might get 600 hits!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I Could Quit Chocolate...But I'm No Quitter!

When I got home tonight I asked my wife how her day went. She said "I think I'm allergic to chocolate."

"Why?" I asked.

"I gave the kids some this morning, and they drove me nuts all day."

True story.
No Blog for You! (Again)

I'm going to be very busy the next couple of days. I'm working on a long, involved, link-riddled post inspired by this Samizdata post about international crime rates, but it will be the end of this week at the earliest before I have it completed. In the mean time, I probably won't be posting at all. Sorry about that. If you're a new visitor, please read the archives. If you're one of the six or so regular readers, well,

Nothing to see here, move along. Move along.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Movie Review: Bad Boys 2

Yesterday my wife asked me if I wanted to go out and see a movie. I asked her what she wanted to see. "Bad Boys 2" she said, "I feel like watching a blowup movie."

Yes, I married the right woman.

We'd actually tried to catch BB2 on the opening weekend, but the theater was so full we couldn't get seats anywhere but the front row, so we exchanged our tickets and saw Tomb Raider 2 instead (woe unto Hollywood should someone have an idea for an original film. All the money seems to be tied up in making sequels.)

Usually Sunday afternoon is pretty slow at the theater, but BB2 was still pretty full. And now I know why.

I like Will Smith. He doesn't act so much as be the same character in every role (and he was excellent in Independence Day) but he and Martin Lawrence are outstanding together. The critics panned the movie (for obvious reasons - it is, after all, a blowup movie) but it was a lot of fun.

I just had one problem with it. There is one scene where a boy comes over to pick up Martin Lawrence's daughter for her first date. He is met at the door by Lawrence, then Will Smith comes to the door. In the subsequent hazing of the date, Will Smith's character threatens the kid with his pistol - finger on the trigger. Repeatedly.

The audience thought the scene was funny (it was, actually) but the gun handling bothered the sh!t out of me. It reminded me of the scene in Pulp Fiction where the kid in the back seat of the car was killed because the moron in the front seat pointed his gun at him and unintentionally pulled the trigger. Look, I know it was Hollyweird, where there is little to no association with reality, but a lot of people (especially when it comes to guns) don't. Just another example of "guns are toys" that kids (and there were a lot of kids watching this R-rated movie) will emulate.

Repeat after me: Guns are not toys. Don't point a gun at anything you aren't willing to destroy. Treat all guns as if they are loaded. After you pull the trigger, all the "Oh sh!t, I didn't mean to's!" in the world won't bring that bullet back and make the world right again.

Other than that, if you want to watch a good, mindless blowup movie, I recommend it. Best line: "You guys look like you've decided to do something stupid. We want to help."
Our Collapsing Schools Dept. - Humor

(In relation to the previous post.)

Teaching Math in 1950:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1960:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1970:
A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money.
The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar.
Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set "M."
The set "C", the cost of production contains 20 fewer points than set "M."
Represent the set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?

Teaching Math in 1980:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment:
Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math in 1990:
By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes $20.
What do you think of this way of making a living?
Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees?
(There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math in 2000:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $120.
How does Arthur Andersen determine that his profit margin is $60?
How many documents were shredded to achieve this number?

Teaching Math in 2010:
El Loggero se habla with the truckero y se ponen de acuerdo con otro driver de la competencia y etc...
Our Collapsing Schools Dept.

Fox News comments on this New Orleans Times-Picayune story concerning the failure of the class validictorian at Alcee Fortier Senior High School to graduate because

(wait for it...)

she failed the math portion of the required exit exam.

Five times.

The exam tests at a 10th grade level.

She got an 'A' in algebra.

As Fox put it:
"They were giving her As for being a good kid. But they weren't teaching her."
I'm sure she felt good about herself. Until the real world reared up and smacked her in the face as it has a habit of doing.

Of course,
The principal blames the test.
It couldn't be the fault of the school system, could it?

Read both pieces. The Fox bit has a lot more on other education topics. The details in the Times-Picayune piece will make you want to burn the school down so we can start over from scratch.

Nod to Ravenwood for the pointer.


Commenter Teri brings up something that I should have noted:
You didn't point out the absolute worst thing about this situation:
"With the kinds of grades she's earned, Green said she doesn't have any doubts about her abilities to do well in college. If she passes a summer retest, Green said she plans to enroll at Delgado Community College and pursue an elementary education degree."
Makes me want to scream!
Yup. Infinite feedback loop. With the kind of grades she's received, most people would expect to be able to do well. But earned? I think not. And if she goes to a college that actually requires her to learn, she might discover that those grades she "earned" have less value than the paper they're printed on.

And she wants to inflict her educational experience on our kids.

You're right, Teri, I missed that opportunity. Good catch.

And educators wonder about the people who home-school.

Well, THIS Should Stir Some Interest

Do you read Silflay Hraka? It's a multi-contributor blog that originated the Carnival of the Vanities (the August 20 installment to be hosted by Outside the Beltway). Well, now they've started what is sure to be a controversy. Contributor Captain Holley is going to recommend the four basic guns he recommends "to anyone beginning a gun collection." The first recommendation: A bolt-action centerfire rifle in .308 Winchester.

Allow me to weigh in here. I think there are actually six firearms anybody who shoots should have. These are:

A .22LR caliber rifle

A .22LR caliber handgun

A centerfire bolt-action rifle

A "sport-utility" rifle or, as I call it, your Militia rifle - semiautomatic, detachable magazine fed, in a military caliber.

A shotgun

A centerfire handgun

Of course, you are more than welcome to own more than one of any of these six, but one of each is a minimum. In my case, I have a 10/22 for the rifle, a Ruger MkII and a Contender for the .22 pistol (and I have a serious jones for a Ruger Single-Six), I own several centerfire bolt-action rifles (mostly military surplus sporters), an AR-15, a Mossburg 590, and my Kimber Classic Stainless round out the collection. (I have more than that, but I'm not going to give a complete inventory.) I'm far from completing the collection, however. Next up, when I can afford it, will be a Contender rifle barrel, stock, and forend to give me my first single-shot rifle, chambered in the wildcat Tactical .20 caliber (33 grain Hornady V-Max bullet with a muzzle velocity of 4,000fps.) And eventually, I'd like an FN-FAL, and I'm still looking for a S&W 25-5 .45 Long Colt with a 5" barrel, and.... Well, you get the idea.

I fully agree with Captain Holly's recommendation of a Savage Model 10 with a 3-9x40 scope in .308, though. Inexpensive and accurate. But I'd recommend starting with a .22 rimfire. You'll shoot more and learn more starting with something that doesn't kick. Recoil is an individual thing, but I'm convinced it's something you can learn to ignore (up to a certain point, and given reasonable ergonomics of the weapon.) If you start off with a rifle that whacks you pretty briskly, it's decidedly off-putting. I'm now to the point where I can run 100 rounds through my 1917 Enfield (.30-06) off the bench with very little discomfort, but lot of people complain that the .30-06 kicks too hard. If I hadn't spent a lot of time firing a No. 4 Enfield (.303 British) and a 96 Swedish Mauser (6.5x55) first, and just jumped in with the 1917, I might feel the same way. (I'm looking forward to getting my 48 Yugoslavian Mauser finished. The original military stock with the steel buttplate was a stout kicker. Perhaps with the new Richard's Microfit stock with a recoil pad it will be just as comfortable as the 1917. So, if you're going to start your collection with a centerfire rifle, the Savage Model 10 is an excellent choice - but get it in .223 caliber. Ammo is dirt cheap, and recoil is very light.

Reading the rest of Captain Holly's recommendations should be interesting.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Next Time, Stick it in His EAR

Via MadOgre comes this story of a man in North Carolina who came to the defense of a woman being robbed at an ATM. His weapon? A North American Arms .22 magnum mini-revolver.

The report:
Bystander shoots suspect during robbery at ATM

William "Don" Strickland takes his small-caliber handgun wherever he goes, just in case any criminals cross his path.
On Thursday, the former iron worker on permanent disability used it -- when he saw a young woman being robbed at an ATM and the robber trying to get away.

First Strickland shot the tires of the getaway car; then he shot the man inside once in the right leg.

The robber escaped, but soon Clayton police arrested Morris Levi Stith of Clayton after Stith checked into Johnston Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to the right leg. Stith was charged with robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, Clayton police said. Strickland probably will not be charged.

Stith complained about being shot as he hobbled into the magistrate's office in downtown Clayton with a police escort Thursday afternoon. "It's wrong, man," he said.
Oh, the irony.
The incident occurred a few minutes before 9 a.m. in front of the Bank of America branch at Clayton Corners Shopping Center in the western part of town.

Rebecca Lynn Newton, 20, of Barber Mill Road in Clayton said she was about to insert an envelope containing $400 from her paycheck into the ATM slot when a man shoved her from behind and said, "I'll take that."

Newton spun and grabbed the unarmed man by the shirt, causing him to fall, and she started screaming.

Strickland, 35, of Four Oaks was in his car waiting for the bank to open. He said in an interview that he heard a woman scream -- "Help, help, help, he's robbing me!" -- and sprang into action.

He said he "don't get around too good" because of an injury several years ago that required four titanium rods to be inserted in his back. Still, Strickland ran to a white Chevrolet Cavalier that was backed into a parking spot.

The robber had jumped into the car, and Newton was struggling with him by the car door.

The car started moving, and Strickland hollered at the robber to stop, his North American Arms .22-caliber Magnum revolver in his hand. Then he fired twice at a rear tire.
You can tell this is not a "big-city" paper. The word "hollered" would never be seen in the New York Times unless it was a quotation.
"He still wouldn't stop," Strickland said. "I was standing beside the car, and he tried to run me over.

"I had my hand in the car" with the gun in it, Strickland said, "and I asked him to stop again, and he wouldn't do it, so I shot him in the leg."
Just a bit of advice, but if you stuck the barrel in his ear he might hear you better.
When police arrived, Strickland told them he was sure he had shot the man in the right leg, and police notified area hospitals to be on the lookout for a patient with such a wound, said Lt. Bill Newsome of the Clayton Police Department.

Officers found $360 in cash on Stith, Newsome said.

Newsome said Strickland is unlikely to be charged because he is listed as the victim of the assault. Tom Lock, the Johnston County district attorney, said a person has a right to use deadly force to resist deadly force.
And this is the South, where people aren't punished for doing right.
"If the suspect in this case was attempting to run over a person, then that person could use deadly force to resist the assault," Lock said.

He added that intervening in a robbery involves some risk. "No one wants to encourage vigilante justice, but I certainly can understand that a person might feel compelled to intervene when he saw a crime being committed. I might do the same thing under similar circumstances."
Just have to get that "vigilante" word in there, don'tcha?
Strickland, who does not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, said the gun had been lying on the dash of his car.

"I don't go to the grocery store without something today, because of things like that," he said.

Newton, a gas station clerk who took the day off after the robbery, said Strickland is her hero.

Her fianc e,
(sic) David Little, 40, said he, too, was grateful.

"I'm going to call him over the weekend and ask him what kind of steak he likes," said Little, who moved to Clayton with his fiance e this summer from Atlanta. "I'm going to have him and his wife and kids over for dinner."
Yup, that's the South. I do miss it sometimes.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Just Fvcking Marvelous

Looks like we've got another random serial killer.

Excerpt 1:
Serial sniper suspected in convenience store killings in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bullets that killed three victims this week outside Kanawha County convenience stores were fired from the same caliber and class of weapon, police said Friday night, but they stopped short of saying they were fired from the same gun.

"All three balls had the same characteristics," Kanawha County Sheriff Dave Tucker said after getting ballistics results from a State Police crime lab. "But we can't say for sure it's the same gun."
Excerpt 2:
Sniper suspect is large white man

Shooter might be serial killer, sheriff says.

Police speculated Friday that a large, white male driving a black pickup with an extended cab may be responsible for Thursday night’s killings outside two Kanawha County convenience stores, and possibly others.

Kanawha Sheriff Dave Tucker said at a Friday afternoon media conference that the killer “could be a possible serial-type murderer.”

Both victims of Thursday night’s convenience store shootings, Jeanie Patton, 31, and Okey Meadows, 26, were shot in the head area in a manner similar to the shooting of Gary Carrier Jr., 44, who was shot outside a Charleston convenience store Sunday night.
Please, let some armed citizen whack this nutcase.

Frank J. Continues his Firearms Tutorial

Money quote:
500 S&W Magnum: After caving in the anti-gun nuts, Smith & Wesson had to win back the heart of their consumers. They did this by making a freaking huge handgun caliber. If someone is robbing the house four houses down from you, you can shoot through all the houses and hit him with this.

If all of these calibers are too weak for you, those crazy Israelis at Magnum Research can make revolvers for you chambered in rifle rounds like the venerable .30-.30. The only purpose of these is to freak out people at a gun range, and it takes a lot to freak out people at a gun range.
Go read the rest here.

Hurry. Frank has declared WAR!! on Glenn Reynolds.

His site could become a smoking radioactive crater at any time.

THIS is TOO Weird!

Try it!

(Nod to Feces Flinging Monkey for the link)

Friday, August 15, 2003

Another Friday Five

1. How much time do you spend online each day?

Way, way too much.

2. What is your browser homepage set to?

I have a version of John C. Dvorak's Personal Portal installed on my harddrives both at home and at work. I like it.

3. Do you use any instant messaging programs? If so, which one(s)?

No. I use the IM feature over at occasionally (when the site is up - the servers are in NY and are still down.)

4. Where was your first webpage located?

You're lookin' at it!

5. How long have you had your current website?

Let's see...Since Wednesday, May 14, 2003 at about 1:00 PM. (First post was 1:39, but I managed to wipe my first contribution without posting it. Newbies, sheesh.)
More on the Gun Industry Bankrupting Lawsuits

From that font of information,, comes this update on the D.C. sniper lawsuit against Bushmaster:
Denied Again: Judge Refuses Bushmaster's Plea In Sniper Lawsuit

Tacoma, WA - Bushmaster, a gun distributor and manufacturer that is charged with supplying the DC-area sniper suspects with their assault weapon, was denied its second plea for a dismissal in the sniper lawsuit. The decision was announced in a ruling by Judge Frank E. Cuthbertson of the Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma, Washington, on August 11, 2003. The court refused to overturn its prior ruling where it held that based on plaintiffs' allegations, Bushmaster knew or should have known that Bull's Eye was a reckless and incompetent dealer. The case is presently set to go to trial next July.
Really? "Charged with supplying...?" Bushmaster isn't charged with anything. That implies that there is a criminal "charge" layed. Bushmaster is defendant in a lawsuit where it is accused of negligence.

Bushmaster supplied the gun? It was my understanding that Malvo admitted to stealing it. And if Bushmaster "knew or should have known that Bull's Eye was a reckless and incompetent dealer" then why isn't the BATF being sued for not pulling their Federal Firearms License? Bull's Eye, if you weren't aware, was connected to Buford Furrow in 1997 when one of the guns he possessed was traced back to that shop. Bull's Eye had been investigated by the BATF for some time prior to Malvo's five-finger discount, according to this story. In fact, Bull's Eye could not account for 160 firearms two years prior to the theft of the Bushmaster rifle. So, who really is responsible? Sure as hell not Bushmaster, but they'll pay through the nose to defend themselves from this ridiculous lawsuit.

Question: Does the BATF tell gun manufacturers that licensed dealers are "reckless and incompetent?" If not, how else would they know?

Question 2: If the BATF can prove a licensed dealer is "reckless and incompetent," why don't they pull the license?
The DC-area sniper suspects, who were prohibited purchasers, obtained their assault rifle through the negligence of Bull's Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma, Washington, one of Bushmaster's handpicked gun dealers. The gun lobby is attempting to override the judge's decision in this case and other gun related lawsuits with federal legislation immunizing the gun industry from liability in virtually all civil suits brought by gun violence victims.
So, according to the Brady Center (source for this "release") theft = negligence. If someone steals from you, you were obviously negligent and it's all your fault. All actions involving the stolen property are also your responsibility. Therefore, by this logic, if someone steals my truck and uses it in a drive-by shooting, I am liable and can be sued by the victims and their families because I was negligent and allowed the vehicle to be stolen, and both the dealership and Ford are liable because they knew they were selling a vehicle into a high-theft area.

Makes sense to me. (Not!)
Daniel Vice, an attorney for nine families of victims of the DC-area snipers said, "Any Senator who honestly reviews this case of negligent and reckless behavior by these gun sellers would immediately work to defeat the special interest legislation that seeks to strip away the rights of gun violence victims. The gun lobby's mission to protect bad apple gun sellers and take away victims' rights is absolutely detrimental to America's public safety." Mr. Vice is a Staff Attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
That fisks itself. I can't do it justice.
The suit was filed on January 16, 2003 against Bushmaster Firearms, Inc., the distributor and manufacturer of the Bushmaster XM-15 E2S .223 caliber semi-automatic assault rifle used by the snipers and against Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, the gun dealer from which the Bushmaster mysteriously "disappeared," ending up in the hands of the snipers. A total of 238 guns have "disappeared" from Bull's Eye's store in three years - an average of more than one gun per week. Bull's Eye's guns have been traced to more than fifty crimes. The suit also names as defendants the two individual owners of Bull's Eye, Brian Borgelt and Charles N. Carr, as well as sniper suspects John Muhammad and Lee Malvo.
If they could prove that Bull's Eye sold the gun "under the table" to Muhammed or Malvo, then they have a case - against the shop. If an employee of Bull's Eye ripped it off and sold it, they'd have a case against that employee. But in no way could it be the responsibility of Bushmaster. Again, if Bull's Eye was known to be "reckless or incompetent" to the BATF, then they should have yanked the license (which they finally did.) Why isn't the BATF being sued? Oh, right - in order to sue the government, you have to get its permission. Not bleeding likely.
The suit charges Bull's Eye with operating its gun shop in such a grossly negligent manner that scores of guns, including the high-powered Bushmaster, inexplicably "disappeared" from the store. The suit asserts that Bull's Eye took the gun into its inventory in July 2002, that both sniper suspects visited the store after that date and that Muhammad practiced his sharpshooting in the store's shooting range. Because both sniper suspects were legally prohibited from buying guns, they could not have obtained the gun without the gun shop's negligence. Bushmaster Firearms is charged with negligence in continuing to sell high-firepower assault rifles through Bull's Eye even though government audits of the store had revealed hundreds of "missing" guns.
Government audits from before the theft of the gun. Again, since when is "theft" equal to "negligence?" And why is it BUSHMASTER's fault? (Because they are eeeeeeevil and have the deepest pockets - conditions which to liberals are often one and the same. But we are talking a gun manufacturer here. They're especially eeeeeevil.)
Legislation to grant the gun industry unprecedented immunity from legal claims passed the House of Representatives on April 9 of this year. It is currently pending in the Senate with 54 cosponsors. Several Senators have vowed a filibuster against the bill should it move to the Senate floor. The National Rifle Association has declared that the immunity legislation is its top legislative priority in Congress.
And this case is a perfect example of why.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

The NRA Gets Off its Ass and On the Silveira Bandwagon

After opposing the Silveira case in the California court system, the NRA files an amicus brief in favor of the case being heard by the Supreme Court. It's a good one, too. Go read.

My favorite part? They hammer on the "incorporation" question right off the bat. That one's been my particular hobby-horse since I started studying gun "control."

Here's hoping.
And This is a Bad Thing...Why?

Artist is John Sherffius, St. Louis Post Dispatch.

I don't think that's supposed to be my reaction to the cartoon, but it is. It's also my reaction to this one, also by Mr. Sheriffus:

Apparently I just don't get it.

Good for me.
Things That Make You Go "Hmm...."

On the way in to work this morning, I was behind a car that had a standard 8.5x11" piece of paper taped up in the hatchback window. Printed on it was a quotation, apparently printed on an ink-jet or laser printer in a bold, legible font:

"Nothing Enduring is Built on Violence" - Gandhi

Well, isn't that profound. But what was the point?

Of course, my first thought was "This person is a Bushwar protester" - as in "The use of violence to oust Saddam will result in nothing good." But then I thought about it a bit more. Saddam came to power violently, and maintained his rule violently. And he did not endure.

But it took violence to oust him.

What we're trying to do in Iraq now is non-violent - the reconstruction of a nation and the establishment of representative government.

Gandhi said some other things, too, one of which was:
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
Gandhi had a lot to say about the use of violence, but what it seems to boil down to is that initiating violence is evil, responding to it is not. The difference between those who oppose and those who support the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq is the understanding that those invasions were a response to, not an initiation of violence.

This is why I find the liberal desire for the U.S. to intervene militarily in Liberia so hypocritical. They expect us to go in there and bang heads in order to stabilize the country, but they object to our military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's use of violence in all three cases. The only difference is that Liberia has essentially zero U.S. national security implications. The same cannot be said about Iraq nor Afghanistan.

The funny thing is, the use of non-violent protest in the mode of Gandhi would probably be effective in Liberia - assuming you could get the international press to pay much attention. The use of non-violent protest in Iraq and Afghanistan would only have resulted in a lot more mass graves.

Often non-violence doesn't work.

Ask the victims of Tiananmen Square.
"We are Kevin of Blog. You Will be Assimiliated. Resistance is Futile."

(Thanks to Kevin Schaum of Lazypundit for the title of this post.)

Kevin of Whizbangblog has this week's Blogging Kevins post up, and I'm a contributor. Damn, there are a lot of us! (I almost used Kevin McGehee's post title: "My God! It's Full of Kevins!" but that would be unethical.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

OK, THIS is Interesting...

Steven "Spock" Den Beste has a three part essay up on the difference between Europe and America, and some predictions as to what the future holds for Europe. In particular, I found this passage fascinating:
(T)he general trend in Europe is to continue to reduce the work week while continuing to implement policies which give businesses a disincentive to invest and hire. If there's any way out of this trap, I haven't seen any discussion of it.

There are really only a few ways this can end. First, the voters in Europe could come to their senses and face the reality that their current policies are unsustainable. They'd have to accept a radical reduction in entitlements, a radical reduction in business regulations, and a lot of other changes all of which would be viewed in the short term as being hostile to labor and friendly to business. There would have to be broad acknowledgement that Socialism isn't economically sustainable. But before there can be any chance of that kind of political change, things are going to have to get a lot worse. And if things do get worse, that's probably not how the voters would react.

For one thing, the kind of people who would feel that way and help push the system socialism won't be there. Europe has a safety valve to release capitalist sympathizers: they emigrate to the US. People who hate the US system will stay behind and it will be those who will end up trying to solve this. (It's one of several ways in Europe is badly damaged by brain drain.)

So what's far more likely is that the voters will blame business leaders. They're generally thought of as villains now, and eventually someone will point out that if business leaders are unwilling to take the risk of expansion, then the government will need to force them to do so. The business leaders should be making their decisions on the basis of social conscience, not in crass pursuit of profit. Profit is evil anyway, and if the leaders refuse to serve their nations the way they should, well then we'll damned well force them to do what's right. And that way we can get job growth without having to eliminate the extremely important and obviously just job protection regulations or reward the filthy money-grubbing capitalists with tax cuts.
As I've noted, I'm slogging through Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged for the first time, and that is her entire premise in a nutshell.

I've said in here before that she never made a point she wasn't willing to beat to a bloody pulp, but that doesn't mean she was wrong.

I disagree with a lot of the Objectivist philosophy, but when it comes down to describing the behavior of socialist governments and the people willing to live under them, she was, apparently, spot-on.

Steven concludes, though, with this cheery prediction:
So in the end what you'll get is economic collapse. There are various ways in which this can play out, but none of them are good. And as long as Europe is locked in this economic death-spiral, they are unlikely to be a military threat to us, and at least that's a blessing.

But what comes after the collapse or emerges politically during the collapse? The historical record suggests a new rise of Fascism is the most likely outcome. In the midst of economic chaos, with a huge population of unemployed and people who are dissatisfied, charismatic leaders will appear who will blame the problems on foreigners and claim they can solve the problems if only they're given unrestrained power. Once elected, they abolish elections, dismantle most of the programs which are causing trouble, and actually do improve the business climate. But they do other things, too, and few of them are likely to be good.

The classic example of this is the rise of the Nazis after the fall of the Weimar Republic, but that's by no means the only example of that kind of thing from European history. Historically speaking, when things go to hell in a handbasket, Europeans tend to look for charismatic and nationalistic demagogues who promise them pride and glory in exchange for strict obedience. That's a price Europeans have seemed almost eager to pay.

We can't discount the possibility that in fifty years the EU and most existing national governments in Europe will be gone, replaced by a new Fascist dictatorship, which among other things chooses to make the investment in a modern military and which hopes to use it in yet another round of world conquest.

And we might not be able to interfere before this point, because France has nuclear weapons. Even though Europe won't have the ability to threaten us using conventional forces for the next few decades, they do have the ability to threaten us with nuclear conflagration. Of course, if they nuked us we'd also nuke them, but the threat of it means that we might not be able to significantly interfere to prevent the rise of a new Europe-wide Fascist state, which could follow historical patterns and become militaristic and expansionist.

If that happened, the world would become a very interesting but much less safe place.
Which doesn't give me the warm fuzzies for the future my grandchildren will be living in. But I think Steven makes a very strong case, the same as that made by Alexander Tytler. I just hope that we are able to avoid the same fate here. A lot can happen in 50 years.