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

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

More Gun Banner Doublespeak


The Washington Times reports on Maryland's current attempt to expand its own "Assault Weapons Ban." Let's see how many mischaracterizations and logical disconnects we can find, eh?
Two Maryland lawmakers want rifles like the one used in the sniper attacks last year added to a statewide ban on assault weapons, as the federal restriction on such weapons expires next year.
Sen. Rob Garagiola of Montgomery County and Delegate Neil F. Quinter of Howard County, both Democrats, are sponsoring the "assault weapons-ban bill" in their respective legislative chambers for the second year in preparation for the lifting of the federal ban on assault weapons in September next year.
Mr. Quinter said he is pessimistic that Congress will extend the ban. "I hope that they do, but I think realistically speaking, it is not very likely the Republican-controlled House and Senate will," he said.
(Aside: Halleluja! End aside.)
Mr. Garagiola said he believes the Bushmaster rifle should be included in the ban. Police said the two suspects in the sniper attacks last fall used a Bushmaster rifle in the random shootings that left 10 persons dead and three injured in the Washington metropolitan area.
Yes, once again the eeeeevil Bushmaster rifle is at fault for the shootings, not Muhammed and Malvo.
"I am not looking to take away legitimate hunting rifles and handguns," he said. "I am looking to maintain and strengthen a federal ban at the state level."
That's what we always hear. It's what the English were told, too. First they lost their semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, then all handguns. And the current red tape and bullshit required to have and keep the few firearms still allowed them has reduced the number of legitimate gun owners to an all time low. And gun crime is at an all-time high in England. (New York smokers should be used to this rhetoric. They were told "We don't want to ban smoking!" Riiiight.)

Second, if Muhammed and Malvo - who fired one shot at each victim - had actually used a "legitimate hunting rifle," say, a Remington 700 chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum, would he be fighting to have that rifle banned? (Oh, right, that's a "long range sniper rifle.") And what about "legitimate handguns?" Maryland Attorney General Joseph Curran has made it perfectly clear that he is in favor of doing anything and everything to get handguns banned (and if you read between the lines, any other firearm not in the hands of government) in his manifesto "A Farewell to Arms."
Chris W. Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association (NRA), disagreed with the bill. Mr. Cox said the federal ban's intention was to study whether the restriction decreased crime, which it didn't.
"I guess the question is why do the politicians want to keep ineffective laws on the book?" Mr. Cox said. "They're playing on the emotions of voters and abusing the general public on a very complex and technical debate, and it's all to chip away at the rights of law-abiding gun owners by incrementally banning more guns."
Which is why, as Mr. Cox is well aware, they want to keep an ineffective law on the books. It's far easier to modify an existing law than to pass a new one.
Maryland banned a number of military-style assault pistols about 10 years ago but allows the sale of 45 models of semiautomatic assault weapons if a buyer passes a criminal background check and agrees to a seven-day waiting period.
The federal law prohibits the sale of those guns that have two or more characteristics of an assault weapon, like a forward pistol grip and a grenade launcher. There are 19 weapons banned under the law.
The proposed bill would list all the banned weapons and outlaw the sale of 45 models of assault rifles and shotguns. Mr. Garagiola said the bill also would stop manufacturers from simply changing the name and altering a few characteristics of a gun to bypass the law.
Mr. Quinter and Mr. Garagiola — who last year failed to get the weapons-ban bill to the floor — now have the support of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s chief rivals in state politics.
You remember Governor Erlich, right? He's the guy who beat gun-control enthusiast Kathleen Kennedy Townsend after the "DC Snipers" were caught.
During his campaign for governor last fall, Mr. Ehrlich questioned the effectiveness of many gun-control laws in Maryland and said he would review the laws if elected.
Mr. Garagiola said he doesn't see this as a Democrat vs. Republican issue.
"I can't see how or why anyone can make an argument to have these weapons back on the street," he said.
Mr. Garagiola said five other states have imposed such firearm restrictions. He said Connecticut and Kentucky are considering similar bans.
"They were originally banned [by the federal government] because police were being outgunned," he said. "It does not make sense to allow these guns back on the street."
Now, which is it, Mr. Garagiola? Was the law effective at keeping the guns off the street, or wasn't it? If it wasn't, then letting the ban die won't put them "back on the street" will it? You're arguing that the manufactures "bypassed the law" by "changing the name and altering a few characteristics of a gun." Therefore the law didn't "keep them off the streets," did it? And what did crime do over the period from 1994 until 2003? It WENT DOWN didn't it? All those evil, renamed, slightly modified "assault weapons" that the law didn't stop from hitting "the streets," and crime went down anyway.

It's not about guns. It's about CONTROL.
THIS is EXCELLENT

Farewell to the nation that lives the ideal

Go read.

Hat tip to Kathy Kinsley of On the Third Hand for the pointer.
If Not Now, When? If Not Silveira, Who?

Publicola does an excellent job in his dissertation on Dave Kopel's recent National Review Online articles Secret Weapon: Some 2nd Amendment lawyers help the gun-ban side, and The Silveira Threat: How long will the Second Amendment live?. He makes the points I was thinking when I read the pieces.

Kopel makes a compelling argument for manipulating the system to achieve the (eventually, someday, maybe) goal of legally restoring the intent of the Second Amendment, and of the risk being taken by pursuing Silveira v. Lockyer before a hostile or at least intellectually dishonest Supreme Court. Yes, the risk that SCOTUS might finally come out and rule that the right to bear arms isn't an individual right is real. In fact, I wouldn't be all that surprised, given the level of Statism our government has reached. In fact, I believe that, should the Court declare that the Second Amendment is meaningless, it might (finally!) wake up the majority of gun owners and make them politically active.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, read Publicola's peice. It's worth your time.
Suuuuure it's the Depleted Uranium

Via Clayton Cramer's blog comes this New York Times story about intermarriage in Iraq. (Registration required.)
Iraqi Family Ties Complicate American Efforts for Change

Iqbal Muhammad does not recall her first glimpse of her future husband, because they were both newborns at the time, but she remembers precisely when she knew he was the one. It was the afternoon her uncle walked over from his house next door and proposed that she marry his son Muhammad.

"I was a little surprised, but I knew right away it was a wise choice," she said, recalling that afternoon nine years ago, when she and Muhammad were 22. "It is safer to marry a cousin than a stranger."

Her reaction was typical in a country where nearly half of marriages are between first or second cousins, a statistic that is one of the more important and least understood differences between Iraq and America. The extraordinarily strong family bonds complicate virtually everything Americans are trying to do here, from finding Saddam Hussein to changing women's status to creating a liberal democracy."
Clayton comments:
We've heard a lot for several years from the leftist Hussein apologists about horrifying birth defects in Iraq, supposedly caused by use of depleted uranium shells during Gulf War I. I wonder: is the birth defect rate in Iraq unusually high because of too much in-breeding?
Good question. But if you're interested in seeing some of the Depleted Uranium hysteria, try these sites:

Extreme Birth Deformities

Common Dreams

Stop NATO

Hell, just do a Google search on (Iraq "birth defects" "Depleted Uranium")

Then go read the FACTS on Depleted Uranium, which is no more dangerous than lead, just denser.

Federation of American Scientists

World Health Organization

Or, if you want it explained to you clearly, Steven Den Beste does a good job in this piece.

I noted several articles that claimed a significant increase in birth defects after the 1991 Gulf War. Two questions:

1) How do we know for sure that there really was an increase (totalitarian regimes tend to use whatever propaganda they can,) and

2) Aren't some chemical weapons teratogenic?

But I think Clayton's on to something.

What Clayton didn't comment on was the last couple of paragraphs in the NYT story which illustrates the level of trust in Iraq.
Sheik Yousif and his sons said they put no faith in American promises of democracy — or any other promises, for that matter.

"Do you know why Saddam Hussein has not been captured?" asked Saleh, the oldest son of Sheik Yousif. "Because his own family will never turn him in, and no one else trusts the Americans to pay the reward." Saleh dismissed the reports that Americans had given $30 million and safe passage out of Iraq to the informant who turned in Mr. Hussein's sons.

"I assure you that never happened," Saleh said. "The American soldiers brought out a camera and gave him the money in front of a witness, and then they took him toward the Turkish border. Near the border they killed him and buried him in a valley. They wanted the money for their own families."
Culture clash. "We behave this way, so everybody behaves this way."

We've got a long way to go over there.
National Ammo Day 2

Kim and Connie du Toit are cranking up National Ammo Day, but this year it's actually National Ammo WEEK. Read about the idea here.

There are fifty days left until it begins. Save your pennies, and buy some ammo. Send a message.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Secondhand Lions


My wife and I went to see this film last Wednesday, but I wanted to wait until I had a chance to peruse the "critical" reviews before I opined myself. The critics were, as I suspected, critical. Most were pretty mild, objecting to Haley Joel Osmet's performance (which I considered excellent) or script weakness ("...those who can't teach, criticise.") but some, unsurprisingly, were just WAY off the mark.

Warning: This contains spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film, STOP READING NOW

Consider, for example, Wesley Morris's Boston Globe review:
The film reenacts these episodes as cartoonish cliffhangers, with a young Hub and Garth foiling anonymous but craven Moroccans. Written and directed by Tim McCanlies, "Secondhand Lions" is made from a child's perspective, but its point of view has a glass eye. While handsome Americans come to the rescue of a beautiful Moroccan damsel, the Moroccan men are presented as swarthy caricatures of Arab danger.

That's uncomfortably retrograde. Fine, the flashbacks are set in the silent era, but must the movie's mind-set follow suit? Kids might not ask if all Arabs clean their teeth with machetes, but it's a parent's duty to inform them that given the option most would probably choose a toothbrush. The movie tries to clear things up with a conversation in the final minutes that involves Josh Lucas playing a grown-up Walter, but it's the images that linger.
In your mind maybe. Uh, Wesley? The story is being told to a fifteen year-old boy. Those images are IN HIS HEAD. You expect anything other than cartoonish stereotypes? Wesley's problem is that this piece isn't PC enough for him.

Steven D. Greydanus of Decentfilms.com said this:
There’s a key scene in Lions in which Walter tells Uncle Hub that he doesn’t know what to believe any more and wants the truth. Here is Uncle Hub’s regrettably quotable response: “If you want to believe in something, then believe in it! Just because something isn’t true, that’s no reason you can’t believe in it!” Uncle Hub then goes on to list some ideals he thinks are worth believing in whether they’re true or not: that honor and virtue, not money and power, are what really matter; that good always triumphs over evil; that true love never dies.

Now, the fact is that there is truth to all these propositions, depending on how they are understood. I can even appreciate, in a sense, someone like Uncle Hub having the will to recognize the value of these ideals despite not being in an epistemological position to affirm their truth.

Nevertheless, expressed this way, this is bogus sentimentality, not belief or faith — and this notion casts a long shadow over the rest of the film. Even a revelation that goes some way toward mitigating potentially problematic implications in this regard feels less than entirely earned, like more sentimentality on the part of the filmmaker. Like Hub, McCanlies’s heart is in the right place, but his head could use a little straightening out.
Earth to Greydanus: That was Hub explaining the "Hub Philosophy of Life," not the Greydanus philosophy of life. I didn't expect the man to be Plato, and the movie wasn't about the "rightness" of the way Hub and Garth lead their lives.

The one thing I was surprised to see was no mass condemnation of the massive use of firearms in the film - especially the scene where Haley Joel Osmet's character is in the cornfield with the lion, and Hub, Garth, four teenaged boys, and the despised relatives - including the children - all come out of the house armed to the teeth to "save" him.

Anyway, I greatly enjoyed the film but will admit that it was not as good as it might have been. Highly recommended, though. Especially if you've never gone fishing with a 12-gauge.

(Disclosure: I worked in a movie theater in high school, and ever since I've really enjoyed the movies and the big-screen theater experience. Consequently, I see probably thirty or so first-run movies a year, and go to enjoy them not criticise them.)

Saturday, September 27, 2003

An Excellent Gift Idea

Dale Amon over at Samizdata posts about the recent interest in the close approach of Mars, and links to artist Kim Poor's "University of Mars" t-shirt.

Kim's art gallery is in Tucson, and I've got several prints from that gallery in my house.

The sad news is that Kim has a degenerative nerve disease that has progressed to the point that he can no longer paint.

If you care for art with a space theme at all, go visit his site. His gallery carries works by all the major artists in the genre. My collection includes Joe Tucciarone's Chiron's Passage and The Pegasus Nebula, Bob Eggleton's, Blues for Neptune, Kim's Jupiter from Io, a signed copy of Alan Bean's Conrad, Gordon and Bean and a few others.

I also like to send his Christmas cards out, and that season is fast approaching.

Give it a look.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Last One for Tonight - The "F-Word"

Via The Everlasting Phelps, the Smoking Gun has an absolutely hilarious motion to dismiss that is a must read. The introduction to the piece begins:
Yes, five months remain in the year, but we're ready to announce the winner of the prestigious 2003 Legal Document of the Year award. The below motion was filed earlier this month in connection with a criminal charge filed against a Colorado teenager. The boy's troubles started when he was confronted at school by a vice principal who suspected that he had been smoking in the boys bathroom. When presented to the principal, the kid exploded, cursing the administrator with some variants of the "F" word. For his outburst, the boy was hit with a disorderly conduct rap, which was eventually amended to interfering with the staff, faculty, or students of an educational institutional. Faced with what he thought was a speech crime, Eric Vanatta, the teen's public defender, drafted the below motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charge. The District Court document is an amusing and profane look at the world's favorite four-letter word, from its origins in 1500 to today's frequent use of the term by Eminem, Chris Rock, and Lenny Kravitz.
Go read it. Damn, that's funny!

Goodnight.
New Addition to the Blogroll

The Everlasting Phelps

Anybody who writes lines like these:
I hate it when someone uses footnotes on a "study" that doesn't actually follow logic. I would rather read straight bullshit than well-documented bullshit.

--

Face it. Men are pigs. We like farting, and we are secretly proud of our stripes. I would still be making stripes if I didn't like having my kibbles and bits swinging around when I walk. At least our underwear doesn't look like we decided to steal them from a crime scene, and we don't leave them soaking in the bathroom sink all the time.

--

As a white man, I am not allowed to have an opinion that is at odds with acquiescence to a minority, or I am a bully. By having white skin and a couple of testicles, I am presumed to not be capable of understanding the position of people who lack one of those two qualifications.

--

With news that it is up to the Controversial 9th Circuit to judge recall, my first reaction was, "well, if there is a way for them to sway it towards Bustamonte, they will."
That is real discouraging for me, and not because of I am anti-Democrat. The discouragment comes from realising that I have no expectation of the application of law from the 9th circuit. None. The 9th is so activist, so interventionist, and so partisain that it is a mockery of what the Judicial branch is supposed to represent. They are supposed to be the brake on the engine of government. Instead, the 9th has ventured so far into judicial activism that they are not slowing the engine, but instead speeding it along.

If someone doesn't clean out or clean up the Ninth Circuit pretty soon, we are going to have a real honest-to-goodness constitutional crisis out of that court.
deserves to be read.

And get this: He's a lawyer! Spoons has some competition.

Welcome to my blogroll, Phelps.

UPDATE: Ok, he's not a lawyer. For some strange reason, I feel better.
Interesting Development in the Silveira Case

Regardless of how "dangerous" some feel it is, the Supreme Court has just issued a "Request for Response" to the State of California on why the Supreme Court should or should not hear the case. California previously waived the right of response, but now SCOTUS has (ahem) requested it to respond.

Which, in my mind anyway, means the possibility of SCOTUS granting cert. just went up.

I'm still not betting on which way they might decide. I don't know how intellectually honest five of them might be.

How do they WRITE this Stuff With a Straight Face?

(From the Cincinnati Enquirer)
How many more Javontays must die?

Two school buses let children out in front of an apartment building on Linn Street. Across the street, in front of a dwelling bearing burglar bars and an electronic door gate, the bereft mother of a slain 7-year-old keened.

Javonna Williams' eyes were dry. But her tears flowed through the words she shouted to the street, to no one in particular.

"They don't know what they've done," she said. "I was there. I saw his pain. He was in pain."

Little Javontay died Monday night, police said, after a child playing with a gun in a Mount Airy townhouse shot him in the chest.

It was an accident, police believe, but it's hard to piece together the facts.

People aren't telling police everything, including who owned several guns police found at the apartment.


What is clear is a neighborhood is missing one friendly little boy who used to ride his bike and build imaginary forts in a store parking lot next to his home.

Kevin Milline, who owns the grocery store, said Javontay's mother wouldn't let him or his 3-year-old sister play in a neighborhood tot lot a block away, because drug dealers had taken it over.

"It's too dangerous," Milline said.

Javontay's West End neighborhood has drug problems, as does the neighborhood he visited in Mount Airy. There have been shootings and assaults in both in recent months.

But carelessness, not drugs, killed Javontay. Some adult let kids find the guns.

How do we as a community reduce the chances of that happening again?
Gee, I don't know. How about cracking down on the drug dealers? Or, sparing that, how about ending the "War on (some) Drugs" and taking the profitability out of the trade?
Our children are over-exposed to guns - even in low-crime neighborhoods. It is estimated that 40 percent of American households have firearms in them; 30 percent of those guns are unlocked and loaded, according to Common Sense About Kids And Guns, a national group.
A statistic that:

A) Ignores the fact that the percentage of American households with firearms in them hasn't changed significantly for over fifty years (except, possibly to go down,) and

B) The total number of accidental deaths by firearm (not just rate per 100,000 population) has been declining ever since we started keeping records.

This is part of the "more guns equals more death" meme.
Nationally, 1,200 kids and teens die from gun accidents and suicides annually. Another 18,000 or more are injured.
As I've illustrated before, removing a method does not affect overall suicide rates. Australia has suffered a dramatic increase in teen suicide in the last few years. Method? Asphyxiation.

Here's the facts on accidental firearm death for "kids and teens" up through 17 year-olds:

Year Deaths

2000 150
1999 158
1998 207
1997 247
1996 272
1995 330
1994 403

Shall I go on? And remember, during that time the number of guns in private hands has increased by over three million per year - about a third of which were handguns.
WE ARE "DOING SOMETHING."
The problem is, the gun banners control forces define "DOING SOMETHING" as "passing new gun control laws." Nothing else qualifies.

You won't hear them talk about the dramatic decrease in accidental deaths. Instead, they will attach suicides to the total in order to keep the numbers as high (and emotion-grabbing) as possible.
Javontay's case is unusual because he died in an inner-city neighborhood, said Dr. Rebeccah Brown, a pediatric surgeon and assistant director for the trauma unit at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"I don't think of (accidental shootings) as being an inner-city problem. Usually it's kids whose dads are hunters and who find the gun."
Sweet freaking Jebus. No, Doctor, you don't think of accidental shootings as being an inner-city problem because you're overwhelmed by deliberate shootings. Accidental shootings - especially of small children - are quite rare everywhere.
In 10 years, Children's has treated 127 gunshot wounds in children; most between the ages of 10 and 14.
And how many of them were deliberately inflicted as in, say, drive-bys? (Or are they going to redefine getting hit in a drive-by as an "accident?")
"Chances are your children have been somewhere or played somewhere where there's a firearm," said Tracy Cook, executive director of ProKids, which helps abused kids.

The usual precautionary warnings - don't mix kids with guns; lock up your weapon; keep ammunition separate - still apply, even with stolen guns, she said.

"Just because you purchase a gun illegally doesn't mean you can't put a lock on it. Who wants a kid to die?"

No one wanted Javontay to die.

Through family members, Javonna Williams declined to be interviewed for this column. As neighbors and relatives encircled her, she rocked back and forth.

If those who know something about this accident could only see her pain, I bet they'd give police the information they seek about the guns police found in the apartment Javontay visited.

And if the rest of us are realistic about the chances for more accidental shootings - we'd do whatever it takes to keep kids away from guns.
This is the mentality. Just pass another law. The people willing to steal or acquire a gun illegally will follow that one!

I am not often dumbstruck by the mental processes of the gun grabbers controllers, but this one floored me. I cannot fathom the "logic" here.

(Update: Kevin McGehee advises: "Don't try to comprehend the logic of gun grabbers controllers. It's like mud wrestling with a pig -- you only wind up getting dirty, and the pig likes it." I can't help myself, Kevin. I'm an engineer - I'm unable to believe that some people are incapable of logic.)
Ages 5 and Up, Eh?

I GOTTA get one of THESE for my grandson! (He's three now.)

And a close-up view of the kit, which appears to be based on the Swiss SIG 550:

Underbarrel grenade launcher & everything!

Of course, this would get the gun-control people's panties in a bunch, so I was unable to find a single on-line retailer who actually carries it.

Why am I not surprised?
This is Old News, But...

I just found it. I knew the Denver P.D. had "lost" an AR-15, but here's a Denver TV station's story about it. I'm not going to quote the whole thing. The story is that a loaded, cased rifle with four loaded magazines "fell out" of a police cruiser trunk back in August.

*cough*bullshit*cough*

Anyway, it was one of the last lines that got my attention:
Police say that if you see the rifle, you should not handle it for safety reasons.
I think that translates as: "Because mere civilians shouldn't know how a weapon of military usefulness functions, and because there's been such a successful effort to ensure that the majority of Americans are completely ignorant or at best woefully misinformed about weapons in general and especially "assault rifles" in particular, (All bow towards Hollywood) if you find it, do not touch the dangerous magical talisman, or it might "just go off," and slay a toddler. Contact one of the annointed who will come and render it safe, and remove its evil visage from your presence."
I Thought DEAN Was the Frontrunner?

Kevin Siers of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer isn't very considerate of the feelings of the deep space nine other Democratic Presidential hopefuls in this cartoon:

But isn't it accurate? (The little car, I mean. Clark's tank strikes me as being about as formidable as one of the decoys used to confuse the Iraqis before the ground campaign in '91. Looks good, but no armor, gun or engine. Just a heat source.)

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Another Example

As I've illustrated before, those interested in gun banning control have a very common tendency to lie twist the truth to suit their agenda, fully confident that the media will not only not fact-check their claims, but will very often further distort them and pass them on as fact.

Here's another example:
Right Thing To Do, Or Just Good Politics?

By RAY GIOVANNELLI

Gun advocates were perplexed a few months ago when President Bush, a staunch long-time supporter of the National Rifle Association and its goals, decided to support an extension of the 1994 ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. The bill to extend the ban for another decade will be presented by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Charles Schumer (D-NY). The two crucial questions regarding this issue are: whether the ban that has been in place over the past nine years has made a difference, and if it is broad enough.

While gun-rights groups claim the assault-weapon ban has done nothing more than deprive hunters and sportsmen of high-powered rifles they use for recreational purposes, a study soon to be released by the Violence Policy Center - a Liberal Washington group that supports the ban's extension - found that at least 41 of the 211 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty from 1998 to 2001 were shot with assault rifles. These were usually copy-cat weapons designed so that they do not fall under the law. Kristen Rand, the study's author said "the gun industry's open evasion of the assault weapon's ban continues to place America's law enforcement officers at the highest possible risk."

President Bush's position has caused anger and confusion among gun owners and lobbying groups on both side of this issue. So, in answer to the question posed in the title of today's column: supporting this ban was indeed good politics and thus the right thing to do. A good politician realized that this is an extremely popular measure.
(Emphasis mine.) Not so fast, Mr. Giovanelli.

I studied the VPC's report when the Atlanta Journal Constitution commented on it back in May, and here's what I found (and I will quote myself shamelessly):
"Assault rifles were created solely to kill people; today, those people are often law enforcement officers. Forty-one of the 211 U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty between 1998 and 2001 were murdered with assault rifles, according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center."

Well! The Violence Policy Center! That bastion of unimpeachable agendaless fairness! They would be referring to this table. Let me see....

Four (4) with M1 Carbines, eight (8) with SKS rifles, two (2) with Mini-14's, three (3) M-11's, and two (2) TEC-9's. First, the M1, SKS, and Mini-14's are not and have not been classified as "assault weapons" - no lethal pistol grip on those guns. They look like "nice" semi-automatic rifles because they have the pretty non-lethal wood stocks, rather than the ugly, lethal plastic and metal ones. The M-11 and the TEC-9 are not rifles, they're handguns. That's NINETEEN (19) of the 41. And, if these guns were created "solely to kill people," what of the other 170 officer deaths? They were killed with weapons designed to tickle people?

Now, according to this site between the years of 1998 and 2001 (inclusive) there were 229 officer deaths by firearm, not 211. And according to this table the number of police deaths, at least for the last couple of decades (and excluding the 72 killed in the Twin Towers in 2001) has been apparently unaffected by the relative explosion in the mid 1980's of "assault weapons" (as defined by the law) into the general populace. They're trying to make it sound like the presence of "assault weapons" has somehow added 41 deaths that otherwise would not have occurred. The evidence does not support this. But that's the conclusion you're supposed to draw. "Ban 'em, and these cops would have lived!"
Now, it took me about an hour to collect that information and fact-check the VPC, yet here it is four months after the Atlanta Journal Constitution piece, and this guy is stating that "Forty-one of the 211 U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty between 1998 and 2001 were murdered with assault rifles," which makes it obvious that he didn't check anything, just took it as gospel. His only nod toward "fairness?" He noted that the VPC was "a Liberal Washington group that supports the ban's extension."

Accept their information at your own risk? I *cough* thought we were supposed to *cough* trust the media to check it for us. *cough*

Nope, the meme is now "Ban assault weapons and save 41 cops!" And nothing I say is going to change that.

But I don't intend to shut up.

EDITED TO ADD:

Now that I've found two references to "41 law enforcement officers killed with 'assault rifles'" during the period of 1998 to 2001, I predict that - before the assault weapons ban expires - that "fact" will morph without attribution into "41 officers a year" in the media.

Anyone want in on that action?
A Difficult Question to Answer

Instapundit (who else?) points to this, er, unforgettable quote by Vlae Kershner, SFGate news director since 1999, without comment. I have to comment.
We've undoubtedly lost some of our audience to Web sites that specialize in politically tinted news. Not that it hurts us that much, but it makes political polarization even worse if people only read the opinions they already know they're going to agree with.

A lot of readers don't believe there's such a thing as journalistic objectivity and seek out news sources according to politics. During the Iraq war, some readers from outside our market area wrote to thank us for being an antidote to the TV networks' pro-war coverage, and I'd have to write back and say thanks, but as a news Web site we don't take sides. We reflect San Francisco's attitudes with colorful liberal columnists like Mark Morford, but we have conservative columnists too.

I suspect that print newspapers are also losing readers to overtly political Web sites and places like Fox News.
So, is Mr. Kershner:

A: Your average liberal journalist blind to the "political tint" of SFGate's daily reporting, as Bernie Goldberg et al. have suggested?

B: Quite aware of the "political tint," but dismissive of it because that position is so obviously correct that it represents the mainstream? (Arguably a subset of option 'A', but I think it's a sufficiently different question to merit its own choice. One is conscious, the other, unconscious.)

C: Fully aware of the liberal position of SFGate, but dedicated to making everyone else think "correctly," thus dismissive of the idea that SFGate might have a "political tint" of its own?

D: Simply an idiot?

You may choose more than one.
Mike Spenis of Feces Flinging Monkey Comments

on the recent Ohio Supreme Court concealed-carry decision here.

Read the whole comment, but the money quote is this:
"I've long believed that democracies live and die by the education of their people. I suppose we should add that constitutions live and die by the whims of our judges."
As I've written, a right is what the majority of people believes it is. If the majority of Ohioans believed that the right to arms enumerated in the state constitution really existed, then the Ohio Supreme Court would reflect that belief, not decide 5-2 that making concealed-carry illegal somehow didn't infringe on "the right to bear arms for their defense and security."

Which, I believe, is why our school system is collapsing or has collapsed. Connie du Toit said recently:
The other day our Carpenter’s helper heard me say something along the lines of, "it is difficult to conclude that incompetence is the reason why our public schools have deteriorated. There comes a point where you have to suspect sabotage, or a conspiracy."

He asked me if I really meant that.

--

I then went on to tell him about how public schools changed at the turn of the last century. That there were others involved in turning Americans from free-thinking individualists to factory drones. I also added that many people probably went along with it because it seemed like a good idea, but there were certainly enough people behind the scenes, who knew that the goal posts had been moved. THAT is a conspiracy.

Yes. There does come that time when you are forced to don the tinfoil hat.
And then there's this quotation attributed to Justice Antonin Scalia (though I've not been able to verify it):
To some degree, a constitutional guarantee is like a commercial loan, you can only get it if, at the time, you don't really need it. The most important, enduring, and stable portions of the Constitution represent such a deep social consensus that one suspects if they were entirely eliminated, very little would change. And the converse is also true. A guarantee may appear in the words of the Constitution, but when the society ceases to possess an abiding belief in it, it has no living effect. Consider the fate of the principle expressed in the Tenth Amendment that the federal government is a government of limited powers. I do not suggest that constitutionalization has no effect in helping the society to preserve allegiance to its fundamental principles. That is the whole purpose of a constitution. But the allegiance comes first and the preservation afterwards.
Make sure that the children you are educating don't believe in the fundametal principles that founded the nation, and those principles will, inevitably, vanish. The Constitution will become merely words, and words will begin to mean what we want them to mean - and that meaning can change at a whim.

Just like George Orwell described in 1984.

Yes, the Ohio constitution, Article 4 states:

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security;
but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up;
and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

But try to carry a firearm for your "defense and security" in Ohio - either open or concealed - and see how long it takes you to end up in police custody.

A right is what the majority of a society believes it is.

And those of us who really believe in the rights of the individual are losing to the education system that is teaching our children that those rights aren't real.

Tinfoil hat ON.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer discusses the Ohio Supreme Court decision with his usual thoroughness.
I Want One of These

Next year we are going to try expanding attendance at our IHMSA (International Handgun Metallic Silhouette) matches by also running (very similar) NRA handgun metallic silhouette (the only difference being that the smallbore and Field Pistol chickens are shot at 25 yards in IHMSA, and at 40 yards in NRA). We're also going to start shooting Cowboy Rifle (an offshoot of Cowboy Action shooting.)

Cowboy rifle rules allow the use of lever-action rifles on the Hunter Pistol (small targets at 40, 50, 75, and 100 yards) and Big Bore (full size targets at 50, 100, 150 and 200 yards) targets.

So I want one of these:

The Marlin 1894SS, chambered in .44 Magnum. Ten-round magazine capacity, 20" barrel, and it weighs about 6 pounds. The .44 Mag out of a handgun is sufficient to knock down the Big Bore targets, so out of a 20" rifle barrel, it won't have ANY problem. The problem would be my eyes and iron sights.

I'm really not much of a fan of Cowboy Action Shooting (I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said "beware of any hobby that requires a new wardrobe") but I know I'd enjoy this, and I'm enough of a Western fan that I'd kinda like at least one lever-action. I've seen them on sale used between $325 and $500. It's got an MSRP of $680, which I think's a bit pricey for a lever-gun, but the popularity of CAS has put them in demand, I guess.

Maybe when I win the lottery.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike. Dipnut over at Isn'tapundit wants an 1894SS too, and a Ruger Vaquero to go with it. And we posted on the same day at very close to the same time.

Coincidence? I think not!
Dept. of OUR Collapsing Schools

Artist: Larry Wright, Detroit News.

It seems that the teachers decided to skip school today so they could protest charter schools:
The Detroit Public Schools abruptly canceled classes for its 153,000 students today, after teachers threatened to use personal days to protest a political deal that would have expanded charter schools in the city.

As officials announced late Wednesday that they had too few teachers to open, Gov. Granholm broke off negotiations with Republicans, apparently ending talks on charter school expansion. Nevertheless, teachers did not cancel the scheduled protest.

--

The district estimated that 3,200 of the Detroit Federation of Teachers' 12,500 members would take personal days to attend the 10 a.m. Capitol rally.
Yup, that's democracy - 25% of the employees get to decide what 100% are going to do. Here's the kicker:
Union officials argued the effort to stop charter expansion was worth any inconvenience.
Of course it does. Charter schools threaten the power of the teacher's union. To hell with what's best for the kids - they stopped caring about that decades ago. And it's about money too, of course:
(Schools chief executive Kenneth) Burnley and others have opposed the charter expansion, estimating the district could lose close to 25,000 students in 10 years, which would translate to a loss of about $180 million in state aid.
However, it has become blindingly obvious that throwing money at the school systems doesn't result in better education.
Union President Janna Garrison said she was pleased Granholm hasn't signed anything but: "We know that those who have sponsored this aren't going away."

Teachers will be carpooling and some have arranged for buses to take them to the Capitol, she said.

"The overwhelming support of the rally by our members show the depth of their commitment to our students," Garrison said. "We invite the parents to come to Lansing and stand up for their children."
One problem with that, Ms. Garrison: I doubt the majority of parents interested in protesting the actions of the teachers and their unions can afford to take the day off from their non-government, non-union jobs. They actually have to work for a living.

If it's at all possible, home school.
Dept. of Our Their Collapsing Schools

Via Ravenwood (via...) comes this story of the education system in Mother England that, if anything, seems to be catapulting down the slippery slope faster than ours.
You Haven't 'Failed' - You've 'Nearly Passed'

Pupils across Lincolnshire may soon be able to sit exams without fear of failing, when new government guidelines come into effect.

The guidelines, for marking key national curriculum exams, recommend that the current F grade, for 'fail', should be replaced with an N grade, for 'nearly'.
"Nearly' what? "Nearly exhibited brain function?"
The guidelines were sent out to markers of this summer's exams by the Government's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

They include instructions that maths exam answers should be marked as either 'creditworthy' or 'not creditworthy', rather than correct or incorrect.
So, the math used to smash a probe into Mars rather than establish orbit around it would have been graded as "not creditworthy?"

This is a perfect example of George Orwell's "Newspeak:"
The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, (English Socialism) but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc -- should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as 'This dog is free from lice' or 'This field is free from weeds'. It could not be used in its old sense of 'politically free' or 'intellectually free' since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.
As I've said before, it looks like Orwell just missed by a decade or four. To continue:
The changes cover English, maths and science exams at key stages one, two and three, which are taken by seven-, 11- and 14-year-olds.

Youngsters who do not achieve a minimum mark, where the tests have a target of levels three to five, can be given a 'compensatory level two' award.
Which means what? "Well, Johnny, you nearly passed the test, so here's your level two award!"
A spokesman for the authority denied that the marking scheme blurred the distinction between passing and failing.

The spokesman said the use of 'creditworthy' was appropriate because some answers to maths questions were worth several marks, and it was possible to get some marks even if the final answer was wrong.

Nick Seaton, the chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, described the changes as "political correctness gone stark raving bonkers".

He said educational managers were afraid to use the words 'right', 'wrong' and 'fail'.
They're not afraid, Mr. Seaton, they're doing this with deliberate intent.

The local Junior High Middle School I drive by every morning on my way to work has a marquee out front on which they post, generally weekly, a slogan or the names of the latest award winners or some such. For the last two weeks or so the slogan has been (IIRC)

"Failure is success if you learn from it."

Particularly if you learn that failing nearly passing the seventh grade does not mean you get promoted to the eighth grade anyway.

And this is another example that Connie du Toit is right.
That's OK, the Supreme Court Would Overturn



Day By Day

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Personal Responsibility

The Laughing Wolf has an excellent piece up on the topic, entitled And The Parents Are Responsible How?:
There was an ad I saw on TV this morning at the gym, which brought up a fundamental question, and flaw with much of what is socially conscious right now. The ad focused on teen drinking, and the problems therein. It called for tough actions on the people who sold or gave alcohol to minors. It demanded that corporations be made to pay for the damage done by alcohol and to be harshly and fully regulated. In all the individuals and entities it demanded be held accountable, it left out the most important of all: the parents.


Nowhere in this screed was there any hint that parents have any responsibility for their children. No suggestion that parents need to keep up with what the kids are doing, much less take the responsibility to raise them such that the kids could make intelligent choices about alcohol and behavior.
Go read the whole thing.

That piece has much in common with several other pieces I've seen recently that decry the belief (justified, IMHO) that our society does not want to hold people (and thus, ourselves) responsible for their behavior. It must be someone else's fault. As The Laughing Wolf put it:
The commercial, and the group behind it, are a part of the societal responsibility group that feels that we need a nanny state to monitor and control all. To them, there is no such thing as individual responsibility, only a threat that demands immediate action to prevent harm “to the children.”
And you ought to know by now how I feel when someone makes an appeal "for the CHILDREN!" (Hide the silver!) Overlawyered.com has a page dedicated to personal responsibility cases. Take a look. Have some antacid nearby.

And just to tie this into the overall gun-centric theme of this blog, here's a firearms training center that goes by the name of Personal Responsibility, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee.

Good marketing.
I Don't Know Exactly Where to File This One

Seems an ex-officer stole an assault weapon (you know, those guns that are only good for killing a large number of people without carefully aimed fire) out of a police cruiser, and then used it to rob a bank.
Ex-officer pleads guilty to robbery (Registration required)

Ex-police officer Gary Sahlin pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to robbing a Fleet Bank branch of $23,960 with a semiautomatic assault weapon he stole from a Manchester police cruiser.

Under a plea agreement, the 26-year-old former Manchester patrolman will likely spend 25 years or less in federal prison for pulling the bizarre Aug. 6 heist using a stolen cruiser as a getaway car.

---

If Sahlin had gone to trial and been convicted on two indictments, he faced a mandatory sentence of 30 years for using a machine gun in the robbery — on top of a sentence for bank robbery. In exchange for his plea, the government dropped the machine gun charge and substituted the lesser charge of using a firearm during a crime of violence.
But here's the fascinating part:
Sahlin’s lawyer, federal defender Bjorn Lange, said if the case had gone to trial, a jury would have had to decide whether the weapon could be converted into a machine gun and therefore fit the legal definition of a machine gun; Lange contended it wasn’t.

The prosecutor said the U.S. government’s position was that it was a machine gun and Sahlin knew it was a machine gun.

Government information describes the weapon as a Colt M16A1, 5.56-caliber semiautomatic assault weapon. Ollila said it had been a machine gun when owned by the military and had been converted into a semiautomatic for local police.
"Could have been converted"? Either the parts were in the gun during the crime, or they weren't. IOW, either the gun was capable of full-auto fire at the time of the crime, or it was not. The government's position seems more than a little bogus to me. But then most juries are pretty ignorant about firearms, so I have no doubt the prosecutor believed he could sell it.

Finally, there's this:
Manchester Police Chief John Jaskolka, who attended the plea hearing with Deputy Chief Richard O’Leary, said he had no idea what drove the former officer to commit such a reckless and violent crime.

He said police had had no contact with Sahlin since his resignation last December. His departure followed his Nov. 2, 2002 arrest for an alleged domestic assault on his former wife.

Jaskolka said police knew immediately that the bank robber was a police officer or a former officer because no one else could overcome the security devices on a police cruiser. He said no one would know how to start one or be able to get to the semiautomatic locked in a metal box in the trunk.

“It’s the first time a car’s been stolen. It’s not going to happen again,” Jaskolka said.
I love blanket statements like that. They're always wrong.
"Vanquishing Your Enemies, Crushing Their Skulls, and Drinking Their Blood" - Figuratively Speaking

Author John Ross details the recent concealed-carry victory in Missouri, which he was far more involved in than I realized. Excerpt:
I moved back to Missouri in 1980. As time passed, other states abolished their Civil War-era victim disarmament laws, but not Missouri. In late December of 1991, a friend of mine and I were sitting in my study, discussing the outrage of our state leading the nation in arresting people carrying guns for self-protection. The NRA had never made any effort in the past to bring up concealed carry in the Missouri legislature, and my friend told me he had just talked to them again, and they had no interest in bringing it up now, either.

Then my friend and I looked at each other and had the exact same realization: We were ashamed of ourselves. Here we were, two smart, prosperous men, whining about the fact that a national organization wasn't fixing an injustice in our own back yard, instead of doing something about it ourselves.
And they did.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Ask, and Ye Shall Receive

In the post below, "Gun-Polluted" America?, I quoted a lawyer by the name of Kimberly Croyle who stated that there were an average of "20 workplace murders per week" in America, and I wondered where she got her statistic.

Now I know, and unsurprisingly her data is way out of date.

An Associated Press piece recently released (and little commented upon) informs us that:
Working got safer last year, according to the government's annual tally of workplace deaths, released Wednesday.

Nationally, 5,524 workers died on the job in 2002 — a significant decrease from the 5,915 who died in 2001, a number that did not include those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"It's the largest year-to-year decline we've ever seen," said Scott Richardson, program manager of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. The bureau began publishing the data in 1992.

The decline extended a downward trend since 1997, when 6,238 workers died. Workplace homicides also declined, down to 609 last year from a 1994 peak of 1,080.
Note that. AT THE PEAK in 1994 (a bad year for homicide in total) the rate was just over "twenty per week." It's declined every year since to reported current rate of 11.7, a decline of almost half. But what statistic does Ms. Croyle use? The worst one she can find.

I have repeatedly said that the actual numbers are bad enough, why must gun control proponents inflate them?

Here's the Bureau of Labor Statistics graph of workplace homicides for 1992 through 2001.

Note that during this entire period, the number of guns in private hands has been increasing at a rate of well over three million per year (33,367,000 from 1994 through 2000 according to the Violence Policy Center, 11,094,000 of which were handguns - and that's just domestic production, not including imports) and the number of states with "shall-issue" concealed-carry laws has increased with a corresponding increase in permitted persons.

No, I am not implying causality, I'm impugning it. More Guns do NOT EQUAL More Crime.

Note also that there have been no noticeable changes in national firearms law during this time period with the exception of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban that (according to which gun control group you listen to, and what day it is) either was circumvented by the manufacturers because of NRA engineered loopholes and was useless (thus needing to be "strengthened") or was effective, but still needs to be "strengthened" because it didn't do enough. I haven't found any data indicating the relative percentages of workplace victims of "assault weapons" versus your average, say, Walther PP which was used in the recent Chicago auto parts warehouse murders.

Note: Blogger's permalinks seem to be screwed up at the moment.
This Hits the Market the Day After The Assault Weapons Ban Sunsets

I Finally Get a Running Debate

in my comments, and the comments go down.

Anybody else having problems with Haloscan?

I've already changed comment services once.

(*Sigh* - whaddaya want for free?)
Now THIS is Interesting
Lopez, Affleck Seek Gun Permit in Ga.

HINESVILLE, Ga. - Just because Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez aren't doing much of anything doesn't mean they're not making news.

Hollywood's most overexposed couple set gossip pages aflame anew on Tuesday after they popped into a south Georgia courthouse near Affleck's Hampton Island home.

But apparently it was a gun license, not a marriage license, that the on-again, off-again super couple was seeking Monday.

"Affleck wanted to know where he could apply for a gun permit," said Liberty County Sheriff Don Martin, who mugged for a photo before sending the couple down the hall to the probate court.

The appearance has unleashed a horde of paparazzi and celebrity reporters onto the small town of Hinesville, where a court clerk verified Tuesday morning _ apparently not for the first time _ that the couple did not apply for a marriage license.
And normally I couldn't care less about Bennifer.
Media Doublespeak?

I found this report of suicide-by-cop interesting:
Frankfort Man Shot by Police

A Frankfort man was fatally shot by police Tuesday after he pointed a rifle at an officer during a standoff.

The shooting ended a nearly five-hour-long standoff between Mark Bustamante, 28, 1205 Milroy St., and members of the Clinton County Emergency Response Team. Bustamante was fatally shot in the upper left chest at 1:20 a.m. today. He was pronounced dead shortly after at St. Vincent Frankfort Hospital.

A member of Kirklin Police Department fired a single shot from his .223-caliber rifle after Bustamante pointed an assault rifle at the officer. The policeman is now on administrative leave pending review by the firearms review board.
Now, there's a chance that the ".223-caliber rifle" used by the officer was a bolt-action "sniper-gun," but the overwhelming probability is that it was an AR-15 - an assault rifle itself. In fact, it's even possible that it was an M-16, the real select-fire assault rifle, rather than the semi-auto AR-15. The article isn't clear. Many departments are now issuing AR-15 rifles to their patrol officers rather than the traditional riot shotgun, and AR-15's are common for SWAT teams these days. Fully-automatic M-16's are available to police departments through the Federal government. I would be interested in knowing whether the officers on the scene were armed with "assault rifles."

You know, guns that are only good for "killing and wounding as many people as possible at relatively short range as quickly as possible, without the need for carefully aimed fire."

Monday, September 22, 2003

Toys for Iraqi Tots

The Rev. Sensing at One Hand Clapping tells us about Chief Wiggles' impromptu toy drive. Go read. And donate.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

"There comes a point where you have to suspect sabotage, or a conspiracy."

If you've read much of this blog, you know that I have a few recurring themes, one of which is "Our Collapsing Schools."

Well, Friday Connie du Toit posted about that particular subject - and I am in full agreement with her. Money quote:
The other day our Carpenter’s helper heard me say something along the lines of, "it is difficult to conclude that incompetence is the reason why our public schools have deteriorated. There comes a point where you have to suspect sabotage, or a conspiracy."
Go read. She's right.
#@$K!

My internet service was down - again - when I got up Saturday morning, and it was down all day with the exception of about a 1 minute window Saturday afternoon. (You can tell by watching the blinking lights on the cable modem.) Called Comcast - next service tech available FRIDAY THE 26th!

When I got up this morning, again, no-go. Went to the range with my wife and spent a pleasant morning plinking, stopped at a restaraunt and had a nice lunch, got home and still no ISP. Sat down to watch a video tape. WTF? VCR is buggered. Run the video feed off the VCR, all I get is snow.

A little bell rings in the back of my head.

I disconnect the cable from the VCR and tie it directly to the TV. Good picture. (Quality had been not quite up to snuff recently.)

Bingo! I've got internet service again.

Guess I need to get a new VCR.

And I need to cancel that service call.

Friday, September 19, 2003

And Some People Believe that Only Cops Should Have Guns

Via Say Uncle comes this heartwarming story of Thomas Martin McGouey and his attempt to commit suicide-by-cop. He does everything right. He leaves a suicide note telling the cops where he is. He has a gun. He paints a bullseye on his chest and adds the words "Let me die." The cops are called with a report that there is a man shooting a gun, threatening to kill people and himself. They arrive - at least six of them - and find the man in a field. (Mr. McGouey apparently ensured that any stray rounds would not endanger others - and a good thing, too.) He approaches while the officers tell him to show his hands. When he gets to within 30 yards of the officers, he brings his hands out from behind his back, and points a gun (a pellet gun, but they couldn't know that) at the cops.

The results?

Twenty eight (28!) rounds fired by the officers.

Mr. McGouey was later treated for one superficial gunshot wound to the shoulder.

I think that was just bad luck.

Oh yeah, only police officers receive the hours of training necessary to use firearms effectively.

Thank Jebus there wasn't a crowd in the background.
More Guns, Less Crime

Via Instapundit comes the latest on the John Lott saga. Professor Reynolds says:
As I wrote a while back, Lott has been the subject of so many bogus attacks that I've been skeptical of this one. But I trust Jim Lindgren as a neutral arbiter with expertise in the area, and it seems to me that this time Lott's critics have him dead to rights, and he's failed to mount a convincing response.
For me it was the "Mary Rosh" bit that discredited Lott in my eyes. Defending yourself through a pseudonymous alter-ego was, IMHO, dishonest. If he was willing to be mendacious about that, then why should I trust his word on other matters?

I would also say that I never was accepting of the 2.5 million annual defensive gun use estimate. I certainly don't accept the National Crime Victimization Survey estimate of 108,000 as accurate, but I'd be amazed if the actual number much exceeded 250,000. Then again, how many does there need (Get it, "need?") to be? 108,000 DGUs a year is 295 a day.

Lott gives the appearance of being the gun-rights Michael Bellesiles, and James Lindgren, who Eugene Volokh notes seems pretty neutral on the entire gun-rights issue, was instrumental in showing Bellesiles' flaws. That he is doing so with Lott makes his criticism more believable, not less.

One fact remains, though: There are more guns. There isn't more crime. Correlation does not mean causation, but spin this however they wish the gun control forces cannot point to Dodge-City shootouts and blood running in the streets. Crime levels haven't been this low since the 1960's. Guns do NOT CAUSE crime.
Some Views on Dean Clark, and One More Recall Cartoon

Chuck Asay of the Colorado Springs Gazette has this take on Wesley's entry into the fray:

Choreography by Hillary Clinton.

Somehow, I don't think that John Deering of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette thinks very highly of the Democratic candidates, including Clark:

Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press isn't gushing enthusiastic either:

Nor is Henry Payne of the Detroit News:

Finally, Larry Wright, also of the Detroit News, has this warning to the Dems:



And one more on the 9th Circus recall decision, Mike Ramirez of the LA Times weighs in:

OUCH! Touché, Mike!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Still Being Railroaded

Publicola has the latest in the Roderick Pritchett saga. This has been commented on by several gun-bloggers, not the least of whom are Spoons and Kim du Toit, but Publicola has stayed on top of the story.

Here is what Mr. Pritchett has to say.

It certainly appears that the powers-that-be in Chigago are making absolutely sure that Mr. Pritchett will be severely punished for having the temerity to carry a firearm when said powers-that-be have proclaimed that the masses shall be dependent on government for their protection. The latest move: A change of venue with the apparent intent of ensuring that the jury box will be filled with unsympathetic whites rather than sympathetic blacks.

You know, a jury of his peers.
Please, Oh PLEASE!

Via Drudge comes the NY Daily News story that there's a definite probability of a possible maybe that Hillary might throw her brassiere into the ring and run for President in '04.

Bejus, but I'd love to see her humiliated by losing to Dubya.

(Support Cox & Forkum! Click the image & buy the shirt!)
Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Liberal

Via On the Third Hand comes this story of a High School freshman willing to screw with buck the system.
Student's proposed Caucasian Club meets some resistance

A Freedom High School freshman has run up against opposition in her quest to start a Caucasian Club.

A local NAACP leader says Lisa McClelland's proposed club, which would be open to all races and ethnicities, smacks of racial division, a charge the 15-year-old denies. McClelland says she and some of her friends simply feel a bit slighted since other school clubs cater to specific cultures and races, such as the Black Student Union and the Asian Club.
So, let's get this straight: Clubs exclusively for blacks, or Asians, or American Indians, or whatever other self-identified ethnic groups do not "smack of racial division," but one that includes all groups does - because it includes caucasians?

Can you say "hypocrisy?"

I knew you could.
"It's not racist because we're not excluding anyone, and we're just trying to solve the issues of racial disparity," McClelland said. Her ethnic background is American Indian, Latino, Dutch, German, Italian and Irish.
In other words, your average hardy Amercan mongrel. No hyphen needed.
So far McClelland has gathered 245 signatures from an array of students, adults and others on and off campus in support of the formation of her Caucasian Club. She's looking to gather additional signatures before submitting the petition to Freedom High principal Eric Volta this week.

The high school has dealt with thorny racial issues in the recent past. In 2001, a black teacher found a noose made out of a shoelace hanging on the doorknob of his classroom. Tensions mounted again last year when a roped noose was found dangling from a redwood tree on campus.
So of course this means the KKK has a chapter running right downtown, right?
Darnell Turner, vice president of the East County chapter of the NAACP, spoke out against the 2002 incident and says McClelland's Caucasian Club sounds like a bad idea at a time when the campus is trying to heal fresh emotional wounds.

"It will not allow us to heal that divide that we've tried to overcome in the past couple of years," Turner said. "If her motivation is to bring harmony, as she alleges, this is not the way to go."
I submit, in keeping with Mr. Turner's logic, that having exclusively black, Asian and other clubs that exclude individuals based on race aren't "healing that divide" or "bringing harmony" either. You don't get it both ways, Darnell.
Some of McClelland's classmates, however, support her effort.

"It'd be tight because they can learn more about their history," said 14-year-old Tyleisha Crooks, a fellow freshman at Freedom who is black.
And isn't that how they justify the racial separatist clubs? "Learning about their history?" But our children are apparently not supposed to learn about the history of white Europeans, are they?
Elliott Perez, 14, a sophomore at Freedom who is Hispanic and white, also said the school could benefit from McClelland's club.

"I think it's fair for white people to have their own club, because every other race has their own club," he said.
See? A 14 year-old understands hypocrisy. Apparently you have to be a brainwashed liberal an adult to be able to hold two or more mutually exclusive beliefs simultaneously.
Both Crooks and Perez signed the petition in support of the formation of the Caucasian Club.

Oakley is located about 50 miles east of
(The People's Republic of) San Francisco.
Resistance is Futile, You Will Be Assimilated

Kevin McGehee has posted this month's Blogging Kevins collection.

Holy Bejus, there's 28 of us!
It's Over. I Declare a (Small) Victory

The debate I have had with Jack, an Irishman living in London, over at The Commentary has ended. Since it started on May 17, it has been a fairly long and involved one.

The conclusion?
So, what has been achieved? Well,

1.) I've accepted the lack of a link between the right to keep and bear arms and membership of a militia,

2.) I've been enlightened about the 'shall-issue' concept and it's superiority, compared with normal licencing.

3.) I've learnt a great deal about the whole issue, ranging from the origin of the right enumerated in the Second Amendment through to some of the restrictions placed on gun ownership by various US states.

So, for me, at any rate, the process has been useful and enlightening.

I think that my position now is actually more liberal (in terms of my approach to gun control) than when we started.
That's "liberal" in the traditional sense. In other words, I changed his mind - a bit.

I can live with that.
"Gun-Polluted" America?

Well here's a lovely little editorial. From the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette comes this screed against guns. Let us fisk:
Unsafe

No hiding from guns


WHEN the West Virginia School Boards Association met last week at the Charleston Marriott, a panel discussion was held on a deadly topic: how to protect board meetings from attackers like the disturbed employee who brought a 75-shot AK-47 to a Kanawha County board session, plus buckets of gasoline, and wounded a teacher before he was subdued. (The assailant also had two pistols and a rifle in his pickup truck parked outside.)

The assembled school board members from around the state realized that dozens of Kanawha people might have been killed at the July 17 session. Only swift tackles by four brave administrators prevented a massacre. Ever since, armed police have been posted at Kanawha school board meetings, a $14,000 video surveillance system has been ordered, and electronic door locks are being considered.
Let's see: instead of resigning themselves to be victims, four administrators decided to be a pack, not a herd, and defend themselves and others. They didn't rely on "the authorities" to save them, they did it themselves - at great personal risk. BUT, you'll note, they did it by physically attacking the perp because (obviously) none of the four defenders (or any of the other potential victims) was armed. What subsequent action did they take in order to protect themselves in the future? THEY EMPLOY AN ARMED GUARD. Nobody (apparently) bothered to get a concealed-carry permit, instead they HIRED OUT their protection. So if someone in the future wants to do what the original perp tried, all he has to do is cap THE GUARD. The herd will then be suitably cowed (no pun intended) and he can carry out whatever nefarious plan he wants.
At the statewide conference, lawyer Kimberly Croyle told the delegates that America suffers an average of 20 workplace murders per week, and 18,000 woundings. The worst death rate is among defenseless taxi drivers, she said, but plenty of other killings happen in offices and plants — usually committed by dismissed employees, angry clients or estranged husbands stalking their wives. Most of the slaughter is by guns.
Really? "Usually committed by dismissed employees, angry clients or estranged husbands"? I thought the overwhelming majority of "workplace murders" were robberies. I'd really like to see her source data for this.
It’s extremely difficult to predict which person will go on a murder rampage, she said. Therefore, all organizations should have “zero tolerance” for threats — and also have attack drills, like fire drills. Employees should rehearse how to barricade themselves safely and dial 911.
More "zero tolerance" idiocy, and more "don't defend yourself - you're not qualified" preaching from our self-appointed superiors.
Fellow lawyer John Teare gave school administrators some practical advice: When it’s necessary to discipline or fire a problem employee, try to avoid humiliating or enraging the worker. Use a gentle voice. Let the employee talk, without a dismissive brushoff. Do it at the end of the day, after other employees have gone, so the dismissee can remove personal possessions without being watched by fellow workers. At day’s end, he said, employees are weary and less likely to explode in anger.
This I can agree with. I have never understood why it was necessary to publicly humiliate someone if it's necessary to fire them. Regardless of whether it will render them less likely to come back and shoot the place up, it takes very little effort to treat people as well as you can.
Our editor, one of the panelists, told the state delegates that workplace massacres are so rare and unpredictable that safeguards are dubious. For example, if the Kanawha school board had been shielded by metal detectors and armed guards, the killer could have pulled his pickup to the front curb and used his four guns to mow down people leaving the meeting. Likewise, it’s doubtful that detectors and guards would have deterred the psychotic students who invaded Columbine High School.
Holy shit, a voice of reason. And he's an editor of the newspaper, no less!
However, Kanawha board member Bill Raglin replied that he worked many years in dangerous chemical plants, where strict safety practices prevented deadly spills.
Except "deadly spills" are accidents. "Strict safety practices" do nothing to prevent deliberate acts - and Mr. Raglin should certainly understand that. Apple? Meet orange.
Of course, Raglin is correct that intelligent security measures should be used. They may avert some murders. But the irrational nature of attacks — and the easy availability of deadly guns — mean that no Americans truly are safe.
"Easy availability" or not, the fact of the matter is no Americans are truly safe - and if you understand that fact then you understand that the government cannot protect you. YOU are responsible for your safety. But that's not the mantra of this piece.
When a disturbed school employee can arm himself with a 75-shot assault weapon, two pistols and a rifle, planning to wipe out a school board meeting, who’s really safe? When deranged students can bring guns to school to kill teachers and fellow students, who’s safe?
When they can bring pipe bombs and cans of gasoline, who's safe? When they can load a Ryder truck with fertilizer and diesel fuel (ANFO), who's safe? When someone can drive a three-ton Cadillac through a crowd, who's safe? When men armed with box cutters can hijack airliners and fly them into buildings WHO'S SAFE? Wake up. The world isn't safe. Never has been.
Gun-polluted America has a murder rate much worse than nations that protect people by controlling illegal weapons.
And there are countries with strict gun control with murder rates far higher, too. (But those are "third-world" countries and don't count - right?)
But America’s “right to bear arms” (Note the ubiquitous "scare quotes" - A "right to bear arms?" Oh, please. Don't be gauche.) lobby is so strong that timid U.S. politicians won’t impose safeguards. Even if they did, it might require generations to cleanse the country of concealed pistols and other unlicensed murder instruments.
Note that the author completely ignores the possibility that "cleansing the country" of "unlicensed murder instruments" is IMPOSSIBLE - as has been AMPLY demonstrated by England's experience. "Facts? Don't confuse me with the facts. My mind's made up! Guns are eeeeeevil!"

Except, of course, when they're in the hands of our proper masters.

Edited to add: And note the characterisation of "concealed pistols" as "murder weapons". This completely disregards the fact that in every state where concealed carry is "shall issue" homicide rates have gone down. The people who have permits and carry are not homicidal. But this editorial paints them with the same bloody brush as the Columbine killers.

Agenda? What agenda?
Therefore, Americans are condemned to live with the daily risk of gun murders, and the rare risk of gun massacres.
Yup. And, as I pointed out before, we're willing to live with that. It beats giving up our personal sovereignty and making the mistake a free people get to make only once.

(And, of course, the editorial is unsigned.)
"They could carry Mace if they really felt threatened."

The fifty-year propaganda campaign has worked very well. A recent Star Tribune story on the status of Minnesota's concealed-carry law was...interesting. First, it appears that the number of permits isn't going to be as large as some predicted. Since the law went into effect about 8,000 new permits have been issued. Prior to the change from "may issue" to "shall issue" there were about 11,000 permits. According to the story, prior to passage the estimate for new permits went as high as 90,000, but by all appearances that is exceedingly high.

The interesting part of the story, though, is the public attitude shift concerning concealed carry:
(T)he biggest change in public opinion since late April, before the new law took effect, is an increase in those who foresee no change in overall safety -- to more than one-third of the state's adults.

--

The current Minnesota Poll of 817 adults was conducted Sept. 2-8 amid news reports of an Anoka County gun owner whose permit was canceled after an incident in which he fired repeated shots into the hood of his brother's car.

The percentage saying that the new law will make Minnesota safer fell 6 points since April, to 11 percent. The percent saying that the state will be more dangerous stood at 51 percent; in April it was 55 percent. The percentage predicting no effect from the law rose 10 points to 35 percent.

A pessimistic view of the new law is especially marked among women (68 percent see a more dangerous Minnesota, 4 percent a safer one), Democrats and liberals, college graduates, adults younger than 25 or 55 and older, and the state's lowest income earners.

A larger percentage of men than women offer the most positive opinion of the law, with 19 percent saying the state will be safer and 34 percent saying it will be more dangerous. Nearly half of men, however, see no effect. Among Republicans, whose party championed the gun law in the Legislature and the governor's office, 20 percent see a safer Minnesota and 40 percent a more dangerous one.

--

Meanwhile, Democrats with similar views outnumber those who think Minnesota will be safer by a ratio of 10 to 1 (60 percent to 6 percent). Among liberals, it's 60 percent to 3 percent. Among conservatives, the ratio is nearly 3 to 1 on the more dangerous side, 51 percent to 18 percent.

--

The belief that the gun law will have little or no effect on public safety is most prevalent among men (46 percent) and upper income earners.
But here's the money quote:
"There's really no purpose to having guns available," said Salwa Williams, 24, a Republican speech and language pathologist from Eagan. "I just think that people make irrational decisions sometimes. They could carry Mace if they really felt threatened."
The brainwashing's still working, obviously.

But there's hope:
Dianna Saunders, 62, a DFL circuit-board inspector from New Market, said she thinks the law will make Minnesota safer, even though she said she doesn't like guns and would never carry one. "There's already guns out there," she said. "It would be safer if law-abiding people had them, too. It's been proved in other states."
Somebody's paying attention.



And This is Why I Read Lileks

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it when he waxes poetic about Gnat and Jasper, describes the changes of the seasons with such vivid imagery, but when he screeds....
I went back to the editorial archives today, to see what was said around the time of the Dec 1998 “Desert Fox” campaign. (And let us just imagine the panic if the current administration started naming military operations after famous Nazi nicks.) As I trolled back and forth in the microfiche looking for the relevant piece, I was struck by the other things the chattering classes brayed five years ago. "Lift the sanctions" was a popular item. And why? Because it would show Saddam the world was serious about giving him one last chance. Okay, here’s your gun back. But if you shoot us we’re going to take it away. The naivety nearly makes you weep. These people didn’t want Saddam’s body bobbing ass-up in the Tigris. They wanted a world in which the fascist clique that ruled Iraq curtseyed and bowed in the lovely gavotte of international diplomacy. However many people died in Saddam’s gulags was irrelevant; what mattered was that the UN was Concerned, and that the Iraqi Ambassador - clad in a nice Western suit, skilled in many tongues, daubed with a Macy’s cologne - agreed to facilitate the process of calibrating the precise nature of the consquences of failing to live up to the spirit of the letter of the penumbra of the -
That's right. "Lift the sanctions" was the meme. And that's why (I believe) that the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam was on Bush's agenda from before the election.

And I'm perfectly fine with that.

Anyway, that's just a small taste of today's Bleat. Go Read.