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

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Another Important Piece

Not written by me. While I essentially take the weekend off for personal reasons, the Geek with a .45 - now happily established in Freedom House in Pennsylvania, having escaped New Jersey - has penned an important piece. In some ways it's an adjunct to Bill Whittle's, referenced immediately below.

Some excerpts:
Make no mistake. The presidential election of 2004 is not like any other presidential election, at least in my lifetime. It is a coming watershed. I do not believe it to be hyperbole to state that the future shape of Liberty and the Republic will be decided THIS YEAR.

Unfortunately, the stakes are asymmetrical, and I don't believe that this dynamic is well understood by all of our community.

While a Bush victory will not open the glorious floodgates of a much longed for Constitutional Restoration, a Kerry victory will put that out of reach for at least a generation.

Two full, consecutive generations who are strangers to undiluted Liberty establish a precedent that will be unbreakable, absent a miracle.

--

Here is what CAN happen, without violating any axioms of electoral dynamics:

We can get back to the business of being Americans.

In order to do that, we have to finally and fully exit from our Great Digression to the Left. America has harvested every gainful thing to be had from that field; the rest is all weeds and skunk cabbage.

We can defeat Kerry.

If we defeat Kerry, we deal the Leftist infestation of the Democratic Party a great blow, and perhaps even sweep the leftists off the national stage. The Democrats will then have the opportunity to go into a healing remission, hopefully to return as something recognizable as American. It might take more than defeating Kerry to do this, but it's not going to happen without a Kerry defeat.

--

We know what the end goal is. 200 years ago, some really smart guys, leveraged the rock solid political philosophy of Locke to hammer out a structure that leaves room for everyone to pursue their lives, liberty, and happiness.

It's based on libertarian principles of limited and enumerated powers granted to government, with all other rights, privileges, and immunities reserved. With the rotting corpse of slavery dripping all over everything, it's never really been properly implemented, but by God, it's worth doing, or die trying. It is the work of a lifetime, of generations; it is our Pyramid; our gift to humanity. It remains to be the best and brightest hope for everyone, and we owe it to all that is or will ever be to give it our very best shot.

There's a lot of work to do, and no particular map to follow:

-The statists must be defeated, or all is lost and stillborn
-The judiciary must be reigned in and reformed, judicial doctrines foreign to the text of the Constitution must be repudiated and replaced with the Presumption of Liberty
-The electorate must be reintroduced to American civic virtues and principles, to do that, we must recapture public education from the collectivists.
-Public spending must be brought under real control: the government must get out of the retirement planning and health insurance business.
-The hydra of the IRS must be brought to heel.
-Our foreign enemies must be soundly defeated, in the case of Jihadist Islam, and held at bay, as in the case of China.
-The UN must be neutralized, marginalized, and preferably dismantled.

The list is daunting and mighty, but if Kerry wins, there's no chance of ANY of that happening.
Give it a read. It's not as long as Strength, but it's as critical to understand the importance of the upcoming election as it is to understand the importance of our war against Wahabist Islam.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

I Step Away from the Computer for a Few Minutes...

And Bill Whittle posts his latest magnum opus: STRENGTH.

I have printed out all 30 pages so that I may sit and absorb it as it should be.

Now, Mr. Whittle, if you'd be so kind as to get Silent America published so I can get my Christmas shopping done early this year?

(Edited to add:)

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

I just sat and read the piece. About four pages into it I felt the need to read it out loud.

It demands to be read out loud.

On television. On radio. On street corners.

In auditoriums on college campuses and in high schools.

In Madison Square Garden before a capacity crowd.

In Carnegie Hall.

Before Parliament, by Tony Blair.

Before a joint session of Congress. By the author.

And it needs to be translated into the languages of the Middle East and read over loudspeakers there, instead of the call to prayer.

Bill Whittle goes to eleven.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Dept. of Our Collapsing Schools: Unintended Consequences Div.

(Via Connie)
Teachers Helped Students Cheat on Standardized Tests in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) - At least 75 California teachers helped students cheat on standardized exams since a new testing program began five years ago, according to a newspaper report citing state documents.

Incidents include teachers who gave hints by drawing on the blackboard or leaving posters on the wall, told students the right answers and changed the students' responses themselves, the Los Angeles Times reported, referring to documents obtained through a Public Records Act request.
Hmm. The LA Dogtrainer.

Well, I guess it's possible that even after holding Gray Davis's skirts and slinging mud at Arnold "The Actor" Schwarzenegger, they might still have one or two investigative reporters who actually understand the job. It is, after all, possible that they could find their own asses without a map.
The teachers were among more than 200 investigated in California for possible cheating since a statewide exam program began five years ago.

State education officials say the numbers of proven cases are small in a state with more than 200,000 teachers.
Yes, the number of proven cases. But what's the criteria under which "cheating" is established?
Some educators said temptation to cheat soared under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which can take away funding or reassign teachers in schools with consistently low test scores.
Yes, the Law of Unintended Consequences again raises its ugly head.

And, of course, it's all Bush's fault.

Except the investigations began five years ago, after a STATE exam program began. "No Child Left Behind" was signed on January 8, 2002, just over two years ago.

And anyway, Kerry says NCLB is failing because, like every other government social program, it's "underfunded."
So far the state has intervened at 56 schools with poor scores, shaking up staffs. The federal government has warned 11 California campuses that they could lose funding or face other sanctions.

"Some people feel that they need to boost test scores by hook or by crook," said Larry Ward of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a watchdog group that has criticized many standardized tests. "The more pressure, the more some people take the unethical option."
After all, what are "ethics?" Who's to say one morality is superior to another? What matters is how the teachers feeeeeel, right? And if they're OK with it, how dare we judge? We might affect their self-esteem!
Union officials said cases of possible cheating soared after the statewide testing began. Since 1999, the California Teachers Association has defended more than 100 teachers accused of cheating, compared to one or two a year before that, chief counsel Beverly Tucker said.

In some cases, the teachers were allowed to stay; others were fired or resigned, the newspaper said.

California allows districts to determine punishments, and most districts, citing privacy, do not disclose those decisions. State officials say they can't afford to do much checking up on districts.
What do you want to bet they get reassigned to other schools in the district, or are shuffled off to other districts with a glowing recommendation?

Where they get to remain bad teachers.

UPDATE, 5/23: Tom of Center Digit posted yesterday a link to the original LA Times piece on the scandal minor blip on the radar screen. Money quotes:
One cheater whispered answers in students' ears as they took the exam. Another photocopied test booklets so students would know vocabulary words in advance. Another erased score sheets marked with the wrong answers and substituted correct ones.

--

"It's serious," (Beverly Tucker, California Teachers Assn. chief counsel for 16 years) said. "And I can understand there might be cases where dismissal is warranted because of a blatant violation…. Teachers really are supposed to model appropriate behavior for children."
(Gee, ya THINK?)
In 2001, the state flagged test results for five Bakersfield classrooms with a lot of erasures. District officials concluded that three teachers had coached students to change answers.

Marvin Jones, director of research and evaluation for the district, said the teachers' explanations included not understanding the rules, "everybody does it" and "I was trying to help the students do what I knew the students can do."

The teachers were not fired — partly because "we have unions to deal with," he said.
Deer. Bad. Need To Shoot.

Unbillable Hours has a funny-as-hell accounting of an "Informed Landowner's Meeting" he recently attended. Just a taste:
The population of deer in New Jersey is something like 200+ deer per square mile, which is particularly bad if they happen to live in your square mile. Deer, to some, are nice and pretty and such, but to me they’re nothing more than long-legged rodents with good PR. In that regard, they’re not that different from Kate Moss. However, if you’ve hit a deer while driving – say, hypothetically, of course, a 1998 Mercury Sable at 75 miles per hour – down Route 520 at 11:00 at night, you look at deer as a serious, oh-my-god-an-antler-almost-went-through-my-head problem. And you’ll be filled with hate, which, as we all know, is good.
Read The Whole Thing. It's a classic.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

AAAAAGGGHH! My EYES! My EYES!

Damn you, puppyblender!

Finally, Someone Explained it so I can Understand!

There are a lot of folks who can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in America. Well, there's a very simple answer....

Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low.


The reason for that is purely geographical.

All our oil is in Alaska, Texas, California, and
Oklahoma....

All our dipsticks are in Washington, DC.
Who? Him? He's Harmless.

TheHighRoad.org contributor Jim March applied to be on ComedyCentral's upcoming program The Debate Show. Probably not a bright idea, but I appreciate his effort. His application is public, and available here. Well written.

He was accepted. He completed taping yesterday. He wasn't the only gun rights supporter "used," apparently:
This was a total SHAM!!! This is from the person that I know who went, I feel for him and Jim.

I thought the Debate Show (MTV Tv Production - I was interviewed and selected as a knowledgeable member of the gun community) would be an opportunity for me to support our side in protecting the Second Amendment. But, instead I was a set up for a comedy routine. I spent most of the day preparing. They stood me in the audience as if I were an audience member and asked me "what do you find interesting about shooting?". I answered that it is a zenish experience, timing the release of the trigger with the aiming of the firearm, that its fun and isnt an olympic sport for nothing. One of the panelists was an a**wipe commedian and proceeded to show how i proved guns were just an extension of guys penis's. He had a penis pump that he brought out and asked one of the panelists if he'd agree to give up his guns in exchange for the penis pump. He reduced our gun rights to a penis pump.

Basically i was the set up for HIS joke. I spent all f***king day prepping for this opportunity to debate about gun control and they reduced it to a joke. I walked off the set and demanded a car to take me home. that, or have the balls to put me back on. they didn't - i left...

f**kers all. hollywood can suck my barrel!.... they consider themselves so liberal, so passionate, yet they are a bunch of money hungry, dishonest sh**s!

Pass along that the "Debate Show" is a bunch of liberal sh**ts setting up honest gun owners for their own comedic purposes. Dont be shy, they weren't. They tried to humiliate a member of our community. F'her the little lying biatch.
(Emphasis mine, otherwise unedited.)

Here's what Jim had to say:
I just finally got home by train, walked in the door 20 minutes ago.

I am absolutely furious. It was far worse than what 50 Shooter posted already.

I'm working on a full report right now. First I have to start googling the clowns that were on this turd.

Another thing: this was NEVER presented to me as destined for Comedy Central. This thread is literally the first time I've heard that. Which explains one HELL of a lot.

Oh MAN have they screwed with the wrong dude here.

Grrrrrr.

--

The single biggest idiot was this...well, obviously professional actor, who supposedly had a psychology degree and was involved in "treating" people with "gun afflictions" by dealing with their underlying "sexuality issues". Ya. I knew things had gone WAY south once I realized this bizarre gadget he'd just handed me was something I'd vaguely heard of but never seen. A penis pump. Swear to God.

Anyways. This same moron was also a "hunting advocate". 'Cept he didn't like guns. So he advocated "manly hunting". With rocks. Cut to video of three morons in camo wandering through the woods annoying various furred/feathered critters with thrown rocks.

Ok, so by the end of this bizarre crap as the closing credits are rolling, he pulls out a fairly big rock and holds it in a throwing position, growling and snarling at me, and making pathetic throwing motions.

I came *this* close to pulling a knife on his dumbass. Had my hand all the way in my pocket. Paused there, thought better of it.
Read the whole HighRoad thread.

I find it FASCINATING that gun-haters consider gun owners to be dangerous borderline homicidal maniacs, but have no fear that ridiculing and provoking a gun-rights supporter in this way will result in a "postal experience" with blood painting the walls. Their blood.

Even going so far as to (jokingly) threaten to attack one with a rock, after provoking him.

No, they are perfectly safe goading us, and they know it.

But I'd vote to acquit.

The Death of Rights

Francis Porretto wrote an essay a couple of days ago that included these pertinent quotes:
One of the strongest arguments for conservatism about the law -- that is, for extreme caution in legal enactments, including the revision of laws by judicial pronouncement -- is the Law of Unintended Consequences. A legal change that makes something permitted, compulsory, or prohibited cannot guarantee that the results will be desirable.

--

Property is one of the great binding threads of a free society. All freedom is founded on the institution of private property. No other right -- not even the right to life -- is safe if property rights are not respected. Yet the thread frays ever closer to breaking completely.
I ran across this story via The England Project a couple of days ago:
Homeowners would be forced to rent out properties that have stood empty for more than six months under proposals unveiled today.

Under an amendment to the housing bill, tabled by Labour backbencher David Kidney MP, councils would be able to take over such properties, restore them to a decent standard and rent them out at an affordable rate. The council could claim its costs back and give the rest to the owner.

Some 750,000 homes are standing empty in the UK at any one time. Mr Kidney's plans would cover the 300,000 homes left unoccupied for more than six months. He claimed that the government was sympathetic to the plan.
There's a lot more, but that's the basics. So, what you see here is government considering passage of laws that violate property rights with no consideration for the Unintended Consequences.

Then today I found this piece by Tim Worstall, an expatriate Brit who happens to own one of those vacant properties back in England. Tim says:
Just had the local council inspecting my place in the UK as well. They're insisting on various upgrades, some of which are not technically feasible without a complete redesign of the interior. For which I probably won't be able to get listed buildings consent from the other side of the same council.

Two that really stand out. Interior walls must be 10 cm thick so as to be fireproof. Um, most of Bath is built with 4 inch ashlar : so they are actually proposing that internal walls should be thicker than external. Morons.

--

The one that really got me : after they serve an enforcement order it will be a criminal offense for me to provide less than 5,000 cm2 of work space in the kitchen. Seriously, a criminal offense.
I am, once again, reminded of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged:
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on the guilt. Now that’s the system!
Steven Den Beste asked a couple of questions a few days ago, concerning the continuing creep of the EU:
Can Europe avoid this nightmare? Do there exist people there who recognize the peril and who still are willing to work to prevent it?
I responded that certainly there were people who recognized the perils, but there weren't enough of them to stop the process. This seems to me to be blindingly apparent. This latest violation of English property rights is but one more sad example of the death of rights that is spreading not only in Europe, but here as well, as our putative "servants" in government decide that they own everything - including us - and merely allow us to use it, so long as we pay our taxes and don't violate their ever-changing rules.

No wonder they want to disarm us.

UPDATE: Ian Murray of The Edge of England's Sword posts on the proposed legislation. The comments are interesting, too.
The Next Big Stupid Lie

Clayton Cramer has the scoop: Apparently Bush is responsible for keeping the Air Force grounded on 9/11 so they were unable to intercept the four airliners.

Reynolds Aluminum must be working overtime making foil for the moonbats.

(Use the Heavy Duty foil, shiny side out, three layers. It works best if you wrap your entire head and seal it at the neck with duct tape.)

Sheesh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Last Stand of the Woodstock Nation

Interesting piece on politics and the loyal opposition "the other side" over at Roger L. Simon (hat tip Instapundit - Read Cathy Siepp's piece, too.) The title of this post comes from a line in the comments, to wit:
The 2004 election is the last stand of (the) Woodstock Nation, and its Baby Boomers are determined to fight to the death. But their shrill, grating, and mindless nature of their attacks will only prove self-destructive in the end and hastern [sic] their demise.
Read the piece, it's worth it, but that comment really caught my attention.

Last stand of the Woodstock Nation, indeed.
Gotta Watch This One!

Small Town Country Girl has an EXCELLENT piece up on the government's various Wars and the fact that they cost a LOT in taxes.

(Also via The Carnival. Read the Carnival. Much good stuff.)
No More Loyal Opposition

Dustbury has an interesting post up that touches on my Item 32 in 40 Things About Me and This Blog in his The next-to-last Democrat. Dustbury's piece was inspired by Emperor Misha, not me, but I thought the coincidence was interesting, and it's a good read.

(Found via the Carnival of the Vanities #87, hosted by Dispatches from the Culture Wars this week.)
More Torricelling of Kerry

Via Dodd of Ipse Dixit comes this NYTimes (!) piece lambasting the presumptive Democrat nominee:
ith the election season moving into full swing as Americans start thinking about their summer travel plans, it's sadly predictable that politicians will try to curry favor with voters by playing silly blame games and proposing simplistic quick fixes for rising gasoline prices, which are averaging more than $2 a gallon. A case in point is the demand made yesterday by 20 Senate Democrats that the government release as much as 60 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next two months.

--

Experts estimate that at most, turning on the spigot now would knock only a few cents off a gallon.

Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, knows this, of course, and he demeans the seriousness of his own candidacy when he suggests that President Bush could single-handedly bring down fuel costs. Senator Kerry has urged the administration to stop buying oil for the reserve, as if that would make a difference.

--

Rather than pretending that there are facile switch-flipping fixes, Senator Kerry should be talking about bolstering conservation efforts and fuel economy standards, and encouraging new investment in refining capacity.
Why shouldn't Kerry recommend "switch-flipping" when he's already so good at "flip-flopping?"

When the NYTimes starts whacking the Democrat's Golden Boy, he's in serious trouble.

Here are two quotes from the piece that I found particularly interesting, given the source:
The real culprit behind rising energy costs is the roaring demand from growing economies, especially China's and the United States', though the volatile situation in the Middle East does seem to add a risk premium.

--

In the meantime, we all need to keep the shrill hyperbole about "record high" oil prices in perspective. A barrel of oil now costs more than $40, but when adjusted for inflation, that price is less alarming. During past spikes, oil has cost well over twice that amount in today's dollars. Yes, high fuel costs could ultimately endanger the economic recovery, but there is no reason to believe that they will do so at this level.
Let's see, the American economy is "growing" and producing "roaring demand,"; oil has, in the past, cost twice as much as it does now; there is no reason to believe that current high oil prices will endanger our economic recovery.

Why is this not front-page news, but instead buried in the opinion section?

The Philosophy CANNOT BE WRONG!


Clayton Cramer links to this ThisisLondon report on the sentencing of an 18 year-old who shot a 13 year-old boy in the head:
Dean Davis was accidentally killed as he watched DVDs with his friends when one put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger as a "prank", believing it could not fire.

--

Dean's killer, Renelle Coke, 18, was sentenced to two years in prison after the judge accepted his genuine " distress and remorse" over the shooting.

Coke pleaded guilty to manslaughter and possessing the weapon, which was brought to the house in Walthamstow by another teenager.

He loaded the Valtro 8000FS pistol with four bullets, pointed it at Dean's head, then played with the hammer mechanism.

The gun fired at point-blank range, leaving Dean with severe head injuries from which he died in hospital.
This is a Brocock Valtro 8000FS
It's a blank pistol, not sold legally in England.

It's quite possible for a blank pistol - held close to the skull - to kill. Actor Jon-Erik Hexum managed to kill himself with a .44 Magnum loaded with blanks. The concussion is quite real. But note that Coke had the weapon, loaded the weapon, pointed the weapon at his victim's head, and pulled the trigger.

But the gun was at fault.
Jailing Coke, Judge Hubert Dunn said: "It is an appallingly sad case. It illustrates the great danger of guns and ammunition.
--

My children come and visit our house but they don't want to stay here any more, because the whole place just reminds them of what has happened to little Dean. That is what guns have done to our family."

--

Detective Chief Superintendent John Coles, head of the Met's Operation Trident, said: "Guns are the fashion accessory of the new millennium - once upon a time it was flick knives and knuckledusters; now youngsters seem to think that it's cool to be seen with a gun in your hand."
AFTER the ban. AFTER they disarmed the people who represented the good "gun culture" - the ones who understand that guns are dangerous if mishandled. The ones who teach safe gun handling.
He added: "We are doing very strong work with the community and targeting kids as young as six and seven so that they are being talked away from thinking like this.

"The message should be clear - guns are not cool, they are stupid and they do kill."
No, people who view them as fashion accessories are stupid and do kill. Deliberate criminals kill. But the gun is just a magic talisman that the philosophy has made it in the minds of the criminal class.

Until the people in the UK accept that the philosophy that blames the gun is wrong and a failure, the problem is going to continue. Turning up the power on gun bans has failed and will continue to fail. We've got teenagers playing with blank guns that have no idea what any kind of gun can actually do, and a system that ensures that they'll never have a chance to learn while also ensuring that they really want that magic talisman that gives them power over others.

It has been said that repeating the same behavior while expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. The UK's decades-long war on guns is certainly a good example of this.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Canadians Still Trying to Kill the Registration Beast

(Hat Tip, CenterDigit.)

Let's see what the Montreal Gazette has to say, shall we?
The Martin government is letting slip tantalizing hints that it might do something about Canada's $1-billion gun registry. We are told that this has nothing to do with the election expected on June 28. Still, we can't help but note that if there were a political dimension to this, we would be seeing just what we are seeing now: acknowledgement of a problem but no specifics of a solution. Any precise step might cost votes.

Something certainly has to be done about the registry. The government's own estimates show that the cost of this thing, first estimated at $2 million, will reach $1 billion by next year and could climb past $2 billion within the next few years. To date, about 7 million firearms have been registered, leaving an estimated 1 million unaccounted for.

If there were some irrefutable proof that the registry had led to a decrease in the number of murders and suicides, Canadians might will support it, despite its astronomical cost. Unfortunately, proof of a cause-and-effect nature is hard to come by. It might be, as Calgary criminologist Mahfooz Kanwar said earlier this year, that any control on guns can help, and that eventually the registry will have an impact. But $1 or $2 billion is a lot to spend on a "might be."
It certainly starts off promising. Wow. As much as $2 BILLION? I hadn't heard that. But of course it goes South, so to speak:
The question then becomes whether there is a cheaper, more efficient, less invasive way to lower the incidence of gun crimes.

Keeping U.S.-made guns out of Canada would certainly help. As many as half the handguns recovered by Toronto police, and 75 per cent of the handguns associated with Toronto homicides, have been smuggled across the U.S. border. These are not weapons likely ever to be registered. More border guards and police officers, and better equipment at the borders, would help fight this plague.
Yeah. All that really helps keep the drugs out, doesn't it? And it's not like Canada has all that much firearm violence in the first freaking place. For example, the very next sentence:
There is also the matter of Canada's 131,000 convicted criminals who have been banned from owning firearms.
Wow. A whole 131,000! But check this!
The registry does not keep track of them. Last winter, for example, the Toronto Star reported that Daniel Greig, on parole and prohibited from owning guns, illegally acquired the following weapons: a six-shot, .44-calibre Smith & Wesson; a .45-calibre Block semi-automatic; a .45-calibre Heckler and Koch semi-automatic; a 12-gauge Franchi pump-acton shotgun with a pistol grip; an M-16; a .223-calibre Colt semi-automatic assault rifle and several rounds of ammunition.
Obviously "gun control" works as well in Canada as it does in Chicago, D.C. and London.

And we should be surprised....why?

(And what the hell is a ".45 Caliber Block semi-automatic"? Please, please tell me that was just a typo that an ignorant editor missed.)

But of course the problem isn't that gun control doesn't work, oh no! Instead it's the same excuse gun ban control organizations down here use - "loopholes":
There are too many holes in the current legislation.
But at least the piece recognizes the - EXPENSIVE - futility of the registry:
The screening falls far short of protecting the public. The follow-up of known risks is also totally inadequate. These are areas where money should be spent.

Turning the whole mess over the RCMP, which is one of the options recently offered to the government, is not a solution. Easing the burden on long-gun owners would perhaps make the registry less unpopular, but would make it no more useful.

Punishing gun crimes is a good idea. Rigorous enforcement of laws limiting access to guns, especially for those with a criminal or violent history, is a good idea. But fiddling with the registry and then throwing good money after bad is not a good idea.


Next up, the Star Phoenix from Saskatoon has a similar op-ed on dumping the registry, but there was also this excellent - but troubling - op-ed.
Gun legislation a failure, let us count the ways

Lloyd Litwin

When you start a diet program, it doesn't matter where you start from or what sociological factors prompted it. What matters is the gains or losses after you start. If the weight goes down you are on the right track. If there is no loss or the weight goes up, then you are doing the wrong thing. If you spend a lot of money for negative results the whole exercise should be scrapped and a different approach should be tried.

This sensible and simple analogy was presented by Dr. Gary Mauser at the recent seminar sponsored by the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners' Association. His research and publications showed some interesting trends.

If you listen to the anti-gunners, the mere presence of guns will increase the rates of homicides, suicides and violent crimes. So Canada and the United States should be the worst places to live. Admittedly, the U.S. has the highest incidence of gun crime. So it's the fattest kid at the gym. But if we look at the last 10 years, the results from the U.S. contradict other countries' attempts to solve the problem.

The rate of decline of gun-related crimes in the U.S. is better than Canada's. It's also much better than in Britain and Australia. Countries where they have banned and confiscated guns are seeing crime rates rise significantly. The U.S. diet is working; ours is not.
That's a little simplistic, but technically accurate.
The anti-gunners like to point to suicide statistics as proof Bill C-68 in Canada is working. Indeed, gun suicides are going down, arguably due to the increased complexities and scrutiny in obtaining a gun. However, the total number of suicides is not changing. People bent on destroying themselves turn to other methods. So again the expensive experiment has failed to achieve one of its stated purposes.
I have taken the suicide statistic problem on before. Gun banners control proponents have combined suicide and homicide to show just how big a problem guns are, but they never seem willing to do that in comparisons between nations, nor do they note that reducing suicide by firearm never seems to affect suicide overall - but the claim is that people who kill themselves with firearms might live if firearms weren't available because firearms are so much more lethal than other methods. Well apparently not. Apparently if you really want to kill yourself, you find a way. Method is immaterial to "success" rate when it comes to suicide.
The day at the seminar was filled with other speakers from Victoria to Halifax relating their own experiences and giving their explanations as to why the latest round of gun control is a waste of time, money and effort. But they were preaching to the converted. The audience was known supporters. The only skeptics were the three media reporters who came to question Dr. Mauser in the middle of the afternoon. Their questions would have had more relevance if they had bothered to sit in on his whole presentation.
What, you expect reporters to do background? Why, that might affect their bias! impartiality!
A lawyer from Arizona (that would most probably be David Hardy, a man I would very much like to buy lunch some day) made a good presentation that shocked us, then got our minds into a mode of re-evaluating our methods. First, he showed a video that documented the tragedies of the modern world; the extermination of more than 150 million people since 1900 by governments which started the process by outlawing the public from owning guns. Once disarmed the people were defenceless.
Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. And disarming is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
For me the most intriguing discussion was the message about using the proper language in our own defence. For example: Gun control is a physical description. It's used when handling the gun. You control it at all times to be safe.

The political movement happening now is properly called people control. It should be criminal control, but the government has missed the target and set up all these rules to control the law-abiding citizen. When they get around to requiring criminals to register where they live and when they move, under penalty of law, then it will be criminal control, not gun control as it is mistakenly now called.
Excellent observation. And "people control" is what is responsible for that "decades-long slow-motion hate crime" I mentioned below.

But the last line is the truly disturbing part of this piece:
And finally a profound statement: The constitution was written to protect people from the government, not to protect the government from the people.
Unfortunately, I don't think it's just Canadians who find that "profound" in the sense of "difficult to fathom or understand." It's the result of our dumbing-down in education and the fact that most students coming out of our government run daycare centers known as public schools have no real knowledge of American History or our government.

They've made it a point to paint government as the source of manna, rather than a necessary evil, best watched closely and with a gimlet eye.
Remember "You're American if you Think You're American"?

That was a post I wrote about Steven Den Beste's post "Non-European Country" back in November. In that piece Steven wrote:
You're French if you're born in France, of French parents. You're English if you're born to English parents (and Welsh if your parents were Welsh). But you're American if you think you're American, and are willing to give up what you used to be in order to be one of us. That's all it takes. But that's a lot, because "thinking you're American" requires you to comprehend that idea we all share. But even the French can do it, and a lot of them have.
I was reminded of that because of a post by the Mad Ogre (no permalinks, just scroll down - past all the other crunchy goodness - to the titled This email comes from a .de address where a commenter says:
"I do not know how many countries you have on you side But what I know is that you have in every country on the planet people like myself Who have been on your side since day one and will remain so come hell or high-water Who actually have come to consider themselves "American" first and anything else a distant second So remember that you are not alone. – Pierre"
Yup.

Somehow I doubt there are people all over the world, born in different nations, who consider themselves French or German, but there are those who look at America and say "Regardless of the nation of my birth, I am an American."

Damn but I love my country and its people.

Now if I could just do something about my government...
THERE'S the Rachel We All Know and Love!

She seems a bit perturbed that the French and the "Hate Bush" (yes, I know that's somewhat redundant) crowd just looooooved Michael Moore's latest film at Cannes.

I'll take a couple, Rachel.
"...the Arab edition of Fear Factor"

Author and attorney (among other things) John Ross - no stranger to controversy - has an interesting piece up on the Abu Ghraib photos.

It'll make you think, I guarantee you that.
Two States, Two Mountain Lions

A mountain lion was shot and killed by state Wildlife officers on Sunday in a recreational area near Tucson. This is after a local park area nearby was closed for five weeks after two or more cougars were seen near trails there.

Another big cat was shot and killed by police officers in a residential subdivision in Palo Alto, California this morning. There's video of the shooting.

The small, left-handed, female officer uses a tricked out bullet hose er, assault weapon, um, gun designed only for killing a large number of people in a short period, ah, semi-automatic carbine.

Which has the (LEO-only) collapsable stock, forward vertical handgrip, and EOTECH optical red-dot sight. And 30-round magazine. One shot. (Edited to add: I noticed she didn't use the "more deadly" "spray-firing from the hip" mode that the pistol grip on the AR-15 "assault weapon" is designed for. Instead she used the "more deadly" aimed fire. I never have been able to figure out how both of those are "more deadly.")

No information is available on what the Arizona Game & Fish officers used to dispatch the cat here.

Expect an outpouring of outrage from the bunnyhuggers. Expect no comment from Diane Feinstein over the use of the "bullet hose."
Roderick Pritchett Acquitted!

(Via Spoons)

Roderick Pritchett (first covered here Sept. 18) has been acquitted of all charges according to this Chicago Tribune piece.

Mr. Pritchett's story, in his own words, is here.

The courts will not save us, but sometimes they're still honest.
WORDS WOMEN USE

FINE
This is the word women use to end an argument when they feel they are right and you need to shut up. Never use "fine" to describe how a woman looks - this will cause you to have one of those arguments.

FIVE MINUTES
This is half an hour. It is equivalent to the five minutes that your football game is going to last before you take out the trash, so it's an even trade.

NOTHING
This means "something," and you should be on your toes. "Nothing" is usually used to describe the feeling a woman has of wanting to turn you inside out, upside down, and backwards. "Nothing" usually signifies an argument that will last "Five Minutes" and end with "Fine."

GO AHEAD (With Raised Eyebrow!)
This is a dare. One that will result in a woman getting upset over "Nothing" and will end with the word "Fine."

GO AHEAD (Normal Eyebrows)
This means "I give up" or "do what you want because I don't care" You will get a "Raised Eyebrow Go Ahead" in just a few minutes, followed by "Nothing" and "Fine" and she will talk to you in about "Five Minutes" when she cools off.

GO AHEAD! (Loudly)
At some point in the near future, you are going to be in some mighty big trouble.

LOUD SIGH
This is not actually a word, but is a nonverbal statement often misunderstood by men. A "Loud Sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot at that moment, and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing."

SOFT SIGH
Again, not a word, but a nonverbal statement. "Soft Sighs" mean that she is content. Your best bet is to not move or breathe, and she will stay content.

THAT'S OKAY
This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man. "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before paying you back for whatever it is that you have done. "That's Okay" is often used with the word "Fine" and in conjunction with a "Raised Eyebrow."

PLEASE DO
This is not a statement, it is an offer. A woman is giving you the chance to come up with whatever excuse or reason you have for doing whatever it is that you have done. You have a fair chance with the truth, so be careful and you shouldn't get a "That's Okay."

THANKS
A woman is thanking you. Do not faint! Just say you're welcome.

THANKS A LOT
This is much different from "Thanks." A woman will say, "Thanks A Lot" when she is really ticked off at you. It signifies that you have offended her in some callous way, and will be followed by the "Loud Sigh." Be careful not to ask what is wrong after the "Loud Sigh," as she will only tell you "Nothing."

Send this to the men you know to warn them about future arguments they can avoid if they remember the terminology! (And send it to your women friends to give them a good laugh.)

Monday, May 17, 2004

A Decades-Long Slow-Motion Hate Crime

That's how the War on Gunowners™ has been described. This piece entitled Intolerance of gun owners nation-wide problem puts it very well. Excerpt:
If you want to taste intolerance, let it be known you not only own guns, you like them. For instance, I can't help but notice the worried looks and whispers of waiting passengers while helping a ticket agent check in my rifle or muzzleloader at the airport. In one case, my daughters overheard a woman tell her husband, "You'd think with children in his house he wouldn't keep guns around."

Amazing. I would have thought she would have been more impressed that my three daughters — then fairly young — had stood in line for 30 minutes without irritating the spit out of everyone within hearing.
(Hat tip, Say Uncle)
Tell Me Again How Democratic Those Democrats Are?

I've mentioned the local Lefty rag, the Tucson Weekly a couple of times before, but last week's issue, which I just scanned through, had a letter to the editor I just couldn't pass up:
[Op-ed columnist] Tom Danehy is right: President Bush is going to be re-elected, but not because Democrats don't have it together (Danehy, April 22). They do have it together, but most Americans are too fucking stupid to recognize it.

President Bush will be re-elected because he is a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian. Only 28 percent of Americans believe in evolution, and the other 72 percent believe in divine creation or some such nonsense. President Bush does not believe in evolution but does believe in divine creation. This is why he will be re-elected.

Patrick Bishop
Yup. Most Americans are just too stupid to vote.

Democrat.

That's a real problem in a democracy, ain't it?
Here's a Pretty Interesting Take on Things

Does a deeply divided U.S. have the guts needed to win in Iraq?

Excerpts:
Here's my soapbox, and I'm on it.

First off, let me say I was against us going into Iraq. No, I wasn't concerned about the lack of a blessing from the United Nations, which couldn't hit a bull in the rump with a banjo.

Nor did I care about evidence proving the presence of WMDs. Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction, a weapon designed by international meddlers such as ourselves.

My fear was, and is, that this country doesn't have the guts and historical awareness to prevail in a region where numerous civilizations, some of them utterly ruthless, have lost their shirts.

--

And any idiot could've predicted the way we'd react when the real body count mounted, as it did in earnest two months ago. News agencies tripped over themselves to present the photos of our war dead, while greater numbers of people were being murdered on the streets of our own fine nation.

And look how we barfed over the images of the prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib, while we seem perfectly at peace with the common phenomenon of prisoners raping each other in our own country.

--

Former Abu Ghraib prisoner Dhia al-Shweiri said he preferred the electric shocks and beatings he suffered in the prison when it was under Saddam's control to the humiliation he suffered when the American guards made him strip (once) - and lean against a wall (for 15 minutes).

"They were trying to humiliate us, break our pride. . . . They wanted us to feel as though we are women, the way women feel." (So that's the way they treat women?)

There it is. It's better to be shocked, beaten and shot between the eyes than to feel like a woman.

--

We're in the midst of a titanic cultural and religious war with a borderless enemy, and we're unarmed on both counts.
Read the Whole Thing.
An Example of the Proper Application of the ClueBat™

Today's Bleat contains a severe drubbing of one Hunter S. Thompson starting about halfway down. Well worth the read.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Human Nature Doesn't Change

Steven Den Beste (I seem to be making a habit of commenting on his stuff) has a piece up entitled "Truth is Stranger than Fiction" about a specific form of backlash against the bureacratic red tape that is part and parcel of the EU. Read Steven's (short) piece, if you have not, because it is not exactly excerptable.

Finished? Good.

Steven asks two specific questions that I'd like to answer:
Can Europe avoid this nightmare? Do there exist people there who recognize the peril and who still are willing to work to prevent it?
IMHO, the answer to the first question is "no." And the reason has to do with the answer to the second question. Certainly there are people in Europe who recognize the peril and are still willing to work to prevent it. But they are far too few to affect the flood. One of the pieces Steven quotes says this:
[A]t the heart of (Kafka's) obsessive and horrifying narratives is an unfathomable bureaucracy, one that has emerged through a combination of inertia, default, and the institution of political power, perpetuating itself by feeding upon the rights of the people it was ostensibly designed to serve.
I submit that Kafka's vision is merely the behavior of human nature with respect to "popular government" writ to its logical extreme: The maximization of the regulatory power of government with the minimalization of individual responsibility and accountability.

The only thing that actually prevents a completely Kafka-esque bureacracy is also human nature - the desire in a few to be the ones with their hands on the reins, even if, as the song goes, the reins are chains on their hands and they're riding upon a train.

The purpose of our (apparently aberrant) Constitutional Republic was to build a government that could not "perpetuate itself by feeding upon the rights of the people it was ostensibly designed to serve." By all appearances, that government too has "through a combination of inertia, default, and the institution of political power" finally headed down Kafka's path. We're just not as advanced along it as Europe.

But there are people here who clamor for it.

It's human nature.

UPDATE: This piece describes, I believe accurately, the human nature behind Robert Conquest's Second Law:

Any organization not explicitly rightwing over time drifts leftward.

It's a good companion to this one. And it's why, though there are people "who recognize the peril and who still are willing to work to prevent it," there are almost never enough of us to circumvent Conquest's law until we've all descended back into bondage. It also explains Tytler's cycle.

UPDATE 5/16 9:55PM: A commenter, Dave Schuler of The Glittering Eye wrote:
While I do agree with you about the consistency of human nature, I can't say that I agree with John Ray's analysis. The Left has no special monopoly on elitism or authoritarianism/totalitarianism. Those on the Right would be just as happy to impose their ideas forcibly on others—they just have different ideas.

Part of the same human nature you're talking about ensures it's a pretty rare individual that doesn't want to impose his views on others.
I responded, but it piqued something, so I hunted through my archives for a piece I wrote back when we were (only half-jokingly) promoting the Reynolds/Lucas 2008 candidacy - back when I wasn't quite as pessimistic as I am now about government. It's entitled History Calls - Will We Answer? (The answer is, apparently, "No" for the same reason I gave above - there aren't enough of us.)

Anyway, it's still a good piece, and it's another good companion to this one, probably better than the John Ray piece linked above. In it, I quote something I found on the web long ago that answers Dave's contention better than I did in the comments:
It stands to reason that self-righteous, inflexible, single-minded, authoritarian true believers are politically organized. Open-minded, flexible, complex, ambiguous, anti-authoritarian people would just as soon be left to mind their own fucking business. - R.U. Sirius

Friday, May 14, 2004

Thursday, May 13, 2004

40 Things About Me and This Blog

1) I started this blog on Wednesday, May 14, 2003.

2) I'm 42 years old.

3) I'm male, white, married, and overweight. I drive a pickup. (4WD. No gunrack, though.)

4) I have an IQ somewhere in the 130's, and my Meyers-Briggs personality type is INTJ. (My wife says I should frame that description for future reference - it's that accurate.) Supposedly INTJ's make up only one or two percent of the population. That would explain a lot.

5) I have a BA degree in General Studies after spending 5½ years in college studying Physics, Mathematics, and Engineering.

6) The Arizona Board of Technical Registration says I'm a qualified, registered Professional Engineer, (Electrical).

7) I have a rare genetic enzyme disorder that causes a condition known as Acute Intermittent Porphyria. My case is relatively mild and doesn't affect my mental balance, but it hurts pretty bad when it occurs and it requires me to sustain a carbohydrate-heavy diet - just ONE reason I'm fat.

8) I do not smoke, I do not drink, and I've never taken an illicit substance. I've never been intoxicated and never wanted to be. I don't understand the attraction and don't want to. But I don't believe it's the business of government to tell me that I cannot.

9) I'm a shooter and a reloader. Those are two of my hobbies. My blog is another, though it has consumed the majority of my time, spare and otherwise, over the last year. I also own a 1967 fastback big-block Mustang that will (someday) be built into a 500Hp highway-cruising hotrod.

10) I have two siblings; a brother five years older who is a professional auto mechanic, and a sister four years older who is a public school teacher.

11) Both of my parents are still alive and in their 70's. We all live in the same city.

12) I was pretty much apolitical for most of my life. I was 12 years old when Nixon resigned, and I was quite happy when Jimmy Carter won the Presidency. THAT was short-lived. I turned 18 in 1980 and voted for Ronald Reagan for President. It was quite obvious to me that Carter was a nice man, but a lousy President. He's still a nice man, but he should stick to building houses and stay the fuck out of policy.

13) Since that time there has not been a single candidate I was happy to vote for but quite a number I was more than willing to vote against. In almost every case, my vote has been against the Democrat running.

14) In 1992 I voted against G.H.W. Bush AND William Jefferson Clinton by casting my ballot for H. Ross Perot. I did not make that mistake a second time, though by then it didn't matter. I didn't really want Dole either.

15) In 2000 I cast my vote against Al Gore. On Sept. 12, 2001 I was very glad I had. I'm not quite as content with my decision today, but I still believe that Gore would have been an unmitigated disaster. (G.W. Bush is merely a mitigated one. His domestic policies are a mess. His prosecution of the war is not.) I believe the same to be true of any potential Democrat candidate for the seat this year. As I note below, I don't think Kerry will be the name on the ticket come November.

16) In general, my politics are those of a pragmatic libertarian (small "L"). I believe in maximum freedom and personal responsibility. I recognize that those are relatively rare traits. (Remember my Meyers-Briggs personality type. "Does it WORK?")

17) I had an AR-15 "post-ban" "assault rifle" custom built for me in 1997, specifically because of the 1994 AWB. And that sucker shoots. But it's still the pipsqueak .223 varmint cartridge.

18) When the AWB sunsets, I intend to buy an FN-FAL "black rifle" in celebration. Probably about 2006. There are other guns I want more in the mean time.

19) I'm a shooter, not a collector. I don't like overly fancy guns, but functional ones. I like hitting small things from a long way off, so most everything I've got is rifled. I have one shotgun, a Mossberg 590 model 50665. It is not a Sporting Clays gun.

20) I'm primarily a handgun shooter, though I really like rifles. I am the match director for the local International Handgun Metallic Silhouette matches a the Tucson Rifle Club.

21) I'm also the TRC's Pistol Director, though that duty hasn't required much of me.

22) My favorite target pistol is my Remington XP-100 center-grip chambered in 7mm Benchrest.

23) I'm a shooter, not a hunter. I understand the appeal that hunting has for some, but for me hunting is "taking your gun for a walk." If you do it right, you only pull the trigger once, and then things get messy.

24) I prefer shooting steel to punching paper. I like reactive targets.

25) I have shot clay pigeons in the air with my sporterized 1917 Enfield in its standard .30-06 chambering, shooting Korean military surplus 147 grain FMJ ammo. I hit three out of the first ten. I have witnesses. (I missed all of the next ten, though.)

26) I want to do it again.

27) My favorite handgun is my Kimber Custom Stainless 1911 in its John Moses Browning intended caliber of .45 ACP. My favorite load (Disclaimer: Use At Your Own Risk) is a 200 grain Speer Gold Dot hollowpoint over 7.0 grains of Unique. Out of my pistol it pushes 950fps, hits with a 6 o'clock hold at 25 yards and with a dead-on hold at 50. It feeds and functions with complete reliability. I wonder if I could hit a clay in the air with it.

27) When it comes to bolt-action rifles, I'm a cock-on-close enthusiast. My first bolt gun was a No. 4 Mk I Lee Enfield, my second a 1896 Swedish Mauser. Now that I've acquired a 1917 Enfield, I'm even more convinced that cock-on-close is the way it ought to be. Your mileage may vary. I don't give a shit.

28) I'm also convinced that recoil, at least to some point, is something you can simply learn to ignore. When I started shooting rifles, my .303 No. 4 kicked pretty damned hard. Now I can sit at a bench and put 100 rounds through my 1917 with essentially no discomfort. I've fired a couple hundred rounds of .30-06, .303, and 12 gauge high-base in a single afternoon and had barely a bruise and just a tiny bit of stiffness the next day.

29) Flinching, on the other hand, requires a LOT of practice to overcome, and it comes back if you don't keep up your practice. Intentionally setting off an explosion a few inches from your face is not a natural act. It takes a while to convince your subconscious that everything is copacetic, and I don't think it remains convinced long.

30) I think I prefer handguns because shooting a handgun well is more difficult than shooting a rifle well. I like the challenge.

31) I like reloading because it requires concentration and precision, just like shooting does. Loading my own ammo adds that much more control over the entire process. It doesn' hurt that it costs a lot less than buying commercial, either. But I won't load for someone else, and I won't shoot someone else's reloads.

32) Back to politics: I think our political system has degenerated from "loyal opposition" to out-and-out "the other side." I think this bodes ill for our future as a nation. The polarization affects about 10-15% of the population, leaving 70-80% in the middle pretty sick and tired of all the crap they have to put up with. Unfortunately, very few in that middle bother to vote much. Fewer bother to think.

33) I'm a REPUBLICAN but not a member of the "Republican Party." By that, I mean that I believe our Founders had it right in that Democracy was a quick path to Hell. As one local op-ed columnist put it recently
The Electoral College stands as an elitist and blatant reminder that the founders of this nation believed the rabble - that's us - couldn't be trusted with the task of directly choosing our president.
And they were right. About that and a lot more. But we've managed to (mostly) overcome the safeguards they built in, and the rabble - that's us - has managed to do what DeTocqueville warned against:
"The American Democratic experiment will succeed until the people realize they can vote themselves money from the public treasury... then it will collapse."
That's what a Republic is supposed to prevent. It failed. It was supposed to be foolproof, but we keep making better fools.

34) I have a stepdaughter, about to turn 25, who is a product of Tucson's public schools.

35) I have two grandchildren, one four and one five, who will also be exposed to that system. I hope to be able to intervene, or at least mitigate the impact. I am not, regardless of my sister's chosen profession, a public school enthusiast. I am convinced that the public school systems are a tool, deliberately crafted twisted by the left to produce mindless, unthinking, compliant, obedient proles. And they are largely successful in spite of the efforts of teachers like my sister.

36) And I'm beginning to wonder about the effects of 20+ years of public school systems ON my sister.

37) I hope that the world my grandchildren grow up in is a bright, cheerful, and safe one. With the rise of Wahabist Islam and the moonbat Left, I don't think it will be.

38) I intend for them to be able to think for themselves and stand up for their rights. And I will threaten violence, if necessary, to keep the "authorities" from putting my grandson on Ritalin or any other substance when he happens to exhibit a personality in the classroom.

39) I concentrate in this blog on the right to arms because, to me, it is the litmus test of the politician's faith. If you do not trust the populace with arms, you should not be a leader. A Republic needs to be lead by leaders, not people courting popular support. Always understand that some will not be worthy of that trust, but that's not reason to strip all of their rights. Government is there to protect the rights of its citizens, not parent them.

40) In a Democracy, the majority rules. If 50% +1 decide that all left-handed redheads should be exiled, then it's law and that's all there is to it. A Constitutional Republic has a basis in law that says "Government may NOT DO" and "Government may ONLY DO" and when it strays from those rules, its citizens lose. That system WORKS, as long as we let it. But once we start bending those restrictions for personal advantage, it begins to fail. Our system began failing almost from inception, but for over 200 years it has worked better than any other government in history in making the United States of America the most free, most productive, and most hopeful nation on Earth.

And I hope we can prevent it from collapsing under the weight of 225 years of being fucked with "by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

This, according to Blogspot, will be my 1,020th post since starting this blog. I don't intend to post anything tomorrow, and I don't know about this weekend. I still owe Tim Lambert a response, though, and I may get to it then.
Gun Control with a Happy Face

(Via Ipse Dixit)

PrudentPolitics.com carries an excellent piece by Howard Nemerov, entitled Gun Control and the Next Big Lie.

A taste:
Get ready for gun control with a happy face. Gun banners pretend to no longer want to confiscate your firearms. They are concerned about safety. With all those firearms on the streets, now that 37 states have Shall-Issue Concealed Carry laws, the gun banners want to know who has them and where they are at all times. In their hoplophobia (irrational fear of guns) they believe that anybody carrying a gun is a hair’s breadth away from becoming a homicidal maniac or that demon-possessed guns will leap out of holsters and fire of their own volition. Of course, the only way to keep track of all those guns is to have a registry, and history has shown that registration leads to confiscation, which leads to loss of other civil rights. So we come full circle to a new confiscation scheme.
RTWT. It's worth your time.

I'd like to remind you of two things when you read this. First, the Violence Policy Center listed as one of its reasons for supporting a ban on "assault weapons":
Efforts to stop restrictions on assault weapons will only further alienate the police from the gun lobby.

Until recently, police organizations viewed the gun lobby in general, and the NRA in particular, as a reliable friend. This stemmed in part from the role the NRA played in training officers and its reputation regarding gun safety and hunter training. Yet, throughout the 1980s, the NRA has found itself increasingly on the opposite side of police on the gun control issue. Its opposition to legislation banning armor-piercing ammunition, plastic handguns, and machine guns, and its drafting of and support for the McClure/Volkmer handgun decontrol bill, burned many of the bridges the NRA had built throughout the past hundred years. As the result of this, the Law Enforcement Steering Committee was formed. The Committee now favors such restriction measures as waiting periods with background check for handgun purchase and a ban on machine guns and plastic firearms. If police continue to call for assault weapons restrictions, and the NRA continues to fight such measures, the result can only be a further tarnishing of the NRA's image in the eyes of the public, the police, and NRA members. The organization will no longer be viewed as the defender of the sportsman, but as the defender of the drug dealer.
I submit to you that now they have added "liberalized Concealed Carry" to the list of "dividing issues."

I'd also like to remind you that it was Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Ken Jenne who hoodwinked CNN's reporter John Zarella over the differences between pre-ban and post-ban "assault weapons" I reported on last May. For some reason, Florida seems to be a hotbed of anti-gun activity, perhaps because Florida is where the push for "liberalized" Concealed Carry began.

I've noted here on numerous occasions that the opposition has (with the notable exception of the Violence Policy Center) abandoned the "gun control" platform for the "gun safety" one, though both mean to them precisely the same thing: Gun ELIMINATION.
Mike Spenis is on a Roll

Excerpts:
First things first:

Nick Berg was not killed because of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. He, like Daniel Pearl, was killed in that particularly grotesque manner because he was Jewish. They will probably do it again, too, when yet another American Jew falls into their hands.

Anybody who was surprised by that video has simply not been paying attention.

--

You don't measure your success by how easy the job was. We measure it by how well you've dealt with the things that were hard.
With examples!
If Rumsfeld ought to resign over the Abu Ghraib scandal, then Kofi Annan ought to go to prison for the Oil For Food scandal. Humiliating and frightening prisoners is nothing compared to running a billion-dollar protection racket for a man with his own ideas of what 'wide-scale torture' really meant.
Read the Whole Thing.
That's Not a Blogroll

THIS is a Blogroll!

(And not, solely, because I'm on it!)
Tom Diaz Scares Me

Because I don't think he's too tightly connected to reality. Tom is one of the principals of the Violence Policy Center which is dedicated to banning handguns.

Our buddies at JoinTogether have published one of his op-eds. Let us fisk:
Had Enough Yet?

by Tom Diaz

It's an All-American story. Nebraska University soccer star Jenna Cooper throws a barbecue in her home to celebrate the season's end. Two men argue over stolen shot glasses. One whips out a handgun.

Jenna Cooper, 21-years old, on the cusp of life -- talented and loved by her team, her family, and her friends -- is gone, taken by a stray bullet fired in anger.

The Lincoln, Nebraska chief of police remarked that Jenna Cooper happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. With all due respect, chief, sir, that is not the problem. The problem is that America is awash with firearms hyper-marketed by a relentless and unregulated gun industry. If a Saturday night barbecue in your own home is the wrong place at the wrong time, what's left? Not much. There is no right place and right time anymore. How about the office. Bad idea.
Note: Tom doesn't place any blame on the shooter, but on the gun industry. Anybody see a problem with that?
A co-worker might come in packing to settle an obscure score that has been sloshing around in his cranial brew for years. What about church, or synagogue, or mosque? Nope, that's been tried. Angry, gun-toting people cork off there, too. Churches have been shot up, even priests officiating masses. Ditto, synagogues and mosques. Schoolyards, the Empire State Building, shopping malls, even the U.S. Capitol have been turned into shooting galleries.
All the fault of gun manufacturers - not the shooters. And not all guns, only handguns.

Except churches, schoolyards, shopping malls et. al have all been shot up by people with rifles, too.
Oh, yeah, and the road rage shooters are out there, waiting to be crossed. One of them just might take the occasion of your flight to safety to decide that you are in too big a hurry, made too sharp a turn, or just plain look like a good candidate for road kill. Had enough yet?

The real problem is that there is barely a crevice left in American life in which the handgun has not taken root. Someone wants to argue over a shot glass or two? Just pull out your argument settler and pop off a round. End of argument.
Again: It's apparently not the fault of the shooter, but the GUN INDUSTRY.

Now Tom really runs off the rails:
It wasn't always that way. The American gun industry -- one of only two consumer products in America free of federal product health and safety regulation (the other is tobacco) -- has created this nightmare.

It has deliberately changed the mix of firearms sold in America over the last 30 years. It has done it because, unlike many other consumer industries that follow population growth, the gun business has faced saturated, declining markets. So it has relentlessly pushed new models of handguns to stimulate sales.
Excuse me? Last time I checked, the market is what drives innovation. If the industry builds it and nobody wants it, that product fails - but Tom is convinced that the industry somehow holds its product to American heads and forces us to buy. Here's his "evidence":
This was described some years ago in a magazine called American Firearms Industry: "Without new models that have major technical changes, you eventually exhaust your market. . . This innovation has driven the handgun market." The most spectacular change in the U.S. civilian firearms market since the end of the Second World War has been the rise of the handgun. In 1946 handguns were only eight percent of firearms sold. Beginning in the mid-1960s this changed.

Handgun sales are now twice the level of 40 years ago, consistently averaging about 40 percent of the overall market. Not only that, the industry is making handguns smaller and more powerful so they can be concealed more easily and do more damage when used. The Austrian company Glock, one of the biggest handgun marketers in America, dubbed its contribution the "Pocket Rocket."
Let's stop right there for a moment. Remember, Tom has just built the case that handguns are responsible for turning various places into "shooting galleries," that handguns represented only 8% of firearms sold, at least in 1946. Now, does that suggest to you that Tom is making the case that homicide rates were much lower in those halcyon days back when handguns were such a tiny percentage of all firearms? Well, here's a graph of homicide rates in the U.S. from 1900 through 2000. Bear in mind, those rates continued to decline through 2003.

See anything wrong with Tom's premise?
So those corny old movies and nostalgic television shows are right. In 1946, you could go to a party and maybe somebody would get angry. Maybe a punch or two would be thrown. But it would be darned rare for somebody to pull out a Pocket Rocket and start shooting. Not because people were better then, but because handguns were scarce.
Um, no Tom. Because "pocket rockets" weren't invented until much later. But what about 1929? Would it have been rare then for someone to have pulled a "gat" and started shooting? Was it the eeeeevil gun manufacturer's fault then?
Not any more. Now every husband who decides to come home and pop the wife has a handgun readily at hand. Every depressed kid or senior who wants to end it all has a handgun. And every nitwit who wants to feel like a big man at a barbecue has a handgun.
Right. The gun fairy just leaves it under the pillow.
There are a few ideological fantasists who are so hooked on the power of the gun that they claim the answer is simply more guns, to arm more people so they can "defend themselves" and "shoot back." Jenna Cooper was enjoying a party. The bullet that hit her in the neck and took her life first traveled through another guest's scalp.

How in the name of blessed reason could she have defended herself from that bizarre sequence with yet another gun? The answer is she couldn't. Sure, get mad at the guy who shot her. Punish him. But don't fantasize about blazing gun battles to teach that punk a thing or two.

And don't blame the wrong place and the wrong time.
Here I actually agree with Tom. He's correct on this - single - point. But he's absolutely wrong in his conclusion:
Blame America's gun industry for putting the gun in his hand.
I have, over the last few weeks, written piece after piece decrying the philosophy of the gun banners. They proclaim that the guns are at fault. That if they could only get rid of the guns none of this would happen. I have shown example after example from that gun-control utopia of England illustrating how even after implementing every single policy supported by gun control forces, gun crime there went up. And as a result, because the philosophy cannot be wrong, the response has been "do it again, only HARDER!"

Tom Diaz exemplifies this mindset. Tom seems to believe that guns are the cause of this violent behavior. That all we have to do is disarm everybody, and THESE. CRIMES. WILL. STOP.

Well, he's partly right. If the government banned all handguns and demanded that they all be turned in, it's possible that somewhere somebody might not get shot in a fit of anger. But it's also possible that law-abiding people might not be able to defend themselves against the criminals who will not hand theirs in. It's one of those "unintended consequences" that they don't bother to consider.

Tom wants us all to be safe. He wants security. That's not a bad thing to want, really. I think Tom suffers, though, from the same problem that is exhibited by most people who hate guns - a lack of trust in their fellow man. I wrote an essay on that topic I entitled TRUST, inspired by another who feared guns, rather than the people willing to misuse them. That piece is the counterpoint to Mr. Diaz's philippic. Give it a read.

And then think about the path England has chosen, and ask yourself if you really want us to follow them.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Wahabism Delenda Est

John Donovan, I believe, has it right.

Go read.

Now.

The question, of course, is whether we can do it before our internal decay causes us to defeat ourselves. The barbarians by themselves aren't enough to defeat us. They need our help to do that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The Philosophy CANNOT Be Wrong! Do it AGAIN, Only HARDER!

Ravenwood links to this news report under the heading of "UK still doesn't get it"
Blunkett orders overhaul of outdated firearm laws

The Government will attempt to tackle Britain's gun culture with plans to be unveiled this week for an overhaul of outdated firearms laws.
Really? Outdated?

Let's see:

1920 saw the introduction of registration of all handguns and rifles.

1936 saw the banning of all privately possessed fully-auto weapons and short-barreled shotguns.

As of 1946, "self-defense" was no longer an acceptable reason for issuance of a firearm license.

In 1953 the Prevention of Crime Act made carrying any "offensive weapon" in public a crime.

The Criminal Justice Act 1967 added shotguns to the registry. And jury trials no longer required a unanimous decision. (If they still did, Tony Martin, the farmer who shot two burglars - in the back - would never have gone to jail. His was a 10-2 decision.)

In 1982 reloaders and blackpowder shooters were made subject to warrantless inspection by police to "ensure safe storage." Yup, the cops can come into the house without a warrant and inspect the premises.

In 1987 most semi-auto and pump-action shotguns and all rifles of these types were banned and (the legally-owned ones) confiscated.

In 1997 all handguns were banned and (the legally-owned ones) confiscated.

In 2004 a certain type of airgun has been banned. Possession of one without a license will now bring up to a 5-year sentence.

But England's gun laws are outdated and in need of an overhaul.

Right.
David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, will publish a consultation document which is expected to lead to tougher restrictions on the sale and manufacture of replica firearms as well as new age limits on gun ownership, especially for airguns, starter pistols and shotguns.
What, no new restrictions on the few rifles still in circulation?
The consultation follows lobbying by the police and anti-gun campaigners who say Britain's gun laws are confused, out of date and in desperate need of reform.
Meaning "It's still legal for some citizens to own projectile weaponry! THIS MUST END!"
Of particular concern are replica firearms which are popular with gun collectors and can be bought legally but are being converted by criminals into lethal weapons to fire live ammunition.
Next up: Zip guns!

Economics 101: Supply will always rise to meet demand.
Police say that the greatest increase in gun crime is linked to a rise in the use of imitation weapons and converted airguns. In London alone, at least 70 per cent of weapons now seized by officers are converted replicas.
Only because they're the easiest to get - right now.
Last November, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gun Crime published a report calling for a complete ban on the import, sale and manufacture of replica firearms.
Remove the word "replica" from that sentence, replace it with "anything even resembling a" and you'd have the gist of the entire gun control movement.
There has also been a rise in attacks on people involving airguns. Last week, a firefighter was shot in the face by an airgun pellet as he drove a 24-ton fire truck along a street in Dumfries, Scotland.
And the airgun is obviously at fault, right? If the hooligan hadn't had the gun, he wouldn't have been tempted in the first place. It's those evil brain-altering mindwaves that guns give off that cause these acts, after all.
Ministers have already brought in some measures to curb gun crime in Britain.
You don't say! You mean, like that list I gave above that didn't reduce gun crime a damned bit?
Last month, new anti-social behaviour laws came into effect which included a new imprisonable offence of carrying a replica gun in public.
I love that. Anti-social. What a lovely expression.
The legal age for owning an airgun has also been raised from 14 to 17 and it is now an offence to buy a weapon for someone under 17. But the ban on underage ownership only applies to Brocock-style airguns, which operate using a gas cartridge, and not to all types of airguns.
"Which must be amended, because we cannot have our youth corrupted by actually learning to shoot!"
A Home Office source confirmed that the consultation document would cover all aspects of gun-control legislation. "We will be seeking people's views on all aspects of firearm legislation. We are looking at the whole issue, although replica and imitation firearms are of particular concern," the source added.
Left unstated, however, is that people who legally own guns - that tiny minority - need not give their views. Their opinions are not needed or wanted.
Anti-gun groups have welcomed the planned reforms, which are the first major overhaul of firearms laws since 1997, when the Government introduced a ban on handguns after 16 schoolchildren and their teacher were killed at Dunblane primary school in Scotland.
I bet they have. Especially since the conclusion of the inquiry into the Dunblane massacre specifically recommended against the handgun ban that resulted. Note, please, that all the laws enumerated above did not prevent Thomas Hamilton from legally having the handguns he used at Dunblane.

Once again, it's the gun that is at fault. Remove the guns and the problem will vanish, goes the philosophy.
The Gun Control Network, which campaigns for tighter arms control, said Britain lagged behind other countries because it did not have a universal age limit on people buying guns. "In our increasingly violent world we need to ... tighten up on our gun laws," said Gill Marshall-Andrews, chairwoman of the GCN. "The world-wide pressures are for ... an increase in global gun violence."
"Tighten up?" They're so tight now you squeek when you walk. And now the push - lead by the UN - is for global gun confiscation control.

And the U.S. remains the evil poster-boy for it. Here we still give more than mere lip-service to the idea of a right to arms.

Barbarians.
But any restrictions on gun ownership are expected to face fierce opposition from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, which represents gun enthusiasts.
Oh, right. They've been so effective in the past.

The cognitive dissonance here is really incredible to me. They've tried and tried and tried to reduce violent crime - specifically violent crime involving firearms, for over eighty years - and failed miserably. One definintion of "insanity" is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But the philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again ONLY HARDER!
People You Won't See on 60 Minutes

Blackfive has one of the finest examples of the merits of blogging available.

Someone You Should Know

Go spend some time there getting to know the people (and puppies) that the media won't introduce you to. It's well worth your time.

Monday, May 10, 2004

More on the Torricelling of Kerry

In today's Tucson Citizen was an interesting op-ed by Hartford Courant writer Jim Shea. I couldn't find it on-line, so I've transcribed it here. It's written as a letter to Democrats by Howard Beale - the character from the movie Network. I don't know Mr. Shea's political leanings. I scanned a few of his columns and can detect from that quick overview nothing patently obvious, so I present to you now, interspersed with my commentary, his latest column:
Democrats find Kerry is Dull and Void

By Jim Shea May 10, 2004

Dear Fellow Kerry Supporter:

We may have made a horrible mistake.

We may have backed the wrong guy.

Granted, it was difficult to stick with Howard after it became apparent he wasn't wrapped all that tight, but perhaps we were a bit hasty in jumping on the Kerry bandwagon.
I gather from this that Shea isn't a member of the moonbat hordes, so this bodes well - but limits the overall impact of the piece.
So far, the Kerry campaign, has all the forward momentum of a Dukakis tank ride.
I rest my case on the moonbat question.
Since sewing up the nomination, the two most memorable things John Kerry has done are go on vacation and have surgery.

A week ago, he went for a bike ride in Boston - and fell off. You tie that mishap together with the shoulder injury he sustained - riding a bus - and Kerry's just a staircase header away from wrenching the Slapstick in Chief title away from Gerald Ford.
A pithy and accurate observation. This man is no average Democrat.
Besides the walking-and-chewing-gum problem, Kerry is also turning out to be quite the gasbag. He's one of those people who if you say nice night to him, he wants to explain the cosmos.

I mean, two minutes of listening to Kerry these days and you're longing for the excitement of a Joe Lieberman foreign-policy speech.
And he has a sense of humor. I'm beginning to smell Republican...
The thing is, we Democrats didn't endorse Kerry because of his intellect; we got behind him because we thought he would go nose to nose with President Bush.

Now we're not so sure. Since securing the nomination, Kerry has been whacked around more than Larry, Curly and Moe put together.

What happened to the "I'm a fighter" thing? What happened to "bring it on?"

It's so bad that Kerry has even let the Republicans get away with criticizing his war record.

It was left to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi to point out that while Kerry was getting three purple hearts, Bush was getting a dental exam.

It was left to Senator Frank Lautenberg to deep-fry Vice President Dick Cheney and the chickenhawks, saying: "They talk tough ... but when it was their turn to serve, they were AWOL from courage."

What Kerry is failing to recognize is that everybody is already Toung Fu fighting and their ads are fast as lightning. And if he doesn't "bring it on" now, it's going to be hasta la vista, baby.

There are certainly ample targets of opportunity: Iraq, jobs, taxes, prescription drugs, the possibility Bush may be married to his national security adviser!
Say WHAT?
The bottom line, fellow Democrats, is this. If Kerry doesn't show some spunk soon, we should start thinking about nominating someone at the convention who will.

Dean - with the right medication - remains a viable option

Sincerely,
Howard Beale
(Still mad as hell.)
I've said it before. Kerry is NOT going to be the nominee.

It might not be Hillary, but it ain't going to be Kerry.

The writing is on the wall. The Democrat cry will be "Anybody but Bush."

Except Kerry.