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

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

This is Why I Read Free Market Fairy Tales!

Mr. Free Market is in rare form in this post, daydreaming about having his own TV channel in Britain. I don't grok all of the references (the English and Americans are still separated by a common language) but this part? This part I grok:
Shame it would never work, still, we can all fanatisise, especially me – although I have to confess that these days, said fantasies increasingly feature Kylie … on a tractor … in a wet suit … full of mayonnaise.
I could do without the mayo. And the wet suit. And even the tractor.

Hmm... Perhaps in sheer lingerie atop a mechanical bull...

The Second Amendment, "The American Disease"


Tim Lambert, my often sparring partner and proprietor of the blog Deltoid, has a fascinating quote from Australia's Prime Minister John Howard up in a recent post of his:
(W)e will find any means we can to further restrict them because I hate guns. I don’t think people should have guns unless they're police or in the military or in the security industry. There is no earthly reason for people to have … ordinary citizens should not have weapons. We do not want the American disease imported into Australia.
And this is precisely why the Second Amendment was included to codify the right to arms in our Constitution - so that our so-called "civil servants" could never, in fact, become our civil masters. It's not about "sport," it's about control, and the Founders understood that to their bones.

I personally don't give a shit if John Howard or Diane Feinstein or Chucky Schumer or anybody else in high office in any country or any organization around the world "hates guns." I'm a sovereign citizen of the United States of America. You AREN'T GETTING MINE unless you want the projectiles first, and in this country attempting to take them puts you in material violation of the fundamental law of the land.

I've drawn my line - this far, no further.

At least here we have (for the moment) put the gun-grabbers on the defensive for a change.
Just Heard on the Radio: D.C. Personal Protection Act Passes House

I don't think it has a prayer in the Senate, but I'm glad our side is taking the offensive for a change. Of course the GFWs are up in arms (pun intended) but read this Washinton Post article for a description of just how "successful" D.C.'s ban has been.

It's time and past time to allow the law-abiding the chance to legally protect themselves again.
This is What We're Fighting

(Via SayUncle, Via Spoons)

A Saudi television station does "man on the street" interviews investigating the Arab attitude towards Jews. (Vidcaps at the original site.) Text archived here for my own records:
The following dispatch, recorded and translated by MEMRI's TV Monitor Project, are excerpts from a show on Saudi Arabia's IQRA TV Channel, which featured "man on the street" interviews about feelings about Jews. To view a segment from this show, visit http://memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=275

Interviewer: 'Would You, as a Human Being, be Willing to Shake Hands with a Jew?'

Respondent 1:


"Of course I wouldn't be willing to shake hands with a Jew, for religious reasons and because of what is happening now in Palestine, and for many reasons that don't allow me to shake a Jew's hand."

Respondent 2:

"No. Because the Jews are eternal enemies. The murderous Jews violate all agreements. I can't shake hands with someone who I know is full of hatred towards me."

Respondent 3:

"No, the Jew is an enemy. How can I shake my enemy's hand?"

Interviewer: "Would you refuse to shake hands with a Jew?"

Respondent 4:


"Of course, so I wouldn't have to consider amputating my hand afterwards."

Interviewer: 'If a Child Asks You Who 'Who are the Jews,' What Would You Answer?'

Respondent 5:


"The enemies of Allah and His Prophet."

Respondent 6:

"The Jew is the occupier of our lands."

Respondent 7:

"The murderers of prophets. Our eternal enemies, of course."

Respondent 2:

"The murderers of prophets, that's it."

Respondent 8:

"Allah's wrath is upon them, as the Koran says. Allah's wrath is upon them and they all stray from the path of righteousness. They are the filthiest people on the face of this earth because they care only about themselves - not the Christians, not the Muslims, nor any other religion.

"The solution is clear, not only to me but to everyone. If only [the Muslims] declared Jihad, we would see who stays home. We have a few countries… There is one country with a population of over 60-70 million people. If we let them only march, with no weapons even, they would completely trample the Jews, they would turn them into rotten carcasses under their feet. There is another country that donated money, saying, 'I am behind you, I'll support you with weapons, just wage [ Jihad ].'

"But the cowardice inside us, deep within our hearts, was instilled by the Arab leaders, may Allah forgive them. They breast-fed us with it from the day we were born to this very day it has grown with us."
This is why Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons. And this reminds me of a piece that Charles Johnson did a while back, a photo essay about how many Muslims were raising their children to be terrorists. (Can't find the link.) The Wahabist schools in the Middle East teach these attitudes to children. And they do it with the active approval and support of parents.

I hope we can change these attitudes in the Middle East, beginning with Iraq and Afghanistan. Because if we don't, the only other option involves a LOT more bloodshed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Looks Like Canada's not Giving Up its Registration Scheme Without Some Arrests

Apparently one of the more vocal opponents was arrested - at a gun show - on Sept. 11 this year. I don't know if this part is true, but if it is...
That he was arrested is not overly surprising. The Area Firearms Officer knows all about Bruce and does not like him or his flaunting the law so flagrantly.

What is surprising is the way this case has been handled. After all, Bruce had been openly asking the government to charge him for ages. He would have gladly taken Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers on a tour of his home and showed them where the unregistered firearms were.

Instead they dragged Bruce away to jail, left his 12-year old daughter Katie alone in the Dryden gun show. Donna Montague, Bruce's wife, only found out about the arrest because a friendly vendor called Donna to let her know what had happened, and that Katie was with him. The OPP apparently couldn't be bothered to let anyone know they had abandoned the 12-year old child after arresting her father.
I find that difficult to believe, but not impossible. Anyway, according to this report, they also charged his wife, but he's now out on bail. There is a fund for his defense. That information is also here. More detail seems to be available here.

When are they going to finally admit that the gun registration idea was a complete disaster? New Zealand did.

Now, Where Was I?

When we last left our fisking of the Harvard Magazine article Death by the Barrel, I promised I'd take on the "guns cause suicide" meme. Again. Let's see where we were...

Oh, yes. We left off at the paragraph that stated,
In general, guns don't induce people to commit crimes. "What guns do is make crimes lethal," says Hemenway. They also make suicide attempts lethal: about 60 percent of suicides in America involve guns. "If you try to kill yourself with drugs, there's a 2 to 3 percent chance of dying," he explains. "With guns, the chance is 90 percent."
This is another incidence of "just enough fact" I mentioned in the first piece of this fisk. It is true that suicide attempts with firearms are far more likely to be "successful," thus ending in death, but the implication is that people who don't really intend to commit suicide choose a firearm simply because they're available, and thus an attempt that would have been a "cry for help" actually ends in death.

I'm sorry, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Let's continue with the next couple of paragraphs as author Craig Lambert lays it out for you:
Gun deaths fall into three categories: homicides, suicides, and accidental killings. In 2001, about 30,000 people died from gunfire in the United States. Set this against the 43,000 annual deaths from motor-vehicle accidents to recognize what startling carnage comes out of a barrel. The comparison is especially telling because cars "are a way of life," as Hemenway explains. "People use cars all day, every day—and 'motor vehicles' include trucks. How many of us use guns?"

Suicides accounted for about 58 percent of gun fatalities, or 17,000 to 18,000 deaths, in 2001; another 11,000 deaths, or 37 percent, were homicides, and the remaining 800 to 900 gun deaths were accidental. For rural areas, the big problem is suicide; in cities, it's homicide. ("In Wyoming it's hard to have big gang fights," Hemenway observes dryly. "Do you call up the other gang and drive 30 miles to meet up?") Homicides follow a curve similar to that of motor-vehicle fatalities: rising steeply between ages 15 and 21, staying fairly level from there until age 65, then rising again with advanced age. Men between 25 and 55 commit the bulk of suicides, and younger males account for an inflated share of both homicides and unintentional shootings. (Males suffer all injuries, including gunshots, at much higher rates than females.)
First, let's take a look at the study done for the (not gun friendly) Journal of the American Medical Association done by (not gun-friendly) Jens Ludwig of Georgetown University and (not gun friendly) Phillip J. Cook of Duke University. That study is entitled Homicide and Suicide Rates after the Brady Act (PDF file). The study was to determine what, if any, effect the five-day waiting period required by the Brady Act had on suicide and homicide when compared to areas that previously had such waiting periods in place. The conclusion drawn when it came to suicide was:
(W)e did not detect an association of the Brady Act with overall suicide rates.

We find some signs of an offsetting increase in nongun suicides to those aged 55 years or older, which makes the reduction in the total suicide rate smaller than the reduction in gun suicides. Neither the increase in nongun suicides nor the decrease in suicides from all causes are statistically significant at the conventional 95% level, though the overall pattern of findings is consistent with theories of "weapon substitution."
Note that. The only effect a waiting period apparently had - and the evidence is tenuous - is that those people 55 and older choosing suicide had a tendency to choose another method. It's called "weapon substitution."

Let's look at another example of such substitution, in another country. The rate of suicide for young men in Australia began climbing in the mid 1960's. It reached a peak in the early 1990's where it remains essentially unchanged, according to this site. What has changed, however, is the method of suicide, and for no apparent reason. According to this site
In 1972, the leading method of suicide for young men was using firearms or explosives (44%). However, by 1992, suicide by hanging, strangulation or suffocation had become their leading method of suicide (33%). The shift in method occurred in the mid to late 1980s. During this period the death rate for young male suicide by firearms and explosives decreased marginally, from 9 to 8 per 100,000, while the rate for suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation increased substantially, from 3 to 8 per 100,000. These data contradict much of the recent literature which has focused on the greater use of firearms as the cause of the increase in young male suicides.

In contrast, the most prevalent method used by young women was poisoning by solid or liquid substances, accounting for 29% of cases in 1988-92. Although the incidence of suicide from hanging, strangulation and suffocation also increased among young women during the mid to late 1980s the corresponding rate was much lower than that of young men (less than 2 per 100,000). Firearms were used in 13% of cases and hanging, strangulation and suffocation in 24%.
It would appear that if you really want to die, the method is immaterial. There were no notable gun-control measures passed in the period where youth suicide in Australia tripled, but the leading method changed from firearm to suffocation anyway.

Further, the implication is that the United States has an astronomical suicide rate because of our astronomical number of guns. Remember, 58% of death from firearms is suicide here, 15,000 to 17,000 annually, right? Well, the U.S. is, in actuality, right in the middle of the pack internationally, as suicide rates go. Let me quote myself from an earlier piece:
Yes indeed, according to CDC statistics 16,599 Americans did kill themselves with firearms in 1999. Another 12,764 killed themselves by other means. The total number of suicides was 29,350, and the rate per 100,000 population was 10.66.

That puts the United States, with its 200,000,000+ firearms, over 65 MILLION of which are handguns, firmly in the MIDDLE OF THE PACK for suicide internationally. If firearms actually cause suicide, then our population should have offed itself a few generations ago.

Let's look at some comparitives, shall we? Japan, a nation with a population of about
126,600,000 in 1999, a little less than half our own, suffered 31,385 suicides - a rate of 24.8 per hundred thousand population. And there are essentially NO privately owned firearms in Japan. Even Japanese police officers leave their firearms at work when they go home. The Japanese kill themselves by asphyxiation (either by hanging or car exhaust) or by jumping off of buildings or in front of moving trains. To be fair, Japan's suicide rates have skyrocketed with their recent economic downturn (it would appear that a bad economy represents a much higher risk of suicide than individual ownership of a firearm.) On average, the suicide rate in Japan has run at about 17 per 100,000. Considerably higher than the U.S. but not more than double.

But most people are aware of the high rate of suicide in Japan, and dismiss it as being "cultural." Are they also aware, however, of the suicide rates in France? According to
this CDC report from 1998, France had a suicide rate of 21 per 100,000. Leading method? Suffocation. France is followed closely by Denmark with a suicide rate of 18 per 100,000. Leading method? Pretty much evenly split between suffocation and poisoning.

According to
this table, in 1997 of the eleven countries with the top per capita Gross National Products (the US ranks in the middle), the US has the second lowest suicide rate. Only the Netherlands was lower. See the chart:

Now, the author of the Harvard Magazine article states "If you try to kill yourself with drugs, there's a 2 to 3 percent chance of dying," he explains. "With guns, the chance is 90 percent." You are to assume from this that because guns are available they become the choice of people wanting to attempt suicide, and therefore more people actually die in the attempt than would otherwise. However, looking at international comparisons, especially in countries like France and Denmark where suicide rates are far higher than in the U.S., and suffocation and poisoning are the leading causes, the likelihood of "successful" suicide seems unaffected by "gun availability."

In the specific case of Finland, where I noted before that 50% of households contain a firearm as opposed to 35% of households here, 95% of deaths by firearm are suicides. That sounds horrible, and it sounds like it supports the proposition that "guns cause suicide" - but it doesn't. The fact is that criminal homicide in Finland is very, very low, so suicide represents a far greater proportion of deaths by firearm. (It also shoots in the *ss the idea that "guns cause homicide," but that's beside the point.) Suicide by firearm here represents 56% of the total number of suicides. In Finland, the majority of suicides are committed by suffocation - specifically, by hanging oneself.

Canada, our neighbor to the North, has a slightly higher rate of suicide that the U.S. The most common method there is suffocation, followed by poisoning. Firearms are used in only about 22% of Canada's suicides.

Like criminal homicide, the level of suicide is a cultural thing. The availability of method appears to be immaterial. If someone wants to die, they will accomplish that end. If guns are not available, other methods will be substituted and they will be effective. If a "cry for help" is intended, then the person will choose a less-lethal option, because everybody knows that if you put a loaded gun to your head and pull the trigger, chances are you won't survive the experience.

GUNS DON'T CAUSE SUICIDE, no matter how much the gun controllers want you to believe it. The availability of method is unimportant to someone intent on killing themselves, "gun control" won't affect the numbers no matter how they want to twist it, and Craig Lambert and David Hemenway are twisting pretty hard.

Monday, September 27, 2004

This is Worth a Few Minutes of Your Time

A Tribute to All Who Now Serve - a short Flashmedia movie well worth watching.

Thanks to Rodger at Knowledge is Power for the link.
I Need to Win the Lottery

After those last two fisks, I WANT TO BUY A GUN! I want to buy A LOT OF GUNS!

Anybody else seen CDNN's latest catalog? (It's a 13.5Mb PDF download - broadband strongly recommended.) It's got things like this in it:

And this:

UPDATE: I found one of these "tangent sight" Hi-Powers in a local gun shop today. Asking price: $799

And this:

And I REALLY want one of these:

In .40 S&W. I really like that "Safety-Fast System" action in a single-action pistol. Hammer down and locked until the safety is released, then it's ready to go! Besides, everybody should own a Hi-Power. It's John Moses Browning's other masterpiece.
*GASP!* Did You Know an AR-15 can SHATTER CONCRETE?

Well, yes, actually, I did. The pipsqueak .223 round will do a number on cinderblocks, as CNN illustrated quite graphically in May of 2003, and I covered their little piece of propaganda when I started this blog in The Lying "News" Media, Pt. II. But apparently this was news to a New York Daily News writer in her hysterical phillippic:
Weapons that can shatter concrete

Semiautomatic assault rifles have returned, and cops who face them know all too well what they can do

By PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


The Cold
(That's COLT, moron - ed.) AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle is long, black and sleek and shoots .223-caliber ammunition, or 2-inch long bullets.
First paragraph SENTENCE, two technical errors. The COLT AR-15 fires the .223 Remington/5.56Nato cartridge, with bullets (the projectiles) that are about 3/4" long and 0.224" in diameter. The overall cartridge (case, bullet, primer, powder) is about 2.2" long. Let's get more from the "expert," shall we?
For 10 years, the sale and manufacture of the fearsome weapon was illegal anywhere in America.
Only Colt's version, if it was marked "AR-15." Lots of other manufacturers made it, and sold it with perfect legality. And many other manufacturers made weapons chambered for the (apparently fearsome) .223 Remington round. It's quite the small game round.
Last week, as some Southern stores resumed sale of the rifle, Police Officer Darrell Corti demonstrated its destructive power.
Oh, I'll bet he did. Just like Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne did back in May, 2003.
Corti aimed the weapon at a cinderblock at the NYPD firing range at Rodman's Neck in the Bronx and pulled the trigger. The burst of gunfire rang loudly in the ears despite protective gear. The narrow bullet traveled at such a high velocity that it pierced a half-dollar-sized hole in the inch-thick side of the stone before shattering into shiny fragments.
"Burst" of gunfire? As in "full-auto?" Probably not, but that's the impression it's supposed to leave. Hell, you liked that? You should see what my 1896 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser will do to one! Or my 1917 Enfield chambered in .30-06. Or a .45-70 Government round that dates back to the Old West. Half-dollar-sized hole? Hell, that cinderblock would be dust!
The round is capable of penetrating some bulletproof vests.
Actually, the .223 round will penetrate just about any vest a duty officer would be willing to wear. I covered that, too in Speaking of Teddy Kennedy... Any rifle bullet will, including the venerable old .30-30 deer cartridge. Most police vests are designed to stop handgun bullets only.
"These are weapons of war, and to make them more readily available is certainly a concern for us," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "It is a concern for police officers because they're the ones at 2 a.m. who are most likely to confront these types of weapons."
My 1896 Swede is a "weapon of war." My 1917 Enfield is a "weapon of war." My No. 5 Mk I Lee-Enfield, built in 1945 is a "weapon of war." What's your point?

But so-called "assault weapons" are not "more readily available." They were "readily available" all through the so-called "ban". That was a fact decried by the gun-control groups calling to "strengthen" the "ban."
More than a decade ago, the AR-15 had been routinely used by dealers to guard drug dens. Now it can be legally sold in federally licensed gun shops in certain states, along with Uzis, Macs and Tec-9s, the sinister-looking pistols toted by thugs who devastated the city.
Now there's a bold-faced lie. The AR-15 has never been "routinely" used by druggies because it's too large to easily conceal. They liked small guns. Now, they did like the Uzi and the Mac and the Tec, but that's because they can be concealed relatively easily. But every one of those fires the 9mm pistol cartridge, and is no more deadly that a police-issue Berretta or Glock.

But you're not supposed to know that.
With the expiration of the federal assault weapons ban two weeks ago, will the guns that held neighborhoods in the clench of violence in the late 1980s and early 1990s be making a comeback?
Well, since they never left, why should they?
"Assault weapons will be more lethal and less expensive."
Say WHAT? "More lethal" than WHAT? The same gun without a bayonet lug?
"High capacity magazines will be back in production for civilian sale," the Consumer Federation of America darkly concluded after polling weapons manufacturers.
Yeaaa! No more $50 magazines!
New York's own ban on assault weapons remains in effect, and the city has some of toughest gun laws in the nation, but traffickers have managed to smuggle in thousands of illegal handguns each year through Southern states, where lax laws allow multiple purchases and the use of so-called straw buyers.
Really? The law allows this? I thought those acts, like bringing guns into NYC and selling them out of the backs of cars was illegal. That means NOT ALLOWED. Did somebody forget to send me a memo when the definition of "illegal" changed? What about the Brady Background Check? Isn't it working? No? Why not?
Authorities are concerned that as stores now offer the higher-powered weapons, as well as certain styles favored by criminals and magazines holding as many as 50 bullets, that the weapons will make their way into the arsenals of the city's gangs and drug organizations.
Um, those weapons and magazines were already out there. If the cities "gangs and drug organizations" wanted them, they've got 'em already. The elevated price didn't worry them any. They're selling drugs. That's a high profit-margin business, I understand.
"We are concerned anytime illegal firearms, whether handguns or rifles, are trafficked or possessed in New York City," said William McMahon, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives New York office. "In the hands of criminals, any of these weapons can be deadly."
In the hands of criminals, any gun is "deadly." Doesn't matter if it's a zip-gun, a sawed-off, or a full-auto. THEY'RE CRIMINALS! GUN LAWS MEAN JACK SHIT TO THEM.
The new availability of increased firepower is a major concern. Under the ban, dealers could not sell magazines holding more than 10 bullets.
Another bold-faced lie. Dealers could sell all the "pre-ban" "normal capacity" magazines they could get their hands on, and there were tens of thousands of them. Only the price went up. And criminals and drug dealers can afford it.
"With the magazine limitation lifted, you have in effect what amounts to putting an automatic weapon on the street," said Kelly. "A 30- or 50-round clip put in a semiautomatic, you just keep pulling the trigger and you put out an awful lot of firepower."
So, my post-ban AR with my pre-ban 30-round magazines is equivalent to an "automatic weapon?" Really? Tell that to the Army. They've been paying extra for the full-auto option.
"They're going to shoot what they've got," said a Bronx investigator.

But the National Rifle Association said the fears are unfounded.

"We've received phone calls from numerous rank-and-file police who know this ban had nothing to do with crime," said Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman. "These guns have been available in different forms. A magazine is a piece of metal. The focus ought not to be on an inanimate object, but on the criminal, who gets guns through the black market."
This is the writer's deliberate effort to be "fair." Moving on...
The ban on 19 weapons was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton after shootouts among drug dealers claimed hundreds of innocent lives in inner cities and deranged killers armed with assault rifles grabbed headlines in pristine suburbs.
Note that she didn't say "shootouts among drug dealers armed with assault rifles." That's supposed to be implied, but deniable.
Assault rifles had such features as a folding stock, a night sight, a flash suppressor, a bayonet mount, a pistol grip and a large magazine capacity.
Right. And prohibiting the folding stock, flash suppressor, and bayonet mount made these guns so much more "less lethal."

Now, read this part:
Of 125 guns taken off the street last year by just one firearms investigations team, 10 of them were banned weapons; most were cheap 9-mm. handguns.
What was the breakdown of those ten weapons? How many of them were AR-15s? Hmm? Enquiring minds want to know.
With the ban lifted, some criminals may covet the status and intimidating reliability of once forbidden firepower, investigators said.
Oh JESUS CHRIST! "Forbidden firepower" my aching ASS!
For example, the newly available Colt AR-15 bears a revered name in the gun industry, known for accurate, well-made weapons.

Likewise, the Mac-10 is twice the size of the Glock 9-mm. carried by cops, and packs a 30-shot ammunition clip.
Perhaps the cops should carry them, since they seem to have a hard time hitting anything with their 15-round Glocks. Amadou Diallo ring any bells?
Although the firms that manufactured some of the guns are defunct, stores may have inventories they were previously unable to sell. And authorities believe a manufacturer will fill the void. The Tec-9 is also a weapon that helped spike the city's murders to a record 2,245 in 1990.

"The Tec-9 has the same power as the Glock, but it's a bigger gun, with a big handle, and you can add a flash suppressor - and it's a very menacing gun, and that's why criminals wanted it," said a federal firearms investigator.

"Currently the Tec-9s are the biggest concern," added a detective in the firearms unit. "They're everywhere ... and in the winter, these guns are easily concealed under bulky jackets."
Wait, wasn't this story about how the AR-15 could shatter concrete? Penetrate police vests? Now it's about Tec-9s? (Which you could still get after the "ban?")
"It remains to be seen what the effect will be, but lifting the ban can only bring about bad things," Kelly said.
Really? Only bring "bad things?" Want to bet you won't be able to tell the difference?

DAMN I'm tired of these bloviating, mendacious, fearmongering ASSHOLES!

UPDATE, 9/29: Head of Head's Bunker liked Ms. O'Shaughnessy's article so much, he created an educational poster suitable for schools and daycare centers and everywhere ignorant people need to be frightened. Excellent! Give it a look.
More Foaming-at-the-Mouth from the GFWs™

One of the posters at AR15.com linked to this lovely little op-ed in the online version of the Arizona Republic:
Bullet-riddled rifle ban explained

Peter Aleshire
Sept. 16, 2004 01:51 PM

I finally figured out why President Bush and the Republican Congress let the ban on assault weapons expire.

Initially, I thought Bush was just so afraid of the foam-at-the-mouth National Rifle Association that he was willing disagree with two thirds of the voters and flip-flop on his four-year-old campaign promise.

But then I read about the federal court case in New York that established that Osama bin Laden's boys bought 50 sniper rifles in the U.S. and shipped them to Afghanistan right before the U.S. invasion. Snipers can down helicopters and kill you at a range of half a mile with these .50 caliber rifles, which aren't included in the assault weapon ban.

So, obviously, Bush let the loophole-ridden assault weapon ban expire so he can quickly introduce a meaningful ban on the weapons terrorists, gang members, drug smugglers and general all purpose nut-cases could use to spread terror and mow down cops. Granted, the now dead ban did prevent the nutcases from buying 30-clip magazines, but left most of the most deadly weapons freely available. Clearly, we needed tough restrictions in these terrorist-tainted times.

I feel so bad for having doubted the President.

So expect that meaningful crackdown to protect American this week.

Next week at the latest.

Right?

George?

Are you there?
Mr. Aleshire's email address is Aleshire@cox.net, so I sent him the following response:

Mr. Aleshire:

I read your short op-ed piece with interest. It's good to know that Dan Rather's excursion from truthfulness isn't an isolated case, I suppose.

First, President Bush did keep his campaign promise, inasmuch as he could. No bill ended up on his desk to sign. Not even the Democrats in Congress wanted to seriously consider renewing the "Assault Weapons Ban" during an election year. It cost them too much the first go-around, and they knew it. You do understand the function of our government, don't you? The legislature legislates, and the President either passes or vetoes? He doesn't do much introduction of new legislation. It's not in his job description.

I'm curious, do you have a reference to that "federal court case in New York that established that Osama bin Laden's boys bought 50 sniper rifles in the U.S. and shipped them to Afghanistan right before the U.S. invasion"? I'm really interested in that, seeing that the only reference to Bin Laden and .50 caliber sniper rifles I could find had to do with twenty-five (not fifty) .50 caliber Barrett rifles shipped to Afghanistan in 1988 (not 2001). According to the manufacturer, Mr. Barrett, he was in full compliance with the law at the time, as the U.S. government was providing material assistance to the mujahadeen (read: "our bastards") then. (See this link: http://www.barrettrifles.com/news/ltr_laden.htm.)

The case you're referring to must be U.S. v Usama Bin Laden et al., Feb. 2001. So there are two errors, right there: the quantity, and the date, but since there's no attribution to the actual case, you're just hurling unsubstantiated accusations. You're quite good at fearmongering! Good thing your journalist friends have editors to keep the media on the straight-and-narrow! Instead, they just publish tripe like this.

Also, I was fascinated to read that "the now dead ban did prevent the nutcases from buying 30-clip magazines," especially since when I bought my "post-ban" AR-15 a couple of years ago, I was able to purchase - perfectly legally - functional 30-ROUND magazines for it that had been manufactured before the ban. What, I'm not a nutcase, then?

You've been drinking the Violence Policy Center's kool-aid, haven't you?

I'm one of the "pajamahadeen" Mr. Aleshire, one of the bloggers who fact-check and expose the bias and outright lies of the "old media." Your peice, and this rebuttal, are now up on my site where about 400 people a day will see it - and will pass it on to others. There's a lot of us "gunbloggers" out there. Together, we have quite a readership!

Tag! You're it!

I also copied the Corrections department. And if you liked that piece by him, read this one, Vote Bush: Employ Bloggers.

Hey, you other gun-blogging pajamahadeen! FIRE MISSION!
Kerry Flip-Flops. Again. Blame Placed on Aides. Again.

No "Assault Rifle" After All.

And we should be surprised... Why? (Hat tip, Instapundit.)

No Assault Rifle for Kerry, After All

By JODI WILGOREN
Published: New York Times, September 27, 2004


Senator John Kerry's campaign said yesterday that Mr. Kerry did not own a Chinese assault rifle, as he was quoted as saying in Outdoor Life magazine, but a single-bolt-action military rifle, blaming aides who filled out the magazine's questionnaire on his behalf for the error.

Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the campaign, said Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, owns two guns, a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun and the rifle, which Mr. Meehan said Mr. Kerry "keeps as a relic" and had never fired. Mr. Meehan said the gun had no make or model markings on it and that Mr. Kerry "got it from a friend years ago," adding that such rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago and were used by the North Koreans and the Vietcong.

The clarification came in response to an article yesterday in The New York Times quoting Mr. Kerry's response to a question by Outdoor Life: "What is your favorite gun?"

"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam," said Mr. Kerry, a veteran, according to the October issue. "I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."

Though the comment was presented by Outdoor Life as part of an "exclusive interview with the two presidential candidates," four pages that included many long, conversational answers using first-person pronouns, Mr. Meehan said Mr. Kerry's portions were written by his staff. A public relations representative for Outdoor Life did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Wow. Two whole guns. And he hunts deer with his trap gun? Crawls through the mud with it?

Yeah. Right.

I figured something like this would come out. Kerry's stupid enough and haughty enough to actually have an AK-47 bring-back and admit to it, but as soon as the SHTF, he'd deny, deny, deny. After all, laws are for the little people don'tcha know?

With a staff as obviously incompetent as it is, this man expects us to select him for President? He can't select a decent staff. We're to believe he can select a competent cabinet? And what about Supreme Court justices?

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin shows why she's a professional, and I'm just an amateur at this.
I Suppose This is Bush's Fault, Too?

It looks like Mt. St. Helens is considering redecorating again. Can we blame this on the failure to ratify the Kyoto Treaty?

Let's see... Four hurricanes whack Florida in six weeks, with the remnants causing flooding in the Eastern Seaboard and Midwest, now we've got earthquakes at Mt. St. Helens. All we're missing is a plague of locusts, and the Cubs winning the pennant and the apocalypse will be upon us. Ashcroft must be so happy!

And Kerry still can't win.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Now That They Smell Blood in the Water (much of it their own) The Media Attacks!

I stayed away from the Kerry "assault rifle" story because it was being covered so well by so many others, but now the New York Times has a piece on it. The NYT! Best I can figure, they believe that if they now savage Kerry instead of along with Bush, they can deflect the charge of Leftist partisanship. (Too late, boys. Far too late.)

Anyway, if you're one of the six people who haven't heard the story, Bush and Kerry were interviewed by Outdoor Life magazine on various hunting, fishing, and shooting questions, but the question carried early on in the article was this:
OL: Are you a gun owner? If so, what is your favorite gun?
And the answers were:
Bush: Yes. My favorite gun is a Weatherby, Athena 20-gauge (over/under).

Kerry: My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam. I don’t own one of those now,
but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle.
Oh, really? First, as Instapundit asked, is there any question that Kerry won't answer with a reference to his time in Vietnam?

Well, the NYT had some other questions:
In Magazine Interview, Kerry Says He Owns Assault Rifle

By JODI WILGOREN
Published: September 26, 2004

Senator John Kerry, a hunter who supported the recently expired assault weapons ban, frequently tells audiences he has never met anyone who wanted to use an AK-47 to shoot a deer. But it is not clear what Mr. Kerry does with the Chinese assault rifle he told Outdoor Life magazine he kept in his personal collection.

In interviews appearing in the October issue of Outdoor Life, Mr. Kerry and President Bush were asked whether they were gun owners, and, if so, to identify their favorite gun.

Mr. Bush named the Weatherby 20 gauge (although he gave a slightly different answer in a separate chat with Field and Stream magazine.) Mr. Kerry's answer was more complicated.

"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam," Mr. Kerry told the magazine. "I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."

Mr. Kerry's campaign would not say what model rifle Mr. Kerry was referring to, where he got it and when, or how many guns he owned. A spokesman for the senator, Michael Meehan, said Mr. Kerry was a registered gun owner in Massachusetts. On Thursday morning, Mr. Meehan said he had not been able to ask Mr. Kerry about the rifle because of Mr. Kerry's hoarse voice; he did not respond to further inquiries.

You've got to be kidding me. They actually expect anybody to buy that excuse?
Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association - which has given Mr. Kerry "F" ratings throughout his career and backs Mr. Bush's re-election - said the Outdoor Life comment made Mr. Kerry's support of the assault weapons ban disingenuous.

"It's O.K. for John Kerry to own these kinds of firearms, but it's not O.K. for John Q. Public?" Mr. Arulanandam said, noting that if Mr. Kerry brought the gun home from the war as a souvenir he could be subject to court-martial. "He certainly owes people an explanation as to why there's a double standard."

Stephen P. Halbrook, a gun rights lawyer who has argued several cases before the Supreme Court, said the most common Chinese assault rifles, known as SKS clones, were not among the 19 models banned under the 1994 law. But some SKS's have magazines holding more than 10 rounds, which violates a Massachusetts law against large-capacity weapons, Mr. Halbrook said. If the gun is fully automatic, Mr. Halbrook said, it is illegal in Massachusetts and would require a federal permit if Mr. Kerry kept it at one of his homes in Pennsylvania and Idaho.

Such permits are not public records.

Bob Ricker, a former N.R.A. lawyer who is now a consultant for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said he was not worried by Mr. Kerry's answer because "he knows a lot about firearms and he's also one of the most credible individuals when it comes to talking about gun-violence prevention and what it takes to keep weapons of war off the street."
In other words, Mr. Ricker just answered Andrew Arulanandam's question in the affirmative. It is OK for John Kerry to own an "assault rifle" but not John Q. Public, and there is a double standard.
Mr. Bush does not have such high-powered weapons but seems unable to pick a consistent favorite. To Field and Stream, he said, "My favorite gun is the first gun that my dad gave me, which is a Winchester .22 pump, Model 61."
Obviously the NYT just doesn't understand gun people (which Public Editor Daniel Okrent admitted to in his piece Is the New York Times a Liberal Newspaper? on July 25:
But if you're examining the paper's coverage of these subjects from a perspective that is neither urban nor Northeastern nor culturally seen-it-all; if you are among the groups The Times treats as strange objects to be examined on a laboratory slide (devout Catholics, gun owners, Orthodox Jews, Texans); if your value system wouldn't wear well on a composite New York Times journalist, then a walk through this paper can make you feel you're traveling in a strange and forbidding world.
I've got several "favorite guns." My favorite target pistol is my Remington XP-100. My favorite rifle is my 1917 Enfield. My favorite handgun is my Kimber Classic. So, what's their point? Anyway, to continue:
He also mentioned the Weatherby he chose for Outdoor Life, saying that it was a "custom-made gun presented to me by the C.E.O. of the company, Mr. Weatherby." Mr. Bush said he had "six or seven guns" in his office safe, including two .22's, deer rifles and a .243-caliber "varmint" rifle.

"Given to me by the former lieutenant governor of Texas, Bob Bullock, my old buddy," Mr. Bush explained of the .243-caliber rifle, "who on his deathbed said, 'I want to give you a gun.' "
Damn, I like President Bush!

The question I find most interesting, though, is where did Kerry get a "Communist Chinese Assault Rifle?" Was it from Ho Chi Minh on his deathbed? Or one of those "foreign leaders" who wants Kerry to be President? Or maybe Johnny Chung? Or did he "illegally import it" as a bring-back from Vietnam?

With all due respect, Mr. Kerry, the laryngitis dodge ain't working. Answer the questions! America deserves to know.

Friday, September 24, 2004

More Harvard PhD Fisking....

Well, there was some pretty enthusiastic response from the last piece, so I'll continue my dissection of Harvard Magazine's recent piece, Death by the Barrel, a review of Harvard PhD. David Hemmenway's most recent book, Private Guns, Public Health: A Dramatic New Plan for Ending America's Epidemic of Gun Violence. In the last installment I dissected Dr. Hemenway's bait-and-switch between a legitimate question, "Why manufacture guns that go off when you drop them?", and a bogus diversion to the topic of "childproof guns." Now we'll continue where I left off.

The next paragraph of the piece is
Hemenway's work on guns and violence is a natural evolution of his research on injuries of various kinds, which he has pursued for decades. (In fact, it could be traced as far back as the 1960s, when, working for Ralph Nader, LL.B. '58, he investigated product safety as one of "Nader's Raiders.") Hemenway says he doesn't have a personal issue with guns; he has shot firearms, but found the experience "loud and dirty—and there's no exercise"—as opposed to the "paintball" survival games he enjoys, which involve not only shooting but "a lot of running." He also happens to live in a state with strong gun laws. "It's nice," he says, "to have raised my son in Massachusetts, where he is so much safer."
Oh, please. First, we establish Dr. Hemenway's bona fides by revealing that he's a Naderite, out for the selfless defense of the little guy against rapacious and irresponsible corporations (like gun manufacturers, natch.) But! Hemenway doesn't have a "personal issue" with guns, he's shot them, so he's shown himself to be an unbiased observer! He even plays paintball!

Ladies and gentlemen, the presidential nominee for the Democrat party shoots trap. That doesn't make him impartial when it comes to firearms. A rose by any other name...

All of this prelude is predictably ruined by the last two lines: "He also happens to live in a state with strong gun laws. 'It's nice,' he says, 'to have raised my son in Massachusetts, where he is so much safer.'" Safer than where? He lives in BOSTON. Safer than Chicago, with its even more restrictive gun laws. Safer than D.C. with its near-absolute prohibition on firearms, certainly. But Dr. Hemenway, or at least the article author, seems to credit that safety to Massachussetts' "strong gun laws." Well, according to this article, apparently not.

Slayings raise fears that more will follow

Boston officials wary of return of '90s gang wars

By John McElhenny
and Ron DePasquale, Globe Correspondents, 2/16/2004


The brazen killings of two Boston teenagers in crowded public settings over the last three days have ignited concerns about a return to the street violence that plagued the city a decade ago.

Nine homicides have occurred in Boston in the first six weeks of the year, a rate that far exceeds last year, when three people were killed by mid-February. Boston did not see its ninth homicide last year until mid-April.

--

Specialists said that violent crime across the country has remained flat in recent years, with a notable exception: Gang-related violence is on the rise.

James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University, said gang-related violence had increased in particular in Chicago and Los Angeles, where gang activity grew in the late 1980s and early 1990s before spreading to other cities.

Many gang leaders in Boston and other cities were imprisoned on federal charges in the late 1980s and early 1990s but have now been released, Fox said.


"They're coming back to their old neighborhoods, and their old pals, and their old ways," said Fox. "There's reason for concern that gang killings could be on the rise."

Gangs fueled the violence that pushed Boston to a record-high 152 murders in 1990. The violence that year continued into the next year, and by Feb. 15, 1991, the city reported 18 homicides.


In the early 1990s, the city's public safety officials fought back with a variety of efforts and homicides fell sharply throughout the decade.

Some attributed the drop to law enforcement programs such as the police department's community policing approach and the "antigang violence unit," which confiscated guns and sent hundreds of violent young people to prison. Others credited the delivery of more social services and the expansion of programs such as the Safe Neighborhoods Plan, which encouraged people to serve as role models in their neighborhoods.

By 2001 the city's homicide rate had fallen to 66. It fell to 60 in 2002 and 41 last year.

Philip J. Carver, president of the Pope's Hill Neighborhood Association in Dorchester, said the "Boston miracle" that saw violent crime plummet in the second half of the 1990s was due to effective cooperation among various law enforcement agencies, from police to parole officers to the Suffolk District Attorney's Office.

But a few years ago, Carver said, the money that had gone to some neighborhood anticrime efforts dried up and children began filling the vacuum in gang leadership created when the older generation went to prison.

"I'm not saying we got lazy, but we lost focus," said Carver. "Once we took the higher echelon of gang leaders out, we became lax."

That's interesting. Note that they didn't give credit for the low rate of homicide to Massachussetts' gun laws, but to aggressive prosecution of gang leaders. And after "losing focus" that problem has reasserted itself as an increase in homicide.

Personally, I'd rather live in Tucson, where according to this National Institute of Justice report (PDF) we had a a mean homicide rate of 8.31/100,000 population over the period from 1985 to 1994, and an average population of a bit over 405,000. Boston during that same period had a mean homicide rate of 17.0 and a mean population of 571,000. Hell, Phoenix had a mean rate of 13.57 and a mean population of almost 974,000. Arizona is a border state and a major thoroughfare for drug traffic.

In case you weren't aware, Arizona also allows unlicensed open carry of firearms, no waiting period, and private transfers are perfectly legal. It's also a Class III state (full-auto and suppressors are legal here.) We got licensed concealed carry in 1994.

But Massachussetts' gun laws are responsible for it being safe. Check.

Next paragraph:
Statistically, the United States is not a particularly violent society. Although gun proponents like to compare this country with hot spots like Colombia, Mexico, and Estonia (making America appear a truly peaceable kingdom), a more relevant comparison is against other high-income, industrialized nations. The percentage of the U.S. population victimized in 2000 by crimes like assault, car theft, burglary, robbery, and sexual incidents is about average for 17 industrialized countries, and lower on many indices than Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
This is that "just enough accuracy" part I spoke of in the first piece. However, this paragraph fails to note that the U.S. has far, FAR less "crimes like assault, car theft, burglary, robbery" than the UK - the industrialized European country with by far the most restrictive firearms laws. Why that particular omission, I wonder?

More:
"The only thing that jumps out is lethal violence," Hemenway says. Violence, pace H. Rap Brown, is not "as American as cherry pie," but American violence does tend to end in death. The reason, plain and simple, is guns. We own more guns per capita than any other high-income country—maybe even more than one gun for every man, woman, and child in the country. A 1994 survey numbered the U.S. gun supply at more than 200 million in a population then numbered at 262 million, and currently about 35 percent of American households have guns. (These figures count only civilian guns; Switzerland, for example, has plenty of military weapons per capita.)
Wait a minute...

What difference does it make if Switzerland has "plenty of military weapons per capita?" The bulk of those guns are kept in Swiss homes. All males of military age are required to keep an honest-to-jeebus assault rifle at home, and ammunition for it. Finland has a lot of guns and its lethal violence rate is quite low, too. According to Ryerson University of Ontario, about 36% of households in Switzerland contain a firearm, about 50% of households in Finland, and about 35% of households in the U.S. (which agrees with the Harvard article). What this means is that gun ownership is more widespread in Finland (a higher percentage own firearms) but American gun owners tend to own a lot more firearms per person. If there are more households containing guns, and the reason, "plain and simple" for America's higher level of lethal violence is gun availability, shouldn't Switzerland and Finland have higher or at least equivalent levels of lethal violence compared to the United States? That's what the next paragraph says:
"It's not as if a 19-year-old in the United States is more evil than a 19-year-old in Australia—there's no evidence for that," Hemenway explains. "But a 19-year-old in America can very easily get a pistol. That's very hard to do in Australia. So when there's a bar fight in Australia, somebody gets punched out or hit with a beer bottle. Here, they get shot."
Ah! Now it's not guns, but handguns that are the cause. Or are they?
In general, guns don't induce people to commit crimes. "What guns do is make crimes lethal," says Hemenway. They also make suicide attempts lethal: about 60 percent of suicides in America involve guns. "If you try to kill yourself with drugs, there's a 2 to 3 percent chance of dying," he explains. "With guns, the chance is 90 percent."
Hold your horses. You're doing another bait-and-switch. We were talking about criminal assaults, and now you've jumped to suicide. Apples and oranges, as I've illustrated before.

I'm quite willing to concede that firearms are more lethal than beer bottles or even knives. The level of violence among young males is also quite high. But I believe it really is culture that determines whether youth violence results in death or not. I covered part of this in the three Dangerous Victims essays (see the last three links under Best Posts in the left column of the blog). I covered it in more detail in a much older post, Racist!™

Homicide in the United States is tremendously concentrated in a very small portion of the population. If that portion of the population suffered homicide at the same rate as the rest of society, America's homicide rate would be near middle of the pack for industrialized Europe. Read the piece, at least the first half. It's not something you're likely to see in the mainstream media.

In the next piece, I'll deconstruct the "guns cause suicide" meme. Again.
Alternate Universes

Jeff Soyer has an interesting post up in the "What if?" column.
So here is a reader participation question. Let's pretend it is now the year 2020 and liberals and Democrats have ruled the world. A few years ago (think England or Canada) they passed laws requiring that everyone submit to a federal (i.e. country-wide, universal) gun registration program. Yeah, it probably wouldn't happen but, BUT! What if it did? And then, a few years later, in (our hypothetical scenario here) they decided to (like England and Australia in years past) decided that NO ONE should own a gun because it's for the "common good" and they (the US Government) decided to use that registration list to start confiscating all citizens' firearms...

Folks, I know this is just idle speculation right now but it really ISN'T so far-fetched. What if it really happened?

What would you do?
Go answer there. This should be fascinating.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Miracle that is Google™

According to Extreme Tracking, I've been getting a lot of hits from Google recently for this post from February. I've kinda wondered why. Turns out that the cartoon in that post is the #2 return for a Google Image Search for "Political cartoon". I'm also 14th in an image search for "cartoon tit," but THAT one's definitely not work safe.
Another Request

Reader David Smith sent me a link to a Harvard Magazine article by Craig Lambert entitled Death by the Barrel with the suggestion:

Being a scientist myself, I take particular offense to the editor's claim of using the scientific method. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy fisking a Harvard PhD for all he's worth.
I guess I should be flattered for a reader to suggest that I'm qualified to fisk a Harvard PhD, so I read the article. It's a review of David Hemenway's book Private Guns, Public Health: A Dramatic New Plan for Ending America's Epidemic of Gun Violence. Very skillfully done with virtuoso talent at misdirection, spin, suggestion and exaggeration mixed with just enough accuracy to make it all seem perfectly reasonable. In all, very fiskworthy, so I shall, David. So I shall.

Let us begin:

This particular gun story took place, ironically enough, at the 1997 convention of the American Public Health Association in Indianapolis. There, among a group of white-collar professionals and academics, a seemingly minor incident quickly led to mayhem. While eating dinner at the Planet Hollywood restaurant, a patron bent to pick something up from the floor. A small pistol fell from his pocket, hit the floor, and went off. The bullet struck and injured two convention delegates waiting to be seated; both women went to the hospital.

"Why manufacture guns that go off when you drop them?" asks professor of health policy David Hemenway '66, Ph.D. '74. "Kids play with guns. We put childproof safety caps on aspirin bottles because if kids take too many aspirin, they get sick. You could blame the parents for gun accidents but, as with aspirin, manufacturers could help. It's very easy to make childproof guns."

Logic like this pervades Hemenway's new book, Private Guns, Public Health (University of Michigan Press), which takes an original approach to an old problem by applying a scientific perspective to firearms. Hemenway, who directs the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at the School of Public Health (
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc ), summarizes and interprets findings from hundreds of surveys and from epidemiological and field studies to deliver on the book's subtitle: A Dramatic New Plan for Ending America's Epidemic of Gun Violence. The empirical groundwork enables Hemenway, whose doctorate is in economics, to sidestep decades of political arm-wrestling over gun control. "The gun-control debate often makes it look like there are only two options: either take away people's guns, or not," he says. "That's not it at all. This is more like a harm-reduction strategy. Recognize that there are a lot of guns out there, and that reasonable gun policies can minimize the harm that comes from them."
Let's start with the first obvious misdirection. Hemenway goes from the question "why manufacture guns that go off when you drop them" - a reasonable question, by the way - to the contention "It's very easy to make childproof guns."

This is called "bait and switch." They're entirely separate and unrelated questions, and the second one is largely bogus, but because it involves "the Children™" it immediately draws a sympathetic reaction from the average reader. Could "manufacturers help" make guns "childproof"? Probably, but the comparison isn't a reasonable one. The "childproof cap" law was first passed in 1972 as the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. It mandated that not only drugs, but any poisonous substance be provided in a package

...that is designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount of the substance contained therein within a reasonable time and not difficult for normal adults to use properly, but does not mean packaging which all such children cannot open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount within a reasonable time."
First problem? Well, according to this article reviewing the 1995 revision of the act,

While the old caps kept children out, many older people had so much trouble opening them that they either left the caps off or put their medication in non-childproof containers, posing even more of a danger to children, says Jo Reed, senior coordinator of consumer issues for AARP.
That's known as "The Law of Unintended Consequences." If I recall correctly, after passage of that law, the number of child poisonings went up for a while. People reasoned "it's not dangerous, it's childproof. I don't have to keep it in the medicine cabinet or store it on a high shelf."

With guns, the same "unintended consequence" might very well occur. Because the gun is "childproof," might the owner/parent leave it more accessible? And in a defense gun, what if the gun cannot be made fireable at time of need? Smith & Wesson, for instance, now manufactures their revolvers with an internal lock that requires a key. When locked, the hammer cannot be moved and the cylinder cannot be rotated. That makes the gun "child safe," (if you actually do lock it) but what if you cannot find the key in the dark when an intruder is attempting to break down your bedroom door? That's a situation not encountered when discussing the normal use of household poisons.

The next question becomes, "how long would it take for design changes to affect child safety?" Chemicals are consumeables and their containers are disposable. It didn't take very long after child-protective caps were mandated for them to supplant non-safety caps in circulation. Yet there are over 60 million handguns in private hands today, and they aren't going to end up in landfills as soon as the owner empties the magazine or fires all the shots in the cylinder. Any law requiring new handguns to be equipped with "child safety" features would be essentially ineffective for decades because of those 60+ million handguns already out there.

And finally, "how big is the problem of children being accidentally shot, anyway?" From this March 19, 2000 Whitehouse press release,
In 1962, almost 450 children died of poisoning after swallowing medicines or household chemicals. By 1996, that tragic statistic had been reduced to 47.
Well, the Centers for Disease Control's WISQARS tool says the total in 1996 was 60 for children 5 years old and younger, but let's not quibble. What was the injury mortality for children in that same age bracket by accidental gunshot? According to WISQARS, 19.

Obviously poisoning was a significant problem for very young children that was addressed with some effectiveness by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, but could we expect a similar reduction in accidental deaths by a "Childproof Gun Act"? There is no reason to believe so. As noted, older guns would still be in circulation, and since an an there are only an additional one million or so new handguns added each year it would take quite a while for them to represent a significant percentage of available guns. Second, people irresponsible enough to leave loaded firearms around where children can access them cannot be expected to be responsible enough to engage the "child safety" feature, can they? Third, "child safety" caps were designed to protect toddlers. Remember, the law was directed to make it "significantly difficult for children under five years of age" to access poisonous substances. Older children were recognized to have the necessary skills to defeat them, but were expected to have the necessary knowledge of the dangers of doing so. The same would be true of firearms. (Anybody remember the joke that "Only kids can open the damned Childproof caps"?)

So Dr. Hemenway has attempted to deceive you by suggesting that "childproof caps" and "childproof guns" would be equivalents, and would prevent many unfortunate accidental deaths. What he doesn't expect you to understand is that "childproof caps" were only designed to address the accidental poisoning of very young children, and that "childproof guns," under the same criteria, still wouldn't "solve" what is, in fact, a statistically very small problem. What Dr. Hemenway also does not tell you is that without "childproof" features, the number of accidental deaths by gunshot has been decreasing ever since we've kept track. The WISQARS tool only goes back as far as 1981, but that year there were 51 accidental gunshot deaths of children 0-4 years old. In 1985 there were 43. In 1990, 34. In 1995, 20. In 2001, 17.

Author Craig Lambert tells us that "logic like this pervades Hemenway's new book". Of that I have no doubt.

This is long enough as an opening piece. I'll continue the deconstruction later, if I get enough interested feedback.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Santayana was Right: "Those Who Forget History are Destined to Repeat It."

Unbelieveable. I've had a couple of short email exchanges with Michael D. Bryan, author of the (formerly pro-Dean, now Pro-Kerry) Blog for Arizona.

Let me put it this way: In the new dictionary under "Barking Moonbat" it will have an excerpt from this blog. His most recent piece is Voting for the Middle East. Let me give you some excerpts:
Despite criticism of the approach of all out assault of urban areas by former Marine command officers, such as Lt. Gen. James Conway, former commander of the Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq which assaulted Falujah, the Administration appears to have issued orders to prepare for renewed assaults on 'no go' urban areas immediately following the Presidential election. The likely result will be extremely high casualities among American troops and civilians in target areas which would be unacceptable to voters prior to an election.

Major policy shifts in Iraq, like this one, are in the cards if Bush is re-elected. We will continue to kill innocents and battle insurgents without any clear rationale beyond compete military, political, and economic dominance of Iraq. Richard Clark posed a very salient question tonight on the Daily Show. Why are we killing these people? For 9/11? No. Because they have WMD? No. Because they support Saddam? No. Because they oppose democracy? No, they want democratic governance, too. So why? Because the terms under which they want democracy would not leave us in control. Simple as that - we are killing these people because they do not wish us to control them. Is that who we are as a nation? November 2nd will answer that question.
Like that? Try this:
Meanwhile an Iran 'regime change' resolution makes its way through Congress, we are selling bunker busters to Israel for use on Iran, and the Pentagon and Israel are wargaming first strike options. Sanctions are also fraught with danger of misstep and miscalculation, they are as likely to cause Iran to accelerate any weapons program as to abandon it, but unlike military action, nobody gets vaporized. The future of our relationship with Iran will also be determined by our Presidential elections. Bush seems firmly on a course of purposefully escalating the crisis with Iran in hopes of a decisive step by Iran giving the NeoCons the pretext they need to gain UNSC approval, or to be able to claim an eminent threat exists for a pre-emptive strike. Kerry will attempt to rachet down the crisis and gain oversight of nuclear fuels in Iran while engaging the Iranian regime constructively and then pressing for democratic reform. The Iranians have legitimate security and commericial interests in the region, if we deny them the ability to pursue those interests legally, they will do so illicitly.
Now, the conclusion:
This election will largely determine these very important questions of war and peace in the Middle East. The equation is really very simple:

Bush = war, death, isolation, catastrophic failure

Kerry = peace, life, alliances, planning for success
I believe we've been in a similar position before. Let me see if I can illustrate his error, at the risk of invoking Godwin's Law:
Bush = grasp on reality, plan to deal with it, difficult and dangerous but necessary course of action, "blood, toil, tears, and sweat:" Winston Churchill

Kerry = "Peace in our Time:" Neville Chamberlain
We cannot allow the Left to regain their grasp on the levers of power. We dare not. They see Iranian acquisition of nukes as an exercise in their "legitimate security interests." But the Mad Mullahs aren't interested in invading a Sudetenland for lebensraum they want nukes so that they can obliterate Israel and spread Islam by conquest, as that religion specifically requires.

Mr. Bryan is just one more example of the mindset of the Left, and a textbook example at that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Well, What Did You EXPECT Him To Do?

Mostly Cajun relates an interesting reaction when he responded to his ladyfriend's request that he check out a noise.

What good is an unloaded gun in another room, indeed?
Eric S. Raymond on the MSM and the Falling Cost of Communications

Well, Eric is back with a vengeance with his essay MSM Loses its Power to Swing Elections . Interesting as always, here's some of the highlights:
There are many reasons besides Rathergate that Kerry is losing so badly. He's a pathetically weak candidate — a lousy stump speaker with no program and a nearly nonexistent legislative record, who ran on his Vietnam service only to have that prop knocked out from under him by former crewmates and superiors who accuse him of having been cowardly, opportunistic, and unfit for command. In fact, Kerry has no discernable political base of his own at all; his entire appeal comes from not being George W. Bush.

But Kerry's weaknesses, glaring though they are, are not the interesting part of the explanation. It's the MSM's inability to cover them up and make them a non-story that is really interesting. The attempt to present Kerry and Edwards as "dynamic", "optimistic" and "young" to which Evan Thomas admitted has mostly made them look vacillating, frivolous and jejune instead. CBS, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the other centers of the MSM had also been trying very hard to bury and discredit the Swift Vets; nevertheless, Unfit For Command is now the #1 nonfiction bestseller in the United States.

Nor were the MSM, despite a visible effort to do so, able to suppress the evidence that Dan Rather's anti-Bush memoranda had been forged. In fact, as I write they are proving unable to defend even the exculpatory fiction that Rather was an innocent dupe. The fact has come out that CBS was told in advance that two of the six documents it had were almost certainly bogus by its own examiners, and then witheld the other four from expert scrutiny and ran with the story anyway. The implications of that fact are being now dissected not just on partisan right-wing websites but out where the general public can see it.

--

Before the Internet and cheap long-distance phone calls, pulling together a cooperative network large enough to produce and back Unfit For Command, or to perform forensic analysis on the Rather memos, would have been an extremely expensive and long-drawn-out operation. The market for ideas had a much longer clearing time then. In fact it is rather unlikely these sorts of organization would even have been attempted more than a decade ago — everybody's perception of the time and money cost would have been prohibitive.

Other forces are in play as well. One is that people are less willing than they used to be to derive their identities and a static set of political affiliations from the things about themselves that they can't change. Your family's politics is a far less important predictor of your vote than it was a generation ago (which, among other things, is why conservative talk of a "Roe effect", of liberal abortion supporters selecting themselves out of the population, sounds so much like wishful thinking). Union membership stopped being predictive sometime in Ronald Reagan's second term. Even traditional racial and ethnic interest blocs seem to be crumbling at the edges.

Increasingly, political power is flowing to consciously-formed interest groups that arise to respond to individual issues and survive (if they survive) as voluntary subcultures. The Swift Vets and MoveOn.org are highly visible examples of the trend. Internet hackers organizing against the DMCA and for open-source software is another. Indeed, the blogosphere as we know it is a voluntary subculture formed largely from the reaction to the trauma of 9/11.

To people in these subcultures, traditional party and ideological labels are less and less interesting. Case in point: Glenn Reynolds (aka InstaPundit), the pro-Iraq-war, pro-gay-marriage, anti-gun-control, pro-drug-legalization king of the bloggers. Is he a liberal Democrat with some conservative positions? A South Park Republican? A pragmatic libertarian? Not only do Glenn's own writings make it difficult to tell, he seems to determined to flirt with all these categories without committing to any of them. Other prominent bloggers, including those who broke Rathergate, exhibit a similar pattern. The MSM, looking through a left-wing prism, sees it as conservatism — but most bloggers despise the Religious Right and Buchananite paleoconservatism as heartily as they loathe Noam Chomsky.
Hear, hear! RTWT. And be sure to read the comments, such as this one from Allan Yackey
It is my belief that communications is what brought down the iron curtain. I see the blogs as a logical extension of the explosion of communications. Although I had heard of the blogs earlier. I only really discovered them as a result of John Kerry and Dan Rather. But I more than like what I see here. My own political positions leave me where it is difficult to identify me with a label. I have an example that I have been using recently. In a small town it is difficult for anyone to be a sucessful thief or to commit adultry. Everyone knows everyone else. Anything that an individual does or says is seen or heard by a member of the community who will communicate it to someone else, etc. As the world grew it became possible to do or say something in one place and something exactly different someplace else. You could do this with confidence that no one in location one would likely know or communicate with someone in location two. That condition no longer exists. What I have posted on one web site can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Whatever I have written anywhere, anytime is accessable to anyone anywhere. We are indeed in the "global village". As my grandmother used to say, "be certain that your sins will find you out"
The internet has a looooong memory, and Google is its retrieval device. Kerry has tried to say one thing in Poughkeepsie and another in Long Island, and been unable to get away with it, even with the MSM covering for him.

We are living in interesting times.

Please, DO Call Your Congresscritters!

The Violence Policy Center is a bit worried. It's issued this email alert:
Dear Violence Policy Center Action Network Member:

PLEASE CALL THE U.S. CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD AT 202-224-3121 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND TELL YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVE TO VOTE AGAINST EFFORTS TO REPEAL WASHINGTON, DC'S GUN LAWS!

TO IDENTIFY YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, OR FOR DIRECT-DIAL INFO, VISIT
http://action.vpc.org/ctt.asp?u=3059891&l=56690 FOR THE U.S. SENATE AND http://action.vpc.org/ctt.asp?u=3059891&l=56691 FOR THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

The effectiveness of the District's current ban on handgun possession is demonstrated by the fact that virtually none of the guns used in crime in the District originated here. Gun dealers in the District accounted for only three percent of recovered crime guns in 2000. In contrast, 59 percent of traceable D.C. crime guns were first purchased in Virginia and Maryland. Another 18 percent of D.C. crime guns were bought from gun dealers in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. All of these jurisdictions have gun laws far more lenient than the District of Columbia's.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO AS MANY OTHERS AS YOU CAN!

Thank you!

http://action.vpc.org/ctt.asp?u=3059891&l=56687
Now, I highlighted that one paragraph to illustrate a point: DC has traded places as "murder capital of the U.S." with Chicago - another gun control utopia - for years. What this illustrates is not "the effectiveness of DC's current ban," but the fact that all it's done is create a pool of unarmed victims. It hasn't hindered criminal access AT ALL. That's all that "effective gun control" can do - disarm the people you don't need to worry about.

So, by all means, please call or write your congresscritters, and tell them you're in favor of overturning DC's draconian gun laws. It's time and past time.

Monday, September 20, 2004

What a Complete and Utter Crock of a Retraction.

Kerry obviously needs to directly hire CBS's newswriters. They obviously know "nuance" and spin. Let me fisk their own report on RatherGate:

CBS: Bush Memo Story A 'Mistake'

(CBS/AP) CBS News said Monday it cannot prove the authenticity of documents used in a
60 Minutes story about President Bush's National Guard service and that airing the story was a "mistake" that CBS regretted.

CBS News Anchor Dan Rather, the reporter of the original story,
apologized.

CBS News claimed a source had misled the network on the documents' origins. The network pledged "an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken."

In
a statement, CBS said former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "has acknowledged that he provided the now-disputed documents" and "admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report, giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source."

Rather spoke with Burkett about the deception:

Dan Rather: "Why did you mislead us?"
Bill Burkett: "Well, I didn't totally mislead you. I misled you on the one individual. You know your staff pressured me to a point to reveal that source.
Rather: "Well, we were trying to get the chain of possession."
Burkett: "I understand that."
More of Rather questioning Burkett.

The network did not say the memoranda — purportedly written by one of Mr. Bush's National Guard commanders — were forgeries. But the network did say it could not authenticate the documents and that it should not have reported them.

"Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report," said the statement by CBS News President Andrew Heyward. "We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret.

"Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting," Heyward continued. "We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush had seen the CBS statement.

"There are a number of serious questions that remain unanswered and they need to be answered. Bill Burkett, who CBS now says is their source, in fact, is not an unimpeachable source, as was previously claimed," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Monday.

"Bill Burkett is a source who has been discredited in the past. So this raises a lot of questions. There were media reports about Mr. Burkett speaking with senior -- or having senior-level contacts with the Kerry campaign. That raises questions," McClellan said.

In
a separate statement, Rather said that "after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically.

"I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers," he said.

"We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry," Rather added. "
I feel like hell,'' he told WCBS reporter Marcia Kramer.

The authenticity of the documents — four memoranda attributed to Guard commander Lt. Col. Jerry Killian — has been under fire since they were described in the Sept. 8 broadcast of 60 Minutes.

CBS had not previously revealed who provided the documents or how they were obtained.

Burkett has previously alleged that in 1997 he witnessed allies of then-Gov. Bush discussing the destruction of Guard files that might embarrass Mr. Bush, who was considering a run for the presidency. Bush aides have denied the charge.

In the statement, CBS said: "Burkett originally said he obtained the documents from another former Guardsman. Now he says he got them from a different source whose connection to the documents and identity CBS News has been unable to verify to this point."

Questions about the president's National Guard service have lingered for years. Some critics question how Mr. Bush got into the Guard when there were waiting lists of young men hoping to join it to escape the draft and possible service in Vietnam.
Some people have answered that charge in that Bush volunteered for a six-year stint in order to be a pilot. The waiting list for that was not as long. Again, nobody holds Clinton accountable for outright lying to avoid the draft, so what's the big freaking deal?
In the Sept. 8 60 Minutes report, former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes — a Democrat — claimed that, at the behest of a friend of the Bush family, he pulled strings to get young George W. Bush into the Guard.
Yet Mr. Barnes - a major fundraiser for Kerry and personal acquaintance of Dan Rather - who, by the way, Dan attended a DNC fundraiser for - has sworn under oath that he did no such thing. Lying through omission, Exhibits, "A" and "B."
Other questions concern why Mr. Bush missed a physical in 1972, and why there are scant records of any service by Mr. Bush during the latter part of 1972, a period during which he transferred to an Alabama guard unit so he could work on a campaign there.
Yet absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Lying through innuendo, Exhibit "A."
The CBS documents suggested that Mr. Bush had disobeyed a direct order to attend the physical, and that there were other lapses in his performance. One memo also indicated that powerful allies of the Bush family were pressuring the guard to "sugar coat" any investigation of Lt. Bush's service.
No, the documents made it explicit that President Bush disobeyed a direct order while a pilot in the TANG. There was no "suggestion" about it. That's what had Hurricane Dan salivating.

Skeptics immediately seized on the typing in the memos, which included a superscripted "th" not found on all 1970s-era typewriters. As the controversy raged, CBS broadcast interviews with experts who said that some typewriters from that period could have produced the markings in question.
What unmitigated horseshit. "Not found on all 1970s-era typewriters" my ass. Not found on any 1970s-era typewriters. What typewriters that did have a reduced-case "th" were not capable of superscripting them, and the only machines available at the time that could superscript weren't typewriters at all. The only "expert" they brought in was a 1970s-era typewriter repairman. By checking the Blogosphere, they could have gotten six real experts that could prove otherwise. Lying by omission, Exhibit "C."

Other critics saw factual errors in the documents, stylistic differences with other writing by Killian and incorrect military lingo.
Yeah, that P.O. Box 34567 was a dead giveaway, too. As was the B.S. Zip Code. But does CBS mention those? No. Lying by omission, Exhibit "D."

Some relatives of Col. Killian disputed that the memos were real. His former secretary said the sentiments regarding Mr. Bush's failures as an officer were genuine, but the documents were not.
Did CBS interview "some relatives of Col. Killian" for the original 60 Minutes piece?

No, it would have detracted from the strength of the attack.

Did they interview his former Secretary for the original piece? After all, she's the one who would have typed them, and would have told them unequivocally that they were fake.

No. That would have detracted from the strength of the attack. Lying through omission, Exhibits "E" and "F."

Some document experts whom CBS consulted for the story told newspapers they had raised doubts before the broadcast and were ignored. CBS disputed their accounts, pointing to the main document expert the network consulted, Marcel Matley.
Except Mr. Matley is a handwriting expert not a document expert, and apparently not much of an expert at any rate, as Beldar discovered. More pajama blogging.

Matley insisted he had vouched for the authenticity of the signatures on the memos, but had not determined whether the documents themselves were genuine.
And, as Jim Geraghty found, Mr. Matley violated his own rules by authenticating a signature on a photocopied document.

Some expert. Of course they "disputed their accounts." Their accounts made CBS look like exactly what they were - partisan attack dogs for the DNC willing to ignore anything that disagreed with the Official Party Line. Lying by obfuscation, Exhibit "A."

Last week, CBS News stood by its reporting while vowing to continue working the story. The network acknowledged there were questions about the documents and pledged to try to answer them.

Mr. Bush maintains that he did not get special treatment in getting into the Guard, and that he fulfilled all duties. He was honorably discharged.

On Saturday, a White House official said Mr. Bush has reviewed the disputed documents that purport to show he refused orders to take a physical examination in 1972, and did not recall having seen them previously.
Which he wouldn't have since A) they were forgeries, and B) they were supposed to be personal memos in Col. Killians' private records. CBS was playing "GOTCHA!" and got burned, but they're still trying to spin the story frantically - ANSWER THE QUESTIONS, Mr. PRESIDENT! WE DON'T CARE THAT THEY'RE BOGUS, ANSWER THEM!

In his first public comment on the documents controversy, the president told The Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., "There are a lot of questions about the documents, and they need to be answered."

The Bush campaign has alleged that their Democratic rivals were somehow involved in the story. John Kerry's campaign denies it. In an email revealed last week, Burkett said he had contacted the Kerry campaign but received no response.

Meanwhile, a federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to
find and make public by next week any unreleased files about Mr. Bush's Vietnam-era Air National Guard service to resolve a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Associated Press.
Which raises the question, "Why won't Kerry sign a Form 180, and why hasn't the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to have his records released?" No partisanship there, no sir!

The White House and Defense Department have on several occasions claimed that they had released all the documents only to make additional records available later on.
It would have been nice if CBS had shown the same interest in the delayed appearance of the Rose Law Firm billing records. And have those later-appearing records shown anything damaging? If they had, would the forged memos have been necessary?

You'll note that not one of CBS's links tie to anything outside CBS, such as Saturday's Washington Post's graphic comparison of the forged memos with known real ones. Lying through omission, Exhibit "G."

What they didn't say was far more revealing than what they did.