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

Friday, August 31, 2007

Just a Reminder:.


(Sorry, Peet! Last one! It's little!)

The speaker at this year's Rendezvous dinner will be Major Chuck Ziegenfuss, millblogger author of From My Position... On the Way! Major Zeigenfuss was wounded in June of 2005 shortly after being deployed to Iraq. He lost a finger, and has suffered significant damage to his hands. He was the inspiration behind Project Valour-IT which provides laptop computers with voice-recognition software to wounded and amputee soldiers. He received such a laptop while in Walter-Reed so he could continue to blog during his recovery, and that inspired him to begin the project.

I look forward to meeting the Major very much. Kudos to Mr. Completely for selecting and securing such a fine speaker.
That's Unpossible!.

Who's the "Real Environmentalist?"

The answer will surprise you. Especially since he doesn't tout it.

Oh, and Snopes, at least, confirms the story.

As Instapundit put it, "I'll believe there's a crisis when the people saying there's a crisis start acting like there's a crisis."

(h/t to Classical Values)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

How Stupid is This?.

Tom Gresham thinks the gun community needs a new term for the AR15 rifle:
The term "assault weapon" was coined by gun banners who knew they could confuse the public who doesn't know the difference between a full auto and a semi auto. It worked, and we got the Clinton Gun Ban (aka, the "assault weapon ban").

Of course, the AR-15 platform is the most popular model rifle being made, and people use them for hunting, self protection, plinking, informal competition, national match competition, and pretty much any other type of shooting, because these rifles are robust, rugged, accurate and fun.

So, I decided we need a better descriptive term. Jim Shepherd, editor of The Shooting Wire (www.shootingwire.com) had a
suggestion. Jim Kenzie, producer of Tom Gresham's Gun Talk had a good one -- Utility Rifle. I like that one.

So . . . here's your chance to vote. I'm putting several options on the Gun Talk web site in a sort of poll. I'm doing educational talks for the media on the AR-15, and I'd like to use a good, descriptive term that carries our idea of what this rifle is, and how it is used.
"Homeland Defense Rifle" was suggested by somebody a while back, but every time I hear the word "Homeland" (as in "Dept. of Homeland Security") I expect to see people in black leather trench coats and knee-boots clicking their heels and giving stiff-arm salutes.

Anyway, if you're interested go vote, but in my personal opinion they're "semi-automatic rifles," no different than a Remington 7400. And Tom? This is a "tactical rifle" too.
Question:.

Reader Peet protests:
I have read your blog for a long time - been challanged and educated. But you have one MAJOR failing: As a dial-up user, I pray that, some day, you will learn something about image compression.

It is a minor problem for folks with fast connections, but it'll be WEEKS before the huge images scroll off and I can read you again.
OK, how many of you out there are still on dial-up? I know loading the page can be slow, especially if Technorati or HaloScan are down, but should I start using thumbnails with links to the full-size image? You are the readership - I need to at least make the appearance that I'm trying to keep you happy!

Here We Go AGAIN!

Via Gun Law News, meet Joaquin Jackson, NRA Board member and gun bigot, reincarnation of Bill Ruger, er, Jim Zumbo, um, clueless idiot, ah! "Only One."
He's apparently an ex-Texas Ranger, so that explains the "Only Ones" mentality.
I personally believe a weapon should never have over a - as far as civilian - a five round capacity. If you're a hunter, if you're a hunter, if you're going to go hunting with a weapon, you shouldn't need only but one round.
This after stating:
I feel like if we lose the Second Amendment, then somebody will take the first, then they'll take the third, and the fourth and there will be a domino effect....
His statement was made in an interview in 2005, and apparently the YouTube video is a recent post with no date. The NRA is now attempting damage control:
Recently, concerns have been raised in response to statements made by NRA Board Member Joaquin Jackson to Texas Monthly in 2005. We have received questions from NRA members who are seeking clarity as to NRA’s positions on the subject matter discussed in Mr. Jackson’s interview. To be clear, NRA supports the right of all law-abiding citizens to Keep and Bear Arms for all lawful purposes. We will continue, as we have in the past, to vigorously oppose any efforts to limit gun ownership by law-abiding citizens as an unconstitutional infringement on our Second Amendment freedoms. These efforts include opposition to any attempts to ban firearms, including firearms incorrectly referred to as "assault weapons", and any attempts to place arbitrary limits on magazine capacity.
Mr. Jackson also attempts to defend himself on that page:
Recently, some misunderstandings have arisen about a news interview in which I participated a few years ago. After recently watching a tape of that interview, I understand the sincere concerns of many people, including dear friends of mine. And I am pleased and eager to clear up any confusion about my long held belief in the sanctity of the Second Amendment.

In the interview, when asked about my views of “assault weapons,” I was talking about true assault weapons – fully automatic firearms. I was not speaking, in any way, about semiautomatic rifles. While the media may not understand this critical distinction, I take it very seriously. But, as a result, I understand how some people may mistakenly take my comments to mean that I support a ban on civilian ownership of semiautomatic firearms. Nothing could be further from the truth. And, unfortunately, the interview was cut short before I could fully explain my thoughts and beliefs.

In fact, I am a proud owner of such rifles, as are millions of law-abiding Americans. And many Americans also enjoy owning fully automatic firearms, after being cleared by a background check and meeting the rigorous regulations to own such firearms. And these millions of lawful gun owners have every right – and a Second Amendment right – to own them.

As a hunter, I take great pride in my marksmanship. Every hunter should practice to be skilled to take prey with a single shot, if possible. That represents ethical, humane, skilled hunting. In the interview several years ago, I spoke about this aspect of hunting and my belief that no hunter should take the field and rely upon high capacity magazines to take their prey.

But that comment should never be mistaken as support for the outright banning of any ammunition magazines. In fact, such bans have been pursued over the years by state legislatures and the United States Congress and these magazine bans have always proven to be abject failures.

Let me be very clear. As a retired Texas Ranger, during 36 years of law enforcement service, I was sworn to uphold the United States Constitution. As a longtime hunter and shooter, an NRA Board Member, and as an American – I believe the Second Amendment is a sacred right of all law-abiding Americans and, as I stated in the interview in question, I believe it is the Second Amendment that ensures all of our other rights handed down by our Founding Fathers.

I have actively opposed gun bans and ammunition and magazine bans in the past, and I will continue to actively oppose such anti-gun schemes in the future.

I appreciate my friends who have brought this misunderstanding to light, for it has provided me an opportunity to alleviate any doubts about my strong support for the NRA and our Second Amendment freedom.
And I suppose you have a "wide stance" as well.

Sorry, Ranger Jackson, that doesn't fly with me. As a former law enforcement official you were one of "the Only Ones" - and apparently liked it that way. Fully-automatic rifles were not mentioned - hunting was. (A five-round capacity for fully automatic weapons? How stupid do you think we are?) I will not accuse you of supporting a ban - you did not. You stated your personal opinion, and the word "ban" wasn't mentioned.

But it was implied that you wouldn't oppose one.

I sincerely hope that since that 2005 interview you've changed your mind on the topic, but this shuck-and-jive routine makes me think that you have not.
Quote of the Day, Pt. II

From Kenn Blanchard:
Guns are not the problem with the increase of violence in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Detroit and New York. The problem is the community is waiting for someone else to fix the broken home, the un-parented child, the illiterate graduate, and the spiritually bankrupt. We collectively spend more attention and give more love to animals than we do our children. And then when they grow up into prostitots, thugs and mirror the images from People magazine we want to blame something. I have seen the enemy and it is us.
(H/t to PGP)
"Be consoled that you are winning the battle."

(From that email from Laura Washington.) Want to know why we're winning? Because we have turned away from the gun control path taken by the Brits. We have not allowed ourselves to be marginalized and politically silenced through the death-by-a-thousand-cuts.

And because too many people are willing to think for themselves about the question of guns and gun control. While anecdotes are not data, people like this woman pop up all over the country each and every week:
They've found a body in the woods. Again. Another missing girl, woman, sister, mother, friend strangled, stabbed, shot, raped, mutilated, dismembered and tossed in the brush, in a ditch, beside railroad tracks, in a dumpster, in the ocean like so much garbage. The details don't really matter. They were all guilty of nothing more than perhaps smiling at the wrong man, speaking to the wrong stranger, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, not being wary enough while going about their daily lives, not realizing that they were prey, that someone was watching them, following them and thinking violent thoughts about them.

The photographs their loved ones give to the police are all eerily similar..a sideways smile, a dream behind the eyes. They could be me, or you, your best friend, your neighbor or your mother. And then the body is found and the coroner talks about needing dental records, about decomposition, about DNA. I can never get over the horror of it, those women, their thoughts and hopes and precious temples of flesh so quickly turned to nothing but scraps of meat and bones and if never found, nothing. Forgotten, except for the whispered hometown legends about the girl who got lost, disappeared without a trace.

How fragile we are.

Every time I hear another one of these stories, I decide that this will never happen to me. That I will not be a victim. A man will never understand the fear a woman has walking across a dark parking lot alone. How it may be a risky thing to take a walk by yourself around your own neighborhood. How no amount of judo or karate will make a difference if you are a small female person and there's a large male person who's running after you or, God forbid, has gotten close enough to put his hands on you.

I have two defenses. #1, listen to that internal warning alarm and pay attention to my surroundings and the people in it. #2, get my concealed carry permit. I'm halfway there.
"Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal."
Women, this is for you too. Don't be afraid of protecting yourself. You really are worth it.
Every day people realize that they bear primary responsibility for their own protection, and that depending exclusively on the police or others is unrealistic. They consider the options, and then many of them consider a gun. Education is the key. People fear what they do not understand, and can be convinced of anything in their ignorance. Knowledge is empowerment:
I come from a long line of awesome women. Brave and bold and clever...and not the least of these my own mother. I took her shooting at the range today. She was tiny bit apprehensive at first and jumpy at the sound of the guy shooting the .357 next to us, but after a quick lesson on gun safety, loading, and lining up the sights, she got right in there and started shooting. After her first 10 shots, she put down the gun, turned around and had the most immense grin on her face. It was a beautiful thing.

I've decided that it is now my task to convince every girl I know to come to the range and and shoot with me. If my 60-something, breast cancer survivor mother can shoot (and hit the target!), anyone can. And should.
Amen! (H/t to Say Uncle for the initial link.)
Quote of the Day.

From Looking Iraqis in the Eye by Rocco DiPippo:
I am an American. I have never had to live in fear that something as harmless as a joke about my president could get me, my parents, brothers, sisters and cousins, tortured and murdered by my government. I had never lived in a place where a slip of the tongue could get me killed. My country is the United States of America, where just about anything goes, even when criticizing one's government — where calling one's president a liar, an idiot, a murderer or someone worse than Hitler is far, far more likely to get you a seat at the Oscars than a bullet to the brain.
That should leave a mark, but the intended recipients won't acknowledge it. Commentary on the rest of the piece in the next post below.
Why Defeatism Matters.

One of those people the Left decries as "economic mercenaries" writes about progress in Iraq, and how it is affected by the enemy loyal opposition here in Congress, the media, and the Left in general in Looking Iraqis in the Eye. I strongly recommend you read the whole thing, but here are a few choice excerpts:
Who can say that the morale of ordinary Iraqis and American soldiers was not damaged when one of the most powerful men in America, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, stood in front of the world and declared, "I believe... that this war is lost." Who can expect them to ignore the defeatist postures of men and women like John Kerry, Richard Durbin, Edward Kennedy, John Murtha, Jack Reed, John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi? Who can forget the media deification of people like Cindy Sheehan and groups like International A.N.S.W.E.R and Code Pink, who are far more concerned with pushing a radical social and political agenda than they are with bringing peace and stability to Iraq?

Iraqis watch us, and they listen to us. What they hear from some of our politicians, political activists and cultural elites has made many of them reluctant to work with the Americans in bringing security to their country. Many Iraqis are afraid of what they are hearing from the Democratic Party leadership and their media shills – that America will abandon them. And as long as they are afraid, they will be reluctant to seize the initiative in their towns and villages and chase out those who are murdering their families.

That reluctance makes sense, since if the Americans leave now, as the Democrats are urging, the murderers will rule them. And the murderers will hunt down and kill anyone who ever worked with or cooperated with Americans.
I imagine they were none to happy to hear news reports that Barack Hussein Obama said that preventing genocide was not sufficient reason to keep American troops in Iraq. Nor will they be too happy to hear that the Iraqi government has failed to achieve the "benchmarks" set by our Congress in a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It is very easy to pass judgment and make flippant statements on the Iraq situation from the comfort and safety of American soil. It is even easier to push lies and misinformation from the newsroom while nestled amongst those in agreement with your world view, where there is near total disconnect between words written and their effects on the ground in Iraq. But who would push to abandon Iraq if they were face-to-face with Iraqis as I was? Would Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer or Charles Rangel be able to listen to their frightful stories, to smell their fear, to feel their disappointments and still tell them that it would be right to leave them before delivering on our promises? Would you be able to look an Iraqi in the eye while saying that?
Now there's a question I'd like to hear at the next Democrat debate.

Please, RTWT. Fortunately, most of my audience doesn't need to hear it. Unfortunately, most people who do will never see it.
Nuge?.You're an Idiot.

I've said it before after initially defending him. I won't make that mistake again.

Nuge, you're an idiot.

As Say Uncle puts it, Don't scare the white people. Apparently you cannot grasp that concept.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Authorized Journalist" Misses the Key Facts.

Big freaking surprise.

A Keyboard and a .45 has the real scoop on how the legacy media once again allowed itself to be manipulated in the battle against those eeeevil guns, the giant gun industry and its all-powerful lobby that wants to see a gun in every child's hand!

Hie thee hence. And maybe write a short letter to the editor when you're done reading.
"You're an American!!! We don't do that sort of thing!".

A reader sent me an email with a link to a really outstanding first-person account over at OpenCarry.org. It seems a young American serving in the Israeli Defense Forces had an encounter with a couple of New Yorkers in Tel Aviv.

I imagine that couple counted themselves among those who have "been against violence and guns their whole lives." I think he rocked their world a little bit.

Give it a read.

Thanks for the link, Chuck!
Total Eclipse.

My Kimber Eclipse is back from the factory. I get to try it this weekend to see if it has been repaired properly, but I'm pretty sure it has. Kimber certainly didn't seem to cut any corners.

Before:

and after:


Gee, I wonder what they did to fix it?

Can't complain, though. Turnaround was fast, and I didn't even have to pay the freight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jenny Masche Isn't Afraid of Buying Big Jars of Mayonnaise

You know, as I get older my memory is going to hell. I thought for sure I'd written something on the Amy Richards story when it came out, but checking the archives I find that I did not. Let's get this out of the way right up front: I do not believe we should ban abortions. I think there should be some limits on when abortions should be performed (first trimester) at the discretion of the mother, and past that it should be only for actual medical need. At some point a fetus does become a human being, with all attendant rights. The disagreement is apparently over just when this occurs. I've picked my arbitrary point. Others have picked theirs.

But I was, admittedly, appalled at the choice Amy Richards made, and her "reasoning" behind it.

I applaud the choice Jenny Masche and her husband made. Here's the key quote from the article:
When she had got over the shock of a scan which showed she was carrying six babies, Jenny says she was offered the opportunity of a selective reduction. "Even though we were in a complete state of shock, we just couldn't do it. How do you choose which three of the little heartbeats to remove?
That question was apparently easy for Amy Richards. Since she was carrying identical twins and a fraternal, the twins got it, and spared Amy the horror of having to buy "big jars of mayonnaise." Congratulations to the Masche family.

Well, DUH!

Reuter-Rooter reports: U.S. most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people. This according to the Small Arms Survey, 2007 coming out in September. Per the report, we 300 million Americans own some 270 million of the estimated 875 million small arms that exist worldwide. We apparently are buying about 4.5 million of the estimated 8 million new guns rolling off production lines each year, worldwide. Even better, the number of guns estimated to be in private hands worldwide is only 650 million, so we own over 40% of them. The other 225 million are held by police and military forces. And best yet, "Only about 12 percent of civilian weapons are thought to be registered with authorities."

Yeah, baby!

Our closest competitor? India with 45 million privately held arms, but a population of over a billion. Per capita, Yemen comes in second with 61 guns per hundred population. How big is Yemen? About the size of Connecticut? Many of theirs, I would bet, are full-auto capable AK-47s. I bet they'd be amazed to know what they would be worth over here - if they could just sell them legally.

It is the gun-controller's mantra that "the number of guns" is the cause of violent crime. This report reminds me once again of the conclusion of the 1983 report of a meta-study of gun control research, Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America:
The progressive's indictment of American firearms policy is well known and is one that both the senior authors of this study once shared. (My emphasis.) This indictment includes the following particulars: (1) Guns are involved in an astonishing number of crimes in this country. (2) In other countries with stricter firearms laws and fewer guns in private hands, gun crime is rare. (3) Most of the firearms involved in crime are cheap Saturday Night Specials, for which no legitimate use or need exists. (4) Many families acquire such a gun because they feel the need to protect themselves; eventually they end up shooting one another. (5) If there were fewer guns around, there would obviously be less crime. (6) Most of the public also believes this and has favored stricter gun control laws for as long as anyone has asked the question. (7) Only the gun lobby prevents us from embarking on the road to a safer and more civilized society.

The more deeply we have explored the empirical implications of this indictment, the less plausible it has become. (My emphasis.) We wonder, first, given the number of firearms presently available in the United States, whether the time to "do something" about them has not long since passed. If we take the highest plausible value for the total number of gun incidents in any given year - 1,000,000 - and the lowest plausible value for the total number of firearms now in private hands - 100,000,000 - we see rather quickly that the guns now owned exceed the annual incident count by a factor of at least 100. This means that the existing stock is adequate to supply all conceivable criminal purposes for at least the entire next century, even if the worldwide manufacture of new guns were halted today and if each presently owned firearm were used criminally once and only once. Short of an outright house-to-house search and seizure mission, just how are we going to achieve some significant reduction in the number of firearms available?
Now, substitute "270,000,000" for the "100,000,000" in that last paragraph and ask yourself the same question. And here's part of that conclusion that I have not previously quoted:
To members of the gun subculture who have been around guns all their lives and have owned and used guns as long as it has been legal for them to do so, the indictments of gun control advocates must appear to be incomprehensible, if not simply demeaning. We should not be surprised to learn that they may resent being depicted as irresponsible, nervous, potentially dangerous, prone to accidental or careless firearms handling, or as using their firearms to bolster sagging masculine self-images. Of course, from their viewpoints, they have none of these characteristics and in all likelihood resent being depicted as a demented and bloodthirsty lot when they are only guilty of embracing a set of rather traditional, rural, and masculine values. Indeed, one can only begin to understand the virulence with which gun control initiative(sic) are opposed in these quarters when one realizes that what may be at stake is a way of life.
Again, I repeat: Well, DUH!

Like Water Off a Duck's Back

Say Uncle pointed to a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed yesterday by columnist and journalism professor Laura Washington. I won't reproduce the whole piece, but here's a taste:
Gun lovers disarm control advocates

August 27, 2007
LAURA WASHINGTON Sun-Times columnist


It looks like the petulant, gun-toting NRA stalwarts have won the first round.

Last time, I used this space to ask where you stand on the issue of gun control. A torrent of e-mails later, it's clear: Gun-control advocates were outgunned, four to one.

The gun lovers were legion, robust and vitriolic. Many of you told me to go places where the sun doesn't shine and the temperature is way too hot. Yet, if you believe public opinion polls, that reaction is an anomaly. For instance, last April, ABC News polled adults nationwide, and asked: "Do you favor or oppose stricter gun control laws in this country?" Sixty-one percent favored them, 36 percent were opposed, and 3 percent were "unsure."

CBS News asked, "In general, do you feel the laws covering the sale of handguns should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?" Two-thirds of respondents nationwide opted for "more strict."

What is the problem with the advocates of gun control? Why are their voices not being heard? They are consistently cowed and overmatched. Gun violence is out of control, yet the gun lovers are ascendant.

You think we've got problems now? Just listen to Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential aspirant. At a recent Conservative Political Action Conference, he bragged, "I'm not a newcomer to the NRA," the New York Times reported on its political blog. "I was the first governor to have a conceal-carry permit, so don't mess with me."

Huckabee, mind you, recently made a flashy second-place showing in the Iowa presidential straw poll.

Do you want to be standing in line for gas, popcorn or a gallon of milk and find yourself next to someone who's packing heat? If he takes the White House, we can all go shopping for embossed leather holsters and pearl-handled pistols. I'll be looking to accessorize that with rhinestone-studded boots.
You know, the usual Reasoned Discourse™ we've come to expect from our opposition. Please, RTWT. (And yes, I do know about the Zogby poll.)

Instead of fisking her piece, I thought I'd drop her a nice email (and copy the paper's letters-to-the-editor while I was at it. What the hell, worth a shot.) Here's what I sent:
Ms. Washington:

I read with interest your op-ed in the online edition of the Sun-Times, and I had some comments to make. I hope that you will see this epistle in the volume of email I am sure has been forthcoming since your little jeremiad was published. Provoking an outpour of response was, I am sure, one of your intentions. Let me apologize in advance (though it is not really my place) for those who will shower you with invective and vitriol. We on the side of the right to arms have been fighting against a decades-long slow-motion hate crime,1 and it tends to wear on our patience. I understand such responses, but I cannot countenance them.

I am eternally fascinated by people who see themselves as "gun control advocates." I find them fascinating because they epitomize to me the phrase "cognitive dissonance." The fact that you write from Chicago, one of the epicenters of "common-sense gun control" only adds to my fascination.

Cognitive dissonance has been defined thus:

"When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn't seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as 'escalation of failure'.)"2

Or, as I phrase it, "The philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again, only harder!" We see this behavior in gun control advocates all the time. There's always a "loophole" to blame. Always a "next step." But "gun control" never improves crime rates, never reduces homicide rates. Never. Gun control advocates always - without exception - predict "blood in the streets" and "wild West shootouts" when "shall issue" concealed-carry legislation makes progress in state legislatures, but this never happens. Never. Somehow this data fails to make a dent in the "gun control" mindset. The strategy constantly fails, but the ideology cannot be questioned. Do it again, only harder!

Ms. Washington, you note in your piece: "(I)t seems the gun control advocates have been outmatched. Abigail Spangler acknowledges as much. Spangler is the founder of ProtestEasyGuns.com, a Virginia-based group that has been spearheading a slew of anti-gun protests around the nation.

"Gun control activists, she wrote me, 'are TRYING HARD but they are seriously affected in state after state by lack of funding and contributions." She recently met, she says, with the leader of Virginia's only gun control group. "He says they may not even be able to afford any lobbyist at all soon in Virginia!'"

Ms. Washington, the citizenry will offer an opinion to anyone. Opinions are free. But activism costs money - and the anti-gun side has shown that the hearts and wallets of the general public are not really into it. Ask any hundred random people on the street if they favor stricter gun laws and most likely the majority will say "yes." Ask them what the current gun laws are, and they won't be able to tell you. Gun rights activists can. The gun control side of the argument has been supported for decades with money from foundations, perhaps the largest contributor being the Joyce Foundation. Look them up. Those of us who believe in the right to arms are the true grass-rooters, and there are far more of us than the mere four million that the NRA claims as members. As someone once put it so pithily: "Poor Lefties; they've been playing on astroturf so long that they don't know grassroots even when fed a mouthful of divot." 3

Ms. Washington, our side is winning because we can see reality. We are not blinded to a flawed ideology. The ideology you operate under is expressed best as "Guns are baaad, mmmmkay?" This ideology springs from an inability or unwillingness to see a difference between "violent and predatory" and "violent but protective." You see only "violence" and violence offends you. From this inability you mistake the tools of violence to be the cause of violence, and from that error comes the desire to eradicate the tools. But this does not address the actual cause. In other words, "Gun control is what you do instead of something."4

When disaster strikes and civil society breaks down, when the government proves unmistakably that it cannot protect everyone, everywhere, all the time, then some people have an awakening - and they go to a gun store or a Wal-Mart and try to buy a gun.

And that's when they discover just what the gun laws really are.

And many become gun-rights activists because, as one woman put it when she found out she had to wait a week for a gun while being stalked by an ex-boyfriend, "I've been against guns and violence my whole life."5 She and those like her were responsible for that interminable week wait. She finally understood the difference between "violent and predatory" and "violent but protective," and wanted protection - which the law denied her for a full week.

Some of us are "gun lovers," Ms. Washington. I am, unashamedly. But many, many more simply want to be able to choose how to defend ourselves. That is a choice you wish to deny us out of a belief in a flawed ideology that you cannot bring yourselves to recognize.

I'd love to discuss this topic with you further, but I seriously doubt you've bothered to read this far.

Thank you for your attention, however much of it I was able to garner.
(Footnotes not in original).

Somewhat to my surprise, she replied:
Dear Mr. Baker,

Thanks for your comments on the gun control column. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

Be consoled that you are winning the battle. And yes, I did read your entire letter.

Best, Laura

=================================================================
Laura S. Washington
Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor
DePaul University
Contributing Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
Senior Editor, In These Times
The fact that she responded was surprising. The content was not.

I sent her a short reply:
Dear Laura:

Thank you for your gracious reply, and for taking the time our of your obviously busy schedule to read my missive.

Water off a duck's back, eh?

My sincere condolences,

Kevin
But wait! There's more! Phelps had a beautiful response of his own that I hope he sent to her. I urge you not to miss it.

Footnotes:
1Dr. Michael S. Brown
2Steven Den Beste
3Tamara K
4Say Uncle
5Seraphic Secret
Credit where credit is due.

UPDATE: Commenter Kevin P. notes that he maintains (an EXCELLENT) Wikipedia page on the Joyce Foundation and their funding efforts. Way to go, Kevin!

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Favorite Bloom County© Strip EVER.

Since we're on the topic....

I love this strip. It stereotypes everybody!

Cue Islamic Rage Boy!.

(I especially like "I am not Amish!")

Some 25 newspapers refused to carry last Sunday's Opus cartoon. According to Eugene Volokh, one reason given was "a sex joke a little stronger than we normally see". With all due respect: horseshit. As a commenter put it so succinctly:
Let's not act all innocent here. The Post is not afraid of offending someone, they are afraid of offending someone who might bomb them. Breathed has gleeful drawn caricatures of evangelical Christians for years and the Post has complacently published them, not out bigotry but out of the tacit but wholly accurate calculation that evangelicals, whatever their shortcomings, are not likely to commit terrorist acts.
And remember the South Park Muhammed episode? The one Comedy Central censored? Who haven't Matt Stone and Trey Parker skewered? No, this is simple cowardice.

Not so, here at TSM. Here's the offending cartoon in all its glory:

Ah, Steve Dallas is a conflicted man.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance


It raises its head once again. To quote Steven Den Beste:
When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn't seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as "escalation of failure".)
Or, as I put it:
The philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again only harder!
We have some new stories coming out of the petri dishes of the UK Commonwealth.

Let's start with this one:
Victims and offenders get younger

By Philip Johnston
Last Updated: 7:01am BST 24/08/2007

Periodically, there is a national outcry about guns on our streets. It reached a climax 20 years ago this week when Michael Ryan shot and killed 16 people, including his mother, wounded 15 others, then killed himself.

The massacre in Hungerford led to a ban on the ownership of semi-automatic centre-fire rifles.

In 1996, the murder of 15 children and their teacher at a school in Dunblane, Scotland, led to a complete ban on handguns.

Yet since then, the number of crimes involving guns has risen.

In 1996, there were 14,000 recorded offences in which firearms were reported to have been used. In 2005/6, the last period for which figures are available, there were 21,500.

Although the numbers dying through shooting is roughly similar, 50 victims in 1996 and last year, attempted murders and woundings are up 50 per cent.

Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world - yet they did not prevent the appalling events in Croxteth.
Ergo: the strategy failed.

But the ideology cannot be wrong!
Yesterday, Gordon Brown said the Government was "working urgently" to tackle gun crime. But if previous laws have made little difference why should new ones?

The past year has seen another avalanche of legislation. The Government introduced a minimum five-year sentence for possessing an illegal firearm. They made it an offence to possess an air weapon or imitation firearm in public without legal authority or reasonable excuse.

The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 made it illegal to manufacture or sell imitation firearms that could be mistaken for real firearms. It also strengthened sentences for carrying imitation firearms, and created tougher manufacturing standards so imitations cannot be converted to fire real ammunition.

The Home Office boasted: "We're cutting off the supply of firearms into the country."
"Do it again, only HARDER!
But the guns are already here; and they are increasingly easy to get. Home Office research indicated that an imitation firearm could be bought for £20 and a shotgun for £50. A military-quality handgun will go for around £1,000. An automatic weapon sells for between £800 and £4,000.
Think about that. Gun control supporters here object to our pointing out the failure of DC's draconian gun ban (there were seven homicides in DC last week, at least five of which were by firearm), or Chicago's handgun ban to have any positive effect on the level of gun crime in those cities. They blame "lax gun control laws" in the surrounding areas for the influx of guns into those cities. However, England has all the laws that the Brady Campaign et. al think are "common sense": "may-issue" ownership licensing with full background check and character references, "safe storage" requirements with surprise inspection powers by the State, restrictions on the amount and type of ammunition permit holders can possess, a complete ban on "military style" semi-automatic rifles, a complete ban on handguns, the whole nine yards. More importantly, the UK is an island - there are no neighbors just across the state or county line with "lax gun laws" that allow an easy flow of illicit guns. You've got to smuggle them in through the ports of entry, or by boat. Yet gun prices are barely above American retail, and fully-automatic weapons can cost less than a handgun.

But does anybody learn from this? Hardly. Washington D.C. is going to the Supreme Court to prevent its bans from being overturned. The city of Philadelphia is currently experiencing a tremendous increase in homicides, so two city council members are suing the state legislature so that Philadelphia can pass its own gun control laws, and activist lawyer Michael Coard wants to sue the NRA for influencing the Pennsylvania state legislature into passing preemption laws.

There's more to that piece, and I recommend you read it, but let's move on to the next story that covers the slaying of an 11 year-old boy in Liverpool:
Former detective: It is a gangland culture

Albert Kirby, Former Detective Superintendent, Merseyside Police, on the problem of gun crime in Liverpool:

"Like other areas of Liverpool, Croxteth has become increasingly more difficult to police over the years due to the gang type culture and the reluctance of people living in the area either to come forward and give either evidence or information about those involved in the gang culture, drugs and crime groups.

"It is the same throughout the city. Once upon a time it used to be fists on the street corner. Then they started to use any sort of weapons - hammers or axes. Now the readily availability of fire arms has opened up a whole new ball game.
But licensing, registration, "safe storage" and outright bans are supposed to prevent "ready availability," aren't they? That's what the ideology says!
"Fire arms can be obtained very cheaply and after they have been used criminals can dispose of them because they are so cheap - a handgun can be bought for about £25 a time.
Yet the earlier piece said a "military quality" handgun would go for about £1,000. What are these, cheap "Saturday Night Specials"? Just so you know, at current exchange rates, £25 is $50 US.
"Fire arms are so readily available that you can go out on the street, make the necessary enquiries and come up with them. It is that easy.
Ergo: the strategy failed.
"The legislation that came in after the Dunblane shooting in 1996 has been utterly and totally ineffective. It was a waste of space. With the borders disappearing in Europe there are no checks on firearms coming in from abroad. They come from Eastern Bloc countries, recommissioned firearms, and a steady flow coming out of the world's conflict zones.
See! See! It's the fault of neighboring states with lax gun laws!

Oh, wait...
"Merseyside Police have done a tremendous amount of work to recover firearms. But bearing in mind the amount of firearms that are available it is very difficult.

"For a lot of these kids, it is a status symbol to them. In the sixties they would have the drainpipe trousers and the slicked hair, and then the mods and rockers in the 1970s with their crash hats.

"Now guns are like a status symbol: 'If you diss me I will shoot you because I have got a gun'. It is part of the culture, it is a gangland culture.

"Croxteth is a poor area. I would think there are a lot of unemployed people there. In that area drugs are just prolific.
So are guns. Cheap guns.
"This poor lad was in the wrong place at the wrong time. These people have been feuding and the poor guy has got in the way. What justification can these people have to shoot an 11-year-old boy who has not done any harm to anyone. He comes from a decent family.

"Where do we go from here? Firstly, we have to change the street culture which accepts guns. That will be a long-term issue - like tackling anti-social behaviour.
With what? Judicious application of ASBOs?
"Secondly, these incidents will continue to happen unless people are willing to come forward as witnesses.
Even though you cannot/will not protect them from retaliation, and they cannot protect themselves.
"The system in the judicial process is so good now at protecting identities. People have to learn to have faith in the system.
You're going to protect the identities of the witnesses? How? Relocate them to Australia? The people have an abiding faith in the system. They believe faithfully that it's not going to do squat to help them. They have reason to believe that.
"Thirdly, the courts are so woeful. These people hate going to prison. Scousers have an expression that they can do it standing on their head. But standing on their head gets harder as they get older.

"The courts should say that if someone is sentenced for an offence, and a firearm is used, even if it is a replica, that person are going to prison for a long time."
They may say it, but as you said, the courts are woeful, and your prisons are overcrowded already.

No wonder there's no trust.

Finally we travel far across the pond to Australia, to the little town of Roseville, a Northern suburb of Sydney in New South Wales where a new gun shop has opened:
Residents irate over gunshop permit: what do we tell our children?
What a fascinating question!
UP IN arms would accurately describe the incensed reaction of Roseville residents to news that a gunshop is to open in their midst.

Last night hundreds were expected to pack a community hall to protest against the approval granted by Ku-ring-gai Council, apparently without notification to those who may have an opinion about such an enterprise.

Andrew Peter, a gun enthusiast and coffee shop owner from Bondi Junction, made an application last month to turn an old printing shop into a sporting goods and firearms store. One of the main reasons for his decision was the estimated 1300 firearm owners who live in the area.
I'm curious as to how much territory "in the area" covers.
The shop is opposite a community hall that runs a preschool centre. It is also near a bus interchange used by schoolchildren, and some neighbouring businesses say the approval, although legal, is inappropriate.

Lisa Warrand is one of dozens of parents who fear the worst: the potential for an armed hold-up and shootout, or merely having to explain to children who walk past every day why a shop sells guns. (My emphasis.)

"Roseville has five churches and no pubs. People buy in this area because they want a more family-focused area," she said yesterday. "We teach children about how bad guns are and yet we are being put into a position where we have to explain why there is a man in the car park carrying a gun bought across the road." (My emphasis.)

Sally Cochrane runs the Zest hairdressing salon a few doors away. She concedes that the chances of a hold-up are slim but says it is a risk that should rule out the shop from the neighbourhood. "Children and guns don't mix. It's as simple as that, and if there is a robbery then it could be disastrous. I accept that this man has a right to open his shop and to sell guns, but not here."

Rob Hudspith disagrees. He owns the bicycle shop nearby and says the biggest mistake was that no one was given details of the application by the council.

"If they didn't have a legal obligation, then they had a moral one," Mr Hudspith said. "Personally, I don't have any problems, but there is an inherent fear of firearms, and who can blame people for being worried?" (My emphasis.)

A council spokesman said the approval was assessed under State Government planning laws. The business would have to comply with strict laws covering handling, storage and safety.

The Liberal MP for Davidson, Jonathan O'Dea, backs the residents, denying it is nimbyism.

The Shooters Party accuses Mr O'Dea of stirring up trouble by instigating a survey of residents. Mr Peter says he is willing to compromise with extra security to ensure residents feel safe. "Sure, I understand their feelings and I'm happy to talk to them about their concerns, but they don't have anything to worry about." (My emphasis.)
There's the ideology, ladies and gentlemen: "GUNS ARE BAD, mmmkay?" Its root is the belief that all violence is bad; the inability to differentiate between "violent and predatory" and "violent but protective" that leads to the totemic belief that the tools of violence are the cause of violence. The outcome of that flawed ideology is licensing, registration, restriction, bans, confiscation... and rising violent crime.

But cognitive dissonance prevents people from questioning the ideology. The result is escalation of failure, and a complete inability to implement any kind of successful strategy. As Say Uncle put it, "Gun control is what you do instead of something."
(Audio) Receiver Bleg.

Well, my Technics SA-EX400 receiver has finally given up the ghost. It is no more. It's a dead parrot.

I need a new one.

There is never a good time to buy new audio equipment - everything changes so fast in that industry. I remember reading some piece of fiction sometime where the main character said something on the order of "I'm not going to start buying compact discs until somebody promises me that this is the LAST change they're going to make!"

I am not an audiophile. This thing goes into my living room, where the acoustics are about equivalent to a - well, a living room. Not a listening chamber.

Here's what I hook to it:

A turntable (needs a needle, though.)
A dual cassette deck
A 5-disc CD changer
A VCR
A DVD player (non-HD, but maybe someday)

This receiver is a 5 channel (maybe 5.1, but I don't recall seeing a subwoofer output. Hey, it's been a couple of years...) I use the two main channels and the center channel. It has Dolby Pro Logic, which I like, even though I'm not using the extra two channels. Again, maybe some day. It has an AM/FM tuner as well.

My budget is about $300 +/-. Any suggestions?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shooty. No Shooty. Savvy?

OMFG! The Dissident Frogman produces a video that absolutely and hilariously SKEWERS the AFP report of the old Iraqi woman whose house was supposedly "hit by two bullets." (Via Kim.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Call "BULLSHIT!".

Via Instapundit we get a story in the Asia Times Online about how "emergent powers are primed to erode US hegemony, not confront it, singly or jointly." That part I don't disagree too much with. It is, in fact, pretty much inevitable in a world that has competition. The part I call "BULLSHIT!" on is this:
The George W Bush administration's debacle in Iraq is certainly a major factor in this transformation, a classic example of an imperialist power, brimming with hubris, overextending itself. To the relief of many - in the US and elsewhere - the Iraq fiasco has demonstrated the striking limitations of power for the globe's highest-tech, most destructive military machine.
Here's a clue, Hiro: The U.S. is not an "imperialist power." We do not invade nations to make them our vassals and demand tribute. That is what an empire does. Or it decimates the population and takes everything. We go in, liberate populations, try to build democratic structures for the good of the people living there and then we leave. Oh, and then we trade with them, to our mutual benefit.

The only limitations on "the highest-tech, most destructive military machine" in the world is the decency of America and Americans.

We tried the "empire" thing around the turn of the 20th century, following the major European powers, but it just doesn't play well with Americans. If we were truly an empire, we'd OWN the Middle East, even if that required making glass craters out of some of its major cities, but we don't think that way.

Here's what other countries (and journalists) just don't get about America, as so eloquently expressed by Eric S. Raymond:
I was traveling in Europe a few years back, and some Euroleftie began blathering in my presence about America's desire to rule the world. "Nonsense," I told him. "You've misunderstood the American character. We're instinctive isolationists at bottom. We don't want to rule the world — we want to be able to ignore it."
A Sign of Hope?.

Via Kim I just spent the last thirty minutes reading The Day Reality Hit Home, a three-part piece on the UK's Guardian website. This is a first-person story of how a writer for the über-liberal newspaper had his entire worldview changed after September 11, 2001. It is very much worth your time. I'm quite amazed that The Guardian published it.

For me, the key passage is this one:
A society that places great emphasis on respecting others has next to nothing to say about protecting others.

...my stepdaughter was set upon in a busy high street by a gang of teenagers in an unprovoked attack. Scores of adults looked on and not one of them did or said anything to help. When she described how grown-up faces turned away from her as kicks and punches flew, I could only conclude that everyone was waiting. They were waiting for society to change, for it to become less unfair, with more equitable wealth distribution, so that street violence would miraculously disappear. They were waiting for schools to improve, and more youth centres to be built, and better housing. Or they were waiting for the police, the police who ought to be everywhere at all times but who should also maintain a low profile. Or perhaps they were just waiting for somebody else, anybody but themselves.
Read the whole thing:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Strongly Recommended Read.


The Peace Racket, in the latest issue of City Journal. The money quote:
George Orwell would have understood the attraction of privileged young people to the Peace Racket. "Turn-the-other-cheek pacifism," he observed in 1941, "only flourishes among the more prosperous classes, or among workers who have in some way escaped from their own class. The real working class . . . are never really pacifist, because their life teaches them something different. To abjure violence it is necessary to have no experience of it."
And the final paragraph echoes much of what I have been saying here - and expands on it - since I started this blog.
Ammo Prices.

Heard this afternoon at a local gun shop (I paraphrase):

Sept. 1, expect a 22% retail price increase.

Nov. 1 or thereabouts, expect a 13% retail price increase.

Jan. 1 or thereabouts, expect a 35% price increase.

That's an 86% increase in less than six months. The person relating this information was standing behind the counter, not in front of it.

Take this as you wish, but I think I'll be stocking up on components before the end of the year.

UPDATE: Confederate Yankee has an excellent post concerning ammunition availability and pricing. It isn't just metals pricing nor the war. Demand is at an all-time high from police agencies - and the cops buy their ammunition not from the Lake City Arsenal, but from the same manufacturing plants that you and I do.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like Hell it Was.


I like George Hill, proprietor of the singular blog Mad Ogre (note to George: permalinks would be nice.) He's an opinionated SOB, but aren't we all? I read George because he's an interesting writer (could use spell check from time to time - OK, a lot) and I enjoy a lot of what he has to say.

But not all. Especially not when I read things like this:
I was asked about the Confederate flag in my banner artwork. Really that was the idea of the artist who put it in there... as to him it expressed the MadOgre.com vibe. To me, it does that too... and a little more. First off, I'm a Son of the South... so let me explain this as best as I can... The Confederate flag is not a symbol of hate as the damn Yankees would have you believe. It was the flag of the Confederate States of America. This is a part of our shared American History, not just a south eastern regional thing... It's not saying I want to start my own country or that I want to own me some niggers to pick my cotton back at the ol' plantation. That's just ignorant stereotyping to even think that when you see the Dixie flag. The way I see it, it's about Liberty.
OK so far, I'm with him. I think the Confederate flag controversy is far overblown. But then this:
The War of Northern Aggression was, in a nut shell, about States Rights. About the individual states deciding on how to run their own states... about not letting the Federal Government dictate matters that should be local matters.
The "War of Northern Aggression" began when the South captured Ft. Sumter - a Federal Fort. The Civil War was, like it or not, a war over the practice of slavery and the desire to continue it. It was a war that was born in the compromises required to ratify the Constitution in 1788. Yes, "States rights" was the excuse nearly all (especially non-slaveowning) Southerners used to explain their reason for fighting, but slavery was the causus belli.
This is a concept completely alien to so many Americans now. What with George Bush being the controller of everything...
To a large extent this perception is true. It is also true that it is, in part, one result of the war - in which "These United States" became THE United States.
the President of the United States is evidently responsible for your local municipal road maintenance and everything else now. This is BS.
Granted. But this outcome is not entirely due to the Civil War, it's due in large part to 150+ years of entropy, wherein busybodies from both sides have come to make the Republicans into the "Daddy" party, and the Democrats into the "Mommy" party. And whoever is sitting in the White House is seen by the majority of the population as "the Father of the Nation." Yes, it's BS, but it's the logical outcome of our system of government. "Democracy" is the problem, not the Civil War.
Local folks should manage local matters. Simple as that. Salt Lake City should not have to bow down to the wishes of Boston or San Francisco. And vice-versa. Or in San Fran's case – vice-vice. Or Washington DC. What does Washington DC know about the Uintah Basin? Those inside the Belt Way have never even been here, yet they have the audacity to tell me what's best for me and my own here? They are going to tell us what to do and when? I don't believe that's right. That's not the way it is supposed to work.
Also granted. But there it is.
Yes, I believe The South should have won. Many Southern Scholars believe that Slavery would have been ended within a short number of years anyways and The South would have returned to the The Union all on its own.
And many scholars do not. I do not believe the South should have won, not if their goal (as stated) was secession from the Union.
The only difference is that The South would have rejoined on their own terms and not as subjects of The North. I also believe that. The writing was on the wall even then.
This is the part I take strongest exception to, because I don't believe the South would have rejoined the North. I think the result of the South winning the war would have been eventual disaster on the global scale. Perhaps the best example of this comes from the novels of historian Harry Turtledove. His "Great War" series examines one possible outcome of a Southern victory, and it's not only plausible, to me it is chillingly convincing.
Of course those of you who get your history strictly from Yankee written books might think otherwise because you guys want to feel justified in your invasion of The South. The War of Northern Aggression seriously damaged The South in ways Yankees don't and never will understand. The economic scars remain there today. I know it's hard to understand, but there is more to The South than just grits and Dollywood... even though those are some of the best things.
My parents were born and raised in a coal town in Virginia. I was born in Lexington, Kentucky and raised mostly in Florida. I'm not a DamnYankee, and neither are they. Yes, the loss of the war and the economic predation that occurred during Reconstruction did vast damage to the South, but the preservation of the Union, with all of its warts, was better than letting the nation dissolve as I believe it would have done.

George thinks that the South would have rejoined the North, though from the sound of his jeremiad he'd be just as happy if the South had won and remained separate, or marched into Washington and demanded surrender. (Had that happened - and were the union preserved because of it - I might not be so piqued about this.) But preservation of the Union was what motivated Lincoln, and he was right. The war was, at its root, about whether it was morally right for human beings to own other human beings. If you read the words of the Founders, especially the philosophical justification expressed in the Declaration of Independence, then this nation could not have endured a continuation of the practice of slavery. It took seventy years for the fuse lit by the ratification of the Constitution to ignite the powder keg that was the Civil War, but any other outcome, I believe, would have been disastrous for both America and Europe. The damage caused to the South was tiny compared to what could have happened.
"No wonder so many women have self-esteem problems."

Via The Unforgiving Minute comes a link to iWANEX Studio, a "professional photo retouching studio." The title of this post comes from the link, and I think it's quite appropriate. Go to the site and click on the "portfolio" link. There are several examples of their work available to review. They are, I will admit, very skillful. Here's an example of after-and-before:

The effect is much more, er, impressive when you see it as a mouse rollover.

Jeebus. What are we doing to our kids?

Wait a Minute...

...you mean it's not the fault of "too many guns"? Another op-ed from the Sunday Times over where Great Britain used to be:
Gangs, alas, are offering what boys need

Harriet Sergeant

What are the reasons behind the spate of murders by feral gangs of youths? And can we as a society do anything about it?

For my report on the care system, I spent last year interviewing young men who, as Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust, said, "put a knife in their pockets as routinely as they pull on their trainers in the morning". Drugs and alcohol (and weapons - Ed.) are merely the symptoms of a deeper problem. Too many young men suffer from an absence of authority at home, in school and on the street. We have created a moral vacuum around our young people. We should not be surprised at how they fill it.

Young boys join gangs, they told me, because they are afraid. There is nobody else to protect them, certainly no responsible adult. "You don't start off as a killer," said a 19-year-old gang leader, "but you get bullied on the street. So you go to the gym and you end up a fighter, a violent person. All you want is for them to leave you alone but they push you and push you." Another boy aged 13 explained that in his area boys "would do anything" to join a gang. If they join a gang with "a big name" people will "look at them differently, be scared of them".
This echoes Grim's observation that I quoted in It's most important that all potential victims be as dangerous as they can:
Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.

The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men.
The author of this piece seems to grasp this, dimly.
The police and the Home Office have not taken crimes against young people seriously because they do not know they are happening.
Oh bullshit. They know, but recording those crimes would make the already horrible numbers from Britain even worse.
The British Crime Survey, described by the Home Office on its website as “the most reliable measure of crime” does not include crimes against anyone under 16.

The Home Office admits that young men aged 16-24 are most at risk of being a victim of violent crime. But only at the beginning of this year did a Freedom of Information request to each of the 43 police forces reveal that four out of 10 muggings are committed by children under 16 — and that is only the ones reported.

How can protecting young people on the streets take priority when the Home Office does not acknowledge the number of crimes against them? It is no wonder one young gang member said, "There's no one to look after me but me." He is quite right.
Note here, however, that Ms. Sergeant has completely omitted any reference to family - for her, if the State isn't there to protect you, then you are, by definition, all alone. Where is this kid's father? Where are the older men who used to guide boys away from the "violent and predatory" culture to the "violent but protective" one? They don't exist. And the government won't lead him there either. The society, seeing only "violence," wants him to at least act as though he's on Ritalin.
It is the same story in the majority of inner-city schools. As a mother of a 14-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl I know that young men are a different species to the rest of us. In times of war we value their aggression, their sense of immortality, their loyalty to one another. But in peacetime they are at best a nuisance, at worst a threat.
See? For her, the "violent but protective" behavior of soldiers at war is indistinguishable from the "violent and predatory" behavior of youth gangs. She literally cannot see a difference. Violence is violence to Ms. Sergeant, and all violence is bad - unless it's carried out by sanctioned members of the State.
Teenage boys need different treatment to girls to become responsible members of society. They need a role model.
As said Grim, above.
When my son was about nine he became resentful of his young female teachers. He had no respect for them. He then moved to his middle school where most of his teachers were male. The change was dramatic. Suddenly it was all, “Sir says this and sir says that.” In state primary schools 80% of teachers are female.

I am lucky. I can afford to send my son to a private school. The discipline, pastoral care and academic rigour do a good job at counterbalancing parental failings. Compare his experience with that of boys in the inner cities.

Those with a chaotic family life need school to be a refuge and a contrast. Even more than middle-class boys with a stable background, they need school to provide authority, moral leadership and an outlet for their aggression. It should be giving boys what they need to thrive: discipline, sport and a group with which to identify. Instead what do they get?

My son does one to two hours of sport a day with a match on Saturday. He is so exhausted by the evening he can barely pick up a knife to eat, let alone stab anyone.

State schools, by contrast, offer only one hour of sport a week. Then teachers wonder why adolescent boys play up and have difficulty concentrating on lessons. When boys look around for a group to join, too often it is not a school sports team but the local gang.
I think what she's advocating here is pretty much the same idea as "midnight basketball." The results of which would be just as predictable.
With their hierarchy and strict discipline, street gangs are nothing more than a distorted mirror image of the house system common in private schools where loyalty and team effort are all important. As one young gang leader chillingly told me, "You have to know the people, you have to trust the people, because you do everything together. When you stab, you stab together."

Then instead of authority and leadership, boys in state schools too often find themselves taught by teachers ashamed of their values. One young man teaching in a school in a deprived area in the northeast said his "main focus" was not to offend his pupils. "I don’t want to push my middle-class values on them," he explained earnestly. When a pupil described his hopes for the future, stacking shelves in the local supermarket, "I pointed out the many positive aspects of the job — meeting people and so forth." There was little attempt by the school, he admitted, to provide pastoral care or raise pupils' expectations. He saw no link between this and his No 1 problem — pupil apathy.
Now here she's on to something. This is a classic example of what "liberal" education has done to the education system itself - it's produced teachers who hate the society that produced them, because that's what they've been taught their whole lives. Western Civilization - "middle-class values" - are responsible for all the evils in the world: slavery, Colonialism, war, pollution, and now, Global Warming. I'm sure I missed a few items on that list. How can you respect a teacher who cannot respect his own society, and thus himself?
It is not surprising that teenage boys are, as a recent report from the Bow Group think tank points out, "the main cause of the discipline crisis in our schools". A "cotton-wool culture" and lack of competitive sport means one in five aged 13 or 14 were suspended from school last year. They are four times more likely than girls to be expelled from school and 2 times more likely to be suspended.
Here's a hint: Boys have always been the primary discipline problem in schools. It's that biology thing that Grim pointed out. The difference now is that there's no discipline at home and no discipline at school - one result of that "cotton-wool culture" thing that views corporal punishment as child abuse, that tries to stivle the natural behavior of boys instead of direct it, and tries to make girls - "a different species" - out of them. It's the rebellion against that "cotton-wool culture" that has made The Dangerous Book for Boys an international best-seller. A book, I imagine, that would make Ms. Sergeant shudder.
The result is catastrophic for them and for society. At 14, one in five boys has a reading ability of a pupil half his age and at 16, a quarter of boys — almost 90,000 — do not gain a single GCSE at grade C or above. For members of the general public such as Garry Newlove the implications are more serious. Three out of 10 murders are done with a sharp instrument. The most likely person to be equipped with a knife is a boy aged 14-19. And the most likely of all is an excluded school boy.

We have failed to provide a safe, disciplined and principled environment in which young people can relax, find themselves and channel their best efforts. Instead we have relegated many of them to a ghetto of violence and despair. The results stare us in the face.
Well, she sees at least half of the problem. At least she didn't blame either knives or guns. But like most people mired in a socialist or socialist-lite society, she looks to government for the solution - the very same government that produced the problem in the first place.

The society needs to change, that's for sure, but it won't be through passage of new legislation. And it won't happen any time soon. It's difficult to imagine how the former Great Britain could pull back from the mess they've created for themselves now.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Newsflash!. Still Not Enough "Gun Control" In England!

No, I'm not kidding:
Thugs 'using spent shells'

Chris Osuh
7/ 8/2007

DEADLY 'dum-dum' bullets are being made by criminals using spent shells from shooting ranges, a leading gun crime campaigner has claimed.
A "leading gun crime campaigner" who wouldn't recognize a "dum-dum" bullet if one hit her in the ass, I imagine.
Lucy Cope of Mothers Against Guns said thugs in cities like Manchester are loading guns with home-made bullets designed to explode on impact and cause greater damage.
Right! Now they're explosive bullets!
Ms Cope, whose son was shot dead outside a London nightspot in 2002, wants the government to introduce a law that requires shooting ranges and licensed gun holders to return spent shells before they can buy more ammunition.
Er, wait...

The cartridge cases or the "bullet tips," as Ebay calls them? And does this have anything to do with barrel shrouds? Regardless, her answer is the same-old same-old: Pass a new law making it even more difficult to be a law-abiding gun owner.
She said the M.E.N. gun murder statistics were `horrific', and said a DNA database of licensed firearms and the banning of replicas would help tackle a `serious epidemic' of gun crime.
Um, I've already pretty thoroughly debunked the concept of "gun DNA," but that never stops these people. The last sixty attempts didn't improve the situation? It's worse now? The philosophy cannot be wrong! It had to be the implementation that was at fault! Do it again, only harder! Magical thinking is their MO. Or, if you wish to be less charitable: insanity.
The campaigner described gun criminals as urban terrorists, and said mandatory 10-year sentences for possessing a firearm would curb their activities.
Because mandatory 5-year sentences don't?
Manchester campaigner Raymond Bell said unsolved murders helped fuel a cycle of revenge.
No, it's just that criminals can't turn to the "justice" system when they're ripped off or shot, so they have to handle it themselves.
"Some young people see relatives shot dead and the crime go unsolved," he said. "Then, because they can get access to guns, they are taking their own justice."
Uh, wait. THEY CAN GET ACCESS TO GUNS?!?!? That's UNPOSSIBLE®! Guns are outlawed or very strictly controlled!

Aren't they?
Mr Bell, of the group Carisma, said better relations between the police and the community in inner city neighbourhoods was key to tackling an `epidemic' of killing.
Actually arresting and jailing known perps qualifies as "better relations" doesn't it?
Mistrust

Mr Bell said: "Some officers on the ground are antagonising the youths. We need a force that reflects the community, but that won't happen while there is a climate of mistrust."
No, I guess not. Arresting and jailing known perps qualifies as "antagonizing the youths," it seems.
Meanwhile, Moss Side councillor Roy Walters urged people with information about unsolved crimes to talk to the police. He said: "The community is hurt more with every young death. But there are people in the community who know who has committed these crimes.
And if they go to the police, the "antagonized youth" will then threaten the witnessess - or worse - and the cops will do nothing. And the witnesses know it.

So not much gets solved.
"If they come forward, the police will do everything in their power to protect them."
"Everything in their power" being pretty much limited to handing out ASBOs, if that much.
Khan Moghal, of Manchester Council for Community Relations, said it could take years to end the tit for tat gun culture.
Here's a hint: It won't end. At best, only the technology will change. And the volume of violence.
He said: "Big communities have these problems.

"There was a time when these gangs were allowed to flourish and they have maintained a link - it's become a generational thing and it's not easy to just root it out."

He added: "If you can get rid of the perpetrators, you can end the spiral, because it will give people a breathing space."
Damned straight. But you're not "getting rid of the perpetrators." You're still doing silly shit like blaming the few remaining legal gun owners for the violence that you do dick-all about because anything positive in that direction is considered "antagonizing the youth."

("Unpossible" - a registered trademark of Say Uncle. Used with permission. Or at least forgiveness.)
The Wonders of Nationalized Health Care.

In relation to some discussions in the comments here, I thought this bit of news was quite illuminating:
Canadian has rare identical quads

A Canadian woman has given birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets.

The four girls were born at a US hospital because there was no space available at Canadian neonatal intensive care units.

Karen Jepp and her husband JP, of Calgary, were taken to a Montana hospital where the girls were delivered two months early by Caesarean section.

Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia are in good condition at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana.
(Emphasis mine.)

Yup. Socialized medicine really works good, doesn't it?

UPDATE via Instapundit, Don Surber comments:
This is not to piss all over Canada. Nice nation. Great people. I'm sure most Canadians like their health system. Just remember, though, that Canada's backup system is in Montana. Americans spend 15% of their income on health care. That's why Great Falls has enough neo-natal units to handle quadruple births — and a "universal health" nation doesn't.

After all, they didn’t fly Mrs. Jepp to Cuba, did they?
Quoth Glenn: "OUCH!"

And, as one of Don's commenters noted, the Jepp quads are now Americans.

Also, from a link in Don's piece; Kate at Small Dead Animals relates her story about her mother's terminal illness treatment in Saskatchewan. Interesting quote:
After waiting 10 days on oxygen in an intensive care ward, where it was more likely that a knowledgable visitor would tend to a distressed patient or dysfunctioning equipment than any of the five nurses charged with holding down chairs, we began to wonder when the lung specialist planned to show up to discuss our mother's condition.
Anecdotes are not equal to data - until you collect enough of them.

UPDATE: And here's another, found via Clayton Cramer. According to this 8/17 Calgary Herald piece on the Jepp quadruplets:
Jepp was transported to Benefis hospital in Great Falls last Friday -- making her the fifth Alberta woman to be transferred south of the border this year because of neonatal shortages in Calgary.
(My emphasis.)
Holy Sh!7!.

I knew ammo prices were climbing, but this is ridiculous!

As I mentioned previously, the new Kimber Ultra CDP II works beautifully with hardball, but not with my pet handload. Well, I don't reload hardball - economically it just didn't make sense. I could spend the same amount of money that commercial hardball ammo would cost and shoot premium bullets, or I could buy el cheapo hardball bullets and load them, but why bother?

Well my wife wants to try the new Kimber out, so I needed some hardball. I went down to the local "Caveman's Warehouse" (as she calls it) and looked at what was available in "bulk" .45. Blazer was the cheapest (aluminum cases, non-reloadable). Next cheapest was UMC.

$79.99/250 rounds! That's $0.32 per shot!

David Codrea wants us all to buy ammo on August 28 in counterprotest to a planned Brady event. I'm not sure I can afford to!