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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

READ THIS

Damn.  Just damn.  RTWT.

The Side-Takers by Tom Kendall.  Pullquote:
It took, as I recall, all of between two weeks and a month, for most of the Left in the country to make a decision— and they chose very wrong. Three generations of ongoing psychological warfare, agitprop and behind-the-scenes work to degrade our culture culminated in that moment, when the American Left decided that between standing by their country and standing by utopian idealism, it was utopian idealism all the way.

"Some People Did Something"

0847 Hours
BATTALION 1: Battalion 1 to Manhattan.
DISPATCHER: Battalion 1.
BATTALION 1: We just had a - a plane crashed into an upper floor of the World Trade Center. Transmit a second alarm and start relocating companies into the area.
DISPATCHER: Ten-four battalion 1.
BATTALION 1: Battalion 1 is also sending the whole assignment on this box to that area, K.
ENGINE 6: Engine 6 to Manhattan, K.
DISPATCHER: Engine 6.
ENGINE 6: The World Trade Center - tower number one is on fire. The whole outside of the building. There was just a huge explosion.
DISPATCHER: Ten-four. All companies stand by at this time.
UNKNOWN UNIT: Transmit a second alarm on that box immediately.
DISPATCHER: 10-4.
ENGINE 10: Engine 1-0 to Manhattan.
DISPATCHER: Engine 1-0.
ENGINE 10: Engine 1-0 World Trade Center 10-60. Send every available ambulance, everything you've got to the World Trade Center now.
DISPATCHER: 10-4, 10-60 has been transmitted for the World Trade Center, 10-60 for the World Trade Center.
LADDER 3: Three truck to Manhattan.
DISPATCHER: Three truck.
LADDER 3: Civilian reports from up here, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center for your information.
DISPATCHER: 10-4 K.
LADDER 3: Three truck's available.

Never Forget

Voices:  Stories from 9/11 and Beyond.  Strongly recommended.


Saturday, September 07, 2019

"...demonstrable gibbering nonsense by circus clowns on stilts."

Not my content, but I HAD to share.  In response to the question "Why is there so much dishonesty in the gun debate?"  The question linked to this piece about the comparative levels of violence between the US and UK and how the UK's gun control laws made the UK "safer." Ah, no.  Quoran Alfred Montestruc left this devastating reply echoing Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood.
Your link seems a prime example of extreme dishonesty.

The issue is NOT whether the UK has more violent crime than the USA - which is all the link harps about.

This is not a tennis match, or any sort of national contest.

The issue is whether gun control has any utility whatever in practical control of violent crime.

The author of your link assumes — and never checks his assumption— that gun control laws as applied in the UK reduced violent crime in the UK.

That is demonstrable gibbering nonsense by circus clowns on stilts.

Gun Control Laws and the effect of them on crime in England & Wales in the 20th Century by Alfred Montestruc on Alfred Montestruc’s gun rights Blog

Prior to 1920 in the UK gun laws were more lax in the UK than in the USA if gun control was of any utility one might expect that prior to 1920, violent crime rates in the UK were staggeringly higher than after gun laws were enacted.

The actual case is rather the reverse.


Murder rates per the British office of National Statistics data. No consistent downward trend after gun laws.


VAP is a British Police term that means literal physical violence till they changed the definition in 1998, which is when I stopped tracking. Not going down is it?


The latter graph on rape & indecent assault is included as I was accused by an individual of confusing the two. The latter graph shows the dramatic upward trend continuing into the 21st century. Rape and indecent assault rates show no benefit (reduction) due to gun control laws.


The late 20th century robbery spike is so huge it drowned out important nuances of what happened to robbery rates early in the 20th century.

By the numbers.


Sixteen thousand seven-hundred eighty-three percent rise in robbery rate 1901 to 1998!!

If I took it from the 1915 minimum to the 1995 peak, it was over 50,000% rise !!

So you seem to be claiming that gun control is somehow useful in control of violent crime?

I see you have the nerve, the unmitigated GALL, to talk about “dishonesty”, — just — WOW!

Unbelievable!!
I wish I'd written this.  "Gibbering nonsense by circus clowns on stilts" is something I'm going to have to remember.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Health Update: IT'S ALIVE!!!

The new kidney is functional.  I was told today "no more dialysis"!!  The first night of getting up every 90 minutes to two hours to urinate was oddly satisfying.  The second night, not so much.  Apparently my bladder has shrunk to the size of an extra-large chicken egg.

I'm back to another six months or so of taking handfulls of pills morning and night, but I tolerate them well.  I have to stay up here at Mayo (on campus, but not in the hospital proper) for another four weeks, going in every other day for tests and consults, but things are going swimmingly. 

Hopefully no other major medical issues in my future (crossing my fingers.)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Health Update

For my non-Facebooking readers, I received a call from Mayo Tuesday morning - they had a kidney.  Had the surgery Tuesday evening.  They're kicking me out of the hospital tonight.  Have to spend the next 3-4 weeks up here for testing and examinations while they nail down the right cocktail of drugs (again) and make sure everything is working. Kidney will need a week or so to settle in, so I still have dialysis until then, but looking good so far.  Amazingly, once again after a major surgery I have little to no pain except when I try to use my abdominal muscles. Another, not quite as long scar.

I love living in the future.

Monday, August 26, 2019

It's Not Just Europe

Stanisław Aronson, Polish Jew, veteran of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, wrote something everyone should read:  I Survived the Warsaw Ghetto. Here Are the Lessons I’d Like to Pass On.Pullquotes:
(D)o not ever imagine that your world cannot collapse, as ours did. This may seem the most obvious lesson to be passed down, but only because it is the most important.

--

If disaster comes, you will find that all the myths you once cherished are of no use to you. You will see what it is like to live in a society where morality has collapsed, causing all your assumptions and prejudices to crumble before your eyes. And after it’s all over, you will watch as, slowly but surely, these harshest of lessons are forgotten as the witnesses pass on and new myths take their place.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Enforcement of the Brady Act?

In 2010 a Justice Department study looked at the efficacy of the Brady Background Check, the one that requires all purchasers of firearms from Federally licensed dealers to undergo an FBI (or State law enforcement) background check prior to purchase. The purchaser fills out BATFE form 4473 stating that they are not a prohibited person for a myriad of reasons. If they check one box wrong, the background check does not happen and the sale is denied. If they do check all the boxes correctly and they are a prohibited person, they just signed a confession to a Federal felony that carries a five year sentence.

In the 2010 study, Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2010: Federal and State Investigations and Prosecutions of Firearm Applicants Denied by a NICS Check in 2010 (PDF) the report noted that of the 76,000 firearms purchase denials in that year - some 47% of which were for "a record of a felony indictment or conviction" - a grand total of 62 cases were referred for prosecution.


The takeaway from this study?
In fiscal 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives referred about 12,700 denied purchases to its field divisions for investigation. As of June 2018, U.S. Attorney’s Offices prosecuted 12 of these cases.
2010, 35,000 denials due to felony conviction or indictment, 62 referrals for prosecution. 2017, 12,700 denials, 12 prosecutions.

If they’re not going to USE the law, what’s it for?

Oh, and the law didn’t work, so we need to DO IT HARDER!!

This is Why "Gun Control" Will Never Work, Part Deux

Feds say nearly a third of firearms recovered in the state are homemade, unserialized, and untraceable
An Investigation by NBC Bay Area in partnership with NBC San Diego, NBC Los Angeles, and the non-profit journalists at The Trace found that law enforcement agencies across California are recovering record numbers of ghost guns. According to several ATF sources, 30 percent of all guns now recovered by agents in communities throughout California are homemade, un-serialized firearms, known on the street as “ghost guns.”
I find that percentage suspiciously high, but the fact remains that Fr. Guido Sarducci in his "Five Minute University" bit got the part about Economics right: "Supply and Demand. That's it."



Of course, the reaction to this is, inevitably, "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!"

As Tam says, 80% Sten Gun lowers are available at every hardware store, but if you're really cheap, just build yourself a pipe shotgun.  You can use that to upgrade your collection should SHTF.



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Monday, August 19, 2019

This is Why "Gun Control" Will Never Work

If Afghan tribesmen can manufacture AK-47's in caves with hand tools, imagine what you can do with just a small shop at home.  Or even less:

Make a factory-quality 9mm rifled barrel at home.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Quora - a Target-Rich Environment

Here's a short, pithy exchange from Quora.  The original answer is mine.

Original question: “How many ‘good guys with guns’ have saved the day against criminals in the US?”

The lowest estimate for defensive gun usage in the U.S. is approximately 108,000 per year - that’s (carry the one…) 295 times a day. The vast majority of these defensive gun uses involve no shots fired. As a result, no mention in the news. A few do make it, like these:

Man holds suspected burglar at gunpoint in east Tulsa

Citizen holds assault suspect at gunpoint at Wenatchee gas station

Deputies: Homeowner pulls gun on intruder with face he won't forget

Couple holds home invasion suspect at gunpoint

NH Dad Pulls Gun on Intruder Until Police Arrive

Michael Hill
4h ago

You claim 295 times a day then as evidence for decades all over America give just FIVE cases.

How damned stupid do you think we are?

Self-Defense Gun Use is Rare, Study Finds...

Kevin Baker
Original Author · 3h ago

“How damned stupid do think we are?”

I gave five specific instanced in the past few weeks where NO SHOTS WERE FIRED, and the story still made the (local) news.

How stupid do you have to be to misrepresent that?

EDITED TO ADD: A Violence Policy Center paper? Really? An organization dedicated to the banning of all handguns is supposed to be nonpartisan? Pull my other leg.
Michael Hill
2h ago

Boring NRA propaganda.

Don’t cry. We won’t take your guns away.

Kevin Baker
Original Author · 1h ago

OK, I’ll see your 2015 VPC paper and raise you a 2013 Centers for Disease Control report. They’re a shill for the NRA, right? Who was President in 2013?

From Page 15 of Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence:

“Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys. The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.”
 
108,000/365 = 295.89 defensive gun uses PER DAY. Absolute minimum.

CDC propaganda? National Crime Victimization Survey propaganda? Or fact?

And you’re right, you won’t.
I'm curious as to whether or not he'll respond.

UPDATE: He did!

Michael Hill
4m ago

Lies, lies lies in your article:

“According to the Congressional Research Service, public mass shootings “have claimed 547 lives and led to an additional 476 injured victims” since 1983 (Bjelopera et al., 2013, pp. 7-8). “

Real world with actual data for this year alone:

List of mass shootings in the United States in 2019 - Wikipedia

More lies in your article:

“with ESTIMATES of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower ESTIMATE of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys.

So it is anything from 108,000 to 500,000 to 3,000,000. What kind of crazy figures are those? They are EXTRAPOLATIONS from a small number of responses.

The great stsistics LIE:

Fascinating new book that shows how easily we're misled by statistics

Kevin Baker
Original Author · Just now

So the CDC - and by extension the National Crime Victimization survey are lying. But the Violence Policy Center isn’t. And Wikipedia is never wrong. Because you say so. Check.

(Wikipedia? Seriously? Well, you believe the VPC, so…)
UPDATE II: He came back for more.
Michael Hill
6h ago

A Government body lying? Who’d have believed it?

As to wikipedia your arm waving is a decade out of date as they have long ago proved what they say by giving references, etc.

So another failure.
Kevin Baker
Original Author · 3h ago

So the references Wikipedia uses are dependable, but the CDC and Justice Department aren’t because they’re government entities.

What happens when Wikipedia cites government entities?

But hey, let’s use the all-knowing oracle that is Wikipedia - Defensive gun use - Wikipedia

Excerpt - “Estimates over the number of defensive gun uses vary wildly, depending on the study's definition of a defensive gun use, survey design, country, population, criteria, time-period studied, and other factors. Low-end estimates are in the range of 55,000 to 80,000 incidents per year, while high end estimates reach 4.7 million per year. ”

So let’s take that absolute lowest estimate, 55,000 defensive gun uses per year as our basis. That’s 150 per day. Are you going to tell me that’s false too?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

OMFG Why Didn't This Go Viral?

Quote of the Day - Wolves and Sheep

I don't know who came up with this, but I cannot disagree with it:
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for dinner.

A representative republic is 5000 wolves and 4000 sheep voting 5 wolves and 4 sheep into office to decide what to have for dinner.

A constitutional republic is a similar situation but with a constitution saying that lamb cannot be for dinner, with a Supreme Court of 5 wolves voting against 4 sheep to determine that mutton is not lamb.

Government has no real restraints in reality.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Quote of the Day - Glenn Reynolds Edition

Even if it’s pure incompetence, it’s Third World level incompetence. And that’s a best-case scenario. 
 -- Glenn Reynolds, commenting on the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

"The Number of Guns" - or "Why isn't America Like Europe?"

In the aftermath of more rampage shootings, Quora has become, unsurprisingly, a hotbed of gun control questions, such as:
Why are guns still legal?

Why does America allow the general public to keep guns?

What would it take for there to be a genuine shift/change in America's views on, and relationships with guns?

Why do so many Americans conflate "gun control" with "gun bans"?

Why do we allow politicians to dance around gun-control legislation? Would it bother you if assault weapons were illegal in civilian hands?

As someone who is pro-gun, are you able to understand the reasons for banning guns?
Et cetera,et cetera, et cetera.

Then there are questions like these:
Research suggests that reducing the number of guns can save lives.  How can we convince gun rights advocates that this is the case?

Are there any gun enthusiasts who see the logic that the number of guns in circulation needs to be reduced drastically to reduce the killing of civilians?

Why isn't there a prohibition on the number of guns a person can own?

Do you support the gun ban and confiscation proposed here as the best way to immediately reduce the number of guns in the US?
 Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

You see, The Other Side™ has determined that the number of guns in private hands is The Problem®, and all we have to do is reduce it to prevent all these "gun deaths."   Only we gun-loving troglodytes can't or won't see that and willingly surrender our evil death machines for the betterment of society.

One of the best expressions of the difficulty with "reducing the number of guns" in private hands I've ever seen came from the 1982 meta-study of gun control legislation commissioned by the Carter Administration in 1978.  It was published under the title Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America.  Remember, this was more than 25 years ago.  From the books conclusion, all bold emphasis mine:
The progressive's indictment of American firearms policy is well known and is one that both the senior authors of this study once shared. 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. 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? (pp. 319-20)

--

One could, of course, take things to the logically extreme case: an immediate and strictly enforced ban on both the ownership and manufacture of all firearms of every sort. Let us even assume perfect compliance with this law -- that we actually rounded up and disposed of all 120 million guns now in circulation [Remember, this was 1982. - Ed.] that every legitimate manufacturing establishment was permanently shut down, and that all sources of imported firearms were permanently closed off.  What we would then have is the firearms equivalent of Prohibition, with (one strongly suspects) much the same consequences. A black market in guns, run by organized crime (much to their profit, no doubt), would spring up to service the now-illegal demand. It is, after all, not much more difficult to manufacture a serviceable firearm in one's basement than to brew up a batch of home-made gin. Afghanistani tribesmen, using wood fires and metal-working equipment that is much inferior to what can be ordered through a Sears catalog, hand-craft rifles that fire the Russian AK-47 cartridge. Do we anticipate a lesser ability from American do-it-yourselfers or the Mafia? (p. 321)

--

Even if we were somehow able to remove all firearms from civilian possession, it is not at all clear that a substantial reduction in interpersonal violence would follow. Certainly, the violence that results from hard-core and predatory criminality would not abate very much. Even the most ardent proponents of stricter gun laws no longer expect such laws to solve the hard-core crime problem, or even to make much of a dent in it. There is also reason to doubt whether the "soft-core" violence, the so-called crimes of passion, would decline by very much. Stated simply, these crimes occur because some people have come to hate others, and they will continue to occur in one form or another as long as hatred persists. It is possible, to be sure, that many of these incidents would involve different consequences if no firearms were available, but it is also possible that the consequences would be exactly the same. The existing empirical literature provides no firm basis [my emphasis] for choosing one of these possibilities over the other. Restating the point, if we could solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter very much what we did about guns, and unless we solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter much what we do about guns. There are simply too many other objects that can serve the purpose of inflicting harm on another human being. (pp. 321-22)
During the intervening 25 years the media has tried to convince us that there are fewer and fewer people owning more and more guns, as the total number of guns purchased by individual citizens has skyrocketed.  I've addressed that previously.  But in the early 80's the estimated number of guns in private hands (and it's just an estimate - without universal registration, no one knows) was ~120 million.

I've seen a reasonable argument that today it's more like 500 million.  The minimum number is on par with the present U.S. population - one gun for every man, woman and child in the country.

So I have to concur with authors Wright and Rossi, the "time to do something" about the "number of guns" has long since passed.  The horses are out of the barn, pandora's box has been opened.

The UK managed to (mostly) disarm its citizens by a slow, incremental process that began in 1920.  First a permit required to purchase a handgun - a simple matter of going to a post office and paying a fee.  Then, slowly over the decades, ramping up the restrictions on purchase and possession until only the wealthy and dedicated would jump through the hoops necessary to (legally) possess a firearm.

Each additional rule or regulation was supposed to make the British citizen safer, but never did.  Oh, for certain the number of killings with firearms was reduced, but murder rates there have continued to climb, decade on decade, while overall violent crime there has skyrocketed since the 1950's.  Sure, you're not likely to get shot there.  You never were. But after all that "gun control" you're more likely to get shot than you were in 1919 when there was no gun control.  And you're a helluva lot more likely to get stabbed or beaten.

The Other Side™ has, since the 1930's attempted to implement such laws here, but were stifled by the Second Amendment protection of the right to arms.  They were able to get the 1934 Gun Control act by passing it as, not gun control, but a revenue enhancing measure.  In 1968 they took advantage of high-profile assassinations of public figures to enact sales restrictions and import bans.  And they spent decades trying to convince the public (and federal judges) that the Second Amendment didn't mean what it said.

And they were pretty successful at that.  Until the Supreme Court heard D.C. v Heller in 2008.  Even then the call to repeal the 2nd Amendment and get rid of all guns was still being repeated.  Daily Kos for example put out an op-ed in 2012 that detailed the path to a gun-free future. It was basically,
  1. National Registry
  2. Confiscation
  3. "Then we can do what we will."


But regardless of whether or not there's a legal protection to the right to keep and bear arms, the thing that no one but us gun owners seem to understand is the American attitude towards guns.

Steven Den Beste (PBUH) wrote an interesting piece many years ago entitled "A Non-European Country."  It had nothing to do with gun ownership, and everything to do with philosophy.  He said, of the people who come here to be Americans:
It's true that America is more like Europe than anywhere else on the planet, but it would perhaps be more accurate to say that the US is less unlike Europe than anywhere else on the planet.

Someone pointed out a critical difference: European "nations" are based on ethnicity, language or geography. The American nation is based on an idea, and those who voluntarily came here to join the American experiment were dedicated to that idea. They came from every possible geographic location, speaking every possible language, deriving from every possible ethnicity, but most of them think of themselves as Americans anyway, because that idea is more important than ethnicity or language or geographical origin. That idea was more important to them than the things which tried to bind them to their original nation, and in order to become part of that idea they left their geographical origin. Most of them learned a new language. They mixed with people of a wide variety of ethnicities, and a lot of them cross-married. And yet we consider ourselves one people, because we share that idea. It is the only thing which binds us together, but it binds us as strongly as any nation.

Indeed, it seems to bind us much more strongly than most nations. If I were to move to the UK, and became a citizen there, I would forever be thought of by the British as being "American". Even if I lived there fifty years, I would never be viewed as British. But Brits who come here and naturalize are thought of as American by those of us who were born here. They embrace that idea, and that's all that matters. If they do, they're one of us. And so are the Persians who naturalize, and the Chinese, and the Bengalis, and the Estonians, and the Russians. (I know that because I've worked with all of those, all naturalized, and all of them as American as I am.)

You're French if you're born in France, of French parents. You're English if you're born to English parents (and Welsh if your parents were Welsh). But you're American if you think you're American, and are willing to give up what you used to be in order to be one of us. That's all it takes. But that's a lot, because "thinking you're American" requires you to comprehend that idea we all share. But even the French can do it, and a lot of them have.

That is a difference so profound as to render all similarities between Europe and the US unimportant by comparison. But it is a difference that most Europeans are blind to, and it is that difference which causes America's attitudes and actions to be mystifying to Europeans. It is not just that they don't understand that idea; most of them don't even realize it exists, because Europeans have no equivalent, and some who have an inkling of it dismiss it contemptuously.

It is that idea that explains why we think being called "cowboys" is a compliment, even when Europeans think it's an epithet. It is that idea that explains why we don't care what Europeans think of us, and why European disapproval of our actions has had no effect on us. It is that idea which explains why, in fact, we're willing to do what we think is right even if the entire rest of the world disapproves.
Our supposed "betters" have pushed for decades to make Americans more European in philosophy.  America has been balkanized by public schools and media over the last century or so to the point today where we are pretty much two nations at each others throats, but the ones who embrace, even slightly, the idea of America understand this - that you as an individual have intrinsic worth.  That you are not a cog in a vast machine.  That you are responsible for yourself, and that what you work to earn belongs to you.  And that you consent to be governed, not ruled.

After the Dunblaine massacre in Scotland, the UK immediately considered the banning of handguns.  At first, only large-caliber handguns were banned, but what was the result of that
The resulting Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 banned all handguns over .22 calibre with effect from 1 October 1997. A hand-in exercise took place between 1 July and 30 September 1997 which resulted in 110,382 of these larger calibre handguns being surrendered in England and Wales, while 24,620 smaller calibre handguns were handed in voluntarily in anticipation of further legislation.
 Here we just had two mass shootings, both using semi-automatic weapons.  Another "assault weapons ban" is in the political news.  What do Americans do?  Well my friend the gun-shop counter guy, affectionately known as Merchant O'Death® wrote me after a long, long Saturday at the shop.

Yeah, we go buy what we think the .gov is going to tell us we can't have anymore.  Barack Obama was the best gun salesman the U.S. has ever seen, and the gun industry misses him badly.

That Daily Kos piece?  The author wrote on the topic of the National Registry:
"We need to know where the guns are, and who has them. Canada has a national firearms registry. We need to copy their model. We need a law demanding all firearms be registered to a national database.
Except Canada only has a national registry for handguns dating back into the 1920's like England.  They tried long gun registration.  It failed.  Spectacularly.  They estimated that there were about 8 million long guns in private hands.  Legislators were told that the registry would cost something like $119 million to implement, with $117 million of the cost covered by registration fees - so for $2 million, they'd be able to register all 8 million guns, and it would go quickly.

The law passed in 1995, with licensing starting in 1998 and all long guns were to be registered by January 1, 2003.  By 2000, it was obviously not going according to theory.  Registrations were backlogged and riddled with errors, and costs were WAY over estimates.  An audit in December of 2002 showed that costs were going to exceed $1 billion by 2005, with an income from registration fees of only $145 million - $28 million OVER estimates for well under the number of guns estimated.

That was due to lack of compliance.  By January 1, 2003, only about 65% of the estimated 8 million firearms were registered, and there was no reason to believe that the other 35% were going to be.

Finally in 2012 Canada scrapped its long-gun registry, after dumping an estimated $2 billion into it.  It solved no crimes, it apparently prevented no crimes, and it took vast quantities of money and manpower away from law enforcement with its implementation.

New Zealand considered it too.  They gave up on the idea 2004.  So when a whack-job shot a bunch of people there recently and they said "Mr. and Mrs. Kiwi, turn them all in," compliance has apparently been in the single digits.  You see, they don't know exactly who owns exactly what.

So, one nation with the population of Louisiana (and nowhere near as many guns) and another with a population slightly smaller than California (and nowhere as many guns) couldn't get their populations to register their guns.  Of course, Canadians are well known for their extreme orneryness.


 You see, everything hinges on registration.  Another question asked at Quora was "Doesn't the registration of machine guns prove that gun control works?"  Sure.  If you can get people to comply.  It's almost tautology to say "If there were no guns there would be no gun crime."  It's like saying "If there were no cars, there'd be no car crashes."

But there are guns.  And they're not going to go away.  And Americans aren't going to register them so they can be, eventually, confiscated.  Because, as Tamara Keel put it,

“Where the hell do you get off thinking you can tell me I can’t own a gun? I don’t care if every other gun owner on the planet went out and murdered somebody last night, I didn’t. So piss off.”
Hey gun-grabbers:  Piss off.

Tough History Coming - Part Whatever

Recent question over at Quora: "What's pretty much over but society hasn't quite given up on it yet?"

My answer:

As much as I hate to say it, America. The idea of America. That we’re a representative Republic that practices Rule of Law and protects the rights of individuals.

It becomes more apparent each day that the nation has descended into oligarchy, and that there’s (at least) a two-tiered “justice” system - one for the politically powerful and one for the rest of us. And that the politically powerful don't care if we know it anymore.

Our “Representatives” think themselves our rulers, our police forces are increasingly militarized and have the mindset to go with it. As one writer put it, “The military protects the state, the police protect the people. When the military become the police, the people become the enemies of the state.”

We’ve got one political side convinced that the other isn’t just wrong, misguided or ignorant, but EVIL. Since you don’t debate with evil, you don’t compromise with evil, you don’t tolerate evil, you destroy evil, that has been their goal since the 1960’s.

When the other side finally understands this is when we give up. An acquaintance recently observed:
A friend of mine who is a political activist said something interesting the other day, and that was for most people on the left political violence is a knob, and they can turn the heat up and down, with things like protests, and riots, all the way up to destruction of property, and sometimes murder… But for the vast majority of folks on the right, it’s an off and on switch. And the settings are Vote or Shoot Fucking Everybody. And believe me, you really don’t want that switch to get flipped, because Civil War 2.0 would make Bosnia look like a trip to Disneyworld.

The General Public

Always remember:  In any group of people, half are at or below the median level of intelligence.

From my friend the Merchant of Death™ comes this text message (ALLCAPS are his):

OH MY GAWD!!! TWO MASS SHOOTINGS THIS WEEK!  POLITICIANS TALKING ABOUT GUN CONTROL!!  NEED TO GO BUY A GUN!!!! NEVER THOUGHT OF OWNING ONE BEFORE BUT I NEED ONE NOW!!!  IT CAN'T COST MORE THAN $200 AND CAN'T HAVE ANY RECOIL AND HAS TO LOOK BADASS!  AND I WILL NEVER LEARN HOW TO USE IT PROPERLY...HELL, I WILL NEVER EVEN TAKE IT OUT OF THE BOX!!  BUT I NEED ONE RIGHT NOW!!!!
(*sigh*)

Universal Background Checks

I have previously written about the ineffectiveness of the Brady Background Check law, that supposedly “stops” prohibited persons from purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed dealer, but then doesn’t prosecute the prohibited person for signing a confession (BATFE Form 4473) that should get them five years in Club Fed.

But I’m not against the idea of background checks per se. What I am against is the requirement that ALL interpersonal “transfers” of firearms must be run through such a background check - the so-called “gun show loophole” that isn’t a “loophole” at all. Why? Well if I want to give a gun to my grandson, background check. My wife buys me a rifle for Father’s day? Background check when she buys it, background check when she gives it to me. And I already own several firearms. Duh. The recently passed “universal background check” law in Washington was so poorly written that if you left your firearm at home with a loved one and they had access to it, it COULD BE interpreted as an illegal transfer. But, we are assured that the law will NEVER be abused like that…. Go ahead, pull my other leg.

I live in Arizona, where if you have an Arizona CCW permit, you don’t have to have a background check run on you when you purchase a firearm. You undergo a very thorough check before the permit is issued. Fill out form 4473, sign it, show your permit and your ID, get your gun.

Everything you do in the U.S. (with the notable exception of VOTING) requires a state-issued photo ID.
  • Alcohol? ID
  • Tobacco? ID
  • Buy or rent a place to live? ID
  • Buy a car from a dealer? ID
  • Travel by commercial air? ID
  • Check into a hotel? ID
  • Purchase Sudafed? ID
Anyway, you get the point. So here’s my suggestion:

Everybody who needs a state-issued ID gets a background check and a new ID. If you are a prohibited person, somewhere on that ID will be this symbol:


If you’re not prohibited, you get a green circle (don’t want to trigger the sensitive by putting an icky gun on their ID). Everyone that already has a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID gets a new one with one of the two symbols. Any new IDs issued, the applicant gets the background check.

You want to buy a gun, whether from an individual or a FFL dealer? Show your ID. If the red symbol is on it, no sale. If NO symbol is on it, no sale. If you don’t have ID, no sale. If you do something that makes you a prohibited person, you must turn in your ID for one that has the red symbol. If you don’t, five years in Club Fed on top of whatever sentence you got for the crime that disqualified you.
The state can’t build a database of gun owners, and everybody who wants to buy a gun gets a background check. That’s what I call “compromise.”

It’ll cost a lot of money and won’t prevent any crimes, but that’s what “gun control” usually does. But hey, we’re DOING SOMETHING!!

Friday, August 09, 2019

Stupid Should Hurt

By far the most viewed, upvoted and commented on answer I have ever given at Quora was a question about concealed-carry vs. open carry.  I mentioned it here a little while ago.

Since the three mass shootings last week I've been answering a slew of gun control questions.  Someone I respect over on Facebook today posted about this yo-yo: "You're presuming guilt of a crime he hasn't committed. Want attention, surely. Up to no good? Debatable."

Here we're going to part company. Somebody shows up at a public venue carrying a long gun who is not obviously law enforcement, I'm going to assume the worst and try to put them down. I'm glad the firefighter didn't dump a mag into this idiot, but had he I would have voted to acquit. The "debate" can occur in the courtroom. If he was wrong, only ONE person would have been shot.


I'm glad the CCW carrier didn't do a mag-dump into the idiot, but if he had I would vote to acquit.

It may not be illegal to walk around in public tacticooled out, but it's STUPID, and stupid should hurt.

The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon

I finally got around to reading the op-ed linked below on Jordan Peterson. I'll admit right up front that I've read neither of the two books he's published, but I have listened to a LOT of his lectures and interviews. The author of the op-ed objects that Peterson's Maps of Meaning is obscure, that he uses a lot of words but doesn't really say anything, much less anything new, and he gives examples. I cannot argue with him over the selections he made. It reads like a PhD thesis.

But having heard the man speak, I think I understand why so many people pay money and stand in line to hear him. What I kept thinking while I read the criticism of Peterson was that a LOT of people seem to have benefited from what he has to say. This puzzles the people who hate him. He talks about personal accountability, duty, struggle, and most of all MEANING. And this morning my brain went "click" when I thought of a song that could be the anthem for a couple of generations of young men, and for that matter, women - John Mayer's "Why, Georgia?" If you're unfamiliar, the lyrics go:

I am driving up 85 in the
Kind of morning that lasts all afternoon
Just stuck inside the gloom
4 more exits to my apartment but
I am tempted to keep the car in drive
And leave it all behind

Cause I wonder sometimes
About the outcome
Of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, why Georgia, why?

I rent a room and I fill the spaces with
Wood in places to make it feel like home
But all I feel's alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
Or just the stirring in my soul

Either way I wonder sometimes
About the outcome
Of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, why Georgia, why?

So what, so I've got a smile on
But it's hiding the quiet superstitions in my head
Don't believe me
Don't believe me
When I say I've got it down

Everybody is just a stranger but
That's the danger in going my own way
I guess it's the price I have to pay
Still "everything happens for a reason"
Is no reason not to ask myself

If I am living it right
Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, tell me why
Why, why Georgia, why?

Peterson tells them there's meaning in life and how to go look for it. And that eventually there will be a verdict.

And that's a good thing.

The Intellectual We Deserve

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Quote of the Day - Cultural Revolution Edition

Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Left seeks to destroy every recollection of the past, not because our ancestors were so wicked, but rather because it wants to clear the ground for its Frankstein-like experiments in the creation of a New Man. That is what Mao did in the 1960s during China's horrible Cultural Revolution. A Chinese acquaintance comments, "Now America is having its own Cultural Revolution."
David P. Goldman, No-One's Life Matters. That's Why There Are Mass Shootings.

RTWT.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

More Quora Content

Quora has been inundated by question about last week's mass shootings and gun control.  Here's one answer I left recently:
Original question: “Another shooting in a mall and Americans still don't want to ban weapons, why?”

Democracy.

Yes, I’m serious. Here’s what the rest of the world doesn’t seem to grasp about the U.S. We have a population of more than 250,000,000 people of voting age. Of those, probably a third own a firearm. Well over half know someone who owns a firearm, and in a majority of cases, they live in the same home with someone who owns a firearm. As someone once said, “Basically, I figure guns are like gays. They’re kind of scary until you get to know a couple, and once you have one in your home you get downright defensive about them.”

Other nations don’t have that kind of familiarity with firearms, and the unknown is frightening. For example, this news “story” from the UK:

MOST TERRIFYING GUN IN THE WORLD SEIZED

That’s extreme, but indicative of the mentality. For citizens of the UK the pearl-clutching is completely normal. They know hardly anyone who owns a firearm, and if they do, it’s most probably a nice old 12-gauge double-barreled bird gun. Here most people recognize that “MOST TERRIFYING” weapon as the machine pistol wielded by Morpheus in The Matrix movie.


Yeah, not that terrifying. Because a lot of people actually know how guns WORK.

So we have a population that owns and is comfortable with guns, and you know what we think when some whack-job shoots up a public venue? This:

“Where the hell do you get off thinking you can tell me I can’t own a gun? I don’t care if every other gun owner on the planet went out and murdered somebody last night, I didn’t. So piss off.”

We refuse to be collectively shamed for the actions of an individual. And we make up a significant portion of the voting public. So when our supposed “betters” tell us what’s best for us is to give up the guns we didn’t kill anybody with, we go to the polls and tell them “Piss off.”

For example.

OP, do you know anyone who owns a firearm?
The "guns are like gays" quote comes from acknowledged lefty Teresa Neilson Hayden. The "piss off" quote comes from Tam off of Facebook.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Quote of the Day

As often happens with the Democratic Left, it is difficult to tell just where the insincerity ends and the fanaticism begins.

But either interpretation implies that this is not a party fit to govern.
Democrats just purged white party staffers, and it's a bigger deal than anyone wants to admit

Today is Milton Friedman's Birthday

He would have been 107 today.

On May 13, 2010 at the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize dinner, pundit George F. Will gave the keynote speech.  I transcribed it back then.  I recommend you read it (or watch it) if you haven't before.  Hell, if you have, I recommend you do it again.  It's every bit as valid today, if not more, than it was then.

It's entitled Learned Feudalism.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Rachel Maddow Will Know What to Do


ANOTHER recaptioning of the Hitler scene from "Downfall" Give it a watch.

Two+ Years and No Results


Is Rachael Maddow melting down?

I've gotta replay this:


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Civil War


America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. - Abraham Lincoln

--

Peace - the word evokes the simplest and most cherished dream of humanity.  Peace is, and has always been, the ultimate human aspiration.  And yet our history overwhelmingly shows that while we speak incessantly of peace, our actions tell a very different story. - Javier Perez de Cuellar

--

Conflict, like poverty, is the normal condition of Man.  Instead of seeking the causes of conflict, one would be better off studying the causes of peace and the prosperity it makes possible. - Anonymous

--

We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace. - Jeane Kirkpatrick

--

Revolution, n. - In politics, an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment. - Ambrose Bierce
A recent Pew poll indicates that a majority of the population believes that political violence is imminent.  A February 2019 column from the BBC asked Are We On the Road to Civilization Collapse? Sara Hoyt wrote in March a piece entitled We Are Dancing on a Powder Keg.

These are not isolated examples, oh no:

It’s Time For Conservatives To Choose: Fight Back Or Surrender

The Battle Isn't Right vs. Left. It’s Statism vs. Individualism


Georgetown University poll: Nation at edge ‘of civil war,’ but voters reject compromise

The Civil War

America's Second Civil War Has Already Begun

Which way to the revolution

Democrat Congresswoman To Conservative Teen: “You’re Right To Be Afraid Of Us”

America’s Cold Civil War

Eric Holder: Democrats Should Consider Packing SCOTUS

America Is Over, But I Won’t See It Go Without An Epic Fight

That's an even dozen, and I didn't have to work hard to compile them.

The concept of the "meme" was coined by anti-theist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. It's not just those humorous images that make up a significant portion of Facebook postings, though they're an exhibit of the general concept. Merriam Webster defines a meme as "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture." Dawkins himself said:
Memes (discrete units of knowledge, gossip, jokes and so on) are to culture what genes are to life. Just as biological evolution is driven by the survival of the fittest genes in the gene pool, cultural evolution may be driven by the most successful memes.
This is a mega-überpost, but if this interests you (or frightens you) get a snack and a beverage, get comfortable then please click below and continue. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

50 Years Ago Today

Man first landed on the Moon:


Here, fifty years later I have become convinced that the United States peaked on this day, fifty years ago. The decay had already begun, but we as a nation carried off the single most difficult, incredible effort in human history. I'm blessed to have been alive during that time.

More

Bigger


Higher



Faster


Taller


More powerful


Happier


...Better

More.  It's a concept that defines human nature, makes us what we are.  We want more.

More of what?  That's one of the defining attributes of unique individuals - the what that we want more of.  The what that drives our own personal pursuit of happiness.  But now a growing contingent of The Anointed™ is telling us and the rest of the world, "You can't have more."

Fuck 'em.

(Another early draft dusted off and polished a bit.)

"We Have Met the Enemy, and He is Us."

The immortal words of the comic-strip character Pogo.

(Perusing my blog, I noticed that I had a half-dozen started essays that I'd never completed and published.  This is one of them from back in early 2016.  I thought I'd dust it off and hit "Publish."  Comments?)

Here we are in the early stages of the Run for the Presidency, 2016, and the most likely candidates at the moment are a lying, incompetent carpetbagger from Arkansas and a blowhard billionaire whose only principles seems to be "make money" and "promote myself."  The Vermont Socialist could still pull it out if he could get the Democrat Superdelegates on his side, but that seems unlikely at this point.  The Republican elite is shitting itself over the possibility that The Donald® might win the nomination, and the only other candidate with a chance is Ted "No Compromise" Cruz.  They could defeat The Donald® if they united behind Cruz, but as Rush Limbaugh keeps repeating, they hate The Donald®, they FEAR Cruz.

How the fuck did we get to this point?

Political commentator Henry Louis Mencken, an early 20th Century Cassandra wrote in 1920:
The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
So a low opinion of politicians and the electorate both is nothing really all that new, but I wonder if Mencken really believed what he was saying, or was he instead writing a warning?  Doesn't really matter now, though, because instead of electing a moron, we're looking at electing an entirely different kind of disaster.

In 2006 I pulled a Quote of the Week from an Orson Scott Card book I was reading:
(America) was a nation created out of nothing - nothing but a set of ideals that they never measured up to. Now and then they had great leaders, but usually nothing but political hacks, and I mean right from the start. Washington was great, but Adams was paranoid and lazy, and Jefferson was as vile a scheming politician as a nation has ever been cursed with.
...
America shaped itself with institutions so strong that it could survive corruption, stupidity, vanity, ambition, recklessness, and even insanity in its chief executive.
A couple of years later, I pulled that quote again for my post Restoring the Lost Constitution, and asked the question:

But can it survive enmity?

I don't have an answer to that question yet, but it may be coming sooner than anyone would like.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Monday, July 08, 2019

I'd Like to See That Venn Diagram

So Iran threatened to name Western politicians who took bribes to create Obama's nuclear deal.

It has been strongly suggested that the Justice Department bent over backwards to not pursue the Hillary Clinton over her private email server and possible pay-to-play abuse of her Secretary of State position because of the political fallout.

Now billionaire Jeffrey Epstein - a major Clinton and Dem contributor - has been arrested on child trafficking charges - and major political fallout is expected

You have to wonder what the Venn diagram of all those corrupt swamp-dwellers looks like, don't you?

Friday, July 05, 2019

Quote of the Day - Charlie Martin Edition

From his PJMedia column We May Consent to be Governed but We Do Not Consent to be Ruled:

...a whole wing of American politics right now is dedicated to the proposition that all men are not created equal; that the clerisy, the lettered, those with Ivy-League degrees and the right family connections, form a distinct and natural aristocracy that should by rights not just govern, but rule.
I wish I had written that.  I've been trying to get a piece out for weeks now on this.

Whoops! They Did It Again!

2002: Venezuela passes its first version of the Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law

2012: Venezuela bans private gun owners Version 2.0

2014: Disarmament Law in Venezuela Yields Near Zero Results

Not exactly:
Since the Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law came into force in June 2013, authorities have seized 12,603 illegal weapons, while only 37 guns have been voluntarily handed in, reported El Nacional.
Which still isn’t much from an estimated pool of perhaps *six million*, but still...

2017: Socialist Venezuelan Leader Steps Up Arming of Supporters After Outlawing, Confiscating Civilian Guns

2019: Venezuela's army death squads kill thousands

We were warned 100 years ago:
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: *"Stick to the Devil you know."*

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: *"The Wages of Sin is Death."*

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: *"If you don't work you die." *

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
The Gods of the Copybook Headings - Rudyard Kipling, 1919.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

A Blast from the Past

From July 4, 2012, Walter Russell Mead's re-imagining of the "woke" Declaration of (In)Dependence:

The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen Post-Colonial, Multi-Racial Societes of North America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to strengthen the political bands which have connected them with the Global Community, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the cooperative and deferential station which a careful review of the relevant peer reviewed literature suggests is most appropriate for long term win-win outcomes, a decent and rigorously equal respect to the opinions of woman- and man- and transkind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the ever deeper union.
We hold these views to be consistent with the evolving cultural consensus, that all humans are equally obliged to the performance of certain Duties, that among these are the Participation in the Struggle against Racism, Economic Injustice, Genetically Modified Organisms, Homophobia, Nationalism and the Excessive Emission of Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gasses. That to secure the performance of these Duties, Governments are instituted among humans, deriving their just powers from the considered Opinions of the Educated Classes, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Duty of the Enlightened and Credentialed Guardians of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect the Unquestioning Performance of their Duties by the Less Enlightened Members of the Public. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Change cannot come too quickly to suit the Convenience and the Predilections of an Enlightened Minority; Governments long established should be changed the Moment a Sufficient Number of Well Regarded Contributors to the New York Review of Books have determined that such Change is Morally Incumbent; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that intellectuals who have never run anything in their lives are the Fittest of all Living People to remedy virtually any evil by abolishing the forms of Government, Laws and Customs of Society to which the brutish and unreflective Common People are accustomed. And when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Failed Dogmas of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy evinces a design to allow said Common People to evade all obligations to the Global Community, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide New and Expanded Regulations for the future better restriction of the Lower Orders as they deem Meet for the Purpose.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Why do Some Gun Owners Frown On Open Carry?

I'm still answering questions over at Quora, and - like blogging - it seems that you never know when a post is going to strike a nerve.  Right now, this answer has over 175k views, 1.5k upvotes, 10 shares and a shitload of comments.  It's currently the second-most popular answer I've given over there since I signed up.  Interesting.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Your Moment of Zen

Been too long since I posted one of these:

Hamnøy in Lofoten, Norway

Nice view, huh?

Friday, June 21, 2019

Quote of the Day - the Four Rules Edition

I spend 24 hours a day with the person most likely to inflict a gunshot wound on me.

The safety rules of firearms are what they are for a reason. - Jeff Brosius
Wisdom.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It's a Feature, Not a Bug

I will not register.  Period.

Budget 2019: Money for gun buy-back scheme may not be enough (New Zealand):

Pullquote:
Police Association president Chris Cahill said it was a bit of unknown if the money would be enough because there had not been a gun registry.

"We really have no idea how many of these firearms are out there in New Zealand," Cahill said.

"Which really points to how bad our firearms legislation has been, that we have let this get out of control."
Hard to confiscate if you don't know who owns what. That's kind of the point.

UPDATE:
Once again, responding to a horrendous crime by inflicting knee-jerk, authoritarian restrictions on innocent people proves to be an ineffective means of convincing people to obey. Specifically, New Zealand's government—which also stepped up censorship and domestic surveillance after bloody attacks on two Christchurch mosques earlier this year—is running into stiff resistance to new gun rules from firearms owners who are slow to surrender now-prohibited weapons and will probably never turn them in.

Officials should have seen it coming.

"Police are anticipating a number of people with banned firearms in their possession won't surrender them," Stuff reported at the end of May, based on internal government documents.

As of last week, only around 700 weapons had been turned over. There are an estimated 1.5 million guns—with an unknown number subject to the new prohibition on semiautomatic firearms—in the country overall.

Traditionally relaxed in its approach to firearms regulation, and enjoying a low crime rate, New Zealand has no firearms registration rule. That means authorities have no easy way of knowing what guns are in circulation or who owns them.

"These weapons are unlikely to be confiscated by police because they don't know of their existence," Philippa Yasbek of Gun Control NZ admitted. "These will become black-market weapons if their owners choose not to comply with the law and become criminals instead."

Yasbek's organization advocates registering all guns in private hands. But that won't help with gathering guns already in the possession of owners appalled by the government's attack on the rights of innocent people—government attacks, it's worth noting, that come in response to the crimes of one man who explicitly anticipated just such a response.

"I chose firearms for the affect it would have on social discourse," the killer wrote in a document he released to explain his crimes. "The gun owners of New Zealand are a beaten, miserable bunch of baby boomers, who have long since given up the fight. When was the last time they won increased rights? Their loss was inevitable. I just accelerated things a bit."

Politicians fulfilled the murderer's predictions with panic-driven legislation.

That gun owners would, in large numbers, defy restrictions should have been anticipated by anybody who knows the history of government attempts to disarm their subjects—or who just glanced across the Tasman Sea to Australia.

"In Australia it is estimated that only about 20% of all banned self-loading rifles have been given up to the authorities," wrote Franz Csaszar, professor of criminology at the University of Vienna, after Australia's 1996 compensated confiscation of firearms following a mass murder in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Csaszar put the number of illegally retained arms in Australia at between two and five million.

"Many members of the community still possess grey-market firearms because they did not surrender these during the 1996–97 gun buyback," the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission conceded in a 2016 report. "The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission continues to conservatively estimate that there are more than 260,000 firearms in the illicit firearms market."
RTWT.

Quote of the Day - Democracy Edition

Via Instapundit:
In days gone by, superannuated elites refusing to accept defeat on existential questions of this type finished up with their heads on pikes. Democracy put a stop to that by doing what democracy does best: facilitating the peaceful and orderly transfer of power. But democracy means you elect a new parliament, not a new people. That, in truth, is the only deal that matters. - Helen Dale, Brexplaining the UK's Future
 Today only Democrats and dictators fear elections.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Meanwhile in Climate News...


National Parks Quietly Toss Signs Saying Glaciers ‘Will Be Gone’ By 2020:

The National Park Service has quietly removed all the signs put up by the Obama administration that told visitors that the glaciers would “all be gone” by the year 2020 due to global warming… because… it’s 2019, and the glaciers are all still there and have been growing.

Glacier National Park quietly removed a sign at its visitor center saying the glaciers will disappear by 2020 which were originally placed because former President Obama believed the predictions pushed by the left’s climate change hypothesis.

According to federal officials, several years in a row of high snowfall and cold temperatures totally obliterated a computer model that authorities relied on to claim that the glaciers would all be melted by 2020, Daily Caller reported.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Quote of the Day - Glenn Reynolds Edition

Like he needs a link from me, but I wanted to archive this one.  In response to the New York Times deputy managing editor Rebecca Blumenstein stating:

‘We are in no way anti-Trump.’

Glenn zings back:

ALSO, NO ONE IS STARVING IN THE UKRAINE

That ought to leave a scar.


Thursday, June 06, 2019

Comment Moderation

If you've been having problems posting or replying to posts, I apologize.  I haven't been paying attention to Disqus the way I should be, and the spam filters have been overactive.  I just approved several comments (and deleted a couple it caught).  Sorry about that.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Failure to Protect

Broward Ex-Deputy Sheriff Scot Peterson has been arrested and charged with seven counts of neglect of a child, three counts of culpable negligence and one count of perjury in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Peterson, a School Resource Officer, declined to intervene in that shooting, instead hiding behind cover for 45 minutes while the shooter killed seventeen and wounded seventeen others.

This is pretty much unprecedented.  Until now, officers of the law have been held not liable for the protection of any individual person or persons, as I explained in detail in my May, 2003 posts, Is the Government Responsible for Your Protection? Part I and Part II.  As I explained in Part I:
Carolyn Warren, Joan Taliaferro, and Miriam Douglas were the appellants in a lawsuit against the District of Columbia and its police department for failing to protect them. Fail them it did, but the court found against them. And here is its reasoning:

A publicly maintained police force constitutes a basic governmental service provided to benefit the community at large by promoting public peace, safety and good order. The extent and quality of police protection afforded to the community necessarily depends upon the availability of public resources and upon legislative or administrative determinations concerning allocation of those resources. The public, through its representative officials, recruits, trains, maintains and disciplines its police force and determines the manner in which personnel are deployed. At any given time, publicly furnished police protection may accrue to the personal benefit of individual citizens, but at all times the needs and interests of the community at large predominate. Private resources and needs have little direct effect upon the nature of police services provided to the public. Accordingly, courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community. (Emphasis is mine)

Note the quote: "without exception." This is not the first time someone has sued the government for not protecting them, not by a long shot. It's one of the most egregious examples, but far from the only one.

So, it isn't the government's responsibility to protect "individual members of the community," that is, you and me specifically.
This has been established for years, most recently in Castle Rock v. Gonzales from 2005. But in Part II of my essay I linked to a different case, Riss v. the City of New York, from 1968 in which a woman got a restraining order against her abusive boyfriend who had told her if he couldn't have her, no one else would want her - and then carried out his threat by hiring someone to throw lye in her face, blinding her in one eye and disfiguring her face. She begged for police protection before the attack and got nothing. After the attack she received 24-hour protection. She sued. She lost, for the same reason Carolyn Warren, Joan Taliaferro, and Miriam Douglas lost - there is no duty to protect any particular individual or individuals unless they're in custody or under direct care.

Here's where it gets interesting. There was a dissent in the Riss case, and here's the pertinent part of that dissent:
No one questions the proposition that the first duty of government is to assure its citizens the opportunity to live in personal security. And no one who reads the record of Linda's ordeal can reach a conclusion other than that the City of New York, acting through its agents, completely and negligently failed to fulfill this obligation to Linda.

Linda has turned to the courts of this State for redress, asking that the city be held liable in damages for its negligent failure to protect her from harm. With compelling logic, she can point out that, if a stranger, who had absolutely no obligation to aid her, had offered her assistance, and thereafter Burton Pugach was able to injure her as a result of the negligence of the volunteer, the courts would certainly require him to pay damages. (Restatement, 2d, Torts, § 323.) Why then should the city, whose duties are imposed by law and include the prevention of crime (New York City Charter, § 435) and, consequently, extend far beyond that of the Good Samaritan, not be responsible? If a private detective acts carelessly, no one would deny that a jury could find such conduct unacceptable. Why then is the city not required to live up to at least the same minimal standards of professional competence which would be demanded of a private detective?
So if someone volunteered or was paid to protect her and failed as spectacularly at it as the NYPD did, THEY would be held liable, but the City is not.

Scot Peterson was paid to protect the kids in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It was his JOB. And he failed them. Criminally.

I hope he spends the rest of his life in prison contemplating his failure.

UPDATE:  Gun Free Zone has a different take.