Takeaways

I went to a “watching party” to check out President Obama’s town hall meeting on guns last night.

Just a couple observations.

Huh?:  Anderson Cooper was actually pretty good; he kept Obama on his toes with a couple of lines of questioning.

For that matter, the President actually did his best to curb his condescending inner Ivy Leaguer.  Perhaps it’s because his popularity is lower than the NRA’s.

Didja Catch The License Number On That Truck?:  It took a second for this picture…

…to sink in.  Let’s zoom in:


CNN has eschewed the neutral, euphemistic “Gun Safety” or “Gun Violence” for the more accurate “Gun Control”.

I’m amazed, frankly.

The Reason For The Meeting?:  Every day we’re talking – and talking, and talking – about guns, we’re not talking about the First Husband Presumptive.

And now it all comes clear.

Boys Don’t Cry

I was among the conservatives who shook their heads in (in my case) muted mockery during the President’s “gun grab” speech on Tuesday.

Like most shooters, I’ve prided myself for decades on being able to run factual rings around gun grabbers, whether they be politicians or activists, without breaking a sweat; about knowing their case better than they did; about being able to meet challenges like this with a humble “well, actually, not much here surprises me”.   Ever since I was a 24 year old kid with a talk show at KSTP in 1986, I’ve happily made the grabbers look like the ignorant, emotion-based naifs that the imponderably vast majority of them are.

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But a lawyer friend of mine once told me an attorney’s adage; “When the law is against you, argue facts; when the facts are against you, argue the law; when they’re both against you, argue like hell”.  In other words, accentuate the positive; play to your strengths.

All the gun-grabber movement has is emotion – so the President plays emotion.

And as David French cautions, “emotional” isn’t necessarily bad politics.   I’m going to add some emphasis here and there:

And while I don’t think this campaign will work, it is incumbent on gun-owners to persist in making the moral case for carrying a firearm. Too often we find ourselves locked into wars over statistics — comparing gun violence across national and cultural boundaries, examining the effectiveness of a particular gun-control measure, or measuring the lives saved by the use of personal weapons in self-defense against the lives taken through suicide and homicide. But gun ownership is about values that are far deeper than any set of statistics.

That last sentence?  Read and absorb.

Gun ownership goes to the heart of what it means to be a responsible citizen in our constitutional republic. It goes to the heart of what it means to be a responsible parent or spouse. It isn’t merely about hunting, or the joy of an afternoon at the firing range, or “looking tough.” It isn’t about fear. It’s about autonomy, independence, and a deep and self-sacrificial regard for the lives of those you love. It’s about exercising the fundamental human right to defend oneself and others. And that can’t be stressed enough, unless we want “gun culture” to live on in ever-shrinking regional enclaves, with each generation bowing just a bit lower to a relentless, motivated political and cultural elite.

I worry, at times, that Real Americans have gotten complacent; many of today’s shooters weren’t around, or don’t remember, the nadir of the late seventies through the early nineties – when gun-grabbers ran the show, when Real Americans were a minority in fact as well as perception.

Never again.

Barack Obama won’t be the last president to feel this deeply about gun control, and his tears reflect the deep feelings of millions of Americans, including those who effectively control the entertainment consumed by millions more. Politics are downstream from culture. We ignore that reality at our own risk.

This is going to be a big subject tomorrow on the NARN, and next week on the blog.

The Client Is Obviously Guilty

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

See, we need to get rid of this concealed carry law cause this is what happens.  Shots going off in Target because somebody with a concealed handgun …….

Yeah, except that he was a felon ineligible to possess a gun, clearly didn’t have a carry permit.  But let’s not have that cloud the discussion on the need for more gun control to take guns away from permit holders and other legally owning guns.

Joe Doakes

Remember – according to Rep. Kim Norton, if law-abiding citizens can’t carry guns at the Capitol, there will be no risk of mass shootings.

A Gal With A Guy With A Gun

A civilian gun saves the day – again:

Claxton said she was in the vehicle with her four young children while her husband was pumping the gas.

Claxton said she reached over to try to lock the doors as the man approached, but she accidentally rolled down the window. Claxton said the man opened the door, leaned into the car and brandished a long knife.

Claxton said she yelled for her husband, Matt, to get his gun, and the man then began to leave.

“He said ‘You’re lucky he has a gun,'” Claxton said. “And then he shut the door and started to back away.”

Claxton said her husband pointed his Beretta handgun at the man and called 911 as the man slowly walked away.

The couple followed the man as he attempted several carjackings to try to escape, before the police finally caught him.

So – if you’re one of those people who believe one has a “right not to be killed”, then the parents did a good job of exercising that right.  Correct?

Much Ado

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama supposedly issued some Executive Orders relating to guns.  Both sides are in an uproar.  But wait – what did he actually do?

The White House has a website, naturally.  It lists all Executive Orders.  There are no new orders relating to guns.

Okay, well, maybe the orders were issued but staff is slow updating the website?  No, his speeches and remarks are right up-to-date.

So maybe they’re not technically Executive Orders, maybe they’re some other Presidential Action?  Doesn’t look like it.  The only new Presidential Action relating to guns is a memo directing the AG and the Army telling them to put together a research proposal to investigate the possibility of inventing some future technology that might make guns safer someday.

The White House did post a FACT SHEET about guns.  It refers to Executive Actions.  Is that the same as Executive Orders?  Apparently not.  Looking through the Actions, we find:

 

  1. ATF is finalizing a rule clarifying who needs an FFL to sell a gun.  The federal rule-making process is a well-established procedure for making administrative law, this isn’t a spontaneous action by the President
  1. The Attorney General sent a letter telling states to follow the law and also held a conference call.  That’ll take a bite out of crime.
  1. The FBI will hire more people to do background checks.  Good, they’ll need help processing all the applications generated by panic over the media’s reporting of the President’s unconstitutional power grab – which doesn’t seem to have happened, yet.  Keep reading.
  1. Democrats want to spend more money, $500 million for mental health care.  This is, in fact, the right place to spend money because the mental health system is a disgrace that all too often leads to tragedy; but considering the history of Democrat spending, I’m not convinced any of the money actually will reach the mentally ill.  Instead, I fear it’ll end up being block grants to mental health advocacy groups who will hold picket signs and issue press releases demanding . . . another $500 million.
  1. Social Security will begin the rulemaking process to strip seniors of their right to self-defense, if they mis-manage their finances. Rulemaking takes forever and mis-managing your finances isn’t the same as posing a danger to yourself of others.  I doubt that proposal will go anywhere.
  1. DHS is finishing up rulemaking to clarify that HIPPA does not prevent shrinks from reporting psychos to the background check folks.  Rulemaking, again, not bold new initiatives to make playgrounds safer.
  1. ATF is proposing a rule to outlaw gun trusts used to hold title to machine guns, which have been used to kill exactly zero children and will do precisely nothing to make Americans safer.  More rulemaking, wait and see.
  1. ATF issued a final a rule that gun dealers who lose a gun in transit must report it.  Not controversial, everybody supports that.

Frankly, I don’t see that the President did anything today.  This looks more like a publicity stunt to rally the base and deflect attention away from other administration failures, at home and abroad.  This Presidency started with vacuous promises of hope and change but it’s ending with tearful press conferences about memos and conference calls.  It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Joe Doakes

It does indeed look to be shaping up that way.

A Pet Peeve

I was listening to a segment on MPR with Tom Weber, interviewing Bryan Strawser of the MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee about President Obama’s big gun speech.

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But one of the callers reminded me of a pet peeve that’s developed over the years of listening to gun control activists.  It was a woman from Sioux Falls, who said…

…well, we’ll come back to that.

But First:  If a thunderstorm springs up, do you have a right to take your family out for a walk without being hit by lightning?

Of course not.  You have…:

  • responsibility to not endanger your family
  • The free will to decide if you’re going to take a walk in the rain (and lightning, and maybe hail)
  • The means to avoid the rain, hail and lightning by staying inside.

But what if humans are involved?

Do you have a right to drive your kids to the mall and not get struck by another car?

No.   What you have is…

  • responsibility as a driver and as a parent to assess the risks inherent in driving your family in a car.  At 2PM on a Saturday afternoon, those are probably pretty low.  At bar closing time on Saint Patrick’s Day, probably less low.
  • moral imperative as a citizen and moral being not to endanger other people via your own behavior on the road.
  • An obligation to use all prudent means to keep your family, passengers and the rest of the driving public safe; wear seatbelts, put your small children in car seats, carry insurance, maintain your vehicle, drive defensively, prudently and without distractions.
  • You have legal recourse if someone breaks the law and violates the principles above, and damages your vehicle or harms you or your passengers.  Law enforcement may also have something to say about it.

You have a right to try to drive your kids to the mall.   It is your responsibility to see to it that you get there and back safely.

Anyway:  The woman from Sioux Falls referred to something I hear from a lot of less-informed people on the issue – most of whom, I suspect, are repeating a chanting point that neither they nor the person they heard it from understands all that well.

“My kids have a right not to get shot”.

No, ma’am.  They do not.

Nobody has a right to shoot them, it’s true (let’s assume “self-defense” is off the table).

But there is no “right not to get shot” .

You have…:

  • Moral imperatives to:
    • Not kill innocent people yourself
    • Avoid being in a position where “violent death” is a significant likelihood.  As much publicity as rampage and spree killings get, you are still vastly more likely to be a homicide statistic if you’re involved in a life of crime
    • Keep your children out of danger – whether it’s not hanging out among drug dealers, or being observant of the situation around you as you go about your law-abiding business.
  • common sense imperative to avoid places where lethal trouble might break out, and be observant about the situation around you.
  • responsibility to see to your own safety by whatever means you deem (as a responsible, law-abiding adult) necessary and your worldview finds acceptable.  That can mean anything from pure pacifism (being OK with giving up your stuff, and maybe your life, rather than resorting to violence) to avoidance, to prudent preparations for self-defense.   For some, that means developing the ability to deter or counterattack against violent attack.
  • responsibility to see to your family’s safety.   What does that mean?  Oh, boy, is that complicated.  Do your kids go to a school full of kids in black trench coats who listen to Slipknot?  You might wanna look into their environment.  Do your kids to go a school where the official response to the possibility (remote!) of a spree shooter is to hand out suspensions for talking about spree shooters?  You may need to have a talk with your principal, as fraught as that can be.  (I had a conversation with my kids’ principal after 9/11 – and it was depressing indeed).

Too picky about semantics?  Probably.

But even if there is a “right not to get shot”?   Like all other rights, it’s your responsibility to know how to practice it, and your imperative to protect it.  Because nobody is obliged to do it for you.

Yurp

The Swiss – a nation that long ago learned the hard way that yearning for peace isn’t enough, and sometimes you have to defend it – are arming themselves, and doing it fast:

Applications for gun permits in Switzerland increased by 20% between 2014 and 2015, according to a survey conducted in 12 cantons by Swiss public television, SRF.
The survey, published on Wednesday, showed that in the 12 (out of 26) cantons surveyed, the Swiss are increasingly interested in purchasing pistols, rifles and other firearms for private use.

The greatest increase – more than 70% – was measured in canton Vaud, with more than 4,200 applications in 2015, compared with 2,427 in 2014.

There is a general climate of uncertainty and an increased fear of intruders, said Pierre-Olivier Gaudard, head of crime prevention for canton Vaud.

But Martin Boess, director of Swiss crime prevention, warned against the false sense of security that guns bring.

“When there are more guns in circulation, there is a greater danger for society,” he said in an interview on the 10 vor 10 news programme. “That’s shown by experience in places like the United States. When there are more guns, there are more accidents with guns.”

Why?  Because the head of the Swiss Army (their equivalent to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) is warning that the Swiss military, after two decades of politically-motivated drawdowns, is not going to be sufficient in the event of an asymmetric war (the quote starts with a Google translation, fine-tuned via my own German):

[General André] Blattmann writes, the situation’s risks are considerable: The terrorist threat is rising, asymmetrical wars threaten the peace in the world. In addition, there is an economic crisis. Even in the big surge of refugees and migrants looks like a danger to Blattmann.

Blattmann: “Social unrest can not be ruled out”, the vocabulary in public discourse will “dangerously aggressive”: “. The mixture is increasingly unsavory” .

Blattmann sees the basis of Swiss prosperity, “has been once again called into question.” He recalls the situation before and during the two world wars in the last century and advises the Swiss to arm themselves.

Swiss politicians responded with incomprehension at the army chief’s statement, and said his warnings are exaggerated.

The Swiss Armed Forces held maneuvers many years ago , focused on social unrest in Europe. Even the Economist warned [about the potential for trouble for the Swiss] already some time ago, before [the current] social tensions.

The Swiss are among the most well-armed people in the world, especially Europe.  Eight million Swiss own 2.5 million guns – about half of which are service weapons related to the Swiss “national service”, from which Israel borrowed its own military model.

When you tell a gun-grabber that the Swiss – among the most peaceful, stable nations on earth – are heavily armed, and that most Swiss households have at least one selective-fire assault rifle in the closet, they’ll usually frump “that doesn’t count – those are military weapons!”.  They’re wrong on three counts.

For starters – there are still well over a million purely civilian weapons!

Second – so the gun in the closet is military.  So what?  You think that would stop a criminal, all by itself?  No – Switzerland adds a pretty significant sentencing enhancement for using a military gun for non-military purposes (even opening one’s “emergency” ammo container, kept with the serviceman’s rifle and uniform at home, is a criminal offense).  So go figure – sentencing prevents crime! Case in point; when a bunch of Swiss yahoos staged a re-enactment of Abu Ghraib, they went to jail – for using their service weapons in the re-enactment.

Third?  After a Swiss citizen completes their service in the reserve, they are eligible to purchase their longtime personal weapon for a fairly nominal price.

That means for servicepeople in the “baby boom” years, a SIG “StG 57” – AKA the “Rolls Royce of battle rifles”.

The SIG Sturmgewehr 57 – standard rifle of the Swiss military from the late fifties to the mid-nineties.

A twelve-pound beast of a rifle, capable of firing the full-powered 7.5mm Swiss round, fully-or semi-automatic, it still serves as a “designated marksman’s weapon” in the Swiss Army.  The semi-auto only civilian version ran for $5,000 a pop on the US civilian market, back when they were obtainable at all.   Swiss reservists of a certain age can have their long-time service weapons (with semi-auto only actions installed) for a couple hundred bucks – less than the price of an American video-game console.

The young’uns?  They get the pretty spiffy, thoroughly-modern SIG 550s, in the NATO-standard 5.56mm caliber.

The SIG 550.

It’s basically a Swiss version of the M16/AR15, although it uses a much more reliable gas-piston operating system borrowed from the AK47.    You can find ’em in the US; if you find ’em under $1,800, it’s a bargain.   Swiss vets get theirs for less than the price of a laptop computer.

If the vet is an officer or senior NCO?

The SIG 220.

The SIG220 service pistol, one of the most coveted handguns in America, is the pistola franca of the Swiss armed forces.  A Swiss service veteran can keep their 220 for a couple hundred bucks.  When they get down to $1,000 in the US, people go crazy.

The Swiss Shooting Sports Federation – which is sort of like the NRA, but it also sells ammo and runs shooting ranges – has 175,000 members.  That’s  a higher percentage of the Swiss population than the NRA has in the US; in proportion to population, it’s the equivalent of seven million Americans going to the range and buying ammo.

Oh, yeah – and the Swiss firearm murder rate is about one quarter of the murder rate.

In Minnesota.

Pardon the gearhead tangent.

Now – General Blattman may be right, and he may be wrong.  I have a hunch Switzerland will be the last place in Europe ISIS tries its luck.

Nothing New

Reading the President’s “sweeping” new “gun regulations”, it occurs to me – I was right.

The “war on guns” is one of this electoral season’s candidates for “war on women”; it’s an attempt to get Democrat, especially Black, voters, to come out for an election where there won’t be The First Black President Ever sending tingles up peoples’ legs, and vote for a geriatric white woman.   If Obama, or any president, were serious about violence, he’d send the National Guard into Saint Louis, Baltimore, Oakland, Newark, Camden

It is, like everything Obama has ever done, a lot of big talk combined with a few little nuggets of unconstitutional abuse of power.

With the help of our friends at the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, rather than read the bill, let’s just sort it out.

You’re Being Redundant, Again, All Over:  Restating things that are currently law, including:

  • Background checks
  • Calling for enforcement of existing federal gun laws; Obama’s prosecutions are down 30% over Dubya’s.
  • Ensuring dealers notify law enforcement if guns are stolen.
  • Denying the mentally ill the right to keep and bear arms, with due process, (although the Administration seems to want to remove due process from this)
  • Asking communities to keep guns out of the wrong hands.  Paging Rahm Emanuel.  And Eric Holder.
  • Ensuring dealers have federal licenses, and have criminal penalties for not complying with the rules
  • Watching for large numbers of sales, in conjunction with other factors. This already happens.
  • Ensure criminal data is forwarded to the NICS database from the states completely and promptly.

Talk, Talk, Talk:  Stuff the President can ask for, but needs Congressional approval and, most of all, funding:

  • Funding for 200 new Keystone Kops.  Er, ATF agents.  Tomayto, tomahto.
  • 500 million in mental health funding.
  • Mining Social Security information for info about mental health.
  • Funding for “Smart guns”.  Good luck with that.

Peace And Joy Through Memos:  Calls for sternly worded memos and announcements, including:

  • Demanding the AGO write a letter to the states about coughing up mental health info
  • Telling the AGO to write a memo about domestic violence

Even A Blind Squirrel Can Find A Nut:  There are a few things buried in the proposal that aren’t actually stupid:

  • Overhauling the background check system to make it open 24/7, and cut down on bottlenecks.  This is especially important if Obama insists on constantly launching waves of panic-buying.
  • Investigating illegal online trafficking in guns.  Presumably excluding Eric Holder.  But still.
  • Defining responsibility for reporting thefts at the manufacturer/carrier/dealer level (might be good, provided it doesn’t merely serve as the basis for endless litigation)
  • Help for the mentally-ill.

Have You Really Thought About This?:  The President mentioons “removing the stigma” of mental illness – in the same metaphorical breath as he demands taking guns from people at slightest sign of it.

Would You Like Hobnails With Those Boots?:  These are proposals that are completely unacceptable, and pretty much stupid to boot, including:

  • If the President really is trying to put firearms trusts in the hands of politicized local cops, this will be a big problem.
  • Denying guns to people whose finances are being a managed by Social Security, for no other reason.

You First, Barry:  Things like:

  • “Smart” guns”.  I’ll use them, Mr. President, when your Secret Service detail does.
    • Not to mention the police, to say nothing of the military.  They won’t.  Either will I.

 

 

A Laughing Matter

While the Democrats love to prate and gabble about “gun violence”, they stay rigorously clear on the one “gun safety” measure that has a proven record of, y’know, reducing gun crime – prosecuting criminals who use guns.

The federal legal framework for going after gun criminals has existed for a long, long time – but different administrations, shall we say, approach the issue with different degrees of vigor:

Hinderaker:

The Clinton administration talked a good game on guns–remember the “assault weapons” ban?–but when it came to actual law enforcement, its record was horrendous. (Someone should mention that to Hillary.) Things shaped up considerably under the Bush administration, which achieved record levels of gun-crime-related convictions. But when Barack Obama became president and Eric Holder took over the Department of Justice, enforcement went straight downhill. Over the course of the Obama administration, it has only gotten worse. Today, gun convictions are down 35% since the Bush administration peak in 2005 and 2006. Obama and Holder had an agenda, but it wasn’t law enforcement.

So on guns, as with regard to most other issues, Barack Obama is all talk. He isn’t interested in solving problems, he is just seeking political advantage. His corrupt administration can’t end soon enough.

Unless, of course, it’s replaced by something worse.

A Pattern

To: Governor Dayton

From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant

Re:  Tomorrow’s Faux Pas, Today.

Governor,

You should be getting used to the fact that your most “progressive” left of center advisers routinely lead you into policy statements that sound disconnected from reality. I say “should” be learning it; clearly you have not yet. Because your latest announcement on second amendment issues – “no-fly, no buy”, barring people who are on the federal “no fly” list from buying guns – is quite clearly an attempt to ramp up the left’s turnout in the upcoming election.

But – as we on the right, and among the second amendment Human Rights movement told you – it’s unconstitutional.

You should be getting used to this by now; they’re wrong, we are right. Every time. No exceptions.

Are we detecting a pattern, yet?

That is all.

(PS:  But by all means, keep going.  The right needs all the rallying points it can get).

Top Secret

Shhh.  You didn’t get it from me.

Oh, why the cloak and dagger?  Because apparently I’m revealing a state secret.  Or at least that’s how the media’s treatment of the story feels.

It’s the story of the US homicide rate over the past 120 years.  And it elaborates on the bit I wrote about here a while back – that while murder rates are down over the past twenty years by something like 50%, a rate that the media would have hailed as a miracle if it’d applied to drunk driving or cancer deaths.

But 56% of the American people had no idea – because the media made sure they had no idea.

And if they don’t know about the past twenty years, you can bet the last hundred are as opaque as the pit of Michael Moore’s soul.

Murder Rates Since 1900

The graph is based on FBI stats from 1900 to 1991 and from 1992 to 2011. 

But what else does it track with?

Why, gun control efforts, naturally:

The source of this graph is opaque (which is why I ran the first graph at the top), but the numbers generally jibe with the FBI figures.

The first major post-civil-war gun control measures – mostly aimed at immigrants and blacks – were a little over 100 years ago.  Murder spiked during our first big experiment with prohibition.  A second major surge began around the time of the 1968 “Gun Control Act” and the “War on Drugs”, and tailed off as not only the ownership but the carry of guns by civilians became ubiquitous outside “progressive” circles and Demcrat-run crime cesspools.

Correlation doesn’t equal causation, of course.

But that’s a lot of correlation.

A lot.  Of.  Correlation.

Lie First, Lie Always: It’s Science!

Rep. Kim Norton – the Rochester legislator who will be serving as Michael Bloomberg’s bag-woman in the coming session – has decided to try to put some numbers behind her increasingly strident and faith-based posturing on guns.  She posted these “survey” “results” on her Facebook page.

How did it work?  I did say it was a liberal trying to do numbers, right?

The results, to date-12/22/15, of a survey sent out by my office to 3 precincts in my district:

Three precincts?  A whole three precincts?

Now, a legislative district has dozens of precincts.   I don’t know exactly how many precincts there are in Kim Norton’s HD25B, but there are a total of 56 in the city of Rochester, and Norton has roughly half the city.  Let’s be (what else?) conservative, and say she’s got 24 of ’em.

Her district also includes a grand total of 39,762 people, over 21 square miles.  It’s a cozy district.

So Norton sent out a “survey” to three precincts – maybe 1/8 of her district.  Which three precincts?  What are their demographics?  Do these three precincts represent her district?  More importantly – why does Rep. Norton think these three precincts represent her district?

Anyway.  So Rep. Norton mails out a survey to three selected precincts.  And here’s what she got back:

1. Are you in favor of background checks for gun show sales, private gun sales, and gifts?
Yes (73) 78%
No (21) 22%
Total 94

Forget the actual question for a moment.  There were 94 answers.

Out of nearly 40,000 people in her district, and out of maybe 3-4,000 (I’m estimating) in the three precincts she favored with her survey, she got less than 100 answers.

That’s one quarter of one percent of her district.

And do you suppose those people are a representative sample of the precincts, much less the district?  Or might they – just possibly! – have been an intensely self-selected sample of people who are motivated not only to pay attention to bulk mail from their DFL Representative, but also driven to fill out an utterly symbolic survey about an issue that Rep. Norton is wrapping herself around?

Remember – most people just don’t care that much.  And if most conservatives are at all like me, they don’t open junk mail from legislators, especially legislators they disagree with.

So I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that of the .25 of 1% of Norton’s district that opened the mail, read it, were motivated to complete it and send it back to the Representative’s office, a pretty disproportionate chunk were motivated by supporting Rep. Norton’s agenda.

But I’m no professional…

…well,  no.  Wait. I am.  I design samples for research as part of my job.  So I may be a little harder to BS than the average bear.

(Am I wrong?  Please, Rep. Norton; have your people call my people and set me straight.  You have my number.  Operators are standing by).

Sadly, Kim Norton’s typical supporter may not be so lucky.

2. Do you support requiring gun owners to register their guns with the local government?
Yes(66) 71%
No (27) 29%

Total 93

You know what’d be interesting?  If Rep. Norton had thrown in a question about whether the respondent was a gun owner.

I’m gonna take a flyer, here, and guess the answer would be about 30%.

3. With the goal of reducing suicides and impulse shootings, would you support extending the current seven day waiting period between a gun purchase and receipt of the gun?
Yes (64) 69%
No (29) 31%
Total 93

By law, of course, there is a seven day waiting period.

In practice?  Every store, federally licensed dealer and gun show in the state requires a “Permit to Purchase” issued by the police, or a Carry Permit issued by the state, to sell a handgun or “assault weapon”; they won’t sell without one, waiting period or no.   The very idea of waiting periods is statistically dubious, to the point where even the Ninth Circuit has asked what’s the purpose, especially with someone who already owns firearms.

And the idea that “waiting periods” affect suicides is just a wierd fantasy, of course.  Gun suicides – 2/3 of gun deaths – don’t occur at the end of the waiting period.  They are disproportionally older, usually white males, usually socially isolated, usually depressed – and they’ve owned their guns for decades.

3a. If yes, how many days should the waiting period be?

10 Days (8) 13%
14 Days (18) 28%
28 Days (38) 59%
Total 64

By this point in this exercise, I’m actually wondering why she didn’t put “eleventy-teen years” as an option.

5. Do you support a ban or restriction of sales on:
High Capacity Ammunition Clips of 10 or more bullets? (66) 69%
Exploding Bullets? (68) 72%
Assault rifles or Semi-Automatic guns? (59) 62%
Total 95

Exploding Bullets?

EXPLODING BULLETS?

Y’see, this is why so many Second Amendment activists have such contempt for their opponents’ arguments.

Imagine if you will someone arguing for regulation of healthcare, who proposes banning phrenology clinics, adding standards for blood leeches and healing crystals, and licensing  sexual healing practicioners.  Now, people who actually work in healthcare know that Phrenology was debunked 120 years ago, that leeches and crystals are irrelevant, and Sexual Healing was a Marvin Gaye song – and they get annoyed that someone is not only wasting their time arguing BS, but just a little disgusted that the legislator is finding people incurious enough to get on board to try to logroll the legislation.

10 rounds is not “high capacity”.  “Semi automatic” does not equal “assault” (you awake yet, hunters and skeet shooters?).  “Assault” does not mean “likely to be used in crimes”.

And…exploding bullets.

(Shaking my head, at a loss for civil words, awaiting a line about “guns that go pew pew pew”)

6. Do you believe gun safety and usage training should be required by all gun owners – even those who do not have a hunting license or permit to carry?
Yes (73) 81%
No (17) 19%
Total 90

And even a lot of shooters will aver that that sounds reasonable.

Of course, in Chicago and DC we see the whammy of this approach; in Chicago, you have to take a range test to get a permit – but there are no firing ranges in Chicago.

It’s not a stretch to imagine Minnesota’s government requiring training – and forgetting to issue trainer’s licenses.

7. Given these two values, is it more important to:
control gun ownership?
(49) 56%
protect the right of the people to own guns? (39) 44%
Total 88

FYI – These survey results generally mirror those share by scientific polls done across the country.

I’d be interested in seeing the “scientific polls” Rep. Norton is referring to.  But I am under no illusion she knows anything beyond “tacking ‘scientific’ onto a dubious assertion will gull a few of the gullible”.

She’s wrong, of course.  Not that that matters to her, or to the audience she’s trying to reach.

Dumb And Dumber

I think it’d be useful to document, from an almost anthropological standpoint, what happens in a “progressive’s” mind when they talk about “common sense gun laws”.

For example, when Virginia attorney-general Mark Herring – a Democrat, natch – says “let’s implement a common-sense measure ending reciprocity in carry permits with other states”, what he really means is “let’s make sure that people from other states who have documented histories of being reliably law-abiding citizens can’t carry their guns legally in Virginia“.

Criminals remain free to carry whatever they want, as always.

Seems commonsensical to me.

You know what else sounds like common sense?  Minnesota should refuse to honor Virginia driver’s licenses until they honor our carry permits.

Because we wouldn’t want dumbass Virginians on our roads, now, would we?

Lie First, Lie Always: Take Off Your Shoes; You’ll Need ‘Em

I’m not sure why I bother with Heather Martens anymore.  I mean, she was never a worthy opponent – for lil’ ol’ me, much less the Human Rights activists that actually matter – and she has yet, in all her years of plumping for gun control, to utter a single, substantive, original true fact.

And she’s on her way out over at “Protect” Minnesota!

But Heather Martens is a little like Nick Coleman; beating up on her has become so ingrained, it’s hard to know when to stop.

Anyway – this is what’s currently on “Protect” MN’s homepage.  Good luck.

Dear Friend,

Protect Minnesota board president Joan Peterson testified against legalizing silencers in Minnesota in 2015. Men openly carrying guns heckled Protect Minnesota representatives during their testimony. Click here to donate

Lie #1.  No, they didn’t.  Ask the Capitol Police, who constantly commend the state’s Freedom activists’ impeccable behavior.

Fact:  Joan Peterson has a long, grotty history engaging in perfectly civil conversations with perfectly civil freedom advocates – and then turning around and telling people the freedom advocates were abusive or nasty.  There are witnesses.

Now, back to Heather:

The recent gun tragedies underscore how essential it is to work for a future where our kids won’t live in fear of gun violence. In 2015, we made progress toward that future, and with your support, we can build on our momentum in 2016.

Lie #2:  Well, sure – “we” did.  But not “Protect” MN or the “Gun safety movement.  Oh, crime dropped fast, as millions of new firearms entered circulation.  But the gun grabbers lost every legislative battle in Minnesota, even with Michael Bloomberg’s millions lavishly backing them.  And “Protect” Minnesota was so impotent, even the Bloombergs cut them loose, and whomever calls the shots is in the process of cutting Heather loose after years of ineptitude.

Please make a year-end donation today to help us continue our work.

In 2015, we held off efforts to allow people to carry loaded guns in public without first having to get a permit and background check.

Lie #3;  No, they didn’t.  While a “constitutional carry” bill was submitted, “Protect” MN had virtually nothing to do with its death in committee.   The push for it was largely symbolic, since with a DFL governor and Senate it was never going to pass anyway.

We successfully advocated for a state law prohibiting the “straw” purchase of guns, in which a person with a clean record buys a gun for a prohibited person.

Lie #4:  Right.  They did.  With the full cooperation of all the gun rights organizations that matter in this state.  The existing law was inadequate.  And it was the gun rights groups – not the hapless Martens and her impotent organization – that did the heavy lifting.

In 2016, a critical election year, we need your support to get the word out about the extremism of the gun lobby,

Lie #5:  The human rights movement, as shown in recent pollsis the mainstream.  The grabbers are the extreme, supported only by a thin residue of crazies and a bunch of money from “progressives” with deep pockets.

and about the effectiveness of gun safety policies — such as background checks before all gun sales. 

Lie #6:  While “gun safety” policies like putting criminals in jail work wonders, nothing “Protect” MN advocates, least of all “universal background checks”, will.

Next year, we can expect the gun lobby to propose:

1) A Minnesota constitutional amendment to nullify all gun laws by declaring guns, and carrying them everywhere, a “fundamental” right.

Lie #7;  While “Consitutional Carry” is a fine idea, and works wonders in most places it’s been tried (currently five states), not to mention in Minnesota before 1974, it’s not really on the agenda while we have a DFL Senator or Governor.

2) Repealing Minnesota’s background check law,

Lie #8:  Huh?

arming teachers,

Lie #9:  While there’s no rational reason that teachers who are legally entitled to carry firearms shouldn’t be able to in school, nobody can seem to find where “arming teachers” is on anyone’s agenda.

and allowing any permit holder from anywhere to carry a loaded gun in MInnesota.

Not So Much A “Lie” as Really Stupid:  If someone has a permit to carry in another state, why should they not be recognized here?

But with your support, we are here to raise our voices for common sense at the Capitol and beyond.

Lie #10:  Nothing about “Protect” MN is “common sense”.   They’re calling for a return to the policies in effect when crime was double what it is today.

We spread the word about what the gun industry is doing, and how we can stop them. We appear regularly in the Minnesota media to push back against extremists.

Lie #11:  Well, no – “Protect” MN doesn’t appear “regularly”.  They may come out of hiding when they can control the agenda, or when they know a reporter or interviewer is utterly uninformed or just doesn’t care that much.  If they don’t, they – meaning Heather and Joan Peterson, usually – invariably look like idiots.

They don’t appear with media figures who won’t promise to paint Heather’s toenails on the air.

 

Protect Minnesota is the only Minnesota-based non-profit organization dedicated to ending gun violence.

Mostly A Lie #12:  They are, by default – Michael Bloomberg’s “Everytown”, after swallowing up the local chapter of “Moms Want Action”, closed up shop after the last session.  They’ll be back – and they’re the dangerous ones – but they’re saving money during the off-session.

We have been here since 1991 to advocate for better gun policy, organize our communities, and educate the public on gun issues.

Lie #13:  As Heather Martens, again, has never made a single original, substantial, true statement about the issue, it’d be more accurate to say they’ve been here to “miseducate” the public.

We envision a future in which our kids are safe to play and learn in every community.

Lie #14: No, they don’t.  Gun control kills – and is rooted in the sort of racism that the better elements in this country strives to cast off.

We reject the world view promoted by the gun industry that exploits fear to boost profits — no matter what the human cost.

Lie #15:  Heather is putting the cart before the horse.  But to be fair, it’s just a chanting point she’s been given by her superiors.

We don’t have the deep pockets of the gun industry, but we have you.Thank you for all you do,

Lie #16:  They have the deep pockets of some of the biggest “progressive” donors out there; the Joyce Foundation and other liberals with deep pockets.  They fund “Protect” MN to the tune of $300K.   GOCRA, which eats “P”Ms lunch every year, operates on a fraction of that budget, almost every penny of it in nickels and times from real people.

Lie #17:   When she says “We have you”, she may mean it in the singular sense of the term.  “Protect” MN’s membership would fit in a booth at Perkins, if they ever met.

Heather Martens

Executive Director

Not So Much A Lie As Pointless:  She’s kinda a lame duck.

17 lies, and that wasn’t even a very long press release.

Just One Life

Mitch BERG is walking through a pet food store.  He rounds a corner and runs into Avery LIBRELLE, who is plastering “Simulated Meat Is Murder!” stickers on bags of dog food.   Although BERG tries to evade, LIBRELLE sees him.  

LIBRELLE:  Merg!

BERG:  Aaaagh.  Er…hi, Avery.

LIBRELLE:  It’s time to institute universal background checks, ban clips that shoot thirty assault bullets a second, and get rid of assault AR47s.

BERG:  Two of those things don’t exist, and one of them will have no effect on crime but burden the law-abiding citizen exclusively.

LIBRELLE:  But if we save just one life, it’ll be worth it.

BERG:  So saving “just one life”, no matter how improbably, should be the basis for policy?

LIBRELLE:  Yep.  Human life is sacred.

BERG:  So then we should shut down the Green and Blue lines – about ten dead?  Or perhaps get rid of Obamacare?  Or for that matter, shutting down Planned Parenthood?

LIBRELLE:  Nooooo!  Some things are more important than human life!

(LIBRELLE puts bags of dog food around ears, runs from the store)

(And SCENE)

Just A Hint

A couple weeks ago, we noted that retiring representative Kim Norton who has pledged to carry a clot of gun-grabbing bills through the legislature this next session, has  asked for “a conversation about guns” on social media.

And then blocked everyone that disagreed with her, instantly and comprehensively (as have with all other Minnesota gun grab activists).

I asked her to appear on the NARN; she begged off, claiming to have not really thought about the issue all that hard (notwithstanding the fact that her proposals in various mainstream and social media have been pretty detailed).

Well, l’ll keep on trying.

But until then, we’ve got a hint as to her sympathies, via Twitter:

screenshot-twitter.com 2015-12-10 21-33-31

Rep. Norton: celebrating passive victimhood for way too long.

I have a hunch she’s going to book a week in Costa Rica during “Minnesota Gun Owners Lobbying Day” (MN-GOLD).

Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part IV

On Friday, we talked about comparing the US murder rate to the rest of the world.

Monday, the subject was what’d happen if we excluded America’s top forty highest-crime cities from the average.

Yesterday, we talked about what’d happen if we left the Old South, with its centuries of relatively violent Scots-Irish heritage, out of the nation’s murder rate.

In every case, the results were big.

Now, let’s go bigger.

The Math:  Here’s what it comes down to.

If you take the US’s 319 million people and 12,000-odd homicides (about 8,000 of which involve guns), and subtract:

  • murders in the states of the Old South, the former Confederate and Border states (with population and murders from from Southern cities among “Top Fifty” cities’ overlapping murder rates removed, since they’re counted in the next bullet, and we wouldn’t want to deduct them twice)
  • murders in the fifty US cities with the highest murder rates

And what does that leave?

Peace And Tranquility:  Incredibly, of the roughly 12,000 murders in the US in 2014, around 8,700 took place in either the Top Fifty crime cities, or the former slave states.

That’s 71% of the homicides for the entire US.

In other words, just a little over a quarter of all murders in the US happen outside the Old South and the fifty cities  and the slightly over a third of the population, with the highest murder rates.

The homicide rate for rest of the US – including many of its largest cities, and all of its urban and suburban areas outside Dixie –  falls to…1.8 per 100,000.   That’s the same as Israel – and it’s tied for #163 in the world.  It’s about 20% lower than Norway’s murder rate.   It’s not a lot higher, statistically, than Belgium, Canada, or Finland.

It’s about the same as North Dakota’s was, before the oil boom. Or Vermont today.

Or, as a matter of fact, almost identical to that of…

…wait for it…

…no, wait for it…

Peaceful, placid, passive-aggressive Minnesota.  North Minneapolis included.

And firearm crimes are more like 1.1-1.2/100,000.  Not “vanishingly low”, but pretty low.   About the same a Croatia, Macedonia, or Israel.

So…What?:  One of the Second Amendment movement’s oldest, most successful aphorisms is “guns don’t kill people; people do”.

And people do evil, or stupid, things for as many reasons as there are people.

But there are some overarching patterns that drive violence in the US; a violence-prone urban culture, with its gangs and black-marketeering and deeply dysfunctional justice system, and a deep south with a tolerance for petty and major violence that far exceeds the rest of the country.

And with those controlled for, the level of violence in the US, by world standards, is to say the least, low.


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It’s Mandatory, Dammit!

“Gun Safety” activists who are trying to appear reasonable will claim that they support “Common Sense” reforms to gun laws.

One of their common fallbacks is “universal background checks” – in other words, running a background check for every single transfer of a gun, whether sold at Cabela’s, or handed down from Grandpa to grandchild, or a friend lending a friend a rifle for a hunting trip.

Of course, these background checks – which add $50-100 to the cost of every firearm sold, further driving them out of the reach of poor people – have been the law of the land in California for years.  And from the investigation into the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, we see how well they work:

On Thursday, one of the federal government sources told The Times that Farook asked his friend and neighbor, Enrique Marquez, to buy two military-style rifles used in the attacksbecause he feared he “wouldn’t pass a background check” if he attempted to acquire the weapons on his own. The rifles were bought at a local gun store, the source said.

So – we’ve got a “Straw Purchase” – a legal buyer making a purchase in the stead of an illegal one, which is illegal under federal law – followed by…:

There was no paperwork transferring ownership of the assault rifles from Marquez to Farook, as required by California law, government officials told The Times.

But wait!  They broke the law, even though it requires a background check for private transfers!

Surely there must be some mistake!

Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part III

Friday, we noted that gun grabbers try their darnedest to keep discussions of murder rates to “western, industrialized” countries – because of course brown people in the third world only matter if you can get them to vote Democrat.

And yesterday, we discussed both the murder rate in America’s 50 cities with the highest murder rates, and how subtracting their population and murders from the US rates drops the US overall murder rate by over a quarter.

Still Smelling The Gunpowder:  But cities don’t have a monopoly on criminal pathologies.  But they share some reasons.

In the immediate wake of the 2008 elections, a wave of pundits and scholars, including the U of M’s Eric Ostermeier, noted a factoid; states that voted for John McCain had higher crime rates than states that voted for Obama.

In response, I pointed out a couple of things:

  • state by state comparisons were meaningless, since the real breaking point in crime numbers occurs when comparing urban, suburban and rural counties
  • If you left out the McCain states that were members of the Confederacy, McCain’s states had extremely low murder and violent crime rates.

Let’s look a little further.

Of Trash And Accent:  The states that became the Confederacy were most notably marked by the presence of slavery – and African-America still suffers from some of the aftereffects of slavery and post-slavery discrimination – but there was more to it than that.

The Old South brought with it some of the worst features of the post-feudal European society that it sprang from – including a fairly rigid class structure.  At the top were the aristocratic, largely British plantationers.  At the bottom, of course, were the slaves

Not far up from the slaves were the masses of what in Europe would have been called peasants; white, largely Scots-Irish people, mostly poor, many of whom came to the US under indentured conditions not much better than slavery.  They lived, until well after the Civil War, under a caste system that didn’t stress upward mobility, or any of the things – education, civil behavior and the like – that led to it.  That, combined with the Scots-Irish heritage of a level of tolerance for violence far above and beyond that of most European transplants, with honor killings, duels, violent family feuds and other shenanigans a part of the background until fairly recently, helped lead to an ambient level of violence far higher than the rest of what became the US, even before there was a US.

You want it spelled out in more detail?  See a sociologist specializing in southern Scots-Irish culture.

What it boils doen to is that even today, in the states that made up the Confederacy (I included the former “Border States” of Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland, by the way – they weren’t in the Confederacy, but they kept slaves and had plantation systems, which is what led to the sociological pathologies in the first place), the roughly 113 million residents have an overall murder rate of 5.8 per 100,000.  By themselves, the states of the old Confederacy alone had a murder rate of 6.1/100/000.

The Math:  So let’s leave the population, and murder rate, of the Old South out of the picture.  With their population and murders dropped out of the population, but still including the population and murders of every city outside the Old South, all of the Detroits and Newarks and Oaklands, the US’s murder rate drops to 2.99 per 100,000.  That’s a drop of a little over a quarter.

It’s a murder rate comparable with that in Taiwan, or Nepal.

So what happens when we leave America’s two greatest concentrations of violent pathology out of the nation’s murder rate?

We’ll talk about that tomorrow.


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Everyone Is One Signature Away From Being A Terrorist

The “gun safety” movement’s latest bright idea is “No Fly, No Buy”; people on one of the various government no-fly/terrorist watch lists would be disqualified from buying guns.

Second Amendment human rights activists oppose the idea, to the deep confusion of anti-gunners, who just don’t understand why it’s a bad idea.

The answer?  It’s a bad idea because government can’t be trusted with lists of people built without due process.  Ever!

I’ve added emphasis:

The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday.
Police Superintendent Terrence B. Sheridan revealed at a legislative hearing that the surveillance operation, which targeted opponents of the death penalty and the Iraq war, was far more extensive than was known when its existence was disclosed in July.

You gotta break eggs to make an omelet.

Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part II

Last Friday, we noted that to the US’s murder rate of 3.8 per 100,000 ranks 121st in the world overall.

Which, to “Gun Safety” advocates, is just wrong; they insist on constraining the comparison to only “western, industrialized” countries – as if the life of a human being in Honduras or South Africa is somehow worth less, or their murder is of less weight than someone from Highland Park.   And I noted that the reasons for the comparison are to make the US look as bad as possible, against small, socially-homogenous countries like Denmark and Norway and Japan.

But I noted that among larger, westernized nations with at least a passing notion of human rights and any kind of social diversity at all, the US still fares pretty well

But then, I thought – what if we factor out the parts of US society that have the major crime problems?  What happens then?

In The City:  First, I thought, we should take a look at America’s cities.

For whatever reason, cities have almost always had a disproportionate murder rate.

So why is that?

Well, that question is one that keeps scads of otherwise unemployable sociologists hard at work.   But it’s no secret that American cities are faced with three pathologies:

  • A “War on Drugs” that creates a lucrative black market in which someone with no education can make a stupendous income – provided he or she is willing to defend that income by all means necessary. The estimates of how many murders occur due to the “drug war” vary, but range as high as half.
  • An “urban culture” that glorifies violence.
  • Decades of social service agencies using the inner cities as “warehouses for the poor”, for bureaucratic and political reasons.  And while there’s little direct causal link between poverty and crime, long-term grinding poverty certainly provides fertile soil for growing crime.

Also, of the top 50 cities in terms of homicide rate – accounting for 11.3% of the population of the US – all but a very vanishing few are Democrat-controlled.  This isn’t so much intended to politicize the issue as to point out that single-party-dominated governments are always less effective at carrying out government’s valid jobs, like law enforcement.

But the fact is, some American cities have downright third-world murder rates:  Saint Louis tops the list in 2014, with almost 50 homicides per 100,000.  Detroit clocks in at 43.5.   We have 25 cities with murder rates above 10/100,000 – triple the national average.

In fact, if you take the ten US cities with the highest murder rates -Saint Louis, DetroitNew Orleans, Baltmore, Newark, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Atlanta, Cincinnati – they add up to about 1% of the entire population of the US – but they account for a solid 10% of all homicides in America.

But let’s go bigger than that.

The fifty American cities with the highest murder rates – from Saint Louis down to Charlotte, NC (5.5/100,000) together accounted for approximately 4.426 murders in 2015 – about 3,000 of them likely with firearms.

The Math:  So when you take the top fifty US cities in terms of murder rate, with their 34,7521.052 people (11.3% of the population), and their approximately 4,530 homicides from the US’s population and total number of murders, and subtract them from the rest of the United states, you get about 284 million people, and a murder rate of just under 2.68 per 100.000 people.  That’s roughly equal to the murder rate in Hungary – it ranks the US at #145 worldwide.

It also means that about 11% of the entire US population commits about 38% of the murders.

But the problems of American urban society aren’t the only ones driving up the United States’ homicide rate.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at a problem that dates back to before there were cities, or a United States for that matter.


  • Last Friday: Intro
  • Today:  The effect urban crime has on America’s murder rate.
  • Tomorrow:  We’ll look at the murder rate in the Deep South.
  • Wednesday:  We’ll see what the US’ murder rate would be without its biggest social pathologies.

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Gun Homicide: Comparing Apples And Apples, Part I

When you get into a discussion with “Gun Safety” advocates, they usually start by knowingly, solemnly intoning that the US has some variant of “the highest gun murder rate in the developed world”.

In response to which I always ask two questions:

  • Why just “western, developed countries?”:  The United States’ murder rate is actually in the bottom 2/3 of the world; with 3.8 murders overall per 100,099 people, we rank #121 in terms of murders overall.   And isn’t murder, murder?  Isn’t the life of a Honduran, or a Venezuelan, or an Indian or Russian, worth exactly the life of an American?   Isn’t their murder just as grave an offense?
  • Why just “firearms” murders?:  In the immortal words of Archie Bunker:

    Are we to believe that murders committed with guns are more heinous than other murders? That murders with knives, clubs, gasoline or bare hands are somehow of less weight than those using firearms? That’s utterly illogical.

The stated goal of comparing only “western, industrialized” countries, we’re told, would be to “compare apples to apples”.  The real goal is to try to cherrypick results.  Of course the US will have a higher murder rate than Denmark, Sweden or Belgium – all of them are small, socially and culturally homogenous countries.   And of course we’ll have a higher murder rate than, say, Japan – a larger nation, but with a socially homogenous population (that, incidentally, tolerates police powers that’d make the ACLU yak up it’s collective skull).

So the correct response is to really compare apples to apples:  large, socially-diverse societies with at least a pretense of individual rights (and it may be a thin pretense indeed).

There, the US and it’s 3.8/100,000 murder rate (about 2/3 of which are firearm murders) looks pretty good compared to other large, industralized, socially and culturally heterogenous nations and the frictions and stresses they lend to the situation:

  • Argentina: 5.5
  • Brazil: 25.2
  • Russia: 9.0
  • South Africa: 31.0
  • India:  3.5 (and virtually no civilian gun ownership)

But I got to thinking:  What if we took the next step, and accounted for the effect of social and cultural diversity and history in the US murder rate?

What effect would that have?

We’ll tackle that next week:

  • Monday:  We’ll look at the effect urban crime has on America’s murder rate.
  • Tuesday:  We’ll look at the murder rate in the Deep South.
  • Wednesday:  We’ll see what the US’ murder rate would be without its biggest social pathologies.

 

 

They Wanted A Fight?

Kevin Williamson on the Democrats’ contempt for the rule of law, to say nothing of the First and Second Amendment:

If the Democrats want to do away with the Second Amendment, let them begin the amendment process and see how far they get. We should challenge them to do so at every opportunity.

In reality, the Democrats have declared war on the First Amendment, voting in the Senate to repeal it; they have declared war on the Second Amendment at every turn; they also have declared war on due process and, in doing so, on the idea of the rule of law itself, beginning with the notion of “innocent until proven guilty.” That isn’t liberalism — it’s totalitarianism.

That’s a winnable fight, and we should welcome it.

I’m just going to shut up and urge you to read the whole thing.