Saturday, September 5, 2009

Straw Purchasers Arrested in Colorado

Reuters reports on the arrest of two men accused of trafficking weapons from Colorado to California.
(The ATF) today announced the culmination of a six-month investigation that resulted in the arrest of two "straw purchasers," individuals who falsified information and purchased at least 37 firearms that were subsequently delivered to felons in Colorado Springs and Northern California. To date, 12 of the 37 firearms have been recovered in criminal investigations throughout the San Francisco Bay area.

This story seems to be a classic example of how States with more lax gun laws feed the States with stricter ones. I wrote about this about one year ago, it's in the 5th paragraph. In that case it was Nevada, but the mechanism is the same and it's repeated continually.

"Straw purchasers are responsible for illegal diversion of guns. Many of these firearms ended up in the hands of criminals and used in violent crimes," said ATF's Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Gleysteen. "We must stop the flow of guns from legal commerce to the criminals."

Gleysteen praised his law enforcement partners and thanked the United States Attorney's Offices for their support throughout the investigation.

"No matter where one might fall in the debate over gun control, there is little dispute that firearms must not end up in the hands of convicted felons," said United States Attorney Lawrence Brown.

No one denies that, but the dispute comes in when trying to accomplish it inconveniences gun owners. They immediately start talking about "infringement" and "gun bans," when actually we're not talking about those things at all.

Simple record keeping and registration policies could solve this problem in a jiffy. What could be easier than identifying the buyers of multiple weapons and investigating them? Nothing could be easier than that except for all the interference on the part of the gun owners and their organization the NRA.

We're not talking about banning anything. And we're certainly not talking about denying anyone their rights. But that's how the gun enthusiasts insist on describing this discussion. We're talking about minimal inconvenience, that's all. But most of the gun owners who comment around here wouldn't even consider of it.

This is another example of why I blame them for the problem.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Picture of Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard, USMC

Yahoo News reports on the controversy over the publication of the picture of a mortally wounded marine in Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed disappointment Friday at news outlets that used a picture taken and distributed by The Associated Press depicting a U.S. Marine mortally wounded in combat in Afghanistan.

The AP distributed the picture despite personal pleas from Gates and the dead Marine's family in a case that illustrated the difficult decisions in reporting on a conflict where Americans have seen relatively few images of fallen U.S. troops over eight years.

The picture, by AP photographer Julie Jacobson, showed Lance Cpl. Joshua "Bernie" Bernard, 21, lying on the ground with severe leg injuries after being struck by a grenade in an ambush on Aug. 14, his fellow Marines tending to him. Bernard later died of his wounds.

Secretary Gates seems to be saying the same thing as the family, basically that it's a question of "judgment and common decency" not to use the photo. I'm a little suspicious of that. What do you think? Isn't it more likely that the government has an interest in keeping the war sanitized in order to continue getting away with it? Remember all that business a year or two ago about the returning coffins never being allowed in TV?

John Daniszewski, AP senior managing editor, said he respected Gates' view but that sometimes the government and press have different perspectives.

"We thought that the image told a story of sacrifice; it told a story of bravery," Daniszewski said. "We felt that the picture told a story that people needed to see and be aware of."

That sounds about right to me, what do you think?

Gates wrote that use of the photo of a wounded Bernard would mark an "unconscionable departure" from the restraint that most journalists have shown in covering the military since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The AP did not change its decision.

"Why your organization would purposely defy the family's wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me," Gates wrote. "Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple newspapers is appalling."

I don't believe that for a second. I don't believe publishing the picture could increase the anguish of the family. Even if they themselves request privacy and to be left alone, I'm wondering what could possibly increase the suffering of losing a 21-year-old child? Compared to the loss itself, the treatment in the media would be inconsequential.

Yet Secretary Gates is pushing this as the reason. I don't buy it.

I say it's a mistake for us to be there in the first place and the suppression of photos like this has played a part in the continuance of it.

The controversy over the picture is very real however.

The AP had received dozens of e-mails and phone calls about its decision by mid-Friday, many of them critical, Colford said. It was a topic on Twitter, with one tweet saying: "as the wife of a retired Marine, and the mother of a soldier who is now in Afghanistan, I find the AP's `choice' to be a disgusting one."

The AP received an e-mail from some former military supporting its decision. Dan Cahalan, an Afghanistan veteran, wrote that "this is one of the realest accounts from a journalist I have ever read and just wanted to thank (Jacobson) for her honest reporting of the war."

Jorge Ruiz of Glendale, Ariz., said he and other ex-Marines had often talked about the sanitation of war and the social implications of a lack of images showing what war is really like.

"Death and the ugliness of war is not something we look forward to but a necessity to put the war in its proper context," said Ruiz, who also wrote the AP. "A picture is worth a thousand words. I applaud your courage to distribute the photo and the story of the death of Lance Cpl. Bernard."

What's your opinion? Is it right or wrong to publish graphic pictures of the war? Should the family's opinion be respected? Why couldn't they simply publish other photos about which the families don't object?

Do you believe the government has had an agenda to keep the war out of the living rooms of America in order to maintain whatever public approval they could?

Please leave a comment.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tamara K. on Dr. Wintemute

On Tamara K.'s fascinating pro-gun blog called View From the Porch, today we find a post called Instant Expert: Just Add Sheepskin. The entire thing is dedicated to ridiculing Professor Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH, of the University of California, Davis.

This is what makes the latest study from Professor Wintemute, MD, MPH, especially hilarious: It seems that it consists of going "undercover" to gun shows and taking note of anything that "looks illegal". I'm sure it will be as packed with factual knowledge and sound research as his last effort.

Doc Wintemute has inspired me, however. I'm going to do a study on improper surgical procedures in the operating theaters of America. I'm just going to grab a mask and gown and go hang out in OR's, and note when stuff just looks wrong to me.

In her trademark condescending tone, Tamara mocks Prof. Wintemute as one who is unqualified to speak about gun violence. On the contrary, Dr. Wintemute is the Director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, and as such is one of the most qualified to speak about this.

The treatment is similar for Dr. David Hemenway and Dennis A. Henigan and of course the biggest target of all is Paul Helmke.

Why do pro-gun folks resist these intelligent and highly educated men so aggressively? Why is it necessary to attack them on their expertise as well as their veracity? What's wrong with simply discussing the issues? I'll tell you what I think.

I think what explains the incredibly nasty attitude on the part of so many pro-gun writers is that they realize they're wrong. They realize that anyone who refuses to join in a common effort to find a way to diminish gun violence is in the wrong. Well, why would they do it then? Out of fear. Out of fear and insecurity.

What's your opinion? Do you have any other explanation for the behavior and rhetoric of the gun enthusiasts? Do you think they are representative of the whole, or are they just a very vocal minority? We've had a number of gun owners around here who do not fit this weird stereotype, Don and Zirgar, to name just two.

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Hero of the Day - Kaleb Eulls

CNN reports on the heart-warming story of a humble young hero.

My question is what is so wrong in Georgia that a 14-year-old girl not only has a gun in her possession but threatens other kids with it on the school bus.

What's your opinion? Do you think this has nothing at all to do with the lax gun laws in that state and the general attitude towards guns there? Do you see no connection between the lawful gun owners who fight so hard to keep things the way they are and situations like this?

Please tell us what you think.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Georgia Pastor Shot and Killed in Drug Sting

Thanks to our friend and frequent commenter PhuckPolitics, I had a chance to read this story on the site.

A pastor was shot and killed following a drug sting in Stephens County, Ga., on Tuesday, and the officers involved and friends of the pastor are giving different versions of what led up to the shooting.

The Stephens County coroner confirmed that 28-year-old Jonathan Ayers was pronounced dead at Stephens County Hospital on Tuesday.Ayers, a father-to-be, was the pastor of the Shoal Creek Baptist Church. He maintained a personal blog linked off the church's Web page,

Here's the official version of events:

Sheriff Randy Shirley said that officers had been involved in an undercover drug sting at an unnamed establishment in Toccoa. He said the target of the sting was a passenger in Ayers' car. Shirley said Ayers dropped the woman off and went to the Shell station. He said the officers followed Ayers there.

Shirley said, outside the Shell station, the plain-clothes officers identified themselves with a badge. The officers said that Ayers put his car in reverse and struck an agent. They said they opened fire on Ayers when he drove toward the second officer. Two shots were fired in the car, one hit Ayers. The officers said Ayers sped away and crashed about a half mile from the Shell station. They said they found him conscious and alert, but he died a short time later.

Here's another take on it, from one of many e-mails received by WYFF News:

Jonathon Ayers was shot and killed by a Toccoa police officer. Ayers was at a walk-up ATM machine to get money to have tires put on his wife's car. After getting his money, he saw men running at him. Thinking he was to be robbed, he ran for his car. He was shot through the door and the bullet went through his lung and liver. He eventually wrecked his car and was taken to Stephens County Hospital. The bleeding of his liver could not be stopped and Ayers died in surgery.

Guess which one I believe? Am I always against the cops, no, no more than I'm always for the criminals. But when policemen shoot innocent men, I'm very suspicious.

Isn't it interesting that the old police trick of shooting bullets at an approaching car comes up again in this case? I suppose that's become one of the things they say when the real story is too shady.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Where Are All the DGUs

We often discuss the question of which type of gun incident is more common, the DGU (defensive gun use) or the incidents of gun violence. Here's one recent example.

Suddenly I realized that not once over the last year or so has a commenter reported a personal experience of this kind or one that happened to a close friend or family member. That's odd because such a story would directly rebut many of my remarks about DGUs, basically that they're not all that common.

Even the most reasonable pro-gun commenters say there are hundreds of thousands per year. The more passionate stick with Kleck's reported 2.5 million. The gun control side says there may be as few as 80,000.

But my question is, why from the 10 or 20 most prolific commenters who have visited here over the last year, and from their 10 or 20 closest family members and friends who own guns, has there not been one incident of a DGU reported?

Any ideas?

Bullets in Demand

It's certainly not news that ammunition is in demand, but the site ran a story with some interesting facts and figures.

Stacks of ammo, once piled high at gun shops across America, have dwindled. Prices paid by consumers for much sought-after Winchester .380-caliber handgun bullets (a common name for cartridges) have doubled. At weekend gun shows, trailers loaded with boxes of ammunition are drained within hours.

Budget-pressed police departments, which can’t be caught short, have increased their orders just to be safe, and the US military, fighting two wars, has seen its need for bullets quadruple in recent years.

Industry officials say the appetite for ammo in the United States is unprecedented.

The major ammo suppliers are working around the clock, seven days a week in an attempt to keep up with demand. There will be about 2 billion more American-made bullets produced this year over last year’s 7.5 billion.

US military demand for small arms ammunition has almost quadrupled this decade, increasing from 462 million to 1.6 billion rounds. The order used to be filled exclusively by the military-owned Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo. But as consumption grew, the military turned to private contractors to fill demand.

That would mean that out of the 9.5 billion bullets produced this year, the military will take a billion-and-a-half. I guess the police departments are good for a billion or so, which would leave 7 billion rounds of ammunition for the average joe.

And they say it's not enough.

What's your opinion? What's really going on here? Remember we're talking about "per year" with these incredible numbers. When next year rolls around there's another 7 billion bullets distributed among the gun owners, less the ones they used this year, of course. Do you think this means that each year the stockpiles of ammunition in private hands increase? Is that a good thing? What are the ramifications of it?

Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Arizona's Image

The Arizona Republic published an interesting piece about Arizona's recent image problem due to the widely-publicized incidents of open carry at the presidential appearance.

Just as local and state tourism officials tried to shed Phoenix's unbecoming title as the "kidnapping capital of America," another national moniker has emerged: gun-crazy.

A man carrying a pistol and semiautomatic rifle outside the Phoenix hall where President Barack Obama spoke this month ignited a media firestorm, reinforcing the stereotype of the Grand Canyon State as a gun-loving vestige of the Wild West.

The firearms display, later revealed to be a publicity stunt, was legal under an Arizona law that allows most citizens to openly carry guns in public without a permit.

Before the gun incident, tales of Mexican drug cartels abducting rival smugglers and immigrants and holding them for ransom in Valley homes had already painted Phoenix as a city under siege.

The perception of Arizona is extremely important. The tourism and convention industry pumped $18.5 billion into the Arizona economy last year, generating $2.6 billion in local, state and federal taxes and supporting 170,000 jobs.

Many people denounced the open carry incident as foolish, even some pro-gun folks said it was counter-productive to their cause. The New Yourk Times said this on August 20.

"It is hard to know what is more shocking: the sight of a dozen Americans showing up to flaunt guns outside the venue for President Obama's speech in Phoenix on Monday, or the fact that the swaggering display was completely legal."

But by far the most damage was done by Arthur Frommer.

Founder of the Frommer's series of travel guidebooks, Frommer wrote that he would no longer visit Arizona, fearing for his personal safety after reading accounts of protesters carrying loaded weapons on the streets of Phoenix.

Frommer, who sold his company decades ago, was unavailable for comment. But he told NPR last weekend he was disturbed police officers stood around "like scared rabbits" while armed protesters tried to "threaten" and "intimidate" Obama supporters.

"Open-carry laws have to take second place to public order and to life," said Frommer, a New York Democrat and Obama campaign contributor. When NPR host Guy Raz suggested Frommer was making Arizona sound like war-torn Mogadishu, Frommer responded: "Well, it's getting that way. . . . The number of guns that are now being carried by citizens in Arizona is becoming frightening."

What's your opinion? Do you think the New York Times and Arthur Frommer speak for most Americans? Even if the rhetoric is a bit strong, Mogadishu and all that, is their point well taken? Do you think some of that convention business will move up to Las Vegas? Would it be much different up there?

Please leave a comment.

Unusual Police Shooting in Oakland

The San Francisco Chronicle has a report of an incredible police shooting in Oakland, incredible for several reasons.

Colin Todd, 41, of Alameda was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and felony evading police in connection with the chaotic incident on Interstate 880 that unfolded over the course of nearly eight hours Sunday.

Todd was pulled over by two officers about 3:45 a.m. on northbound Interstate 880 near the 66th Avenue off-ramp because he appeared to be driving erratically, said Officer Jeff Thomason, a police spokesman.

Todd came out of his flatbed truck and opened fire with a shotgun, hitting one of the officers in the foot and disabling their patrol cruiser.

Another officer returned fire, but Todd got back into the truck and drove north on I-880 before crashing and flipping it onto its side between High Street and 29th Avenue.

Todd ran from the truck but was found on the 800 block of 35th Avenue near East Ninth Street at 11:25 a.m., police said. SWAT officers shot him with a bean-bag weapon, arrested him and took him to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. It was the fifth officer-involved shooting in Oakland this year.

Honestly, if a guy shoots a cop in the foot with a shotgun and the other cop blows him away, I'd call that legitimate. The fact that the other cop didn't blow him away is the first incredible part of this story.

But the SWAT team using a "bean-bag weapon" takes the cake. I've heard of rubber bullets, but this bean-bag thing is a new one on me. My first thought was, "only in California." These SWAT team members are probably the children of Haight-Ashbury hippies who were raised on the Grateful Dead music. Of course they use "bean-bag weapons."

My second thought was more serious. What does this say about all the other incidents of trigger happy cops shooting people dead. Many people from the East Coast like to poke fun at California for being so trendy, but maybe this is an example others could learn from.

What's your opinion? Do you find this story a bit of a departure from the usual police shooting? One way to look at it is even shooting a cop in the foot is not a capital offense. My hat's off to the Oakland cops and SWAT team.

Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Priciest Zip Codes in America

The New Jersey News Room has the report.

Beverly Hills 90210? Forget about it.

Honolulu? The leafy suburbs of Westchester County and Connecticut? Great places to live, and hardly cheap, but they lack the distinction of ZIP code 07620, where the median asking price of a home is $4.14 million.

Sure, that's a lot, but if you move in, your neighbors will include sports superstar Patrick Ewing, comic Chris Rock, and music mogul Sean Combs, as well as Stevie Wonder and Mary J. Blige.

It's the most expensive ZIP code in the country, and it's in New Jersey.

The tiny Bergen County community of Alpine tops Forbes' annual list of America's 100 priciest ZIP codes.

Most of the slots in the top 10 list are filled by California, aptly nicknamed the Golden State. The only New York City neighborhood to crack the top 10 is the West Village, 10014, while Brookside in Mendham Township, 07926, comes in at number 10.

Farther down the list of the top 100 are several other New Jersey ZIP codes. New Vernon places 57th; Mantoloking is 76th; Far Hills, 84th and Saddle River, 85th.

Did you notice that part about California covering most of the slots in the top ten and New Jersey holding numbers 1 and 10? Why do you think that is? What do those two states have that the others are lacking to one degree or another? Could it be this and this?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Car as Lethal Threat

The Houston Chronicle reports on another incident of the police shooting at the driver of a threatening vehicle.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio police officer fired shots at a suspect who drove a SUV over a curb, nearly pinning the officer between his patrol vehicle and the suspect vehicle.

A statement from San Antonio police says the suspect was taken to a hospital early Saturday with a bullet wound to the left arm. The injury was considered non life-threatening.

The shooting happened after officers responded to another shooting and found a woman shot in the leg.

Officer Jesse Izaguirre approached the suspect's vehicle with his emergency lights on and that's when the suspect allegedly drove over the curb.

The woman was also taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

Izaguirre will be placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

I really cannot picture these incidents. In this case the policeman said the bad guy was "nearly pinning the officer between his patrol vehicle and the suspect vehicle. "Wouldn't it already be too late to shoot? The officer "approached the suspect's vehicle with his emergency lights on and that's when the suspect allegedly drove over the curb."

Does that make sense to you? Why do so many pro-gun commenters defend the cops in cases like this? Are the gun rights of lawful civilian gun owners somehow tied up with the behaviour of the police with their guns? Or is this another case of the pro-gun guys focusing on the gun again. I keep telling them the gun is neither good nor bad, it's an inanimate object. It always depends upon the person using it, and in this case I have my doubts about Officer Jesse Izaguirre.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who is Doing All the Shooting?

In a recent post I made the claim that most of the incidents of gun violence are committed by lawful gun owners. Naturally this didn't go over very well with some of the commenters and I was asked to explain. Here it is.

According to the Department of Justice, which produced a number of surveys on this very question, we have the results of one of those surveys on Table 11, page 19 of this report.

Nearly 3 in 4 defendants with a conviction record, 43% of defendants overall, had at least one prior conviction for a felony (table 11). Thirty-five percent of defendants whose current charge was for a violent felony had previously been convicted of a felony. Murder (42%) and robbery(41%) defendants were about twice as likely as rape defendants (21%) to have a felony conviction record. Thirty-six percent of assault defendants had a prior felony conviction.

For murderers, the percentage who had prior felony convictions was 42%. This means very simply that 58% of the folks surveyed in this report, done by the DOJ, I remind you, were law-abiding gun owners until the moment they pulled the trigger.

Another even larger part of gun violence, often overlooked, is suicide. I don't understand why some people want to leave it out. To me a self-inflicted bullet to the brain is about as violent as it gets.

The Illinois Council against Handgun Violence understands this and has produced a useful fact sheet.

U.S. firearm suicide total was 17,002, an increase of 1.5% from 2004 national gun suicide numbers. The state of Illinois saw a nearly 10% INCREASE in gun suicides in that same time, from 387 in 2004 to 424 in 2005. Most suicides in the U.S. are committed with firearms.

More than half of all suicides in the U.S. are committed with firearms. In 2004, 52% of all suicides in the U.S. were committed with guns. In Illinois, guns suicides made up 39% of the total suicides for 2004.

Access to lethal means, especially firearms, greatly increases the likelihood that someone will commit suicide. A gun in the home is 11 times more likely to be used to attempt or commit a suicide than to be used in self-defense.

Taking these facts into consideration, there's only one thing we have to speculate about. No one seems to provide data on what percentage of gun suicides are committed by law-abiding gun owners and what percentage by criminals. What do you think those numbers would be? Would you say 50% / 50%? I don't think so. I'd say it's more like 80% lawful and 20% criminal.

The same type of speculation goes for gun accidents. I'm sure some criminals shoot themselves by accident, but I would imagine the largest percentage is among the lawful gun owners.

To sum up, when combining the number of murders committed by non-criminals, 58%, with the suicides committed by law-abiding gun owners, 80%, and the number of lethal accidents, let's say another 80%, you've got an overwhelming case for considering that, as shocking as it may sound, most gun violence is committed by law-abiding gun owners.

What's your opinion? How would you adjust those percentages? I realize other DOJ surveys showed other percentages, and the suicide and accident percentages are speculation, so what would you say?

Lethal Logic by Dennis A. Henigan, pp. 70, 71

Please leave a comment.

Family Slaughtered in Gwinnett Co. near Atlanta

The Associated Press reports on the Gwinnett County family slaughtered in their home.

When police responding to a 911 call banged on the door of a suburban Atlanta home, they were greeted by a 4-year-old girl in a blood-soaked shirt who said her whole family was dead, a neighbor said.

Gwinnett County police said 44-year-old Richard Ringold fatally shot two women, a man and an 11-year-old girl and injured the 4-year-old Thursday night. Police believe Ringold lived at the house and was the boyfriend of one of the women killed but were still investigating the motive and circumstances Friday, said spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman.

I wonder if the police had more to go on than the fact that Richard Ringold lived there and was the boyfriend of one of the victims. In the two stories I've read about this case nothing else is mentioned. They do say he was arrested when he returned to the scene of the crime. But, I've never been a believer in the myth that the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime. How about you?

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Ringold on charges of murder and aggravated assault, Spellman said.

They put out an alert for Ringold and said he was armed and dangerous.

Ringold arrived at the home shortly after midnight Friday and was arrested."

He asked what we were doing and why we were looking for him," Spellman said.

I wish I could say I'm sure the police know what they're doing, but I'm afraid that's not what I think. What I wonder is if this could be the very first step in a twenty-year-long mistake that ends up with an innocent man being executed. I don't think Texas has a monopoly on that; they do it in Georgia too.

I wonder about the gun too. Like in many of these cases there's little focus on the gun. I suppose the police and the news reporters know better than to focus on an inanimate object. But, I'd like to know if the gun used was owned by the alleged shooter, if he owned it legally, if he had a concealed carry permit, etc., etc. Is that focusing too much on the gun, or is that focusing on the shooter who used the gun?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Surprise Time Capsule Found

The Des Moines Register reports on the unexpected find among the ruins of an old school being demolished.

Joel Semprini was as curious as he was shocked when the foreman of the crew tearing down the old Radcliffe school called last weekend with news that a treasure had been found in the rubble."They'd found the cornerstone of the building, and there was a copper box in it," said Semprini, superintendent of the Hubbard-Radcliffe schools. "The box was filled with things that were put there in 1915, when that school was built. Nobody had any idea it was there. I couldn't wait to get a look at what was in it."

Always a "copper box," doesn't that seem odd? What was in it was not odd; it was the usual stuff.

There were a couple of newspapers - the Aug. 15, 1915, edition of the Radcliffe Signal and the Aug. 24, 1915, edition of The Des Moines Register and Leader - photographs, two school manuals and background information on the first years of the school system. Protected against moisture, light and air for more than nine decades, it all is in perfect condition.

It turned out that the school manuals contained fabulous insights into the educational system of 100-year-ago Iowa.

The manual instructed teachers to enforce a "Morals and Manners" section.

Here is an example for first- and second-graders."Enforce habits of cleanliness, neatness and obedience. Tell simple stories to illustrate honesty, truthfulness and kindness. Require politeness to teacher and schoolmates. ... Teach pupils that politeness does not consist in any mere form of words or any set form of action, but in saying and doing things to help others because you feel kind in your heart toward them."

Here's how it applied to fifth- and sixth-graders: "Illustrate when possible by incident or story, lying, deceit, stealing, idleness, whining, care for another's property, kindness, golden rule, respect for the aged, prompt obedience, politeness, courage in doing right, titles of honor and respect. Deal oftener with moral virtues than with their contrary vices. Impress upon the pupils' minds the truth, 'Do right because it is right.' "

What's your opinion? Do you think this kind of education, which many of our grand-parents and great-grand-parents received is lacking today? Is that the problem, the lack of proper education in modern America?

Please feel free to leave a comment.

The Stars and Stripes

Il Principe has published a fascinating indictment of the main stream media.

The institution of the military is one of the most trusted and respected institutions in America and the newspaper The Stars and Stripes, is considered the official record of the U.S. Armed Forces. Although The Stars and Stripes newspaper may appear to be the mouthpiece for the Pentagon and would never report anything negative about the military, a recent news story first reported by the Stars and Stripes dispels all these preconceptions and biased opinions.

I admit, I'm certainly one who thought exactly this way. I find it absolutely fascinating that a story like this could break first in the Stars and Stripes.

The story reported by the Stars and Stripes involves a private corporation, The Rendon Group, who was hired by the Pentagon to produce background profiles on journalists covering the war. While this story was alarming enough, making the issue more disturbing is the total lack of reporting the story has had in the mainstream press.

One result of the assessments of war correspondents is, in some cases, military commanders determined whether to imbed journalists with their troops based on the Rendon Group evaluation. This may have slanted the entire world perception of the wars.

The Prince's conclusion about why this happened is fascinating too. He says it indicates a growing discontent among the military itself as to the management of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What's your opinion? Do you find it strange that a story like this came out in the Stars and Stripes instead of, let's say, CNN? What about that discontent among military personnel? Is that becoming a problem or is the fact that we've got an all volunteer military ensuring that mainly those who agree with the policies are joining?

What's your opinion?

O'Rielly on Torture

Analysis by LiberalViewer.

What's your opinion? Do you put Bill O'Rielly in the same category with Glenn Beck? To me, Bill seems far more dangerous, although I would imagine their audiences are comprised of the same people for the most part.

Why would anyone oppose a full investigation into this as the ACLU suggests?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Americorps Will Be Obama's SS Claims Beck

I just can't get enough of this guy. I guess I should stop being surprised that people take him seriously. He and his guests hit that nerve that I often accuse the pro-gun crowd of being sensitive to. It's the one which triggers the "grandiose victimism" response. Us against them, us being the little rugged individual, them being the powerful but evil federal government.

On Lindsey's wonderful site Majikthise, she points to Beck's outrageous and twice-repeated claim that Americorps received half a trillion dollars in funding.

In the clip, Beck claims that Americorps has "just received half a trillion dollars in funding." What the hell is he talking about? Half a trillion dollars is $500 billion. Half a trillion dollars would put Americorps in the same league as the Pentagon.

For FY 2010, the president requested less than two billion dollars for Americorps' parent agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and congress appropriated $90 million less than he asked for.

Lindsey mentioned that it was reported that Beck corrected the outlandish claim late in the show. I'd imagine all of it was as calculated and programmed as his frequent emotional outbursts. They must have statistics of how many of the 2 or 3 million viewers don't watch to the very end.

David Bellavia, former Army Staff Seargeant and highly decorated war hero, actually seems more hysterical than Beck. He claims to be genuinely concerned about the evil progressives who want social justice, distorting them into something akin to the SS or the fedayeen. He said he wouldn't make comparisons then went on to do exactly that, comparing Obama to Hitler and Saddam Hussein.

Does this Bellavia have his own show yet? He's a natural, don't you think?

Do you think any good can come from this? What do you think Glenn Beck is trying to accomplish? Is it just about ratings, regardless of whatever effect he may have on the country? Or is he really trying to bring about changes in America? And what might they be?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Georgia Bludgeoning - Seven Dead, Two Wounded


Link kindly supplied by our friend and frequent commenter Bob S.

Yahoo News reports on the terrible shooting bludgeoning that took place in a Southern Georgia trailer park.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Seven people were found slain and two critically injured Saturday at a mobile home park built on the grounds of a historic plantation in southeastern Georgia, police said.

Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering called it the worst mass slaying in his 25 years of police work in this coastal Georgia county. He wouldn't say how the victims died.

"This is a record for us. We've never had such an incident with so many victims," Doering told reporters. "It's not a scene that I would want anybody to see."

Do you find it odd that the Police Chief "wouldn't say how the victims died?" I certainly do. Imagine the horror if they hadn't been killed with bullets, but, let's say a knife or a metal pipe. That might be a good reason to be a bit hesitant to say how they died.

By going over to Bonnie's Blog of Blog, I was able to find the link to the local news which did confirm they were shot.
Police declined to say how the victims were killed or injured, but a county official close to investigation said today that they had been shot.

What is it with the police in this case? Are they just under orders to not release any information to the press? I couldn't help wondering if they're a little sensitive about the effect something like this will have on their state's reputation. Georgia is known to be one of the "easy gun law" states. Maybe the police feel it would be a shame for anyone to connect that with this.

What's your opinion? Is this just another one of the little incidents we must accept in order for the sacred gun rights to be preserved?

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