Saturday, November 7, 2009

Richard Dawkins on Creationism

Via The Existentialist Cowboy, what is a single sentence that can disprove Creationism?

Richard Dawkins was recently issued a challenge --disprove creationiam in one sentence. I can do that myself. Here it is: If we can see Andromeda --some 2.5 MILLION years distant from earth --then creationism is false!

Andromeda can be seen even with the naked eye; in any case, it takes light from Andromeda some 2.5 MILLION light years to get here and be seen. That we can see these objects with or without telescopes UTTERLY DISPROVES creationism and a 'young Earth' or young universe.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Guns on Military Bases

Over at Joe Huffman's wonderful pro-gun site he posted this:

Reading the swarm of comments over on Oleg's blog, it seems a lot of military folks, those with real experience, favor keeping people disarmed in barracks and around the base;

Joe, naturally, explained why that's totally ridiculous. One of the commenters suggested perhaps it's the higher level military brass who said this.

Here's my comment, which for some reason I was not able to leave over there.

Of course they do, Joe, because they're not biased gun enthusiasts who refuse to open their eyes to obvious realities. I don't think it was the "military leadership" who were saying this either. These are normal reasonable guys who don't have an agenda like the pro-gun folks do.

What do you think? Don't soldiers and marines on base engage in a bit or rough-housing, don't they play pranks on each other, doesn't it often go too far? Then of course you've got the beer-driven brawls. Aren't young military guys known for this? How could the suggestion of gun free bases stateside be met with anything but acceptance?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Rare Japanese Shooting

The BBC reports on a shooting in Yokohama, Japan in which a man wounded three before taking his own life. The title of the article speaks volumes. Three hurt in rare Japan shooting.

The gunman had taken refuge in a building in a residential area which the police surrounded.

A police spokesman said one of the injured men was in a critical condition and the other two were lightly wounded.

Japanese media reported the violence appeared to be gang related. Shootings are rare in Japan, where there are strict gun control laws.

Police named the gunman as Kenji Hayashi, a 62-year-old member of the Inagawa-kai, a large Japanese organised crime group.

He had identified himself to police after they surrounded him.

Police entered the building when Mr Hayashi stopped talking and they found him dead.

"We stormed the building and found the man on the floor with a revolver, bleeding from his right ear," AFP news agency quoted a police spokesman as saying.

What gun violence there is in Japan tends to be associated with the Japanese mafia, known as yakuza.

Gun violence is extremely rare in Japan because guns are extremely rare, at least by American standards. The correlation between gun availability and violent gun incidents in a given society seems indisputable to me. Why do pro-gun folks keep denying it?

If Japan were suddenly flooded with guns, do you think the violence would increase or stay the same? If Japan were flooded with guns do you think the incidents of suicide would increase or stay the same?

Please leave a comment.

More on the Iron Pipeline

America Magazine published an article scheduled for their next issue entitled simply enough, The Iron Pipeline.

Kristen Rand, legislative director at the nonprofit Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., pointed out to America that such weapons all come from jurisdictions without strong laws like Chicago’s. “You can’t buy a handgun in Chicago or the District of Columbia legally, so traffickers go to states with weaker laws and then bring them to the cities that don’t allow their purchase.” For Ms. Rand and other gun control advocates, one of the worst aspects of a victory by those who mounted McDonald v. Chicago would be that it would remove what she called “the most effective measures to prevent handgun violence.” She observed that the Supreme Court in both Heller and now in McDonald is examining the issue solely as a question of constitutional law “and not in terms of the deadly effect on citizens of gun violence.” The court should know better than most that, as former U.S. Justice Robert H. Jackson said, “the Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

Although most observers fear that the outcome of the Chicago case will be similar to that of the Heller case, one ground for hope is a bill introduced by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey. It would mandate background checks for all private sales at gun shows. In the meantime, states with bad records of gun violence continue to allow gun show loopholes to remain open. The implications of the killing of 33 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 by a mentally deranged man who had no difficulty obtaining his weapons has faded too quickly from public memory. Virginia legislators who are once more resisting plugging the gun show loophole for private sales seem also to have forgotten. Closing this loophole could slow the deadly flow along the iron pipeline.

Rights have correlative duties. When individuals and localities do not meet those responsibilities, it falls to government to do so. Thus, if there is a fundamental Second Amendment right to bear arms, there is also, as there must be, a fundamental responsibility to regulate their sale and use.

I'm not clear what Ms. Rand means by “the most effective measures to prevent handgun violence.” If the Court decides that Chicagoans can have guns in their homes, I don't see what will change as far as the "iron pipeline" goes. Certainly there won't be hundreds of FFL shops in Chicago immediately. I don't think that's the case in D.C.

Another question I had is using the VA Tech shooting in a discussion of the gun show loophole seems wrong. I think he bought his guns legally, didn't he?

The overall message of the article, though, I agree with wholeheartedly. The so-called gun show loophole, or better stated, the sale or transfer of firearms without a background check, should be stopped. My gun-enthusiast friends have failed to convince me that something is wrong with this. Usually they divert the discussion, questioning the meaning of the words "gun show loophole," trying to say that folks who use that expression don't know what they're talking about. That may be the case at times, but around here, everyone understands.

When pro-gun folks argue against this I believe they're showing their true colors. They're taking their cue from the NRA which preaches don't give in on anything, don't give an inch, never acquiesce. How rare is the pro-gun person who can admit unlicensed sales are the source of too many guns entering the criminal world and they should be stopped.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Jon Stewart does Glenn Beck

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Suicide at the Range

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on a tragedy.

A 53-year-old man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a Taylorsville gun range Wednesday night.

The shooting, which has not been ruled a suicide or accidental yet, occurred just after 5 p.m. at Doug's Shoot N' Sports, 4926 South and Redwood Road.

Taylorsville police Sgt. John Cooper said there were other people in the gun range but no one witnessed the shooting.

The gun involved was a pistol and police believe only one shot was fired.

Fire officials said the bullet struck the man in the head.

Do you think I'm going out on a limb calling it "suicide?" I guess it's possible to accidentally shoot yourself in the head, but I'm guessing this one was suicide.

Suicides with guns are certainly not rare occurrences, but how often do they happen at the shooting range? I would imagine they could be more numerous than the occasional reports we see in the press. What with all the shootings that happen every day, these might not make the front pages. And surely most gun suicides happen in the home, that just stands to reason.

What's to be done? Reduce the number of guns in the hands of these unstable people. That may result in an overall reduction of guns in the hands of people generally, it certainly will result in increased inconvenience to the law-abiding and mentally sound gun owners, but what else can we do? I wish someone would tell us.

Please leave a comment.

It's Happening in Delhi too

The Times of India reports on the booming gun problem in Delhi.

The use of guns has been going up for the past few years. This year (see box) there were 175 cases of reported fire arms use; last year there were 161. The police say that the gun culture has not just grown in the capital, but even more alarmingly in the NCR towns of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad.

The seizure made this year by Delhi Police has also shown a spiral in illegal firearms seized 300 this year as compared to 230 weapons last year, till October 15. Apart from providing firearms, the cops say that they are facing hurdles to stop the flow of ammunition. says an official at Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI).

Did he say "The problem is due to easy availability of guns, both licensed and unlicensed?" Yes, that's what I thought he said.

What's your opinion? Is the fact that a gun is an inanimate object any reason to resist the theory that easy availability of guns contributes to the problem of gun violence? Does the fact that gun control advocates repeatedly offer this as a key element in the problem indicate that they fail to grasp the fact that the gun is a tool?

What's your opinion? I believe the reason pro-gun folks keep repeating that the gun is just another tool and that it's an inanimate object is simply to make their opponents sound silly. The fact is, many gun control folks understand these ideas all too well, and we still believe the availability of guns is key.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Ft. Hood: 12 Dead, 31 Wounded

BBC News reports on the terrible shooting that took place on Ft. Hood in Texas. (Via Laci)

A US army major has opened fire on fellow soldiers at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, killing 12 people and injuring 31, officials say.

Base commander Lt Gen Bob Cone said that the gunman had not been killed, as earlier stated, but was in custody.

Who would do such a terrible thing, and why? Of course all the answers aren't in yet, but so far this is what's known.

The gunman has been named as Major Nidal Malik Hasan. He is now said to be wounded after being shot a number of times, but in a stable condition in custody.

"His death is not imminent," said Lt Gen Cone.

Maj Hasan, aged 39, was a military psychiatrist and was reportedly due to be sent on a mission to Iraq.

His cousin said Maj Hasan - a US-born Muslim - had been resisting such a deployment.

"He hired a military attorney to try to have the issue resolved, pay back the government, to get out of the military. He was at the end of trying everything," Nader Hasan told Fox News.

He also said that Nidal Malik Hasan had been battling racial harassment because of his "Middle Eastern ethnicity".

I've heard it said before, usually jokingly, that psychiatrists suffer from more than their share of mental illnesses. I realize this incident is no joke. Perhaps the breakdown of Maj. Hasan is a tragic illustration of that.

What's your opinion? Isn't it a sad irony that Maj. Hasan was probably the one to recommend others for discharge when they showed signs of instability, yet he himself had to stay in until he cracked?

Please leave a comment.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meteoroid - Meteor - Meteorite

Credit: Pierre Thomas (LST), ENS Lyon

Naturally, Wikipedia has the explanation.

A meteoroid is a sand to boulder-sized particle of debris in the Solar System. The visible path of a meteoroid that enters Earth's (or another body's) atmosphere is called a meteor. If a meteoroid reaches the ground, it is then called a meteorite.

One of our frequent commenters, Bob S., who runs a very interesting pro-gun blog by the way, has gone to great lengths to explain why he carries a gun. When I asked him if he'd had to use it lately to save himself or his family, he said no he hadn't, but it's better to be prepared just in case. To that I asked why he doesn't prepare in a similar way for that occasional meteorite. If a tiny meteorite ever lands on his head, I'd bet he'd wish he'd worn some kind of protective head gear.

The following is what all responsible men should know, if they want to protect themselves and their families that is.

The biggest asteroid to hit Earth on any given day is likely to be about 40 centimeters, in a given year about 4 meters, and in a given century about 20 meters. These statistics are obtained by the following:

Over at least the range from 5 centimeters (2 inches) to roughly 300 meters (1,000 feet), the rate at which Earth receives meteors obeys a power-law distribution (meaning there is no typical size in the conventional sense) as follows:

N (>D) = 37 D {-2.7}

where N(>D) is the expected number of objects larger than a diameter of D meters to hit Earth in a year.

This is based on observations of bright meteors seen from the ground and space, combined with surveys of near Earth asteroids. Above 300 meters in diameter, the predicted rate is somewhat higher, with a two-kilometer asteroid (one million->megaton TNT equivalent) every couple of million years — about 10 times as often as the power-law extrapolation would predict.

What's your opinion? Is it fair to compare the probability of needing a gun to save your life to the chance of being struck by a meteorite? Have you ever seen a picture of the surface of the moon?

I make this comparison only partly in jest. The point is both are so unlikely that reasonable people don't take any extraordinary precautions.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Fayetteville Family of Four Dead in Murder / Sucide

The Fayetteville Observer reports on the shocking murder / suicide which took place in their community. (Via Bonnie)

Police said Billy Maxwell Jr., 47, shot and killed his family at their home at 314 W. Park Ave. about 8 p.m. The victims included his wife, Kathryn, and their two children - 17-year-old Connor and Cameron.

One of the victim's in-laws discovered the bodies and called 911.

Students gathered this morning at Village Christian Academy and at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church to mourn the loss of their classmates.

Friends of the family described Billy Maxwell as a good family man who was highly involved in Snyder Baptist Church and his community. Billy's on my top-five nice-guy list,'' said Neil Grant, a longtime friend. "I've never seen him angry, ill, or upset."

State Sen. Tony Rand lives on East Park Avenue, across a small park that separates the two roads.

"From everything I knew about him, he was a nice guy," Rand said.

The only thing they left out in the description was "gun owner." As often happens, the press made no mention of the gun, where it came from, whether it was legally owned, etc. This is the same press that the gun rights folks continually say is biased against them. To me it seems just the opposite.

What's your opinion? Isn't it a reasonable response to tragedies like this to suggest gun bans? How else can we deal with gun owners who show no indication of instability prior to the incident?

I don't support total gun bans, myself although I understand why some folks call for them. I think the availability of guns needs to be diminished, both to criminals and to law-abiding citizens. If the number of guns in the country were halved, the number of incidents like this would be diminished as well.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Another Vegas Police Shooting reports on the latest police shooting in Las Vegas.

A former Libertarian congressional candidate on Tuesday denied police accounts that he pulled a gun while running from a Las Vegas police officer who shot him last week.

Raymond James Duensing Jr. said he was the author of a Web posting that acknowledged he had a gun and a knife in his pockets when he ran from Officer David Gilbert after he was stopped in a rental car for a traffic violation. He also wrote that he always carries a gun and at least one knife, and that his gun was licensed and registered.

"I NEVER pulled either of these items out of my pockets," he wrote.

Of course the police give a different description.

Police said Duensing had been sought on a warrant on a misdemeanor traffic violation and that he became "extremely agitated and noncompliant" with Gilbert, a 16-year department veteran.

Duensing said he was standing outside the vehicle with his hands raised, "calmly speaking to the cop attempting to talk my way out of being taken to jail over an unpaid high-occupancy vehicle ticket" when Gilbert shocked him with a Taser stun gun.

Duensing said that prompted him to run, fearing the electrical charge would aggravate heart problems he said he has had since birth.

Is it possible for someone to flee AFTER being shocked with a taser?

What's an "unpaid high-occupancy vehicle ticket?" Is that having too many people in the car?

What about the fact that "he always carries a gun and at least one knife, and that his gun was licensed and registered?" What kind of a person does that? Do you think the kind of paranoia that causes a person to always carry a gun and "at least one knife," could be consistent with the police description of "extremely agitated and non compliant?" Certainly you don't think that's the proper behavior for a law abiding gun owner, do you?

Please leave a comment.

The NRA vs. Florida Adoption Agencies

The Miami Herald reports on the latest legislation sponsored by the NRA.

The National Rifle Association is pushing legislation to ban adoption agencies from asking potential parents if they have guns and ammunition in the home.

NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said adoption agencies are violating gun-owners' rights by asking about firearms in an adoption form. She said any request about gun ownership from an agency connected with government was tantamount to establishing a gun registry.

"Gun registration is illegal in Florida,'' Hammer said. "An adoption agency has no right to subvert the privacy rights of gun owners.''

What's your opinion? Isn't that a bit of a stretch calling it "tantamount to establishing a gun registry?" It sounds like the real reason is fear of discrimination based on the fact that the prospective parents are gun owners. But, couldn't it work both ways? Gun people say owning a firearm makes them better able to protect their families. What if the adoption agency is of that opinion? In that case not owning a gun could be a liability.

Some longtime NRA opponents, like Democratic Sen. Nan Rich, said she did not like the idea of banning an agency from simply asking about gun ownership. "Parents frequently ask if other parents have guns in the home before their kids play there, so why can't an adoption agency just ask?'' Rich said.

Do you think that makes sense? Shouldn't the agency have as much information as possible in order to make the best decisions?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Jersey's New Governor

The Brady Blog posted an analysis of the election results as they should affect gun control issues.

...while Brady-endorsed Jon Corzine lost his bid for re-election as New Jersey governor to gun control supporter Chris Christie.

This link goes to a wonderful interview of the then hopeful governor Chris Christie by Sean Hannity for Fox News.

HANNITY: Are there any issues where you are, quote, moderate to left as a Republican?

CHRISTIE: Listen, I favor some of the gun-control measures we have in New Jersey.

HANNITY: Bad idea.

CHRISTIE: Listen, we have a densely-populated state, and there's a big hand gun problem in New Jersey. Now, I don't support all the things that the governor supports by a long stretch. But I think on guns — certain gun control issues, looking at it from a law-enforcement perspective, seeing how many police officers were killed, we have an illegal gun problem in New Jersey.

HANNITY: Should every — should every citizen in the state be allowed to get a licensed weapon if they want one?

CHRISTIE: In New Jersey, that's not going to happen, Sean.


CHRISTIE: Listen, the Democratic legislature we have, there's no way those type of things — listen, at the end of the day, what I support are common sense laws that will allow people to protect themselves, but I also am very concerned about the safety of our police officers on the streets, very concerned. And I want to make sure that we don't have an abundance of guns out there.

But listen, the issues in this race are taxes and jobs and spending.

I find it interesting that he feels an "abundance of guns out there" is a problem for the police. That's just the opposite of the pro-gun position, isn't it?

What's your opinion? Are things going to change in New Jersey now as far as gun control goes? It doesn't sound like it to me.

Please leave a comment.

Does Obama Approve of Polygamy? reports on the appointment by President Obama of Chai R. Feldblum as commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

We thought our nation had settled the polygamy issue a century and a half ago, but this nomination makes it a 21st century controversy. Obama's nominee for the EEOC, a lesbian law-school professor named Chai R. Feldblum, signed a 2006 manifesto endorsing polygamous households (i.e., "in which there is more than one conjugal partner").

This document, titled "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships," argues that traditional marriage "should not be legally and economically privileged above all others." The American people obviously think otherwise, and current laws reflect our wishes.

The article goes on to mention that Obama's regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, wrote a book in 2008 called "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness," in which he urged that "the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government."

Sunstein argues that traditional marriage discriminates against single people by imposing "serious economic and material disadvantages." He asks, "Why not leave people's relationships to their own choices, subject to the judgments of private organizations, religious and otherwise?"

We like Mr. Sunstein very much around here. Who can forget that wonderfully informative hour-long video of his on the 2nd Amendment. After that, I tend to like anything he says.

What's your opinion? Is the Obama administration truly leaning towards supporting polygamy and other alternative lifestyles? Would that be good or bad for the country? Do you think such a leaning on the part of the government would increase the terrible divisiveness that has marked the last few years in American history?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Seizures Increase on the Mexican Border

The Associated Press reports on the marked increase of gun and drug seizures on the Mexican border.

U.S. authorities on Tuesday reported a spike in seizures of guns and cash along the Mexican border since they began assigning more agents to stem the flow of southbound contraband.

Nearly 600 illegal weapons were seized along the border by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials from March through September, an increase of more than 50 percent from the same period of 2008.

The agencies seized more than $40 million in cash along the border from mid-March through September, nearly double the amount in the year-ago period.

The seizures represent a tiny fraction of business done by Mexican and Colombian drug lords. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, those drug lords generate $18 billion to $39 billion in wholesale drug proceeds in the United States each year. Cash proceeds are smuggled across the border to Mexico.

But U.S. officials said the figures demonstrate that heightened enforcement is paying off.

What's your opinion? Does this news indeed indicate that the increased efforts are paying off? Does this mean that the War on Drugs is not lost after all?

The article made mention of the origin of those weapons.

Mexico asked U.S. authorities to trace 12,073 firearms last year, up from only 2,906 in 2007 and 2,654 in 2006, according to the ATF. Of those successfully traced, the firearms bureau said about 90 percent came from the United States.

Isn't it funny that they still say that? I believe it's a bit clearer than it used to be. Now they're sure to include the phrase, "of those successfully traced." But, my question is, why do they keep saying it? Is the Associated Press an anti-gun organization?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wisconsin and Concealed Carry

The Journal Sentinal published a wonderful article by Peggy Schultz entitled "Public safety must be top priority."

Is it a good idea, for example, to add concealed weapons to the already problematic issue of road rage?

And let's think about domestic violence situations, which threaten the very core of our society: the family unit. Is it wise to make it lawful for domestic partners who are at or near the boiling point to arm themselves while out in public, so that when they do boil over, the gun can be used with possibly deadly results?

Throw in overindulgence in alcohol, something our state lawmakers address almost every legislative session, and the mix of concealed weapons, human emotions and intoxication becomes a certain disaster.

It sure sounds like Ms. Schultz and I are on the same page. I've mentioned those very things in my Famous 10% post.

What's your opinion? Is Wisconsin going to join the other states which allow concealed carry? Why have they been so slow in adopting this legislation? Do you think the majority of Wisconsin citizens agree with Peggy Schultz?

Please leave a comment.

More on the Blue Flame Shooting

Last August we discussed a controversial shooting in Harlem in which a shop owner killed two fleeing robbers. Some people didn't feel it was controversial at all. They seem to think this it's the risk you run when you decide to do an armed robbery.

I received the following e-mail from someone personally acquainted with the two dead boys.

Hey my name is ___. I was well aquainted with the 3 of the 4 Robbers. Including the 2 whom were murdered. I recently learned about the acts. I've read just about every blog posting, and article. I wonder if we can continue further. Maybe take a little more action? Keep me posted please, and thanx for your time. I mean, the way things have been I can't decide weather I should even persue this. However I'm a very religious catholic and God won't let me forget if I do not. Thank you again.

I responded like this:

I'm not sure what you mean by "pursue this," but I wouldn't mind making another post on this case. Please tell me more. And let me know if what you tell me can be used on my blog. I can keep your name out of it, of course. I'm sorry for your loss, if you consider it that. My whole thing is that many of these so-called defensive shootings are nothing of the sort. Thanks and take care. M

And the latest:

Hey again. And Yes, I consider it a loss only because things could have been handled differently, and its always a sad situation with things like such. By persue this I meant emphasize the holes in the media's story. Simply because defense comes along with lethal threat, and having shot a 12 gauge shotgun 4 times toward backsides proves there was less of a threat than we've been forced to believe there was. I just want the families of the dead men to know that somewhere along the lines justice has been served. Again I want to thank you for your time and support. I think its wonderful what you've done. You were the 1st person who stood out to me bc you haven't classified Gus as a hero, but as another suspect. Be well, ___.

What's your opinion? Is New York so down on criminals that they actually made a hero out of a guy who shot two of them running away? Can such a think be justified?

Please leave a comment.

Is Secession Next?

The Brady Blog posted an article by Dennis A. Henigan asking some interesting questions.

We know that individuals can defy the law. Can a state legislature defy the law? When it comes to the gun issue, apparently it can.

I refer to the extraordinary legislation passed into law by the states of Montana and Tennessee declaring that guns or ammunition manufactured and retained entirely within the borders of those states are “not subject to federal law.” Apparently, similar legislation has been introduced in Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Colorado.

Can a state unilaterally exempt its homemade products from the reach of federal law? Only if it is prepared to defy the United States Constitution.

He goes on to explain that these initiatives into States' rights are actually unconstitutional. How is it that gun owners, who continually fall back on the 2nd Amendment for the justification of their actions, don't have a problem with this?

Under the Constitution, Congress has certain enumerated powers, including the power “to regulate Commerce. . . among the several states.”

The article continues to compare these actions to other failed attempts to resist Constitutional power.

The idea that states can unilaterally “opt out” of federal law is not new. Its ancestors range from the 18th century Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution, who thought only the states should have the power to regulate commerce, to John C. Calhoun’s nullification doctrine that led to the Civil War, to Governor George Wallace standing in the doorway defying the Attorney General of the United States, who was enforcing a federal order requiring the enrollment of black students at the University of Alabama. In short, on the issue of gun control, Montana and Tennessee have cast their lot with the historic “losers” in the great constitutional debate over state vs. federal power.

What's your opinion? Is there an inconsistency between the gun enthusiast who talks about the 2nd Amendment in one breath and States' autonomy in the next? What about those examples of "historic losers?" Are they good examples to describe what Montana and Tennessee are doing?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Stockholm Syndrome

Isn't it silly how so many people are so concerned about socialism. Via Becky Stauffer at One Utah.

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Guns Are Still Bad News for Women

Fox News carried this story from Savannah Georgia.

Savannah area police arrested a 69-year-old in the shooting death of his wife of more than 40 years.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department officers arrested Robert M. Johnson Saturday in the death of 66-year-old Mary Ellen Johnson. He's charged with murder.

Witnesses told police the couple got into an argument that climaxed in the shooting. Mary Ellen Johnson was transported to Memorial Hospital where she died of her wounds.

Officers quickly apprehended Johnson after he left the residence following the shooting. Johnson was charged with murder and booked at the Chatham County Jail.

And The Chicago Tribune has this one.

A West Side man was charged with attempted murder Sunday in the shooting of his girlfriend this weekend, Chicago police said.

The 21-year-old woman was critically wounded after being shot in the chest about 9:45 a.m. Saturday at the home of Clinton Watkins, 23, in the 500 block of North Lawler Avenue in the Austin neighborhood, police said.

Watkins was charged Sunday with attempted murder and aggravated domestic battery, police said.

An investigation indicated the woman had been shot by her boyfriend in a domestic dispute, Officer Michael Fitzpatrick said.

Chances are in Georgia it was a legally owned gun while in Chicago it was not. But who cares? What's the difference? When men abuse women the gun often makes the difference.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

A Proper Gun Dealer in Philadelphia reports on a gun shop in Philadelphia, once famous for its connection to gun violence.

ON THE GLASS cases featuring guns for sale at the Delaware Valley Sports Center, the stickers warn: "Don't Lie for the Other Guy."

Behind the cases, center manager Dwayne O'Brien stands ready to rat out scofflaws, with dozens of cops' numbers programmed on his cell phone, some on speed dial.

You'd never suspect that this shop was once among the city's top crime-gun dealers, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Mr. O'Brien very rightly doesn't want to be targeted or scapegoated by gun control activists. I don't think that's the intention of gun control folks, especially in a case where the gun store owner is obviously doing the right thing. The article, written by Dana Di Filippo seems a little biased.

Gun dealers, the thinking goes, should be held accountable for their role in the gun violence that bloodies city streets. Careless or crooked gun dealers are just as guilty as the criminals who illegally use guns, firearm foes say.

"You can't stop gun crime without targeting the source, which is corrupt gun dealers," said Daniel Vice, senior attorney at the Brady Center. "It's the same reason we target drug kingpins ."

What's your opinion? Isn't the fact that the new owner is making an extra effort to change the reputation of the store an indication that the former owner was not? Isn't it acceptable to target the source, if that source is providing easy purchases to criminals?

Nevertheless, "[t]hat view vexes O'Brien." He makes one of the worst car comparisons I've seen.

"That's like holding a car dealership responsible when someone kills someone with a car - you cannot control what the consumer does with the product," O'Brien said. "The only thing you can do is make sure that gun gets in hands that are safe and legal."

I guess if you're talking about a car dealer who sold cars to people known to be underage or known to have suspended licenses, then you could make such a comparison. But I'm afraid this just doesn't work.

Nor does calling gun control activists "firearm foes," like the article did above.

What's your opinion? Does anyone really believe the Brady Campaign and other gun control people would have a problem with Mr. O'Brien who is obviously striving to do the right thing?

O'Brien knows well the clues that suggest that a customer is a straw buyer.

A hovering boyfriend who picks the gun and answers O'Brien's questions but then has his girlfriend complete the paperwork.

A patron who consults with friends waiting in the parking lot outside before buying.

"People asking for Glocks, because they hear about them in rapper songs," said O'Brien, who has worked in the gun industry for 12 years. "I try to steer them back to models more suited for first-time buyers, but they say: 'No, I want a Glock.' And they don't know anything about Glocks or guns at all."

But red flags trump profit.

"If I don't feel right about a sale, I won't sell it," O'Brien said. "Because I'm white, bald and tattooed, they think I'm racist when I refuse a sale."

Speaking for myself, I'd say this is exactly what we want in a gun shop owner. Some of the others we've discussed could learn a thing or two from Dwayne O'Brien.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Califfornia and Marijuana Reform

Just like California is a leader in the gun control movement, they are also spearheading the way in marijuana reform. What's your opinion? (Via Tobaccoland)

3-Year-Old Shoots Self in Head

The Mercury News reports on yet another incident of a child shooting himself with a gun.

RIALTO, Calif.—Police say a 3-year-old Southern California boy is hospitalized in critical condition after shooting himself in the face with a handgun.

Rialto police Sgt. Richard Royce says the boy apparently shot himself with the .22 caliber gun while his 41-year-old grandmother was caring for him.

Royce says the woman is the boy's legal guardian.

Royce says investigators are trying to determine how the boy got hold of the gun but he said the shooting was an accident.

He says the bullet entered the boy's nasal cavity and the child underwent about an hour of surgery after he was taken to a hospital.

Police would not immediately say whether any arrests or criminal charges were planned.

Rialto is a city of nearly 100,000 people in San Bernardino County.

I keep hearing how rare these incidents are. Yet they keep appearing in the news. It's exactly the opposite of the claim that DGUs are so frequent, yet they rarely appear in the news.

I say incidents of kids playing with guns is much more common than the pro-gun folks admit and the incidents of DGUs are fewer. What do you think?

London Compared to Baltimore

The Times On Line published an article debunking the comparison of London to Baltimore. (Via Laci)

The country’s most senior policeman has rebuffed the political fashion for likening Britain’s inner cities to The Wire, the critically acclaimed American drama.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that the annual murder rate in London was two deaths per 100,000 of the population — compared with 35 per 100,000 in Baltimore, where the gritty gangland series is set.

I don't think anyone is saying that violence is non-existent in England. On the contrary, it's serious business.

Murders account for a small proportion of the shootings but detectives have noted a rise in attacks intended to injure or intimidate — ranging from wounding in the legs and buttocks to shooting at homes and cars.

Commander Martin Hewitt told The Times: “We are seeing more lower limb woundings than before. Sometimes that is due to the gunman being a poor shot or the weapon being a poor and inaccurate conversion. But some shootings are deliberately trying not to kill — they are about making a point, intimidating someone, being seen to be doing something.”

That's a frightening picture of what's going on there, but I would imagine if you compared incidents of purposeful wounding between London and Baltimore, you'd have about the same proportion as you do with murders. What do you think?

I've heard so much about the substitution of knives for guns, as if that has made up for the difference. What do you think? Are pro-gun advocates in America so defensive about their position that they have to deny obvious and straightforward facts? Guns are more lethal than knives, period.

Murder rates per 100,000 population

133 Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

130 Caracas, Venezuela

67 New Orleans

62 Cape Town

35 Baltimore

6 New York

2 London

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Guns in Pennsylvania

The Beaver County Times on-line reports on the growing movement of laws in Pennsylvania requiring reporting of lost or stolen guns.

Aliquippa Mayor Anthony Battalini wants to give his city’s police officers every possible tool available when it comes to stopping gun violence such as the recent shootings in the city’s Plan 12 neighborhood.

And he said he thinks an ordinance that requires residents to report lost or stolen firearms might be a good way to do just that.

“I have some questions about how it could be enforced, sure,” Battalini said. “But even if it gives our officers a heads-up about weapons that might be out there, it would have to help.”

What could possibly be the objection to something like this? The article goes on to say the NRA has been fighting this "in court and out." But we already knew that, didn't we? Doesn't it sometimes seem the pro-gun crowd will oppose any and all legislation concerning guns regardless of its merits? That's the way it seems to me. In this particular case though, there's another reason.

Even Battalini, whose city hasn’t formally considered a similar ordinance, has been the subject of an NRA campaign because he joined the state’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.

“I’m a gun owner, and I’d never do anything to take guns out of the hands of people who own them legally,” he said. “This doesn’t have anything to do with gun control, and it doesn’t have any effect on legal gun owners.

“The thing with the NRA is that they’re not the ones who have to talk to the mother of a kid who’s been killed by a gun,” Battalini said. “I’ve had to do that. Where is the NRA then?”

Joining the MAIG is generally enough to become a target of the NRA, even if you're a gun owner and supporter of the 2nd Amendment. The pro-gun folks sure are a contentious lot, they even like to fight among themselves.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Using Halloween

I dedicate this to all my friends who see things as black and white, the ones who know what's right and stick to their guns no matter what. You know who you are. Via Patterico.

Struggle Over the Gun: One Dead reports on a terrible incident that took place in Birmingham.

One man was killed and another injured as the two struggled over a loaded gun in the 800 block of 20th Street Ensley this evening, according to police.

The man with the gun got into an argument about 5:30 p.m. with another man at Life Styles Detail Shop, a car wash less than a block from Avenue I.

The two struggled over the gun, the gun went off and both men were shot.

The man who brought the gun to the car wash was killed. The other man was taken across the street to a Birmingham fire station and then to UAB Hospital. Police did not know the injured man's condition.

This took place in gun-friendly Alabama. It illustrates the problem with gun proliferation, concealed carry laws, lax gun control generally. The presumption on the part of the pro-gun crowd is that they are somehow above these incidents, that they avoid confrontation rather than go out looking for it. Although I have no doubt this may be true for the majority, it certainly does not apply to the minority. Some gun owners cannot be trusted with guns, it's a simple as that. The more guns we have out there, the more incidents like this we have. It's a simple and obvious proportion.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Probation for Killing ex-Officer

The Houston Chronicle reports on the sentencing of the wheelman in a drive-by shooting that left an ex-officer dead.

A Houston judge on Friday sentenced the wheelman in a drive-by shooting that killed a retired police officer to 10 years of probation after a deal was struck with prosecutors for his cooperation.

State District Judge Susan Brown could have sentenced Raziel Jesus Munoz, 23, to a maximum of 15 years in prison after he agreed to testify against two co-defendants in the shooting that killed 78-year-old Velia “Belle” Ortega, who had been the Houston Police Department's first Hispanic female officer.

Instead, Brown sentenced Munoz to 10 years of deferred adjudication on a charge of felony murder, which means he would not have a conviction on his record if he completes probation.

At first it seemed quite incongruous that in Texas such a light sentence could be issued for such a serious crime. What do you think? Was the prosecution's case too weak to make convictions without Munoz' cooperation? Is anything Munoz says to be considered credible since he's gaining so much by saying it?

I love to read into these things, so tell me how this works for you. First of all, the victim was Hispanic and in Texas everyone knows they don't count quite as much as your regular white folks. Secondly, everyone involved in this messy case knows the chances of Munoz completing his probation without any additional criminal arrests are about zero. The results being, he'll be doing life along with his buddies sooner or later anyway.

The problems are two. Raziel Jesus Munoz should probably be taken off the streets now and not later after someone else dies. And, when he does eventually go to prison, it will really be a death sentence for having ratted on his partners.

What's your opinion? Do you think I'm reading too much into the case? How do you see it?

Please leave a comment.

Death Penalty for Killing Prison Guard

The Corrections One site reports on a Florida inmate who was sentenced to death for killing a prison guard.

A Volusia County jury has unanimously recommended the death penalty for prisoner Enoch Hall, who was convicted last week of murdering a state corrections officer.

The jury made its recommendation about 7:30 p.m. Thursday after 2 1/2 hours of deliberation, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office said.

Hall -- who told officers shortly after the murder that he "freaked out" and "killed her" -- was convicted last week of first-degree murder. He stabbed Donna Fitzgerald 22 times on June 25, 2008.

Prosecutors said the death penalty is an appropriate punishment because of the severity of the crime. Hall, 40, was serving two life sentences for the sexual battery and kidnapping of a 66-year-old woman near Pensacola when he attacked Fitzgerald, 50, who was unarmed, with a shank made of sheet metal.

I'm opposed to the death penalty on principle, but I admit this type of crime brings up a difficult dilemma. How do you punish someone already serving life in prison?

One thing that occurred to me reading the story, at the risk of sounding like I'm blaming the victim, or blaming the system instead of the murderer, is, isn't this a failure on the part of the prison to adequately protect its guards? I know it must be difficult to do, but shouldn't the prison take better precautions with men who have histories of violence? The State of Florida agreed with that.

Because of the murder, three employees were demoted and a new warden was assigned to the prison. Inmates also no longer have unsupervised access to sheet metal and other potential dangers such as welding tools and chemicals.

What's your opinion? Is this the type of crime that even opponents of the death penalty should consider allowing it? What's your opinion?

Please leave a comment.