Saturday, April 3, 2010

President Obama on His Critics

Watch CBS News Videos Online

I can't help but like the way he talks. He's a reasonable man and smart. Do you think he's downplaying the situation when he says there have been other times in American history when the vitriol came out and that it's usually associated with economic difficulty? Do you agree with him that "the vast majority of Americans" know that his administration is trying hard and wants what's best for the country?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sebastian Olivares-Coster Sentenced reports on the sentencing of Sebastian Olivares-Coster, whom we've discussed before.

Sebastian Olivares-Coster, the Helena teen who admitted to fatally shooting a peer and seriously injuring two others last June, appeared in court on Friday and was ordered to serve three life sentences in prison.

Olivares-Coster, 18, pleaded guilty last November to the shooting murder of 16-year-old Cory Andrewski, as well as the attempted murder of two others. The shootings occurred after Olivares-Coster intervened in a text-messaging disagreement between Leary and another boy; the disagreement involved a 15-year old girl. Leary, Andrewski, and Wohlers thought they were meeting the other boy for a fight when they were shot.

Andrewski's mother testified today, asking the judge to follow the state's recommendation of 150 years in prison without parole. Also taking the stand today were teens Kahner Leary and Joey Wohlers; Wohlers was shot seven times on the night of June 3rd, and Leary was shot in each arm and shoulder and in the lower torso.

Do you think the sentence is a bit severe? He only killed one person yet received three life sentences.

Do you think the mother of the dead boy will experience closure and benefit from this heavy sentence? Or does it sound like she's consumed with the kind of hate and desire for revenge and nothing will satisfy?

What kind of gun did he use? It sounds like a lot of shooting doesn't it?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Meteor Helmet

This is what I'm talking about. This is what folks who like to be prepared for every contingency need. Of course, I'd rename it, something like the "Bell II Meteorite Protection System."

The Ultimate Assault Rifle

What do you think about this baby?

Illiterate Tea Baggers

Il Principe sent me a link to this hilarious collection of misspelled tea bagger signs. We've discussed the question of whether the folks in this movement, generally speaking, are racist or not. I tend to think so, but several folks have pointed out that you can't judge the entire group based on the actions or comments of a few individuals. That's fair enough. But can we say they're a bunch of illiterates, or does the same defense prevail.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gun Control Working in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Inquirer published an op-ed piece lamenting the fact that funding may be curtailed for a gun violence task force that has produced results.

A man convicted of buying a .38-caliber handgun and illegally selling it to a drug dealer faced sentencing in a Philadelphia courtroom last month. The crime had led to considerable anguish: The dealer had used the gun to murder his girlfriend, and then he turned it on himself. One straw purchaser, one illegal gun transfer - and two deaths by gunfire.

Arguing for a stiff sentence, the prosecutor noted that straw purchasers never have prior criminal records, which is why they are able to buy guns for people who do. The judge noted the "harm caused in this city and this state by illegal straw purchasing" and sentenced the gun buyer to 11½ to 23 months in jail.

This is the hard work, week in and week out, of the men and women of the Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force. The task force is a team of local prosecutors and detectives from the state Attorney General's Office who investigate and prosecute straw gun purchases and sales - crimes that fuel the violence plaguing Philadelphia and other communities across Pennsylvania.

Is it right to refer to this as "gun control?" Couldn't it be argued that this is more about police work than gun control? Or is this where the two meet?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Guilt by Association

Jonah Goldberg wrote an article for the National Review Online entitled The Hostility Follies. Thanks to FishyJay for the link.

Apparently there’s a self-proclaimed militia leader named Mike Vanderboegh who runs an obscure, low-traffic blog out of Pinson, Ala. (population 5,007). Mr. Vanderboegh recently called on his fellow “sons of liberty” to break the windows of Democrats to protest health-care reform.

Let’s start with the obvious: Vanderboegh is an idiot, and anyone who followed his advice is an idiot, too. These people are buffoons, not just because such tactics help Democrats but because such behavior is simply wrong, reprehensible, and clownish.

Equally wrong, reprehensible, and clownish: the reaction to Vanderboegh and his alleged ilk.

The Daily Beast’s John Avlon insists that Vanderboegh’s rallying cry, combined with some threats and broken windows, make “the parallels, intentional or not, to the Nazis’ heinous 1938 Kristallnacht . . . hard to ignore.”

Actually, it’s really, really easy to ignore the parallels. During Kristallnacht, Nazi goons destroyed not just 7,000 store windows but hundreds of synagogues and thousands of homes. Tens of thousands of Jews were hauled off to concentration camps by the Nazis, who had been in total power for half a decade.

I couldn't agree more that comparing Mike Vanderboegh's encouragement of vandalism, even if there were greater acts of violence intended, to the holocaust is absolutely ridiculous. But Mr. Goldberg's point that the liberal reaction to the right is tantamount to McCarthyism doesn't work for me at all.

"I thought liberals rejected guilt by association as McCarthyism," says Goldberg. Now, that's a slick phrase but it doesn't add up. McCarthyism was ostensibly an attempt to seek out Communist sympathizers and silence them for the good of the country, but it quickly turned into a witch-hunt of Hollywood liberals. It turned into a seriously ugly chapter of American history because of ideology and control, but there was no substance there. There was no true danger.

On the other hand, the liberal tendency to paint the conservative movements in America with a broad brush, notwithstanding the exaggerated Holocaust claim mentioned above, is something else again. The hate talk and divisive fanaticism of the right has led to numerous acts of violence which far exceed the breaking of windows. Tolerance for these attitudes among the tea parties, gun-rights movement and even the Republican party itself is part of a concrete and very serious problem. In this there really is a true danger.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Scott Roeder Speaks

Yahoo News reports on the sentencing of Scott Roeder for the murder of Dr. Tiller during which the right-wing zealot had a chance to speak.

Defiant in court, a man who murdered one of the few U.S. doctors who performed late-term abortions used his sentencing hearing to do what the judge wouldn't let him do during his trial — justify his crime by describing abortion in gritty detail.

Scott Roeder was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years, the harshest sentence possible under Kansas law for gunning down Dr. George Tiller in the foyer of the Wichita physician's church last May.

This is a particular kind of defiance, though. JadeGold compared arguing with the gun rights folks to arguing with the anti-abortion people. Wouldn't there be an inconsistency in fighting for more freedom concerning gun rights and less government interference yet opposing these lawfully sanctioned procedures for women? I'm presuming most gun rights people oppose abortion rights for women. That could be wrong. What do you think?

"I stopped him so he could not dismember another innocent baby," Roeder said. "Wichita is a far safer place for unborn babies without George Tiller."

"I did kill him. It was not a murder," Roeder said. "If you were to obey the higher power of God himself, you would acquit me."

As he was being led away in handcuffs after the sentencing, Roeder shouted, "Blood of babies on your hands."

If anyone needs an example of self-righteous justification, this is it. He also exemplifies the admirable quality of never backing down, of speaking truth to power and of course, pure self-sacrifice. This is a guy conservatives everywhere can be proud to call there own.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bellesiles and Lott

Democommie provided us with the link to a wonderful, albeit old, article about John Lott's methods.

Michael Bellesiles, of Emory University, supported the gun control case with a book called Arming America. Part of his argument was that guns were rare at much earlier times in U.S. history. Challenged on that claim, he failed to produce the data, claiming that an office flood had destroyed his records. Emory empaneled a committee of scholars to investigate, and its report questioned Bellesiles "scholarly integrity." He resigned from the Emory faculty, and the Bancroft Prize his book had won was revoked. The pro-gun faction began to chortle with glee; end of story, right?

Not so fast. Here is John Lott: ex-University of Chicago Law School, now at the American Enterprise Institute. His book More Guns, Less Crime claims that on 98% of the occasions in which citizens use guns defensively, the mere production of a weapon causes the criminal to desist. These data were allegedly based on some 2000 interviews conducted by Lott himself. But when pushed for the survey data, Lott gave a hauntingly familiar explanation: His hard drive had been destroyed in a computer crash. Apparently the dogs in this controversy eat everyone's homework.

Wait. It gets even funnier. As the debate over gun laws spilled over from the scholarly journals to the Internet, Lott was defended passionately by a persistent ally named Mary Rosh. She attacked Lott's academic critics, including John Donohue of Stanford Law School, claiming in one posting that Lott had been the "best professor I ever had." Alas for Lott and his case, Mary Rosh now turns out to be--John Lott! The American Enterprise Institute has not yet followed the example Emory set with Bellesiles, though it might think about it.

It sounds to me like Bellesiles got a raw deal, while Lott is continuing to get an undeserved good deal. What can explain such a flip-flop of reactions and results? It's the passion of the pro-gun crowd and the apathy of the non gun owners that explains it.

What's your opinion? Does a guy who creates an alter-ego like that inspire loyalty? Can anyone really believe the 98% claim in the first place? I'm afraid I already know the answer to that, but it never ceases to amaze me.

Please feel free to leave a comment.

A Gun Ban By Any Other Name ...

Fox News published an interesting opinion piece by the well-known gun authority Prof. John Lott.

On Friday, a federal District Court judge tried to indirectly reinstate the D.C. handgun ban. Judge Ricardo Urbina, a Clinton appointee, wants to make it so difficult for people living in DC to use a handgun defensively that few will get one.

Last September, a Washington Post reporter, Christian Davenport, found out just how difficult it still is to get a handgun in D.C. even after the Supreme Court struck down the city's handgun ban. Excluding the price of the gun, the reporter spent $558.69 in various fees to get through the approval process. But that was only part of the cost. It took him "a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam."

So when do these types of regulations constitute just as much of a ban on handguns as an outright ban? A dollar tax solely on newspapers would clearly be struck down as unconstitutional. The power to regulate can destroy both the First and Second Amendments. Despite the costs, about a thousand people may have gotten handgun permits. That is only about 0.2 percent of adults living in D.C. The big change from the 2008 Heller decision might have simply been that D.C. law now requires that gun owners (primarily those owning long guns) only have to store their guns locked and unloaded if minors might have access to them. And it is probably this change that helps explain why D.C.'s murder rate fell by 25 percent the year after the handgun ban was struck down as unconstitutional.

That part sounded a little funny, don't you think? He's arguing that the gun ban is effectively still in place and that the only major improvement is that people can keep their long guns available if no kids are around, and this accounts for a 25% decrease in murders. To me that sounds like an incredible conclusion to make. How about you?

In spite of the statements in “The Bill of Rights” that "Congress shall make no law" or "shall not be infringed," courts don't view constitutional rights as absolutes. Courts now ask whether the benefits from the law outweigh the constitutional rights lost -- so-called "balancing" tests.

Here we've got the old "absolute" interpretation of the Bill of Rights. But, as usual, the "militia" part is left out and all the focus is on the "shall not be infringed."

I always find John Lott to be a bit of a spin doctor. I suppose his opponents are as well. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

You Want Lax Gun Laws?

Take responsibility for what you get. From The Baltimore Sun.

Mother Killed in Front of Kids

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports on the domestic shooting that left a woman dead in front of her three children. Naturally this hearkens back to one of my most popular posts about guns and domestic violence, but this one sounds a bit more complicated.

According to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday in Blue Earth County, Munt, 33, shot his 32-year-old ex-wife seven times while the kids, ages 4, 5 and 7, were in the car. As Munt surrendered to sheriff's deputies, one of the children reportedly said, "Daddy killed my mommy."

Munt's girlfriend said Tuesday that he visited his children nearly every Sunday. "I never imagined that there was something so dark like this in him,'' she said.

Public defender Krista Jass said Munt suffered from "untreated depression" after his 2009 divorce. Documents filed in the divorce show Svetlana Munt was born and raised in Russia and met Joel Munt through a singles agency. The couple were married in Krasnodar, Russia, on Nov. 21, 1998, and she learned English and moved to the United States about eight months later.

Joel Munt filed for divorce in December 2006, saying he was concerned about his wife's "erratic behavior." An intense two-year custody battle ensued, with Joel Munt making numerous allegations of abuse and documenting bumps and bruises, scratches and bites that happened when the children were with their mother. The court ruled the abuse allegations unfounded.

Heartbreaking and fascinating all at the same time, eh? It sounds entirely possible that the mother was abusing the kids and Joel Munt just decided enough was enough. But, doing it with the kids in the car and saying what he did makes it sound like your typical crime of passion, during which temporary insanity reigns. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Here Comes the Assault Weapons Ban Again

"I believe it was a AK-47 that just let loose."

The police chief made an interesting comment.

"We've made a lot of progress to stop gang retaliation and violence, and in the end if this ends up being some kind of gang retaliation -- then shame on all of us."

What's your opinion? Is Chief Lanier's remark a bit like the shared responsibility I'm always talking about? We have to do more to prevent these incidents and if we don't we share in the responsibility. It seems pretty simple.

Please leave a comment.

Sarah Palin and the NRA

FishyJay provided this link which mentions that Sarah Palin will be a guest speaker at the NRA National Convention to be held in Charlotte NC.

She's scheduled to speak May 14 at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. And On June 4 she'll headline a dinner with the theme "America, the Greatest Nation."

Jay made the following observation:

We have seen how JadeGold and others attempt to connect the NRA with every negative figure in the news that they possibly can. The connection is usually dubious and often bogus.

Yet I do not see them saying much about the story below, although the news is several weeks old now. Perhaps we all might agree that (from the reaction of opponents) Sarah Palin seems to represent everything that Democrats and liberals hate. Yet here is a case where the NRA has embraced her and the connection is there for all to see plain as can be, but there is little comment about it from those who attempt to connect the NRA to every other bit of nonsense.
I find that odd.

What do you think? That's a good question, isn't it?

Speaking for myself, I hadn't heard this news before. I read about gun stuff every day, but somehow the fact that Palin will speak at the NRA convention had not come to my attention. It definitely is something I might have posted about, let's face it, the connection is there for all the see, as Jay said.

But, if I haven't seen it, is it possible that it's been downplayed in the news? Could the NRA be ambivalent about Sarah Palin? Or do they embrace her as the symbol of what they believe in and love, sort-of the opposite of how the liberals view her?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Amazing 1st Amendment Case

CNN reports on the case of a dead Marine's father who is ordered to pay the legal fees of the folks who protested at the funeral of his son.

The father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church says an order to pay the protesters' legal costs in a civil claim is nothing less than a "slap in the face."

"By the court making this decision, they're not only telling me that they're taking their side, but I have to pay them money to do this to more soldiers and their families," said Albert Snyder, whose son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in action in Iraq in 2006.

This particular group of Baptists is a fundamentalist church based in Topeka, Kansas. They demonstrated outside Snyder's funeral in 2006 in Westminster, Maryland, carrying signs reading "You're going to hell," "God hates you" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."

Among the teachings of the church, which was founded in 1955 by pastor Fred Phelps, is the belief that God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events such as soldiers' deaths.

The Snyder family sued the church for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. Initially they won a big settlement but when the conviction was overturned in the appeals court the Snyder's were ordered to pay their opponents' legal fees.

The appeals court determined that although the protesting was in poor taste, it was protected by the 1st Amendment.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Iowa's Formula for Disaster

The Des Moines Register reports on the new gun laws in Iowa, calling them a "formula for disaster." I agree. This is a bad move.

A bill yanking the ability of Iowa sheriffs from having nearly unlimited authority to deny permits to carry a gun was approved this afternoon by the House.

But opponents aggressively argued that the law would make Iowa less safe.

One of the key pieces of debate today centered around the issue of reciprocity. Iowa’s public safety commissioner would have compared laws in other states with Iowa’s before that state’s gun permits would be recognized in Iowa. The commissioner would have been in charge of obtaining agreements with each state that meet or exceed Iowa’s concealed weapons laws.

But instead, under a provision approved by the Senate, valid permits issued to nonresidents by other states would be valid in Iowa without the commissioner’s review.

Opponents argued that laws in other states may be so weak that virtually any person – regardless of their possible criminal histories – could be eligible to carry a gun.

These are two losing propositions. The "shall issue" regulation appeals to gun rights advocates, but why? Do they resent the authority of local police so much? Can't they see that under "may issue" many would-be criminals, delinquents, alcoholics, drug addicts and others unfit for responsible gun ownership, who are known to the police but haven't been convicted of a felony yet, would be prevented from carrying a gun in public? How can the benefit of that be traded away for the convenience of "shall issue." This is one place where the responsible gun owners inextricably associate themselves with the criminals, or I should say the future criminals, all those who will benefit from this law.

The reciprocity law is bad news in a similar way. People from places like Alaska and Arizona, whose laws are even more lax than Iowa's, and allow even more unfit people to carry concealed guns, will continue to enjoy their gun rights when visiting or travelling through the Hawkeye State.

But, "formula for disaster" and "blood in the streets," may be a bit strong to describe the problem. What do you think? Time will tell, eh?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Gun Murders on the Increase published an article about the disappointing performance of President Obama with regards gun control.

Gun tracing records, collected and maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), tend to implicate certain licensed firearms dealers as common source points in supply chains for trafficking in illegal guns. Several analyses of ATF data, including my own, have shown that 1% of licensed gun dealers are linked to a majority of firearms recovered from criminal enterprises.

Despite the utility of this type of information, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) who just so happens to be a recipient of significant NRA support, quietly slipped into a 2003 appropriations bill an amendment that suddenly and significantly limited access to these data by both law enforcement and other concerned groups. No longer was it possible to identify so-called "rogue dealers," whose frequent connection to guns subsequently used in crimes would potentially expose shoddy practices. Apparently, to Rep. Tiahrt and his gun-friendly friends, such analyses threatened the sanctity of the Second Amendment, if not our entire system of free enterprise.

There's certainly nothing new there, in fact he even mentions the Brady Campaign's "F" rating for Obama's first year in office. What is new is that nifty little graph.

The gun rights crowd like to claim that in spite of increased gun ownership there's no increase in crime. At best, that's an ambiguous and misleading statement, but we have plenty of that on both sides of the argument. I don't pay much attention. Time will tell, I always say.

This graph however, which shows the percentage of murders committed with a gun is quite damning to the pro gun argument. It shows exactly what you'd expect with decreased gun laws and increased gun ownership.

What's your opinion. Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recreational Marijuana in California

The Humble Libertarian wrote a wonderful article for CAIVN about the ramifications of legalizing marijuana in California.

In all likelihood, California could be the very first state in the union to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this November. After legalization activists submitted nearly 700,000 signatures for a proposition to legalize marijuana, California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative earlier this week to legalize the cultivation, possession, and sale of marijuana in the state of California for recreational purposes.

The initiative will go on the ballot this November, and it needs only a simple majority to pass and become law (just as if the legislature had passed it and the governor had signed it), which should be a breeze considering that state-wide polling shows that 56% of California's registered voters support legalizing and taxing marijuana.

I love California. They are certainly ahead of the curve on this one. I thought it would take years of our getting used to the medical marijuana situation before anything like this happened.

What do you think? Is this good for California and for the country at large?

It brings up another issue which we often talk about, States' Rights vs. the Fed.

Only time will tell if the new California ballot initiative to legalize marijuana will pass into law, but if it does, the controversy over drug legalization will merely give way to a much larger, much older, much more contentious controversy- that of the proper relation between the States and Federal government.

I sometimes get a little confused when we talk about this. In the gun debate for example, pro-gun folks say it's bad for cities like Chicago and Seattle to have their own gun restrictions. They say the States must outline the gun policies. But these same voices oppose uniform federal restrictions on guns.

What is the right way to view this power struggle between state and federal government? If the least possible power should sit with the fed, why then should the states have such power over the cities and municipalities?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Gun Raid in Brooklyn

The New York Post reports on a police raid on a home in Blooklyn which netted an arsenal of weapons.

Cops arrested a Brooklyn father, mother, son and family friend for keeping a huge arsenal of guns and knives inside their home across the street from an elementary school, officials said.

Officers seized 10 handguns, two assault rifles, nine regular rifles and nine shotguns yesterday from a house on West Street in Gravesend, where they arrested Thomas Siano, 57, his wife, Kathleen, 57, their son, Vincent, 30, and tenant Michael Poole, 27, on weapons charges.

Cops also grabbed a pile of pills, a large quantity of ammo, some homemade, and enough bladed weapons to make a pirate movie, including two daggers, a machete, a sword, a hunting knife, and an umbrella with a dagger hidden in the handle.

Does this count as gun confiscation? Is this how it begins? Or was there some crime involved beyond the simple possession of these inanimate objects?

Where are all the 3%ers when we need them? Are there none in Brooklyn who can help protect the god-given rights of citizens?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Death Penalty in the UAE

Maybe I should remember this next time I want to disparage Texas. In the United Arab Emirates, they don't mess around. BBC has the story.

A court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced 17 Indian nationals to death for killing a Pakistani man.

The murder took place after a dispute over control of an illegal alcohol business.

About 50 people were involved in the fatal attack in which the Pakistani man was stabbed repeatedly.

Correspondents said gang violence connected to illicit alcohol is on the increase in the UAE, where the sale of such drink is controlled.

Reports said that this could be the highest number of death sentences handed down at one time in the Emirates.

The Indian suspects were rounded up by the police immediately after the attack, it was reported, after the surviving victims were able to identify them.

Investigators said they had matched the suspects' DNA to weapons seized at the scene.

The fight was part of a turf war between gangs of alcohol runners, the court said.

Sharjah has the toughest restrictions on the sale of alcohol of all the Emirates - it is completely banned there.

In neighbouring Dubai, which relies on tourism for a large part of its revenue, alcohol consumption is regulated.

But Dubai has also seen violent incidents associated with bootlegging.

In February it was reported that 13 members of an alleged bootlegging gang from the Jebel Ali area of Dubai were accused of kidnapping two rivals, raping them and burying them alive.

Fascinating also is the fact that violence there is related to the illegal bootlegging business.

What's your opinion? If alcohol were legal, wouldn't these criminals find some other contraband to deal in? Do you find it interesting that the murder was done with a knife and not with a gun? Or was that a ritual thing, repeated stabbings? What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hutaree Christian Group

JadeGold said, "BTW, MikeB, wouldn't we be remiss in mentioning the NRA-inspired Hutaree today?" Well, we can't have that, can we?

The Examiner reports the story like this.

At least seven members of the Hutaree, a militant Chrstian group based in Adrian, were taken into custody by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force over the weekend. The members, picked up in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, will learn their fate at the US district courthouse in Detroit today, when an indictment against them will be unsealed.

The task force reportedly became interested in the Hutaree when the fringe group made threats of violence against certain Islamic organizations. The Hutaree features training in combat techniques in preparation for a coming battle against the anti-christ. It maintains a website featuring the banner: "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive."

Man With a Muckrake pointed out the following.

Hutaree is a Christian-oriented militia group. According to Hutaree’s Web site, the organization believes that one day there will be an anti-Christ, and all Christians must train and prepare. Hutaree claims to have about 30 members, including several who live Washtenaw County. The group has its own pastor and a leader, members said. Members are known to train with AR-15s. The Christian militia group members describe themselves as Christian soldiers preparing for the arrival and battle with the anti-Christ.

"The anti-Christ," isn't that what some people call Obama? Do you think these people are seriously dangerous and should be taken seriously or are they basically harmless?

Let's say these folks are dangerous and they influence many others who are dangerous. Would that make us more inclined to accept gun control initiatives which might affect their ability to arm up? I say it would. I say people like this are walking examples of why we desperately need gun control that works. I say these are deluded, dangerous people, most of whom should not have guns at all.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Home Invader Dead

WBALTV reports on a home invasion which ended with the intruder's death.

Baltimore County police are investigating a deadly shooting in Perry Hall.

Police responded at about 5:45 a.m. Sunday to a home in the 4200 block of Chapel Road.
Preliminary information from police is that a suspected burglar had somehow entered the home and was confronted by a resident.

Police said the suspect was armed with a gun. They also said the resident shot the suspect in the chest.

The suspect was taken to Franklin Square Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police are questioning the resident, but they haven't released the name of the suspect nor the resident. Authorities were still at the scene Sunday night.

The resident is a tow-truck operator, 11 News' Kim Dacey reported Sunday night.

It's refreshing to see, what seems to be, another legitimate DGU in the news. I've been keeping an unofficial running total. This must bring the ratio down to about 1 legitimate DGU for every 110 wrongful shootings. Why do you think that is?

American History X

What do you think about this scene? Is this where personal responsibility meets overt racism? Do the two sometimes overlap?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Teah Wimberly Gets 25 Years

On Friday, the now 16-year-old Teah Wimberly was sentenced to 25 years for the killing of her high school sweetheart when they were both just 15. AOL News has the report. We've discussed it before here and here.

A Florida teen convicted of killing her high school classmate has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

A jury convicted 16-year-old Teah Wimberly of second-degree murder in December, rejecting her insanity defense. She was sentenced Friday.

Authorities said Wimberly and 15-year-old Amanda Collette were longtime friends who had recently stopped speaking before Wimberly shot her in November 2008. Police said Wimberly then ran to a nearby restaurant, called police and confessed.

Wimberly told Collette's family in court that she hoped they could forgive her one day.

Wimberly's attorney, Larry S. Davis, told The Associated Press that he is disappointed with the sentence and hopes that the teen can get the help she needs after appeals are made.

I'm sure AztecRed will find this a very mild sentence, based on what he said about the other gay shooter in Maine. And please don't get me wrong, I don't think his severity has anything to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with some exaggerated concept of law and order.

I happen to think this is an extremely harsh sentence. First of all she was too young to be tried as an adult. And second, her emotional state of mind, having had a falling out with her love interest, not that that constitutes an excuse for this kind of violence, should have been taken into consideration along the lines of temporary insanity.

But, alas the unfortunate child happened to live in Florida.

What's your opinion? Was justice served? Please leave a comment.

The Trends

Booker Rising has a fascinating post about the recent trends in the gun control vs. gun rights struggle.

Half of American public (50%) says that state and local governments should not be able to pass laws barring the sale or possession of handguns in their jurisdictions, while 45% say they should be able to pass such laws. Most Republicans (62%) and independents (57%) believe that states and localities should not be able to pass laws banning the sale and possession of handguns. However, a majority of Democrats (60%) say that state and local government should be allowed to pass such laws.

There are sizeable gender and racial differences in these attitudes. A majority of men (57%) say localities should not be allowed to pass laws banning handguns while most women (51%) say such laws should be permitted. While 57% of whites say state and local governments should not be allowed to pass laws prohibiting handguns, majorities of blacks (64%) and Hispanics (61%) say they should be allowed to pass these laws.

What's your opinion? Does this information support what we've already observed and often commented upon? Is the gun rights movement gaining ground? How long do you think that will continue?

Please leave a comment.

Half Way House for Gilbert Arenas

Mercury News reports on the Gilbert Arenas' sentence.

No jail. But no round-the-clock freedom, either, for Gilbert Arenas.

The judge found a halfway point — literally — between prison and probation Friday when he sentenced the three-time NBA All-Star to 30 days in a halfway house for bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room.

Arenas remained expressionless as District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin described a litany of conditions associated with the sentence — two years of probation, a $5,000 fine, 400 hours of community service that can't be done at basketball clinics — then turned to his lawyer for an explanation of what it all meant. After several minutes discussing logistics, Arenas eventually cracked a smile while talking to a court official.

Arenas made no comment leaving the courthouse, but his lawyer Ken Wainstein released a statement signaling his client considered the outcome a victory.

"The result was a sentence that serves justice very well," the statement said. "Mr. Arenas is grateful to the court, and looks forward to serving the community and once again being a force for good in the District of Columbia."

The halfway house was an unexpected resolution to weeks of suspense as to whether Arenas would be sent to jail. Prosecutors wanted him locked up for three months for the felony gun possession charge.

But, what happens to the other two hundred guns he owns? Wouldn't he be a disqualified person now?

Do you think it's a fair sentence? Arenas himself seems to have thought so, but that could be because there was a serious possibility of doing time in jail. Do you think that's fair?

This story again brings up the concern that too many gun owners care nothing for the 4 Rules of gun safety. Doesn't that create a problem with trying to accommodate the folks who feel gun ownership is for everybody?

Please leave a comment.

10 Years for Maine Sex Game Shooter

The Associated press reports on the sentencing of the shooter in the highly-publicized killing which took place during a gay sex party in Maine.

A 51-year-old farmer from rural Maine wept in court and expressed remorse Friday as he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting a friend in the head during a drug-fueled party in a "sex dungeon" of a suburban home.

Bruce Davidson apologized for causing the death of Fred Wilson, a 50-year-old computer technician who was killed when Davidson shot him with a .44-caliber revolver during a night of sexual play at Wilson's home in South Portland.

Do you think 10 years is an appropriate sentence for this kind of stupidity? The defence asked for four.

The shooting took place April 18, 2009, after the three men had been drinking beer, smoking pot, consuming the party drug GBL, huffing aerosol inhalants and having sex over a 12-hour period in the basement of Wilson's home.

Davidson said he thought his revolver was empty when he put it to Wilson's head and pulled the trigger to heighten the sexual intensity. The gun clicked the first time Davidson pulled the trigger, but went off when he pulled it a second time.

The trial brought out details about risky sexual behavior and drug consumption, but the case was about the reckless use of firearms.

"The case was about the reckless use of firearms." My question is how common is this reckless use of guns. The way pro-gun bloggers talk about the 4 Rules and all that, you'd think it's extremely rare, but I wonder about that.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Where do They Come From?

Here's an old but in a way, timeless article from the Ethical Spectacle. Link provided by Laci.

Like most people, I have always associated the NRA with the slogan, "If guns are illegal, only criminals will have guns." In a time when many Americans, NRA members and otherwise, apparently sleep with loaded guns beside their beds, waiting for the day they may have to defend themselves against an intruder, the NRA slogan conjures the image of the attack occurring....but only the intruder has the gun.

The more you look into it, though, the more it appears that the intruder and the homeowner have both bought their gun from the same person. An illegal gun in the United States, unlike an illegal drug, is not one smuggled into the country or made in a basement laboratory; it is always a gun that began its odyssey with a legal sale by a gunshop to somebody, somewhere.

Is the NRA aggressively protecting our right to arm ourselves against felons, or is it mainly protecting the people who arm the felons-- and starting an arms race, in which the rest of us then get sucked up?

Here's another question which concerns me even more, on a personal level, since I am a New Yorker. Since all the murder weapons on the streets here are legally purchased in the South: why should I, my wife and my kid have to live frightened so that you can have your gun hobby?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.