Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bloomberg's Lifestyle

FishyJay sent me the New York Times link to this fascinating story about Mayor Bloomberg.

Mr. Bloomberg, who owns a waterfront estate here, has walled off his life in Bermuda from voters in New York, arguing it is none of their business. He steadfastly refuses to say when he is on the island, and to blindfold prying eyes, he has blocked aviation Web sites from making public the movements of his private planes.

According to the article he goes there many weekends and plays a lot of golf. But the part that interests some folks, including FishyJay, is this.

The mayor also takes along a police detail when he travels, flying two officers on his private plane and paying as much as $400 a night to put them up at a hotel near his house; the city pays their wages while they are there, as it does whether Mr. Bloomberg is New York or not. Guns are largely forbidden in Bermuda — even most police officers do not use them — but the mayor’s guards have special permission to carry weapons. A spokesman for the Police Department declined to comment.

This often comes up about Bloomberg and other celebrities. Is it fair for someone to favor gun control or even gun bans and at the same time utilize armed guards for their own protection?

I say yes. Let's take a President, for example. A President could be extremely anti-gun, yet no one would suggest he shouldn't have the Secret Service around for protection. A similar rationale works for Michael Bloomberg, in my opinion. He's a wealthy high-profile political figure who needs armed protection regardless of his stand on gun control.

Is it necessarily hypocritical to promote severe restrictions on gun ownership, in general, among the regular folks, while recognizing the need for armed protection yourself? Personally, I don't think so. I don't see a problem with rich and famous people providing themselves with private security. What I do oppose is the increasing laxity in gun laws allowing many unqualified and even dangerous people to have guns. 40 States have shall issue now, according to Stephen. Arizona is allowing permitless concealed carry. Those are the things I have a problem with, not Mayor Bloomberg's body guards.

What about you? What's your opinion?

A Clean Defensive Shooting

The Armed Citizen wrote up a story, I'm not exactly sure why. I guess it qualifies as a DGU, but it supports more of my ideas than theirs.

After a man was shot and critically injured in front of a west Omaha house early Friday, his father fired back at the assailant.

So far so good, right. No one could complain about that. But, the story goes on to describe wild shooting on the part of the father at a target who may have already been fleeing.

Richard Hall, then fired off some .22 caliber rounds from a rifle at the assailant as he ran off...

Worse yet, while failing to hit the target, the house across the street was riddled.

A number of rounds hit a house across the street. One missed Jennifer Hiner’s head by just over a foot.
Do you think the Armed Citizen is so desperate to keep up its numbers that it even includes stories like this? I realize to claim millions of cases a year, you'd have to include every possible one, but are the truly clean DGUs really so rare that this one made it on the blog?

I noticed that comments are closed over there. That's pretty funny too. I remember a year or so ago, many gun bloggers disparaged the Brady Blog and the Gun Guys for that, but lately it's become quite acceptable for them to do this very thing. They used to call it censorship and anti-freedom. They used to claim that banning people from commenting and moderating comments was a gun control trick because we had the weaker argument and had to resort to those tactics as a result. The times have changed, have they not.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Fallujah Shooting

Spike published an incredible video.

When former MSNBC and CNN war correspondent and blogger Kevin Sites videotaped a U.S. Marine shooting and killing an injured, unarmed Iraqi insurgent in a Fallujah mosque, he unleashed a maelstrom of international controversy over the U.S. treatment of Iraqi civilians and combatants. Here is his original footage as well as a military official's response to the charge.

Isn't what the General said a little hard to believe? Isn't the very idea of unlawful use of force in a combat situation a little silly? Doesn't this kind of going-over-the-line violence part and parcel of combat activity?

I say the last one investigated and charged should be the Marine who did the deed. It's his superiors all the way up to the President as well as all the folks who support this immoral war who are responsible for this.

Some folks don't like to talk of shared responsibility, but there it is again.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Is Obama a Leftist or a Centrist

From the Liberal Viewer.

More on "Draconian"

I received this alert in my e-mail inbox which made me think we might want to talk a bit more about "draconian," and the ideas TS mentions in his comment.

TS has left a new comment on your post "Private Sellers":

MikeB, I am responding to the "Meaning of Draconian" thread here because that one might be a little stale.

MikeB: "TS told us about the California gun owner who failed to turn his allen wrench a couple times and became a felon as a result. "I’d call that “cruel”. How about you, MikeB?"

I wouldn't say "cruel" as much as "excessive." I'd even call it abuse of power on the part of the cop."

I read about this on a police officer’s forum. Many of the other cops were calling him out on it, calling it “excessive” and mean. The thing is, he was following the letter of the law, and I have a much bigger problem with the law that allows him to make that arrest, than the cop who didn’t give the gun owner a pass. This is why we protest laws like this. We shouldn’t have to leave it up to the discretion of a cop to be a “nice guy”. I wouldn’t think CA’s “assault weapons ban” is draconian if it weren’t for the fact that they make it a felony. That is life altering. Not only do you go to jail, but you lose your gun rights forever, lose your job, lose your whole career, hell- maybe even lose your marriage... that’s draconian.

One thing that comes to mind right away is this, if something is against the law, the people doing that thing are responsible for their actions. They can choose to do it or not. If they choose to do it, only they are responsible for the consequenses. This is different from the many cases of shared responsibility we often talk about when the offenders are kids or impaired adults. Generally speaking, people make choices and to call the laws "draconian" is to shift the focus from those people to the laws themselves.

What do you think?

What about the point TS made when he said, "We shouldn’t have to leave it up to the discretion of a cop." We need clear laws that can be enforced in all situations, says TS.

Is that practical? Is there really such a thing as clear laws that can be applied in all situations? Don't we need to rely on police discretion? Isn't that part of the trust we place in our law enforcement people?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Facebook Laughing All the Way to the Bank

The Huffington Post reports that the Facebook group which prays for Obama's death has surpassed 1 million members.


Naturally Facebook is reluctant to remove the group, which has led to another group.

Another group, "Petition to remove Facebook group praying for President Obama's death," has been created to denounce the anti-Obama group and advocate for its removal. The group, which has just over 650,000 members, is asking users to "Please act to encourage facebook to remove the page praying for the death of President Obama," and lists three steps Facebook users can take.
What's your opinion? Is this all good 1st Amendment stuff? Do you think it's right for Facebook to allow such blatant Obama-hating on its site? Do you think the animosity towards Bush went this far?

Please leave a comment.

Jon Stewart on Arizona

"It turns out, Arizona is the meth lab of Democracy,"

Law & Border
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Private Sellers

Thanks to Laci the Dog who dedicated this video to the folks who didn't think the Tracy Ullman skit was realistic. I'd like to dedicate it to all those who hate the undercover camera bit. I challenge you to look beyond that and consider what is revealed.

What do you think? Are many of the so-called private sellers really in the business of selling guns? Shouldn't those guys be subject to the rules like everybody else?

Please leave a comment.

Concealed Carry Killers

The Violence Prevention Center runs a site called Concealed Carry Killers. It's just what it sounds like, a detailed reckoning of murders committed by known concealed carry permit holders. One problem with the stats is they're much lower than the reality. And that's not to mention the incidents which resulted in something less than death.

Recognizing that the VPC is relying primarily on news reports, the actual numbers are most likely far higher. This tally is updated monthly. Clicking on each category’s tally will link you to vignettes describing the circumstances for each killing, listed by state. The descriptions also include the current, known status of any charges filed against the permit holder as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide. (Any concealed handgun permit holders who are eventually acquitted of their alleged crimes are not included in the tallies maintained on the site although the facts surrounding the shooting are detailed.)

What's your opinion? Are these relatively low numbers supposed to be offset by all the good that's done by concealed carry guys in crime prevention and crime thwarting? I believe that is the key question, once again, "do guns do more harm than good?" What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

More Police Shootings

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Woman is the Nigger of the World

If the gun control folks are the KKK, what does that make gun owners?

Rock and Roll Nigger

If gun control folks are the KKK, what does that make gun owners?

Obama Haters in - Guess Where - Arizona

"[in Arizona] any crackpot whim can be enshrined into law." Thanks to The Full Ginsburg.

Life's Third Act

From The Onion.

CHEYENNE, WY—A gun introduced during the childhood of local resident Keith Johnson went off near the end of his life's third act Wednesday, finally resolving the dramatic tension that had gripped the residents of Cheyenne. The revolver, which was inherited from Johnson's emotionally distant father, was a frequent background detail in the unfolding narrative, though its importance had been dismissed until a drunken Johnson brought it out in front of his wife, Susan, and daughter, Katie toward the end of his marriage's second act. While only fleeting and disconnected images were available at press time, including the gun itself smoking on the floor next to Katie's favorite doll, consequences of Johnson's action will not be known until police reopen the scene and either begin the fourth act of Johnson's life or announce an epilogue.

Mayor Daley Asks for Stricter Gun Laws

The National Examiner published an interesting piece from the DuPage County Libertarian Examiner.

The Mayor wants more and stricter laws, others feel differently. What I say is time will tell. The way things are going, over the next few years, it'll become clear.

The article contained a remark which made me think.

Libertarians are not all gun nuts. Some of us can't stand guns and never want to use them. But we want the ex-marine on the subway to have one, just in case the creepy guy sitting next to us tries anything.

Does this mean that people are not divided between sheep and sheep dogs? That's one of the over-simplifications I used to hear. Maybe there are some sheep dog sympathizers among the sheep. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

The Final Analysis on Joseph Sean McVey

The New York Daily News reports that it has been determined that Joseph Sean McVey was not a threat to Obama.

Joseph Sean McVey, 23, of Coshocton, Ohio, sparked alarm when he was collared Sunday at the airport in Asheville, N.C.

McVey, who was wearing a pistol, was observed in a public lot in a car with Ohio plates that had radio antennas, lights and sirens like a police cruiser.

He was listening to a police radio scanner using an earpiece, and told cops he'd heard Obama was in town.

In a cupholder, police found instructions for using a rifle scope, police said.

But a U.S. official told the Daily News that McVey is just a law enforcement buff, and is not considered a threat to the President. Though local authorities held McVey overnight, he was expected to be released soon.

He was "just a law enforcement buff." Isn't that the funniest thing you've ever heard of? It reminds me of those Civil War buffs and those Revolutionary War buffs we talk about from time to time. They're supposed to be harmless too. Somehow, I'd put this McVey character in another category. What do you think?

Opinione brought up an interestion question. How could driving over from Ohio with a gun, impersonating a policeman, setting in motion a national panic all end up as a misdemeanor?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eddie Eagle Program - Selling Guns to Kids

Thanks to Kevin for the link. The Violence Prevention Center published an article which brings up some interesting points.

In its efforts to hook kids on guns, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is following a trail blazed by the tobacco industry according to a new Violence Policy Center (VPC) study conducted with the Global Survival Network. The 144-page study, Joe Camel with Feathers: How the NRA with Gun and Tobacco Industry Dollars Uses its Eddie Eagle Program to Market Guns to Kids, was released on Wednesday, November 19th at a 10:00 AM press conference in the Lisagor Room at the National Press Club located at 14th and F Streets, NW in Washington, DC.

The study takes a hard look at the NRA's Eddie Eagle "gun safety" program which the organization has aggressively promoted as an alternative to gun safety measures such as child access prevention (CAP) laws (which require that adults store their firearms safely and inaccessible to children) and legislation mandating the use of trigger locks.

The study finds that the primary goal of the Eddie Eagle program is not to safeguard children, but to protect the financial and political interests of the NRA and the firearms industry. The program makes firearms more palatable to children and youth, helping to recruit them into America's gun culture. The Eddie Eagle program employs strategies similar to those used by the tobacco industry from youth "educational" programs that are in fact marketing tools to appealing cartoon characters that put a friendly face on a hazardous product. While the tobacco industry denies that it is marketing to children, the NRA and the gun industry openly admit that they are.

Does that sound reasonable to you? Do you think the NRA and the gun manufacturers of America would actually do something like this? If the answer is yes, is it any worse than the other brain-washing types of advertising we live with every day?

Another way to question it is if guns are so good for us, why would gun rights folks react so strongly to criticism like this? Why don't they just admit this is what it's all about and it's for our own good?

Other key findings of the study include:

  • NRA staff describe the Eddie Eagle program as the "clean-up committee" to help burnish the NRA's public image after gun control battles.

  • The NRA uses Eddie Eagle as a lobbying tool in its efforts to derail the passage of child access prevention (CAP) and mandatory trigger lock laws.

  • In its attempts to use the credibility of other organizations to promote the Eddie Eagle program, the NRA has misrepresented awards granted to the program by the National Safety Council, which has issued a series of sharp rebukes to the NRA. The NRA has also erroneously claimed endorsement by D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and the Black United Fund, Inc.

  • Rather than recognizing the inherent danger firearms in the home pose to children, and the often irresponsible firearms storage behavior of adults, the Eddie Eagle program places the onus of safety and responsibility on the children themselves.

  • Public health researchers have found that "gun safety" programs like Eddie Eagle are ineffective in preventing unintentional death and injury from firearms. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "[b]ecause even the most well-behaved children are curious by nature and will eagerly explore their environment, the safest thing is to not keep a gun at home."

Study co-author VPC Health Policy Analyst Sue Glick adds, "The real purpose of Eddie Eagle is not to keep children safe from guns, but safe with guns. Eddie Eagle flies in the face of everything public health experts teach to prevent injury from dangerous consumer products. The NRA expects kids to be responsible for their own safety essentially guns don't kill, kids do."
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Pirates and Emperors

Via Opinione.

Robert Hicks

FishyJay sent me the link to the New York Times article about the death of civil rights leader Robert Hicks.

Someone had called to say the Ku Klux Klan was coming to bomb Robert Hicks’s house. The police said there was nothing they could do. It was the night of Feb. 1, 1965, in Bogalusa, La.

The Klan was furious that Mr. Hicks, a black paper mill worker, was putting up two white civil rights workers in his home. It was just six months after three young civil rights workers had been murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.

Mr. Hicks and his wife, Valeria, made some phone calls. They found neighbors to take in their children, and they reached out to friends for protection. Soon, armed black men materialized. Nothing happened.

Less than three weeks later, the leaders of a secretive, paramilitary organization of blacks called the Deacons for Defense and Justice visited Bogalusa. It had been formed in Jonesboro, La., in 1964 mainly to protect unarmed civil rights demonstrators from the Klan. After listening to the Deacons, Mr. Hicks took the lead in forming a Bogalusa chapter, recruiting many of the men who had gone to his house to protect his family and guests.

These were incredibly heroic men. But what do they have to do with today's gun rights movement? I've always found it to be a laughably silly analogy to compare the gun control folks to the KKK. Is that what we're talking about?

Another question comes to mind. Are gun owners who refer to the Deacons and Mr. Hicks role in history as somehow significant to their modern movement completely free of racism? Is the stereotype gun owner, the middle aged white man with a beer belly who hates blacks, a myth? Is there no reality to it?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lock Up Your Guns

The offers some good advice for gun owners.

ALBANY - While gun ownership is popular among many Linn County residents, gun safes, comparatively, are not.

"Most people keep them in their dresser or a nice case, like a piece of furniture - it looks good but provides no protection for the gun," said Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller.

There were at least five gun burglaries in Linn County in a three-day period this week.

"Burglars are going to take what is easy to steal and easy to get rid of," Mueller said. "Guns, unfortunately, are on the top of that list."

Thieves may be keeping the guns for themselves as protection or trading them for dope, in part because pawn shops are required to call the Oregon State Police and verify that the serial numbers on guns they accept do not match those of firearms listed as stolen.

Problem is, police and deputies say, many gun owners don't keep track of serial numbers.

The victim of a burglary this week on Upper Calapooia Drive could only describe the two firearms stolen from her home as a ".25 automatic pistol" and a ".22-caliber revolver."

Make, model and serial number were listed as "unknown."

I believe that's Albany Oregon, if I'm not mistaken. Two very interesting things come from the first part of this article. One, that gun owners have to start taking more responsibility in the storing and securing of their weapons, and two, that we need a national gun registry.

Most people don't write down their credit card numbers or their car serial number and keep them in a separate place, just like most gun owners don't do that with their guns. I guess people presume that "it won't happen the them." A gun registry would solve this problem.

A Ruger pistol was reported stolen Wednesday from an unlocked pickup parked in the 700 block of Queen Avenue Southeast. Although the owner didn't have a serial number, the store that sold him the gun, Bi-Mart, was able to retrieve the number from its records.

Though many of the hundreds of firearms in the Linn County Sheriff's Office evidence locker were seized during drug busts and weren't stolen, law enforcement officers believe some belong to local folks.

Examples like this make you wonder. How could someone leave a gun in an unlocked vehicle? My answer to this is a bit harsh, I admit. I say stupidity like that should be answered with immediate disqualification to own guns. The Gazette article goes on in a softer tone, but with good advice.

When it comes to protecting your guns, advice from law enforcement is simple: write down serial numbers and other identifying characteristics and lock up your firearms when you are not with them.

"The average Linn County criminal is not going to be able to get into a gun safe," Mueller said. "Their objective is to get in, get what they can and get out of there as quick as they can.

"It's like leaving a purse in the front seat of a car. Some people just make it too easy for criminals to take those things."

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Teaching Gun Safety in Schools

Fox News reports on the proposed gun-education program in Virginia.

A new law will require Virginia's education department to come up with a gun-safety curriculum for public elementary schools that incorporates guidelines from the NRA.

A new law will require Virginia's education department to come up with a gun-safety curriculum for public elementary schools that incorporates guidelines from the NRA.

The law allows local school divisions to offer gun-safety education to pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade. While each school board can decide whether to offer it, those that do must use the state curriculum -- which will include rules used by the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program.

One voice of opposition put it this way.

"I personally don't think firearm safety has a place in the schools," Lori Haas, spokeswoman for the Virginia Center for Public Safety, told "That's up to the parents to teach that at home."

Haas, whose daughter is a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, said her group is outraged that state lawmakers are placing "a burden" on the state school board that it didn't ask for.

"For the general assembly and governor to dictate to the board of education in writing curriculum is not their area," she said, calling the law a "freebie to a special interest group."

What's your opinion? Is Lori Haas right that it's not the State's place to determine the curriculum?

What do you think the proponents of this bill think about sex education in schools? Virginia's got a lot of that fundamental Christian thing going on, doesn't it? Could it all add up to their wanting to teach kids about guns but not about condoms? That would be funny.

Please leave a comment.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

David Kopel on Mayor Bloomberg

Sebastian seems to think David Kopel wrote a brilliant article in the Denver Post about Mayor Bloomberg.

I thought the article was so much mind-reading and doomsday predictions. Many of the complaints got a big "so what?" out of me. Here's an example.

But under the Bloomberg bill, every person who sells a gun just once at a gun show can be put in a permanent federal database. Suppose a man who owns seven guns rents a table one weekend to sell three guns, to pay for his family's summer vacation. Bloomberg requires that the gun show promoter keep a record of that person, and allows the federal government to collect those records.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Properly Shared Responsibility

The Palm Springs Desert Sun posted an article about possible charges for the dad of a gun-toting 12-year-old.

A gun that a Thermal elementary school student brought to class this week belonged to his father, an investigator said Friday.

Officials are now filing charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, unsecured storage of a gun and child endangerment against the sixth-grader's parents, Riverside County sheriff's deputy Herlinda Valenzuela said.

According to investigators, on Thursday, the 12-year-old Coachella boy brought an unloaded semi-automatic handgun to Westside School, 82-225 Airport Blvd.

A teacher found the gun and ammunition after learning about them from another student, Valenzuela said.
Now, that's what I'm talking about. Why is that so difficult in the rest of the country? For crying out loud, in Arizona they would have charged the kid as an adult and not said a word to the dad.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

A 1st Amendment Consideration

The Dallas Morning View posted a very interesting opinion piece. Much has been written and discussed about the possible abuse of the 1st Amendments rights that may be going on, but this is the first time I've heard it put quite like this.

We simply must ask: How do we deal with the Palins, Bachmans, Becks and Limbaughs, who subtly encourage violence in their subdued but widely heard rhetoric?

If Glenn Beck were Muslim, would we take him off the air? Would Michelle Bachmann be subject to intense scrutiny?

I believe the answer is yes, and lest we want to be a nation of hypocrites, we simply have to look at the elephant in the room and examine just how much of a security threat these individuals and others represent.

What's your opinion? Could a Muslim Imam from Detroit get away with some of the things Glenn Beck says?

Please leave a comment.