Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Bloomsday!

And people are out doing readings from James Joyce's Ulysses around the town.

This event is not just limited to where I live, but seems to be worldwide.

Stand Your Ground Laws to Be Federally Investigated for Racism

Dehumanizing target,
clearly of a black person
from the hands, but no
face; an attempt to justify
fear of a group, an illustration
of racial profiling and bigotry
Not surprising, the Shoot First Laws appear to have racial overtones, given this in the news.  It is worth noting here that the Trayvon Martin shooting exemplified the problems with the laws - they have a flawed concept and are a typical more gun selling right wing solution in search of a problem.  Right wing solutions, with or without an actual problem tend to be more punitive and restrictive, and consistently less fair than egalitarian and inclusive actual solutions to properly defined problems where the public good is genuinely served, not special interests.

So the following announcement should not come as a surprise; what surprises me is that the DoJ didn't beat them to it.

 It should also come as no surprise that the Florida Governor is not acting fairly in establishing a review of the law in Florida.  Want to bet he gets a lot of NRA money, directly or indirectly, and that he has participated in or benefited from ALEC?

And if you have any doubt that this is NRA driven legislation to sell more guns, the fact that the NRA is providing special insurance to help shooters get a free pass for killing people with the guns they help sell should be a tip off.

U.S. Commission On Civil Rights To Investigate ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws For Racial Bias
By Judd Legum on Jun 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced it will launch an inquiry into so-called “Stand Your Ground” legislation for racial bias. The laws, which gained notoriety after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, eliminated the duty to retreat from a confrontation that has existed as part of the common law for hundreds of years.
According to the Commission, there are “some indicators of racial bias” in how the laws have been implemented. From the release:
Data compiled by the Wall Street Journal shows a near-doubling of justifiable homicides from 2005-2011 in states where SYG [Stand Your Ground] has passed. Moreover, their data shows that while white killers of black victims comprises only 3.1% of all homicides, such cross-racial killing constitute 15.6% of justifiable homicides.
A separate study by the FBI found “34% of cases involving a white shooter killing a black person were deemed as a justifiable homicide. Meanwhile, in similar situations, when the shooter was black and the victim was white, the homicide was ruled justifiable only 3.3% of the time.” (my emphasis added - DG)

The committee plans to hold hearings and release the findings of their study within one year.
In the last 7 years, 23 states have adopted “Stand Your Ground” legislation at the urging of the right wing American Legislative Exchange Council.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has also convened a committee to study Stand Your Ground but has stacked the group with supporters of the law.

The Day I Read A Book

This reminds me of some of our commenters:

Something "lite"

Things here tend to get hot and heavy with the gun rights rubbish--here's a diversion that I am cross posting from my blog about Ukrainian Footballer Andriy Shevchenko (well, it beats the Holodomor!):



OK, I am listening to the news and they are talking about Andriy Shevchenko who is someone I should know as he played for Chelsea, but they are talking about Ukraine's favourite son, Shevchenko. For some reason, the image of Ukrainian Poet Taras Shevchenko come to my mind. That's the fun of radio is that your mind can come into play.

But, it seems all the more significant that another Shevchenko is important to the Ukraine!

Forgive me if I imagine a bandura chorus heralding Shevchenko's every goal--especially if he is the poet!

Dog Gone commented:

great – speaking of random and whimsical imagination, I now am imagining the poet Schevchenko running around in a long heavy coat, with the big bushy hat on his head in the portrait, and big boots, playing soccer against cossacks on horseback, where the goal is two posts with dissimilar little domes on top of them like two of the domes on the towers of St. Basil’s cathedral in Russia…

Blogging and radio – both prompt some surprising mental images!

To which I responded:
No crazier than having a old poet winning the football match!

Let's really make it a licence to kill.

OK, here's my position on using self-defence as a justification for murder:

    "A defendant is entitled to use reasonable force to protect himself, others for whom he is responsible and his property. It must be reasonable."

Reasonable force

Opinions differ on what constitutes reasonable force but, in all cases, the defendant does not have the right to determine what constitutes "reasonable force" because the defendant would always maintain they acted reasonably and thus would never be guilty. The jury, as ordinary members of the community, must decide the amount of force reasonable in the circumstances of each case. It is relevant that the defendant was under pressure from imminent attack and may not have had time to make entirely rational decisions, so the test must balance the objective standard of a reasonable person by attributing some of the subjective knowledge of the defendant, including what they believed about the circumstances, even if mistaken. However, even allowing for mistakes made in a crisis, the amount of force must be proportionate and reasonable given the value of the interests being protected and the harm likely to be caused by use of force.

In other words, you are gonna be judged by twelve if you aren't gonna be carried by six--you should be taken to trial where the legal system can determine if you are guilty or not guilty and not given a pass.

It makes no sense to give a blanket pass to someone so that they can use deadly force.

And it seems that these laws may be developing moth holes in their blanket of protection according to this story:

In a rare “scoop” for an editorial cartoonist today, Matt Bors skewered a little-known National Rifle Association (NRA) program that offers insurance to cover policy holders’ costs should they become embroiled in a legal battle after shooting someone in self-defense.
The insurance — technically endorsed by the NRA and administered by Lockton Affinity exclusively for NRA members — is available as a rider to the “excess personal liability” plan. Here’s how the website advertises the added coverage for self-defense (emphasis in the original):
What’s Covered:
• Provides coverage up to the limit selected for criminal and civil defense costs.
Cost of civil suit defense is provided in addition to the limit of liability for bodily injury and property damage.
Criminal Defense Reimbursement is provided for alleged criminal actions involving self-defense when you are acquitted of such criminal charges or the charges are dropped.
The basic liability plan costs either $47 or $67 annually, for coverage up to $100,000 or $250,000, respectively. Though the coverage amounts stay the same, a policy holder can add the self-defense insurance by paying $118 or $165 for the lesser coverage, or between $187 and $254 for the larger plan. (The discrepancies are due to the different prices for coverage on two different webpages from the insurer.)
The NRA pushed its members in 2005 to support Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law — an exemption from arrest or prosecution in shootings where the police think the act was in self defense. When the law got bad press after police let the man who shot and killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin go free, the NRA refused to back down, continuing to support the law’s passage in other states (amid other acts of insensitivity around Martin’s shooting death).
Here’s Matt Bors’ cartoon skewering the insurance program:

Given that "pro-Gun" policies tend to result in more criminals and other disqualified persons having guns, and people misusing guns, it only seems logical to me that the "pro-Gun" side would offer such "anti-life" legislation.

How much is a life worth in the US?  the cost of a bullet.

Vigil Against Gun Violence

Chuck's Gun shop in Riverdale, Illinois, the store being protested this weekend by Jesse Jackson is just outside of Chicago's boundaries; it has a long history of selling guns used in crimes. I've found news articles dating back a number of years about this place -- so why is this store still in business?  An example of such news stories is here  dating back to 2004.
One of the problems facing Chicago is that they have stringent gun regulation, but the areas surrounding the city have a lot of far less stringently regulated gun stores. One report claimed there are more gun stores in the U.S. than there are McDonald's, and the number in the areas adjoining the Chicago city boundaries are particularly high, often within a block or two of the city limits.

Update on the Kindness of America Shooting - Surprising twist

What kind of a fool shoots himself for self-promotion?

Thank goodness the man who had been arrested was cleared.

This still raises the same questions we ask in other shootings profiled here - where did this guy get the gun? Is he crazy, or just stupid? And whichever is the case -- do we want either crazy or stupid people making decisions about when and where to use firearms?

It is an indictment of our gun culture that this idiot thought using a gun was the answer to ANYTHING. Because clearly whatever flawed decision making process he used, our attitudes about guns and gun violence was what he was hoping to appeal to, and was the underlying basis for his action.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Vigils Against Gun Violence Nationwide this Weekend

These numbers are staggering; they should be unacceptable to every American.

That we tolerate this violence under the sham claim of freedom is a disgrace.

So long as we have this kind of gun violence, we are not striving to be a civlized society, we are acting like a nation of barbarians.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Microstamping Debate

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rural Gun Culture and Youth Suicide

 The Atlantic reports

Rural Americans between the ages of 10 and 24 are twice as likely as their urban counterparts to commit suicide. And while youth suicides have declined across the country in recent years, suicide rates in sparsely populated areas have remained steady. While it is hard to pinpoint the reasons for this disparity -- access to mental health treatments is a major contributor -- one reason may be tied to gun culture. 

According to a recently published survey of Midwestern mental health clinicians, one of the challenges rural therapists face is telling parents of troubled youths to lock up their guns. The Midwestern counselors in the survey "agreed that nearly everyone owned and used guns," and said that in a lot of their clients' homes, guns were so commonplace that they became "part of the furniture."



Engaging caregivers is an essential component of service for at-risk youth. Engagement has been described as specific behaviours (e.g. treatment participation) and attitudes (e.g. therapeutic alliance). Although best practices for working with suicidal youth includes involving parents in the assessment and crisis plan, there has been almost no research on the process that clinicians in outpatient settings use to engage parents of youth who exhibit risk for suicide. The purpose of this study was to document how clinicians in outpatient mental-health settings engaged parents following a youth suicide assessment. Twenty-four clinicians from the rural Midwestern USA took part in two focus groups to discuss typical interactions with parents following a suicide assessment. Analyses suggested that clinicians' engagement with parents included five major elements: (i) presenting difficult information; (ii) responding to parents' reactions; (iii) joining with parents; (iv) moving the parents towards concrete actions; and (v) addressing rural gun culture. The results are discussed within the context of Staudt's conceptual framework of engagement with caregivers of at-risk children. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Good luck with that, addressing rural gun culture. Convincing gun owners that gun availability is one of the factors in gun violence, including suicide, is a tall order even when addressing intelligent and educated people. "Rural" is used as a politically correct euphemism for the opposite of intelligent and educated.  Convincing them is next to impossible.

Although improvement seems unlikely,  the study is still interesting because it supports the long-held gun-control axiom that says guns in the home result in more suicides.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Eddie Espinoza, former Mayor of Columbus NM Gets 51 Months for Gun Smuggling

ex-mayor and convicted gun smuggler Eddie Espinoza

 Reuters reports

The ousted mayor of a small New Mexico border town who helped run nearly 200 firearms to a violent Mexican drug cartel was sentenced on Thursday to 51 months in prison, authorities said.
Simple regulations like reporting multiple sales and registering newly bought firearms to the person who buys them could put an end to this kind of thing. Yet, the gun-rights crowd oppose such initiatives.

That makes them complicit.  That's why they're partly responsible for  the damage that is done.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Body of Trauma Surgeon Who Shot Nurse Found

I heard it reported but have not had a chance to verify that the gun he used was unregistered.  Gee--- wonder where he got it?  Private sale, gun show?

As I speculated, this was one of the hundreds of deaths we have in this country from murder suicides every year ---- avoidable deaths, if we had better gun regulation.

People who harass others, in ANY way, including internet and social media harassment should lose all of their rights to firearms.

If it is true that this man held a woman captive at knife point for a day and a half, and he wasn't put in jail, it is especially terrible, as it should have been clear he was dangerous from that incident.  Why wasn't there an enforced criminal restraining order against this guy -- and why after doing something like that did he still have Hospital privileges?

from the HuffPo:
Body Found Near Dr. Timothy Jorden's Buffalo Home Days After Jacqueline Wisniewski's Murder, Police Say

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A body found in thick brush Friday morning is believed to be that of a special forces soldier-turned-trauma surgeon who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after the killing of his ex-girlfriend at a hospital, police said.
Police had been searching for 49-year-old Dr. Timothy Jorden since Wednesday morning, when 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewski was found shot to death in a stairwell at the Erie County Medical Center.
The body was found Friday not far from Jorden's suburban home near Lake Erie.
Dennis Richards, Buffalo Police Department chief of detectives, said the man apparently died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. An autopsy is being conducted.
SWAT teams had spent hours Wednesday searching the home without success.
"It's terrible," said Tom Wrzosek, a neighbor. "It's a tragic situation. Nobody wins in a situation like this."
Wrzosek had told police he heard a single gunshot from the steep, thick terrain behind Jorden's house on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes after Wisniewski was gunned down at the hospital where she and Jorden worked.
Some of her friends told local media outlets that Jorden stalked her after she ended the relationship. One of her friends told WIVB-TV that Wisniewski told her the doctor had put a GPS tracking device in her car and once held her captive in her home for a day and a half, wielding a knife.
Jorden earned a medical degree from the University at Buffalo and trained at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. He received his certification from the American Board of Surgery in 2004.
The Buffalo News reported that Jorden joined the National Guard in high school, went into the Army after graduation and served with the Army's special forces, first as a weapons expert, then as a medic. In those roles, he served in the Caribbean, Japan and Korea.
He was honored by various local organizations over the years for his teaching skills and involvement in the Buffalo community.
Jorden's colleagues told local media outlets that he had been acting strangely in recent months and lost as much as 75 pounds from his 6-foot-2, 250-pound frame.

Politifact Fiskes and Frisks the NRA Lies about Obama and the 2nd Amendment

Not a surprise - the NRA has not been truthful.  Again.

You can see their site information for yourself here:

Is the NRA right that Obama is 'coming for our guns'?

By Aaron Sharockman
Published on Friday, June 15th, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.
Here are some facts you probably won't hear from the National Rifle Association: The Second Amendment is fading as a wedge issue in American politics, gun owners are winning, and President Barack Obama is doing little to alter the scales.

Nearly one in two Americans now have a gun in their home and just 26 percent favor an all-out ban on handguns, down from 60 percent in 1959, according to a recent Gallup survey. The number of Americans who support tighter gun laws is at an all-time low.

And Obama?

Gun talk has been almost anathema at the White House. Obama signed a bill in 2009 that allows people to carry loaded guns into most national parks; in 2011, he largely avoided a discussion -- to the anger of many activists -- about strengthening gun laws following the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Obama received a failing grade from the nation’s preeminent gun control group, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

We couldn’t find a word about gun policies on Obama’s re-election website.

"The gun control debate is over," said Rick Wilson, a GOP political consultant. "We live in a country where guns are a fundamental part of mainstream American culture. The moment I saw that Walmart now sells AR-15s (a type of semi-automatic rifle), I knew the debate was over."

Yet, you won’t hear much of that as the NRA campaigns against Obama in 2012.

In a new campaign mailer -- the contents of which we expect to be repeated in emails and at dinner tables -- the gun rights group is casting Obama as a gun control crusader who is "coming for our guns."

PolitiFact decided to put some of the NRA's claims to the Truth-O-Meter.

The gun rights group says Obama supported former Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy’s proposal "to outlaw all deer-hunting ammunition."

That’s False.

The NRA claim is cherry-picking an extreme, worst-case interpretation of a 2005 amendment to expand the definition of armor-piercing ammunition, which is legal to own or use in the United States but illegal to purchase or make.

Kennedy’s proposal had nothing to do with deer hunting, but the NRA contended it could be threatened by the bill. Yet Kennedy said his proposal wasn’t meant to target rifle ammunition commonly used to hunt deer, and since the language was never approved, we don’t know how it would have been applied. More importantly, we have no idea if Obama would have supported a hypothetical deer ammo ban as the NRA claims.

"It is absolutely ludicrous to believe that a Democratic administration would have risked the political fallout of trying to use this section to prohibit rifle ammunition," said William Vizzard, a criminal justice professor at California State University-Sacramento and a former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms agent. "The Democrats have avoided all gun control controversies assiduously."

To ban deer-hunting ammunition "would be suicide politically," added David "Mudcat" Saunders, a pro-gun Democratic strategist. "There might be some way the NRA could twist the facts. But it’s not true."

Other NRA claims on the mailer include a 1995 quote from now-Attorney General Eric Holder. The mailer quotes him saying we need to "really brainwash people" against guns. The comment came in a discussion about the need to change public opinion about firearms. Holder, then a U.S. attorney, said, "What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we’ve changed our attitudes about cigarettes."

The NRA's mailer also targets Obama’s regulatory adviser, Cass Sunstein, for saying in 2007 that he wants to ban hunting and that animals should be represented in court.

Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard University, said those things -- but he also walked back most of his comments in 2009 as he was joining the Obama administration.

"I strongly believe that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess and use guns for purposes of both hunting and self-defense," Sunstein said in part.

We rated the claim against Sunstein Half True.

The NRA earned a True for its claim that Obama is "trying to slash funding for the Armed Pilots Program designed to prevent terror attacks."

However, it’s not necessarily clear that the cut to the program -- which was scrapped by the Republican-controlled House -- should be considered anti-gun.

The federal government has budgeted $25 million a year since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to deputize and train volunteer commercial pilots to carry firearms on commercial flights. But as part of his proposed 2013 budget, Obama wanted to cut funding for the program in half.

"In an ideal world, one without budget constraints, we would fully fund the program. We’re not in that environment, so we are taking reductions," Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole said.

Critics say the move was political. The $12 million-$13 million in potential savings comprises about 0.15 percent of the entire TSA $7.6 billion proposed budget.

"The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming that this was being done for anti-gun reasons," said Brian Darling, a senior fellow for government studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation who has been following the issue.

The evidence for another claim was completely underwhelming, we found.

Relying on a secondhand quote of Obama -- relayed to Washington Post by gun control advocate Sarah Brady -- the NRA claimed that "Obama admits he’s coming for our guns, telling Sarah Brady, ‘We are working on (gun control), but under the radar.’ "

The genesis of the quote is a brief 2011 White House meeting between Obama, Brady, her husband Jim, and former Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence president Paul Helmke.

Helmke told PolitiFact there was no promise from Obama on gun policy, and certainly no dramatic pledge to come for anyone’s firearms.

Likely, the president was talking about an in-the-works program to get gun dealers in border states to forward some gun purchases to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Helmke said.

Brady told us her quote has been misinterpreted and that she herself never spoke with Obama about gun policy. "What ever I might have said or agreed to was purely speculative as I never spoke to the president myself about this issue," she said.

Whatever was said and what it was referring to is murky, but the NRA took a fragment of an unclear quote and prescribed the most far-reaching, conspiratorial conclusion -- when there simply isn't enough evidence for such a sweeping claim. We rated that claim Pants on Fire.

Insurrection Theory

Time to repost something of Laci's from back in September of 2009.

It addresses recent comments by both Crunchy and Civillian76, that show a lack of depth in our national history that are the legitimate context in which to appreciate and understand the 2nd Amendment.

So while this will appear as posted by me (DG), the credit /attribution belongs to Laci.

Cross posted from Laci the Dog's blog, with permission (in case one of our former Anonymi wishes to complain about plagiarism or otherwise act like a scurvy troll):

Insurrection theory of the Second Amendment…

Yes, it is specifically mentioned that the militia’s purpose is to suppress insurrections, not foment them in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15:
“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”
Not to mention that congress has the power “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”
It is congress’s power to arm the Milita that the Second Amendment addresses (look up the entire text of Patrick Henry’s “Let every man be armed” speech, not the clip the “gun rights” crowd use). Also, check out this quote from Patirck Henry about Article I, Section 8, Clause 16: he wasn’t talking about self-defence, let alone insurrection!
I would also add in Article III, Section iii:
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
To prove that the insurrection theory of the Second Amendment is sheer rubbish.
The problem with the Second Amendment “gun right” theory is that it divorces the Second Amendment from the Constitution, the inconvenient text of the Amendment relating to the militia, and reality.
The Consitution must be read as a whole, not pick and choose.

Laci adds:

From Story’s Commentaries regarding Article III, Section iii of Constitution:

§ 1292. The propriety of investing the national government with authority to punish the crime of treason against the United States could never become a question with any persons, who deemed the national government worthy of creation, or preservation. If the power had not been expressly granted, it must have been implied, unless all the powers of the national government might be put at defiance, and prostrated with impunity. Two motives, probably, concurred in introducing it, as an express power. One was, not to leave it open to implication, whether it was to be exclusively punishable with death according to the known rule of the common law, and with the barbarous accompaniments pointed out by it; but to confide the punishment to the discretion of congress. The other was, to impose some limitation upon the nature and extent of the punishment, so that it should not work corruption of blood or forfeiture beyond the life of the offender.
Another point, Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) puts paid to the insurrectionist theory:
The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a “right” to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change. We reject any principle of governmental helplessness in the face of preparation for revolution, which principle, carried to its logical conclusion, must lead to anarchy. No one could conceive that it is not within the power of Congress to prohibit acts intended to overthrow the Government by force and violence. The question with which we are concerned here is not whether Congress has such power, but whether the means which it has employed conflict with the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.
Quite frankly, there is a vast body of law that says waging war or advocating insurrection is not a constitutionally protected act.  Asserting that it is in anyway sanctioned demonstrates a serious ignorance of the Constitution and Constitutional history.

Amen Laci - no cafeteria or a la carte constitutionalism!  Here here!  That the Constitution is intended to encourage or allow private gun ownership to oppose some variant of a Hitler is nonsense.  While Thomas Jefferson was off having fun in France, writing back his little snarky comment about blood watering the tree of liberty, it is not fairly and factually represented that the overwhelming response to that line applauding the occasional revolution / insurrection was emphatically negative from the other Founding Fathers. 

Those at home who had to cope with the threat of insurrection potentially undoing everything they had worked so hard to accomplish roundly condemned that bit of bullshit kibbitzing from someone sitting on his silk pantalooned arse from the relative safety and luxury of France.

More to the point is that the right wing nuts quote only that small part of what Jefferson wrote, leaving out all of the more important ideas which preceded that small part.  Let me make a minor contribution to Laci's post by providing it here --- since you can bet the gunloons lack the intellectual honesty to present the rest.

...such  a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them.

Sadly, Thomas Jefferson did not reckon on the future existence of such gross disinformation and misinformation entities as Fox Not-news Propaganda where people would actually become LESS well informed after viewing or listening than those who used no news source at all.  Or the factually inaccurate and intellectually dishonest crap that the other right wing media sources spew - Rush Limbaugh comes to mind as just one example of many.  Nor do I believe that men like Jefferson anticipated the successful misinformation and evil pandering of right wing hate and fear mongers like Bryan Fischer and his ilk.  And last but by no means least we have the utter garbage that is so often promoted by the right wing blogosphere.

Jefferson believed that a little insurrection would simply prompt those governing, the RULERS, to  update and correct the information and do a little - dare I use the word - re-educating of those insurrectionist to the proper facts (ie what the right rejects - factual objective reality).  Jefferson under-estimated ignorance and the power of the Amygdala, probably because so few people comparatively had the right to vote in the U.S. under the original Constitution.  People had to be educated males who owned property - in other words had a certain level of knowledge and affluence.  We no longer believe it is acceptable to shoot a few of them and then try to persuade the rest with facts, and then pardon them.  Rather we take the side of the overwhelming majority of the Founding Fathers who made insurrection and rebellion ILLEGAL, as the only crime specifically mentioned in the Constitution.

Now we let the ignorant malcontents vote - and comment on blogs. 

At least some of us DO try to inform the restless uneducated would-be insurrectionist with guns of the facts.  But insurrection still is a crime, still contrary to the Constitution, and the notion that most of those who think they can tell when the government is no longer acting under the authority of the Constitution is wrong - dead wrong, thoroughly wrong, and of course, blatantly stupid as well as misinformed.
I look forward to Laci posting something about those who 'read a book......ONCE."

The Holodomor

No, Crunchy, not all Genocide (or Democide) is caused by armed governmental thugs:
The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор, 'Морити голодом', literal translation Killing by hunger) was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine.

Early estimates of the death toll by scholars and government officials varied greatly; anywhere from 1.8 to 12 million ethnic Ukrainians were said to have been killed as a result of the famine. Recent research has since narrowed the estimates to between 2.4 and 7.5 million. The exact number of deaths is hard to determine, due to a lack of records, but the number increases significantly when the deaths inside heavily Ukrainian-populated Kuban are included. The demographic deficit caused by unborn or unrecorded births is said to be as high as 6 million. Older estimates are still often cited in political commentary.

Scholars disagree on the relative importance of natural factors and bad economic policies as causes of the famine and the degree to which the destruction of the Ukrainian peasantry was premeditated on the part of Joseph Stalin.Scholars and politicians using the word Holodomor emphasize the man-made aspects of the famine, arguing that it was genocide; some consider the resultant loss of life comparable to the Holocaust. They argue that the Soviet policies were an attack on the rise of Ukrainian nationalism and therefore fall under the legal definition of genocide. Other scholars argue that the Holodomor was a consequence of the economic problems associated with radical economic changes implemented during the period of Soviet industrialization.

See also:

Dubya Bush head on spike

Since one of the interests of this blog is capital punishment...

 According to this, it seems that the makers of Game of Thrones have apologised for showing a head on a spike that was similar to that of George Bush (AKA Dubya).
Looking at the picture, I'm not so sure about that.  Maybe it's wishful thinking on somebody's part.
Personally, I think brutal punishments as deterrence are much better than an armed populace for keeping people on the straight and narrow.  Sticking people in prison isn't as much of a punishment as a head on a pole, or putting someone on a gibbet.

I trust Laci won't object to me adding this image of parallel photos for comparison above, so people can draw their own conclusions.

Meet Matthew White!

I tend to cite to Matthew White for his interesting takes on certain subjects, in particular his attack of the astroturfed Genocide figures which have recently resurfaced here.

This is Matthew's description of himself:
The Long A: My academic credentials are pretty slim -- a couple of years of college and that's about it. I'm not a university professor or anything like that, and I currently earn my living as a librarian.

On the other hand, most of the information here is public knowledge, and you can easily confirm most of my facts with a minimum of research.

Also, frankly, very little history is undisputed fact anyway. Most history is debatable interpretation of fact. On these pages, I'm offering you my interpretations, but obviously you should study other interpretations before you make up your own mind.

Basically, I'm not out to convince you of anything, so you don't have to believe me if you don't want to. I created this page for my own benefit. Maintaining an online atlas gives my research structure and direction. It brings up questions that I can then seek answers to, and let's face it, questions are always better than answers. I would hope that you come away from this site with fascinating questions rather than smug answers. It's the only way to learn.

despite his slim academic credentials, he does say some interesting things:

Matthew White's Homepage

Yes, you can blame someone else.

BBC Two is showing The Men Who Made Us Fat:

Around the world, obesity levels are rising. More people are now overweight than undernourished. Two thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four of us is classified as obese. In the first of this three-part series, Jacques Peretti traces those responsible for revolutionising our eating habits, to find out how decisions made in America 40 years ago influence the way we eat now.

Peretti travels to America to investigate the story of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener was championed in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon's agriculture secretary Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers. Cheaper and sweeter than sugar, it soon found its way into almost all processed foods and soft drinks. HFCS is not only sweeter than sugar, it also interferes with leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, so once you start eating or drinking it, you don't know when to stop.
Now you know WHO to blame!

Accidental Shooting by Police Chief Who Forgot the one in the Chamber - Of Course No Charges

Local news reports

An upstate New York police chief is recovering after accidentally shooting himself in the hand while cleaning a handgun.

Fort Edward Chief Walt Sandford tells the Glens Falls Post-Star the accident happened Friday while he was working on the 9mm pistol at his home in the Washington County town of Whitehall.

He was taking it apart and didn’t believe there was a round in the chamber when it fired and a bullet passed through his left palm. 

He says the accident happened when he was doing something he’s done “thousands of times,” emphasizing the danger of firearms even in experienced hands.
Would someone please explain to me how anyone could ever, EVER forget there's a round in the chamber. Isn't that the first thing you check when handling a semi-automatic pistol?

If someone were so unfamiliar with guns that they didn't know the difference between a revolver and a semi-auto, I could understand it.  But, these are people who should know better.

Is it like Greg Camp says, that accidents happen, that we'll all human and that I'm expecting too much of gun owners?  I don't think so.

I repeat, one strike you're out.  If you "forget there's one in the chamber" and have a negligent discharge, you lose your right to own guns, period.  If that policy were strictly applied, would the world be a safer place or not?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Buffalo Surgeon and War Veteran Kills Girlfriend

  video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Domestic abusers who own guns come in all shapes and sized. The one common thread is guns are bad news for women.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Accidental Shooting of Georgia 4-Year-old by Herself - Parents Arrested

Local news reports with video

Gwinnett County police have charged a Snellville couple with child cruelty after their 4-year-old got a hold of a gun and grazed herself with a bullet.

The girl's father told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh he didn't think the wound was very severe, so he never took the child to the doctor.

Police said two days had passed before a family friend called police.
What's your opinion? Black or white, 20-years-old or 50-years-old, this young man did what any good father would do. When staying in a motel with the family, you need to have a gun handy for protection. It's not his fault if his little girl got ahold of it.

In fact, I'll bet he'd instructed his kids to never touch daddy's gun. What else could he do?

The story makes you wonder how many kids suffer minor injuries that are never reported.  That kinda takes the weight out of the pro-gun argument that there are so few.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For Laci

I would like to encourage our readers, especially those who comment, to be very careful that they are not 'sock puppets', people who do not in fact hold any original ideas, but who mouth the words that others provide to them, and who hold ideas that are full of holes and fluff.

For example, I thoroughly doubt that our commenter read up on democide (to the extremely limited extent he has read at all) but rather it would appear he was directed to these ideas by the voices in his head that derive from the gun nut echo chamber of pseudo scholarship. 

Where legitimate ideas and concepts exist, they are twisted and contorted like a rubber Rubik's cubes until the original legitimate concept has had this done to it, trying to hammer it to fit the pro-gunner's preconceptions. so they can cherry pick a small piece out of the debris context to support a failed argument:
how to solve a rubik's cube in 6 seconds
OR, their understanding of the concept someone minimally smarter told them supported their argument is so poor, so distorted, so surreal and intellectually dishonest that it resembles this image more than an actual three dimensional object Rubik's cube:

A word to readers and commenters; it is not sufficient to have read a book once, or part of a book, or to have come across a single web site on the interwebs.  To understand information and concepts, you need a solid existing intellectual structure that is a solid framework to which it can be added.  That pre-existing framework is clearly lacking along with the required building blocks of logic and critical thinking.  A crumbling hole filled "rube's cube" of ignorance (as distinct from the brilliant Rubik's cube) is insufficient.

After watching his clip of Sam and the Truth Snake, but especially in response to his previous post on sock puppets, I'm tempted to add these images as little design feature widgets on this blog.
Don't feed the Sock Puppets

The Easton Flag

Since Dog Gone is going to do a post about Flag Day, I thought I would post the Easton Flag:
This is Easton, PA's take on how the stars and stripes should be rendered. The legend attached to it is that it was displayed on 8 July 1776 for the reading of the Declaration of Independence in Easton; however, there is no documentation for this. I like it because it's not the normal US flag configuration.

Flag Day - cross posted from Penigma

U.S. Flag DayI like the history of our holidays, major and minor.
So in honor of our flag and Flag Day, here is a brief description and history of our holiday.
Flag Day celebrates the adoption of a national flag at the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
Here is the beautifully brief wording:
The Flag Act of 1777 was passed by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, in response to a petition made by an American Indian nation on June 3 for "an American Flag."[1] (As a result, June 14 is now celebrated as Flag Day in the United States.) It reads, in its entirety: "Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation." (See Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774 – 1789, 8:464.)
So, you would think that settled the design of our national flag, except that the concept of a national flag as we know it now didn't really exist in the 18th century; it was a later development.
Credit should go to both Wikipedia for some of these images, and to an excellent site, Flag Timeline  of for many of the others.
the Cowpens flag
What the Flag Act resulted in were a number of designs which conformed to that brief wording, including but not only the Betsy Ross flag - although the Betsy Ross flag eventually won the greater recognition.  Here are some of those flags used at the time:
The Francis Hopkinson flag design

and the final selection, the Betsy Ross flag
another Continental Navy flag
the Brandywine flag

note the different proportions

the Forster flag

the Serapis / another

John Paul Jones flag

A New England flag

The Second Continental Congress started out meeting in Philadephia, but then later in the year moved around Pennsylvania to other locations, including Lancaster and York. The national flag came into existence two years to the day of the official establishment of the Continental Army in 1775. 

However there WAS a flag that was flown as early as 1775 by our newly formed Navy, referred to as the Continental Colors.  It differed from the East India Flag ONLY in the proportions of the Canton.
East India Company Flag in 1775
Wikipedia has a full entry on it for those who have a greater curiosity, but here is an excerpt:
In the first year of the American War for Independence, the Continental Congress authorized the creation of a navy. A new flag was required representing the Congress and fledgling nation, and distinguishing from the Red Ensign flying from British vessels.

The Continental Colors were first hoisted on the Alfred, in Philadelphia on December 2, 1775, by Lt. John Paul Jones. The event had been documented in letters to Congress.[2] The Continental Colors were used by the American Continental forces as both naval ensign and garrison flag through 1776 and early 1777.

It is not known for certain when, or by whom, the Continental Colors' design was created, though the flag could easily be produced by adding white stripes to the previous British Red Ensigns.[3] The Alfred flag has been credited to Margaret Manny.[4]
And here is a short bio on Margaret Manny, who is less well known than Betsy Ross.
Margaret Manny was a milliner in colonial Philadelphia who made flags for the United States during the American Revolution.

Manny began making
jacks and ensigns for ships as early as December 1774.[1] She also made the Grand Union Flag, or Continental Colors, first flown by John Paul Jones aboard the Alfred on 3 December 1775.
My thanks to our co-blogger Laci for calling my attention to rich history of the East India Company flag, which preceded our own flag by a full seventy years, as a very British and a very corporate flag, first used in Asia. The East India Company flag stripes were somewhat 'variable' in number, ranging from nine to fifteen which mirrored our own experimentation with stripe numbers. The symbol in the upper left corner, the 'Canton' also changed over time, representing changes in the UK. We didn't pioneer that pattern of alteration to reflect growth and change either.
before 1707, when the Acts of Union

combined England and Scotland

into Great Britain

After 1801 the flag

contained the Union Flag of

the United Kingdom of

Great Britain and

Ireland in the canton
East India Company flag after 1707

But the adaptation of the flag of the East India Company, while strikingly similar is not the only theory for the design adopted by the Continental Congress.

Another theory is based on the family coat of arms of Richard Amerike:

"According to the American Flag Research Center in Massachusetts the heraldic origin of the American flag is not positively known; archives in the British Library confirm that the Stars and Stripes was the coat of arms of the Ap Merike family – and that they pre-date Washington's connection with the continent by 300 years".[64]
The coat of Arms belonging to the family of George Washington has three stars in chief (at the top) on a white field, with two red horizontal stripes across the middle of the escutcheon, underneath it.  The Amerke basis for the flag is generally considered 'revisionist history'.  Clearly neither coat of arms are as similar as the East India Company flag design, but both provide some insight into the heraldic tradition that was the foundation for flag design.
From Wikipedia:
In any case, both the stripes (barry) and the stars (mullets) have precedents in classical heraldry. Mullets were comparatively rare in early modern heraldry, but an example of mullets representing territorial divisions predating the US flag are those in the coat of arms of Valais of 1618, where seven mullets stood for seven districts.

The thirteen original colonies were the basis for thirteen stripes and the thirteen original stars on the first official U.S. flag, but in the Flag Act of  1794, that was temporarily expanded to fifteen stripes and stars with the admission of the first two new states.  Had that pattern continued, our flag would now have 50 stripes along with the 50 stars.  It is a fascinating insight into how the flag has changed, but also into how the nation under George Washington thought about our national expansion at the time.  It wasn't until the Flag Act of 1818 that the stripes were codified as representing the original 13 colonies, with the stars changing --  with such changeovers always mandated to occur on July 4th -- to represent the number of states at any time in our nation with only the stars.
Here is the order of the states joining, representing each of those stars, because of course there was no official membership or ratification until AFTER the sessions of the Continental Congress:
Delaware (December 7, 1787), Pennsylvania (December 12,
1787), New Jersey (December 18, 1787), Georgia (January 2, 1788), Connecticut
(January 9, 1788), Massachusetts (February 6, 1788), Maryland (April 28, 1788),
South Carolina (May 23, 1788), New Hampshire (June 21, 1788), Virginia (June 25,
1788), New York (July 26, 1788), North Carolina (November 21, 1789), and Rhode
Island (May 29, 1790) (source - Flag Timeline)
This is a singularly striking image from th 1880s that shows some of the various permutations of our flag over the years, from an old textbook (courtesy of wikipedia):

The Age of Warlords

There is a Chinese saying that one should keep his mouth shut and have people think he is an idiot instead of opening it and proving them right.

In this case, Crunchy makes the comment:
As for the Chinese, I am referring to democide in the 20th century, not the warlords prior to that who killed countless millions more.
In regard to my comment about the Age of Warlords in this comment

The Warlord Era lasted from the death of Yuan Shikai (1916) until 1928, when the conclusion of the Northern Expedition with the Northeast Flag Replacement began the "Nanjing decade"; however, when old warlords, such as Wu Peifu and Sun Chuanfang, were deposed, new minor warlords persisted into the 1930s and 1940s, as the central government struggled to keep its allies under rein, a great problem for the Kuomintang (KMT) through World War II and after the civil war. Some of the most notable warlord wars, post-1928, including the Central Plains War, involved nearly a million soldiers.
If Crunchy actually had some idea of what he was talking about, he would realise that he put his foot in it.


And since Crunchy has difficulties in reading the English language: So, I'll repost this from Matthew White:
Just a few steps down, we can trim another 20 million from our total. Take a look at China, 1935. Picture, if you will, a long, peaceful line of naive little natives queueing up to dump their guns into an industrial smelter, while off to the side, a bureaucrat with a clipboard checks their names off the list. That’s the image this list would like to create. The problem is, in 1935 China was in the midst of the Age of Warlords. Even if you know nothing about Chinese history, just the name “Age of Warlords” should tip you off. It was a pistol packer’s paradise, a lawless Wild West where all power flowed from the barrel of a gun.

But it’s not just the ready availability of guns in China that contradicts the Big Tally. No, it’s just as important what everyone was doing with all those guns — fighting for supremacy, fighting against the Communists, fighting the Japanese. In other words, gun control or not, everyone who had a side to take had already taken sides. Everyone who wanted a gun already had a gun. The enemies of the state who were killed after 1949 weren’t defenseless; they were just plain beaten.

This is what I call the Cold-Dead-Hands Test. If the only way to get someone’s gun is to pry it from their cold, dead hands (literally or figuratively), that’s not gun control. When Grant disarmed the Confederates at Appomattox, that wasn’t gun control; that was taking prisoners. When the Soviets disarmed the remnants of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, that wasn’t gun control either. Mao didn’t come to power in China by tricking the populace into surrendering their arms. He pummeled his well-armed opponents in a stand-up fight. There’s a big difference between unable to fight back, and fighting back but losing.