Saturday, December 22, 2012

NRA Gets Rave Reviews

Bear in mind, both newspapers slant conservative; both endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012.

From a public relations perspective, I would have thought WayneO would have received better advice.  Instead, he handled it about as badly as one could.

The 6th Night of the Living Van Vleit - Captain Beefheart Festival 2012 - 2013

Here's the explanation of the origin and the dates.

Thanks to Microdot for the title of the Festival.
Prog Archives has good stuff.

Eric Charlton Sentenced

 Deseret News reports on the continuing drama of Eric Charlton's plea bargaining.

Eric Charlton had pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor, and carrying a weapon while under the influence of alcohol, a class B misdemeanor, and faced up to a year and a half in jail.

"Please let me take my son home, and let us pick up the pieces and try to rebuild a family that is hurting and has been destroyed," Osiek said. "Nothing will ever bring Cam back, no matter what is imposed on Eric."

Eric Charlton walked out of court a free man for the time being Thursday after the judge sentenced him to a suspended sentence of one year in jail for the negligent homicide charge.

The judge sentenced Charlton to six months in jail for the class B misdemeanor charge, though a review hearing will be held Jan. 15 to determine whether Charlton will actually go to jail or whether he can come up with "an alternative to satisfy deterrence other than jail."
Two misdemeanors means he keeps the guns or not?

The Wayne La Pierre Speech on the Connecticut Shooting

A couple quick lies:

1. "out of respect for the families and until the facts are known the NRA has remained silent." I told you why they remained silent.

First, like many pro-gun folks they experienced severe embarrassment and remorse for their role in the continuing spree shootings.  And secondly, and most importantly, it was a calculated maneuver in order to give weight to the frequent and nonsensical "dancing in the blood" attacks against liberals and gun control folks who were talking about it.

2. "while some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain" is exactly what I expected.  It's one of the reasons they remained silent. What gun control folks have done this week is not about political gain.  It's about demanding changes that would make people safer.

Note to all pro-gun folks: at 18:00 Wayne admitted "violent crime is increasing again."

He spoke at some length about video games and he pointed out that the media doesn't know what it's talking about. He said one more law wont help since 20,000 have failed.  All these remarks are diversions, desperate diversions to deflect attention from the real problem: easy access to guns by unfit people.

At 14:10 he reminded us that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."  That's the biggest trick of all.  As compelling as it is, the good guy with a gun would not be necessary if the bad guy didn't get one.  In order to force this logic into something that resembles common sense, they insist that criminals will always get guns.  This is a blatant lie and they know it. The UK has  a 4 times lower murder rate than we do, largely due to the lower gun accessibility and Australia has completely eradicated mass shootings for the same reason.

Wayne seemed to be vaguely talking about arming teachers, yet he kept referring to putting police in every school.  Either way, the whole speech was one big smokescreen. The first problem is the access to guns by unfit and dangerous people, something the NRA is directly responsible for. President Obama, and almost everyone else in the country, has been talking about the obvious solutions. This is what the fast-talking Wayne La Pierre desperately wants to avoid.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Four Dead in Pennsylvania Shooting

Local Fox News reports
A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children's Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in a rural central Pennsylvania township Friday before he was fatally shot in a gunfight with state troopers.

The shootings began in Frankstown Township at about 9 a.m. and investigators were processing five crime scenes within about a 1.5-mile radius, authorities said at a news briefing Friday afternoon. The troopers were responding to a 911 call of a shooting in the township when they heard calls reporting at least one other shooting elsewhere, state police spokeswoman Maria Finn said.

Family members of the victims said they were told the woman at the church was the first victim shot, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. The gunman then shot two men in the driveway of a home after a confrontation at a stop sign, authorities said.

Two troopers driving to the scene of one shooting were fired upon by the driver of a pickup truck headed in the other direction, and the truck smashed head-on into a cruiser driven by a third trooper. The truck driver -- believed to be the gunman who killed the other victims -- exited the truck and immediately fired at the troopers, who returned fire and killed him, Finn said.
Anyone want to bet he was not a lawful gun owner?

The easy access to legal firearms by unstable people is a serious problem. We need to raise the bar on qualifying for gun ownership.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

About Nancy Lanza

Washington Post
Her former sister-in law, Marsha Lanza, told the Chicago Sun-Times outside her home in Crystal Lake, Ill., that Nancy Lanza wanted guns for protection. “She prepared for the worst,” Marsha Lanza told the newspaper. “I didn’t know that they [the guns] would be used on her.”
Members of Nancy Lanza’s regular neighborhood dice game never got inside her home, either — not in 15 years of regular games. Rhonda Collens, a frequent player in the game, said that while the group’s weekly get-togethers moved from house to house, Nancy Lanza’s was always skipped. She never met Adam Lanza, and Nancy never spoke of her children.
She was preparing for the worst, like a lot of gun enthusiasts, but she had no idea what that was.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Five Police Officers Killed this Week

In the past week, five police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty. In Clayton County, Georgia, 24-year-old Sean Callahan, who had only been on the job for four months, was gunned down by a suspect during a domestic dispute. In Topeka,Kansas, two police officers, 50-year-old David Gogian and 29-year-old Jeff Atherly were killed while responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle. In Washington County, Missouri, 31-year-old Christopher Parsons was killed while responding to a domestic call. In Memphis, Tennessee, 32-year-old Martoiya Lang was shot and killed during a narcotics raid.
It's a pretty good bet that three or four out of five were lawful gun owners. More disgraceful results from the proliferation of handguns among civilians who are unfit to responsibly handle them.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Friday, December 21, 2012

President Obama Responds to We the People Petitions Related to Gun Violence

On account of petition asking the president to immediately address the issue of gun control getting nearly 200,000 signatures in less than a week,  The President called on Congress to pass important legislation "banning the sale of military-style assault weapons," "banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips," and "requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.">

Here is that statement.

National Assault Weapon Registry

Man with a Muckrake
Yesterday I proposed that there ought to be a public, accessible registry of assault-type guns in the United States. This would be similar to the sex offenders’ registry that locates these offenders in neighborhoods. One would simply enter a Zip Code and the  addresses would show up. With this information, neighbors would have valuable information upon which to make important decisions.
What do you think? Everything's on the table now, right?

Happy Birthday Frank Zappa

Captain Beefheart Festival 2012 - 2013 - 5th Night of the Living Van Vliet

Here's the explanation of the origin and the dates.

Thanks to Microdot for the title of the Festival.

Safe as Milk is the début album by Captain Beefheart his Magic Band, originally released in 1967. It is a heavily blues-influenced work, but also hints at many of the features—such as surreal lyrics and odd time signatures—that would later become trademarks of Beefheart's music.

The album is also notable for the involvement of a 20-year-old Ry Cooder, who plays guitar and wrote some of the arrangements.

Zappadan 2012 - Final Day - Can't Afford No Shoes

After a week's mourning for the Connecticut shooting victims, I'm back in the nick of time posting for Zappadan 2012.

One Size Fits All is a 1975 rock album by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. A special four-channel Quadraphonic version of the album was prepared and advertised, but not released.

The album features the final version of The Mothers of Invention, with George Duke, Chester Thompson, Ruth Underwood, Tom Fowler and Napoleon Murphy Brock.

Zappa continued to tour and record, often with members of previous "Mothers of Invention" lineups.

The album itself features one of Zappa's most complex and well-known tracks, "Inca Roads". One of Zappa's heroes, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, guests on two tracks. 

 Urantian Sojourn has the Yellow Shark (warning - only for true believers)

Zencomix has The Torture Never Stops, the one with Captain Beefheart, which reminds us of his festival.

Is It Necessary to Repeal the 2nd Amendment?

BDN Opinion by Robert Klose
Not long ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the so-called “right to bear arms” amendment to the Constitution is in fact a guarantee of the individual’s right to arm himself. My first reaction to this ruling was that the justices shared a common malady: the inability to read and interpret dependent clauses; in this case, the first part of the Second Amendment, which reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.”

How on Earth the leap was ever made from a collective right — the militia — to an individual’s right — the culprit in the recent grade school shooting in Connecticut — is, at first blush, mystifying. But when one considers that domestic policy regarding firearms is directed by the National Rifle Association, rather than Congress, everything becomes clear: The ghost of the late, addled Charlton Heston, aka Moses, is running the show.

School shootings having become almost as reminiscent of America as apple pie, and considering the inability of the citizenry — and the justices — to understand the meaning of the Second Amendment, the time has come to directly address the source of the controversy.

Why be coy? The Second Amendment should be repealed. Once it is gone, meaningful firearms legislation will finally be possible — converting gun possession from a right to a privilege, like a drivers license — and the NRA will be relegated to background noise, a hysterical mob with no constitutional basis for its oblique philosophy that the more firearms the better.

For an insight into what the Second Amendment really intended, it is instructive to refer to the Constitution’s predecessor — the short-lived Articles of Confederation. Take a look at the sixth amendment of that document, which, in part, reads:

“Every state shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores … a proper quantity of arms, ammunition, and camp equipage.”
Mr. Klose is not alone in the way he interprets the 2nd Amendment. Many constitutional scholars as well as the ACLU agree. But my question is wouldn't it be possible to simply clarify the true and proper interpretation of the Amendment?  For me, that would mean relegating it to the scrap heap of irrelevance long with the 3rd. It is obviously obsolete and anachronistic, meaningless to modern times.

What happened over the last five or six decades is the bastardization of the 2nd Amendment. Is it actually necessary to repeal it in order to overcome this movement?

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Gun Control Gains in Popular Interest

Politico reports
More Americans prioritize gun control above Second Amendment rights by the widest margin since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new poll released Thursday in wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Forty-nine percent of those polled said it’s more important to control gun ownership, compared to 42 percent who say it’s more important to protect Americans’ rights to own guns, according to a Pew Research Center Poll.

Well, it certainly wouldn't be right to disparage telephone surveys which produce pro-gun results and then place credence in this one.  However, unlike some of them, this one makes sense.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

South Dakota Teen Dead after Shooting Incident

(Dalton Williams Photo Courtesy: KELO-TV)

Local news reports
The alleged shooter, 16-year-old Braiden McCahren, has been charged as an adult, with first degree murder. He shot his friend Dalton Williams, who was the same age, in the chest with a shotgun, said police.

The Capital Journal in Pierre reports that the teens somehow bought a .22 caliber rifle from a local gun shop. The boy had other guns at home.

Then they picked up Williams and went back to the shooter’s home to eat. The third friend told police that the he was arguing with the McCahren over a paintball incident and that they began wrestling in a joking manner.

Then McCahren retrieved the shotgun and aimed it at friend—known as “T.Y.”   “T.Y.” tried to slip out of the door. Williams stood in between the two boys and that’s when the gun fired. The gun fired at close range into his chest.

T.Y. ran out of the house and called 911. Williams died at the hospital.

It sounds like the intended victim escaped unharmed and the other friend took the shot. Should that matter?  Let's say you try to shoot someone and end up shooting someone else.  Can you claim that you didn't intend to shoot him?

What about the parents?  Do they have any responsibility in this? Are 16-year-olds allowed to own their own guns in South Dakota?

Please leave a comment.

Trouble for the NRA

Huffington Post

I believe the country is fed up with the spree shootings and reasonable people blame the NRA to one degree or another. The result is their power and influence is declining.

I also agree with those reports that say their power has been over-estimated. The money spent on losing political candidates over the last 5 years is one indication.  Another is they way they continually spin the membership numbers. How often do we hear them claim 4 million members in a boasting manner?

They could also say their members represent 4% of gun owners, but that doesn't sound so impressive.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why I'm for the Brady Bill...

People seem to forget that there was a certain incident that led to the creation of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan by John Hinkley.

I would add that President Reagan and Jim Brady were surrounded by armed Secret Service Agents.

This was written by Ronald Reagan, in announcing support for the Brady bill yesterday, reminded his audience he is a member of the National Rifle Association

So, next time you say that "gun control" is "liberal", remember that people like Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan supported it.
Published: March 29, 1991

Why I'm for the Brady Bill

"Anniversary" is a word we usually associate with happy events that we like to remember: birthdays, weddings, the first job. March 30, however, marks an anniversary I would just as soon forget, but cannot.

It was on that day 10 years ago that a deranged young man standing among reporters and photographers shot a policeman, a Secret Service agent, my press secretary and me on a Washington sidewalk.

I was lucky. The bullet that hit me bounced off a rib and lodged in my lung, an inch from my heart. It was a very close call. Twice they could not find my pulse. But the bullet's missing my heart, the skill of the doctors and nurses at George Washington University Hospital and the steadfast support of my wife, Nancy, saved my life.

Jim Brady, my press secretary, who was standing next to me, wasn't as lucky. A bullet entered the left side of his forehead, near his eye, and passed through the right side of his brain before it exited. The skills of the George Washington University medical team, plus his amazing determination and the grit and spirit of his wife, Sarah, pulled Jim through. His recovery has been remarkable, but he still lives with physical pain every day and must spend much of his time in a wheelchair.

4 Dead in Colorado Murder-Suicide

via Reuters thanks to  Grung_E_Gene
Sergeant Tim Schwartz of the Weld County Sheriff's Office said police received a call from the home in a community about 35 miles north of Denver before dawn and heard a female voice say "No, no, no" before multiple gunshots were fired.

A man then came on the line and said he was going to kill himself, and the dispatcher heard another gunshot, Schwartz said.

Officers found the bodies of two females and two males, and recovered a handgun at the scene, Schwartz said. Three of the dead were adults, he said, adding that one of the females may have been a teenager.

Schwartz said authorities were still trying to determine a motive for the shooting.
Would I be reading too much into the story to say this is probably another lawful gun owner who was totally unfit to safely manage firearms?

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Where gunloons get their arguments....

The Case Against John Lott

from the Salon article The answer is not more guns

No one has done more to advance the “More Guns, Less Crime” argument than Lott (that was the title of his book), so telling his story is unavoidable. To be fair, Goldberg does not rely on Lott’s research and mostly cites him as a pro-gun activist and commentator, a role he’s taken up since falling into academic disrepute.

Working as an economist at Yale and the University of Chicago in the 1990s, Lott published a series of articles and a book that argued, for example, that more than 1,500 murders, 4,000 rapes and 60,000 aggravated assaults “would have been avoided yearly” if more states adopted right-to-carry laws. The research immediately entered the public discourse and that paper became one of the most downloaded in the history of the Social Science Research Network repository.

But other scholars sharply criticized his methodology for having “multiple very important flaws.” For instance, he ignored the crack epidemic that ravaged urban, non-right-to-carry states but avoided rural, pro-gun states. (“This would never have been taken seriously if it had not been obscured by a maze of equations,” Rutgers sociologist Ted Goertzel wrote). Meanwhile, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer suggested Lott was a gun industry lackey because his salary was funded by a foundation created by the owner of one of the country’s largest gun makers.

But the real controversy started in 2000 when Lott was unable to produce any records of a national survey he claimed to have conducted. He said he lost the data in a computer crash, but was unable to produce any other records or the names of students who helped him with it, leading some critics to speculate that he fabricated the entire thing. Even conservative blogger Michelle Malkin eviscerated Lott over the data mystery.

Lott took another blow in  2003 when Julian Sanchez, a fellow at the libertarian CATO Institute (no fan of gun control), revealed that Mary Rosh, one of Lott’s most vociferous public defenders on the Internet, was actually an alter ego created by Lott to boost his work and harangue critics. “In most circles, this goes down as fraud,” Donald Kennedy, the then-editor of the prestigious journal Science wrote in an editorial. Lott is now a Fox News contributor.

In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences conducted a literature review that included Lott’s work, and found “no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime.”

The Case Against Gary Kleck

from the Salon article The answer is not more guns

If Lott’s work can be discarded, the other key evidence for the more guns, less crime camp comes from criminologists Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, whose work in the 1990s argued that there are between 800,000 and 2.5 million defensive uses of guns in America every year. The number has been widely touted by gun-rights activists, but strongly criticized by other scholars.
Indeed, studies commissioned by the Department of Justice using different sets of more rigorous data put the number at 83,000 or 108,000, alternatively. In his essay, Goldberg quickly abandons the 2.5 million figure and seems to settle on the 108,000 level, which is 23 times lower than the Kleck-Gertz top number.

Harvard economist David Hemenway has been especially critical of Kleck-Gertz, pointing out “serious methodological deficiencies” in their numbers. The data came from a national telephone survey of 5,000 households, which found that about .6 percent said they had used guns to defend themselves in the past year. Assuming that proportion held true for all Americans households, they extrapolated from their sample to find the 2.5 million figure.

Beyond the mathematical issues with that approach, and sampling problems in their survey, Hemenway said the researchers were too credulous in believing respondents. For instance, he pointed to a poll that found that 6 percent of Americans said they had had personal contact with aliens. “The ABC News/Washington Post data on aliens are as good as or better,” Hemenway quipped.
But perhaps the biggest problem with the Kleck-Gertz numbers is that one person’s self-defense is another person’s murder, as the case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin demonstrated. Hemenway and a colleague conducted their own survey and then asked five criminal court judges to review their data to determine the legality of the incidents of defensive gun use reported by respondents. “A majority of the reported self-defense gun uses were rated as probably illegal by a majority of judges,” they found.

The conclusion: “Guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self-defense.”

South Carolina Accidental Shooting - No Charges

Local news reports
After deputies arrived, they learned that 51-year-old Wesley O’Shield was cleaning a .32-caliber revolver when the weapon accidentally discharged, shooting him in a finger on his right hand. The bullet then struck his son-in-law, 30-year-old Michael Wingo, in the abdomen, according to the statement.

As a precaution, Wingo was transported by helicopter to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, though deputies did not think his injuries were life-threatening. O’Shield was taken to the hospital by a private vehicle.

No charges will be filed in the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.
Bumbling idiots like this should never be allowed near firearms again. There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of negligence.  How stupid do you have to be to clean a gun that's still loaded?

Do you think this is the first "accident" he's ever had?  I doubt that very much.

When these things become a matter of public record, one strike you're out should apply.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

The Truth about Australia's Gun Laws

At the heart of the push was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or about one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.) In the wake of the tragedy, polls showed public support for these measures at upwards of 90 percent.

What happened next has been the subject of several academic studies. Violent crime and gun-related deaths did not come to an end in Australia, of course. But as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog pointed out in August, homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.

I wish I had an Australian Dollar for every time I read a lie about the results of the Australian gun laws. Similar to the lies often repeated about England, in Australia, according to the gun-rights fanatics, violence is rampant AS A RESULT of the strict gun laws.

It's become quite clear that the pro-gun folks are seriously lacking in honesty and integrity.  Their monomaniac interest is the elimination of gun restrictions, in spite of everything. And they'll do or say anything to achieve that goal.

The fact seems to be that gun-rights advocates don't care if proper gun control would work in the US as it has in other countries.  The unforgivable part is that most of them are law-abiding and responsible enough to continue to enjoy their guns even under the strictest imaginable gun control regimen.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Obama Seems to be Taking Gun Control Seriously - Finally

via The Christian Science Monitor

White House Petition on Gun-Owner Insurance

Please sign a White House petition to President Obama

 cross posted from Penigma

I did something useful this afternoon; I went to the white house gov petitions site, and not only signed ALL of the petitions to ban assault style weapons and expanded capacity magazines and to proactively enact and promote safer gun laws - there are approximately 166 possible petitions to sign (and a lot of them are seeking to put guns in schools, and armed veterans in schools); I also started a petition of my own, because I didn't see anything similar.

My petition is one I hope will be reviewed by Vice President Biden, and incorporated in the recommendations he makes to Congress.  My petition was that all gun owners must carry liability insurance on every gun they own, lease, or use.

To be seen among the 166 petitions, I have to first have 150 people sign that petition. So I would like to start with all of you, and have you share it with your friends and family.

Liability insurance would be like car insurance; it would mean that those who are harmed by someone's gun, whether they use it or it is used by someone else (with or without their permission) could expect to be compensated for their medical bills, for pain and suffering, for lost wages.  In the event of fatalities, that could mean paying for the very expensive costs of a funeral.  In the event of property damage, it could mean reimbursement for loss or damage.

Firearms use causes a lot of expense, and too often the victim has to bear that burden, or the taxpayers, or a mix of both.  In this respect we should not be treating guns any different than automobiles.

Please sign, and please ask others to sign.  I have only 30 days to get 25,000 signatures.  The sooner the petition has 150, the sooner other people can see it easily on the white house gov web site. Thank you.

The petition is available here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh, wow..another one!

There can be only so many massacres before people start getting pissed off and pushing back...

O’BRIEN: Okay. I think with all due respect, are you not going to answer my question, because I guess — I just want you to tell me what you would be comfortable to support, and I get it, it will be part of a conversation, but I think there have been a number of things on the table and I don’t feel like you’re telling me, you know, should people not be able to buy high-capacity magazines? What are you willing to say would be a good start, that would you bring to the table in control? Any conversation about guns?
SCOTT: Well, you know, my focus is, one, respect the families, mourn their losses, make sure our schools are safe, and then start the conversation and listen to the Floridians. What I do every day is travel the state, almost, pretty much every day, and listen to Floridians and get their ideas and then come back, based on those ideas of what we can improve.
O’BRIEN: Well, I hope it all goes — all those conversations turn into meaningful conversations before I get to go out and cover another tragedy of which we’ve now done a bunch of them.

People are beginning to get fed up with the status quo.

Winthrop Eagles coach Pat Kelsey, seizing what he believed was a special opportunity, gave an impassioned address Tuesday in response to the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School killings.

"When I walked into the press conference, I had never been in a chair with a microphone in front of me with that many cameras," Kelsey said. "Something came over me. I don't know if it was divine intervention or what, but it struck me that I had a platform that very few people in the world have."

He expressed thankfulness for the ability to go home and kiss his daughters, ages 4 and 5, who are barely younger than the youngest Newtown victims. And just as he prodded his Panther teammates in 1992, he challenged national leaders to bring about any changes necessary to prevent future tragedies.

"Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everybody needs to step up. This has to be a time for change," Kelsey said. "And I know this microphone's powerful right now, because we're playing the fourth-best team in the country." 

Thank you for saying what you did, Coach Kelsey.  I wish your team the best.

Bullet Proof Backpacks for the Kiddies - That's the Answer

Mother Jones reports
"Basically, there's three models," says Derek Williams. "A SwissGear that's made for teens, and we've got an Avengers and a Disney Princess backpack for little kids."

Williams is the president of Amendment II, a Salt Lake City-based company that manufactures lightweight body armor for law enforcement and military use. But lately they've moved into a different market: body armor for kids. Six months ago, Amendment II introduced a new line of backpacks, built with the company's signature carbon nanotube armor, designed to keep kids safe in the event of school shootings. Since Friday's massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, sales have gone through the roof. "I can't go into exact sales numbers, but basically we tripled our sales volume of backpacks that we typically do in a month—in one week," Williams says.

The Answer is Not More Guns

Alex Seitz-Wald writing for Salon refutes the idea that more guns equals less crimeWe discussed the Atlantic article here.
In this month’s Atlantic, correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg set out to make the case in a smart and reasonable way that would be amenable to the kind of people who read the Atlantic. It’s a fluke of timing that it hit newsstands just as Newtown reignited the gun debate. His massive 7,000-word feature, titled “The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control),” makes a compelling argument in what could be called the “Slate pitch” genre of contrarian counternarratives that seek to provoke by challenging widely held, though rarely debated, assumptions. In this case, he questions whether more guns invariably lead to more gun violence.

He advocates stricter gun restrictions like closing the gun show loophole and better training for people with concealed carry permits. But he concludes that with so many guns already in the hands of Americans (over 300 million, or about one per person) and the police incapable of protecting us, the situation is pretty much hopeless — so we’re probably better off arming ourselves and other law-abiding citizens so we can defend ourselves.
He goes on to explain in a most eloquent and convincing way what many of us have been saying for a long time.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Colin Goddard Quote

“If more guns would lead to less crime, then why is America not the safest place in the world, with 300 million guns?”

The NRA Breaks Silence

“The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters — and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown,” the statement read.

“Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting,” the statement said. “The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”

I'm sorry but I have a hard time believing anything they say, not the least of which is their idea of "meaningful contributions" towards avoiding these incidents in the future.  If the response of many gun-rights advocates is any indication, this will simply be a doubling down of their previous wrong-headed policies.

But the most mendacious thing is their claim that it was out of respect that they remained silent for three days.  I don't believe it for a minute.  There were two reasons for this.  First, like many pro-gun folks they experienced severe embarrassment and remorse for their role in the continuing spree shootings.  And secondly, and most importantly, it was a calculated maneuver in order to give weight to the frequent and nonsensical "dancing in the blood" attacks against liberals and gun control folks who were talking about it.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

The Conspiracy to Re-shape the 2nd Amendment

The New Yorker
Conservatives often embrace 'originalism,' the idea that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed when it was ratified, in 1787. They mock the so-called liberal idea of a 'living' constitution, whose meaning changes with the values of the country at large. But there is no better example of the living Constitution than the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment in the last few decades of the twentieth century.

The re-interpretation of the Second Amendment was an elaborate and brilliantly executed political operation, inside and outside of government. Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 brought a gun-rights enthusiast to the White House. At the same time, Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, became chairman of an important subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he commissioned a report that claimed to find 'clear--and long lost--proof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms.' The N.R.A. began commissioning academic studies aimed at proving the same conclusion. An outré constitutional theory, rejected even by the establishment of the Republican Party, evolved, through brute political force, into the conservative conventional wisdom.
I've called this "the bastardization of the2nd Amendment."

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

NRA Supports Felons

So  much for the "law-abiding citizen" BS:

Enraged, Mr. Zettergren ordered Mr. Robinson to leave. After a brief confrontation, Mr. Zettergren shot him in the temple at point-blank range with a Glock-17 semiautomatic handgun. He then forced Mr. Robinson’s hysterical fiancée, at gunpoint, to help him dispose of the body in a nearby river.
It was the first homicide in more than 30 years in the small town of Endicott, in eastern Washington. But for a judge’s ruling two months before, it would probably never have happened.
For years, Mr. Zettergren had been barred from possessing firearms because of two felony convictions. He had a history of mental health problems and friends said he was dangerous. Yet Mr. Zettergren’s gun rights were restored without even a hearing, under a state law that gave the judge no leeway to deny the application as long as certain basic requirements had been met. Mr. Zettergren, then 36, wasted no time retrieving several guns he had given to a friend for safekeeping.

Key excerpt:

 While previously a small number of felons were able to reclaim their gun rights, the process became commonplace in many states in the late 1980s, after Congress started allowing state laws to dictate these reinstatements — part of an overhaul of federal gun laws orchestrated by theNational Rifle Association.