Saturday, February 20, 2010

O'Reilly on the Katrina Gun Confiscations

"They disarmed Americans over some bad weather." I offer this quote to Zorro as another example of what I'm talking about. Gun rights folks are the worst at exaggerating and spinning.

About the video, though, I found it over at the fascinating site of Fait of the World. The host of that site, a self-proclaimed Threeper, had this to say.

In case you anti-freedom fucks, both Right and Left, can’t understand this, the government did not give those rights and cannot take them away. Please don’t attempt to do so. It will be resisted with brute force in this home.

Now that's the tough talk I've come to know and love from these guys. What I don't understand is the need some of them have to continually talk like this. At the mere mention of gun banning or gun confiscation, often when it is not even mentioned, they spout off with this adolescent school-yard rhetoric. It's truly fascinating.

More fascinating still, is that I have to agree with Bill O'Reilly. I never thought the day would come, but in this O'Reilly segment I think he made good points. The so-called Katrina gun confiscations have been so often touted as examples of what the evil government does to poor gun owners, like the little old lady in that video, that many have come to believe their own nonsense.

The truth is what O'Reilly said, there was a state of emergency and the local government was blanketing all citizens in order to control the looters and other criminals. The gun rights folks keep spinning that video in order to distort what really happened.

O'Reilly asked about riots like they had in the 60s. Curfews were implemented, the right to assemble was suspended. Were these also examples of "illegal" measures on the part of the government? I don't think so. And I don't think one has to be a government worshipping sheep to feel that way. One of the purposes of government is to keep order in extreme emergency situations, or is that wrong? Are the rough and rugged individualists going to insist on handling everything themselves in every situation with their home arsenals?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sabre Defense Industries

The Nashville Business Journal reports on the investigation of a gun manufacturer.

Nashville-based gun manufacturer Sabre Defence Industries issued a statement late yesterday saying it is cooperating with federal agents who are investigating “potential criminal misuse of certain non-saleable firearms” manufactured by the company and purchased by Sabre employees.

“Sabre has received information that employee(s) involved in inventory control may have obtained and re-sold some items without appropriate licenses,” reads the company’s statement. “Sabre is and has been cooperating with federal agents in this investigation.”

The company had an FFL license, just like the guy in your local gun shop. And just like many local gun shops, Sabre Defense turned out to be the source of gun flow into the criminal world.

What's your opinion? Is there not enough oversight? Is there too much wiggle-room for these felons masquerading as legitimate employees making money on the side?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Military Industrial Complex

Angry Bear wrote a wonderful post about the real puppet masters.

The impact of militarization is huge, and the long-term wars we are engaged in currently, and their high costs, surely impact our economy. Surely the military-industrial complex and its demands on the tax system (and its potential threats to our democratic institutions) are viable topics at ataxingmatter, as part of the discussion of tax policy and institutional sustainability.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Common Sense in Finland

The Associated Press reports on the proposed gun ban in Finland.

A Finnish government commission on Wednesday proposed a ban on semiautomatic handguns after two school shootings in recent years left 20 people dead.

The ban, which needs parliamentary approval, would sharply reduce the number of legal weapons in a country that ranks among the world's top five in civilian gun ownership.

"We've had a very weapon-friendly culture," commission chairman Pekka Sauri said. "In carrying out the proposals we would, of course, pay compensation to anyone who turns in weapons."

The Nordic nation of 5.3 million has 650,000 licensed gun owners. Of some 250,000 handguns, more than 200,000 are semiautomatic, according to Sauri.

The recommendation came in a report on an attack in September 2008, when a 22-year-old gunman killed nine fellow students and a teacher before shooting himself at a vocational high school in Kauhajoki, western Finland.

Less than a year earlier, a teenage student fatally shot eight people and himself at Jokela High School in Tuusula, near the capital, Helsinki.

We've discussed some of the Finnish gun violence here and here. What's your opinion? Is the suggestion to ban handguns a ridiculous and emotional response to these types of incidents? Are the people in Finland who want this deluded by their fear of inanimate objects?

I don't think so. In a small country, perhaps what would be untenable in the United States as a solution might be exactly what they need. In spite of all the pro-gun claims to the contrary, gun availability plays a significant role in the amount and the gravity of violence for the simple reason that the gun is the most efficient killing tool.

An interesting thing about the Finland situation is the pro-gun folks over there don't have the trumped-up justification their American counterparts have. There's no 2nd Amendment there.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Bad News in Virginia

The Washington Post reports on the lifting of the Virginia one-gun-a-month restriction.

IN A RARE moment of gun law sanity, Virginia enacted a bill 17 years ago limiting the purchase of handguns to one a month. Almost immediately, the numbers of guns traced to Virginia that were used in crimes in the Northeast, particularly in New York, dropped sharply. Now, thanks to Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, a Prince William County Republican who is pushing to repeal the law, the Old Dominion may regain the dubious distinction of being a leading arsenal for criminals. Mr. Lingamfelter's measure cleared the House of Delegates in Richmond this week and is headed for the state Senate. It was backed mainly by House Republicans, for whom the purchase of a dozen handguns annually is apparently not enough.

I don't think anyone expects this to be blocked in the Senate. But what's the real reason behind this? Isn't it an indisputable and obvious fact that straw purchasers who buy handguns which go directly into the black market should be limited in their efforts? Wouldn't the repealing of this law guarantee a major increase in those trafficked guns? So, why are gun owners so adamant about this?

My idea is that for gun rights advocates this as a small victory in what they see as a big war. They've lost the ability to see reason and common sense. The Washington Post said it right, calling this law a "rare moment in gun law sanity."

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Shooter Shop in Philadelphia

The Coalition for Peace Action is sponsoring a prayer vigil tomorrow in front of an infamous Philadelphia gun shop.

I have learned how guns flow from legal gun shops through gun traffickers to people who can’t legally own weapons. Somebody has to DO something! I have learned how cheap “dirty” guns end up in the pockets of teenagers and turn arguments into unintended murders and murderers. Somebody has to DO something! I have learned about the “gun rights” lobby opposition to rational legislation to slow the flood of illegal weapons. For God’s sake, somebody has to DO something!

The Shooter Shop in North Philadelphia has been among the top gun shops in the entire country in having guns it sold recovered from crime by law enforcement. According to ATF, this is a strong indicator of being a source of illegal gun trafficking. Heeding God’s Call has asked the Shooter Shop to sign the Code of Conduct and adopt these responsible practices to save lives by reducing straw purchases. So far, the Shooter Shop has refused, preferring instead to look the other way and enjoy the profits.

What these good Christian folks are asking "the owner and employees of the Shooter Shop and all gun shop owners in the United States [is] that they do everything in their power to reduce/eliminate the practice of straw purchasing, and refuse to profit from the death-dealing sale of illegal handguns."

What's your opinion? Are they already doing "everything in their power?"

Please leave a comment.

More Guns - Less Gun Violence

The Times News published an article which basically supports the theory that more guns means less gun violence. FishyJay sent me the link with the following remark:

In the polarizing debate about gun control, one does not often encounter a moderate voice of reason. I find this editorial from the The Kingsport (TN) Times-News to be a rare example of such.

I can easily see why he would consider this article "a moderate voice of reason."

According to liberals, the huge increase in gun purchases that came as a consequence of Obama’s election were certain to result in a commensurate spike in gun violence. Despite these repeated predictions, the frenzy of gun violence that was supposed to erupt never occurred. In fact, gun violence has decreased.

Indeed, the liberal mantra that more guns equals more crime has run headlong into some inconvenient facts.

My response to this argument has been that it's still early days. But I admit it is compelling. I'm not sure if John Lott invented it but his name comes to mind.

What's your opinion? Is the spike in gun and ammo sales only one year ago combined with statistics that say gun violence is down enough to conclude the pro-gun crowd was right? Or, do these trends need to stand the test of time?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to Succeed as an Ayn Rand Character

Thanks to The Stranger. I like that last part about the 60-page speech. It occurred to me this may explain some of the pleonastic pro-gun characters we know and love. What do you think?

Murder - Suicide Again

Guns are bad news for women.

The Real-Life "Lord of War"

CNN reports on the case of Viktor Bout.

International arms dealer Viktor Bout has been indicted by federal authorities on a series of new charges, including counts of illegally purchasing U.S. cargo planes to ferry weapons to warring parties and regimes in Africa and the Middle East.

The new indictment, announced in New York and Washington Wednesday, comes as the United States steps up efforts to extradite Bout to New York from Thailand, where he has been jailed since 2008.

The indictment charges Bout, a Russian native, and his alleged American co-conspirator, Richard Chichakli, with the illegal purchase of a Boeing 727 and a Boeing 737 and with money laundering and wire fraud. Chichakli remains at large, authorities said.

Bout has been an international weapons trafficker since the 1990s, carrying out a massive weapons trafficking business by assembling a fleet of cargo planes to transport weapons to parts of Africa, the Middle East and South America.

According to the Justice Department, the arms that Bout has sold or brokered have fueled conflicts and supported regimes in Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

It sounds like a guy like this could actually interfere with the legitimate arms producers and sellers whose job it is to supply these regimes and dictatorships with weapons. Since the major players in that game are American companies, it's no wonder the U.S. wants to extradite him.

What's your opinion? Do you think we're missing the point when discussing the gun show loophole and straw purchasers and crooked gun dealers? Do you think all that's a distraction which diverts attention from the real culprits, the arms manufacturers?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Don't Try This at Home

Nail Gun Art - Watch more Funny Videos

Houston Guns Going South

Nothing new here, except that reference to blaming those who use drugs in America. That's an idea. I was also wondering if we could blame all the gun dealers in Houston. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More "No Guns Allowed" in California

The Brady Blog reports on another success in the battle between common sense and stubborn gun-rights activism.

Last Saturday about 100 “open carry” gun activists descended on Buckhorn Grill in Walnut Creek, one of a chain of California restaurants, to display their semi-automatic pistols and ammunition magazines.

As reported in the Contra Costa Times, customers responded to the display:

“I’m a little worried,” said Hayley King, of Walnut Creek, who stopped in for lunch. “I don’t feel safe in here. I wouldn’t have come if I had known.”

“If it’s (carrying guns) not for law enforcement, it’s completely wrong,” said Rumer Cantrell, a Walnut Creek resident who attends Carondelet High School in Concord. “Violence should never be promoted in any way. To be walking around saying, ‘You can see I have a gun,’ promotes violence.”


One week later, and after the hard work of our California Brady Campaign Chapters, comes news that the Buckhorn Grill restaurant chain has now made its “No Guns” policy clear.

What is wrong with these people? I'm talking about the protesters who are trying to force themselves into places they're not welcome.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

North Jersey Home Protection ran an opinion piece last week by Anthony N. Iannarelli Jr., a lawyer who lives in Ramsey, which we discussed here. Basically he says having a gun at home is useless.

Now they've published a rebuttal by Warren E. Neumann, who served in the Navy during the Korean War, was a police officer in Englewood for 14 years and has been a private detective for 39 years.

Mr. Neumann makes some of the very points which our own commenters made on the first article. For example, he disputed Iannarelli's idea that a safely stored weapon is completely removed from the action if a break-in should occur.

Iannarelli suggests storing a weapon unloaded, but it takes a mere two to five seconds to slap a loaded magazine into a semi-automatic pistol if and when that late-night breaking of glass occurs. So much for his suggestion that an unloaded gun is ineffective. In many cases, the mere display of an unloaded or loaded weapon has thwarted intruders and allowed them to be held for the police.

It seems to me both of them are exaggerating. What do you think?

I have lived many, many years with a loaded firearm by my side, and have used it many times over the years in protection of my property and safety and even of others in my neighborhood, despite Iannarelli’s opinion that one would have a once-in-a-lifetime crime experience.

It doesn't seem like a fair comparison does it? One guy's a rough and tumble law enforcement officer and the other is a normal suburban homeowner.

And the reason for Neumann's rebuttal:

I know and like Anthony Iannarelli, but because of my own life experience, feel a responsibility to contradict what I consider misinformation to the law-abiding public, which only serves to fuel those who oppose the Second Amendment.

What do you think about that? Is opposing the 2nd Amendment the same as hating guns? Do you think it might be possible for one to reject the 2nd Amendment argument for individual gun rights and still accept the possession of guns in certain cases?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Tea Party Extremists

The New York Times published an article on the Tea Party Movement. Thanks for the link, George.

These people are part of a significant undercurrent within the Tea Party movement that has less in common with the Republican Party than with the Patriot movement, a brand of politics historically associated with libertarians, militia groups, anti-immigration advocates and those who argue for the abolition of the Federal Reserve.

The lengthy article goes on to describe in great detail the divide which is ever deepening in America. What's your opinion? Are these Tea Party enthusiasts simply fringe lunatics who were desperate for a cause or are they to be taken seriously? If the latter, does that mean, as one person was quoted in the article, the possibility exists of “another civil war?” Is it fair to describe the country like this: "Basic freedoms are threatened. Economic collapse, food shortages and civil unrest all seem imminent?"

Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Guy Heinze Mystery

We've discussed the case of Guy Heinze here and here. He's been in jail for six months accused of having bludgeoned to death eight members of his family in a trailer. An interested party sent me this link to a topix forum dedicated to the case. I agree there's more to this than we've been told. I remember how impressed I was with the younger brother of the supposed killer. I'm still with him, Guy is innocent.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

"Loophole" the Film

The Daily Collegian has a story about a UMass student who is making a film.

I visited two New Hampshire gun shows last year. I bought a double-barreled shotgun from another attendee for cash only. When he neglected to check my ID, he committed a federal felony. More undercover presence from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) at shows would make private sellers less likely to violate the law like this. The laws are often broken by private sellers, but a background check is still not required in such a sale, demonstrated in the majority of U.S. states.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Close the Gravel Pit

Everett Washington's reports on a controversy between gun owners and local residents of a gravel pit used for shooting.

SULTAN — A controversial shooting range might wind up in the line of fire on Wednesday.

The Snohomish County Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing to discuss turning an east county gravel pit into a no-shooting area at the request of neighbors.

If the pit is closed, the council may solve one problem as it creates another.

“When we try to shut everything down, folks just move to another location,” County Councilman Dave Somers said. “The ultimate answer is to have a facility that’s safe and open to the public.”

A new shooting area may not open soon, however, leaving shooters wondering where they should go.

What we're talking about, I suppose, are rural settings on the outskirts of small towns. Shooters naturally look for places where they can practice and have fun. But it creates problems. Contrary to the claims of many who comment on gun blogs, not everyone who goes out shooting knows how to behave themselves in a responsible manner. Let me clarify that, I say that a too high percentage of them are bad apples.

Word spread, and a steady flow of gun owners began coming to the pit. Many behaved themselves, peppering paper targets with holes before carrying out garbage.

Some didn’t, leaving behind empty beer cans and spent shells.

No one can recall an injury at the pit, but residents living within a mile complain of constant noise. They hear gunfire after nightfall, when it’s illegal to shoot. Occasionally, they hear explosions.

“It has been completely out of control,” Chuck Miller, 82, said.

Residents living near the pit gathered 32 signatures on a petition last fall, causing the county to consider closing the spot. They want their quiet mountain setting back.

Drinking beer while shooting, leaving trash behind, shooting after dark, blowing stuff up, now that sounds like the gun owners I know. How about you? Are these the characteristics of an inconsequential minority, just a few bad apples, or is this par for the course for many?

In my Famous 10% post, I assigned an extremely tiny percentage to gun owners who have problems with alcohol and drugs and those who are just plain reckless. I attempted to highlight only the worst of the worst. But what does this story sound like to you? I'd say it's more like 20% or 30% who are acting up.

Once I asked about shot-up road signs. In response I got everything from silence and avoidance to "Never seen one m'self." But I'll bet some of the patrons of the Sultan gravel pit have shot some road signs in their day.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bullet-Proof Blackberry

Local ABC news reports on a freakish incident in which a woman almost lost her life in another accidental shooting.

The boyfriend went to put on his coat and accidentally discharged the handgun he had.

Modern day technology literally saved an Ohio woman's life. Police in Butler Township say a 22 year old woman and her boyfriend were drinking at a restaurant. The boyfriend went to put on his coat and accidentally discharged the handgun he had.

The bullet hit the woman's Blackberry that she had in her pocket. Captain Carl Bush says, "Very lucky for her is that in her pants pocket, or jeans pocket, she had her Blackberry. And the Blackberry stopped the bullet. Drinking and guns definitely do not go together."

The woman only got a bruise, but her boyfriend is facing a third-degree felony for bringing a gun into a place that sells liquor. The woman's Blackberry did not survive the bullet damage.

Because of one stupid incident like this, do I think no one shoud be allowed to carry guns? You betcha. Do I think that a guy who does something like this once should lose his right to own guns forever? You betcha. Do I want to be able to go to a restaurant without wondering if the guy at the next table knows how to handle his gun? You betcha.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Frank Said, "It Can't Happen Here"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Helmke Visits Obama

"Thirdpower and kaveman can be contained" Thanks for the tip kaveman.

See video here.

Mass Murder in Alabama - Female Shooter

Yahoo News reports on the background of the Alabama Professor who shot up the workplace in the latest mass shooting, Prof. Amy Bishop.

Bishop, a rare woman suspected of a workplace shooting, had just months left teaching at the University of Alabama in Huntsville because she was denied tenure.

The article is almost entirely dedicated to an incident in her past. It seems when the professor was 19 years, old she shot and killed her 18-year-old brother. The incident in was ruled an accident but now some folks are not too sure. One thing is certain, what she did yesterday was no accident.

From the site:

According to police, three people were killed and three were wounded when the shooter opened fire during a biology faculty meeting on the third floor of the Shelby Center for Science and Technology. The three injured people are being treated at Huntsville Hospital.

In June 2006, The Times published a story involving Bishop, biology professor and her husband, Jim Anderson, chief science officer of Cherokee Labsystems in Huntsville.

Bishop is quoted in the story as co-inventor of "InQ," a new cell growth incubator which promised to cut the costs, size and maintenance involved in the mechanics of cell generation.

So, she was a Harvard-graduated genius inventor on the forefront of genetic sciences, yet when disgruntled enough she cracked like so many others. What makes her story different, of course, is that she's a woman.

Why do you think there are so few female shooters in these tragic incidents? Pro-gun men get absolutely defensive if you try to say it's a man's world. The numbers of women shooters are growing, they tell me. At ranges all over the nation you now see, what, 20% or 30% women? This is what I've been told anyway.

Well, my question is what's wrong with the male gun owners, then? Why do they have an almost exclusive ownership of these mass shootings, and all other shootings for that matter? It seems to me either the people who claim women make up a significant portion of gun owners are wrong, or something is wrong with the men accounting for a disproportionate percentage of these shootings. Which do you think it is?

Please leave a comment.

Gun Rights Star Still Ascending

The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed which examined Obama's gun record since coming to office and concluded he's not the threat to gun rights that everyone thought one year ago.

Among the many groups that opposed Barack Obama's presidential race, few were more certain or vehement than gun-rights organizations. "Barack Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history," the National Rifle Association announced. "Obama is a committed anti-gunner," warned Gun Owners of America.

So it's no stunner that after a year in office, the president is getting hammered by people who have no use for his policy on firearms. The surprise is that the people attacking him are those who favor gun control, not those who oppose it.

Obama's record on this issue has been largely overlooked — except by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which recently issued a report card flunking Obama on all seven issues it deems important. Said President Paul Helmke, "If I had been told, in the days before Barack Obama's inauguration, that his record on gun violence prevention would be this poor, I would not have believed it."

What can explain the grave miscalculation, admittedly a happy one in retrospect, on the part of the gun rights groups? The article blames it on Obama being a slick politician who doesn't want to fight losing battles over guns. But didn't his critics in the NRA and the GOA realize he was a slick politician even before he was elected? Why didn't they admit back then that no president, regardless of his record on the issue, would have the support necessary to fight them? Didn't they know that back then?

Of course they did. I think what explains it is the peculiar character trait of the gun owners, who are after all the folks who make up these organizations. For reasons that partly elude me, these guys cannot help exaggerating and blowing things out of proportion. Take for example the oft-used phrase, "god-given right." What could be more grandiose than that?

Another example came up just yesterday in my post entitled "Gun Nuts vs. Constitution Nuts." I referenced a quote by one of the leaders of the pro-gun internet movement.

David Hardy said, "They're going into the fight of their lives, no OUR lives, and don't need the distractions."

I ask why would he refer to the McDonald vs. Chicago case in such exaggerated language? It's obviously not the "fight of your lives" any more than the happenings in Seattle are truly significant, as Zorro rightly pointed out. I like what someone said the other day, that what's coming up in the Supreme Court is like winning a football game by a touchdown or a field goal, either way it's a sure win.

What's your opinion? Do gun rights people tend to exaggerate? Do you think like I do that they do this as a self-aggrandizing trick of rhetoric? I mean, the higher the stakes the greater their victory, right? And let's not forgot those with fantasies of fighting to the death against incredible governmental odds. It's all part of the same mental quirk.

Please leave a comment.

Chainsaws Prohibited

Wouldn't it be foolish if this guy and a bunch of his coworkers decided to bring their tools along on a coffee break? And wouldn't it be worse if they were asked to leave the tools in the truck and instead of complying, demanded their rights to keep them?