Category: 2nd Amendment

How strict are Germany’s gun laws again?

There are numerous stories coming out – despite an orchestrated attempt soften the message, or outright just cover up what really happened and how bad it was – about the rampage these migrant “youths” engaged in, not just in German cities, but all across Europe. From Germany to Finland, stories are coming out that rock the bullshit the pseudo-marxist, multi-culturalism pushing pimp, credentialed elite that run our decaying western once-democracies have been selling about the religion of peace and the risk posed by way too many of its adherents. In ultra-progressive Germany, which first reacted to the news of anti-feminist rampage and rape by warning the very people coming forth to point out that the authorities also did nothing in practically every case, that they would pay a hefty price for saying things the elite would not allow – especially since what they where saying were detrimental to the narrative and agenda of these credentialed elites and totally true – in order to try and stave off the oblivious wrench this would throw in their machinations, things are changing. Heck, the adage that “history repeats itself” again assets itself, drawing parallels with what is happening to the Clintons, which were ridding that “war on women” bandwagon hard and heavy to influence the 2016 election in Shrillary’s favor, that is, until someone pointed out Bill Clinton was a champ at that stuff.

But no, my post isn’t about the fact that the only standards the left has are double standards, or that they are nothing but hypocritical scum that never really walk any of that talk they talk. It’s about the specific move by the Obama crime syndicate to again disarm a populous that they view as stupid rubes too dumb to just go along with whatever their masters and betters – the credentialed scumbags running progressive government – so they can actually do what they want without fear of retaliation. So, without further ado, I present the video below, which shows the “celebration” that gangs of young “religion of peace” worshiping immigrants celebrating 2016 New Year’s Eve, partook in.

Religion of Peace celebrates New Year 2016 in Germany

Note the guns being shot all over the place. Then rack your memory about the German constitution’s second amendment and the country’s gun laws. If you aren’t one of the morons that sucks marxist cock you would immediately grasp that Germany has the same gun control model our leftards in the US would love to impose on us. And yet, here are these adherents of the “religion of peace”, not just acting out like thugs and criminals, but shooting off the very illegal guns nobody but the proper people that the credentialed marxists in charge tell us should be allowed arms of any kind, are not allowed to have.

Reality is that these pseudo-marxist, credentialed elite, leftist governments pass and want to pass draconian gun laws to disarm law abiding citizens, not to protect the citizenry or prevent criminals from getting their hands on firearms, but to make sure that the people they are fucking over can’t take up arms against them when the fucking-over gets really bad (as it is starting to across the western world). As this video clearly proves, criminals and people that don’t have any respect for the law of the land, don’t give a flying fuck about whether they are allowed firearms or not, and disarming those of us that do follow the law will not prevent them from getting guns or using them.In this case they were firing off shots to celebrate the new year, but I am sure they didn’t go through all the “trouble” it would take to get an illegal gun in draconianly gun controlled Germany, just to save some euros by shooting off bullets instead of fireworks.

Don’t take my word for the fact that the left’s agenda is the disarmament of the serfs they feel are too uppity, and that they will tell any lie and resort to any scheme to do this. Recently Obama took to TV, where he put in an Oscar worthy performance replete with falsehoods and bullshit, and got a pass from a complacent and mendacious media. “Sensible gun control” to the left is a disarmed citizenry. The elite will have the monopoly on violence, especially with regards to firearms, and the criminal element and the violence they inflict will be swept under the carpet – there is no use for bandying those statistics as a means to push more gun control then like they do in what happen to be the most draconian gun controlled urban jungles that also happen to be totally owned by pseudo-marxist leftist government after they have confiscated our firearms – because they could care less who gets killed then. Oh sure, they will occasionally grandstand and talk though, or they might warn those pointing out how fucked up things are to shut their trap or else, like they are doing in Europe, but they know that it is nothing but that.

We are at a crossroads right now, and we either wise up to the fact the leftists are destroying modern society, on fucking purpose, or we will all look back on all the troubles of today – those of us with the framework to comprehend it that is – and pine for the good old days. There is hope for Germany, yet, though. The credentialed pseudo-marxist elite running Germany, and for that matter several other European countries, are not going to be able to sell that shit sandwich they have been pushing for too much longer without showing their true colors. Hopefully people here in the US are paying attention too, and know what more of the same will bring us next.

Midweek Roundup

At a conference this week. Here’s a few stories I’m following:

  • North Korea claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb. Even the skeptics admit that whatever they’ve tested, if not technically an H-bomb, is massively more powerful than the bombs they’ve been testing before. So far, our “smart diplomacy” has yielded nothing with the Norks.
  • Reports are preliminary, but it appears that there was a wave of sexual assaults and robberies in Cologne, Germany, with the perpetrators being gangs of Arab and North African men. We have seen this sort of thing before, although not on this scale. I don’t oppose immigration. I do demand that immigrants observe our cultural norms, obey our laws and treat women with respect.
  • President Obama has announced some executive actions on gun control, mostly tightening background checks. Charles Cooke notes that the President is expending a lot of political capital for very little gain. The President, and the Democrats, continue to think that the country is screaming for gun control and that this will vault them to electoral success. They are deeply mistaken. Liberals, in echo chambers like Vox, are screaming for gun control. The country, generally is not.
  • Continuing on that, the President announced these moves in a tearful press conference. His emotions, however, are not important. What is important, as Ken White tells us, is how the President talks about rights, which is to say in the most disingenuous anti-freedom way imaginable.
  • Jamelle Bouie has a great piece where he argues that the Oregon standoff is not really about race. Our focus shouldn’t be on why police aren’t gunning down the Bundys. It should be on how to get the to show the same caution more often.

I told you so….

Back in the old days of the antichrist Boosh, the left loved to tell us how evil his administration was for all sorts of things, but especially the cloak and dagger shit that the left always projects on their enemies. Of course, those of us that know the left better and realize that projection happens because the left is assuming others do whatever they do, are not surprised to find out, that in the age of Obama, the abuse of power is always directed at your allies and political enemies:

President Barack Obama announced two years ago he would curtail eavesdropping on friendly heads of state after the world learned the reach of long-secret U.S. surveillance programs.

Hah! Is this yet another Obama broken promise? As Glenn H. Reynolds so avidly points out: Obama’s promises all come with expiration dates and usually reflect exactly the opposite of what he plans to do. You pick the promise, and you will find that it was a boldfaced lie or only was kept unitl it became inconvenient for this administration to do so. Here is some juice shit that follows:

But behind the scenes, the White House decided to keep certain allies under close watch, current and former U.S. officials said. Topping the list was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The U.S., pursuing a nuclear arms agreement with Iran at the time, captured communications between Mr. Netanyahu and his aides that inflamed mistrust between the two countries and planted a political minefield at home when Mr. Netanyahu later took his campaign against the deal to Capitol Hill.

How much do we want to bet that Iran – the bad guy in this stupid deal that is assured to cause us so much more pain in the future – never had anything compared to the level of scrutiny that this administration put on what they labeled a political enemy. And let us not forget, as the left constantly reminds us through word and deed, that the real enemy according to them never is the people that want to kill Americans or Jews and destroy the west in the process, but the political enemies of the left. And Nethanyahu sure as hell is a “grade A” enemy in the eyes if this pro-Islamic fundamentalism administration. With information like this coming out, what more proof do you need that to these scumbags it never really is about the interests of the American people, but always that of the political left? After all, it isn’t like Iran has read anything but acquiescence from this idiotic deal either.

The National Security Agency’s targeting of Israeli leaders and officials also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. That raised fears—an “Oh-s— moment,” one senior U.S. official said—that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.

White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign. They also recognized that asking for it was politically risky. So, wary of a paper trail stemming from a request, the White House let the NSA decide what to share and what to withhold, officials said. “We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’ ”

Yeah, the bad guy according to the WH was that evil Netanyahu guy because he had the temerity to refuse to go along with an absolutely insane and stupid deal that clearly allows Iran to build nuclear weapons and continue to pursue the agenda of genocide against the Jews and the Great Satan, and not the Iranian madmen or the fucking idiots in the WH that conjured up this terrible deal. And am I alone in getting a whiff of the old Clintoneseque lawyerese? “We didn’t tell them to do it, but didn’t tell them not to do it and then share it with us either”, wink wink. Par for the course. From the whole sicking the IRS on political enemies scandal that they have been trying so hard, to squash to the now all but forgotten gun running scam into Mexico run by the DEA that they hoped would allow the massacre that would follow to be used to piss on the second amendment, to the plethora of insane foreign policy debacles that make the Carter years look awesome in contrast (the Arab Spring, Benghazi, Syria, ISIS, Turkey, the Russians, China, Iran, and so fucking on and on). this administration has been about profit for the left’s political machine at the expense of not just the American people, but the world at large. And they don’t even worry much that this agenda shines through, because after all, with the DOJ owned and doing their bidding and Congress neutered, who is going to really stand against them and their criminal and down right evil agenda?

Stepped-up NSA eavesdropping revealed to the White House how Mr. Netanyahu and his advisers had leaked details of the U.S.-Iran negotiations—learned through Israeli spying operations—to undermine the talks; coordinated talking points with Jewish-American groups against the deal; and asked undecided lawmakers what it would take to win their votes, according to current and former officials familiar with the intercepts.

Before former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed much of the agency’s spying operations in 2013, there was little worry in the administration about the monitoring of friendly heads of state because it was such a closely held secret. After the revelations and a White House review, Mr. Obama announced in a January 2014 speech he would curb such eavesdropping.

Anyone still doubt that Snowden is a fucking hero even if you disagree with how he did what he did? And ask yourself who paid for this absolutely egregious abuse of power. Has anyone in this administration been held accountable? Shit, Nixon wants to retract his resignation. After all, he got run out of town for what amounts to a joke compared to the laundry list of criminal activity engaged in and gotten away with by this administration. A complicit and cowed media goes a long way. Now if they had only managed to get their lie about Benghazi being about out of control social media to stick so they could control the internet as well, they would really be rocking the Kasbah.

In closed-door debate, the Obama administration weighed which allied leaders belonged on a so-called protected list, shielding them from NSA snooping. French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders made the list, but the administration permitted the NSA to target the leaders’ top advisers, current and former U.S. officials said. Other allies were excluded from the protected list, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of NATO ally Turkey, which allowed the NSA to spy on their communications at the discretion of top officials.

I think the WSJ is not being accurate here, because I remember how part of the Snowden release showed massive spying by the NSA on the Europeans, and especially the French and Germans, targeting the leadership specifically (google it, it is out there). I am betting the only people not eavesdropped on are the Iranians, Russians, and the Chinese, probably because all the assets where too busy looking at the political enemies of the administration and those radical right wing fanatics that won’t just let team Obama do their thing. Now for the doozy in the story:

Privately, Mr. Obama maintained the monitoring of Mr. Netanyahu on the grounds that it served a “compelling national security purpose,” according to current and former U.S. officials. Mr. Obama mentioned the exception in his speech but kept secret the leaders it would apply to.

Are we talking about that monitoring that they never really told the NSA to do, or not to do, here? Yeah, I thought so. It is quite obvious to me that Netanyahu was a threat to the security of the Obama Administration and its plans to fundamentally change America as promised, too. Of course I doubt that many people in America, including so many Jews that are bought and owned by the democratic party, realize what this revelation shows this administration really is about. Can you imagine Boosh or another republican doing something like this and getting away with it? Think hard on that people. That’s the litmus test really, and the proof that we are all being had by these crooks. Let’s put Hillary in the WH so this party can go on. On steroids.

The NYT Gets Hysterical

For the first time in 95 years, the New York Times has run a front page editorial. The subject? Guns and how we need to get rid of them. And it is a distillation of the moral panic we are having over guns right now.

The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

So many problems squeezed into one paragraph. First, it is not the job of elected leaders to “keep us safe”. Or at least, it’s not their only job. Their jobs is also to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. It’s also to exercise restraint when the public is hysterical and hence clamorous to be lead to safety by hobgoblins who dance in the blood of the slain. We responded hysterically to World War I with the Espionage and Sedition Acts (without a front page editorial from the NYT). We responded to Pearl Harbor with a hysterical internment (without a front page editorial from the NYT). We responded to 9/11 with a hysterical Patriot Act (without a front page editorial from the NYT). Must we respond hysterically now?

And the idea that politicians oppose gun control because of money and power from the firearms industry is disgusting. According to the NYT and their allies, gun control opponents are perfectly willing to countenance the slaughter of thousands if it means a few thousand dollars in their campaign war chest. And what about the tens of millions of Americans who oppose gun control? What about the conservative and libertarian writers who oppose gun control? And frankly, what about the NRA, which has millions of members and a higher approval rating than Hillary Clinton? Where’s our bribes?

As I said the other day:

Saying that your opponents are fine with killing is the reaction of an insane person, not “the paper of record”.

I’m tired of hearing this crap that the only reason we don’t get gun control is because of NRA bribes. It’s possible to oppose gun control on principal or because it is not popular with the American public or your particular constituency. Bernie Sanders, to his credit, tried to make this point in the Democratic debate. It basically ended his candidacy.

Today’s liberalism shares a heritage with yesterday’s communism. One of the principle things it has inherited is the belief that their ideas are intrinsically scientifically right and that if anyone opposes them, it is because they have been deluded by a shadowy conspiracy of counter-revolutionaries. For the commies, it was bourgeois. For the liberals, it’s the NRA.

We’re only two paragraphs in and the NYT already needs to get a damned grip.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection.

Now we get the distraction on assault weapons. Assault weapons are a tiny tiny portion of violence in the country. And “assault weapon” itself is mostly a marketing term used by gun manufacturers. There really is not much of a difference between a handgun and an “assault weapon”. In fact, most assault weapons are of lower caliber and lower power than a revolver or handgun. Even our government admits that the 90’s assault weapons ban — which mainly banned guns that looked scary — had no impact on gun violence.

The assault weapons ban is a touchstone for what the real issue is: a culture war. The gun grabbers don’t like assault weapons. Wanting to ban them is about signaling, not reducing violence.

And what’s the point? Is the point that these terrorists might have killed a few less people if they’d had rifles and handguns? Or restorted to bombs instead? Is that really what we’re talking about here?

After conceding that gun laws may not stop criminals, that the Constitutional challenges are formidable and that terrorists in France obtained weapons without a problem, they say this:

But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not.

You will never find a moral perfect statement of: “We must do something! This is something! Let’s do it!”

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

The “clear and effective way” last time was to go through a catalog and pick out weapons that looked scary. And note that last part: gun confiscation. Hanging out there all pink and naked.

I’ll close with a few bullet points that the NYT did not mention:

  • Gun violence is down. Way down. 50% off its 1993 peak. And if you’re not in an inner city war zone, violence is at level similar to countries that have way stricter gun control. Violence has fallen even faster than it did in Australia after they passed their restrictive gun laws in the wake of Port Arthur. During this dramatic drop in crime, millions of carry permits have been issued and about a hundred million guns purchased.
  • The problem of gun violence is primarily in inner cities, not among rural and suburban gun collectors. This is why assault weapons are such a tiny part of overall gun violence.
  • The contention that more guns equals more violence is only true if you cherry-pick. The contention that Connecticut’s gun laws massively reduced gun violence is only true if you cherry pick. The contention that mass shootings are way up is only true if you cherry pick. The contention that there have been 350 mass shootings this year is only true if you muddy the definition of mass shooting beyond all recognition. Both the CDC and the NRC conceded, in their studies, that the case that gun control will reduce violence is weak, at beast.
  • Given that, the contention that our politicians could unquestionably stop this violence by passing a law is ridiculous. I’m sorry. This is a matter of debate. This is a matter of disagreement. This is not a matter of just pressing the gun control button and having a less violent society emerge.
  • By phrasing it the way they do — as if it were not even debatable than gun control would massively reduce violence — the gun grabbers unwittingly reveal what this: a religion. They believe that gun control will work because they believe government can do anything if it just decides to. And the millions of Americans who oppose gun control are thus heretics.
  • The tale of gun violence is not told in mass shootings. It’s told in the every day violence in our inner cities and the suicides of many fellow Americans. But addressing that is much more complicated. It probably means ending the War on Drugs. It means addressing the cultural decay and the devaluation of human life. It means fixing our broken education, law enforcement and economic systems. Much easier to grab someone’s AK-47 and call it a day, I guess.
  • Did we mention that these were terrorists? Of all the incidents to pick to lose their minds over, the NYT picked this one.

Oh well. Sorry about the rant, but the NYT has basically distilled the hysteria of the last few days and I needed to vent and put all the responses in one place. I hate having to do this every time some maniac decides to kill. You can read a cooler reactions from Jonah Goldberg or Reason or check out the Twitter feed of the indispensable Charles Cooke for more. I’m sure Hot Air and others will have a reply up soon.

One closing thought. The NYT’s front page editorial (and the NY Daily News increasingly deranged covers) are a sign of a movement that is angry because they are not convincing anyone. Every time a tragedy happens, they leap to the microphones, computers and desks to say that now is the time to enact “sensible” gun control and the American public … ignores them.

So is the final straw? Is this the moment when American will “turn their back on gun violence” and repudiate the NRA and finally enact the gun control the liberals wants?

Well, the last time the NYT ran a front page editorial was to lament that nomination of Warren Harding for President.

He won the election by one of the biggest popular vote margins in American history.

Colorado Again

We’re still learning the details, but some information has emerged on Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood Clinic. It does appear that Planned Parenthood was the target but that no one was killed there because the patients and staff went behind a security door (abortion clinics have developed extensive security procedures since a wave of anti-abortion violence hit in the 90’s). Preliminary reports are that the shooter was talking about baby parts so this does not appear to have been a random attack.

A few little thoughts:

Democrats who are jumping on this to promote gun legislation can go to hell. Colorado has background checks and an assault weapons ban and it’s still not clear what weapons were used. I have lost patience with this business of milking every tragedy for their agenda.

Last week, we got a bunch of think pieces asking why Muslims always have to denounce jihadist violence. We’re already seeing those same outlets demanding that anti-abortion politicians and Christian organizations denounce this act of violence. Of course, many of them, including Mike Huckabee, already have.

Was this terrorism? Well, it wasn’t part of a mass organization to attack abortion clinics. But it is violence directed against innocent people to try to end abortion. So, yeah, I have no problem calling it terrorism.

There has been a recent uptick in attacks on abortion clinics. But, overall, violence directed against clinics and providers is way down from the late 90’s. Keep that in mind.

In keeping with my previous posts, I will not name the shooter. I will, however, name Garret Swasey, the police officer murdered by this lunatic.

Clearing out the Tabs

A few things I don’t have time for a full post on:

Talking Turkey

Query: am I the only person in American who doesn’t have shouting political discussions at Thanksgiving? Passover, sure. When I was a kid, it wasn’t a real Passover until my Reagan Republican dad and his Roosevelt Democrat parents started talking about whether Walter Mondale was an idiot, a kook or a kooky idiot. But Thanksgiving?

The reason I ask this is that every liberal outlet on the planet is putting up some thinkpiece about “how to argue with your conservative relatives at Thanksgiving”. I’ve got news for liberals. If you’re constantly arguing politics over turkey, the problem is not them; it’s you.

Talking Turkeyshit

As you know, I’m in favor of admitting Syrian refugees, given proper vetting. But my own side is beginning to annoy the crap out of me with ever more ridiculous arguments. Viz:

Guns, Guns, Guns:

The Democrats have proposed that we ban gun sales to people who are on the terror watch list. Charles CW Cooke responds, pointing out that the terror list is an ad-hoc conglomeration of data, rumor and myth. No less than the ACLU oppose using it for … anything. There are hundreds of thousands of people on it for arbitrary or unknown reasons. And it’s hard to get off of it. And now the Democrats want to deprive citizens of a constitutional right based one it.

In times past, officials advocating the simultaneous undermining of a range of constitutional rights would have been tarred, feathered, and dumped into the sea, along with their staff, their press agents, and anyone else who saw fit to acquiesce in the scheme. A little of that spirit might be welcome here.

However the press might cast it, there are not in fact “two sides” to this issue. It is not a “tricky question.” It is not a “thorny one” or a “gray area” or a “difficult choice.” It is tyranny. Somewhere, deep down, its advocates must know this. Presumably, Chuck Schumer would not submit that those on a terror watch list should be deprived of their right to speak? Presumably, Harry Reid would not contend that they must be kept away from their mosques? Presumably, Diane Feinstein would not argue that they should be subjected to warrantless searches and seizures? Such proposals would properly be considered disgraceful — perhaps, even, as an overture to American fascism. Alas, there is something about guns that causes otherwise reasonable people to lose their minds.

As Cooke points out, people would go ape if we talked about suspending first Amendment rights for a million people because their name is on a list. The problem is that Democrats don’t see the Second Amendment as a fundamental civil liberty.

You should read the whole thing. It’a an awesome rant.

(And I’m working on Turkeys and Drumsticks post. A lot of Turkeys this year. Hard to sort them out.)

Another Gun Control Failure

About fifteen years ago, a couple of states decided to try a program in ballistic fingerprinting. The idea was that, whenever a gun was sold, it would be fired and a casing would be kept of its ballistic fingerprint. Then, when that gun was used in a crime, police could use the ballistic fingerprint to find the perpetrator.

At the time, it was very obvious this program was going to be an expensive failure. Apart from the challenge of creating a usable database, it was fundamentally flawed. Because ballistics isn’t that precise a science. Ballistic “fingerprints” change. Ballistic fingerprint can be altered. Even if you could identify to whom a gun was sold, that doesn’t help you if the gun was stolen or sold to another party. It doesn’t prove they used it to commit a crime. And … as always … this was yet another gun control measure that punished the law abiding. According to the FBI, only about 15% of guns used to commit a crime were purchased legally. The vast majority are obtained from friends, family members or illegally. So people legally buying guns in stores had to go through this rigamarole while criminals didn’t.

You know … sometimes I hate being right all the time:

For gun control advocates, it sure sounded like a great idea. Why not force gun purchasers to fire a round at the police station so that the ballistic “fingerprint” of the firearm could be catalogued? That way, police could find the perpetrator every time a gun was used in a crime. What could go wrong?

Plenty, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Erin Cox. Fifteen years, millions of dollars, and 340,000 shell casings later, Maryland decided last week to scrap the system … after failing to solve one single crime in its existence.

What lessons are we to learn here? Perhaps the first lesson is that no idea is so nonsensical that it can’t be turned into a government program, especially when the topic is gun control. Even now, some of the program’s defenders insist that it takes 15 years for this kind of project to ripen because guns tend to get stolen and used in crimes long after their initial sale. However, even if that’s true, then the ballistic fingerprints will get investigators nowhere except to find the victim of a prior robbery. It still won’t solve the extant crime. Meanwhile, Maryland will bury itself in used shell casings and pay for storage and personnel in order to solve no crimes at all. Those resources would be put to much better use if they funded more investigators rather than more bureaucrats and stock clerks. Those are the priorities that matter in law enforcement, but appear to matter less to politicians looking for headlines to assuage gun-control advocates.

(That’s from Ed Morrissey. Be sure to click through to a great column from Glenn Reynolds about how gun control primary targets minorities, convicting them not of crimes against their fellow humans but of breaking arbitrary government rules.)

This was never going to work. Anyone who knew anything about guns knew this was never going to work. Even if it had been run perfectly and created an extremely efficient system for ballistic fingerprinting, it would never have worked. It would never have worked because guns don’t work that way.

Brown: Die, But Don’t Try

A couple of weeks ago, California governor Jerry Brown signed a “right to die” bill that gave Californians the right to get lethal drugs if they wish to end their life. I am mildly supportive of this. I think people have the right to their lives but am uncomfortable with doctors being involved in the process.

This week, Brown vetoed a bill that would have let terminal patients petition drug companies to use experimental or unproven medications. In vetoing it, Brown said that the FDA already allows compassionate use. But 24 states have over-ridden that process because the FDA is slow and cumbersome in its compassionate use. It doesn’t do a patient much good to get permission to use a drug is he’s dead by the time the approval is granted.

Wesley Smith says it perfectly:

Good grief: A “right to die,” but no “right to try and live.”

I honestly don’t what Brown is thinking. I’ve liked some of this recent vetoes, including one where he noted that the legislature was criminalizing things that were already illegal. But this one is mystifying.

(In other news, Brown also approved a law banning conceal carry from college campuses. This also makes no sense. Conceal carry holders, especially in California, are the model of what the Left claims they want: carefully vetted registered gun-owners who have a very low rate of criminal activity. I think the veto — and ongoing protests in Texas against conceal-carry on college campuses — reveals that carefully vetted licensed use of weapons is not what the Left really wants. The more this debate drags out, the more I think it’s a part of the Culture War: one side wants an America with a culture of guns; the other wants that culture abolished.)

Update: Orac makes the case against right to try laws. I’m finding his reasoning weak, paternalistic and motivate heavily by his distaste for the Goldwater Institute. But it’s the best reasoning I’ve seen so far.

Carson, Weapons and Jews

Ben Carson in talking about gun control, claimed that Hitler disarmed the Jews and that this made their extermination easier. The Left promptly lost its shit. The Anti-Defamation League, usually a bit more circumspect, also criticized him for the comments.

A few things. First, Carson is wrong on some of the substance. Germany, and many other countries, were largely disarmed well before the Nazis took power. While it’s true that Jews were specifically forbidden from having any weapons, I don’t think this was the deciding factor in their destruction (as attested by the Germans ruthlessly crushing armed rebellions — Jewish and non-Jewish — during the war). Furthermore, with genocides in general — and with the Holocaust in particular — there is a tendency for people to not believe what’s happening. The Jews of Europe had been through many centuries of oppression and firmly believed that being compliant would keep them from getting killed. Acts of armed resistance were met with immediate and massive reprisals and they thought that compliance would prevent those reprisals. They underestimated the evil of the man they were dealing with.

That having been said … I really don’t understand why Carson’s comments have drawn so much fire. Are we really going to debate whether an armed populace is easier to oppress than an unarmed one? Charles Cooke:

Whether Carson is right or wrong in his central claim is entirely irrelevant to the more important question here, which is not “can armed people always overthrow a tyrannical government” but “does the government get to deny them the chance to try?” The right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, not a collective privilege, and individual rights do not need to be justified on practical grounds. Just as we would not deny free speech to a man simply because he seemed unlikely to win a given argument, we must not abandon our auxiliary self-defense rights on the basis that the odds might be stacked against the little guy. I’m a staunch defender of the right to keep and bear arms because I have an untouchable Lockean right to protect myself, not because I can prove definitively that I will never be outgunned. Would I necessarily win in a fight against a home intruder? No, I would not. Would I necessarily survive if the government or the police wanted me dead? No, I would not. But I will assert my unalienable right to try against any man at any time in any place, and those who hope to strip me of that chance can man up, head to my front door, and come and damn well take it.

The Jews in Europe eventually did resist, of course. And with a handful of weapons, a few hundred fighters and some makeshift explosives, they made things very difficult for the Nazis. Might things have turned out differently had there been a gun culture in Eastern Europe and maybe a few more weapons available? David Kopel thinks it’s at least worth considering:

In 1967, the International Society for the Prevention of Crime held a Congress in Paris on the prevention of genocide. The Congress concluded that “defensive measures are the most effective means for the prevention of genocide. Not all aggression is criminal. A defense reaction is for the human race what the wind is for navigation — the result depends on the direction. The most moral violence is that used in legitimate self-defense, the most sacred judicial institution.” [V.V. Stanciu, “Reflections on the Congress for the Prevention of Genocide,” in Yad Vashem Studies on the European Jewish Catastrophe and Resistance, vol. 7, ed., Livia Rothkirchen (Jerusalem, Israel: Yad Vashem, 1968), p. 187.]

I think Carson is arguably wrong on this specific point. But he is right on the general point. An armed populace is far more difficult for a tyrant to control, to oppress, to ethnically cleanse and ultimately to murder. Maybe you can argue that we don’t have to worry about that anymore. Maybe you can argue we’re already armed enough to resist tyranny. Maybe you can argue we wouldn’t have a chance. The anti-gun Left has a tendency to argue all three simultaneously.

But I really don’t see the larger argument. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ultimately failed. Many resistance movements do. But wasn’t that better than no resistance at all? Wouldn’t a few more weapons in a few more hands have been even better than that? What is the point here? I’m honestly confounded.

The Method is Not the Message

Yes, another gun post. I have more stuff in the queue, I promise.

Vox and other liberal websites have been posting a chart from Tewksbury that shows that the amount of gun violence in a nation rises with the number of guns. If you look at their first chart, you’ll see a bit of a trend. But their second plot just shows countries with a very high Human Development Index and the trend becomes clear:

guns-and-death-rates

There is no deception going on here. The plot is accurate, to the extent that the data are. My problem, however, is the reasoning. Note what is being plotted: gun deaths. Not violent deaths, suicide or homicides … only those specifically with guns. But that begs the question: what is this actually telling us? Is it telling us that fewer guns would mean fewer deaths? Or does it just mean that fewer guns means more people dying by other means?

Vox clearly believes the former, having made the claim that if our levels of gun violence were the same as the UK’s, that would save 20,000 lives a year. But I’m dubious. In my previous debunking of some myths by Mother Jones, I noted that they did the same thing: plotted gun deaths against gun ownership state by state and claimed that more guns resulted in more deaths. But if you looked at total suicide and homicides, the picture was far murkier:

I can’t embed the graphic but when you look at the total violence rate from all methods of killing — using the same sources they link — the correlation is not nearly as strong (R^2 of .13) The trend is 0.10 for every percent. So eliminating ALL guns — even if you assume that there is no increase in criminality — would reduce the death rate to about 14.8 or basically as peaceful as Iowa with its 44% ownership rate and Rhode Island with its 13%.

Update: Eugene Volokh revisits the issue here and comes to the same conclusion.

Well, I can embed graphics here. So here is what you get if you plot up the rate of violent death against gun ownership for all the countries with a high Human Development Index (except Liechtenstein, Andorra and Hong Kong, for which I could not get complete data)

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 9.25.13 PM

Now you see my point. There is no correlation whatsoever between gun ownership and violent death. If anything, there is a slight anti-correlation (which is basically caused by a few Baltic countries having low gun ownership rates and astronomical suicide rates).

Suicide is the key here. The suicide rate in the developed world is six times the homicide rate. In the United States, twice as many people take their own lives with a gun as take someone else’s. And more honest gun control advocates will tell you that, even if gun control didn’t stop murders, it could prevent suicides. Suicide tends to be impulsive and guns are a much more lethal method than just about anything else.

But the number belie the assumption that more guns automatically mean more suicide. When looking at this data, it was blindingly obvious that there is no correlation, on a country-by-country basis, between suicide rate and gun ownership. No, the difference driving suicide rates is cultural. Lithuania and South Korea, for example, have minuscule rates of gun ownership and very high rates of suicide. Many Middle Eastern countries have high rates of gun ownership but extremely low rates of suicide. That’s not because Kuwaitis are practicing great gun safety and South Koreans are careless. That’s because South Koreans are massively more likely to kill themselves. The gripping hand is that 99.8% of the time, they use something other than a gun. So the plot favored by the gun control advocates literally ignores 99.8% of South Korea’s problem with violent death.

Does that seem reasonable to you?

(Homicide rates show a slight trend of increased rate with increased gun ownership. But it is extremely weak, with an R^2 of .007. That’s noise. My data do not include accidental deaths but those constitute a very small percentage of gun deaths, about 1.5% in the United States.)

I want to be very clear on this: my point is not that there is no correlation between the presence of guns and violent death. If we had fewer guns, maybe fewer people would kill themselves. If Japan had lots of guns, maybe their suicide rate would be even higher. I’m not addressing that. My point is that this specific talking point is irrelevant when it comes to gun control. Guns are not the biggest factor in violent death. Culture is the biggest factor and it’s not even close.1

And that brings me to my point. People keep asking me why the United States is such a violent place compared to say, Canada. Surely, they say, it must be because of our gun culture. I think they’re right about the second word. It is culture. We have a culture that glorifies violence. I don’t mean necessarily in video games or rap songs. I mean in real life. I mean in inner cities, where violence is ubiquitous and role models are non-existent. I mean on an institutional level, where two million people are in prison, 80,000 SWAT raids are launched very year, a thousand people are killed by police and God knows how many are roughed up. I mean on a commentary level where we are very casual about just how many people get killed in a war. I mean on every level. Every day. We act as though human life is cheap. And then we act all surprised when young mean act as though human life is cheap.

Guns and gun violence are a symptom. The disease is our culture. It’s a disease that’s getting better. As I’ve noted many times, violence is way down from it’s awful peak in the 90’s. There are brave people trying to bring sanity to the war zones in our inner cities. As I said in my Sandy Hook post, there are probably dozens of mass shootings prevented by a trouble man getting help. But the amount of violence in our society is still way too much. I think there is a lot we could do to help (better mental health services, more community-oriented policing, ending the War on Drugs). But grabbing guns would be very low on my list.

1. Here’s a thought experiment to illustrate this. Ask yourself this question: would you rather be locked in a room with ten unarmed convicted murderers or ten armed law-abiding NRA members?

Update: German Lopez graciously responded to my criticisms on Twitter. You can see the exchange here.

His substantive criticism is that there is a lot of academic research claiming this (some of which I’ve addressed before) and that if you look at only the 25 highest HDI countries, you see a clear trend of homicide rate with gun rate. The latter is true … mostly because of the United States. If you remove the US from the trend, it mostly disappears. So this amount to basically saying the US has a lot of guns and a lot of murders. That’s true enough.