Tag: Crime

She obviously did this because she had nothing to hide!

Democrats are fucking criminals. Have no doubt about it. The son of a bitch in the WH has been running his administration like a crime syndicate boss for close to 7 years now, and his underlings are no better. In fact, the leading democrat according to all the intelligentsia, just had to professionally wipe her illegal email servers because she didn’t want anyone to know the depths of these people’s depravity. In fact, I suspect that the main reason the Obama admin does nothing about this is because this stuff was horribly damaging to their racket as well. This nation no longer is one of laws, but one of connected people, and the only people getting privileged treatment are those that serve the democratic machine.

Can anyone imagine any republican getting away with the dismantling of the US legal system, the abuses of power by government agencies, and the outright disregard for the people of this country like these democrats get away with? I know we get told they are evil and bad, but even Nixon got stopped for asking the IRS to do something illegal. These crooks are breaking the law every fucking second of the day, and the media gives them a pass. This country is doomed.

Guns on Campus

I’m neutral on the question of whether guns should be on college campuses. I’m not comfortable with the combination of young people, alcohol and firearms although I’m open to debate about it. But I see no reason why concealed carry holders, who must meet certain requirement to get their permits, should not be permitted to carry on campus. There is an abundance of research showing that concealed carry holders are far less likely to be involved in crime than the general population. Allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons onto campus has very little risk and would extend the protective effect (i.e, criminals don’t know if someone is packing or not) to the students.

Guess what? Colorado is showing that this approach works just fine:

For most of Colorado’s history, firearms were legal on public university campuses. That began to change in 1970, due to concerns about campus violence by terrorist organizations such as the Weather Underground.

I’ll pause for a moment. This is one of the dirty little secrets of the gun control movement: it got its big impetus as a response to left wing violence, especially organizations like the Black Panthers.

In 2003, Colorado passed the Concealed Carry Act:

As the brief explained, Colorado’s law, like the law of almost every other state, provides an objective process for issuing permits to responsible adults. In Colorado, an applicant must be at least 21 years old, pass a fingerprint-based background check, and a safety-training class taught by a nationally-certified instructor. Even if a person meets all these conditions, the statute instructs the Sheriff to deny the application “if the sheriff has a reasonable belief that documented previous behavior by the applicant makes it likely the applicant will present a danger to self or others.”

As a result, in Colorado, as in other states, persons with carry permits, tend to be highly law-abiding. For example, in the five-year period between 2009-13, there were 154,434 concealed handgun carry permits issued in Colorado. During this same period, 1,390 permits were revoked. 931 of these permits were revoked following an arrest. Contrast this with the arrests of over 200,000 Colorado adults in 2013 alone.

Those stats are similar to those I’ve seen for other states.

Colorado State has allowed guns on campus for 12 years. There has never been a problem. The University of Colorado just lost a lawsuit and will have to permit them as well. The legislature tried to change this but one thing that stopped them was the testimony of a woman who was raped on the Nevada Reno campus. She had a permit to carry in Nevada but was forbidden from carrying her weapon on campus. Her testimony is a rebuttal to all the pseudofeminists who oppose women arming themselves:

The crime took place just a few feet from an emergency call box. “How does rendering me defenseless protect you against a violent crime?” she asked the Colorado Senators. State Senator Evie Hudak told Collins that if Collins had been carrying a gun, statistics showed that the gun would have been taken from her. Actually, statistics show that fewer than one percent of defensive gun use results in the defender’s gun being taken.

“Respectfully senator, you weren’t there,” Collins responded. “Had I been carrying concealed, he wouldn’t have known I had my weapon; and I was there. I know without a doubt in my mind at some point I would’ve been able to stop my attack by using my firearm. He already had a weapon of his own; he didn’t need mine.”

Because the rapist was not stopped that night, he later raped two more women and murdered one.

You know who else supports allowing concealed carry on campus? The Colorado Sheriffs, who note that they can not be everywhere at once and that concealed carry is a vital part of public safety.

Guns are not a panacea, obviously. And mass shootings are so rare that I think any specific policy response to them is misguided. I’m dubious that concealed carry will massively cut crime rates on campuses (which are already lower than the general population). But I see no reason why conceal carry holders should be forbidden from bringing guns on campus, no matter how “offensive” they might be the “University values”, as the UC Board of Regents so charmingly put it. And they just might confer a solid benefit.

(PS – I recommend reading that entire link, which is quite good.)

The CIA Thinks the CIA Did Nothing Wrong

Last year, we found out that the CIA was spying on members of Congress in an effort to find out if the torture report included information from their internal Panetta Report. It was unauthorized, illegal and outside of their authority. It’s worse than the spying that was at the heart of the Watergate scandal. It was the kind of action you would expect in a dictatorship, not a constitutional Republic.

You’ll be pleased to know that a CIA panel — staffed entirely with people picked by Brennan — has concluded that the CIA did nothing wrong.

A CIA panel Wednesday cleared agency officials of any wrongdoing when they accessed the computers of a Senate committee investigating the agency’s involvement in torture. The finding ended a yearlong dispute marked by angry accusations of “hacking” and criminal misconduct.

Instead, the panel — whose members were appointed by CIA Director John Brennan — faulted the agency’s own outgoing inspector general for suggesting in a report that there may have been grounds to discipline five officials at the agency.

The findings by the so-called CIA accountability board drew sharp objections from some Senate staffers who were involved in the torture report, citing it as yet another example of the CIA’s own inability to police itself.

Their conclusion was that the five people who spied on the Senate and who were recommended by the Inspector General for punishment should be let off because they were, in essence, just following what they thought might be orders. Said orders supposedly came from Brennan, who initially lied about the spying on the Senate but insists he’s telling the truth now. So Brennan isn’t accountable because he says he didn’t give the order. And the people who did the spying aren’t accountable because they thought Brennan had told them to do it. And the real villain is the IG for having the temerity to suggest that spying on your own government might be a crime.

It reminds me of every cover-up we’ve enjoyed from government since forever. No one ever gives orders to spy on Senators, target Tea Party groups for audits or illegally look into political opponents’ FBI files. The idea to do these things just … appears … out of nowhere. Like a sort of mass hysteria, only focused on political enemies for some strange reason.

So … let’s sum up. The CIA tortured people. They covered it up by destroying the torture tapes and lying. They spied on the Senate committee that was investigating them, then lied about that. And the only people who did anything wrong, according to them, are John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the torture program, and David Buckley, the inspector general who determined that they had spied on the Senate after their repeated denials. All of this has come with the approval and support of President Obama.

So our national security is the hands of an unaccountable agency headed by a serial liar under the command of a “look forward, not backward, unless you cross me” Commander-in-Chief. Feeling safe yet?

As Andrew Sullivan pointed out, the President may have “ended” torture. But by refusing to hold anyone accountable, he has made it inevitable that it will come back. And it will probably be a lot worse. When you don’t punish people who do wrong, you only encourage more wrong-doing.

Update: The White House knew.

Rolling Stone Gathers Some Moss

A couple of weeks ago, Rolling Stone ran a horrific story about an alleged rape at the University of Virginia. They claimed that “Jackie” was lured to an upstairs room in a frat and brutally gang-raped by seven men. They further claimed that Jackie’s friends persuaded her not to tell anyone and she maintained her silence until she found out about other women who had been gang-raped at the fraternity. She then went to the Administration, who tepidly listened to the claim and told her to do whatever she was comfortable with rather than taking action.

Over the next few weeks, several people raised questions about the story, pointing out that it had some issues. When they found out that the reporter had not spoken to the alleged rapists, they pressed Rolling Stone further. For this, they were branded as idiots, rape apologists and rape truthers. Because, apparently, the Duke Lacrosse thing never happened.

This weekend, the roof caved in:

In the face of new information reported by the Washington Post and other news outlets, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account. The fraternity has issued a formal statement denying the assault and asserting that there was no “date function or formal event” on the night in question. Jackie herself is now unsure if the man she says lured her into the room where the rape occurred, identified in the story as “Drew,” was a Phi Psi brother. According to the Washington Post, “Drew” actually belongs to a different fraternity and when contacted by the paper, he denied knowing Jackie. Jackie told Rolling Stone that after she was assaulted, she ran into “Drew” at a UVA pool where they both worked as lifeguards. In its statement, Phi Psi says none of its members worked at the pool in the fall of 2012. A friend of Jackie’s (who we were told would not speak to Rolling Stone) told the Washington Post that he found Jackie that night a mile from the school’s fraternities. She did not appear to be “physically injured at the time” but was shaken. She told him that that she had been forced to have oral sex with a group of men at a fraternity party, but he does not remember her identifying a specific house. Other friends of Jackie’s told the Washington Post that they now have doubts about her narrative, but Jackie told the Washington Post that she firmly stands by the account she gave to Erdely.

The entire debacle is alarming. Rolling Stone never contacted the frat or the accused ringleader, despite having his name. They apparently didn’t talk to Jackie’s friends, who they accused of telling her not to go the hospital for fear of being barred from the frat scene. They did not note that her story had changed. Most disturbing of all: Jackie herself apparently asked Rolling Stone to not use her in their story and they refused, which one rape victim believes was like violating her all over again.

(I’ll take a moment here to note my tenuous connection to the story: I went to UVa for graduate school. That may have informed my initial response to the story. I know how strong Greek culture is at UVa and how big a role alcohol plays in the social life. My girlfriend at the time lived near the frats and would be catcalled if she walked by them unescorted. But the story nagged me. It sounded a little too horrifying.)

The following should go without saying but apparently it doesn’t: even if Jackie’s story were complete bullshit, this does not mean that sexual violence isn’t a problem in the country, on college campuses or at UVa in particular. But to some liberals, this needs to be said because, apparently, if you question the story — any story — you’re denying that rape exists.

Moreover it’s possible that Jackie’s story is partially correct or even mostly true. Three of Jackie’s friends have now gone on record as saying that something bad did happen, apparently a group of men forcing her to perform oral sex. If that or anything close to that is true, it’s still horrifying. And if the Administration provided her with as little guidance as alleged, that’s damning.

So this is not about “rape denial”. Nor is it about a “hoax” perpetrated by a young woman who may have a distorted memory of that night or may have her own psychological issues. This is about the complete and utter failure of journalism and an indictment of the debate we are having over sexual violence.

It’s one thing to write about the problem of campus rape and unsympathetic authorities. It’s not like there’s a dearth of real documented cases of women making substantive allegations only to see them dismissed. But in this case, a specific allegation was made about a specific frat and specific men within. Maybe they did do it. But if you’re going to name names like that, you have to do due diligence. You can’t just take one girl’s claims and run with it because it’s so sensational (especially when she has begged you not to). You have to talk to the other principles, you have to give them a chance to respond, you have to do some basic fact-checking.

And this may not be the first time this exaggeration has happened. People are now poring through Sabrina Erdely’s writings and finding other cases, involving sexual abuse in the priesthood and in the military, where her facts are wrong or extremely unlikely. In all three cases, no one doubts that sexual abuse and cover-up existed in these institutions. But in all three cases, that wasn’t enough for Erdely. She had to go with a more sensational story. Because apparently, an 18-year-old freshman being forced to perform oral sex wasn’t sensational enough.

This is the problem with the attempts to make rape and sexual violence an important issue. The people who trumpet bullshit statistics or demand that believe every accuser by default are actually doing a disservice to rape victims. They are destroying the credibility of all victims, destroying the credibility of all advocates. In politics, you only have so much ammunition to use in advancing your goal. You can’t waste it shooting at shadows. Investigating Jackie’s claims might have done her some harm. But nowhere near the harm that not investigating them has done. Because now her credibility is completely shot even though at least three people can testify that she claimed to have been assaulted on the night in question. And that’s to say nothing of the frat and the accused. If they are innocent, they have been badly harmed by these allegations. And for all of the principles here — Jackie, the boy who supposedly initiated the rape and several of the alleged participants — they’re real names have come leaking out from Rolling Stone.


One cost of minimizing false negatives is to the false positives who get hurt. But another cost is to the credibility of all rape reports. People who responded to the problems with the Rolling Stone story by saying that this didn’t have anything to do with the real problem — the culture of rape on college campuses — were missing something important. Actually, two important things. First, that deciding what to do in the face of these trade-offs between false positives and false negatives is actually a vital matter of public debate in all areas of policy, and this story cast important light on how those trade-offs may have been made outside of the public eye. And second, that by declaring that this story, which just a week before was a grave matter demanding the urgent attention of the nation, somehow became trivial and irrelevant when it started to look as if it might be false, writers and activists were suggesting that they simply didn’t care about false positives. Which undercuts the very public trust they need to advance their cause.

McArdle references Emily Yoffe’s excellent article at Slate, which you should read. It makes the case that a young man at Michigan was railroaded by a single Administrator with an agenda. McArdle also touches upon an important point which is that people wanted to believe the Rolling Stone story. As horrible as it was, it played to many of our biases: that victims always tell the truth, that frat boys are evil, that there is an epidemic of rape in this country.

For me, the ultimate take from this is to only firm up my conviction that rape and sexual assaults should be handled by the police. Jackie should have gone to the police on the night she was allegedly attacked. She should have been told, from the moment she set foot on campus, that sexual violence is a crime and a crime is something you go to the police for. Her friends should have been told to encourage victims to go the police. The Administration, upon hearing her, should not have adopted a “neutral” position but told her to go to the police. Easterbrook:

Going to police would be traumatic for those who allege sexual assault, but talking to police is traumatic for all victims of violent crimes, including for all male victims. Some law enforcement departments now have specialists in personal trauma, trained to soften the nature of the complainant interview. If local police near a college knew they’d be the ones to handle sex-assault claims, departments that do not now have specialists likely soon would.

The core aspect of campus sexual assault is that male students think they will get away with it. If the new campus standard was that police would be involved from the get-go, male students would face real consequences, and it’s possible their behavior would change. That would make women safer and also improve the situation for male students who respect women.

Yes, sometimes police can be dismissive or ask uncomfortable questions about what a woman was wearing or how much she had been drinking. Their conviction record in cases of campus rape is poor. It is difficult to bring out the truth in he-said she-said situations. The solution to that is to change the way police handle allegations of sexual violence, not to hand the process over to poli-sci professors with delusions of grandeur. As Joseph Cohn points out, the conviction rate when you don’t go the police is zero.

If something really did happen to Jackie — and I think it’s likely it did — and she had gone to the police that night, it’s possible that her attackers would be in jail. And that is a far better outcome than some frat boys being kicked off campus. Or some reporter with an agenda making stuff up so she can get some clicks.

McCollum and Brown Freed

Chalk another exoneration up to DNA evidence:

Thirty years after their convictions in the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in rural North Carolina, based on confessions that they quickly repudiated and said were coerced, two mentally disabled half brothers were declared innocent and ordered released Tuesday by a judge here.

The case against the men, always weak, fell apart after DNA evidence implicated another man whose possible involvement had been somehow overlooked by the authorities even though he lived only a block from where the victim’s body was found, and he had admitted to committing a similar rape and murder around the same time.

The startling shift in fortunes for the men, Henry Lee McCollum, 50, who has spent three decades on death row, and Leon Brown, 46, who was serving a life sentence, provided one of the most dramatic examples yet of the potential harm from false, coerced confessions and of the power of DNA tests to exonerate the innocent.

It’s cases like this that have moved me to a neutral position on the death penalty and now have me leaning against it. Had we gotten the speedy execution that many wanted, not only would we have executed two innocent men, the real murderer might never have been identified.

In the end, the case against the death penalty is not a liberal one. I’m not terribly moved by appeals to mercy for those who have none. Nor do I think executing men who rape and murder little girls makes us “no better than them”; there is a colossal moral difference between raping and murdering a child and executing that murderer. No, the case against the death penalty is a conservative one: that the government has demonstrated, a couple of hundred times now*, that it can not be trusted with the power to execute people.

For death penalty supporters, the horrifying facts of the girl’s rape and murder only emphasized the justice of applying the ultimate penalty. As recently as 2010, the North Carolina Republican Party put Mr. McCollum’s booking photograph on campaign fliers that accused a Democratic candidate of being soft on crime, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C.

In 1994, when the United States Supreme Court turned down a request to review the case, Justice Antonin Scalia described Mr. McCollum’s crime as so heinous that it would be hard to argue against lethal injection.

This crime was particularly heinous. If there was anyone you’d want executed, it would be two mean who raped and murdered an 11-year-old girl. But does the horror of the crime justify potentially executing the wrong men? Is that horror not compounded by the man who committed this horrible crime getting away with it for thirty years? We were lucky he was arrested before he could do it again. In the Michael Morton case, where an innocent man was sent to prison for life because of prosecutorial misconduct, we were not so lucky. The real killer likely murdered another woman two years later. Would we know that if Morton had been unjustly executed instead of being sent to prison for 25 years?

Ultimately, I keep circling back to the victim in this case, a girl who was the same age as me when she was so brutally killed. If she had not been slain by Roscoe Artis, she would now be 42, possibly with a family of her own. When a child is murdered, an entire universe of possibility is destroyed. For all the mocking Scalia is getting on the liberal blogs, he was right: it is hard to argue against lethal injection for someone who would do such a thing. Frankly, it’s hard to argue against beating them to death right there in the courtroom. But an execution wouldn’t have brought Sabrina Buie back. And I don’t see there is any value in adding two more tragedies to that one. And for someone depraved and evil enough to do such a thing, I don’t think the threat of the death penalty is what’s holding them back.

Two innocent men have been freed and a guilty man identified. That’s something and we should be happy about it. But we came very close to killing two innocent men for a horrifying crime they didn’t commit. And it’s not the first time. That should give us all pause.

(*Hard numbers on the number of death row inmates exonerated are surprisingly difficult to come by. Anti-death penalty advocates say it’s a couple of hundred. Pro death-penalty advocates say it’s less than that, but admit to at least a few dozen.)

A Peek Inside the Mind of A Gun Grabber

I blogged earlier about the prosecution of Shaneen Allen, a working mom of two who legally owned a gun and voluntarily declare its presence when she was pulled over in New Jersey, where having a loaded gun in a car is a crime. Despite the availability of a diversionary program, the prosecutor has elected to charge her with a felony and the trial is going forward.

What struck me about Balko’s latest write-up was this:

“Fortunately, the notoriety of this case will make it less likely Pennsylvanians will carry concealed and loaded handguns in New Jersey, thereby making them and the Garden State safer from gun violence,” said Bryan Miller, executive director of Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence.

Balko answers:

The people responsible for the gun violence in New Jersey are not residents of bordering states who have gone through the trouble of obtaining a legal permit in their home states. The people responsible for gun violence in New Jersey don’t volunteer to police that they’re carrying a weapon. And the people responsible for the gun violence in New Jersey are not going to be deterred by a story about a single mom sent off to prison for an honest mistake. Sending Shaneen Allen to prison will ruin Shaneen Allen’s life. It will also ruin the lives of her children. And that is all it will do.

But I would add something. That quote gives you a peek into the mind of the gun-control advocates. The certainly must know that getting rid of guns would make some people more vulnerable to violence. They certainly must know that harmless people like Shaneen Allen get swept up in these things. But when you have persuaded yourself that guns are evil talismans that make people do bad things, anything becomes justified. Allen is just collateral damage in the long twilight struggle to pull guns out of the hands of our citizens. Subtleties of the debate don’t matter — as shown in Everytown’s manipulative commercials and garbage stats. What matters is getting rid of those damned guns.

We see this attitude in other contexts, of course. A girl texts a picture of her boobs to her boyfriend and she’s prosecuted for kiddie porn to “set an example”. A crippled man has a few too many pain pills, so we prosecuted him to “set an example”. A hacker commits a fairly minor violation and we hound him into suicide to “set an example”.

But people aren’t examples to be used by ambitious prosecutors and political hacks, least of all to people who have a pathological fear of an armed citizenry. They are individuals, with lives of their own and families who need them.

Post-Memorial Day Quick Hits

My browers tabs are filling up faster than I can empty them. So here are some quick reads going into this week:


George Will has a great piece on the Presidential candidate we need. The problem is that we’ve had people run like that. They don’t get as far as someone promising the American people the world for free.


Bjorn Lomborg reminds us that Paul Ehrlich is a pathologically wrong doomsayer. We should continue to ignore anything he says.


More on Operation Chokepoint. Money quote:

The ability to destroy legal industries through secret actions to deprive them of banking services has obvious political consequences. For example, it was reported last week that firearms shops are alleging that Operation Choke Point is being used to pressure banks into refusing to providing financial services. There are also reports that porn stars (and here) have had their bank accounts terminated for “moral” reasons related to the “reputation risk” of banking individuals in the porn industry. IRS officials must already be salivating about ways to apply Operation Choke Point to tea party groups.

In principle, of course, the logic of Operation Choke Point could be extended to groups not currently targeted. Notably absent from the FDIC’s hit list, for example, are abortion clinics, radical environmental groups, or, well, marijuana shops, for that matter. Something similar was done to cut off credit-card payments to support the operation of WikiLeaks.

The larger legal and regulatory issue here is the expansive use of the vague and subjective standard of “reputation risk” to target these industries. In a letter to Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, last week, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling expressed concern over the growing use of “reputation risk” as a vehicle for attacking legal businesses. Is there any discernible principle as to why, for example, a payday lender or firearms dealer poses a “reputation risk” and an abortion provider does not?



The White House has either deliberately or mistakenly outed the CIA’s top officer in Kabul. I was virtually alone on this blog in supporting to pursuit of the Valerie Plame affair. This should be pursued with similar fervor.


One final thought. Over the weekend, we had a horrible mass killing in California by a 22-year-old. There was a lot at play here: clear mental issues and violent tendencies, social emotional and sexual isolation, an attitude of entitlement and narcissism. And it exploded in seven deaths.

I don’t know that this could have prevented. But I would like, just once, for the Left Wing in this country to not to bathe in the blood of the slain every time this happens. Mass shooting are thankfully rare, despite the mathematically-challenged efforts of rags like Mother Jones to convince us otherwise. They constitute a tiny portion of the violence in this country. This kid stabbed three people to death, tried to run over others with his car and then shot a few more. In doing so, he used small arms with low-capacity magazines purchased in compliance with California’s strict gun control laws. This isn’t about gun control. Nor is it about Men’s Right or Pick-Up Artists or whatever other group of men you want to demonize. This isn’t about finding some group you’ve never liked and pinning this on them. This is about a deranged adult with severe issues and an unrelenting anger against women (and men, for that matter) who did something unspeakably evil.

Just for once, could we wait maybe a few hours before people start grinding whatever political ax they want to grind? Men’s rights, pick-up artists, gun rights, sexual harassment, men who feel “entitled to sex … come on. There are a couple of hundred million gun owners in this country. There are millions of men who have some sort of resentment toward women (and virtually all have gone through some stage where they were bitter about their relation with the fair sex). There are tens of millions who are sexually, romantically or socially frustrated. There are tens of millions who have untreated mental health issues. You know how many of them went on a murder spree this weekend? One.

In a nation of 3000 million people, there are inevitably going to be people where the right alchemy of mental illness, resentment, anger and lack of empathy will come together to produce this sort of thing. Sometimes they are caught before they happen; sometimes they aren’t. Blaming groups of millions of people for the actions of one is just stupid.

Cut it the fuck out.

Flee, Flee for My Life!

OK, look. I understand that people sometimes freak out in dangerous situations. I understand that having one gun, let alone three, stuck in your face can provoke paralyzing fear. But …. seriously?

This event involves a couple in Annapolis, Maryland who were leaving their residence on some very important business. The girl was in the final weeks of pregnancy and had gone into labor. Her “boyfriend” went out with her to head to the hospital. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.

The couple was confronted by three men with guns as they left an apartment on Copeland Street early Sunday. When the woman’s boyfriend fled, police spokeswoman Cpl. Amy Miguez says, the suspects tried to get the woman to let them into an apartment, but she didn’t have a key.

That’s when two of the men took off in the woman’s car, Miguez says.

You not only abandoned her in the face of imminent violence, but you took the keys, too? She couldn’t even get back into your home. And once the car was stolen, she was essentially left on the sidewalk, wracked with labor pains. How does one wake up in the morning after delivering such a performance in a crisis and even look in the mirror?

Look, we all entertain fantasies of what we would do in a crisis. Confronted with a real situation, most people tend to freeze up. I’m pretty sure if three guns were stuck in my face, I’d be handing over my wallet and asking them not to hurt me or my wife. But I think we can all agree that this is a step above and beyond crapping your pants or something.

I hate to read big world things into isolated incidents, but I do wonder if our society’s pathological emphasis on avoiding all risk, always deferring to authority and never standing up for yourself played a role here. Have we really gotten to the point where running away is more instinctive than protecting a woman and unborn child? I’m not saying he should have started kung-fu fighting and gotten shot. But at least not running away would be a start toward honor.

A study that gets it wrong because they are hacks.

The other day CNN amongst a trove of other LSM gun grabbing agenda pushers where touting the idiotically flawed study by a partisan gun grabbing bunch of hacks as proof that more gun laws result in fewer deaths. Of course the problem is that the study was rigged to find those preordained conclusions.

For example, the study portends to look at all 50 states but conveniently ignores the District of Columbia. That’s not a flaw, that’s by design. DC has the nations most draconian laws, and yet, the highest per capita fire arm violence rates possible, and would have by itself all but invalidated the idiotic conclusion by these hacks. Liberals keep ignoring the fact that the places with most gun violence in this nation are the ones with the most restrictive gun control laws, or making excuses for the fact this is the case. The facts prove that gun control do not reduce crime, but enhance criminal activity overall. Practically every study that says the contrary does so by focusing heavily on gun suicide and/or gun crime that reduces in deaths only, while ignoring crime statistics overall. I personally would rather put up with more of these gun deaths that the morons use as an excuse to justify disarming law abiding citizens, and consequently less crime in general, than fewer gun deaths accompanied by a drastic jump in all kinds of criminal activity and a population unable to defend itself and at the mercy of their government. Take a look at DC, NYC, LA, Chicago, and Detroit, all places with stupid gun control laws and horrible crime and murder rates. That’s the blue model in a nut shell. Its not coincidental that DC was dropped from the study, because it would by itself invalidate all the findings.

But there is more wrong with this study. It focuses to near exclusion on fatalities caused by gun suicide to reach this idiotic conclusion that more laws means fewer deaths. It is absolutely logical that with fewer gun owners we get fewer gun suicides, but that statistic is horribly misleading. First of all, people that want to off themselves will do so regardless of any laws, just like criminals are totally unperturbed by any gun laws. If guns are not available legally, criminals and people that want to commit suicide find ways around it. Criminals, as we see in DC, Detroit, NYC, LA, and Chicago, all have no problem getting firearms. And contrary to the idiotic assertion that they can only do this because the gun bans are not uniformly applied everywhere, we can point to criminal organizations in countries with complete gun bans to show that criminals will, unlike the law abiding citizens, have fire arms. Those that want to commit suicide will similarly find or use something else to do the deed. Allowing suicide numbers to be used to justify gun grabbing is a terrible thing.

There are of course quiet a few other problms with this study that was specifically set up to reach the conclusions the authors wanted from the start, but I am not going to bother with more of them after these 2 blatantly obvious ones show the study is faulty. If you really want to look at the statistics correctly and reach conclusions that are sensible, not just poltiical hackery attempts at gun grabbing, what you do is compare criminal activity, in general, in either scenario. The right statistics should look at how much crime, of all kinds, we have in societies that prevent law abiding citizens from protecting themselves, vs. crime in societies that allow self defense. And suicides should never be counted in that statistic, because the issue is crime. Focusing on gun deaths instead of crime is a mistake that favors the gun grabbers’ false argument. In the end the real motivation of the gun grabbers is a combination of fear of firearms leading to them not wanting others to have them and a want by government of a population that is easily pacified and controlled. The prototypical leftist tyrannical motives, you know.

My Long Difficult Sandy Hook Post

(This is not an easy read. It’s long and it’s emotional. I won’t be offended if people don’t read it. If you do, you might want to skip over the italicized parts, which are excerpted from the WSJ’s portraits of the victims. I can’t even get through one of them without my eyes watering. I’ve included them because I think we need to keep our eyes focused on the real story: the unspeakable tragedy that happened on Friday and those who lost their lives. But I’m hoping this is a bit cathartic and will lay out where I think we are and where I think we’re going as a nation.)


Dawn Hochsprung gave everything to the 500 families she counted as part of the Sandy Hook Elementary School community – including, in the end, her own life.

As school principal, she arrived early, stayed late and knew every name of the nearly 700 students at the school. She frequented the Sandy Hook Diner for early-morning meals before the school day began, sometimes holding meetings at the restaurant, recalled co-owner Ellie Lewis.

There are simply no words to convey the horror of what happened in a small Connecticut town on Friday. We’ve had mass shootings in this country before. We’ve had worse ones. But we’ve never had one that was so horrible, so pointless, so devastating: not in the era of mass media where it was brought into our homes so viscerally. It’s one thing to kill an adult. It’s one thing to kill someone over money or love or hate or by accident. But the mindset behind killing 20 innocent children and six of their teachers for no apparent reason is something incomprehensible to us. There is a deep-seated horror at the idea of children who should be running in the sunshine lying still in a classroom.

Nothing I could write and nothing we can do as a nation is capable of bearing the awful reality. And that’s for those of us who are at a distance, who are thousands of miles away, who don’t even know these people. I had held it together pretty well until I saw pictures of the makeshift memorial with toys and teddy bears. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the people there.

(Some people are drawing comparisons to drone strikes or bombings in the Middle East. That strikes me as an overreach. Children killed by accident in a war is a horrible thing. We can and should be appalled by it. Children killed on purpose during peace? That’s not even in the same ballpark.)

I can’t bring myself to claim that the immediate retreat of people into ideological holes — anti-gun and pro-gun especially — was disgusting or exploitative. That’s simply human nature. We can’t deal with the images and words coming out of Sandy Hook so we fall back on something easy to persuade ourselves that we can make it unhappen. If only we’d had gun control; if only the teachers had been harmed; if only someone had helped that kid …

I am hoping that this will eventually coalesce into something positive: a well-thought out way to make these tragedies less likely while still acknowledging that we can not prevent them entirely. That’s my hope, at least. My fear is that we will do something hasty and panicky and useless without thinking too much about it. That our desperate and deep need to “do something” about this awful shooting will drive us to do something stupid, useless and destructive to our freedom. We’ve been down that road before. I would prefer we not go down it again.

Below, I’ll address various suggestions for action. But let’s keep in mind: nothing can undo what has happened. Nothing can prevent it utterly. Despite our still raw emotions, we have to think in terms of the cold equations: weighing how each step will make these events less likely.

The Gun Thing. Again:

To neighbor Karen Dryer, Madeleine Hsu was Maddy, the little girl who always wore bright, flowery dresses and shared a ride to school with her 5-year-old son, Logan.

Ms. Dryer said Madeleine was “very upbeat and kind.”

“She was a sweet, beautiful little girl,” Ms. Dryer said.

Naturally, the conversation almost immediately went to guns and whether we should get them out of our society. I don’t really want to get into this very far because I just don’t see the point. We have three hundred million guns in this country. While gun ownership is steady or declining slightly, gun control is simply not politically popular. Almost every legal move over the last twenty years has been toward more gun freedom. And despite this — and I want to keep hitting this point — America is less violent than it has been in half a century. Murders are way down. School shootings are down. Assaults are down. All of it is down down down. (For the background on all these facts, check out Ezra Klein).

The reason these events always provoke an outcry for gun control is because they are the only times when there is even a flicker of public support. Connor Friersdorf has pointed out that we *have* had a dialogue about guns and the gun controllers lost. Nate Silver points out that it isn’t even discussed unless a shooting has happened.

The Supreme Court has recognized the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right. The President has stood back from any and all gun control measures except, perhaps, restoring the assault weapons ban. Even the gun control advocates are calling for, at most, closing the “gun show loophole” or tightening mental health restrictions, neither of which is particularly radical. Even the Brady Campaign admits that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

Granted, this event may change the dynamics. But I really don’t think we’ll see anything radical. An assault weapons ban will in the offing (although the last one was haphazard and the weapon used was illegal in Connecticut anyway). We may see some efforts to tighten up background checks, as Jeffrey Goldberg advocated. It’s possible we will see a limit on magazines or background checks at gun shows, if they can be implemented easily.

But let’s put aside whether these actions are good or bad. They would do little to prevent events like this. Even assuming that a ban on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines worked as advertised, I don’t see that this would have been prevented if he’d only had two handguns with 10-bullet clips. It didn’t stop the Virginia Tech killer.

There are some comparisons being made to other countries, particularly Australia, which banned most guns after the awful Port Arthur incident. I don’t see these examples as particularly useful. Comparing us to countries that are a 15th of our size and are not as filled with guns as we are is of limited utility. The fact is that we have liberalized our gun laws over the last 20 years and violent crime has fallen like a brick. The predicted wave of shootouts over car accidents has not happened. We are not other countries; we are unique. We can sometimes learn from policies enacted in other countries. But they are not us.

Gun bans are simply not going to happen. And I think it’s a waste of time to pretend that they will, even if we punt on the wisdom of them.

Annie Get Your Gun

Boisterous and imaginative, Jesse was raised in the village of Sandy Hook with his brother, J.T. Family friends say he played with the family’s collection of animals: five horses; a mini-horse; a mini-donkey; three dogs; and chickens. Recently, he was learning to ride horseback, the friends said.

“Jesse was such an incredible light,” his mother, Scarlett Lewis, said in a email on Sunday. “So bright and full of love. He lived life with vigor and passion…brave and true.”

One idea that has surfaced again is the idea of arming the teachers. Eugene Volokh walks us through the logic, pointing out that people would not object to armed cops or armed security. So why would they object to schools being defended by a rigorously screened, checked and vetted security force: conceal-carry permit holders? (With the caveat that some states are a lot more lax with conceal-carry than others).

I think there is some merit to this idea, generally. But it also crosses me as a bit glib. There are very good reasons we do not allow dangerous weapons in schools that have nothing to do with being terrified of guns: the hundreds of little hands that could get hold of them. All we need is for one teacher to leave a firearm in an unlocked desk and the country will erupt.

I also think, like everything else, this is an over-reaction to a rare event. The chances of a teacher ever having any shooting in her school are about about one in 400 (one in 12,000 schools a year times thirty years of service). The chance of a mass shooting over her entire career are about one in 30,000. I do think revisiting gun free schools would be a good idea; maybe create a little doubt in the shooter’s minds. But the idea of “arming teachers” specifically is just as much an over-reaction as banning guns. These are rare events. They’re just as rare when you’re pro-gun as when you’re anti-gun.

Would arming teachers have stopped Sandy Hook? Possibly, assuming any of the teachers in the school had wanted to be armed. But I could just as easily see them being gunned down anyway by the guy with the three guns, the body armor and the crazy look in his eye. Defending yourself is not easy. Defending yourself against a maniac with screaming children underfoot would required extraordinary heroism and skill. Yes, armed people have stopped things like Pearl shooting. But we have to balance that against the very real risk of a bad accident involving a gun in a school, a prospect I see as much more likely than another mass shooting.

Lonely Among Us

Saxophonist Jimmy Greene moved his family from Canada, where he was a college professor, to Sandy Hook just a few months ago. A Bloomfield, Conn., native, he wanted to come home, where the heart is, he told the Hartford Courant in May.

On Saturday, a day after his 6-year-daughter Ana was shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mr. Greene wrote on Facebook that he was trying to “work through this nightmare.”

One of the few positive things to emerge from this may be a renewed focus on mental health. Indeed, Nick Gillespie thinks this is the most likely response to the shootings: that we will ramp up services and be more attentive to disturbed individuals. We may even increase the power to confine people against their will. You can read this well-circulated essay about the frustrations of a mother dealing with a kid who doesn’t just have mental problems, but is violent.

I do think there is some progress to be made here, especially if we have a renewed focus on those who have violent tendencies and reopen the idea of involuntary commitment. This might have not have prevented Sandy Hook: the shooter had been identified as having problems, had adequate resources and had a mother who was taking care of him. But it may prevent future slayings.

We have to be careful here, however. Mental illness is a very broad category and there is no clear connection between mental illness, per se, and violent behavior. Depressives, for example, are rarely violent. And I can easily see this getting out of hand, with kids being confined or medicated just because they are a bit weird. We need to focus very very carefully here on people who are violent and disturbed.

Locking Down

First-grade teacher Vicki Leigh Soto, 27 years old, died trying to protect the children she loved, her cousin Jim Wiltsie said. When the gunfire started on Friday morning, she gathered her students and tried to hide them in a classroom closet, officials told her family.

There has been the usual call to make schools more secure: hire more guards, lock doors, etc. But I am loathe to make schools into police states — well, more than they are already. This school was locked down and the killer blasted his way in. Columbine had metal detectors. In fact, the Secret Service specifically said that the physical barriers at Columbine created a false sense of security (their entire report is worth a read (PDF).)

In end, we simply can not put up enough bars, enough bullet-proof glass and enough metal detectors to prevent a once-a-decade event. You have to remember that we are reacting to evil. When it comes to physical tactics, the evil guys get to make the first move and they will certainly be looking for ways to get around security measures. We shouldn’t make it easy, obviously. But trying to prevent last year’s horror won’t necessarily prevent next year’s.

He Who Shall Not Be Named

You’ll notice that, throughout this post, I have not referred to the shooter by name. As I articulated on the day, I don’t think we should be, in effect, making celebrities out of these guys. As always, these events are too rare to know what does and does not cause them. But I am sympathetic to the view that talking about the killer, putting his face everywhere, trying to figure out what motivated him doesn’t help. I am sympathetic to the idea of damnatio memoriae, of scrubbing from history those who have done vile things. That’s obviously impossible in the modern era. But I see no reason to indulge these monsters in a bit of herostratic fame.

Do I think media blackouts would prevent shootings? Probably not. Crazy people do not always make decisions for the reasons we think. To me, it’s more a matter of ethics. I would much rather talk about the victims and give the fame and recognition to them. Hence the quotes I’ve put in from the WSJ’s wrenching profiles.

Keep Calm and Carry On:

Charlotte had recently been shopping for a new outfit – a pink dress and white boots — that were set aside for the holidays. After weeks of Charlotte asking, her mother, JoAnn Bacon, finally relented on Friday, letting her daughter wear the clothes to school. Charlotte had even done her hair for the school day.

In the end, I find myself agreeing more and more with what Megan McArdle said yesterday: there isn’t a lot we can do about this short of shredding the Constitution. The policies people have proposed might make some small difference. They might make the occasional massacre less bloody. They might prevent one or two. We should do them. But this is case where everything people want was in place: background checks, assault weapons ban, mental health help, locked down school. And it still happened. We could ban all guns and one of these guys would re-enact the Bath, Michigan horror and blow up a school. It’s not that we shouldn’t do anything; it’s that we need to leaven our actions with the realization that our power to stop the one in a hundred million maniac is limited.

(McArdle actually wins the prize for one of the dumbest suggestions, which is that we train people to mass rush gunmen (not train kids, as some of her critics have said). Even if this were feasible, I find it ridiculous. A mass shooting will strike a school approximately once every million years. Any shooting is about once every 12,000 years. Training people to deal with something that is unlikely to ever happen, that they probably would not be able to think about if it did, crosses me as a colossal waste of time. We could do much more by trying to prevent the ordinary run-of-the-mill killings that constitute 99.5% of the violent crime in this country.)

We live in a big vast country. There are lots of open spaces and lots of freedom for people to get bad ideas and have them fester. We can pick at the margins. But the problems is that, to be safe, we have to be right all the time. The killers only have to be right once. It’s likely that dozens of these shootings have already been prevented through alert teachers and parents, through gun laws or through mental health efforts. Most of them were averted long before the real menace appeared. But if only one in ten million have the right combination of intelligence, freedom and malevolence to do something like this, that means have thirty potential mass killers roaming the country. We are looking for needles in a haystack the size of Central Park.

A Way Forward

It’s easy enough to poke holes in what everyone suggests; it’s harder to propose positive action. I will list what I think are not just reasonable steps but steps I think are likely to happen. The latter is important because, in the end, we are not going to ban guns in this country nor are we going to (nor should we) turn our schools into prisons.

Moreover, I think these are reasonable steps in the broad context of gun violence, not necessarily in the context of rare horrors that comprise less than half a percent of the violence in this country and go some years without happening at all.

Here’s what I would do:

  • Improve the databases we use for gun background checks so that it easier to identify people with histories of violence or psychological problems.
  • Improve mental health resources, particularly for people with violent tendencies. Part of this should be encouraging the families of those with psychological or violence problems not to stock firearms.
  • I think we are also likely to get the following, probably more at the local than federal level. I don’t think they will do much good but would be unlikely to do much harm.

  • Limitations on magazine size and an assault weapons ban.
  • Allowing conceal-carry in school for rigorously screened educators.
  • Background checks at gun shows, if they can be implemented.
  • Mostly, however, I think we need to keep doing the things that have cut violent crime in half over the last two decades. That means keeping violent people in prison. That means keeping guns away, as best we can, from crazy people and criminals while allowing the sane and law-abiding to bear. That means developing more resources to identify and stop dangerous people before they kill. That means remembering that these events, while awful are rare.

    I wish I could sit here and type out some grand manifesto that would have everyone nodding and agreeing that this would prevent these events from ever happening again. But anyone who tells you that is lying to you. Anyone who say that there is a magic potion out there — be it gun control, armed teachers, locked up schools, God in the classroom — is telling you what you want to hear to push an agenda.

    We have made progress in our society. In my lifetime, we’ve made huge inroads against things like drunk driving and discrimination. We’ve seen the monstrous evil of communism fall. We’ve seen violent crime surge to unthinkable levels and then roll back for reasons no one is really clear on.

    There’s another reason I included the WSJ excerpts about the victims: as a reminder that the vast vast majority of people in this country are good. We outnumber the bad people a hundred to one. We outnumber truly evil people like the Connecticut shooter a million to one. This has its drawbacks: they are sometimes able to move among us like a wolf among sheep. But it also means the forces moving this country forward are vastly more powerful than those moving it backward into chaos and despair.

    We will make progress on this. The problem seems massive and immovable right now because 2012 has been a terrible year for mass shootings. But overall violence remains down at levels we have not seen in half a century. We have made progress. We are making progress. We will make progress. And it will not be because of radical changes or sudden upheavals but because of the slow steady incremental changes that has worked so well for the two decades and the basic inherent goodness of the American people.