Tag: Gun politics

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.

Want Help? Ask Conservatives

Everyone know that only Democrats care about minorities. Everyone knows that only Democrats care about the poor. Everyone know that only Democrats care about women. Republicans just like to cruise around in their limos laughing at the plight of those less fortunate than them. Meanwhile, Democrats can’t sleep at night because they are so worried about the oppressed masses. Right? Right?

Let me introduce you to Shaneen Allen:

Last October, Shaneen Allen, 27, was pulled over in Atlantic County, N.J. The officer who pulled her over says she made an unsafe lane change. During the stop, Allen informed the officer that she was a resident of Pennsylvania and had a conceal carry permit in her home state. She also had a handgun in her car. Had she been in Pennsylvania, having the gun in the car would have been perfectly legal. But Allen was pulled over in New Jersey, home to some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States.

Allen is a black single mother. She has two kids. She has no prior criminal record. Before her arrest, she worked as a phlebobotomist. After she was robbed two times in the span of about a year, she purchased the gun to protect herself and her family. There is zero evidence that Allen intended to use the gun for any other purpose. Yet Allen was arrested. She spent 40 days in jail before she was released on bail. She’s now facing a felony charge that, if convicted, would bring a three-year mandatory minimum prison term.

There is a wide prosecutorial discretion here (more on that in a moment) but it looks like the prosecutor is going to throw the book at her. Allen is the kind of person the Left is supposed to be in a tizzy over — a single working mom doing her best who is about to be crushed by the system. But the liberal Ecosphere has said little, if anything, about her. You know who is taking up her cause? If you said conservatives and libertarians, move to the front of the class. Here is National Review, for example, trying to make her case a national issue. True, this is because conservatives believe in gun rights and the second amendment. But they also believe in justice. And there is a growing awareness of the massive disparities in how gun laws are enforced.

As it turns out, Allen’s case isn’t unusual at all. Although white people occasionally do become the victims of overly broad gun laws (for example, see the outrageous prosecution of Brian Aitken, also in New Jersey), the typical person arrested for gun crimes is more likely to have the complexion of Shaneen Allen than, say, Sarah Palin. Last year, 47.3 percent of those convicted for federal gun crimes were black — a racial disparity larger than any other class of federal crimes, including drug crimes. In a 2011 report on mandatory minimum sentencing for gun crimes, the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that blacks were far more likely to be charged and convicted of federal gun crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentences. They were also more likely to be hit with “enhancement” penalties that added to their sentences. In fact, the racial discrepancy for mandatory minimums was even higher than the aforementioned disparity for federal gun crimes in general.

This isn’t just a matter of black people committing more crimes. In cases where the prosecution is discretionary — such as the enhancement penalties — this is far more likely to happen to black criminals than white ones. And conservatives like Rand Paul have been making this point more and more forcefully of late.

Oh, speaking of Rand Paul … Just last week, Jon Stewart discovered civil asset forfeiture, the process by which the government can seize your property or money by alleging it has committed a crime (that’s not a typo; they literally charge the property with a crime). It will surprise no one that while asset forfeiture casts a wide net, it also has a tendency to fall heaviest on minorities and on poor people who can’t fight back. Anyone want to guess the party affiliation of the man who has proposed to overhaul asset forfeiture law and give people greater civil service protections?

The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property. State law enforcement agencies will have to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury’s General Fund.

It’s not perfect. But it’s a huge improvement over the existing regime, where local law enforcement can bypass state regs by turning the seized money over to federal agents, who take a cut and give it directly back the law enforcement agencies.

But there’s still more. Let’s move away from crime and toward poverty itself. Last week, Paul Ryan suggested a new set of policies to try to reduce poverty. He would consolidate numerous programs into block grants to the states, expand the EITC, reduce regulations and push criminal sentencing reform. Even some liberals are admitting these are good ideas. They will reward work and expand opportunity — the two things the poor need a hell of a lot more than slightly larger piles of government cash.

There’s been some controversy over Ryan’s proposal to have chronically poor people meet with councilors who will help them improve their lives. But as Megan McArdle points out, while the chronically poor are a small part of the poor, they consume a huge chunk of the benefits. And it is chronic generational poverty that is the true suffering. Ryan’s plan sounds a bit too paternalistic to me. But it’s got to be better than the absent father method our current system upholds where we just throw money at poor people and hope it will magically make them unpoor.

So in just the last week, we’ve seen conservatives oppose arbitrary ruinous enforcement of gun laws, oppose asset forfeiture and propose a new version of welfare reform (after the last one lifted millions out of poverty). You add this to the ongoing push for school choice and you have a platform that would greatly enhance freedom and opportunity for millions of people, most of who are poorer and darker-skinned than your typical Republican.

And the Democratic Party? Well, their big issue right now is trying to save the corporate welfare that is the Ex-Im bank.

Look, I’m not going to pretend the Republican Party is perfect on these issues or any other issue. And there are plenty of Democrats who support the above policies. What I am going to suggest, however, is that the caricature of the GOP specifically and conservatives in general as uncaring racist sociopaths is absurd.

Update: This isn’t strictly related, but you know how Democrats have been whining about the cost of higher ed and the burden it is imposing on the middle class? Well evil conservative Republican Mitch Daniels is not whining, he’s doing something about it.

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.

The Weapons Limit

Having thought about Barack Obama’s gun plan, I’m still convinced that most of it is a non-issue: the government doing what it is supposed to do with background checks and enforcing laws. The only issue that is likely to be really contentious is the assault weapons ban (and related bans on high-capacity magazines).

I oppose the ban for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that I think it will be ineffective. There is little evidence that the previous ban or state-level bans accomplished much: crime fell before they were passed and continued to fall after they went. Criminals continued to acquire not just assault weapons but fully automatic weapons.

But I’ve also been thinking about a quote from P.J. O’Rourke Parliament of Whores. In talking about the crack epidemic, he spoke to a doctor on the front lines about what he’d do if were the drug czar. The doctor said he would make a big splash about something unrelated like assault weapons and wait for the problem to burn itself out. O’Rourke noted that this was exactly what William Bennett subsequently did.

Assault weapon bans — indeed gun controls in general — are and always have been a distraction. The real causes of crime — poverty, broken families, educational dysfunction, hell maybe even lead — are far more difficult to address and liberal solutions to these problems have usually proven ineffective. By contrast, assault weapons are easy to address and easy to rally liberals around. They sound sensible to people who don’t like guns in the first place. They make politicians feel like they’re “doing something” even when they’re not.

I also think the assault weapons ban is really a culture war issue in disguise. I recently flew out of Pittsburgh and sat next to a college student from Alabama who talked about guns and how much he liked his AK. We’ve had plenty of discussions in the comments about guns. It’s clear that many of the readers of this blog are comfortable with guns and are even enthusiasts. But that are others who are uncomfortable around guns of any type. And when you look at that way, it’s no different than someone trying to ban porn or whatever because they don’t like it. It’s cultural chauvinism masquerading as common sense.

Liberals often say that no one “needs” an AK-47. That’s irrelevant and I think the attempts of people to justify these weapons under hunting, sport or revolutionary grounds are misguided. Owning guns is a right; it is the government that must justify its restrictions, not we who must justify our ownership. There isn’t a “need” for trashy music. There isn’t a “need” for risque television shows. There isn’t a “need” for Justin Bieber. But we allow these things because we believe in free speech. Gun owners do not need to justify a “need” so that their benevolent government can grudingly let them bear arms.

As is always the case with cultural issues, I think these is best resolved at the state level. If Californians are uncomfortable with assault weapons, let them ban them. If Alabamans are happy with assault weapons, let them keep them. It’s ridiculous to try to impose a national standard of what guns we are and are not comfortable with.

But doesn’t an assault weapons ban violate the Second Amendment? I don’t think so. The American people have long recognized that the Second Amendment does not give an unlimited right to weapons. Machine guns are banned, explosives are banned, nuclear weapons are banned. SCOTUS has upheld this. The difference between tyranny in freedom is much larger than the difference between an AK-47 and a hunting rifle.

Moreover, if we’re worried about tyranny, I would say the Second Amendment is only one of our concerns. Conor Friersdorf made this point some time ago:

I think law-abiding Americans should always be allowed to own guns.

But if you’re a conservative gun owner who worries that gun control today could make tyranny easier to impose tomorrow, and you support warrantless spying, indefinite detention, and secret drone strikes on Americans accused of terrorism, what explains your seeming schizophrenia?

Think of it this way.

If you were a malign leader intent on imposing tyranny, what would you find more useful, banning high-capacity magazines… or a vast archive of the bank records, phone calls, texts and emails of millions of citizens that you could access in secret? Would you, as a malign leader, feel more empowered by a background check requirement on gun purchases… or the ability to legally kill anyone in secret on your say so alone? The powers the Republican Party has given to the presidency since 9/11 would obviously enable far more grave abuses in the hands of a would be tyrant than any gun control legislation with even a miniscule chance of passing Congress. So why are so many liberty-invoking 2nd Amendment absolutists reliable Republican voters, as if the GOP’s stance on that issue somehow makes up for its shortcomings? And why do they so seldom speak up about threats to the Bill of Rights that don’t involve guns?

I am very happy that people are passionate about the Second Amendment and eager to defend gun liberty. I just wish they brought that same passion to other infringements on our First, Fourth, Five and Sixth Amendment rights. Because if we pay attention to those, we will never need a “Second Amendment Solution”.

Ah, those dreaded words. It’s become fashionable on the Left lately to mock the idea of rebellion. They’ve been dismissive of the Second Amendment because, they argue, a revolution against a tyrannical government would be impossible given that the government has tanks and nukes. That sounds clever and it certainly is snide.

It’s also absurd. Our own military — the one with the tanks and nukes — has had a devil of a time with a bunch of guys with small arms and improvised explosives. I know the Left likes to pretend our wars ceased to exist once Obama was elected, but the shattered bodies and souls coming back speak otherwise.

Sheer numbers tells us that a revolution is possible, tanks be damned. There are 1.4 million active duty members of our military. Assuming they all turned on us, they would still be outnumbered by the legal gun owners of Kentucky. Every hunting season, my state of Pennsylvania fields one of the largest standings armies in the world to take out a bunch of deer (and with remarkably few accidents, I might add). The idea that the Second Amendment isn’t a bulwark against tyranny is absurd.

I don’t believe that our government will ever become truly tyrannical. I don’t think that a “Second Amendment Solution” will ever be necessary. At the same time, however, I don’t think we should be gambling our future on my optimism.

Obama Moves On Guns

Obama is announcing his new gun policies right now. I’ll post as I get updates. There are apparently 23 executive orders. I’ve looked over them quickly and I don’t really see anything terribly objectionable. Most of it is strengthening exiting law and the background check system. Here they are, with my commentary. None would have prevented Sandy Hook. But if you’re looking to reduce gun violence overall, they do address that.

1. “Issue a presidential memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.”

2. “Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.”

3. “Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.”

All three of these are reasonable ways of improving the background check system and are orders to federal agencies not requiring new laws.

4. “Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.”

As long as any new proposed categories go through Congress, this is fine.

5. “Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.”

Again, as long as we get to see the rule before its implemented. We have, for very good reasons, grandfathered people in on background checks. We don’t want to set a precedent of seizing guns to do a retroactive check.

6. “Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.”

7. “Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.”

8. “Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).”

9. “Issue a presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.”

All of these are programs within the Justice Department. I would like to see some commentary on the legality of gun traces.

10. “Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.”

11. “Nominate an ATF director.”

We don’t have an ATF director? Seems we should, no?

12. “Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.”

I suspect this will be a waste of money, but it seems within the powers of the DOJ providing they have Congressionally-approved funds for this sort of thing.

13. “Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.”

This is more of a goal than an actual policy.

14. “Issue a presidential memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.”

This may be controversial. Congress has specifically prohibited the CDC from engaging in anti-gun advocacy which has been interpreted to ban all research. Given the Nanny Staters tendency to make loud noises with bogus research (the claim that obesity killed 400k people a year, claims on second-hand smoke), they are right to be suspicious of this. I do think we should clarify what the CDC is and is not allowed to do on this subject.

15. “Direct the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.”

16. “Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.”

17. “Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.”

Words words words. No problem with words. I’m not sure if the ACA does or does not prohibit doctors from asking about guns, so that might be an issue. I believe several states, including Florida, have banned doctors from asking about guns.

18. “Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.”

19. “Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.”

I’m not sure what this means but it sounds like a waste of money. These events are very rare and any preparation for a once in a thousand year event is likely a waste.

20. “Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.”


21. “Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.”

22. “Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.”

Finalizing ACA regulations would probably be a good idea anyway, no?

23. “Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.”

Ooh, a dialogue! Dialogues solve so many problems.

The executive orders cross me as a non-issue. Almost all of them relate to clarify or writing regulations and soap-box stuff. The only substantive objections might be lodged at 14 (the CDC) and 16 (ACA). I don’t think any of this will help but I don’t think it will hurt. And it’s certainly not the tyrannical gun grab everyone was clamoring about.

The real substances is what he has asked Congress to do. It is, again, largely expected: universal background checks, assault weapons ban, magazine limits and tougher penalties for illegal sales. I suspect, apart from the penalties, most of that is DOA in Congress. But if we could create a system that would allow easy cheap universal background checks, I would be in favor of that. It would not have prevented Sandy Hook. But it might make a dent in the broader issue of gun violence.

Really, this is a non-event. Almost everything was as expected. And it’s largely going nowhere.

How tragic that we need to be lectured on this simple principle

It is absolutely tragic to me that Americans have to be reminded by people that have first hand experience of the very problems our 2nd amendment was supposed to protect us from of how wrong it is to bow down to the wishes of the tyrannical:

This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth. This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar. Weapons, from swords and spears to pistols, rifles and shotguns were everywhere, common items. People carried them concealed, they carried them holstered. Fighting knives were a prominent part of many traditional attires and those little tubes criss crossing on the costumes of Cossacks and various Caucasian peoples? Well those are bullet holders for rifles.

Various armies, such as the Poles, during the Смута (Times of Troubles), or Napoleon, or the Germans even as the Tsarist state collapsed under the weight of WW1 and Wall Street monies, found that holding Russian lands was much much harder than taking them and taking was no easy walk in the park but a blood bath all its own. In holding, one faced an extremely well armed and aggressive population Hell bent on exterminating or driving out the aggressor.

This well armed population was what allowed the various White factions to rise up, no matter how disorganized politically and militarily they were in 1918 and wage a savage civil war against the Reds. It should be noted that many of these armies were armed peasants, villagers, farmers and merchants, protecting their own. If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.

Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lying guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.

Of course being savages, murderers and liars does not mean being stupid and the Reds learned from their Civil War experience. One of the first things they did was to disarm the population. From that point, mass repression, mass arrests, mass deportations, mass murder, mass starvation were all a safe game for the powers that were. The worst they had to fear was a pitchfork in the guts or a knife in the back or the occasional hunting rifle. Not much for soldiers.

To this day, with the Soviet Union now dead 21 years, with a whole generation born and raised to adulthood without the SU, we are still denied our basic and traditional rights to self defense. Why? We are told that everyone would just start shooting each other and crime would be everywhere….but criminals are still armed and still murdering and too often, especially in the far regions, those criminals wear the uniforms of the police. The fact that everyone would start shooting is also laughable when statistics are examined.

While President Putin pushes through reforms, the local authorities, especially in our vast hinterland, do not feel they need to act like they work for the people. They do as they please, a tyrannical class who knows they have absolutely nothing to fear from a relatively unarmed population. This in turn breeds not respect but absolute contempt and often enough, criminal abuse.

I have no doubt that the current WH is after guns for the same reason the Reds disarmed the peoples of their new utopian U.S.S.R. back in the day: it is much easier to abuse an unarmed people. Fast & Furious backfired. The LSM and a dysfunctional DOJ have helped these tyrants hide what they where doing from the people. All this bleating about how they care about the children and want to prevent more such tragedies is nothing but a disgusting attempt to capitalize on tragedy too push their agenda further. Anyone pretending otherwise is an accomplice in the lie or, to use terminology from one of the most famous and brutal masters of the Red utopian revolution, Uncle Joe, a fucking useful idiot. Nothing they propose will stop a determined killer, be they evil, insane, or both, from killing, and the argument that if it makes killing more difficult it is a good thing, basically reveals that these idiots really want you to believe the problem is with law abiding citizens owning firearms in the first place.

The good news is that stories like this one, or this one, ore even this one, abound. It tells me that we still, despite the results of the last election that show clearly how the number of makers has been overcome by that of the takers, enough people in this country left that know why Americans, up until recently at least, have experienced prosperity and freedom, while the rest of the world has been mired in shit and seen governments abuse, oppress, and mass murder their disarmed populations.

These opportunist tyrant-wannabes and their sycophantic propagandists in the media could not have prayed for a better excuse to both distract people from their economy destroying plans, or to be used to turn public opinion against the recent SCOTUS ruling that shot down their previous attempts to violate the 2nd amendment, to do more gun grabbing. I firmly believe that it is not a coincidence that actual facts and details of what happened during this tragedy have stopped coming out either. The story remains murky, and I now believe that any details that might show the problem was the idiotic notion that declaring anything a “gun free zone”, under the penalty of law, and then believing it would deter a determined criminal or psycho, or of how people where actually killed and with what weapon that would undermine the narrative, is being held back so the gun grabbers can continue to advance the notion that disarming law abiding citizens will prevent senseless killings from happening again.

The gun grabbers are playing us all for fools. It’s a double whammy; they are using this tragedy and their feigned concern about “the chilrun” as an excuse to disarm law abiding citizens as well as distracting us from the fact that their wealth redistribution schemes result in abysmal economic outcomes. I wish I had a Green TV network to sell to some rich oil people.

Opposite Poles of the Debate

Rumor, rumors, rumors:

The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation’s gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration’s discussions.

A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.

What, you hoped they were coming up with something original? It bears pointing out that not one of those provisions — not one — would have prevented Sandy Hook. The guns used were legal and the shooter’s mother would have passed a background check. The shooter wasn’t a minor. And it was already illegal to have guns near a school. But I guess we could have fined the shooter’s corpse afterward.

Moreover, it’s not clear that, apart from the strengthened mental health checks, these would prevent any shooting whatsoever. Criminals don’t obey the law. They don’t care about gun-free school laws. Many of them don’t buy weapons legally (the Sandy Hook shooter stole his). This will make it feel like we’re doing something by inconveniencing millions of law-abiding citizens. But it will have little impact on gun violence.

One could argue that an assault weapons ban or magazine limit might have limited the carnage. I’m not convinced. But at least that’s an argument. This? Honestly, I’m reminded of the way TSA respond to terrorism. Every time a terrorist attack happens, TSA enact some new rule that has little to do with what happened. They clearly have a list of infringements on our liberties and use each terrorist act to advance the next one. It’s clear that the gun-grabbers have a list of steps to take. And these are the next ones.

I’m fine with strengthening mental health checks. “Universal background checks” is, I suspect, code for trying to put background checks in place for private sales. But making such a system available to private sellers is fine. But tracking weapons is simply not on (less than 1 in 25,000 guns is used to commit a murder). And making gun-free schools even more gun-free is an appeal to magic. It might make us feel good, but there’s little evidence it will do anythingg.

On the opposite end of the gun debate — the one I call reality — we have this:

A woman hiding in her attic with children shot an intruder multiple times before fleeing to safety Friday.

The incident happened at a home on Henderson Ridge Lane in Loganville around 1 p.m. The woman was working in an upstairs office when she spotted a strange man outside a window, according to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. He said she took her 9-year-old twins to a crawlspace before the man broke in using a crowbar.

But the man eventually found the family.

“The perpetrator opens that door. Of course, at that time he’s staring at her, her two children and a .38 revolver,” Chapman told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh.

The woman then shot him five times, but he survived, Chapman said. He said the woman ran out of bullets but threatened to shoot the intruder if he moved.

Holy shit, Loganville? I’ve been to Loganville. Anyway, this guy managed to drive away before passing out. She injured a number of internal organs and it’s not clear that he’ll survive.

Would this man have harmed this woman and her children? Only he and God know. But I do know this: in that situation, I wouldn’t want to cling to the hope that the serial criminal who’d broken into my house was going to be merciful. And I wouldn’t want to sit there and wait until the cops arrived.

NRA In Earth Orbit

Last week, while I was away, the NRA had a press conference about the Connecticut shootings. Actually, it wasn’t a press conference since they took no questions. It was more of a statement.

A statement from the NRA in the wake of Sandy Hook required a degree of tact. I realize that the Left expected the NRA to come out, do a mea culpa and call for a gun ban … you know, the same way they expected pro-choice groups to reverse course after the Gosnell scandal. But those of us who live the real world knew that the NRA would stand for gun freedom. The question was, after a week of thinking about it, how would they stand for gun freedom while respecting the delicate feelings of a wounded nation?

What I expected and hoped for was something along these lines:

It’s important to recognize that there are 300 million weapons in this country and less than one in a thousand is used every year to commit a crime. Less than one in 25,000 will be used to commit a murder. Violent crime has fallen dramatically in the last twenty years — and we’re willing to admit that part of the reason may be measures that the NRA opposed. And mass shootings, contrary to hysterical claims in the media, are not increasing.

Clearly, more needs to be done. We are ready to take whatever steps are needed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed; as long as that does not compromise the Second Amendment liberties of law-abiding Americans.

The NRA’s statement, to say the least was not this. In fact, I think it did more to damage the cause of gun liberty than anything the gun grabbers could have said.

Let me back up a moment. The anti-gun lobby has a problem: the public has considered and rejected most of their arguments. There is sympathy for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but efforts to recreate gun bans or repeal the Second Amendment are going precisely nowhere.

In the wake of this complete defeat in the arena of ideas, they have been reduced to making absurd suggestions like gun buybacks. Gun buybacks sound good until you consider you’d have to spend $5 million for every gun murder prevented. If I gave you $5 million, I guarantee that you could save more than one life with it. And that’s assuming 100% efficiency. More likely, gun buybacks would take guns away from the law-abiding or allow criminals to dump “hot” weapons.

Another dumb idea that has surfaced is restricting or taxing bullets. HuffPo makes the case that when you buy bullets, you should have to crawl to the local police station and lick their feet until they agree to give you some ammo (I’m exaggerating only slightly). I’m sure this sounds good to someone who doesn’t know one end of a gun to another. To an enthusiast, who typically uses more bullets in a day at the range than a spree shooter will use before putting one in his own brain, it sounds insane. It also simply wouldn’t work. Black market bullets would flood the market, people would start making their own bullets and the Supreme Court would almost certainly reject it as a too clever attempt to get around the Second Amendment.

They’ve also been reduced, as defeated movements usually are, to saying things that simply aren’t true. I covered before how they manipulated the numbers to make it seem that spree killings are rising. Here I take apart a claim that we have more spree killings than 36 other nations combined. Here is a refutation of the false contention that spree killings are never stopped by armed civilians (a claim that was patently ridiculous when it was made). The ridiculous and insulting “If I Only Had a Gun” piece is also making the rounds despite Gary Kleck’s actual, you know, research on the defensive use of guns.

My point is that the anti-gun lobby has a very limited influence right now. They might be able to get a ban on high-capacity magazines or something but disarming the nation is simply not on; at least not with the gang of clowns and idiots currently comprising the radical anti-Second Amendment wing. Even Diane Feinstein’s newly-proposed gun grab is likely going nowhere.

They realize this, which is why they have stooped to such Orwellian methods as publishing the names and addresses of legal gun owners in New York.

No, I don’t think the anti-gun lobby is a real threat to Second Amendment liberty. The only threat I foresee is that the pro-Second Amendment side manages to turn back the progress made in the last twenty years by playing to every gun-totin’ stereotype the Left can imagine, by turning the vast middle of this country against gun freedom, at least on issues like assault weapons or conceal-carry, where public opinion is more finely balanced. And the NRA’s statement couldn’t have been better crafted to do precisely that.

LaPierre came out and blamed everything except guns. It was the fault of video games, of movies, of Obama, of hurricanes, of everything. He talked about Natural Born Killers for Christ’s sake, a movie that came out 18 years ago and that no one watched. All of this played right into the Left’s “anything but guns” narrative, making the NRA seem desperate to avoid even talking about weapons.

Their specific proposals were even more appalling. They called for Congress to look into violent entertainment and create a national database on mental illness (because nothing says “liberty” liked trampling on the First and Fourth Amendments in defense of the Second). Most notably, they called to have armed guards in every school. Never mind that Columbine had armed guards and most college campuses have police forces. Never mind that this plays into every our kids are in danger! hysteria. Never mind that a child in school is safer than they are anywhere else. (The number of children murdered in school every year is about 20-30. The number of children murdered outside of school is more like a couple of thousand, depending on how you define child.)

Thankfully, sensible people like Chris Christie and Ron Paul recognized this proposal for what it is: a tremendous waste of resources, a hysterical response to a tragedy and appalling encroachment of a literal police state into every school.

Of course, this is just the statement from the NRA, not a politician. So why did it bother me so much? It took me a few days to unpack what really bothered me about it: it’s a pattern that has become endemic to the conservative side of the aisle lately. It sounded like something a caller to a radio talk show would say; not something worthy of the leader of an organization number 4.3 million people. I’m sure it rallied the pro-Second Amendment base. But ardent gun rights supporters are not what we should be worried about. What we should be worried about are the tens of millions of people who are kind of mixed on the gun issue and could easily be persuaded that DiFi’s horrible assault weapons bill is a sensible alternative to the NRA’s bluster.

LaPierre has history, of course. His famous “jack-booted thug” letter caused George H. W. Bush to resign his life membership. But he also came to the front when gun freedom really was under siege, with mainstream politicians openly calling for gun bans. He’s fighting the fight of 30 years ago. This simply does not apply today, when Obama’s response to this tragedy was to … have Biden convene a commission. In fact, Obama has yet to do anything about gun control and has specifically said the Second Amendment protects an individual right. When LaPierre came to lead the NRA, even the NRA was tentative about saying that.

I think it’s clear the LaPierre has outlives his usefulness Someone needs to step up who has come of age in the 2000’s and understands that the main thing the NRA needs to do is hold the line, to maintain the freedoms we have rather than fight against a political opponent that is beaten, defeated and impotent. My fear is that if they keep fighting the political fights of the 1980’s, they will get them back: blow life into an anti-gun movement that is currently moribund.

You can not legislate away evil or crazy.

Everybody is trying to make sense of this tragedy. Too many are so desperate for a reason other than we are dealing with someone that was mentally deranged, just like they want to pretend that evil doesn’t exist, because otherwise we have to admit that our supposed security is just ephemeral, that they are looking for anything to avoid having to grasp that we are never perfectly safe. Even the perp’s own father is searching for answers. I am afraid we will never understand, and too many will simply not accept thathere might be no good reason why this tragedy happened, because the truth is inconvenient.

We now have people that are scrambling to find a reason or motive for this horrible act. They are already trying to lay blame on the mom, a legal gun owner, because of the fact that she was a prepper. Others are saying that the killer was a loner, another troubled kid with school issues. And I am sure we will soon hear a lot more about violent music, video games, or movies are to blame, without pointing out that it is the very same people telling us we need to disarm everyone that are the biggest peddlers of this violent stuff, too. And having the discussion about how too much coverage by the stupid media of these tragedies encourages the fame seekers to copy cat, however? Nah, that we will not hear much about. Just like we will not hear much about the fact that tragedies will happen.

As expected, the two sides are at it. I don’t believe I need to point out that I think that more stupid laws that deprive people of the god given right to make sure they can defend themselves from tyrannical government are not going to stop these sorts of tragedies. Too many people, frightened and desperate to keep their security bubble, forget that in a society where the law disarms the lawful, the only people armed will be criminals and government enforcers. Things like this are not just plain stupid and serve to do nothing but confound the issues. The fact is that the pursuit of security at the cost of liberty results in less of both. Our problem is our inability to accept evil and crazy exist. It’s easier to pretend the problem is guns. You can then ban those and pretend it solves the issue. You can’t ban either evil or crazy.

Despite the fact that this young man was prevented from buying his own guns, just recently, by the existing laws, the cries for more “control” are going out. The tyrannical stupid that want to use the pretense that the problem is an inanimate object, instead of evil or crazy people, to disarm the populous are trying hard to convince everyone that bans are the answer. I do not for a second believe that these people’s main priority is as noble as they pretend it to be. They have been taking advantage of tragedies like this one for a long time to achieve their goal of disarming the populous. I find it despicable that they are capitalizing on so many people’s inability to accept the fact that there is evil and crazy in the world, and that nothing we do can stop it all, to push their agenda to disarm the citizenry.

I find exercises like this one utterly fruitless and a waste of time. Would you take anyone telling you that we should stop winter from coming seriously? What about people that tell you we should prevent all deaths? Why then the desperate need to pretend that banning guns will somehow stop evil and crazy? What magical power do Obama and the other gun grabbers have that will prevent evil or crazy from doing what it does? Are we going to ban knifes yet? Are we going to ban anything that can cause death or be used to kill?

We are going to be doing a lot of soul searching, second guessing, and Monday morning quarterbacking, along with the mourning, but the fact remains that I am afraid that we will not get any answers. That’s because we simply do not want to focus on the real issue, because there is no answer to solving or preventing evil or crazy from doing what it does. It’s much easier to blame guns, and if you are one of the few that subscribes to Mao’s axiom that power comes from the barrel of a gun and making sure that only the government has guns, it is doubly so. Here is the sad fact: people that want to do evil and cause harm will never be dissuaded by any laws. Laws only influence those that are lawful. Of course, accepting this fact undermines our quest for feeling secure.

UPDATE:: Best quote to summarize the problem here:

“After each tragic shooting spree by someone a few cards short of a full deck, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.”