Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Monday, May 10, 2004

More on the Torricelling of Kerry

In today's Tucson Citizen was an interesting op-ed by Hartford Courant writer Jim Shea. I couldn't find it on-line, so I've transcribed it here. It's written as a letter to Democrats by Howard Beale - the character from the movie Network. I don't know Mr. Shea's political leanings. I scanned a few of his columns and can detect from that quick overview nothing patently obvious, so I present to you now, interspersed with my commentary, his latest column:
Democrats find Kerry is Dull and Void

By Jim Shea May 10, 2004

Dear Fellow Kerry Supporter:

We may have made a horrible mistake.

We may have backed the wrong guy.

Granted, it was difficult to stick with Howard after it became apparent he wasn't wrapped all that tight, but perhaps we were a bit hasty in jumping on the Kerry bandwagon.
I gather from this that Shea isn't a member of the moonbat hordes, so this bodes well - but limits the overall impact of the piece.
So far, the Kerry campaign, has all the forward momentum of a Dukakis tank ride.
I rest my case on the moonbat question.
Since sewing up the nomination, the two most memorable things John Kerry has done are go on vacation and have surgery.

A week ago, he went for a bike ride in Boston - and fell off. You tie that mishap together with the shoulder injury he sustained - riding a bus - and Kerry's just a staircase header away from wrenching the Slapstick in Chief title away from Gerald Ford.
A pithy and accurate observation. This man is no average Democrat.
Besides the walking-and-chewing-gum problem, Kerry is also turning out to be quite the gasbag. He's one of those people who if you say nice night to him, he wants to explain the cosmos.

I mean, two minutes of listening to Kerry these days and you're longing for the excitement of a Joe Lieberman foreign-policy speech.
And he has a sense of humor. I'm beginning to smell Republican...
The thing is, we Democrats didn't endorse Kerry because of his intellect; we got behind him because we thought he would go nose to nose with President Bush.

Now we're not so sure. Since securing the nomination, Kerry has been whacked around more than Larry, Curly and Moe put together.

What happened to the "I'm a fighter" thing? What happened to "bring it on?"

It's so bad that Kerry has even let the Republicans get away with criticizing his war record.

It was left to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi to point out that while Kerry was getting three purple hearts, Bush was getting a dental exam.

It was left to Senator Frank Lautenberg to deep-fry Vice President Dick Cheney and the chickenhawks, saying: "They talk tough ... but when it was their turn to serve, they were AWOL from courage."

What Kerry is failing to recognize is that everybody is already Toung Fu fighting and their ads are fast as lightning. And if he doesn't "bring it on" now, it's going to be hasta la vista, baby.

There are certainly ample targets of opportunity: Iraq, jobs, taxes, prescription drugs, the possibility Bush may be married to his national security adviser!
Say WHAT?
The bottom line, fellow Democrats, is this. If Kerry doesn't show some spunk soon, we should start thinking about nominating someone at the convention who will.

Dean - with the right medication - remains a viable option

Sincerely,
Howard Beale
(Still mad as hell.)
I've said it before. Kerry is NOT going to be the nominee.

It might not be Hillary, but it ain't going to be Kerry.

The writing is on the wall. The Democrat cry will be "Anybody but Bush."

Except Kerry.
Want One, Want One, Got One, Want One, Had One...

Jeff at Alphecca has this week's Check on the Bias up, with this picture of Jesse Jackson that inspired the title of this post.

Go give it a read.
But What If Your Loyalty is to the Constitution?

Steven Den Beste (soon to be married and fathering little Den Bestes if Connie du Toit has anything to say about it) has a piece on "What prevents another Civil War?"

Steven has two answers: The first, sort of flippantly, the U.S. Army. The second, the fact that we as citizens no longer see our loyalty as being primarily toward our State but toward our Nation (unless you're a fringe leftist, in which case your loyalties are towards some nebulous "world government" currently represented by the corrupt UN.)

There's more to it than that, though. With the advent of easy high-speed travel, the State borders have no real meaning to us beyond what the tax rates look like, and the climate and scenery. State borders aren't just unimportant, they are largely meaningless (unless you're a Texan) to us in terms of loyalty.

But what happens when a large (but minority) portion of the population becomes convinced that the Federal government has abandonded the founding legal structure it supposedly "protects and defends?"

Professor Randy Barnett's recent book Restoring the Lost Constitution makes the point that, for all intents and purposes the Constitution is, if not dead, on final life support. Justice Antonin Scalia protests that the Supreme Court no longer feels bound to follow the Constitution - "five hands is all it takes," he says. Senator Zell Miller protests that ours is a Republic no longer.

Our Constitutionally enumerated and protected individual rights are under constant legal assault under the aegis of the War on Crime, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror, and all three branches of the government are complicit. The media - the unacknowledged Fourth Branch - largely is too.

What prevents another Civil War?

Thomas Jefferson predicted it long, long ago in his letter to William Smith concerning Shay's Rebellion of 1787:
And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.
And Jefferson was right, as we have seen. Jefferson continued, though:
We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure.
Seems that Jefferson counciled a bit of revolution from time to time.

Libertarian pundit Claire Wolfe wrote a while back, "America's at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." Claire had it wrong. The time to shoot the bastards is early on. Now it's too late.

What prevents another Civil War here isn't the Army or the fact that we hold a higher loyalty to our Nation than to our State of residence, it's ignorance and apathy.

EDIT: Another link from Steven in less than a week! I must be doing something right.

Anyway, this piece is merely an update of an older one, Pressing the "Reset" Button from last December, which I also suggest you read. Professor Barnett's book, Scalia's quote, and Zell Miller's complaint just add to my convictions on the topic. The first part of the 21st Century promises to be an ugly one.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Well Said!

From Smoke On the Water: Turning Lead into Gold

Too good to excerpt. Short, eloquent, excellent. Go read.

(Via No Quarters.)

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Need Some New Wall Art?
Cancer poster draws lots of fire

Critics say fundraising message lost
Guelph chief says nothing suggestive or provocative


A controversial fundraising poster featuring eight provocatively clad, gun-slinging female police officers is drawing fire.

The poster, with the caption "Girls with Guns Target Breast Cancer," is a fundraiser for breast cancer research but that message is lost, detractors say, in images of sexy, heavily armed officers.

"There they are sporting guns as if it's a fun thing to do," said Dawn Reynolds, a family therapist in Guelph who is offended by the poster.
Well, it IS - that's something that gun-phobes don't get and never have.

But wait! There's better!
"Guns are what kill women. They are not a good thing. I regret hugely that this was done, especially for such a worthy cause as breast cancer."
No, guns are sometimes used to kill women, but they are not the cause. And guns are an inanimate object, neither intrinsically good or bad.

But this is the mentality we've got to combat, daily.
Two officers in the Guelph police sex and child abuse unit, Constables Cate Welsh and Lisa Lakatos, are selling the posters so they can take part in the Princess Margaret Hospital's Weekend to End Breast Cancer, a 60-kilometre walk through Toronto this fall. Each participant must raise a $2,000 entry fee.

With approval from the police services board, they persuaded six other female officers to pose with them in the photo. Posters went on sale last week and despite some backlash, sales have been brisk, said Guelph police Chief Rob Davis.

"I didn't see anything that was suggestive of anything sexual or provocative," said Davis. "Police officers are targeting breast cancer. That's very admirable."

Sue Richards, a Guelph entrepreneur who launched the Breast of Canada calendar in 2001 to raise awareness of breast cancer, said she was taken aback when she first saw it.

"It's a very unusual image. It's not obvious these are police officers for starters, and they are not showing breasts — they're showing guns," she said.

"I do see a sexual tone to it. To me it is provocative. Personally, I would have preferred to see them in police uniforms. Then the guns are in context."
Why? Should only police be allowed to have guns, then?
Dianna Schreuer, president of the network, was not upset when she saw the police poster.

"This is what they are," said Schreuer, referring to the gun-toting officers. "If they were holding bananas, that would be silly.

"To me it implies a fight and that's exactly what breast cancer survivors do — we fight it."

Matt Greenfield, spokesperson for the Princess Margaret Weekend to End Breast Cancer event, said his organization will not take a position on the poster.

"We don't want to polarize ourselves," Greenfield said. "We are proud of everyone who has made the decision to do something bold in the fight against breast cancer by registering for the event."

He added, however, that the title, Girls with Guns Target Breast Cancer, "did not originate in our organization."

Christine Koserski, spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society, wouldn't comment except to say, "These will certainly get a lot of attention. It will probably be a successful fundraiser. Obviously they feel strongly about breast cancer."

Koserski said the disease kills about 5,200 Canadian women annually.
According to this page, firearms are not exactly what's "killing women" in Canada. Here's the chart from 1992. The proportions haven't changed much, I don't believe:

Sly Castaldi, acting executive director of Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, said she was confused by the poster.

On one hand, she said, they are powerful professional women supporting a really important cause. On the other, "that's not how they dress for work. I think the evening wear adds to the confusion of the poster."

"Plus, using the word `girls' takes it down a notch or two. These are women, not girls," Castaldi said.

Still, Castaldi is pleased about the debate the poster has sparked.

"Twenty years ago we were the only agency speaking out about domestic violence and women's rights. Now people are making those connections on their own.

"It's good when the community can do critical thinking on issues like this."
Sometimes critical thinking - especially when it comes to the topics of feminism and guns - is a very rare commodity.

Anyway, here's a thumbnail of the poster:

The number to call to order yours is:

(519) 824-1212

The price is a paltry $10 Canadian (what is that, $7.25 American?)

Hat tip to Gunner of No Quarters.

Friday, May 07, 2004

More on Airguns

This time from THIS side of the pond.

That ever fruitful well of material, Jointogether.org, reports that the recent Daisy Settlement Shows Political Influence of Gun Industry. Let us fisk:
Before the leadership of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) changed political parties late last year, the federal agency had filed a lawsuit against Daisy Manufacturing Co., a maker of air-powered BB guns, after complaints of misfirings.
"Complaints of misfirings? No, the complaint wasn't that the guns misfired but that they actually fired when their users thought they were empty.

The fact that their users deliberately pumped up the rifles, intentionally cocked the rifles, intentionally pointed the rifles at another person and then intentionally pulled the trigger seems immaterial.

THE SHOOTER THOUGHT IT WAS EMPTY!

That's all that matters.

To the lawyers. And the anti-gun groups.
But now, instead of a recall, the federal agency has agreed to a settlement with the company that only involves promoting safe BB-gun usage, the Wall Street Journal reported April 29.
Well, GEE. YA THINK?!?!?

RULE #1: Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

RULE #2: Never put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to fire

AND ALWAYS TREAT A GUN AS IF IT WERE LOADED.

Follow those three rules, nobody gets hurt.

But noooooo. It must be the eeeevil gun manufacturer at fault.
In 2001, the CPSC filed a lawsuit against Daisy Manufacturing, claiming that its PowerLine Models 856 and 880 were responsible for at least 15 deaths and 171 injuries, the majority involving children. Testimony by a Daisy Manufacturing engineer confirmed that BBs could get temporarily jammed in the corners of the magazine, making it appear that the gun is empty.
The guns were responsible, not the person on the trigger.

The cult of no accountability is obviously still strong.

Obviously mommy and daddy didn't teach gun safety. Why aren't they responsible? It's not like it's difficult

Treat it as though it is always loaded, no problem.

It's stunning how many "accidental shootings" come from unloaded guns, isn't it?
At the time, Ann Brown, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1993, served as chairman of the agency. In 2001, President Bush (Boo! Hiss!) replaced Brown with Republican Harold Stratton Jr. Prior to the appointment, the National Rifle Association (NRA) had e-mailed a "special alert" to members warning that the government's recall could be used in future lawsuit against all gun makers.
And were they wrong?
Under Stratton's leadership, the agency dropped the lawsuit late last year. (The heartless BASTARD!) Instead, the government accepted an offer from Daisy Manufacturing for a $1.5 million publicity and labeling campaign to promote safer use of its products.
(If it weren't for that meddling NRA!!!)
Administrative Law Judge William Moran strongly criticized the offer, calling it "empty." But Stratton said the lawsuit was "burdensome and inefficient" and would have led to "years of costly litigation."
And it wouldn't??

Understand this: The CPSC wanted Daisy to recall 7.5 million rifles because 15 people (Children™) had been killed and some 171 people (Children™) had been injured because of the deliberate misuse of their product.

But it's the "influence of the (cue scary music)GUN INDUSTRY" that foiled this legal assault humanitarian act.

Oh, and of course the (cue music) EEEEEVIL Republicans who WANT CHILDREN™ TO DIE!

I certainly hope they were responsible. It tells me that my dollars an my vote still count for something.

For further reading, let me recommend this piece, The 'Daisy Airgun Case'—not CPSC's finest hour. Money quote:
(CPSC Commissioner Mary Gall) stated:
"In my nearly twelve years of service with this Commission, and indeed, in my over thirty years of government service, I have never seen a more outrageous miscarriage of justice and abuse of the processes of public policy than this case ... Some of the deposition testimony given by Commission employees show clearly that the previous Chairman ordered that the case be removed from the ordinary processes of Commission staff review because she did not like the conclusions that the career staff were reaching about the hazards associated with the Model 856 and 880 air rifles.

"... The record shows that this is a case that should not have been brought in the first place, and which has now been settled on terms substantially similar to those that Daisy proposed over fourteen months ago. Students of government who wish to see how the regulatory enforcement process can be used to harass a small company to no good purpose need look no further than this action for a splendid case study ..."
A Parliament of Whores

GREAT book by P.J. O'Rourke, from which comes his classic quote:
Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.
Or Henry Louis Mencken's take on it that I've posted here before:
A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.
James Rummel has a bit different take on it. They're all whores, and we're stuck with them, because that's how our political system works. Our only choice is to look at the "partners" they are and have been sleeping with, and the ones they want to sleep with. Because we'll be sleeping with them too.

He says it much more eloquently than that, but quoting it here would not be fair to the quality of the piece.

Read the whole thing.
No More Friday Fives

It's dead
Because Honor Doesn't Matter Any More

Steven Den Beste asks in reaction to learning that Moore has lied, once again, and been caught, once again:
Why does anyone believe anything that Michael Moore says, anyway?
Because lying isn't considered wrong any more. It doesn't result in public censure. It's REWARDED, as I said below.

As long as it's done by someone from the Left, because they only do it in a good cause.

Or so they tell themselves.

If someone from the RIGHT is caught doing anything that has a whiff of mendacity or obfuscation, RELEASE THE HOUNDS! STIR THE OUTRAGE OF THE PROLES! PITCHFORKS! TORCHES!

Remember Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them... A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right?

UPDATE: Steven linked to this. (Thanks!) The internal link in this piece refers to the Micah Wright piece two posts down. Wright, along with Jayson Blair, Steven Glass, and Moore all get a pass. They mean well.
No, the Media Doesn't Hype Assault Weapon Fears

It seems that the Associated Press is reporting that two men were killed and two children were wounded in a drug-related turf war attack in Highland Park, Michigan. This was reported on MLive.com, an "Everything Michigan" website, and in the Detroit Free Press. Here's what the story says:
About 60 shots from an automatic weapon and a shotgun were fired into a car as part of an apparent drug turf war, killing two men and wounding two young children, authorities say.

The shooting happened about 2:15 a.m. EDT Thursday on a residential street in the city of Highland Park, which is surrounded by Detroit, Wayne County sheriff's department spokesman John Roach said.

"Apparently, someone came up and ambushed them," Roach said.

Investigators said about 55 rounds were fired at the car with an AK-47 assault rifle and about a half-dozen more from a shotgun, Roach said. There may have been two shooters in what Roach described as a possible dispute about drug turf.

The children, an 8-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, belonged one of the dead men, 29-year-old Andre Harden Sr., of Detroit, Roach said. The men had been sitting in the front seat and the children in the back.

The children had been removed from Harden's custody in May 2000 after allegations that he abused them, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The children remained in foster care until November, when they were returned to their parents, Harden and Brenda Skinner, according to court records.

Christopher Dixon, 28, also was killed, Roach said. He lived in a home on the street where the shooting took place.

The boy, who was shot in both legs, and the girl, who received a minor injury, were taken to Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and were in temporarily serious condition Thursday afternoon, Roach said. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

There were no suspects in the shooting as of Thursday afternoon, Roach said.
Criminals shooting other criminals, which is the case in the majority of deliberate shootings. Two innocent children hurt, two apparent drug dealers killed.

But an "assault weapon" and CHILDREN were involved, so THIS IS BIG NEWS! How big? Well, here's a partial list of the papers that are running the story, at least on-line:

The Houston Chronicle

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Mid Columbia (Washington) Tri City Herald

The Alabama Times Daily

The Boston Herald

The Tacoma News Tribune

The Anchorage Daily News

The Raleigh N.C. News & Observer

The Sacramento Bee

The LA Times

New York's Newsday

South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Sun News and The State

Florida's Bradenton Herald, and Tallahassee Democrat

Georgia's Macon Telegraph and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
Minnesota's Duluth News Tribune and Pioneer Press

There are a lot more.

This is the perfect example of "man bites dog" combined with the topic du jour - assault weapons and the coming "sunset" of the "Assault Weapon Ban" (that didn't prevent this crime.) "Assault weapons" are used in less than 2% of all crimes committed with firearms, so things like this are really rare and thus newsworthy. Add The CHILDREN™ and the story is irresistable, because otherwise it's just criminals shooting other criminals.

One interesting thing is, when I did the Google search on this story, the blurb connected to each link states:
It appeared to be some kind of a rifle, perhaps an assault rifle," Wayne County sheriff's Cmdr. James Buford told WWJ-AM.
But this line isn't in the AP piece. Could it have been an SKS? Yes. The SKS is not considered an "assault rifle" under the Federal ban, and some accept 30 round detachable magazines. But the story is quite explicit, it WAS an AK-47.

Now, had the gunmen not had access to the AK, and had both shooters used shotguns, what would the result of this shooting have been? Handguns? Molotov cocktails?

How would renewing the AWB have prevented this? How would strengthening the AWB prevent this? How would confiscating all legally owned "assault weapons" prevent this?

Just asking.
The Definitive Micah Wright Post

Via Michele

Kevin Parrot details his personal history with the lying Mr. Wright, with illustrations. Like this one:

Read the whole thing, but here's the kicker:
So, what's going to happen to Micah Wright now, you ask?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

As a matter of fact, I think Micah Wright will end up getting more work and making more money off his lies than before they were discovered.

And that's the second reason I almost didn't write this. I have the feeling Micah Wright already knows what I just stated, and is eating up every minute of what's been going on. Micah wins.

Oh, sure, his new book of remixed WWII posters has been cancelled (for now), but no one I've read on the Net seems to have picked up on the hidden message in this sentence from the Seven Stories website:
The author's introduction will be removed from any future printings of YOU BACK THE ATTACK.
and again, from the Washington Post article which exposed him:
It also will remove from future printings of the first book his detailed and wholly fictional account of parachuting into Panama under fire during Operation Just Cause.
Instead of leaving in the lie, and providing some extra editorial commentary to place the incident in proper context, they're going to make it disappear. Just like it never happened at all.

--

Everyone loves and rewards a liar, it seems. Jayson Blair got a book contract; Stephen Glass got a book contract and ended up being played by Young Darth Vader on the silver screen. What will Micah get? Well, I'd be very surprised if one of the comic companies out there hadn't already contacted him about writing a Graphic Novel or a Mini Series based on this event
Micah Wright passed himself off as an ex-Ranger, an organization built around the concepts of honor, duty, country.

Our nation seems no longer to recognize the ideal of honor, in its definition of "a keen sense of ethical conduct." There is no public censure of dishonorable acts. The concept of shame is nonexistant. Bad behavior is rewarded. Infamy is equivalent to fame. Disgrace is treated as grace. Do something objectionable? That draws attention, and attention draws dollars. Besides, its always someone else's fault, anyway. Victimizer as victim.

Moral equivalence at its worst.
But, But... Licensing and Registration WORKS!

Via Ravenwood (AGAIN. How does he find this stuff? Go read all of today's entries. Uniformly excellent. Hell, read the entire page and start on his archives.) comes this heartwarming story of how wonderfully the Canadian effort goes in registering all firearms and their legal owners, in at least one case.

Classic. Just classic.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

SHE'S BACK!!

Rachel Lucas RETURNS!

(Yaaaaay!)

In Arizona, Don't Go Shooting Without a GPS and a Map

Via Classical Values comes this eye-opening story of what can happen if you don't, as told at World According to Pete. Excerpts:
I only wanted a little physical stimulation and maybe some thrills and a bit of excitement. So my friend, Jimmy, and I went out to the desert to do us a little shooting.

We drove out to the middle of nowhere which, as it turned out, was actually still just inside the city limits of Avondale, AZ. Like anybody can tell the difference out there. I mean, come on… It’s Avondale, for chrissake!

So we’re in a river bottom, picking off some cans and bottles and I’m doing real well.

--

So, like I said, I’m doing real well… until the SWAT team comes over the hill.

Not much crime in Avondale, evidently, as half the force showed up to catch themselves a couple of gun-toting city slickers. They had their assault rifles aimed and pistols drawn just in case, you know, we turned out to be unsavory criminal-types just itching for a fight.
Those would be real "assault rifles" - the selective-fire "bullet hoses" designed to be "spray fired from the hip" and are only good for "killing lots of people in the shortest time possible."

The ones that only military and police forces can own now. Those assault weapons.
“Spread your arms and get on the ground, or we’ll blow your fucking heads off!”

Now I don’t know about you, but if I had to come up with a list of the “Top Ten Things You Never Want to Hear on a Sunday Afternoon”, that phrase would rank pretty high up on the list.

--

We soon found ourselves in the heart of Avondale proper, in separate holding cells at Police HQ.

At some point, Jimmy later told me he heard two cops talking outside his room and one said to the other, “Neither of these guys have criminal records. What are we suppose to do with them?”

--

A few weeks later, we went to our preliminary hearing. The felony had been knocked down to a misdemeanor before we even walked in the door and both of us were now facing six months in jail or up to $2500 in fines. I told the prosecutor I couldn’t afford a lawyer, so would a public defender be provided? He responded that Avondale only provides one once you go to jail, which told me the city wouldn’t be paying to house and feed us any time soon either, it just wanted money.

--

A court date was set. A month later, we talked to the prosecutor and made a deal. About one fourth of the maximum fine with no jail time. And Jimmy had to forfeit the weapon.
No, they wanted money and the gun.
On the drive home, Jimmy and I passed a billboard for “Shooter’s World”, advertising a big gun sale the following weekend. I suggested to Jimmy that he might want to check it out since he didn’t have a gun anymore. We laughed at my moment of levity and our shared misfortune and marveled at how we had bonded since spending time in the pokey together.
The saying goes, "A good friend will bail you out of jail. A GREAT friend will go to jail with you."

Read the whole tale. It's pretty sad.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Gun Rights = Anti-Socialism

Ravenwood reports that, once again, the perpetually panty-twisted are up in arms over another "loophole" in Britain's ever-more-stringent gun elimination control law (designed to make everyone safer.)
Gun law 'loophole'

CAMPAIGNERS have called for a "loophole" in the law to be closed after the Manchester Evening News bought a potentially-lethal handgun - legally in a city centre shop.

On the same day new legislation on air guns came into force, we paid £200 ($358!) for a new German-made Walther CP88, a powerful airgun, which could maim or even kill within a distance of 10 metres.
(That's about 30 feet for us Yanks.)

The CO2 gas-powered gun - which is indistinguishable to the untrained eye from a genuine firearm - can fire off eight rounds in quick succession.
OOH! It's a high-capacity "weapon of mass destruction!"

Bear with me.
Our purchase on Saturday just hours after new controls were introduced by the government.
(Um, that's not a complete sentence in the English I learned. Poor editing?)
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 made it an offence to manufacture, sell, transfer or acquire air weapons that use a self-contained gas cartridge system to fire pellets.
The WHAT?

It's anti-social to "manufacture, sell, transfer or acquire air weapons that use a self-contained gas cartridge system to fire pellets"?

Are we using the same language here?

For those of us who really believe that the evil that is socialism is spreading, that one sentence is a great big red flag waving in the wind.

It's anti-SOCIAL, and the State cannot abide by behavior that is anti-social.
Firearms enthusiasts who already owned one were required to obtain a £50 ($90!) firearms certificate from the police by Friday, April 30.

Anyone now found with one of these guns could be liable to a minimum five-year prison sentence. But the Manchester Evening News has established that some potentially-lethal air guns can still be bought legally without checks or licences.

We bought the CP88 in T Stensby and Co on Shudehill. Their staff acted completely within the law as the .177 air gun falls outside the new legislation.

It is powered by gas cartridges which must be inserted into the handle and which must be replaced on average every 80 shots.

The air guns which are banned under the new law are designed with self-contained gas cartridges, which look like real bullets.
Once again the legislature passed a gun control law. Once again, the refrain from the gun-phobes is "IT'S NOT STRICT ENOUGH!!"
Disgusted

The "loophole" has infuriated anti-gun campaigners Mothers Against Violence, a group set up to fight the gang and gun cultures in south Manchester.

Spokesman Sheila Eccleston, whose son Dean, 24, was shot dead in Longsight on October 9, 2001, said: "I'm absolutely disgusted.

"I would like to see all these guns banned. We go into schools to tell kids about the dangers of the gangs and guns and what message does this give to them?"
It tells them, I would hope, that you're horribly misguided at a minimum. But it's nice to see another group come out and vocally advocate what we all know the leadership of the gun control groups here actually want, but dare not voice. (Except the Violence Policy Center - I will give them credit for being forthright about wanting to ban all handguns.)
Paul Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation in Greater Manchester, has called for a ban on the sale of guns like the Walther CP88.

"Anything designed to be an absolute replica should need a licence in the same way as a real firearm," he said. "And so should any weapon that has working parts and can be converted to accept real bullets."
As I pointed out before: That would be the license scheme that failed to reduce gun crime? That would be the license scheme that let the government know who owned guns legally but had no effect on those who had them illegally? That would be the license scheme that allowed the government to demand that all legally held handguns be handed in because they were banned? That would be the license scheme that didn't prevent an increase in handgun-involved crime after the confiscation?

See the cartoon immediately below this piece for a visual representation of the goals of gun control groups. Here's another sterling example.
Linda Mitchell, spokesman for the Gun Control Network, set up in the wake of the Dunblane massacre, said: "All air weapons are lethal, full stop. They are capable of serious injury and there have been deaths. We really need to see legislation that covers all air weapons."
Now, shall we look at this engine of death and destruction?

Here's a standard version:

Yup, looks very much like a real firearm. I can see some cause for concern, seeing as almost no one in England has any real experience with handguns with the exception of the military and police.

And criminals, of course.

Or it could have been the really evil 6" barreled version with "compensator":

That would surely make victims wet themselves at its mere appearance.

But here's the specs on this "powerful airgun, which could maim or even kill" (which, by the way, sells for about $165 here in the States.)

Velocity, 4" barrel: 380fps.

Velocity, 6" barrel: 400fps.

If that's not enough for you, this web page discusses how to wring every last erg of muzzle energy out of the gun. It's obviously written by a terrorist!

Now, here's some information on the various horrible projectiles fired by this awesome engine of destruction. The .177 caliber pellet comes in a variety of weights, ranging from about 6.5 grains (0.015 oz) to about 11.5 grains (0.026 oz) Yes, those decimal places are correct. Just to give you an idea, a standard paper clip weighs about 6.6 grains. Obviously the lighter pellets will be faster, the heavier pellets slower. They come in various shapes for different purposes:

The round one is generally known as a "BB" from "ball bearing."

The size in the image is obviously not to scale. A .177 caliber pellet is (surprise!) 0.177" in diameter. How big is that? Oh, about the size of the hole in a Cheerio cereal piece. The hole, not the Cheerio.

But a pellet that size, massing about as much as a paper clip, is supposedly lethal out of this infernal engine of mass destruction!

It is true that there have been deaths attributed to airguns, but not pipsqueak air pistols like these. No, the guns involved in fatalities are without exception much more powerful (and usually larger caliber) RIFLES that fire heavier projectiles at velocities in excess of 1,000 feet per second.

And even then it takes either an act of complete idiocy or an act of God to kill somebody with one.

As the commenters at Ravenwood noted, this reminds me of the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation where Clark pulls a gun to get in to Wally World:
(John Candy) That's a BB-gun. Are you kidding?

(Chevy Chase) This is a Magnum-PI.

(Candy) That's an old wives tale Clark. It couldn't even break the skin.

(Chase) Yeah it could, yeah it could. It could break the skin and start a very ugly infection.
And so could the Walther CP88.

But the English subject must fear these "potentially-lethal air guns" because the press says that it is so!

"England can do it! Australia can do it! WE CAN TOO!"

Not here.

Not if I have anything to say about it.
Kevin Tuma is On Target

(via Say Uncle)
Thank You!

I do this blog mostly because I feel like I have to. I am unwilling to just give up my rights without a fight, and this site gives me a place to voice my thoughts. But an audience helps.

This blog turns one on Friday, May 14. Today, this morning at 4:41AM in fact, my Sitemeter hit counter rolled over to 100,000 hits. That's probably what Glenn Reynolds gets on a bad week, but for a site dedicated primarily to the right to arms, I'm very pleased.

Oh, and visitor from medalertambulance.com? Thanks. No grand prizes awarded, though.

This is Blogspot, afterall.

I will give you a tip: Move out of New Jersey!

Monday, May 03, 2004

Call for Assistance

It seems that Tim Lambert objects to the paucity of reports in which victims of crime are further victimized by the system that supposedly is there to protect them.

I'll admit right up front that my wording "prosecuted" was a poor one. THREATENED with prosecution would be more valid, like in this case found by gunner, the proprietor of No quarters. I've perused my archive of articles I've saved for the last couple of years and found a few more.

But I'd like the help of the "gullible gunners" out there. Perhaps someone has access to LexisNexis or some similar search engine for news stories? Got your own archive of outrage? Send me links, full text of the stories, whatever. It's my intent to build a nice case.

Remember, limit this to England and Wales.

Thank you for your assistance.

I Would Be Willing to Go to Jail for Assault

If I ever meet Ted Rall:

A couple of days ago I linked to this Ted Rall column where he actually said some things I agree with. At that time I stated:
I don't know how much of what Rall states in this piece reflect his actual beliefs and how much of it is a lie, but given Rall's history...

But it's damned disconcerting when someone as foul as Rall states opinions I agree with. I feel like I ought to take a shower and scrub with steel wool.
Stainless steel wool and sulfuric acid.

I'm all for the First Amendment.

If I ever meet Rall, I'm going to demostrate my freedom of expression with a knuckle sandwich.

I live in Tucson, Ted. You've got my email address. Drop me a line if you're ever in town. We'll do lunch.

(Hat tip Instapundit and Michele.)

UPDATE 5/4: Also via Prof. Reynolds, this absolutely astounding dissection of Ted Rall's mental state by Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom.

If I had written that (thank Jebus I know I'm not capable) I would have showered with acid and steel wool.

Tim Lambert has Responded

And so have I. Read Gullible Gunners, part 3.
Like I Said, Not ALL Brits Have Been Brainwashed

(Via Deltoid, actually.)

Peter Hitchens has written an interesting article, even though he quotes John Lott (whom both I and Tim Lambert believe to be, if not a fraud, at least untrustworthy.) It was originally published in May of last year, but it's still good. Entitled Why I Demand the Right to Carry a Gun, I'm sure it put some panties in a bunch. Excerpts:
We in Britain believe guns are so dangerous that only criminals should be allowed to have them. If you think this sounds unhinged, you are quite right. But, crazed as it is, such is the thinking behind this country's current law on firearms.

It is almost impossible for a law-abiding person to obtain or keep a gun, thanks to severe laws diligently enforced by a stern police force. Yet criminals, who care nothing for laws, can and do easily obtain guns and ammunition - which they use with increasing frequency.
All absolutely, demonstrably true.

Not intentional, but certainly the result of the policy.
People in this country get emotional about guns but refuse to think about them. They run, squawking, from the subject as though it were perfectly obvious that the best response to anything that goes 'bang' is to ban it.

Those who own or keep guns are treated as only slightly less repellent than child molesters. In a perfect example of this silly frenzy, a Doncaster college lecturer was sacked last January for allowing a student to bring a toy plastic gun into class for use in a photography project.

If we ever did think about the subject, we should realise that something very strange indeed was going on and might begin to worry that we have gone seriously wrong.
But, because of the visceral reaction trained into the public, thinking about the subject has been effectively prevented.
Take a deep breath and consider what follows: I have never owned a gun and hope I never have to, but I want to have the right to do so if I wish - and the right to use a gun in defence of myself and my home. In fact, I do not think that I am a free citizen unless I have these rights.

This is not some wild idea imported from the badlands of North America. Until very recently, these were my rights under the ancient laws of England.
(My emphasis.) If you haven't, let me suggest that you read the (rather long) exchange I had with an Irishman living in London concerning the right to arms. It covers the history and the law dating back to England. Start here and work your way up through the archives. But do it on the weekend - it's quite involved.

One more excerpt (though I recommend that you read the whole thing):
Once, police and courts and people all agreed about what was right and what was wrong. In those days, the authorities were more than happy for us to defend ourselves as vigorously as we liked.

Now, while they have effectively abandoned us to the non-existent mercies of anybody who cares to break into our homes, they will punish us fiercely if we lift a finger to defend ourselves.
But, but... self-defense in England is perfectly legal! How could he possibly conclude otherwise?

He's just a "gullible gunner."
More Taking Advantage of Fear and Ignorance

Pixy Misa of Ambient Irony exposes another example of gun control supporters folding, twisting, spindling, & mutilating ah, employing misleading statistics in their effort to frighten people into supporting more gun control, this time in Australia.

Money quote:
So how many people are killed by handguns in Australia each year? This handy article in The Age, found in about 10 seconds of Googling, tells us that the number in 2001 was 49.

This represents a drop since tough new restrictions were put in place in 1996, from a 1991 figure of 29.

No, hang on - isn't 49 more than 29? I could've sworn...
(But the philosophy cannot be wrong!)
Jeff Outdoes Himself

Jeff at Alphecca has this week's Weekly Check on the Bias up, and it starts off with a bang, almost literally.

First, Jeff reviews the a case of a Detroit woman who used her - legally permitted - concealed handgun to defend herself from a gun-wielding attacker:
I mentioned this story last week but thought it deserved mention in this post, firstly, because it is a perfect example of what the right to bear arms is all about and secondly, because -- in a break with their usual bias -- the Detroit Free Press actually reported this story straight-up, without an anti-gun slant. If you read the full article, I think that you will reach the exact same conclusion that I have: Holland would be dead now if she hadn't been carrying that firearm.

Here's the money quote from the article:
Citizens defending themselves are precisely what backers of Michigan's controversial concealed-weapons law had in mind when they worked to pass the legislation in 2001. The law makes it easier for anyone without felony convictions or mental illnesses to obtain a permit to carry concealed weapons.

"The more the criminal element knows that Michigan residents can protect themselves and will protect themselves, the more crime goes down," said state Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-Dewitt.

Some opponents of the law predicted a large increase in self-defense-type shootings. Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who opposed the measure when she was state attorney general, has acknowledged that has not occurred.
Not only has it "not occurred," it never occurs. But it's ALWAYS PREDICTED. After the fact the best argument opponents can come up with is that supporters cannot conclusively prove that CCW is responsible for crime going down.

Jeff follows this with a "Dial 911 and DIE!" story - from TEXAS. (Doesn't everybody in Texas own a gun?)

Then he tells us that Jim Purtillo - the guy that moderates the rec.guns newsgroup, and all-around generally great and pro-gun guy, has filed suit against the State of Maryland over just what constitutes "an integrated mechanical safety device" in its badly-worded law that has severely restricted what firearms may be sold in Maryland.

There's much more. Jeff does a helluva job. Read it weekly, even though it gives you a RCOB™ moment.

UPDATE: Reader Sarah - proving that critical reading skills still exist - points out something that I had glossed over. The quote above from the paper reads:
Some opponents of the law predicted a large increase in self-defense-type shootings.
Uh, no. That's not what was predicted at all. What was predicted - and what is always predicted - is "blood in the streets" from shootouts over fender-benders and K-mart blue-light specials. And that NEVER happens.

However, there is a - slight - increase in bad guys getting shot.

Good catch, Sarah. And you're right: why should it be a bad thing to have a large increase in criminals being shot?

Hmm... Small World, No?

While the blogosphere is abuzz with the news that Micah Wright actually wasn't an Army Ranger (or even in the Army) and never was in Panama, Spoon's significant other drops a bombshell:
I just wish I had done a cursory google search on Micah Wright a couple years ago and found out what he was up to. I could have told Kevin Parrot, WaPo, and Wright's publishers that I knew Wright hadn't been a Ranger during the American invasion of Panama.

Because I was dating him in Tucson, Arizona at the time.

I was a freshman at the University of Arizona, and Micah was a junior. We met my first month at school at a mutual acquaintance's birthday party in September, 1989, and sort-of dated each other and generally hung out together that year. The Panama invasion started in December, 1989, and ended with Noriega's surrender in January, 1990. Micah was definitely at the U of A, not Panama.I graduated from the U of A in December 1985. My best friend from North Carolina went to Panama as a Special Forces non-com.
Small world.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Mea Culpa

I owe Tim Lambert a small apology. In a previous piece I made a pretty stupid statistical error which he caught, and I have, until now, failed to correct it. I will do so now.

In I Pound My Head Against the Wall Because it Feels So Good When I Stop I stated:
To me that isn't as important as the fact that England, according to the British crime survey, suffered 276,000 robberies in 2000, and the U.S. about 408,000. With six times England's population, that makes the English rate four times the American rate.
Tim followed the provided links and responded:
Oh, and you blew the comparison of robbery rates. You have compared the survey measured robbery rate in England with the police reported robbery rate in the US. The police reported number in England is 78,000 (it's right next to the 276,000 figure you reported) that's roughly the same rate as you get with 408,000 robberies in the US once you adjust for population.
Tim was correct, I did mix crime survey and police reported levels of crime, and that was an error. My apologies. It was not intentional. However, it was my intent to use survey results for both, rather than police reported crime numbers, because there is some significant doubt as to the accuracy of the actual levels of crime as reported by police agencies in England.

To illustrate this doubt, let me preface by providing this Telegraph story from 2003:
Britain the most violent country in western Europe

By John Steele, Crime Correspondent (Filed: 25/10/2003)

Britain has the worst record in western Europe for killings, violence and burglary and its citizens face one of the highest risks in the industrialised world of becoming victims of crime, a study has shown.

Offences of violence in the UK have been running at three times the level of the next worst country in western Europe, and burglaries at nearly twice the rate.

Britain has the highest level of homicides in western Europe and the totals for robberies and thefts of motor vehicles have also been close to the highest in the European Union, outstripped only by France, the Home Office figures show.

Only Germany, which has 20 million more people, recorded more crimes overall in 2001, the most up-to-date figure in the research - International Comparisons of Criminal Justice Statistics 2001, with data collected by the Home Office and the Council of Europe.

But the "victimisation risk" - showing the risk of suffering a crime - in England and Wales is higher for overall crime than anywhere else in Europe, and higher than in America. The same is true of falling victim to "contact" - violent - crime.

England and Wales also had markedly fewer police officers per head of population than France, Germany and Italy, according to the study.

The Home Office points out that police have achieved some reductions in violence and robbery in 2003.

The study is also accompanied by warnings about the difficulties in making comparisons because of differing definitions and methods of recording crime. But the sheer scale of offending in the UK in recent years is apparent from the figures.

Britain had 1,050 homicides in 2001, three ahead of France, the next worst in western Europe.

In 2001, UK police recorded nearly 870,000 violent crimes, a figure hugely above the next highest total - 279,000 in France. Germany recorded 188,000 violent offences.

There were around 470,000 domestic burglary offences in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Spain recorded 247,000 offences, France 210,000 and Germany 133,000.

The figures for robbery, which surged in Britain around the turn of the Millennium, showed about 127,000 offences in 2001.

This was surpassed only by France, with a total of 134,000. Both countries were ahead of Spain (104,000) and substantially ahead of Germany (57,000) and Italy (66,000).

Overall, in 2001 nearly 6.1 million crimes were recorded in the UK. Only Germany had a higher total (6.3 million).

Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister for crime reduction and policing, said: "This report shows the picture in 2001.

"Since then we have cut crime further and dramatically increased the number of police on our streets."
Those are pretty serious numbers, don't you think?

Now in this slightly earlier piece there seems to be some question as to the accuracy of the data:
Rising crime, falling accuracy

By Philip Johnston Filed: 05/04/2003)

What has happened to crime statistics? Once they were the gold standard of the criminal justice system against which could be measured the success of the police against the villains.

We relied upon recorded crimes - those reported to the police - as a guide.

But, increasingly, the Government has come to rely upon the British Crime Survey. This used to be conducted every two years (it is now annual) among a pool of about 20,000 people who give their personal experience of crime. It has a major flaw in that it excludes under-16s.

Ministers began to notice that the BCS told a different story to the recorded crime figures: it was registering a decline. So, the survey became the new guide for the Government, talked up by ministers as the only true measurement of crime.

Furthermore, the Home Office was unhappy with the way the police recorded their statistics and so it introduced a new National Crime Recording Standard - a sort of statistical quality control.

This, then, is where we stood yesterday when the latest quarterly crime figures were produced. "Crime is down," said Bob Ainsworth, the Home Office minister. "These figures show government measures to reduce crime are working."

Well, do they? Let us take the claim that domestic burglary fell by 11 per cent from just over one million to 948,000 in 2002. This is not a real figure but an estimate calculated using interim population figures supplied by the Office for National Statistics. So, too, is the 17 per cent "drop" in vehicle thefts. Why is the Government relying on a survey to establish the theft of a car or a house break-in? Who does not report a stolen car or a burgled house?

When we look at the crimes recorded by the police a different picture emerges. Over the three months to December, domestic burglary fell by less than two per cent and vehicle theft by just three per cent, both of which are "statistically insignificant".

Total recorded crime rose by more than four per cent over the quarter and by eight per cent over the year as a whole. The Government finesses this by "adjusting" the figures to account for the new recording standard. And, lo and behold, they then go down. Instead of the four per cent increase in the three months to December, we discover that it has, in fact, miraculously fallen by seven per cent.

However, this adjusted figure is also an estimate. Needless to say, the Home Office highlights the two estimated measures of crime - the BCS and the new recording standard, which show a decline - and ignore the recorded crime figures that show an increase.

Or take violent crime, which the Home Office said "appears to have levelled off". The recorded crime figures show a 28 per cent rise in the final quarter of 2002. Yet after "adjustment", this declines almost to zero on the grounds that "most offences are relatively minor assaults". Adjustments are always made to make the figures look more positive.

This statistical jiggery-pokery is making it almost impossible for observers to know what is going on. The Home Office stopped publishing monthly asylum figures because they produced bad publicity on a regular basis. Recently the Home Office issued figures claiming that the reconviction rate among young offenders was falling. Closer scrutiny showed this just was not true. An official complaint has been lodged with the Statistical Commission about the way race figures have been used.

In the short term, the Home Office's inventive use of statistics may get favourable headlines. In the long run, it risks damaging its reputation for straight-dealing, perhaps irreparably.
It's tough to know what to believe when the guidelines keep changing. And then there's the declining trust in the police to do much for you when you've been robbed. The British Government uses the British Crime Survey numbers because - even though the numbers are massively higher than the police reported numbers, the BCS numbers are coming down while the police recorded numbers are going up. Seeing as the BCS numbers - although they exclude victims under the age of sixteen - are supposed to represent reported and unreported crime, those are the ones I intended to use. However, to be consistent, I needed to use U.S. National Crime Victimization Survey numbers in comparison, not the police recorded number.

According to this Dept. of Justice Report in 2000 there were 732,000 attempted and completed robberies in the U.S. in the year 2000. That's 732,000 estimated under the National Crime Victimization Survey, as opposed to the 408,000 recorded robberies, a ratio of 1.79:1. And as opposed to the 276,000 estimated robberies according to the British Crime Survey compared to the 78,000 recorded robberies as reported by British police forces, a ratio of 3.54:1.

So, with one-sixth the population of the U.S. England and Wales managed to have a robbery rate not four times higher, but only 2.26 times higher than ours.

In the year 2000.

Way to go England!

Oh, and our robbery rate has continued to decline precipitously. According to this report NCVS estimates show robbery fell to 630,690 in 2001, and to 512,490 in 2002. Robbery has decreased in England and Wales over the same period, though.

Maybe.

According the British Crime Survey,
In 2002/03, the number of robbery offences in England & Wales for people aged 16 and over was 300,000.

This compares with 97,000 robberies of personal property recorded by the police in the same period.

The BCS does not measure robbery offences among victims under 16 years.
However, a study of 2,000 police files found that:
22% of recorded robbery victims were between 11 and 15 years old
23% were between 16 and 20
5% were over 60
Apparently a LOT of Brits no longer bother to report robberies. I wonder how many are missed by the BCS? At any rate, a comparison of 512,490 robberies in the U.S. and 300,000 in England & Wales means the per capita robbery ratio has increased to just over 3.5:1.

Now, if you want to talk recorded crime, take a look at this Home Office paper from January 2003:
Recorded offences of robbery have risen sharply in recent years despite the fact that recorded crime overall has fallen over the same period. Between April 2001 and March 2002 robbery offences recorded by the police increased by 28 per cent. This followed a 13 per cent increase the previous year, and a 26 per cent increase before that.

--

The British Crime Survey routinely collects information on 'muggings', which includes personal robberies and snatch thefts. The latest BCS estimates that there were 441,000 muggings including 362,000 robberies.

--

Offences recorded as robbery (personal and business) by the police in England and Wales have more than doubled over the last ten years. Some of the largest increases, in terms of volume, have been in recent years.
I hope to shout! Check out this graph:

Now, this next part is really interesting:
Personal robbery accounts for the bulk of recorded robbery in England and Wales. Between April 2001 and March 2002, personal robbery accounted for 89 per cent of all robbery, and almost all of the increase. Personal robbery continues to increase at a faster rate than business robbery. Business robbery increased by 6 per cent in 2001/02 compared to the previous year, while personal robbery increased by 31 per cent.
Now, why might that be?

And if you really want to compare international recorded crime instead of estimated, there's this graph:

Anyway, I apologize for the error, Tim, and I'm glad you caught it. It's important to get these things right.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

OW! You Made My Brain Hurt!


It does that when the obvious-stick is jabbed through my eye-socket and into my skull.

Feces Flinging Monkey delivers an essay that is almost literally a ClueBat™ to the noggin - the Democrats are CONSERVATIVES.

No! Really! Some excerpts:
The Democrats Have Become The New Conservatives.

I'm serious. Take a quick look at their big domestic issues now:

Don't weaken abortion laws.
Don't weaken affirmative action laws.
Don't weaken the public school system.
Don't weaken the unions.
Don't weaken welfare.
Don't weaken environmental laws.
Don't weaken gun control laws.
Don't weaken liability laws.
Don't weaken Medicare.
Don't weaken Social Security.
Don't get too far into debt.
And of course, stop taking so many chances overseas.

There is no innovation here, no new plan or new future, nothing bold or risky or daring. It's a gigantic holding action. The only real change ever discussed is an increase in scale, an increase of quantity rather than kind. You can run the same speeches from the 1980 race and nobody would notice the difference.

--

The face of the Democratic party is, more accurately, the face of the soccer mom - risk-adverse, parentalisitc, and always concerned for the sake of the children.

--

The face of the Democratic party is not that of the hot chick you saw at the Phish concert. It's the face of Kyle's Mom from Southpark.
RTWT. There's much more in there that will really make you think.

He's absolutely right.

The problem isn't that the Democrats are too liberal, it's that the Republicans aren't libertarian enough. We've got TWO conservative parties, and there really is only about a dime's worth of difference between them.
Boy, Good Thing This Happened in D.C! Somebody Might've Had a Gun!

(Hat tip, Mostly Cajun, who I just added to my blogroll. Good stuff.)

It seems that Supreme Court Justice David Souter was attacked by a "group of young men" while out jogging. Here's the story:
Supreme Court Justice Souter Assaulted

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice David Souter suffered minor injuries when a group of young men assaulted him as he jogged on a city street, a court spokeswoman and Metropolitan Police said Saturday.

The attack occurred about 9 p.m. Friday, and Supreme Court police took Souter, 64, to a Washington hospital, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said. He was examined and released about 1 a.m. Saturday.

Neither Arberg nor police would detail the justice's injuries except to say they were minor. Nor would they give other details about the assault, except Arberg said Souter was not robbed.

A spokeswoman for Washington Hospital Center also would not talk about the incident because of privacy rules.

Souter was running alone when he was attacked. He lives in a neighborhood not far from the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill, where the attack occurred.

Souter is among the youngest justices and is a regular jogger.

He is not the first justice to be injured while exercising. Justice Stephen Breyer was thrown from his bicycle several years ago and suffered minor injuries.

Souter was named to the bench by the first President Bush in 1990.
"Injured while exercising??" This wasn't an oopsie, this was a criminal attack. (Unless Justice Breyer was "thrown from his bicycle" by an assailant, too, how do these two incidents rate comparison? Surely Justice O'Connor has pulled a muscle riding a horse once or twice, too.)

Let's see: A city in which no one is allowed to have a firearm for self-protection. A 64 year-old man out jogging at 9PM. He's assaulted by "a group of young men." Young men who, by all evidence, would have no problem acquiring pretty much any weapon they might want (gun, knife, club, broken bottle...), have no compunction about assaulting someone, and who had nothing to fear from one old guy in jogging togs.

I'd say Justice Souter was one lucky SOB.

Unless it was someone trying to influence his vote on a case, that is.
Oh, THIS Will Help

(Via KeepAndBearArms.com)

It seems that now the Brits think that they can shame criminals into not using guns in crime.
GUN CRIME CONVICTS UNVEILED ON POLICE POSTERS

Reporter: Natalie Jackson

A poster campaign featuring the faces of people who've been convicted of gun crime has been unveiled today. The policy has been criticised by a civil liberties group. But senior police officers hope their naming and shaming policy will deter youngsters from getting involved with guns. Natalie Jackson reports.

The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police launching his campaign today. He's promoting this poster which names and shames four convicted gun criminals.

The Chief Constable for Nottinghamshire Police Steve Green says 'It isn't cool to carry a gun, there are consequences if you shoot someone you will be sent to prison for a very long time, and this campaign gets that message home'.
Only if you get caught. They don't seem able to do much of that.
But civil liberty groups are against the move, claiming it infringes the human rights of the men and their families.

Steve says 'I'm going to do everything in my power to tackle gun crime, I'm going to do everything in my power to protect the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and if this is what I have to do. What I am doing is proportionate to the threat to the safety of people in this city'.
Everything, that is, except allow the people in your city to defend themselves effectively without fear of prosecution or persecution.

But, realistically, the brainwashing has gone on for so long and has been so effective that I don't think enough Brits would be able to defend themselves effectively. It's been bred and trained right out of too many of them.
And the figures speak for themselves. In the last fourteen months in Nottingham ninety three weapons have been discharged, forty six people shot and five of those were fatal.
Really? In the gun control utopia of England? How is that possible?

Oh, right. The "loopholes" of "imitation" firearms, Eastern Europe and the internet. Silly me.
Police say the message to gun criminals is that they're not untouchable.
Just mostly.

The poster carries four photos.

Let's see, ninety-three weapons discharges, forty-six hits, five fatal. That's a hit to miss ratio of (mmm...carry the one...) 49.5%! Damn, for a culture where most guns are banned, that's pretty high!

Here's the BBC's take on it. Money quote:
But the move is not backed by everyone.

Reverend George Benson, Pastor at a church in Nottingham is concerned about the message it gives out to people and fears a similar reaction to that which occurred surrounding the controversial idea of naming and shaming paedophiles.

Rev Benson said: How many people got injured because of neighbourhood watch and vigilantes actually took the law into their own hands?"

Figures for Nottinghamshire show 46 people have been shot - five of them fatally, in the last 16 months.

Residents in some parts of Nottingham say the use of guns has become a common way of sorting out so-called turf wars between rival gangs.
Yeah, those neighborhood watch vigilantes really are a problem, aren't they? But self-defense is perfectly legal and acceptable in jolly old England. Really.

And note that "the use of guns has become a common way of sorting out... turf wars". The handgun ban and confiscation was in 1996. That was over eight years ago.

But "gun control" (licensing, registration, "needs" testing, and "safe storage," followed by bans and confiscation) makes you safer, don'tcha know?

Here's a bit more:
The move is welcomed by community leaders.

Milton Crossdale director Racial Equality Council in Nottingham said: "We are not to give young people the idea that people who use guns are the big bosses and they should be emulated.

"If we can discourage young people from seeing these kind of people as role models then this kind of campaign should be encouraged."

Mothers of victims have held street campaigns in the past against guns.

Police have said with support from residents they will beat the problems.
Not when the problem is defined as "GUNS!!"

The chant at the first (not even close to a) "Million Moms March" was "England can do it! Australia can do it! WE CAN TOO!"

I sure as hell hope not, and I'll do everything in my power to prevent it.

The Philosophy CANNOT Be Wrong. Do It Some More, Only HARDER!


Well, in their quixotic effort to reduce halt the increase in violent crime involving guns in England through gun banning regulation, they've now made "the manufacture, sale and purchase of hi-tech air weapons using a self-contained gas cartridge" illegal and "owners without a licence will be prosecuted." The sentence is five years.

But of course the gun-grabbers still aren't happy. There's still "loopholes" that "need to be tightened":
Lucy Cope launched Mothers Against Guns after her 22-year-old son Damian was killed by a converted replica in 2002 (Yes, the gun magically converted itself, loaded itself, and levitated itself until it found her son, then it pulled its own trigger and killed him.) and is calling for a total ban on the sale of replica weapons - whether or not they can be modified to fire bullets.

"Replica weapons are toys that kill, they are weapons of mass destruction," she said. "Anything that resembles a gun should be banned.

"Even cap guns can cause problems - police units have to make difficult snap judgements about whether they're real or fake."
Got that? CAP GUNS need to be banned. Replica guns are "WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.'

Let's look at some more idiocy:
Paul Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation in Greater Manchester, remains unconvinced by the new legislation.

"The Home Office is making the right noises," he said, "but we think it's time to see some real substance.

"Anything designed to be an absolute replica should need a licence in exactly the same way as a real firearm.
Um, that would be the real firearms that were licensed, registered, and stored safely under the previous law. The law that was found to be ineffective at stopping firearm crime. The law that permitted the government to know where every single legally owned firearm was kept and who owned it. The law that allowed the government to tell those legal owners to hand in all semi-automatic long guns in 1988 (which didn't slow the increase in violent crime) and all handguns in 1996 (which didn't even slow down the increase in violent crime involving HANDGUNS.) You mean that kind of license?

Just because the horse is beaten bloody dead doesn't mean we shouldn't beat it some more! The philosophy CANNOT BE WRONG! The policy just wasn't implemented correctly! LET'S TURN UP THE POWER!

But look! Down here at paragraph 28!
Mr Kelly feels the law will change little for the bobby on the street and added: "Officers will still be expected to spot the real guns and the replicas - even when it's a dark, wet night and late on in their shift.
It will change nothing at all for either the bobby nor the general English subject. And here's a bit of (typical) wishful thinking:
"If we take the things off the market, the problem will be solved."
Uh, no. You keep neglecting the first law of economics: Demand WILL BE MET by supply. As illustrated in the very next paragraph:
Increasingly, criminals are sourcing weapons abroad, as modern technology helps them avoid government and police safeguards.
The mantra from many gun controllers regarding why Chicago and Washington D.C. have such high homicide rates despite their draconian gun control laws is that guns are brought into the cities from areas with "lax gun laws," and if the gun laws were uniform across the nation, this wouldn't happen. Yet the UK has uniform gun laws, IT'S A FREAKING ISLAND and guns still flow across its borders.

No, now the Internet is at fault (if one scapegoat dies, find another):
Police are working to stop the flow of convertible guns into Britain, but growing sales on uncontrolled internet sites are worrying.

It took me just 10 minutes to access one selling all manner of firearms from central Europe, boasting delivery anywhere in the world.
Demand will generate a supply, baby. That's economics 101.

And efforts like this:
The new legislation makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase, transfer or acquire any air weapon that uses a self-contained gas cartridge system.

Anyone who already owns one will be able to keep it only by obtaining a £50 firearm certificate from the police.
are destined to abject failure.

But the philosophy cannot be WRONG! And the indoctrination of the populace has had decades to do its job, and do it well:
It's about time firearms of all types were banned in this country. Airguns can seriously injure or even kill. Do we really want to become like the US and have over 40 shootings a day in each state? All guns shout (sic) be banned.
T. Hawkins, Swinton, Gtr. Manchester
You've pretty much tried that, T. Hawkins. Hasn't worked, or haven't you noticed?

And I'd bet you'd love to have our levels of burglary, robbery, assault, home invasion, and general thuggery.
Nightline

Robert Arial of South Carolina's The State:



In case you weren't aware, I get my cartoons from Slate's Political Cartoons page. Go read through it some time and see the "liberal slant" of the media. For every "right-wing" or "moderate" cartoonist, there must be ten leftists, and some of them are foul.

(Since this site is non-profit - no tipjar, no blogads - and I do political commentary, I hold that use of these cartoons falls under "fair use" standards.)
But...All Cultures are EQUAL and We Have No Right to Impose OUR Values...

Somebody needs to.

I don't think this has been reported ANYWHERE in the U.S. media. It's apparently not as important as reporting each and every death of an American soldier who is - like it or not - fighting for the freedoms of Iraqi and Afghani women every bit as much as they are fighting to stop terrorism. Via Dodd of Ipse Dixit, under the heading of Why They Hate Us comes this bit of news from Norway:
Norwegian-built schools in Afghanistan destroyed

The largest girls' school in Kandahar, Northern Afghanistan, financed by Norwegian funds, was destroyed by fire on Thursday.

This is only one of several Norwegian-built girls' schools which have been burned down in Afghanistan during the last six months, NRK reports.

In Kandahar, a group of men tied up the guard and set fire to the school, which had just been rebuilt, a city official reported.

-We look at the torching of these schools as an organized campaign aimed at preventing girls from receiving education, says Astrid Everine Sletten, head of the Afghanistan Committee's office in the country.

He view is shared by other international organizations in Afghanistan

Afghan authorities, however, view the incidents as "random terror".

-We disagree.
Over the past year altogether 600 girls' schools around the country have been wholly or partly destroyed by terrorists, while none of the boys' schools have been touced, Sletten says.
A related story, from the Pakistani PakTribune:

SCA condemns recent attacks on girls' schools

KABUL: In the past month, three girls' schools supported by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) have been attacked and completely or partially destroyed by unknown assailants.

On 19 February, at night, Jar-e-Shah Baba girls' school in Keshem, Badakshan, was attacked and burnt to the ground. On 10 March Sangana school in Rokha, Kapisa province, was bombed and three classrooms were completely destroyed. In the latest attack on 17 March, Harmal Girls school in Laghman was targeted by armed men who tied up three guards and set fire to doors, windows, school books and official documents. No person was injured in the attacks.

"We are deeply concerned and angered by this recent wave of attacks on schools. The fact that such attacks are taking place in provinces in the north where there has traditionally been less resistance to girls' education is also very worrying", says Jesper Jensen, Country Director of SCA.

Reports by SCA's education staff in the field give conflicting accounts of the reasons behind the attacks.

In the case of Jar-e-Shah Baba school in Keshem, where SCA supports almost 600 students in classes 1-6, armed men wearing black masks explicitly condemned education for females as they tied the two peons of the school and set fire to the building. Most reports indicate, however, that the attack was an expression of the on-going power struggle between a local commander and government authorities rather than actual resistance to girls' education. To show their support, villagers have guaranteed the safety of staff and hired armed guards to protect the school at night. The school also has roughly 600 girls in secondary education, supported by the Norwegian Committee (NAC).

In the case of the bombed Sangana school in Panjshir, some witnesses claim there was a note indicating that the attack was directed against "female activities" carried out by HABITAT, who were using school premises for meetings related to NSP (National Solidarity Programme). Other sources insist that it is more likely the result of political infighting between different factions. In the most recent attack in Laghman, no specific threats were issued.

"Whatever the reasons are it is clear that girls' schools are an easy target for anti-government forces. They are used as symbolic pawns in various power struggles, partly because they are high on the agenda of donors and the International aid community and are likely to draw attention, partly because education for girls has traditionally not been considered a priority in Afghanistan", says Dr Attaullah, acting Education Coordinator for SCA.

SCA is committed to rebuilding the schools and has so far pledged approximately 1000,000 Afghani (19,000 Euro) to cover costs. Some other organisations have also offered their support. The school year started on 22 March and while repairs are being carried out many students are being taught outdoors.

"We condemn these attacks and urge authorities on a local and central level to secure the future of girls' education in Afghanistan and to bring the culprits to justice", says Jesper Jensen.

According to information from the Ministry of Education approximately 40 attacks on girls' schools were reported in Afghanistan in 2003. Over the past years a number of SCA-supported schools have been targeted, mainly in the south-eastern provinces.

The SCA Education Programme has been in operation for almost twenty years and currently supports approximately 450 schools with 250,000 students and 6400 teachers in Afghanistan. Approximately 30% of students in SCA supported schools are girls.
I expect the National Organization for Women to issue a harshly worded criticism of this terrorism, to be printed page A-1 above the fold in the New York Times.

Not.

I did some research on the NOW website. Here's a typical piece from 1999:
TAKE ACTION TO STOP THE ABUSE OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN AFGHANISTAN!

Women and girls are under attack:
The extremist Taliban government in Afghanistan is denying women and girls even the most basic human rights.

Prohibited from going to work or school and forbidden from leaving their homes without a male relative, women and girls in Afghanistan are under house arrest.

Women and girls are prevented from getting adequate health care since male doctors may not care for female patients.
You can help!
Demand that the U.S. take action to stop the abuse of women and girls in Afghanistan. Call upon the U.S. and the U.N. to continue to refuse to recognize the Taliban government!
I'd say our invasion of Afghanistan was "taking action" against the Taliban - a major step above merely "refusing to recognize" it, and a major plus in stopping the abuse of women and girls there. The fact that all those girl's schools were built - by international groups - being just one indication. After the invasion of Afghanistan, NOW had this to say:
NO OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK: 11/19/2001

Moment of Tentative Joy Inside Afghanistan


Women's Enews: Driving the Taliban out of Kabul and other Afghan cities has ended the fiats that prohibited women from working outside the home, attending school, leaving home without a male relative or showing their face in public.

While droves of men are rushing to the barber to cut their long, Taliban-mandated beards, some women have burned their veils in public and some are walking abroad in the daylight for the first time in years. Many women are still wary of being seen in public without their veils and, in cities, towns and areas where the harsh fundamentalist rule has been lifted, equal rights for women have by no means arrived.
That's it. Two paragraphs. No mention of Bush, just a snarky comment that "equal rights for women have by no means arrived." Apparently NOW was NOT happy. Their 2002 National NOW Conference Resolutions read thus:
WHEREAS, the advancement of the feminist agenda through electoral activity is of paramount importance in an election year when the executive branch is controlled by the radical right, the conservative Dennis Hastert serves as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democrats retain control of the Senate by one vote; and
WHEREAS, the Bush administration has pushed its anti-woman reproductive rights agenda through a multi-pronged strategy of executive orders, congressional action, and the nomination of the right-wing judges to the federal bench; and
WHEREAS, if Republicans retain control of the House and take back the Senate we can expect more radical legislation eroding our rights in addition to the loss of the 5 to 4 majority preserving basic abortion rights in the Supreme Court; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW recommend to the NOW PACs that they support our incumbent friends who are being relentlessly targeted by the right wing and work to protect their seats even as they also work to elect the wonderful new feminist candidates challenging our political enemies throughout the country or running for open seats, as well as the record number of feminist candidates running for governor.
But wait! There's more!
WHEREAS, the women and girls of Afghanistan have suffered from years of gender apartheid and oppression under the totalitarian regime of the Taliban and, before them, the Mujahideen; and
WHEREAS, the United States, in a CIA covert-operation, trained and funded the Mujahideen ("Soldiers of God") to fight the Soviets in the last battle of the Cold War; and
WHEREAS, the Taliban was a faction of the Mujahideen that was initially supported by the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Afghan Ministry for Women's Affairs and the Afghan-women-led non- governmental organizations (NGOs) desperately need funding to rebuild women's lives and the Afghan nation; and
WHEREAS, the United States has a moral obligation to help restore Afghanistan; and
WHEREAS, the United States has a global interest to end the conditions that breed terrorism; and
WHEREAS, U.S. foreign policy must support human and women's rights as well as democracy;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States should support an expansion in the number and the jurisdiction of international peacekeeping forces throughout Afghanistan; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the United States should increase its funding for women-led Afghan NGOs; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the United States should actively promote the full restoration of women's and girls' rights in Afghanistan and throughout the world.
Let me see if I read this accurately: It's our fault women are oppressed in Afghanistan. It's our responsibility to fund "Afghan-women-led non-governmental organizations" (I suppose in penance for our support of the Mujahideen against the Russians - who would have protected the rights of Afghani women). It's our responsibility to make sure international peacekeeping (read UN) forces should have jurisdiction in Afghanistan. And since Bush is so blatantly anti-women, we've got to get rid of him.

Even though the Bush-led unilateral invasion of Afghanistan is what has given Afghani women the opportunity for more freedom than they've had since 1996 when the Taliban took over. Hell, more freedom than they've ever had.

Here's some more NOW bitching (and I use that word intentionally) about Bush and the WoT not doing enough fast enough, incompetently, and for all the wrong reasons from 2003.

I'm disgusted.