Thursday, January 31, 2013

Armed school guard apprehends school shooter

Just today.

An armed police resource officer apprehended the suspect, also a student at the school, “within minutes,” authorities said during a late afternoon news conference. Charges against the suspect are pending...

I want every journalist eating crow who said we were all lunatics for calling for armed school guards. If you are unfamiliar with how to obtain a crow I will show you how to shoot one.

Wait. That would mean I would have to teach you gun safety and how to shoot, unless, like Obama, you "shoot skeet all the time." Journalists who are continually careless with their facts--I'm not sure I'd want the job of teaching them to handle guns responsibly. Get the facts wrong when it comes to safe gun handling and someone could get hurt.

The big story here is the guard who stopped it with only one student wounded. Apparently the student hit was grazed. That's good over all. We wouldn't want any more fuel on the fire of gun ban hysteria  just now, would we, journalists?

More web toons

Another H/T to my buddy out in Free America!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Do you really think...

Thomas Jefferson quote--very instructive

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities. --Thomas Jefferson

What's striking about this quote is how little it resembles America in the present day. It comes from Jefferson's first presidential inaugural address, delivered in 1801. You can read the rest of the speech here. Indeed, the rest of it bears little resemblance to national politics in 2013. It is jarringly different from Obama's second inaugural speech, which speaks of goals either conflicting with the above ideals or even directly opposite them. You can read Obama's address here.

The NRA's Wayne LaPierre speaks up

Some news media outlets are distinctly one-sided in their coverage, giving every advantage to the anti-gun side and short shrift to the other. Fortunately we still have some choices in our news sources. Fox News gave Wayne LaPierre a chance to answer some of the allegations and to attempt to bring some clarity to the discussion.

If you have been following the news from other sources, you might have the impression that Wayne LaPierre is a lunatic, but he seems sensible enough when you listen to him rather than people talking about him, people who have long been hostile to his position. Well, you decide: Does he sound crazy to you?

18 January 2013

Here he goes into more detail, speaking before the Weatherby Foundation's annual dinner. He sounds pretty level-headed to me! In fact he goes right to the heart of this debate, which is finally about truth versus hysteria and involves intentional distortions on the other side, even distortions of the meanings of words.

22 January 2013

Want the embed codes to put these vids on your site? You can get 'em here:  I encourage you to take these videos and spread them far and wide.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A sense of where we are

Important article from Wayne Allyn Root

You oughta read Wayne Allyn Root's article, "Why I Just Joined the NRA." He tells it like it is. He has produced an excellent review of the contradictions and failures involved in gun control efforts. For that reason the article is an excellent backgrounder for you to offer to anyone who has not heard any side but Obama's. Then Root gets to the nub:

I’m a proud Jewish American. Over six million of my fellow Jews were enslaved, starved, tortured, and then slaughtered by Adolph Hitler. Before it could happen, in 1938, Hitler banned gun ownership for Jews.
The reality is that throughout history, the first thing all tyrants do, is disarm the citizens. Then the mass killings begin.
In the end we all have to remember our second amendment was not put in place to protect us from criminals and random crime. It was put in place to protect us from our own government.
Thomas Jefferson put it best: "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

Welcome to the Association.  Louie--Wayne, I mean--I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Name that girl

I have asked on twitter whether this is who I think it is, photographed years and years before she became famous. And, presumably, before she learned about the Four Rules. Her finger should be OFF the trigger because her sights are not ON the target. That is because all guns are always loaded. If you doubt it, go around touching triggers at random. 

Other than that, I can't fault the pic or the caption...except...please, people. "It is" has for its contraction "it's," while "its" is a possessive pronoun. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Resistance is futile?

Some have questioned whether the Second Amendment is still useful as a measure against tyranny. Of what use are rifles and pistols against tanks, jet planes, artillery and the rest of the might of a modern army? It is a sensible question. It is sensible, at least, if it is honestly asked, without a snarky presumption that the conclusion is foregone.

Hard, grim and costly such a conflict surely would be. But hopeless? The first indication that it is not hopeless is every tyrant's insistence on disarming the people he means to oppress. It is a consistent habit shown by oppressors throughout history, including recent history. If the householder's rifle is no great threat, why take it away from him? For his own good? Hah.

Enough willing people with small arms can soon make a country ungovernable. That is a good start on removing an oppressor. It is not certain that the resistance would permanently be limited to small arms. In the Chinese Revolution, the Communists got much of their heavy weaponry through capture and from defectors from the Nationalist army. In this country a resistance movement would soon make use of any military equipment that became 'liberated.' We are as a nation pretty savvy about machines and technology. If we didn't understand how some weapon worked we would soon figure it out.

The idea would not be, and should not be, to take up small arms and go head to head against tanks and so forth. Any weapon is only reasonably used on targets it can effectively engage. The armed citizens' role would take advantage of their omnipresence within the culture and their knowledge of its day to day workings. The tyranny's petty administrators and their thugs and collaborators would be logical targets. So would enemy supplies and information channels. Direct confrontations with enemy forces would need to be carefully planned and of limited scope and duration, and target their infantry.

The idea of the Second Amendment is to make the right to gun ownership very nearly universal, with only those exceptions clearly needed, such as those for criminals and the mentally disturbed. This creates a situation where any oppressors, or potential oppressors, are surrounded by armed citizens wherever they go.

It is the underlying assumption of democracy that the good people outnumber the bad. The hope is that the assumption would hold true in a national emergency involving guns and tyrants. The Second Amendment, in other words, is democracy as it applies to the use of guns. It democratizes the use of force rather than leaving that the prerogative of the regime.

As per Patrick Henry, “The great object is that every man be armed…. Everyone who is able may have a gun.” Samuel Adams said “Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” I would not go so far as to say "never." There have been some infringements in at least two of those areas. But the ideal is plain and so is its purpose: If the worst happens, we the armed citizens outnumber them, the oppressors.

At some point we could at least hope that there would be organizing efforts, proceeding from the state governments, to raise militias to reinforce the efforts of resistance cells. More is possible with in-depth organization and training than without it, thus the constitutional language that guarantees the states the right to raise "well-regulated" militias for their security. I am not sure what a modern state militia operating in resistance warfare would look like. I would like to think it would use all the modern war equipment it could make, find, scrounge, salvage, improvise or liberate. Beyond that stage we might conceivably hope to assemble a new Continental Army.

A point to ponder in thinking about all this is that it is easier to destroy than to build. That works in the favor of a resistance movement. A few rifle bullets, costing little, can disable a sophisticated plane worth millions. The trick is to shoot the plane while it is stationary on the ground. Tanks need fuel to go anywhere. Fuel can be made to burn in its depots. A great deal of damage can be done by asymmetric tactics such as these. The main limitation on them is running out of manpower to carry them out. If we are all dealt into the game, and the Second Amendment intends just that, by giving every one of us the right of resistance, we have a lot of manpower. Enough? Let us hope we don't need to find out.

It may be--and this is my hope--that an armed citizenry is simply too much trouble to be worth oppressing. Those with tyrannical ambitions will shelve them so long as the right to keep and bear arms is in place. Thus the Second Amendment serves its purpose even if we never need to put it to the test. It stands as a threat to any tyrant that we are, if sufficiently provoked, able to turn the country upside down and be ungovernable. It gives real weight, as nothing else can, to the phrase "consent of the governed."

The big list: Leftists cynically exploiting the Newtown massacre

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.  -- Rahm Emanuel 

The left is exploiting the Newtown tragedy pursue a big wish list of anti-gun measures long held in readiness by gun control advocates. The crisis they were waiting for has arrived.  Most of the proposals now flying around Washington are old ones. They have long existed in the hopes and dreams of anti-gun organizations such as the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center. They have been featured for years in their web sites and newsletters. The gun control contingent has used the tragedy to bring out their wish list of further regulations.

It does not seem to worry anyone on the left that many of the measures proposed have nothing to do with the Newtown massacre and few would have been of any use to prevent it. The measures are not good responses to Newtown or other recent mass shootings and indeed were penned long beforehand.

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell let the cat out of the bag while talking to MSNBC. He has had moments of excess candor before, as those know who have followed his career. This time he slipped bigtime.

"The good thing about Newtown is, it was so horrific that I think it galvanized Americans to a point where the intensity on our side is going to match the intensity on their side. "
See it at the link:

The good thing? That's exactly the Rahm Emanuel, no-crisis-wasted mentality that is guiding the left as it uses Newtown as political cover for its big list of gun control laws.

Emily Miller at the Washington Times sees through it.  (Indeed, nearly anyone who has been to Washington before sees through it.)

Gun control is back. President Obama on Wednesday unveiled a series of feel-good measures designed to play on the emotions of Americans saddened by the horrific shooting of 20 students at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month. Almost nothing he proposes to do would make anyone safer.
Surrounding himself with children, Mr. Obama said, “This will be difficult. There will be pundits and politicians and special-interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty — not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves.” 
Read more: Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

If you would like President Obama's side of things, he has a slickly produced PDF for you to download:   There is also a White House web site for you to peruse: If you have read gun control literature over the years, you will get a sense of deja vu.  Much of the president's material could have come from Brady or VPC. It is in the same vein as the literature they have produced for years. You hear more of the same when you listen to the president's recent remarks on gun control--concepts and phrases long familiar.

It is no surprise, at least to those who have been paying attention, that Obama is a fellow traveler with the anti-gun contingent. His past shows up to haunt him when he makes pro-Second Amendment sounds while acting to the contrary.

Texas governor Rick Perry gets it:

"In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally." 

A few items from Obama's list of gun proposals I actually agree with, and I'll talk about those in a future installment. But most do little or nothing that is useful to curb gun crime or the acts of the violently insane. What they do is encroach upon the choices and privacy of every gun owner. Most gun owners, of course, are not criminals and not crazy. Thus the enforcement goes where the problem is not. Second Amendment supporters generally see that as sinister, or at least suspicious. Measures that apply to all people's guns (while often failing in the area of real world criminal enforcement--the crooks still get any kind of gun they want) have the presumption that everyone's guns are the problem. That is plainly at odds with the thinking behind the Second Amendment.

Why not go after the bad guys and the crazy people? Why hand a setback to John Q. Public's ability to defend himself? Why intrude further upon his choices? Why further peek into his privacy? Why attempt to undo a generation of progress in gun design, by banning modern rifles? We can be sure that the more sophisticated among the criminal class and any tyrant wannabes will have the latest equipment, and will not be filling out Form 4473.

Why, indeed? Let us understand what the administration proposes in light of where we are as a country--highly polarized, without many moderate voices on either side--and who Obama is, a committed leftist with an anti-gun record. He says he likes the Second Amendment, but his actions show that he despises it. When he talks about keeping "magazine clips" from people who shouldn't have them, he means you.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Still more web cartoons

H/T to my shooting buddy, way out there in far-away Free America.

Hysterical blizzard of lies

If people propose to do something and justify their proposal with lies, it should be a warning to us that there is something wrong with the thing they propose to do.

The leftists are supporting their drive for more gun laws with an astonishing array of falsehoods. Any lie will do if it advances the cause.

The 40% Fabrication

President Obama has declared that 40% of gun sales happen without background checks. When I heard that I knew it was wrong. I did not have statistics to back it up, just years and years of being around the gun scene. Fortunately someone with info on the stats came forward and shot down the President's canard:

Private transfers occur only rarely and mostly between family members or shooting buddies. There is too much potential for a legal problem otherwise. Give, sell or swap your gun to someone who later commits a crime with it and you will hear about it. It is already illegal to knowingly provide a firearm to someone ineligible to own one.

The "gun show loophole"

A number of states already ban private transfers at gun shows, requiring private deals to use the licensed dealers to run a background check on the gun's recipient. I think this is generally a good thing. It absolves the seller of legal responsibility if the person who ends up with the gun is not on the level. Did you notice that in this supposed national dialog (more like a leftist ranting monologue) the "gun show loophole" canard has been quietly dropped? It is because there is no such loophole, in the states where it matters.

The Second Amendment was adopted to enforce slavery, didn't you know that?

The CDC's supposed gun violence studies

Poet Robert Frost said something that has stayed with me as something clever and wise: "Don't ever take down a fence until you know why it was put up." In the 1990's, Congress stripped the CDC of most of its funding to do gun violence research, over concerns that what was coming out out of the CDC was agenda driven pseudoscience. I rather think that President Obama, who is no fool, knows exactly why that fence was put up, and he wants it down pronto. His executive action bypasses the congressional will in the matter and funds the CDC to go back to what they were doing before.

More here:

The NRA membership does not back the views of the leadership.

Uh...what happens to those voting packets I mail in every year? Wow. Who knew?

The gun companies/NRA profit from bloodshed and support its continuation

You hear this appalling tosh repeated with variations from several sources. A brief exercise in common sense refutes it. First of all, the people involved in the industry are not ghouls. Secondly, gun violence is bad for the gun business, in part because it tends to bring on more and bigger and more burdensome laws to deal with, most of them useless.  If anyone is for gun safety and against gun violence it is the person directly involved in the business. No one has pushed harder for gun safety education and gun violence laws that work. The laws that work are those that target criminal misuse of guns. The spin here is that the NRA, gun industry and shooters do not support the same pro-safety, anti-violence measures as the leftists. Therefore we must want children to die! Nonsense. No, it's something worse than nonsense, more of a calumny or libel.

You're all really racists. 

You can't make this stuff up.

A professor from a public university on Wednesday claimed mass shootings, such as those in Newtown Conn., and Aurora Colo., are often the effects of jilted “white privilege.”

Robert Jensen, who is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, also suggested race-based alienation is a motivating factor behind some parts of the conservative Tea Party movement. 
“Why are the men who commit mass murder disproportionately white?” Jensen asked rhetorically. “My guess is that it has something to do with the sense of entitlement that most white people feel.”

Read more:

Uh...Could it be that the people who live in this country are "disproportionately white?" Just sayin...

( – Documentary-maker and liberal activist Michael Moore said the reason for mass shootings in the United States is largely due to fear and racism, and on Christmas Eve he pleaded, “calm down, white people, and put away your guns.”
Read more:

"Good guys with guns" can't stop mass shootings

Ann Coulter did a neat job of disposing of this one, so I'll let her tell it:
In a nonsense "study" going around the Internet right now, Mother Jones magazine claims to have produced its own study of all public shootings in the last 30 years and concludes: "In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun."
This will come as a shock to people who know something about the subject.
The magazine reaches its conclusion by simply excluding all cases where an armed civilian stopped the shooter: They looked only at public shootings where four or more people were killed, i.e., the ones where the shooter wasn't stopped.
If we care about reducing the number of people killed in mass shootings, shouldn't we pay particular attention to the cases where the aspiring mass murderer was prevented from getting off more than a couple rounds?
It would be like testing the effectiveness of weed killers, but refusing to consider any cases where the weeds died. 
In addition to the Portland mall case, here are a few more examples excluded by the Mother Jones' methodology:..
Read more:

I could go on...

But by now you get the drift. With so many bad reasons being offered for new anti-gun proposals, I am forced to conclude that there is a shortage of good reasons. 

More web humor

Friday, January 18, 2013

The bad pockets

It seems to me to pose a moral problem and a practical problem to restrict my gun rights on the basis of what happens in some drug-fueled free fire zone across town. . . If you infringe my rights because of the actions of lunatics, it fails the test of proportionate response: I am not a lunatic.

The gangs

If we are really going to have a broad national debate on gun violence, let us focus our attention first on where the biggest problem lies. America's violence problem is peculiar among other developed and civilized nations in that our problems are strongly localized. America is a peaceful country most places you go. Gun violence tends to concentrate around certain social and demographic factors: urban blight, government dependency and the drug trade. These factors are complexly interrelated, but it would take too much space to unpack all that here. Doubtless that is fodder for another broad national debate.

For the present, it is enough to look at who shoots wholesale not retail: gangs and gang-banger wannabes. We could look at this as organized crime, only it isn't very organized. It is more a set of circumstances that misguides many young people who have limited prospects to begin with, funneling them into a life that is often dangerous and sometimes short. And, unfortunately, these people often hit innocents with their crossfire.

It seems to me to pose a moral problem and a practical problem to restrict my gun rights on the basis of what happens in some drug-fueled free fire zone across town. I am not part of that problem. My rights should not be molested or infringed for it. Atop this moral reason is the practical one. Nothing you do to restrict me is going to have any effect across town. Former bans and restrictions have shown us that the underworld remains well armed regardless.

The crazies

The immediate catalyst for the current national discussion, the Newtown massacre, was by anyone's measure a national tragedy. It was tragic on more than one level. A seriously disturbed person murdered his mother, took her guns and went to a primary school, where he gunned down children and teachers. Then he shot himself.

In recent mass shootings, we note in many of them a common thread of insanity. In some, we also find the involvement of powerful drugs, of kinds used in grave mental illness. In each such case involving insanity, we can say that the shooter was not under adequate supervision--that is, not put away. That his supervision was inadequate is shown by his deeds. If there is ever a good reason to put someone away, surely this kind of madness qualifies. In case after case, we can say after the fact that there was warning that the shooter was insane, and in dangerous ways. But he was not restrained before the fact.

Here we need to reevaluate the trend in psychiatry to mainstream patients who, in former times, would have been committed or adjudicated incompetent and given the legal restrictions that go with it. At some point the professionals began to feel that it was inhumane to deal with patients that way, if they could think of any other. That more or less coincided with a manufactured public outcry against "snake pits"--as mental hospitals were styled--and the awful injustice of sending people there. Of course it was true that some public mental hospitals held unpleasant conditions--unsanitary, dark, smelly, etc. But instead of improving the conditions it was deemed kinder and wiser to empty out the hospitals.

There has been talk in the national debate about wanting to avoid stigmatizing the insane. The stigma is a product of fear. The fear is in some sense justifiable. It is not unreasonable, at least, to fear some of insanity's outworkings, such as those seen at Newtown, at Virginia Tech, at Tucson and elsewhere.

The idea that we can or should eliminate dangerous objects from society, with the idea that the insane will otherwise get hold of them and use them to endanger themselves and others, again fails on moral and practical grounds. If you infringe my rights because of the actions of lunatics, it fails the test of proportionate response: I am not a lunatic. The practical difficulty is that the dangerously insane are not dangerous because of guns but because of insanity. Some are dangerous no matter what. It one's purpose is to kill many others and one's self, it can be accomplished with a bus, an airplane, a bomb or even a can of charcoal lighter fluid and book of matches.

Focusing on Newtown

Bear in mind that I am working, as of the time of this writing, with incomplete information gleaned from news accounts and some of the reports may be inaccurate to boot.

Based on what can be read so far, there were failures in patient care and a significant failure in gun storage. The patient care aspect is still murky because of the reporting. It has been reported that what set off the shooter was that his mother was about to have him committed. That is uncertain. It is more generally reported that the shooter had a long history of psychiatric treatment and bizarre behavior. In a former era the question of commitment would have arisen early rather than later.

On the gun storage matter--well, what is proper gun storage? The idea is to reserve the weapons to the supervision of their proper and lawful owner. Put another way, it is to keep them from those who should not use them unsupervised. Whatever happened inside that household in Newtown, that was not it. The lawful owner was killed and the guns taken to do further evil. 

If either the guns or the murderer had been properly locked away, we wouldn't be having this national discussion.

 A side note

I have, of course, been a gun safety advocate for many years. I would like to share yet again an idea that you can use if your household contains an unstable person or others you might be worried about--the very young for example, or an irresponsible visiting relative. Perhaps your concern is that the neighborhood children are in and out of your house all the time with your children, and not all of the neighbors raise sensible children.

A gun safe is good. A higher level of security than that can be had using off site storage. A rental storage locker, at one of the many businesses that offer such things, will do. Some target ranges and gun clubs offer gun storage on their premises, which is better because you know that humidity control has been thought about and usually the insurance coverage is better. Of course I think you should have guns in the house, and the Second Amendment assures your right to have them, but there are exceptional circumstances in which that stops being a good idea.

Let's focus our attention where the problems lie

Our violence problems owe largely to criminal activity centering on the urban street scene and the drug trade. Dealing with that dreadful, entangling, hopeless world would require a lengthy examination of the factors that go into creating the mess in the first place. Factors relating to that nexus of bloodshed account for far more shootings than all our lunatics put together.

Horrific, crazy shooting episodes like Newtown's owe to the unrestrained actions of dangerously insane individuals. There seems to be an emerging national awareness that what we are doing for and about such people is falling short of what they need, and what we as a society need. It is not really a kindness to them when we give them a pill, let them alone and hope for the best, and it is not in society's best interests either.

Neither problem is well addressed by restricting your right to defend yourself with arms adequate for the world we live in. Our politicians seem to feel that the real problems are too difficult to address, too dangerous politically. It is dangerous to suggest too many changes to urban culture as now constituted. You might be accused of being racist, elitist or heartless. It is dangerous to talk about the insane, for you will surely be accused of stigmatizing the unfortunate, invading their privacy or wanting to throw them into a snake pit. Gun bans and magazine capacity bans and so on are easier answers. But, as so often happens, the easy answers are not the correct ones. Indeed, they are no answer at all. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Compensating for something

Every time I hear that line that says gun owners must be compensating for something I feel like pointing out that my preferred sidearm is the snubnose. My nose is rather large...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hatesmanship: the statesmanship of the new left

Smear and sneer, blame and shame. These are the tools of the modern left.

I am alarmed to discover--courtesy of the leftists--that the NRA is responsible for the deaths of children. As a longtime voting member of that organization, I do not recall that we ever supported that. Our Eddie Eagle thing, a gun safety and awareness program for children and parents, and which includes schools and teachers, seeks the opposite outcome. More recently we are working on improving children's physical safety at school with a new look at building security, which includes armed guards.

I notice some anti-gun spokespeople, no more than half seriously I hope, publicly wishing for my death. Kill the NRA! I find this awkward to answer. If they mean it they are deranged; if they don't they are overwrought. I am a citizen supporting a constitutional right. Here we have people saying I ought to be shot on account of it.

But that's politics in the age of Alinsky: Conservatives can be accused of anything, no matter how tenuous or libelous the charge, and it will be repeated over and over. The leftist faithful will pick it up without much thinking and chant along. The press will not call out the false accusers.

Even those not calling me a child killer or talking about killing me are somewhat careless of the facts. My side has a well reasoned defense to offer for our views, but you wouldn't know that from the media coverage--giving us a fair hearing would interfere with the narrative of the left. See the outright nastiness of Piers Morgan, Soledad O'brien and some others in the examples I give below. There is no desire for dialog, only the attempt to shame those with whom they disagree--on emotional grounds. They never get as far as discussing the factual grounds. No, the intent here is only to demonize, to ridicule and to blame.

Calumny as a political tactic has its limits, but perhaps I should not say, in public, just when and why the process of demonizing people breaks down and begins to backfire. I want the left to keep it up, because I really think they do not understand why using smears to further the cause is not right and not expedient either. They appear to think like so: If a lie furthers the cause, what could be wrong with it? Let them find out the hard way.

I see why they're carrying on this way, of course. Political smears become a way of dismissing rational arguments offered by the opposition. One repeats the smear instead of reasoning against what the other side has to say. That avoids the disagreeable process of listening to those you disagree with. It avoids raising the question that, in some cases, must be avoided at all costs: Could it be that the other side is actually right?

Put another way, our new leftists want no voices heard but theirs, on matters they feel strongly about. The strength of their feelings is their justification, apparently--I can't think of another. The net effect of their emotionalism is that they think it proper to shout people down, bully them and try to shame them into shutting up. The purpose of that is naked enough: it is to quell discussion, stifle debate and overrule disagreement.

Who do these people think they are? And who do they think they are talking to? We of the other side from theirs on this matter are, at least on the broad average, honest, responsible, thoughtful and we have on our side a clear basis to say what we do--in the Constitution, in the framers' writings, in history and tradition, in law and precedent, in everyday experience and common sense. Who are they to tell us to shut up?

The libs are ganging up in a concerted effort to derail and take charge of what was supposed to be a broad national dialog on guns and violence. A dialog where one side speaks is a monologue. Shutting out law abiding gun owners and their advocacy groups is not a discussion. It is simply a grab for power, hoping that emotion will carry the day if reason is silenced.

I may have missed some examples in the hall of fame that follows, but I have found quite a few.

From the De Moines Register
Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.

Sneering Soledad

Piers, welcome to America. You aren't king here either.

The always reliable New York Times editorial page offered:
No one seriously believed the N.R.A. when it said it would contribute something “meaningful” to the discussion about gun violence. The organization’s very existence is predicated on the nation being torn in half over guns. Still, we were stunned by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant.

The Washington Post does its part for recycling:
The National Rifle Association represents the values of corporations that make firearms and sell ammunition, and its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, is acting true to form.

Well well, there we are: the often recycled meme about evil corporations, commonly heard from those who dislike capitalism and know nothing about how it works. The meme can be brought out on any occasion to blame capitalism for anything at all. Evil corporations are killing us all with their hamburgers--oops, guns--and they get away with it because of their lobbyists. Note that both links in the above paragraph point to anti-gun advocacy sites. The first points to a page entitled "Blood Money: How the Gun Industry Bankrolls the NRA." The second goes to a veiled hit piece on Wayne LaPierre.

How's that again, perfesser?

Eric Loomis, PhD, an academic, took to Twitter to request Wayne LaPierre's head on a stick, said it "looks like the National Rifle Association has murdered some more children" and asks if the NRA can be treated as a terrorist organization. See it all at the above link.

Best selling prose

Writer Joyce Carol Oates likewise signed on at Twitter, calling the Newtown tragedy "Another NRA-sponsored massacre for Christmas 2012." She asks, "If sizable numbers of NRA members become gun-victims themselves, maybe hope for legislation of firearms?" You can see these and her other remarks at the link.

The NRA watches its own press coverage

The NRA put together this little compendium of the archly superior and denigrating media commentary Wayne received for proposing armed guards in schools. You also hear from the other side. Which sounds more like rational public dialog to you?

You can't make this stuff up

Now, after all this hysterical demonization, false accusation, general fatuity and occasional profanity, it appears that what the NRA is proposing is getting some important traction in Washington. From the Hot Air Blog:

White House may back armed guards in schools after all
Interesting, if only because of the near-unanimous derision that resulted when the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre proposed the idea a week after the Newtown shooting.  Critics hooted at LaPierre’s detachment from reality before they realized that Bill Clinton had demanded and received the same funding — through the COPS program.  We’ll get back to Clinton in a moment, but first let’s take a look at Barbara Boxer’s sudden adoption of the NRA proposal...
(Check out the rest of the article at Hot Air.)

If you would like to join the NRA, you can for a limited time get a $10 discount on your dues if you use this link:  The NRA is the nation's oldest rights advocacy organization and the leading voice for gun safety.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why private citizens really do need thirty round magazines

To say the citizen will never need thirty rounds for his own defense is clearly at odds with the evidence provided by real world shootings.

Most shots fired in gunfights miss. That is true even for skilled and experienced shooters. There are several reasons. Fear, excitement, adrenaline and confusion combine so that more misses are fired than hits. Unless you are a sociopath, you also have within you a bit of mental resistance to the idea of shooting someone else, even when it is plain that is what you need to do.  That resistance may surface later, after the shooting stops, as post shooting stress, but it is present at all times, and may contribute to missing your target. Some people have even felt a moment of hesitancy when aiming at human-outline silhouette targets at the shooting range.  Compounding these problems is that your assailants in a gunfight are likely to be in motion or taking cover behind whatever is available. Still another factor contributing to missing is that criminal activity often occurs at night and low light marksmanship is more challenging than popping away at targets on a sunny day at the range.

The tendency to miss in gunfights, even if you can shoot well on the range, is well documented in police and military studies. It is also evident in some news accounts of shootings. I will simply note a few sources in passing. Thomas J. Aveni's survey of police shootouts, "Officer-Involved Shootings: What We Didn’t Know Has Hurt Us" thoroughly reviews the problem of missing as it applies to police. The same thing has not been as well studied in regard to lawful self defense shootings by private citizens, but John Q. Public does not often shoot any better than the cops. The NRA's Armed Citizen accounts are not written to be case studies, and do not always document the number of shots fired versus the number of hits. The same is true of newspaper accounts. But where these facts are included you see once again that missing is very common.

The tendency to miss is so well established that it is assumed as the basis of other conclusions. This FBI paper questions overpenetration fears with regard to police bullets on the grounds that most shots fired by police at bad guys miss anyway.

The Department of Defense supports, in part, its use of the shotgun on the grounds that an assault rifle in combat is likely only to hit only one time in eleven while the shotgun's hit probability, within its range limitations, is twice as high. Twice as high is still more than five shots for each hit. These numbers may seem fantastically high until you consider that they are estimates from combat not the target range, and incorporate the difficulties already mentioned, of stress and of moving and hiding targets.

Police shootings might more nearly reflect the conditions the armed citizen faces. Here the numbers are not much more encouraging. The NYPD SOP-9 survey, cited by Aveni, records an average of a 15% ratio of shots the police fired to shots hitting the criminals, in the period 1990-2000. That works out to less than one hit for every six shots fired with pistols. Some other departments have claimed higher averages, but most reports do not upset the conclusion, generally accepted by those who review and analyze police shootings, that the cops are far more likely to miss than hit. To hit a criminal, the cops need multiple tries.

If we take all this into account, a thirty round magazine is none too big, particularly if you face multiple criminal assailants, as is common in home invasion scenarios. Unlike a policeman, the private citizen usually does not have a partner beside him or backup on the way. He needs plenty of firepower and may not have time to reload. His thirty round magazine has only three effective rounds in it if he manages a hit ratio of one in ten, six effective rounds if he hits one time in five. These are realistic ratios of hits to misses, as revealed in military and police experience. One in five would be darned good shooting, under some plausible scenarios, and better than predicted by the DOD or the NYPD, in the sources cited above. Some bad guys take more than one shot to stop them; let us factor that in as well. So then, three shots out of the magazine hit, or a very optimistic six, divided by two shots to stop each bad guy... your odds are none too good with thirty rounds. Want to give it a try with ten?

The argument that the private citizen does not need a thirty round magazine to hunt a deer is fatuous, for that is not the purpose or use of such magazines. The long magazines are mounted on rifles kept for defending  home and hearth. To say the citizen will never need thirty rounds for his own defense is clearly at odds with the evidence provided by real world shootings.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Earthly legislation and spiritual evil

I want to talk for a moment to those who disbelieve all spiritual narratives--the secularists who think gods are delusions and religions are folly. I want to talk about a repeating pattern in ghastly crimes. The killer kills a number of people. Then, in many cases, he kills himself.

The religious person may well look at this in terms of demons and demonic influence. The disbeliever in such things needs to cast about for words like psychopathology and schizophrenia that are longer. Grant that we are talking on some level about the same thing. We see the one outcome and have two explanations.

Under either explanation, passing laws to deter madmen does not deter them. They mean to kill themselves; what can the law do to them after that?

Or let us say the crazed murderer gives up to police instead--some do. Already he faces justice for multiple murders. He will get the maximum--life in prison, the death penalty or commitment,  permanent we may hope, as criminally insane. No add-on penalty, say for evading a gun law, makes any difference when added atop those.

You see, whether they are following their demons or their psychopathologies, these people's lives are dedicated, all out, to doing the evil they envision. They have already abandoned all hope of a normal life to follow, of times shared with friends and loved ones, a few beers with the boys, a vacation trip or new life challenges such as starting a business or enhancing a career. No: All of that is already off the table. They mean to do their evil and afterward--well, that is that. They will be dead or put away somewhere.

So the threat of other and lesser legal sanctions means nothing. They do not care a whit. It is not just the high profile cases, the ones that make the national news, that I am talking about. The same dynamic is at work in grubby little stories on page three, "Mom kills kids and self, neighbors at a loss to explain." Or, "Murder-suicide at trailer park, four dead."

If a criminal lunatic has already made up his mind to go for broke to work his evil, the commission of a few incidental felonies and misdemeanors along the way won't bother him. That is why it is unpersuasive to say we need more laws against the means of committing these crimes, such as guns. The determined evildoer will find the means somehow.

From the Daily Mail:

French council gunman kills himself

The French man who shot to death eight members of a city council in suburban Paris this week killed himself today by jumping out a window, police said.

Richard Durn, 33, killed himself while in police custody, jumping from an upper story window of police headquarters in Paris, authorities said.

Witnesses told French radio that he writhed on the ground before dying.


During a day of interrogation, Durn told police he often "thought about killing someone and killing himself afterward."    [...]

Read more: 

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French gun laws sometimes have an air of Gallic comic opera about them, but they are a good deal stricter than ours. Somehow, though, this fellow got a gun.

Anders Breivik shocked Norway with his rampage of bombing and shooting: 77 dead. Again, Norway's gun laws are much stricter than ours. If you read the news accounts carefully, Breivik circumvented the laws by acting normal for years. He kept his nose clean, joined a sports organization, filled out his paperwork and thus jumped through every hoop in the way of what he wanted. The determined demoniac or madman (take your pick) is often able to do that--act normal when required. The Norwegian legal system found Breivik sane after his deeds, in a move that may have owed more to legal expediency than factual exactness. But, after all, just because someone is manifestly unhinged does not mean he is insane in a narrow legal sense. 

Major Nidal Hasan, who shot up Fort Hood, was also found sane, and had likewise lived a life of outward normalcy for years before his homicidal rampage. Hasan was breaking base regulations when he armed himself to do the shooting. He, like the other soldiers, was not supposed to be armed. That is why it took so long to stop him. The people he was shooting at were following regulations and did not have their own guns--those were put away as per the regs. It's a little ironic that he could with impunity open fire on soldiers. 

Whether these killers are sane or not, they were surely not following the better angels of their natures. And they didn't care about the later outcomes of their deeds. It is reported that Breivik smirked as he was sentenced.

So then, all you who do not believe in demons, only pathologies, why is it we see repeating patterns in evil deeds, the same ideas, the same MO's, the same unhinged thinking time and again? If all these crimes are the actions of independent actors, why are they so much the same? If they are in fact the outworkings of diseased brains, and nothing else, why are they not more original in concept? 

It is not my purpose here to try to convert the unbeliever. I am not in church right now. I do want to make it clear that whatever you wish to call it, a murderous evil is among us that manifests itself in consistent ways, and it cares nothing for our laws.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An unwholesome convergence

I see some troubling factors in America's current situation, an unwholesome convergence of symptoms in the body politic that are merely annoying singly, but together feel rather like something worse. Can you put your finger on why I feel uneasy?

I do not believe in global conspiracies, only the habit of mankind to repeat the same mistakes: the dog, the vomit, the sow and the mire. Here are the factors I find troubling when seen together:

  • Charismatic leader
  • Leader has some thuggish associates
  • And some very rich and socially elite associates
  • Socialist ideology is popular
  • Economic instability is evident
  • Rising food prices
  • Government interference in businesses and markets
  • Hateful rhetoric directed at the leader's political opponents
  • Evasion of answering the rational cases posed by the political opposition
  • Leader calling for strict gun control
  • Gun control is supported with misleading claims
  • Growing dependency on handouts
  • Recruiting children as political dupes
  • Religion is denigrated as obsolete 
Have a nice day!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A school gunman you didn't hear about

Deputy Carolyn Gudger (AP photo)
August 30, 2011--a gunman attempted to gain entry to a Tennessee high school. He was thwarted by armed school resource officer Carolyn Gudger, who held him at bay until more officers arrived. The responding officers, finding the gunman still in an intractable mood, shot him dead. 

That is how school shooter incidents are supposed to work. You did not hear about Deputy Gudger's heroism in the national news. You will not hear about it as the discussion rages about armed guards at schools. Here are some local stories about it:

The New York Times ran a snippet at the time, and some photos, but nothing about the salient fact of the whole matter: An armed guard posted at a school to serve and protect did just that, and saved the day. 

Deputy Gudger ought to be a national hero--read the articles--but no one has heard of her very far outside of Blountville, Tennesee. 

Think the word should get out? Hit the social media buttons just below.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why private citizens should own AR-15's

In a gunfight, most shots fired miss, so you want extra tries.

I don't own an AR-15 myself. My interests lie elsewhere. I have fired or examined a representative sampling of AR-15 and M-16 weapons, though. Every citizen should have a working knowledge of the service rifle, even if he prefers something else.

I will, however, argue that an AR-15 is entirely a suitable weapon for defense of home and hearth, thus just the sort of thing the Second Amendment has in its view to protect. For many families' purposes it is an ideal choice.

The wife and kids can shoot it if they have to 

The type is inherently easy to shoot. Its good ergonomics, straight-line stock and light recoil make it easy to manage, even for women and teens. Here is a story where a teen used his dad's AR-15 to defended himself and his sister.

It is quite accurate

More so is better than less so, in a defensive firearm. The AR-15 is more accurate than most comparable types. That also helps to sell it as a target shooting firearm and for varmint hunting and farm pest control. It's a good multi-purpose use of your shooting money--it's not just for home defense. You will shoot better with a gun you shoot a lot, so it's a good thing if your home defense rifle is also your range gun and your varmint gun.

It's safer than many other guns to shoot indoors or near houses

Its small speedy bullet poses less over-penetration risk in common building materials than typical defensive pistol and shotgun projectiles. Thus it is safer to use in and around people's dwellings. That is among the reasons why many police departments have gone to AR-15's to arm their officers.

It holds plenty of bullets

That's something the anti-gun folks don't like, but in a gunfight, most shots fired miss, so you want extras. That's the real reason for big magazines on police, military and home defense rifles. Even crack shots sometimes falter in their aim when their knees are knocking, their adrenaline is pumping and chunks of lead are sailing around. Thus it is entirely appropriate for your rifle to hold more than ten shots if someone is shooting at you. Add the possibility of multiple criminal assailants and a thirty round magazine is none too big. And, anyway, the bad guys aren't paying attention to any magazine ban.

Parity with tyrants and other criminals

The purposes of the Second Amendment and its associated traditional rights include
  • Assuring that the people can protect their own lives, come what may--from brigands and highwaymen, for example;
  • Giving the states a pool of citizens, and arms, from which to form defense forces at need;
  • As a last resort, resistance to tyranny, whether the tyrant is foreign or domestic.
All of these can be summed up, for my purposes here, in a single principle: The people are to have arms adequate for their own defense against armed aggression. That means something like parity in armament with those who may threaten them.

A flintlock musket will  no longer suffice. The people need arms that enable them to oppose criminals and tyrants and do it with some prospects of success.

There are limits, of course, to what sort of weaponry the Second Amendment protects. The Heller decision took that into account. But it makes nonsense of the decision, and of the whole purpose of the Second Amendment, if the people are not allowed arms that are efficient and suitably up to date. So then: What armament is appropriate and what arms are excessive?

As I said, a flintlock musket will no longer do. It was adequate, but only for its day. If, by the rude bridge that arched the flood, the embattled farmers had not had guns approximately equal to the ones they were facing, their shots would not have been heard around the world. They would have been cut down in minutes. But, because the redcoats had muskets, and the farmers had muskets and could shoot them better, the day went fairly well and America was on its way to independence.

No wonder the country's framers insisted that the people have guns of their own. There would have been no United States of America without that. They knew about tyranny and they knew that tyrants like to disarm the people.

Regardless of what any new law says, criminals will have modern, technically advanced rifles and big magazines. So will all potential tyrants, foreign or domestic. If I have only neutered magazines, I am outvoted three to one (ten rounds against thirty). That is not parity. In some situations it is not even a fighting chance.

The problem is that most shots fired in gunfights miss. We have good statistics for that, and it is the real reason for large magazines on fighting firearms. Here is an incident where police fired 73 times at a suspect, scoring two hits:

For a while, the New York City Police Department's officers were limited to ten round magazines in their pistols, in some sort of administrative kowtow to political correctness. That pseudo-enlightened policy went by the wayside after cops got into some gunfights and ran short of ammunition. Why did they run out? No one in else in New York needs a magazine of more than ten rounds; the politicians say so, so it must be true. Of course I am being facetious.

The draconian ban now being proposed leaves law abiding citizens at a disadvantage against  the very threats they are supposed to be able to oppose. In protecting one's own person, one's home and family, or the nation, one needs a weapon up to that task. And what is that weapon? The most popular and best selling self defense rifles are of military pattern, thus of proven reliability, adapted for civilian sales by being limited to firing a single shot when the trigger is pulled. They are not assault rifles properly so called, for their mechanisms do not permit burst firing. These rifles are invariably equipped, if the rifles' owners are able legally to do so, with magazines of thirty rounds or so. We ought leave the decision of what weapons the people need, insofar as possible, with the people themselves. As a side note, illustrative of what guns the people want, AR-15 rifles and their 30 round magazines sold out in all the shops as soon as the new ban was announced.

It is my hope that this gun ban bill will not pass; it solves the wrong problem and is careless with a civil right. The problems we should be solving are better gun storage, so that the wrong persons do not access the weapons of the law abiding, and the presence of the dangerously insane people mainstreamed into society. Both guns and the violently insane should be locked away.

We should reevaluate the idea of making zones gun free by decree, for it is clear that such a policy does not do what is claimed. Armed protectors in schools? Bill Clinton thought it was a good idea and that was okay by liberals; Wayne LaPierre of the NRA suggests it and the left is horrified!  As for banning AR-15's and other military-looking rifles, that is a myopic fixation. More people each year are murdered with hammers and other blunt instruments. The primary uses of such rifles are sport shooting, farm pest control and home defense. They are efficient defense guns without being excessive; they are the sorts of arms a free people ought to have.

A short course on the Second Amendment

H/T to The Truth About Guns blog and The Michael Bane Blog.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One lie to rule them all

The serpent said to Eve, "You will be like God, knowing good an evil." He was offering her the power of independent moral judgment. Previously the boundaries of her conduct were set by God. God's commandment was that she and Adam not interfere with that. They were not to eat of the tree of knowing good and evil.

The narrative permits several readings, some literal, some metaphorical and some that blend the two. However you read it, the central point is the same. Mankind's problems stem from taking upon ourselves the definitions of good and evil, taking the matter out of God's hands.

The trouble is we continually get it wrong. Biased by self interest, blinded by ignorance or simply because we're perverse, we call bad things good and good things bad.

The same old lie just keeps rolling along, causing one disaster after another. In Jesus' day, Pilate offered the cynic's defense: "What is truth?" He pardoned Barabbas, condemned Jesus and washed his hands of the matter. Jesus said:
“You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. (John ch. 18)
Pilate made a colossal error in judgment. In the process he invoked the then-fashionable idea (and fashionable today) that truth is an abstraction and people have varying ideas about what it is, one about as good as another. Today people say things like "true for you but not for me--that's only your truth."

Of course the idea has always been morally bankrupt. It is the same line, in different words, that the snake sold to Eve in the garden. It's up to you. What's true or false, good or bad, right or wrong is within your purview to decide.

When there is no transcendent standard, people never agree on what is right and wrong. How could they? Their own biased judgments in the matter can scarcely agree, since people are biased in different ways. The homosexual has no use for ancient warnings against what he likes to do, and perhaps the person who points out those warnings does so with less than godly charity at times--being biased himself, against gays.

So it's all a complete and utter mess. The idea that God's standards are for our good not his and they help us if we follow them is generally discarded in favor of doing things our own ways. The same is true of any other firm standard that may be proposed, whether secular or religious. People decide for themselves which bits they like and which they don't.

That there really is a transcendent moral standard that applies to all people equally can be shown pretty easily. Punch a moral relativist. When he says "Hey, you should not do that!' you simply reply, "Who are you to impose your moral standards on me?"

Harm to one another, and ourselves, is what God is mainly interested in avoiding, when he sets forth rules for our conduct. Of course it annoys everyone to be told that something is for our own good, and people readily rebel against it and adopt their own private moral judgments instead. But in this case the thing really is for our own good, which is why the devil has opposed the idea from the beginning.