29 May 2007

Kleptocrats and Gun Control

For the past two years, I have been reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, which is his attempt to explain why societies developed along different lines throughout the ages. It's a fascinating read, although I personally think Francis Schaeffer's How Then Shall We Live offers a better explanation for how things have turned out (at least in western society).

Now, the reason it takes me so long to finish a particularly long book is that I start it until I get tired of it, then go to something else, then return to it after a while. I've been doing that with Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for some ten years now and The Conservative Mind for seven.

At any rate, a couple of days ago, I started Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs, and Steel, which has to do with the development of government, from bands to tribes to chiefdoms to states. He uses a particularly interesting word, "Kleptocracy," to describe a governmental entity that takes away the fruit of others' labors to sustain itself.

He poses the question, why would anyone tolerate that? Or rather, as he puts it, "What should an elite do to gain popular support while still maintaining a more comfortable lifestyle than commoners?"

His first of four possible solutions is very interesting:

"1. Disarm the populace, and arm the elite. That's much easier in these days of high-tech weaponry, produced only in industrial plants and easily monopolized by an elite, than in ancient times of spears and clubs easily made at home."(Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1999. pp. 276-277, emphasis mine)

He gives a famous example of a society that did this very thing in the previous chapter on technological innovation. Around the mid-1500s, the Japanese were introduced to firearms. At first, they were very impressed with the weapons, so much so that they made their own versions, which proliferated so much that by 1600, they had more guns than anyone else in the world.

But there was one class that didn't care for them: the ruling elite. Now, Diamond explains that the Samurai preferred the older, ritualistic, more elegant way of combat, but what it really boils down to is that the elite no longer held the corner on martial power, when even a peasant could blast them with an arquebus. So, they started outlawing the weapons, restricting accessibility and production measure by measure until they pretty much no longer existed in Japan, and ensured that the elite remained in power.

The experts agree: Gun Control Works!

27 May 2007

THIS is why I carry while hiking

Several months ago, this op-ed appeared from Butler University, and started the whole Campus RKBA Round-Up thing.

If you will remember (click on the link if you don't), Ms. Maire Gurevitz found it hard to understand why anyone would want to take a gun to a state park.

I can give you one reason:

And some more, elsewhere during my wanderings...

I wear a size 10 and a half shoe. Not a terribly huge bear, but more than a match for my strength. I've butchered a couple of bears that we have shot (legally) on our property, and can personally attest to the density of their muscles.

Yesterday, I spent the whole morning hiking along the Tanana River. I came across so many tracks like these, as well as other evidence of roaming bears (like bear scat). They can even be found near the outlying houses on our farm.

I live in rural Alaska, with lots of undeveloped land. Not terribly unlike most state parks.

And there you have your rationale for hiking armed. Bears tend to shun encounters with humans, but you don't want to take your chances.

24 May 2007

Do the Moonbats really Care about our Rights?

Apparently not, if two sites brought to you by the paranoid diaperwaists of the "Freedom" States Alliance have anything to say about it. They would do away with not only the Second Amendment, but would gladly let other rights fall in the interests of pursuing their crusade against that particular part of the constitution.

For example, personal property. The Fourth Amendment acknowledges this right, but no right is sacred to the moonbat on jihad against 2A, as exemplified by this "campaign:"

What these puppets of the Brady mentality don't get are the ramifications of controlling the sale of personal private property. This approach threatens not only Second Amendment rights, but could set the tone for eroding Fourth Amendment rights as well.

Other things to bear in mind: How many of the crimes "facilitated" by "loopholes" comprise the total number of violent crimes in the U.S.? I am willing to wager it is a very low percentage, which would make it an even more miniscule portion of the total number of guns in this country. You can't really justify throwing tons of money into legislation (and, if it were to pass, the implementation) for such a tiny problem.

The poop overflows the Depends in this next site, decrying the "Shoot First" measures taken by several states to defend would-be victims' rights when it comes to using deadly force in self-defense.

This is the logical conclusion of this Stockholm Syndrome these moonbats have for criminals. Take it easy on the perps and punish the victims--the idea doesn't sit well in the 16 states (and the 8 that are considering passing similar measures) whose citizens believe in the right to defend themselves.

Thing of it is, every self-defense incident where a perp got perforated undergoes an investigation. That involves legal measures, with the very distinct possibility of a ruling NOT in the victim's favor, and the loss of freedoms that ensue.

Even one story this site puts up acknowledges that not every situation where a person uses a gun to stop a crime ends up with the gunner getting off scot-free. There are criteria a case needs to pass before exonerating a gunner.

But it's lost on the moonbats, who have always valued hysteria over rational thinking; in fact, their attitudes seem to override a person's Fifth Amendment rights, assuming that every gun used in self-defense is murder.

That's three Constitutional Amendments these folks would gladly shove aside.

Friday Catblogging!

(or, at least, my perversion of it)

While over in NC, my folks' cats got acquainted with my hardware.

Gracie liked the H&K...couldn't stop admiring it!

You can almost hear the purring...

Meanwhile, Smoky, being the larger of the two, preferred the larger hand-cannon...

Dad, I said it's TREAT time!

23 May 2007

Flying with Guns!

(The compleat experience)

I made it back to Alaska, but it took being awake for 24 hours and traveling for about 21 of them. Taking the day off today to recuperate. More on that adventure in a bit.

While I didn't get any range time in while over in the Tarheel State, it did give me some valuable experience in traveling with firearms on the airlines. I'll give you the complete account right here.

First, it started out with research. I've already related some about that in earlier posts just before my flight.

Now, it's amazing just how ignorant your typical American is on these matters...even gun owners. When I said I was taking them to NC, it raised eyebrows from everyone I talked to--family, friends, even those who own more guns than I. Even one or two who carry (and these tend to be, but not always, more informed about what you can and cannot do with guns). They couldn't believe that, with all the terrorism mess going on, that you can take guns with you on a plane.

You can, there are just certain protocols you need to follow.

For me, I started following those protocols by taking my pistol case and doing a little custom work to make it fit for transporting my H&K and Desert Eagle.

The case I currently have is a large aluminum one with a combination lock. It can contain the pistols and accessories (holsters, spare magazines, extra barrel, scope, etc), but not securely. I decided to keep the spare mags and holsters in my suitcase, along with a box of .44 magnum and .45 ACP in their original factory packaging.

But the pistols would be tucked in some foam insulation, cut away to allow them to be snugly secured in the case:

While cutting away the foam, I made sure the mold would fit the safety locks I was going to include for both pistols, as you can see in the picture here.

Satisfied that the pistols weren't going anywhere, I closed and locked the case.

Following some advice on the web, I also made a few copies of the TSA's guidelines for transporting firearms, as well as those for the two airlines I would be flying with: Alaska Airlines and Northwest. This would be for the check-in agents' edification, if it were needed.

It didn't turn out to be necessary. The agents I came across for Alaska Air and Northwest seemed to know what to do when it came to firearms.

When I checked in, I stated that I had two unloaded firearms to declare. They handed me their airlines' version of the unloaded firearms certificate which I had to sign, date, and store with the guns (the below is Northwest's version--you can see Alaska's version to the right of the case in the above photo).

Basically, it says that you have taken measures to secure your firearms and firearm-related items (such as ammunition) according to Federal guidelines.

Then, the check-in agent had me go over to the TSA station to hand over the case. What you will actually have to do may vary with the airline and the airport--at Fairbanks, all I had to do was hand over the locked case to the TSA agent on duty. At Greensboro, I had to keep the case unlocked and hand it over to the TSA agent (they would lock the case and clear the combination when they were done.

Then, I boarded the plane and went where I needed to go. Once I arrived, all my goods--all of them, from the guns themselves to the ammunition and accessories I had in my suitcase--made it along with me.

Even on the last leg of my flight. You see, I came into Anchorage at about 2.30p yesterday, and my flight to Fairbanks was supposed to leave at around 3.11p. It was supposed to arrive at 8.30p.

It doesn't take 5 hours to get to Fairbanks from Anchorage. I know, I've done it enough. I figured there was some screwup in how the tickets were printed.

As it turned out, I would be heading further north, to the Deadhorse terminal in Prudhoe Bay, and then to Barrow, before coming to Fairbanks.

I figured...what the hell. The flight's paid for, and I'll get to see a part of my home state I usually don't get to see. So, I enjoyed the extra detour. Always wanted to go to Barrow, if only to say that I've been to America's northernmost city.

While there, we picked up a State Trooper escorting two natives in handcuffs. He got to carry his gun on the plane, lucky guy.

Now, the aluminum case has suffered some dents. The guns are both fine, but I'll need to invest in something by Pelican the next time I decide to take them with me.

And that, readers, was my adventure involving firearms and flying.

21 May 2007

My Inheritance

I'm leaving NC tomorrow to return to Alaska. NC is a fine state, has a lot of good things going for it, and it was good to see family after several years, but I am aching to return home.

Sadly, though, I never got a chance to get in some range time. I suppose if gas were cheaper, I would have had a little more freedom to borrow my parents' vehicles (they don't make a lot of frivolous trips, especially since both are retired now) to visit the closest range to Ocean Isle (in Seaport, about 20 minutes away), or the one or two in Wilmington, or the one in Statesville (closest to where my folks live in Lenoir).

Honestly, I was rather amazed at how expensive gas is down here. Please note the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot expression on my face--both at the price of gas, and the fact that my folks decided to fuel up at a station that puts money in Hugo Chavez's pocket.

Seriously, gas is about 40 cents cheaper in Fairbanks than what I found here in NC...or in TN when I went to visit my Grandmother Wilson out in east TN.

The cheapest I saw (and it fluctuated a few cents every day) was about $2.95 for the low-grade unleaded.

Oh, well--at least the family got to see my hardware.

Speaking of which, Dad pulled out his collection of firearms--weapons that we've had in the house since we've lived in South Carolina. Just, he never took us shooting. Kind of a shame, really.

At any rate, the prize among the collection (as I see it) is the Colt 1911 my Great-Grandfather Friend carried with him when he served in WWI:

This is a 1911, NOT a 1911A1. Here is the engraving on the other side of the slide:

Now, I have handled this gun before. As a kid, I came across it in a foyer closet while bored and rummaging through the house. I thought it was cool, but was a little scared handling it. Didn't know what all I'd have to do to make it fire (Single Action, with the squeeze safety built into the frame), but I handled it with care.

And, it has served as a personal lesson to me just how accessible a gun can be in the house if you don't take measures to secure it.

Anyway, some 22 years later, and a firearms owner myself, I had a look at the pistol. It is old, and has obviously been neglected somewhat (even though Dad oils his guns regularly)--there was some rust inside the slide, it looked like, and, personally, I don't think I would put any Cor-Bon through the barrel, but otherwise, it's in very good condition.

One thing, though--and this comes from the larger handguns I personally have owned--the 1911 is skinny! My USP is probably one and a half times wider than this handgun (even the 9mm would have been bigger), and the Desert Eagle simply dwarfs it.

Sidenote for a little family history here--my Great-Grandfather Friend was born to German immigrants (original name was Frehn, anglicized to Friend over at Ellis Island). He was part of the German community he lived in over in Chicago, and spoke German fluently.

When WWI came about, he fought for his country--the U.S. of A. In light of our current war on terror, I wonder if he had to put up with any of the suspicion that muslims wearing our uniforms are going through given this war against jihadists we're now in.

Anyway, if there is anything I want willed to me, this pistol is one of them.

The other two things I'd want willed to me are the two rifles on the right:

One is a Springfield 1903A3, the other a M1 Carbine. If I remember what my Dad said right, my Granddad Hatfield bought both the Springfield and the carbine and modified them for sporting purposes. What sort of modifications needed to be made, I don't know. Both feature bayonet lugs, and the carbine can take a banana magazine.

These features kind of make me laugh at the Clinton's gesture to make the U.S. a kinder, gentled nation (that's no typo--I used that term deliberately) back in 1994.

That 03A3 is simply beautiful. Don't know how usable it still is as a sporting firearm (I have a friend that hunts with an old Mauser in .30-06), but it is most certainly a conversation piece.

19 May 2007

The Mad Hatter's Non-Violent Rant

Greetings from North Carolina! Where you can enjoy the ocean in the east, mountains in the west, but if you're not licensed to carry, you might as well not own a handgun.

By the way, my first experience flying with guns was a success. Both pieces, accessories, and ammunition survived several thousand miles of flight and three plane changes. More on that when I get back home.

Speaking of which, I miss Alaska. I'm in a state where I am not licensed to carry, and I feel rather naked. I should have taken that course from Joe Nava the last time I spent a week in Fairbanks, and followed through with the process of getting licensed again, if only for the benefits of reciprocity.

Then, at least, I wouldn't have to keep my hardware locked up in a vehicle. Seriously, I can understand the concern about drive-by shootings, but it seriously hinders the ability of the rest of us to protect ourselves in our own property.

"Excuse me, Mr. Gangsta"--and I learned that groups like MS-13 have gotten many footholds in the Tarheel State--"let me get into my trunk and unlock my case so we can get on more equal footing." Not gonna happen, methinks.

An anonymous commenter from the last post brought this to my attention. I honestly think that some people eat a full bowl of stupid in the morning, washed down with some freshly squeezed paranoia.

It comes, more or less, on the heels of another story Miss Non-Violent Marilyn covered earlier this week about a 10-month-old getting "a gun and a license." Now, tying it in with the other story about the blind man getting a CCW, you would assume that by "license," the baby is also licensed to carry. Not true, if you actually bothered to read the articles, but knowing how well liberals love to shoot first and ask questions later when it comes to relating social matters, I can see a whole herd of them jumping to some wild conclusions about gun issues in this country, armed with only half the facts.

Anyway, time to throw some reasonable sense on the matters. True, the baby was given a license, but it was JUST TO OWN A FIREARM! The grandfather followed all the legal proceedings, and it was granted. If something was amiss, the permit would have been denied.

Marilyn's tone carries with it the assumption that parents are absent from the process of child rearing. Now, since liberals are lovers of the nanny state, this comes as no surprise. Happily, though, the owners of the overwhelming majority (99.8%) of firearms in this country not used in crimes seem to show a certain degree of responsibility that the fearmongers only dream we do not possess.

Hell, I don't have kids, and when I take some shooting, I DO educate them about firearms safety!

As regards the blind man who takes his personal defense seriously, read the actual article instead of the hysterical commentary. There, you will find that the fellow has taken more pains to train himself on gun safety (right down to his choice of ammo) than most of the sanctimonious knee-jerk dipwads who fill their diapers at the first sight of a firearm.

And note that there is absolutely NO consideration for this guy's safety--none mentioned AT ALL in Marilyn's article! This guy is concerned about being taken advantage of because of his condition. Who is going to cover his six? The police? Marilyn? Hello?

I applaud the guy for having the guts to do this.

10 May 2007

Well, the trip's gotten off to a good start...

...and I haven't even entered the airport yet!

Some of you might recall my pre-emptive Valentine's Day post, where, instead of flowers, or chocolates, I gave a young woman a box of Cor-Bon self-defense ammo.

Well, as I am waiting here in Fairbanks for my flight to leave tomorrow morning (less than 8 hours away now--which means I have to leave here before 4.00a to check-in on time), I met up with said young woman, and she invited me to hang out with her.

Being a farm girl and whatnot, she's a little unused to urban life--the offers for rides, the catcalls, and so on that a very attractive woman would elicit from the many lonely men (?) of Fairbanks. She's never come into any real crises yet that would escalate into having to pull out the .40 she keeps in her purse--neither does she really desire to be in such a situation. So, she was happy to have an escort.

And I, for one, was very happy to escort her. Chivalry ain't dead as long as this white boy lives! I may live in the northernmost state, but there are some Southern traits indelibly burned into my character.

I was tempted to tell her that if it came to such a situation as she had described, the potential offender would be looking down TWO barrels, since I was also carrying the USP on my hip that evening.

I let the cat out of the bag as we were going through town--she wasn't nervous! If anything, she expressed some concern about me carrying the pistol onto my plane. I told her that's not how I intended to bring it on board.

So, we hung out over at Barnes & Noble. She introduced me to an Orson Scott Card novel I hadn't read--one of the Ender's Game series (Ender's Shadow). And, we chatted a lot about this and that.

Wow. What a woman. Christian, Beautiful, carries a gun, and reads some science fiction on occasion!

My kind of woman!

Heh...it's catching on...

(h/t Cowboy Blob):

...Cuba? Venezuela? Funny how you don't hear of mass Leftist exodi to these shining examples of the "Workers' Paradise" when "fascists" come to power.

I heard a conversation at the breakfast table this morning about Hillary being our next president. I still don't see it happening. Everyone with half a brain that lived through the '90s well remembers the First Beoch's tenure in the White House...how she tried to leverage her own policies when she was not even an elected official.

Nope, all the hype that's heard about Hillary being the next president is just the effect of a lot of money at work from a really loud minority.

Flying with Guns...

OK, I'm going to do it. After researching the matter myself, reading several accounts, and getting one encouraging comment from my last post, the guns are coming with me.

Freepatriot has some very good guidelines to follow when flying with guns.

Matt Burkett also has some advice about packing your guns for your trip.

Still more advice is given by Custom-Glock.com.

Sooooo, after reviewing all the above, in addition to the guidelines published by the TSA, Alaska Air, and Northwest (thank you very much, Mark Solomon, for showing where all that information can be found), I packed up the guns in my lockable case (taking extra effort to further secure them), and have a few copies of the TSA and Alaska and NWA guidelines as published on their sites.

Less than 24 hours to go...I'm looking forward to this trip, and further educating others (this time, family members) about RKBA.

09 May 2007

Flying with Guns?

Mark Solomon's very informative website tells you almost everything you need to know about taking your firearms with you when you travel by air.

I'll be leaving for NC in about two days, and have been debating whether or not to take my two handguns with me. Conforming to the security guidelines laid out by the TSA, Alaska Air, and Northwest Airlines don't bother me. I can live with them.

But, what does bother me is the potential for them getting lost while being handled. I have heard that lost luggage is becoming more and more a problem nowadays, and I really do not want to deal with losing $2,000-$3,000 worth of hardware because of someone else's lack of responsibility.

So, if anyone thinks it's a real issue, or a non-issue, please leave a comment.

04 May 2007

Free Exchange of Ideas, eh?

...except when it comes to something so anti-liberal, the proles must rise up and punish those who would stand against the Revolution!

Such was the case of an Emmanuel College professor (h/t Crime, Guns, and Videotape) who was fired for discussing the notion that gun control doesn't always work.

It's a four-part video...here's the first segment:

The remaining three you can access by either clicking on the player area or following the link above it.

Stossel Refuting Gun Control (again!)

(h/t: John Lott's blog)

But be careful about how far the calls for gun control go, because the idea that gun control laws lower gun crime is a myth.

After the 1997 shooting of 16 kids in Dunblane, England, the United Kingdom passed one of the strictest gun-control laws in the world, banning its citizens from owning almost all types of handguns. Britain seemed to get safer by the minute, as 162,000 newly-illegal firearms were forked over to British officials by law-abiding citizens.

But this didn't decrease the amount of gun-related crime in the U.K. In fact, gun-related crime has nearly doubled in the U.K. since the ban was enacted.

Might stricter gun laws result in more gun crime? It seems counterintuitive but makes sense if we consider one simple fact: Criminals don't obey the law. Strict gun laws, like the ban in Britain, probably only affect the actions of people who wouldn't commit crimes in the first place. . . . .

Click on the link, and watch the video in the upper right-hand corner.

And, as with David Codrea, my posting will be rather sporadic for the next couple of weeks--going out of town on vacation.

No worries...I won't be gone as long as I was my last hiatus!

Friday Catblogging!

h/t Cowboy Blob

Eat your heart out, Laurence Simon!

02 May 2007

RKBA Campus Roundup #9

Now that the earthquake seems to be over, we're dealing with a few aftershocks here and there.

Still making my way through the states to find what sort of attitudes on gun issues can be found on America's college campuses, I stop over in New Hampshire, at Dartmouth.

Here, a philosopher wannabe tries to draw parallels between an Albert Camus story and the way the Second Amendment is interpreted. If you saw the YouTube links to the Penn & Teller Bullsh*t episode earlier on, you see this student takes the exact opposite approach to 2A's wording:

Additionally, take a closer look at the punctuation of the amendment, specifically the commas. If read without the two modifying clauses in the middle formed by these commas, the amendment reads, “A well regulated militia shall not be infringed.” It was the militias the Framers meant to protect, not the guns.
He's taking the classic leftist tack of emphasizing the "Militia" aspect, while completely ignoring the "Right of the People" part of the Amendment. It is not discussed once. And the conclusions he draws fall out of line with how that part of the Bill of Rights has been interpreted for over 200 years.

And so, therefore, the Albert Camus parallel does fit, but not the way our Staff Columnist probably had in mind. He, like his leftist buddies, would kill it of its meaning, strip the people of a right, and dump it in the river.

BTW, this tomfoolery with commas is really not an original idea. It comes from the Yassky Brief found in U.S. v Emerson (2001). It would be nice if Mr. Fan-of-Pessimist-French-Authors could cite where he got that idea from instead of passing it off as his own.

(The link also contains refutation of the idea, for those interested in reading it. Basically, the original draft of the Constitution only had one comma).

Happily, elsewhere, namely Mississippi, some students still understand the Amendment as it has always been interpreted. While only obliquely mentioning it in this reaction to the VT massacre, this student says:

Now let's move on to members of the Virginia General Assembly who failed to act on House Bill 1572. This bill would have made it legal for college students and employees to carry handguns on campus. What part of "shall not be infringed" did these people not understand?

A self-described Libertarian from Ole Miss responds to the VT shootings by discussing briefly the gun debate that it stirred up. He sits on the fence, but slightly leans towards preserving the 2A rights, thus holding true to his ideology:

Here in the South, guns are very much a part of our livelihood. Personally, they scare the hell out of me, and I wish they were banished from the face of the earth. But it's obvious that if you outlaw guns, the only people with them will be outlaws.
Over at St. Cloud University in Minnesota, another student rehashes the gun debate inflamed by the VT shootings. Here, the main focus falls upon fully automatic weapons.

Interestingly enough, this is an editorial board that believes that"the Second Amendment allows citizens to own firearms." And further bolsters its stance by explaining, "If there is a total ban on guns, the Second Amendment must therefore then be dissolved. No item on the Bill of Rights should ever be overturned."

Excellent! But he seems a little wary in allowing full-auto weapons to be owned by private citizens.

The Mad Hatter's official opinion? I've fired a full-auto weapon before. I personally don't have any use for one myself (expensive to obtain and expensive to shoot), but I'm not going to let my personal preferences restrict someone else's ability to acquire one legally.

The letter elicited a well-informed response from another student at St. Cloud, explaining that the full auto aspect of the debate is really rather irrelevant to the shootings at VT. But what was relevant were the following factors:

-"The Federal government already restricts persons with a mental background like Cho from legally obtaining a gun. The statute in Virginia is written slightly different, which allowed a legal gun sale under Virginia law."

-"The sale went through because the Federal government failed to provide states with funding to update the instant background check system."

-"[T]he administration at Virginia Tech adopted a gun-free zone on campus." He explains how this creates a target-rich environment.

I find it really interesting how most pro-2A articles will back their positions with facts. The Anti crowd seems to want to play the emotional card too heavily.

Speaking of facts, here's a download that every pro-2A person should have on his hard drive or PDA...click on the pic to the right and download the free .pdf file, and enjoy!

While you're at it, here is yet another worthy site to browse and arm yourself with the facts. It's the well-known Guncite website.

But continuing on with the campus op/ed's as I encounter them...the entire VT debacle started a back & forth between University Police at Brandeis and the students.

From the Brandeis Five-0's point of view, campus cops are insufficiently equipped to deal with a crisis the magnitude of the VT massacre, and therefore, should be armed, in the interests of protecting themselves as well as the students on campus.

The Director of Public Safety, however, seems to put more faith in their "Emergency Response and Notification Plan," which "includes state-of-the-art protocols for communicating a crisis situation to the campus."

Oh, wonderful. They might not be able to contain or control the crisis, but they can sure keep everyone up-to-date about it! "Now hear this! Campus Psycho has now perforated his 42nd victim over at the Cafeteria." At least the tragedy-happy media will be able to get an accurate body count.

And the system might encourage the cops to avoid the crisis area, as stated by one anonymous agent of public safety, explaining that "such an emergency would likely spur officers to leave campus rather than act unarmed:"

"Am I supposed to get shot for the sake of Brandeis?" Haley [president of the Union representing the police] asked in a phone interview Saturday. "I think it's ludicrous and ridiculous, but [the administration] won't listen to us."

Despite the inadequacies, one moonbat-in-training starts barking at the mere thought of arming the campus police, in an op/ed entitled "Safety should trump the abstract right to own guns."

Did you catch that? Abstract right? I wonder if that was a double-entendre, hinting at the irrelevancy of the Bill of Rights (which we hear so much from those who know nothing about where their civil liberties come from nor how they are preserved) as well as the conservative mindset.

At any rate, it's more blah-buh-blah-blah-blah. Pro 2A fanatics only read half of the amendment blar-blar-blar...the amendment was only written with muskets in mind blar-blar-blar... And this piece of cognitive clarity:

Though Americans are divided over the extent to which a citizen should have the right to arm himself we can learn from the recent gun-related tragedies, such as the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, the Washington sniper shootings in 2002, and last week's Virginia Polytechnic Institute shootings, what happens when individuals arm themselves.

Note that it doesn't read "what could happen when individuals arm themselves." No, Miss Libtard assumes that every time a person arms himself, he's going to commit a crime. Well paint me black and call me Toby--I am just perplexed why, while doing errands in town with my .45 on my hip and two spare magazines, no one got the Emmentaler treatment (Swiss Cheese, that is). Not one!

And why is it that, with 300 million guns out on the nation (that number just keeps on going up with every donkey-faced piece of half-baked pontification I read from these drunken monkeys), we come up with less than 30,000 fatalities, and less than 300,000 acts of violent crime involving firearms? 99.9% of the gun owners in this nation must not be doing a good enough job in keeping up with the murderous wishes of the brain-rotted ivory tower idealist.

"Although we are constitutionally allowed to own guns, the urgency and need for them isn't as apparent as during the times of our Founding Fathers."

Tell that to the 50 that were killed and wounded at VT, you clueless drone. I'm sure they would have found the outcome of the Appalachian Law School shooting much more favorable.

Happily, the blah is effectively retorted not much long thereafter by another student, who says in his own letter to the editor:

Smolyar makes a muddled argument that, on the one hand, belittles gun owners with a straw-man scenario about a British invasion, but on the other accepts the individual rights portion of the Second Amendment, provided that it is strictly curtailed in the name of the "public good." Anything can be justified provided it serves the "public good." However, Smolyar forgets that the Bill of Rights exists precisely to prevent anyone with vague ideas about the "public good" from simply overriding essential American freedoms. Perhaps she would agree to strict curtailment of her freedom of the press so that we are spared more frivolous justifications in the future?
And that rounds up this week's survey of attitudes towards gun rights this week. But don't worry...no doubt there is much more to come!

01 May 2007

Associated Propaganda?

This is what happens when puppy-farm journalism majors metamorphosize into full-fledged puppets of the mainstream propaganda machine.

I was thumbing through a few-days-old copy of the Fairbanks Daily News-Manure (hey, it serves its purpose when you've run out of pages in your Sears Catalog in the auxiliary facilities out back), when I saw it feature an AP article entitled (as it appeared in our nearest major news rag--AP links to the column here) "U.S. gun control draws foreign debate."

Erm, a word to the editorial staff of the News-Miner--foreign countries are trying to deal with their own crises in their own way, and are by no means trying to influence the U.S. with the policies they pass. If they are, they serve as no good example.

While on the subject, in my absence from blogging, I did manage to watch "The Great U.N. Gun Debate" that a friend lent to me, which you can start watching below if you so please:

If you click on the embedded video above, it will take you straight to the video as found on YouTube. And from there, you can catch the other three parts in the links just to the right.

My conclusions: the pro-UN aussie philistina with the butch haircut did a very good job of convincing me that the U.N. is not out for preserving national sovereignty, and would like very much to impose a police state on the world if it were given more real power.

And that's my two bits on "world opinion." But I'm not done today just yet.

Getting back to the AP article, it lists all sorts of countries that have tried passing various measures to limit gun ownership. And, in typical pro-populace-control fashion, attempt to sing the praises of such measures while trying to paint the U.S. with a big smear of fake blood.

I particularly liked the chart the News-Minor included with the article. It lists 26 countries and ranks them by "Gun Death Rates." Guess who leads with a 9.42 rate per 100,000 population (2004 stats)? Uh-huh. Surprised?

But if we take a closer look at the chart (source stated as the "Small Arms Survey, Geneva"--whose partners include, suspiciously enough, several organizations focused upon small arms control--which casts some doubt over an unbiased view of arms ownership), we see some things even more revealing. But, strangely enough, these points aren't discussed in the article.

The chart states that the numbers include "homicides, suicides, accidental and undetermined deaths" (emphasis mine). But the actual numbers comprising these categories are missing. It doesn't seem to be readily available through the search function on the Survey's site, either (even typing in "9.42" reveals nothing related to the matter, even though the data comes from 2004), and I suspect you'll have to do a fair amount of mining to find the source data the News-Miner decided to use.

Interestingly enough, while hunting through the links to find the numbers used, I came across this article, dated 2000 from George Mason University, which finds no correlation between availability of firearms and homicide rates. The abstract reads thus:

This article seeks to examine the common view that widespread availability of firearms is a major cause, or even the principal cause, of high American rates of homicide. Reasonably accurate data as to both homicide rates and the acquisition and ownership of firearms in the United States are available back to the mid-1940s. These data do not show a correlation over the long term between the distribution of firearms in the population at large and homicide rates. The two variables do cross occasionally, but they do not do so consistently. Rather, the trend in the period 1973-1997 was one of very large increases in firearms accompanied by essentially flat, even diminishing, homicide rates. That is the general rule for the period since the end of World War II to date.

Nice to see that the Survey includes research that raises questions over its own raison d'etre. I can respect that.

But getting back to the chart in question, while it presents a high number for the U.S., it does nothing to explain the circumstances yielding those numbers. Take homicides and suicides, for example. Are murderous/self-destructive inclinations of unbalanced people a direct function of a tool which can neither think nor feel? No.

(Btw, the total number of suicides in the U.S. in 2004 were 32,439. I've found no hard numbers for those that have been committed by firearm, but this article says it was "more than half."--I'll say 55%=17,842. That would make up 63% of the number I'm about to give below).

Going by the numbers, the 9.42 per 100,000 for the U.S. yields some 28,260 deaths by firearm in 2004. For a population of 300 million, that still accounts for only .009% of the total U.S. population.

And if you go by the 250 million firearms that are supposedly in this country, that means only .01% of them were involved in these deaths.

That is a ridiculously low percentage to worry about, and is still surpassed by the 40,000 auto fatalities that happen every year. And, given that there are a comparable amount of passenger vehicles in the U.S. as there are guns (243,023,485 according to this Wikipedia entry), you don't hear too much about measures enacted to further restrict auto ownership, even though it is a privilege, rather than a right.

Don't fall for the hype, people.