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Non-daily Digest

December 28th, 2012 No comments
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Beyond the Emotion on Guns

December 21st, 2012 No comments

A week ago a sick, evil young man in Connecticut murdered his mother and 26 other people. Before the bodies had even been removed from the crime scene the all-too-predictable voices of the anti-gun crowd were calling for stricter gun control.

Across the globe on the same day, a man in China attacked at least 20 school children. You may not have heard of it since the media paid it scant attention. Why? He didn’t use a gun and there were—thankfully—no deaths. No one clamored for stricter control of knives.

These nearly simultaneous tragedies certainly call for serious public dialogue, but we need to move beyond the visceral reaction toward the particulars of the weapon involved and talk about practical, effective prevention measures. I’m going to tackle a couple of these practical issues. The philosophical argument against stricter gun control is a whole ’nuther can-o-worms. That, too, is a debate worth having, but I’m leaving it for another day.

Let’s begin by addressing the gun used in the Connecticut murders—a Bushmaster AR-15 .223 rifle. Contrary to media depictions, the AR-15 is not an “assault weapon.” Yes, it’s modeled to look like a military rifle, but the functional similarity is cosmetic. An assault rifle has a selector switch which allows the operator with each trigger press to fire a single round, short bursts (typically 3 rounds), or continuously while the trigger is depressed. The AR-15 fires a single round with each trigger press. [This is also true of the many variants of the Russian Kalashnikov, commonly called AK-47s, but being single-fire versions of the actual assault rifle.] Also contrary to anti-gun talking points, the AR-15 is not a particularly high-powered rifle. Its .223 caliber round is significantly less powerful than, for example, the typical deer-hunting round. The standard AK round is a bit more powerful, but still not in the “high” range. The rifles’ major benefit is the capability of accepting ammunition magazines with high capacities (e.g., 30 rounds).

Whenever there is a mass shooting with an AR/AK (which is rare; we’ll get to that) the first two things we hear from the gun control crowd are that we need to ban (1) “assault” rifles, and (2) high-capacity magazines. But such bans would not have prevented the killings in Connecticut. Consider the latter first. When a shooter is in an environment in which his is the only firearm, it makes little difference whether he has 30-, 10-, or 5-round magazines. He kills those closest to him first and has plenty of time to reload later—it only takes a couple seconds to change magazines. As for banning the rifles themselves, in an elementary school setting it would be very easy to create just as much carnage with a vanilla 5-round bolt-action hunting rifle. The magazine-fed rifle is chosen for convenience, not necessity. And as the case in China shows, a gun is not necessary at all in such a situation.

Further complicating the simplistic notion of a ban is the fact that, according to FBI estimates, there are quite literally millions of AR/AK rifles in civilian hands in the U.S. Even if you ban sales of new weapons or magazines, you’re faced with the reality that these guns are already out there. Sure, you could try banning possession, but their owners are not going to part with them voluntarily.

So if a ban would be neither practical to implement nor effective in ending mass killings, what do we do? Much will be said in the coming days about mental health care, but that’s outside my bailiwick. There is, however, one thing we could do that would cost the taxpayer nothing and be immediately effective: end the fantasy of gun-free zones. The one common thread among most mass shooting is that they take place in areas in which guns are banned. How’s that ban idea working out? Not very well. We should end the illusion and at least allow CCW holders to carry everywhere there are not armed guards or police present.

Just how effective would that be? You wouldn’t know it from watching the mainstream media, but the mall shooter in Oregon a few weeks ago was stopped not by police, but by a CCW holder. Had he not been present, the shooter would have had time to kill more than 2 victims. This is hardly the only case of an armed civilian stopping a mass shooting or other violent crime, but it is a telling example. Prior to the widespread passage of concealed carry permit laws, gun control advocates predicted we would have “blood in the streets” and “Wild West-style shootouts.” Reality is starkly different. As more civilians have availed themselves of the right to carry a weapon for defense, murder rates have continued to drop. [Note I’m not arguing causation, merely that there’s no inverse correlation.]

Short of ending “gun-free” zones entirely, another effective tactic would be to allow school personnel to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. Texas has done just that, and with encouraging results, though the program is in its infancy. Teachers and administrators who have a CCW permit are eligible for additional training in order to carry at school. I’ve known a lot of teachers (my wife is one) and CCW holders (I’m one), and I would be not only comfortable with, but comforted by, the knowledge that there were responsibly armed adults at my kids’ school.

Finally, let’s step back from the immediate incident and look at the larger picture. The truth is that even as civilians in our country have acquired more and more guns, the murder rate has continued a downward trajectory. That’s not a fact you’ll get from much of network news. There are millions of “assault” rifles in private hands, but only a few are ever used to commit a crime of any kind. Do we punish the many responsible, law-abiding citizens for the crimes of a few? Consider the following statistics from the FBI for 2011:

  • Total number of murders 14,022
  • By firearm (any type) 8,583

So even if we didn’t have any guns, we wouldn’t rid the country of murder. But what about “assault” rifles specifically? The FBI does not break down firearms to that degree of specificity, but in 2011 there were:

  • 1,694 murders by knives or other cutting instruments
  • 728 by hands, fists, etc.
  • 323 by rifles

Now that’s rifles of all kinds, not just AR/AK types. There are 5 times as many murders with bladed weapons and more than twice as many barehanded! But no one is calling for a ban on knives or karate classes.

According to the CDC, 2011 saw:

  • 40,239 drug-induced deaths
  • 34,677 from motor vehicle accidents
  • 26,256 alcohol-induced
  • 18,519 non-firearm suicides

These numbers do not in any way reduce the tragedy of the horrific morning a week ago in Connecticut, particularly for two dozen grieving families. But that’s the nature of statistics: they help us separate fact from emotion and examine issues analytically. In this case they also give us some perspective on the issue directly at hand.

Will we ever entirely eliminate violence and murder from our society? Not likely. They’ve been with us since Cain and Abel. Can we take actions that will reduce the incidence of mass shootings? Most certainly, but not by following knee-jerk reactions. Let’s step back and take well-considered measures that—given the world as it is rather than as we wish it were—will be both practical and effective in addressing the problem.

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Non-daily Digest

December 18th, 2012 No comments

This came out a couple weeks ago, but it’s probably the most balanced and reasonable discussion I’ve seen from the Left.

Jeffrey Goldberg@The Atlantic The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control)

More on the fallacy of gun control:

Doug Powers@Michelle Malkin Heh: 16 Democrat senators who voted for Obamacare try to delay implementation of ‘job killing’ Obamacare tax

WSJ Of Liberals and Loopholes: The current tax code favors high-tax states.

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Notable Quotables

December 14th, 2012 No comments

The idea that half of us think we’re deprived says more about spiritual emptiness than it does about any financial gap.

—Greg Gutfeld, The Bible of Unspeakable Truths

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Non-daily Digest

December 13th, 2012 No comments

Michelle Malkin covers the truth about unions that the MSM simply ignores:

AP Senate intern, a sex offender, faces deportation

The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP.

We wouldn’t want voters to be swayed by a Democrat’s employment of an illegal alien sex offender until after he’s safely elected, would we?

Townhall:

WSJ:

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Costas Calls for Scissors Control

December 12th, 2012 No comments

NBC reports that a man was fatally stabbed with a pair of scissors in Harlem.

In a follow-up commentary piece, Bob Costas called for nationwide control of scissors, stating that,

If Saladin Saunders didn’t possess scissors, Keith Warney would be alive today.

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Non-daily Digest

December 12th, 2012 No comments

Weekly Standard Immelt: Communist China ‘Works’
Um, yeah. No freedom of speech, assembly, or religion. State-forced abortions. Imprisonment of dissidents. Pollution at levels never seen here. Works really well. Not surprising from this administration.

Chicago Sun-Times Appeals court overturns Illinois concealed carry law in gun rights victory

Michelle Malkin:

Townhall:

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Notable Quotables

December 11th, 2012 No comments

The world doesn’t need marriage counseling, it needs corporal punishment, and America is the only country left that knows how to spank.

— Greg Gutfeld, The Bible of Unspeakable Truths

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Non-daily Digest

December 10th, 2012 No comments

The war on Christmas:

  • Hawaii News Now Lawsuit threat cancels Christmas concert

    one of the things about the constitution is that it prohibits the involvement of public schools and churches.

    Sadly, too many Christians believe this lie and don’t fight back. And who suffers for this idiocy? Truly destitute Africans.

  • CampusReform Berkeley students seek Christmas ban on Salvation Army bell ringers

    “Salvation Army church services, including charity services, are available only to people ‘who accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline,’ which excludes homosexuality,” reads the bill, SB 176.

    It should surprise no one that the Left will push such a complete lie in order to further its agenda.

Climate Depot Fmr. Thatcher advisor Lord Monckton evicted from UN climate summit after challenging global warming — ‘Escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his UN credentials’

“In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming,” Monckton said

We can’t risk having someone utter the truth in public, now, can we? One of the most common tactics of the Left: silence all dissent.

Yahoo News Feds remain AWOL as public pot smoking begins
I’m not a big fan of the “War on Drugs” myself, but don’t expect the DOJ to intervene here. The only time it’s apparently unconstitutional to have a state law conflict with federal law is when Big Brother disagrees with the state law (see AZ).

Townhall:

Michelle Malkin Hey, Fat Cat Unions: Pay Your “Fair Share”

Suzanne Venker@Fox News Let’s call a truce in the war on men

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Non-daily Digest

December 5th, 2012 No comments

NBC Family decorating Christmas tree robbed by three men
It can happen anywhere. This family was lucky they were only robbed. Be vigilant. Be safe. Be armed.

WSJ The Budget Baseline Con: How Washington fools the public about spending ‘cuts.’

Townhall:

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