Monday, July 18, 2016

 

A Little Close to Home

I was watching the old Paul Newman southern California private eye file Harper on TCM this weekend and the chief bad woman in it is named Betty Fraley. She's a drug addicted murderer played by Julie Harris.

Wait a minute, I think. I know a Betty Fraley; she's my aunt. Where did they get that name?

The movie is OK. The hippie counter-culture was just beginning to enter movie plots. Everyone in the film is evil or cynical to a fault or both. I liked the Ross McDonald book it was based on, The Moving Target, much better. And the sequel to Harper in 1975, The Drowning Pool, was a much better film. Paul Newman being cynical and witty in the deep South went over much better than being pretty much the same in southern California.

Of note, however, is the fact that the big lummox who beats Newman up in Harper is the same guy that Jack Nicholson beats up in the King of the southern California private eye films, Chinatown.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

 

Is Anyone Proposing a Ban on Assault Trucks or High Capacity Fuel Tanks? No? Hmmmm


No good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. It's just a myth. Here's where I use a French phrase that we generally all know (except you dumb asses): Au contraire!

The bullet holes in the cab of the assault truck (with high capacity fuel tanks) that killed so many in Nice yesterday are all entrance holes.

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Saturday, July 09, 2016

 

More Gopnik Idiocy

Here is the way the liberal press (but I repeat myself) covers gun homicides:

Victim                                Perpetrator                         Coverage
White                                  Other than White               Gun Control
Other than White                White                                 Racism
Other than White                 Other than White              Run a story on Kardasians*

So Adam Gopnik again rails about guns when a black sniper shoots about a dozen white police officers in Dallas, killing 5.

Gopnik is in full 'I told you so' mode, but he's still a moron.

Key quote:

Once again, it needs stating because it can’t be stated too often: despite the desperate efforts of the National Rifle Association to prevent research on gun violence, the research has gone on, and shows conclusively what common sense already suggests. Guns are not merely the instrument; guns are the issue. The more guns there are, the more gun violence happens. (Emphasis added).
He couldn't be more wrong. Here is the truth:



So Gopnik wants to get rid of guns because they cause violence. Wrong problem perceived--wrong solution proposed. Here's some more idiotic statements:

In light of last night’s assassinations, it is also essential to remember that the more guns there are, the greater the danger to police officers themselves.
The greater danger to cops is from more people wanting to kill them, not the number of guns owned by Americans. The chart above would apply to police killed on duty numbers too.

Still more:

It requires no apology for unjustified police violence to point out that, in a heavily armed country, the police officer who thinks that a suspect is armed is likelier to panic than when he can be fairly confident that the suspect is not.


If there are only a thousand guns out there in criminal possession, cops could still never be fairly confident that the suspect has no gun.

Still more:

Last night’s tragedy was also the grotesque reductio ad absurdum of the claim that it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. There were nothing but good guys and they had nothing but guns, and five died anyway, as helpless as the rest of us.


I have to think there was one bad guy with a gun involved. I nominate Micah Johnson to be the bad guy with a gun here.

Here's the big finish:

Once again, the difference in policy views is clear, and can be coolly stated: those who insist on the right to concealed weapons, to the open carrying of firearms, to the availability of military weapons—to the essentially unlimited dissemination of guns—guarantee that the murders will continue. They have no plan to end them, except to return fire, with results we know. The people who don’t want the regulations that we know will help curb (not end) violent acts and help make them rare (not non-existent) have reconciled themselves to the mass murder of police officers, as well as of innocent men and women during traffic stops and of long, ghostly rows of harmless civilians and helpless children. The country is now clearly divided among those who want the killings and violence to stop and those who don’t. In the words of the old activist song, which side are you on?
Gopnik accuses us rational thinkers of guaranteeing murders will continue, then in the rest of the paragraph says murders will continue if his proposals are followed. Not very logical there. But the real problem is his magical thinking that gun control laws will help stop gun murders when the murder laws don't. We don't know that your stupid proposals will work; in fact, we know the opposite. What we know is that additional laws banning guns will only disarm the law abiding. We don't see that as a good thing at all. We who actually know about guns and gun violence and don't believe crazy things like more gun ownership means more gun violence when the opposite is true, do want gun violence to be curtailed. But we want to do it with things that work and not just things that don't work but which punish law abiding gun owners. In other words, we law abiding gun owners want to use facts to guide our purpose. We're on the side which actually proposes things that might help. Gopnik is on the other side.






* (h/t Jon Gabriel)

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Saturday, July 02, 2016

 

This is Devastating, but, Alas, True

Associate Professor at Notre Dame, Patrick Deneen, nails the current education status quo. From what I observe at bar trivia, Jay Walking, and interviews for prospective employees, he's all too accurate. Give it a read if you're ready to be depressed. Favorite part:


But ask them some basic questions about the civilization they will be inheriting, and be prepared for averted eyes and somewhat panicked looks. Who fought in the Peloponnesian War? Who taught Plato, and whom did Plato teach? How did Socrates die? Raise your hand if you have read both the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Canterbury Tales? Paradise Lost? The Inferno?
Who was Saul of Tarsus? What were the 95 theses, who wrote them, and what was their effect? Why does the Magna Carta matter? How and where did Thomas Becket die? Who was Guy Fawkes, and why is there a day named after him? What did Lincoln say in his Second Inaugural? His first Inaugural? How about his third Inaugural?  What are the Federalist Papers?
Some students, due most often to serendipitous class choices or a quirky old-fashioned teacher, might know a few of these answers. But most students have not been educated to know them. At best, they possess accidental knowledge, but otherwise are masters of systematic ignorance. It is not their “fault” for pervasive ignorance of western and American history, civilization, politics, art and literature. They have learned exactly what we have asked of them – to be like mayflies, alive by happenstance in a fleeting present.


Ignorant, not dumb, Mayflies. Really sad.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

 

It Don't Add Up

The facts that the number of guns owned by American citizens has roughly doubled to over 310 Million* since 1993 and the number of homicides with guns has dropped by 50% during that same time period, spell doom for the gun haters' theory that we have to reduce the number of guns owned by citizens in order to reduce gun violence. It's the opposite. And because he's rather dim, our President has been one of the best gun salesmen ever in the past 8 years, responsible for probably 60 Million gun purchases just from his anti-gun rhetoric. People with common sense think: Maybe I ought to buy a gun now before the Government bans them. This state of affairs is disheartening to the anti-gun crowd so they try very hard to find a silver lining. Take this piece in the Washington Post today, for example.


Its author is thrilled by the idea that, according to polls, gun ownership is way down. One poll has gun ownership down from a high of 55% in 1994 to 36% in 2016. Hooray, the author strongly implies.


But hold on there, kitty cat. If the number of guns owned has doubled from about 150 million in 1993 to 310 million in 2016, virtually the same period as the decline in percentage of ownership, who owns the 160 million newly purchased guns? Not to fear, says the author, the newly purchased guns are owned by people who already own guns and are stocking up. Behold.


But the declining rates of gun ownership across three major national surveys suggest a different explanation: that most of the rise in gun purchases is driven by existing gun owners stocking up, rather than by people buying their first gun. A Washington Post analysis last year found that the average American gun owner now owns approximately eight firearms, double the number in the 1990s.

Other research bears this out as well. A 2004 survey found that the average gun owner owned 6.6 firearms, and that the top 3 percent of gun owners owned about 25 guns each. More recently, a CBS News poll taken in March of this year found that roughly 1 in 5 gun owners owned 10 guns or more.


OK, let's see if that works.


There are enough guns for each person in America if evenly distributed, but if only 36% of the population of 310 Million are gun owners, that's 111.6 Million gun owners. Let's pick the high number in the article of guns per owner (8 per owner-- we know that's not true, plenty of people own only one gun but let's use it anyway). That means there are on average there are 893 Million guns owned by citizens. But that's way too many. The 8 per owner figure is way too high. It's no better for 6.6 per owner. So the numbers are not working.


How about this for an explanation? The people recently buying guns are in some part, varying in each individual, buying a gun because of fear of a Government ban and/or confiscation. Those paranoid thoughts would probably cause the owners to hide the fact of ownership from the Government. So perhaps those polled recently are lying to the pollsters about gun ownership, for fear of being on a list of gun owners for the Government to use when it starts the confiscation.


It's a better explanation than what the WaPo yahoo comes up with.


* Some use the figure 350 Million and there is some reason to believe that but I'm conservative so I'll stick with the lower, settled-science number.


WaPo said 357 Million guns owned by civilians by the end of 2013. What's happened since then? In 2014 there were 21 Million applications for gun purchases, 23 Million in 2015 and 13 Million so far this year. So in the 2 and 1/2 years since we've reached 357 Million guns, 57 Million more have been purchases. That's a total of 414 Million guns in civilian hands now, according to WaPo writers and the FBI.


The household ownership polls are no more reliable than the Brexit polls. The drowning man is clutching at straw to believe them.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

 

Some Essential Differences Between Right and Left

The Right is sure malum in se laws are just but is very suspicious of malum prohibitum laws. The Left is not so sure about malum in se laws but thinks malum phohibitum laws are hunky dory, as long as they get to say what is prohibited.


The Right's default political position is liberty -- is the law or policy or cultural norm focused on maintaining or providing freedom for the greatest number of people? The Left tells liberty to go sit at the back of the bus -- every law, policy or cultural norm they propose diminishes freedom for us, and that's the whole point.


The Right stands on principle for an ordered liberty and leaves the bulk of the policing to the individuals' self control. The Left is never satisfied with the amount of control it has over ordinary lives and is always seeking to demand or prohibit more behavior -- from shower flow, to toilet flow, to what lights we can use, to what we can throw away, to what we can or cannot eat, to what we can or cannot think or say. The Left rarely trusts the individual to make his or her own decisions.


The Right essentially wants to be left alone by the government. The Left supports an ever increasing, ever more intrusive government.


The Right thinks: Do just what you want so long as it doesn't deprive others of their rights and pursuits. The Left thinks: Everything not forbidden is compulsory.*


Some of the people on the Extreme Right are America's founding fathers: Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Mason, and Madison. Some of the people on the Extreme Left are Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Hitler.


The toll for political murder in the 20th Century by the Right barely cracks a hundred thousand. The toll for political murder in the 20th Century by the Left far exceeds a hundred million.


The Right thinks that what people earn is theirs and is outraged by the government taking more from the successful merely because it can. The Left is outraged that people want to keep what they've worked to obtain, and it wants to take ever more from the successful.


The Right trusts the unseen hands of the free market and thinks it has been the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised. The Right always wishes to unleash its potential for good, for wealth production, free from the strangling policies of the Left. The Left hates the free market and always seeks to consign the means of production to ever more government control. The Left ignores that government control of the markets and production always fails and results in extreme poverty and misery for the masses.


The Left believes the best social programs give to the unfortunate money taken by taxes and have government control of the program. The Right believes the best social program is a job.


The Right thinks that immigration into America should be used as a means for improving American and the lives of its citizens. The Right thinks that importing large numbers of people who have no desire to become Americans hurts the nation. The Left thinks the best immigration policy produces future voters for the Left.



*T. H. White,

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

 

A Piece Crammed with Ignorance

Adam Gopnik has an anti-gun screed in the New Yorker which is above par in ignorance. Let's take a look.


So, yes, one person did do that, but it was a weapon that empowered him to do it—a weapon designed only for mass killing on the battlefield, a weapon so dangerous that soldiers keep their version locked up when not actually training with it, out of respect for its rapid-fire lethality, but a weapon that now, in Florida and elsewhere, can be placed freely and without constraints into the hands of almost anyone who wants one. The shooter in Orlando reportedly had, in addition to a handgun, a semi-automatic assault rifle in the general AR-15 family. (Press accounts indicate that it was a Sig Sauer MCX, or something very similar.) Such essentially military weapons—they come in many brands, with the minute distinctions among them a source of excitement to gun fetishists—were involved not only in Orlando but in many of the most recent major gun massacres, including San Bernardino, Newtown, and Aurora. (That we know what the names reference at once is in itself telling.) These are weapons, as one of the Newtown family lawyers put it after Orlando, “designed for the United States military to do to enemies of war exactly what it did this morning: kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease.”


I'll start at the top. The Glock 17 and the SIG Sauer MCX used by the miserable Muslim puke to shoot a lot of people in the Pulse are not weapons designed only for mass killing in the battlefield. The Glock is an ordinary semi-auto pistol. The MCX is strictly semi-auto as well and actual battlefield self loading weapons are almost always full auto. Big difference. Gopnik is a fool not to know this yet to write about guns. It gets worse. Yes, soldiers lock up their weapons. All responsible gun owners do that. And we do it because all guns can be lethal. It's their essential nature. Singling out a semi-auto rifle that looks cool/lethal, is a sure-fire conversation stopper with someone with the slightest knowledge of weapons of war. As I've pointed out, the French police use a full-auto model of the little brown rifle made by Sturm Ruger. It looks like a hunting rifle. The semi-auto models (called the Mini-14 and Ranch Rifle) have never been banned nor have I ever heard anyone here call for their being banned. But they shoot the same round from the same size box magazine at the same exact rate as the scary rifles that were banned for 10 years to absolutely no benefit. The silence on the Mini-14 and the huge war of words against the AR-15 are further proof that the AR haters are too ignorant to engage in any useful conversation about guns. Haters got to hate.


Cosmetic features do not make a gun more lethal. If it's a gun, it's already lethal. So Gopnik dives headfirst into this shopworn meme--ban the mean looking guns. He's a tool. There's more, unfortunately, lots more. Gopnik seems amazed that the good people of the United States can actually purchase a weapon. 20 seconds reading and thinking about the 2nd Amendment ought to cure that amazement. I guess he's never done that. Also, Sig stands for Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft, which is German for Swiss Industry, Inc. I use caps for all three acronym letters but you don't have to. Sauer (J. P. Sauer und Sohn, GmbH) is an old German manufacturer of high end guns (since 1791). The new composite company was started in 1985. They sell well designed, well made guns. It was indeed an MCX used and that gun is not an assault rifle (it's only semi-auto) nor has it anything to do with the AR-15 (except cosmetically). It was not designed for the US Military. The full-auto version I've seen plenty of Swiss soldiers carry around in town is the assault rifle. The MCX and the AR-15 are designed to put as many aimed shots down range as possible. It's primary use is to kill things, of course, and unfortunately that includes people. That they rarely are used to do that (less than 2% of murders are with self loading rifles in America, less than that in Switzerland) is testament to the stupidity of focusing on self-loading rifles, as Gopnik and his ilk are doing. Handguns are the guns which kill people in large numbers. Let's move on.


The blood lobby for guns [link disabled] insists that the weapon has nothing to do with the murderous act. This is a case in which there can be no room for doubt that the direct opposite is true.


OK, I'm waiting for the proof that the gun did the killing on its own and the murderous Muslim puke shooting it actually did nothing at all. Am I taking Gopnik too literally? The proof never comes.
The gist of his so called argument here is his belief in the efficacy of gun legislation.


As individuals we cannot protect ourselves from all crazed killers, whether theirs is the adopted ideology of religious fanaticism or the idiosyncratic obsession of a lunatic. But as a community we can keep guns from getting into their hands.
Really? So the murder statute was ignored over 50 times in Orlando but the prohibition of obtaining a certain type of gun would surely have been obeyed. Moral delusion and fantasy. He should know better.

If you are serious about stopping terrorism but not serious about keeping weapons of mass murder from the hands of those already identified as having ties to terrorism, then you are not serious about stopping terrorism.


That's pretty funny coming from a Democrat who clearly supports President Obama and praised him in this very article. There has been no president less interested in stopping terrorism than Obama. If we know you are a terrorist, you shouldn't be walking around at all, much less into a gun store. But it's the knowing and the slippery slope "ties to terrorism" that worries us on the right. It's the due process thing I wrote about here. The lefty, ignorant gun haters are all itching to go anti-Constitution, and deny some subset of our citizenry basic civil rights as a morally preening sign that they care. They want to ban guns mainly because, as gun haters, it won't effect them but will hurt those they see as the real enemy, law abiding gun owners. Too bad it won't effect those merely suspected of "ties to terrorism" either primarily because of the whole "due process" requirement to depriving people of their rights. It's the Democrats who like to round up identifiable racial groups and put them into camps, not the Republicans. (Although I know sufficient history to support the internment of the Japanese community on the West Coast for the first two years of the war). So if you're merely suspected of "ties to terrorism" the Democrats want to deprive you of your civil rights. Pretty much their whole history is doing just that. Way to let your fascistic roots shine through, Gopnik! I never doubted that you had them. He then pivots to former ACLU territory.


It is possible to argue that a “watch list” of this kind is dubious, in any case, on civil-liberties grounds—that it creates two classes of citizens, without an open process to adjudicate its fairness. But it is not possible to argue that, if we have such lists, they should be used to protect us from the plane hijackers we almost never encounter and not from the gunmen we so often do.


Good of you to notice the problems with what you propose, Gopnik. The real difference is prohibiting someone from getting on a plane and prohibiting that person from keeping and bearing arms is that one is not a God given right actually recognized and written down in the Constitution (and amendments thereto). That fact makes all the difference in the world.

Yes, of course, killings happen in other wealthy, supposedly peaceful countries, but nowhere with the ease and normalcy with which they happen here. The murders in Paris last fall were acts of Islamic terrorism undertaken on behalf of isis—and there is no reason not to call it Islamic terrorism or militant Islamism or anything else you like, just as there is no reason not to identify the politics in, say, a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as rooted in opposition to reproductive rights.


I'm not sure "ease and normalcy" are the right adjectives to use about murdering people. And our looking murderous in comparison to other countries certainly depends on which nations you pick for the comparison. Mexico and Russia and Venezuela are much more gun murderous than we are and they have very strict laws about private ownership of guns. I'm for calling Muslim terrorism, Muslin terrorism. Wonder why Gopnik's choice of president specifically and his political associates generally have such a problem saying those words. Oh, and the once a decade guy shooting an abortionist or at an abortion facility is not because the shooter opposes "reproductive rights." They hate the fact that innocent babies to be are being murdered, as they see it. Reproductive rights is a euphemism for abortion. Another term the left has difficulty saying.


The point is not to pin the tail on the ideology; it is to stop the killing from happening again. The Paris gun murders were carried out with difficulty, as the end result of a complex scheme involving many perpetrators—they were not, and still are not, part of the regular routine of French life. They couldn’t have been realized on impulse. We have allowed impulse massacres to become a continual and permanent fact of American life.

Does Gopnik have any idea the level of preparation the miserable puke who shot up the Aurora movie house put into perpetrating his crime? Ease, impulse. The mass murderers are the opposite of that, both here and in France. Fat lot of good the stringent gun control laws in France did. Gun control laws never prevent murderers from obtaining guns because the murderers don't obey them. Taking guns away only from the law abiding is stupid. We don't need to disarm them, they're not criminals and murderers. Something tells me Gopnik's big finish is his abiding belief, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that gun control laws stop crime and save lives. Let's see.

Once again, the overriding lesson, as settled as social science can ever be, remains: If we had gun laws like the gun laws of most countries that resemble ours, we would have lower levels of gun violence, as they do.


He went there and he even called it settled science. There are differing levels of violence in countries around the world. Some are law abiding and peaceful (I'm thinking particularly about the Japanese after we nuked them twice--they were pretty murderous for nine years before that unpleasantness), but you could say it about a lot of European countries and usually about former British colonies (except for us). It has absolutely nothing to do with gun laws. Switzerland and Israel have people walking around doing everyday things like shopping or getting on a train carrying full auto rifles and they have low gun murder rates. That's because the Swiss and Israelis are law abiding. It's not because they are denied guns by legal prohibition. Some of the most murderous countries have very strict gun laws and most of the worst don't allow private ownership certainly of handguns and most long guns as well. Just as it's the murderous heart of the shooter that causes gun murders everywhere, it is the culture of violence in the various countries that makes for the different gun murder rates. The gun laws do nothing because only the law abiding obey them. It continues to astound me that the Democrat gun haters can't seem to grasp this simple, established fact. Gopnik has proven he can't.

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