Monday, October 05, 2015


Couldn't Be More Wrong

There was a movie critic for Time magazine in the late 70s who was so awful, so bereft of judgment, that his reviews became a negative recommendation. If he liked a movie, it invariably sucked; if he hated a movie, it was even money it was good. Now some editorialists at the NYT are approaching Jay Cocks* levels of wrongness. Like today's great work from restaurant critic Frank Bruni, who is still struggling with bulimia.

Let's start with the basics. Almost all of the horrific mass murders by guns here in America and elsewhere have taken place in Gun Free Zones. None of the horrific mass murders by guns have taken place at gun shows. The left can't seem to get their collective head around that simple fact. Most of the anti-gun ilk seem to think that guns, in and of themselves, cause bad behavior and more guns cause more bad behavior and less guns cause less bad behavior. This of course doesn't explain why there have been no mass murders at gun shows, where there are thousands of guns lying around, but plenty of mass murders at gun free schools, where there are no guns but the ones the murders bring with them, but perhaps I'm asking for too sophisticated an evaluation when I question why gun control law advocates never take this into account.

Bruni thinks it's madness to allow concealed carry permit holders to have their guns on a college campus. That thought is so foreign to history, common sense and proper analysis as to boggle my ability to comprehend it. But let's try to see if it makes any sense whatsoever.

But in Texas, there’s so little concern for college students’ physical safety that concealed firearms will be permitted in classrooms at public universities like the state flagship here.

Why is allowing the well vetted and somewhat trained ordinary citizen to have his gun wherever he or she desires putting the student's physical safety at risk? Do concealed carry permit holders go on to commit horrendous gun crimes often? At all? In 2013 in Texas, concealed handgun licencees' conviction rate for any crime was .3016% or 3 per 1,000. Not a huge crime rate to start with and not all the crimes they were convicted of involved a gun. There was a disturbing number of sex crimes on children. There was a single conviction under the murder rubric for "Capitol Murder by Terror Threat/Other Felon" but I have no idea what that crime is about. Still, very little gun crime from the people who can obtain a concealed carry permit. Bruni doesn't seem aware of this easily obtainable statistic. He's big on the hypothetical threat though.

“If you’re in a heated debate with somebody in the middle of a classroom and you don’t know whether or not that individual is carrying, how does that inhibit the interaction between students and faculty?”
Yeah, it is a very common thing for a person carrying concealed to shoot the person besting him in a "heated debate." (sarcasm).

Maybe just a few more guns find their way onto campus. Isn’t that a few guns too many, especially in an environment where excessive drinking occurs, among people at an age when anxiety and depression can be acute?
The argument that more guns will cause more crime is made by liberals every time the law expands where citizens can legally go armed (concealed) and it's never true. There is no bloodbath that follows when the law allows more people to obtain concealed carry permits and indeed, the rate of violent crime goes down.

Do we really want to do anything at all to unsettle young men and women in the phase of life when they’re trying to polish the confidence and optimism that will help them tackle the world? 

If disarming young men and women in that developmental phase makes it even slightly more likely that they can be murdered by the next loser/nutcase looking for quick infamy, that might be a bit unsettling. Certainly their being murdered might be a bit unsettling too.

Earlier in the article, Bruni remarked on the irony of UT Austin getting concealed carry when it was the site of a mass murder in 1966 (Charles Whitman). He seems to know some of the story:

It happened right here, at the University of Texas at Austin, where an engineering student climbed to the top of the iconic tower in the center of campus and, for an agonizing hour and a half, sprayed the surrounding area with bullets, killing 14 people and injuring more than 30.
What he apparently doesn't know is that ordinary citizens began to fire at Whitman with their hunting rifles which caused him to keep his head down and not shoot anyone else and kept him otherwise occupied until his position could be stormed by police and he shot dead. For Bruni and his ilk guns are bad and can never help. He's as wrong about that as he is to continue, at this late date, to support the supreme madness of gun free zones.

So, no, Bruni makes no sense whatsoever. He couldn't be more wrong.

*Cocks apparently left film criticism to become a screen writer and for some of his work he was nominated for Oscars. But I think that his work is horrible. The worst thing about Strange Days was the script, ditto The Gangs of New York. Need I say more?


Monday, September 28, 2015


Green Energy

Funny 'cause it's true. Any intermittent power source must be backed up by a reliable source (like a coal powered plant) and because most of those take about 24 hours to react to changes in the intermittent output, the "back up" power plants just operate as if there were no intermittent power source there at all.

So the bird chopping, bat killing, giant noisy eyesores become merely useless art projects regarding how some misguided (or ignorant) people think they are helping the environment when actually they're hurting it.

Nothing a .50 BMG API round couldn't fix.


Friday, September 25, 2015


Ist Mein Bren Gewahr

German paratrooper (Fallschirmjäger) happy with his captured British Bren Gun. The Bren gun was a rip off of a Czech design, by Vaclav Holek, named the Zb vz 26. The b in the name stood for Brno which the Brits mispronounced as Bren (Czech is hard, man!). The top loading magazine caused the gunner to have to sight down the side a little. Pretty good gun which lasted a long time with the British Army (1938 through 2006). At first, it shot the fully potent .303; later the wimpier .308 (NATO 7.62x51 mm).


Wednesday, September 16, 2015


The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

I have generally been optimistic about America's future. As an example of my faith in my fellow citizens' IQ and seriousness of purpose, I have never blamed a jury for the loss of any case I tried. I thought the juries were smart and dedicated to the purpose of doing justice. But lately....

First there was Idiocracy, the movie. Now we seem to be getting ready for Idiocracy II, the reality. And I despair.

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Monday, August 31, 2015


The Limits of Introspection

I know that if I expect wisdom or keen insight from NYT columnist Charles Blow, I'm generally disappointed, in just the opposite way I am rarely disappointed by Sowell or Williams. So Blow is true to form here.

I think it is important to remember the horrible crimes of the deep South Democrats during their two century long reign. Emmett Till's murder by KKK members (I assume) 60 years ago, that is, when I was alive, is an important turning point regarding Democrat imposed Jim Crow institutional racism. But it is just as important to remember the improvement in race relations that has occurred over the past 6 decades. I have the advantage of having lived through it and I remember a lot. Much good happened between whites and blacks during that period. Society improved on race relations and equal protection of the law. So it is probably an easy question to answer but I'll ask it anyway: So why does Mr. Blow and his ilk only see the bad and ignore the good? Here is the part I find so disappointing (and he's quoting Christopher Benson with whom I am unfamiliar):

“Before Trayvon Martin, before Michael Brown, before Tamir Rice, there was Emmett Till. This was the first ‘Black Lives Matter’ story. It is no wonder, then, that each time we read about another young unarmed black male being shot down in the street — unjustly — by an authority figure, there is the mention of Emmett’s name. What we come to see with the loss of Emmett is just what racism has cost us in this country. What it costs us still, in the loss of so many bright, gifted kids. Partly through untimely deaths. But also in the limited opportunities many have to excel, because of mass incarceration or even unwarranted tracking in schools.”
OK, I'm familiar with Martin and Brown, both shot in self defense while they were committing crimes, but why is Mr. Rice on this list? Do Mr. Benson and Mr. Blow believe he didn't have a realistic looking airsoft gun with the orange tip required for toy guns removed? The shooting of Mr. Rice was so quick that I could support negligent homicide charges, if brought, but what was unjust about the proper use of self defense by Zimmerman and Wilson? And I know that this is a tired meme but I'll repeat, the number of young black males meeting untimely deaths by being murdered by other young black males absolutely dwarfs the number of young blacks shot by police. There was a chance for some breakthrough to set logical priorities regarding the actual numbers of people being made victims, but Benson and Blow can't seem to make that connection. Then it goes real bizarro. 'Mass incarceration' is liberal speak for unwarranted black incarceration. I know the justice system is flawed, as all human endeavors are flawed, but racist white cops and prosecutors are not out there railroading a lot of innocent young black men. To pretend that the differential in black v. white incarceration per capita is primarily a problem caused by white racism is to have slept through the last 6 decades and to ignore the actual facts of crime in America. Again, I am most frustrated by the misallocation of outrage by the black community. Don't all black lives matter?

There isn't enough tracking in public schools, not too much; and it is not mainly at the expense of smart young black men and women.

The big finish is all Blow:

Yes, Emmett’s story is a vital American story, and it feels like an all-too-present one as we see this cycle repeating itself: young lives are lost, the body itself is desecrated or neglected, killers are acquitted or not even brought to trial, and the effects of the feelings of terror and injustice galvanize a generation of young people who have taken as much as they plan to take.
In what way is the inexcusable, racist murder of Till by southern Democrats a "cycle repeating itself" today? Who is neglecting and desecrating the body? Whose body? And the killers mentioned by Blow were acquitted or never charged properly, not unjustly (Rice possibly excepted). But it is the same mote in your eye, beam in my eye misallocation of "terror and injustice" that bugs me. It is the same misallocation of equality that outrages the black community over a single tragic but justified homicide but causes nary a ripple of concern when a dozen young black men are gunned down over a weekend (on too many weekends) in half a dozen Democrat controlled cities across our nation. I'll ask for the final time: Don't all black lives matter?

Apparently to Blow and his ilk only the deaths they can blame on whites matter. Black on black crime never enters the picture. That's disappointing on a number of levels.


Friday, August 28, 2015


Bring Out the Template

Nicholas Kristof is not my favorite columnist at the NYT; in fact, I rarely read anyone there more than a couple of times a year. But when I read this, I had a profound sense of deja vu, and I had to think back to the last time I read Kristof. It turns out that for each shooting, where he gives a rat's behind about the victims, he drags out the same column and fills in the blanks. It's never about the shooter or victims with Kristof, each criminal tragedy is a chance for him once again call for more legislation about guns. It's always about trampling on an actual, in writing, in the Constitution (amendments thereto) right in the wan hope of saving lives.

So I drag out my tried and true response: If the murder statute didn't stop the murderer, what makes you think any other law will?

It's a question to which I have never received a response.

He says we need to regulate the safety of firearms as we have regulated the safety of cars. This is a stupid comparison, because cars are meant to carry us from point A to B and it is only carelessness and bad luck which tangentially cause 33,000 deaths in cars each year (and that number is way down from even 25 years ago when it was 50,000 per year). A gun, on the other hand is specifically designed and intended to kill, to put a metal pellet at speed into flesh, and for handguns, into human flesh. They are designed to cause death as their primary function. There is no safety fix for that. It is moronic to talk about making guns safer in a similar way it would be moronic not to try to make cars safer. And it sounds stupider every time he repeats it.

He then talks about our gun homicide rate but includes suicides in that figure. That's dishonest because banning or limiting access to gun doesn't really affect the rate of suicide, it just affects the method used to self murder. So including the suicide deaths merely makes the problem with gun violence seem worse and nothing Kristof and his ilk propose will touch the suicide rate. Don't believe me? Let's start with Kristof:

Australia is a model. In 1996, after a mass shooting there, the country united behind tougher firearm restrictions. The Journal of Public Health Policy notes that the firearm suicide rate dropped by half in Australia over the next seven years, and the firearm homicide rate was almost halved.
Firearm suicides were halved! Wow, I guess that means that there were far fewer suicides down there then, right? No, people just began to hang themselves more. Here are the numbers of suicides from Australia's official statistics for the following years:

1994     2,258
1995     2,367
1996     2,393  (this is the year the gun bans were passed)
1997     2,722
1998     2,683
1999     2,492
2000     2,362
2001     2,457
2002     2.320
2003     2,214
2004     2,098
2005     2,102
2006     1,799
2007     1,881 (hooray! suicides are down some 23%, maybe there is something to gun bans)
2008     2,282
2009     2,132
2010     2,361
2011     2,273
2012     2,535
2013     2,522  (no, darn, the rate is back up, in fact, it's higher than the pre-gun-ban rate. Hmmm)

So, using Australia as a model, banning certain types of guns here in America would have no effect on the actual number of suicides. It's like this for every "reasonable regulation" the gun haters propose. You degrade and infringe on the actual constitutional right and only the law abiding obey and the law serves no other useful purpose. But I do have to admire this: Kristof actually proposes a few regulation. Usually the lefty gun grabbers dodge the actual remedy part of gun control.

We need universal background checks with more rigorous screening, limits on gun purchases to one a month to reduce trafficking, safe storage requirements, serial number markings that are more difficult to obliterate, waiting periods to buy a handgun — and more research on what steps would actually save lives.

These proposed laws are each part of the old template. Let's keep with suicides for a bit. How are safe storage, more durable serial numbers and one gun purchase a month designed to stop suicides? No effect whatsoever. These three would also have no effect on gun crime either. You can hold two guns at one time but unless you bring them up to your eyes, like Harvey Keitel in Reservoir Dogs, you can only aim one at a time. That's why gunmen usually have only one gun and multiple magazines for reloading. Silly, ineffective proposed gun laws.

The universal background checks have never been shown to stop or even slow, in the slightest way, gun crime (or even suicide using a gun) and the waiting period is such a loser that it has been nearly completely subsumed into the instant background check system.

I wonder how Kristof would feel about having fill out a form in order to get the government's permission to effect one's first amendment rights. He probably wouldn't be OK with it. Ditto for me and the second.

UPDATE: Now we have a study that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt what we gun nuts have long strongly suspected. Criminals don't buy guns at gun stores or gun shows. Nor do they obtain them from people who would obey the law regarding a "universal background check." Universal background checks would only inconvenience the law abiding without stopping gun crime in any appreciable way. Not my idea of a solution to gun violence.


Monday, August 24, 2015


There's Something Wrong With the Black Lives Matter Movement

All human lives matter. That's the driving force behind pro-life groups. It's the bedrock principle of healthy human civilizations. So there is nothing wrong with the idea that black lives matter as a subset of all human lives matter. If there is a 'more' at the end of that sentence which is unpronounced, then we have a problem.

Here is Leonard Pitts Jr. in the Miami Herald this past weekend, trying but failing to keep the 'more' silent. For him, the concept that all lives matter is "moral cowardice". I don't think so, but I'm willing to be convinced.
Those words have risen as a kind of counter to “Black lives matter,” the movement that coalesced in response to recent killings and woundings of unarmed African Americans by assailants — usually police officers — who often go unpunished.
I don't think there is any "usually" about it; the movement, such as it is, is only about black men killed by white police officers. And the police officers he's thinking about but not mentioning go unpunished because they didn't commit a crime. But when black lives matter more, the criminal code doesn't matter. Pitts is criticizing Gov. Huckabee pointing out what I'm pointing out, which I believe most rational people would agree with, all lives matter equally. Pitts is having none of it.
Then he makes a hugely stupid analogy.
Imagine for a moment that you broke your left wrist. In excruciating pain, you rush to the emergency room for treatment only to run into a doctor who insists on examining not just your mangled left wrist, but your uninjured right wrist, rib cage, femur, fibula, sacrum, humerus, phalanges, the whole bag of bones that is you. You say, “Doc, it’s just my left wrist that hurts.” And she says, “Hey, all bones matter.”
If you understand why that remark would be factual, yet also, fatuous, silly, patronizing and off point, then you should understand why “All lives matter” is the same. It’s not about “elevating some lives” any more than it would be about elevating some bones. Rather, it’s about treating where it hurts.
But let's go with the general idea you need to spend your efforts and concern on the things that are broken, that need immediate attention--treating where it hurts. So black on black murder absolutely dwarfs the few white cop on black homicides. Is it black lives matter more if a white is the shooter?
Pitts says that police violence is disproportionate in the black community. I'm not surprised because police have to become involved in the disproportionate amount of murders and assaults members of the black community rain down on other members of the black community. That blacks are the cause of their problems with the police, white or black, is something that just does not compute with Pitts and his ilk. There is something or someone else to blame, always, no matter how distant or absurd.
To treat where it hurts, one must first acknowledge that it still hurts, something conservatives often find hard to do because it gives the lie to their self-congratulatory balloon juice about how this country has overcome its founding sin.
But haven't we paid for doing what every other nation on Earth did at the time, own slaves, by the .6 million American dead in the Civil War? Not enough, Pitts apparently thinks. Haven't we paid for it with the $22 Trillion of the Great Society programs? Not enough. Pitts apparently thinks. Haven't we actually made some progress with race relations in the past 100 years? I'm thinking of the actual scandal it was for Republican President Teddy Roosevelt just to have George Washington Carver over to the White House for dinner; and now millions and millions of white voters have placed a black man as the resident of the White House. Twice. Meaningless, Pitts apparently thinks.

Pitts does admit that something good came out of the horror in the Charleston church. But it's not the wonderful grace and forgiveness shown by the families of the victims (something I'm not a good enough Christian to do) but rather the agreement by some whites that black lives matter more.

For a few hundred years Democrats here owned slaves, as was common throughout the world since humans first banded together. After Republicans freed the slaves, the Democrats kept the black community, largely in the South but elsewhere as well, second class for nearly a hundred years. By the early 60s, there was indeed a huge wrong to right. I am not convinced that 50 years after the '64 Civil Rights Act, there is such a huge wrong to right. Pitts disagrees, but he is not convincing about his misplaced outrage.

And I haven't even mentioned the strange mass Stockholm syndrome that has caused the black community in America to embrace their former (and current) oppressors, the Democrats. Pitts is as blind to that as he appears to be blind to the immediate and more pressing hurt to his community. Hint: It's not the police. He's still taking the easy route of alibi.

UPDATE: Most of my fellow ethnics agree with me and Huckabee and even 64% of blacks disagree that 'all lives matter' is the immoral standard of cowards. They too agree with me and with Huckabee and disagree with the obtuse and disagreeable Mr. Pitts.


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