Thursday, June 25, 2015


There is None so Blind...

E.J. Dionne is sort of an idiot. He can see the general picture and sometimes even the detail, but he rarely has any relevant insight from his hit or miss perceptions. Take this recent piece, for example. I'll ignore the moronic title and go right to the article. He starts off fairly well.

Advocates of a saner approach to guns need a new strategy. We cannot go on like this, wringing our hands in frustration after every tragedy involving firearms. We said "Enough" after Sandy Hook. We thought the moment for action had come. Yet nothing happened. We are saying "Enough" after Charleston. But this time, we don't even expect anything to happen.

There is no saner approach to firearms than the independent clause of the Second Amendment. But he's right that the chance of further, unconstitutional statutory intrusion into the second amendment, (a constitutional right which actually exists in writing in the Constitution), because of yet another gun murder/tragedy is virtually nil. That's because we rational people realize banning something with a law does not do away with it (think cocaine or heroin) and there already are sufficient laws against murder. Then E.J. begins to let out his inner moron.

Lest anyone doubt that gun-control measures can work, a study released earlier this month by the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University found that a 1995 Connecticut law requiring a permit or license contingent on passing a background check was associated with a 40 percent drop in gun homicides. (Emphasis added).

Notice the weasel word: Associated, not caused. This is a worthless, tendentious study. Gun murders and other gun crimes in every state on average declined more than 40% since 1995, whether there were new gun control laws passed in a particular state or not. I'm still doubting that laws about mere ownership of guns will work with criminals where murder laws don't. E.J. then lets us into his circle of wise friends.

My friend Guy Molyneux, a progressive pollster, laid out how it could happen. "We need to build a social movement devoted to the simple proposition that owning handguns makes us less safe, not more," he told me. "The evidence is overwhelming that having a gun in your home increases the risks of suicide, domestic violence and fatal accidents, and yet the number one reason given for gun purchases is 'personal safety.' We need a public health campaign on the dangers of gun ownership, similar to the successful efforts against smoking and drunk driving."

I think having a gun gives you a fighting chance against a bigger, stronger attacker or an attacker  of any size with a gun. The number of fatal accidents with guns per year in America is about 600. Accidental death caused merely by falling down are 25,000 per year, about 42 times more lethal; and deaths from accidental poisonings are about 39,000 per year, about 65 times more lethal. But E.J. stumbles onto a truth the gun grabbers like to ignore.

The facts were on the side of those who battled the tobacco companies, and they are just as compelling here. When we talk about guns, we don't focus enough on the reality, reported in the 2015 Annual Review of Public Health, that nearly two-thirds of the deaths from firearms violence are suicides. Yes, people can try to kill themselves with pills, but there's no coming back from a gunshot to the head. Those in the throes of depression who have a gun nearby are more likely to act on their darkest impulses.

Most gun deaths in America are suicides, that is, caused by the victim after a conscious choice to end the victim's own life. I'm not sure about no coming back from a gunshot to the head. Perhaps E.J. could consult with former Representative Gabrielle Giffords. She's about 2/3rds the way back. And it's odd about suicides, age and gender. Young women who try rarely succeed in killing themselves. Older men rarely fail. Very few women use a gun. Men use guns for suicide most of the time. Is E.J. anti-choice about life? If he is, how totally unprogressive.

Nor do we talk enough about accidental deaths when children get their hands on guns, or what happens when a domestic argument escalates and a firearm is readily available. The message is plain and simple: Households that voluntarily say no to guns are safer.
We talk about child gun deaths, both homicide and accidental, all the time. Each accidental death is a tragedy. There are about 100 accidental gun deaths each year here of people under 18. Twenty times that drown (not just children) each year. In a population of 320,000,000, I'm not sure preventing child accidental gun deaths is the most pressing place to focus our resources. The NRA spends a lot of time and money teaching gun safety. They must be the good guys then. Associated with those NRA efforts, it turns out, is the fact that most people lock up their guns if they have children around, which is why there are so few such deaths in a country where well over a hundred fifty million own guns. And, yes, a household that voluntarily disarms is safer, unless some criminal enters the household. Then I'd say the household is less safe.

The big finish is Through the Looking Glass logic.

"Those of us who want to live, shop, go to school and worship in gun-free spaces also have rights," Molyneux says. "In what way is 'freedom' advanced by telling the owner of a bar or restaurant they cannot ban handguns in their own place of business, as many states now do? Today, it is the NRA that is the enemy of freedom, by seeking to impose its values on everyone else."
There is no such right not to have anyone with a gun anywhere near you. There is a right to carry a gun for protection. And, no, the NRA is preventing the government from intruding on the Second Amendment rights of the customers of the bar or restaurant.

The nation could ring out with the new slogans of liberty: "Not in my house." "Not in our school." "Not in my bar." "Not in our church." We'd be defending one of our most sacred rights: The right not to bear arms.

If you don't want to keep or bear a firearm, don't get one. That's a pretty easy solution, even for a moron. If you want your bar or church to put up a sign that says 'no guns on the premises' or 'this is a gun free zone' then by all means only go to a bar or a church that has such a sign. Did the church in Charleston have such a sign? Was it a gun free zone? But if you want your immediate public surroundings to be actually gun free, you're going to have to get the criminals to co-operate.

Good luck with that.

Grade school children think more profoundly than E.J. and Guy on this subject.


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