Saturday, December 05, 2015


A Target Rich Environment

The rapidly devolving NYT has a front page editorial today, the first since the paper opposed Warren G. Harding in 1920 (I'm neutral on that opinion piece) and it's about the gun epidemic, as if these inanimate pieces of steel were germs or something. Here we go, starting with the sub-head.

​It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.
I have to say that the editorial board shows a complete ignorance of guns right from the start. All guns are designed to kill with brutal speed and efficiency-- a metal jacketed cone of lead directed at the speed of sound exactly where the gun is aimed. It's the whole point. Some, mostly handguns, are designed to kill humans. So the distinction the board is drawing between non-brutal, inefficient guns which couldn't hurt a fly and the mean, nasty guns that are particularly dangerous, and of which they don't approve, is fantasy. Laughably absurd fantasy.

We mourn the dead, they say, and are mad at the murderers, yadda yadda yadda, but then get to their political point.

The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

That's right, the political leadership of our nation could waive their magic law wands and end murder, end craziness, end hatred and sudden jihad syndrome and keep us safe from the mean, nasty guns but they don't because of the extraordinary lobbying power of our handful of gun manufacturers. This is more fantasy. But we do have gun control laws. We have laws punishing murder too, severely. If they don't keep us safe, only a moron believes that another law will do the trick. "...profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms?" Does the NYT board think we have more powerful weapons than were available to us by the end of WWI, nearly a century ago? If anything, the late 20th and early 21st Century trend has been away from full size military cartridges to the less powerful intermediate round. These guys don't know the first thing about weapons. Can I accuse the NYT of profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more stupid ideas?

The board repeats the subhead and then expands on it.

These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday.

What most civilians can afford to own are not weapons of war because they are not full auto. Except for the fortunate who are grandfathered from the 1986 full auto weapons ban (probably 70,000 citizens), all we get are semi-auto versions. But I'm taking the bait. Except for the sizable difference in the rate of fire, all weapons are barely modified weapons of war. All can shoot you dead. This is more of the meaningless mean, nasty gun versus inefficient harmless gun divide they started with. The board seems to understand that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is for opposing government tyranny (that is, for insurrection--like ours against the oppressive British rule). They used to just say we could only own weapons for hunting and plinking. And what's with the vigilante complaint? I was totally unaware we had a vigilante problem and a macho one at that. I thought we had a terrorist problem.

I'm glad the Senators rejected the stupid 'no guns for the people on the no fly list' legislation. But that's because I support due process for taking away our God-given rights (this one actually mentioned in the Constitution) as any moral, thinking person should. How about we form a committee of citizens, completely free of accountability, to put, irrevocably, certain newspaper reporters and editors on a no writing list in order to keep us safe from dangerous ideas and subversive thoughts? Sound good?

They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

See? Even they say we have a terrorist problem. But, hold on there, kitty cat. I thought the main purpose of the actions the editorial promotes was to keep us safe. So, discussing terrorism and how best to defeat it would necessarily be part of keeping us safe, right? Not a distraction but an integral part of keeping the citizenry safe. These guys are kind of dim. If this is the best the paper's editorial leadership can do, no wonder ever fewer people read the NYT each year.

However, in a moment of clarity, the board produces this:

Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.

OK, let's expand on the first admission: No law can stop an individual criminal. To me, that's kind of game over for more gun control legislation. The laws the NYT is pushing will have no effect on the individual who is determined to point a gun, any gun, at another individual and pull the trigger. Well then, let's pass more ineffectual laws that won't save anyone. That's such a good idea. And there is that pesky constitutional problem about banning guns. Pity. But the last admission is the rock on which the ship of all gun grabber sentiment founders. No law will stop a "determined" killer from obtaining a weapon illegally. Maybe it will stop the causal murderer, but not the determined ones. Gun laws prohibiting possession of a certain gun are only obeyed by the law abiding and we don't need to ban the possession of any gun by the law abiding. They're the good guys. But the board goes on as if they haven't given away their fraud by the admissions.

But at least those countries are trying.

Yes, that's the main concern for the anti-gun crowd. At least we're trying to do things we just admitted are ineffectual and will not prevent a single gun murder. We gun fans think that we should only do things to restrict gun ownership that actually help. Trying to do stupid stuff is stupid.

The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs.

The US is not trying stupid, ineffectual things, I'll grant you (although some states, including my own, are passing stupid, ineffectual laws). But I've tried people for aiding and abetting criminals. Not passing stupid, ineffectual laws is not abetting murder; it's not even close. The rhetoric kind of got away from the board there. Does Congress or the Executive create any markets? I always thought that was the private sector. I guess the NYT board knows better. And I have to imagine that the politicians who take their oath to protect and defend the Constitution seriously, by not passing unconstitutional, stupid, ineffectual laws, have the support of the majority of the voting public. I imagine the NYT thinks the people who don't vote these prudent, patriot politicians out are stupid. Tu quoque.

But here's the money quote, sort of an unmasking:

It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

We have to confiscate and destroy lots of guns, millions and millions of guns. So much for the lefty smokescreen of 'we're only trying to pass sensible gun safety laws, we're not going to take away your guns'. We gun fans knew it was a lie all along, but it's good to see the main cheerleader for the left, the paper of record, come right out and admit it. Please keep pushing gun confiscation as a plank of the liberal parties. Please.

I also wish they would actually name the categories of weapons and ammunition that they think are mean and nasty and must be eliminated. I think the list would be a hoot to those of us who actually know something about guns and ammunition. Alas, the mean, nasty guns and ammunition, unworthy of constitutional protection, are left to our collective imagination.

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.

Not that peculiar. I have always thought the 2nd Amendment did two things: 1) Protected our God-given right to life, to self defense (using the weapon of the individual's unfettered choice) in stating the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (pretty straightforward that); and, 2) Protected the state militias from being disarmed by the federal government who controlled the Army and Navy. That way courted a military takeover and tyranny. (Just because the political deportment of our military forces has been exemplary, doesn't mean it wasn't a good idea to set up countervailing forces to the forces of a standing Army and Navy). I admit that rights can indeed be subject to reasonable regulation; but having admitted that no law can prevent murder (by a determined criminal) and no gun law will prevent determined murderers from obtaining a weapon of their choice, in what way are gun and ammunition bans (even of the mean, nasty ones) reasonable? If it doesn't work, it's not reasonable.

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.

The "slightly" modified assault rifles used in California were already banned in California. Thanks for the additional evidence your proposals won't work. I'm pretty sure the clear and effective definitions of the guns the NYT board wants to ban would boil down to "it just looks mean and nasty." We're grabbing your guns for no effective purpose but we're infringing on your right to keep and bear arms for the good of others. Sorry, no sale. Is it OK if we ban certain editorials that might be triggering of bad feelings, for the good of our fellow citizens?

What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?

Is the board unaware of the fact that people have been buying guns at an extraordinary rate during the Obama administration? Perhaps as many as 100 Million. I guess the wanting to be armed is the indecency the board is railing about. Part of the reason for so many people supporting gun rights by buying one is that Obama's pitiful lack of leadership has made the world much more dangerous. Part is the fear (being fueled by this editorial) that the federal government is going to start confiscating guns and prohibit the sale of many others. Keep it up, board; you are greasing the skids for your preferred candidate to slip further and further in the polls, no matter which current candidate the Republicans select.

Gun control legislation may make the Democrats' naughty parts go all tingly but it is political death for their candidates in national elections. Just ask Al Gore.

UPDATE: Both Jonah Goldberg and John Hinderaker have excellent pieces on the NYT editorial. Also I added a link I neglected to add before and corrected some mistakes in spelling pointed out by a loyal and very helpful reader.


Excellent. Hope you don't mind if I share a link to your post.

[penultimate paragraph, last sentence: "polls" not "poles" -- musta been the autofill, yah?]
Whoa. Went to copy the header & see "Enviornment" You post in a hurry today?
No, I've always had difficulty editing and spell checking my writing. It nearly always looks correct to me. I'll make the changes. Thanks and yes, you can always share what I write.
I just hate to see quality writing devalued by typos.

(Your apostrophes are always correct, though. there's nothing quite like bumping into a it's v. its to ruin a good piece.)
Thanks again.

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