Thursday, December 24, 2015


Fun With Math

In a stupid unsigned editorial in the NYT today, Republicans are attacked as fearing gun facts (it's the title of the editorial). Here are some facts:

1. Nearly two thirds of gun deaths in America are suicides, the rest are gun homicides and accidents and many of the gun homicides are justified by self defense.

2. The confiscation and destruction of 1/5 of the guns in Australia in 1996 had no long term effect on the rate of suicide, it merely changed the method of suicide (hanging replaced diminishing gun suicides). The Australian suicide rate surged after the gun confiscation and then declined but by 2012 the rate of suicide was again higher than before the gun confiscation, and still is higher.

3. Since their peak in 1993, gun homicides have declined by 49% here in America.

Now I can do simple math; so in the 22 years since 1993 the rate of gun homicides has fallen 49%, so that's 2.23% per year--on average across differential state rates. Some states have higher gun homicide rates than others and lower gun suicide rates and vice versa. Let's look at the NYT anti-gun screed de jour.

For nearly two decades, Congress has banned needed research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, Congress, doing the bidding of the gun industry, quietly killed a provision in the omnibus spending bill that would have reversed that ban.

Maybe I'm being too literal but doesn't the CDC research and help prevent diseases? And gun violence is in no way a disease, right? So preventing the CDC from wasting time and money researching non diseases is a good thing. Most if not all of the viral diseases are pretty much incurable once you have them, and all doctors do is treat the symptoms until you die or get well. And there are no vaccines for many diseases yet so it's not as if the CDC has nothing else to do.

And of course the legislators who are preventing the CDC from wasting time and money on non-disease projects are not doing what they think is right, they are mere minions of the evil gun industry. Man, the dark side is strong with those corporate entities!

In so doing, it left intact an anti-science smoke screen that has helped the industry and its lobbyists deny and dispute the facts of the gun violence that takes more than 30,000 lives a year.
No one who likes guns or values the Constitution (and amendments thereto) is denying any fact about gun violence. It's the other side which is sloppy with the facts. Like the editorial today. Let me explain: To my thinking, gun violence is an assault by another person using a gun which gun use wounds or kills the person assaulted. But that's only about 11,000 per year and falling or 3.257 per 100,000 which is not much (could be better and it's getting better). So the NYT inflates the gun death numbers with suicides (even though suicide is not a problem the left cares about; they are in fact pro-suicide and work to pass laws to get feeble people help in killing themselves--a prospect we on the right generally find dismaying).

So if you're talking about gun control legislation, which at its core is an attempt to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and crazy people in order to prevent gun murder and assault, adding in the suicide numbers to make the problem seem worse than it is would necessarily be anti-fact. Let me be more blunt. In order to make the problem (actual gun violence) seem worse, the NYT board is lying to us while it calls those against unreasonable gun control "afraid of facts." Hello, pot? This is kettle. You're black.

Perversely, the gun industry claims that research by private and academic interests — which it can’t block — is untrustworthy. Expect that argument to be invoked in reaction to alarming research about the Missouri General Assembly’s repeal eight years ago of background checks for gun buyers that required people to appear in person at the local sheriff’s office.

A study by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that in the first six years after the repeal, gun homicides rose within the state by 16 percent, while the national rate declined 11 percent.

The facts are indeed the legislature changed the law slightly (but purchasers from gun dealers, where nearly all gun purchases take place, still required the federal instant background check) and gun violence went up. What's missing from the study is a finding that the change in legislation caused gun violence to rise in Missouri. The guys doing the study warned the people reading it that correlation is not causation. Yet the NYT appears to assume that the study indeed found causation. Liars. It get's worse.

By contrast, it also found that Connecticut, which has maintained its 1995 background check law, registered a 40 percent drop in gun homicides across a decade.

OK, here is where I step in with math so bear with me. From 1995 to today is 20 years. 20 times 2.23% (the rate gun homicide has been dropping on average per year since 1993) is 44.6%. One would expect a 44% drop during this time but the Connecticut rate of gun homicide only dropped by 40% (less than the expected rate), but the NYT falsely holds out this statistic as proof that background checks prevent gun homicide when they do no such thing. Liars.

One study estimated that gun violence annually costs $8.6 billion in direct expenses for emergency and medical care. Wyoming, the state with the highest rate of gun deaths, also has the highest per capita costs for gun violence — about $1,400 per resident per year, which is twice the national average. A new area for investigation is the fact that gun deaths have begun surpassing motor vehicle deaths in some states.

This is utter bullshit. Wyoming has about 570,000 people and a gun homicide rate less than 1 per 100,000. That's not a lot in direct expenses for emergency or medical care for 5 people each year. Certainly not $642,000,000 which is what the NYT says. $1,400 times 570,000 is nearly 2/3 a billion dollars. Complete and utter bullshit. The reason the NYT can say Wyoming has the highest rate of gun deaths is because it has the highest rate of gun suicides in the nation. The rate of all suicides is 23.2 per 100,000 and 80% of those are with guns. But it has one of the lowest gun murder rates. Who's not dealing in facts about Wyoming's problem with gun violence? Nearly everyone has a gun and its gun homicide rate is one of the lowest in the nation. In what way is that fact helpful to the gun haters who want to confiscate your guns, America?

Private research is valuable, but in-depth federal studies are crucial for discovering the full patterns of crime and death fed by the relentless weakening of gun laws in recent decades.

OK, we know that gun legislation has been ever more pro-self-defense in the past 20 years or so. More and more states have relaxed rules against concealed carry while gun ownership has increased by a little over 1/2 (from under 200,000,000 to over 300,000,000). Yet despite "weakened gun laws" and increased gun ownership, the crime of gun homicide has fallen by nearly half. Yeah, let's do a study on those facts and see if there is any causation.

So having failed to mention the precipitous fall in gun homicides in the past two decades, and having dishonestly added gun suicides to the numbers bandied about when gun suicides is not the problem the gun haters are talking about (mass shootings is the current subject, the fact that they are less than 2% of gun homicides is lost on them), does anyone believe the NYT would support a study that could actually find that the so called weakened gun laws have caused a drop in gun homicides?

Wait, who is afraid of the facts, exactly?

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Sunday, December 20, 2015


Brief Review of Star Wars VII

It's better than the last 4.

Other than the beneficiaries of the senior citizen actors' initiative, three out of four of the new generation were horribly miscast, although I was glad to see the lead in Attack the Block get a big role.

The one bright spot was the actress who played the Jedi natural, Rey. She was terrific. British, of course.

So two more to go of this ever more irrelevant series. They are merely recycling ideas from the first six, particularly the first two, but at least those movies had some ideas, somewhat silly, to recycle.

I'll still go and see them.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015


Strike Four

Why won't the Republicans talk about things we think are important? whines the NYT editorial board today here. I can answer that one; because your proposals about gun legislation are not worth talking about. But let's look inside the whining.

Instead, the nine Republican rivals spent much of their time dwelling darkly on potential threats from Islamic State terrorists. And when they brought up the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., this month, carried out by a couple found to be inspired by Islamic State violence, the discussion never veered to the easy gun access that enabled those killers — and many others — to commit swift and horrific slaughter of innocent people.

That would have complicated their pitch, and more important, would mean thinking about gun violence in ways that would displease the gun industry and its political lobby.
I'm not sure why the NYT obsesses over the imagined power of a fully functional death star gun lobby. It isn't a powerfull lobby at all. I can't find its ranking in expenditures towards swaying legislators, but I do know it's not in the top 20. It's not in the top 68. The NRA is not concerned with the gun industry but with individual second amendment rights. There's a huge difference there.

Of course the NYT editorial board members have to blame someone for not listening to them or taking their silly legislation recommendations seriously. They constantly attack the lobbyists, as if they were doing something nefarious rather than exercising their first amendment rights to petition the government for redress of grievances. Of course for the NYT the first amendment stops after "freedom of the press." That part they like.

So, the Republicans are talking how to prevent Islamic terrorist attacks and the NYT would rather they discuss how to disarm law abiding citizens. Someone has no sense of priority and it ain't the Republicans.

Of course the NYT (cough, the paper of record, cough) inflates the gun violence stats it uses with suicide numbers. That's a different problem, guys.

All in all a very weak effort to shame the Republicans.

We already have laws to prevent mass murders with guns, the murder statutes. If that doesn't stop the mass murderers, gun legislation isn't going to do the trick.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015


The True Horror of 1984

I liked Brave New World a lot more than 1984, but I really haven't read either of them since I was a teenager oh so many years ago. I didn't buy that technology (two way TV screens in the main) would bring about a long dark night of fascism, at least in America. But the ideas behind newspeak; well, that was terrifying. Devalue the language to the point where you can't hold or communicate revolutionary ideas (or any ideas of value). I kept getting glimpses of that through the past decades. But here is why I'm writing this. I saw this quote reading David Harsanyi today:

“At this point, if you deny climate change, you are a traitor to your species.”

A little chilling thought from the liberal fascists but what's triggering my response is the use of the phrase "climate change." Those words as used in the sentence are a form of newspeak. I believe in climate change. 30,000 years ago Manhattan was under a mile of ice. Nearly the whole of the Mesozoic Era (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous) was on average 11 degrees C warmer than it is now. What simpleton does not believe in climate change?

But the words 'climate change' now means 'catastrophic anthropogenic global warming' and there are plenty of reasons not to believe that. There are plenty of reasons to reject the idea that nonbelief in that theory (the reality is not fitting the hypothesis) is a basis for being called traitor to our species. In fact, real scientific minds would not believe it.


Sunday, December 13, 2015


Argumentum ad Misericordiam

Mike Lupica is the classic definition of a fanatic. He can't change his mind but he won't change the subject, and the subject is how evil guns are. I never realized until today, however, what a poor writer he is.

Hey, Mike, objects aren't evil, people are evil.

Today's sermon is 95% tugging at the heart strings, appealing to pity, the rhetorical fallacy which is the title of my piece. It's 95% wallowing in the pathos of people in the town where the Sandy Hook school shooting took place nearly 3 years ago. I'll look at his more or less logical statements.

But when a couple of good jihadists doing the shooting with their Adam Lanza guns in San Bernardino, that gets the blood boiling on the Republican campaign trail, does it ever. It is so much easier to get tough with a religion than the high church of gun manufacturers whose sales just keep going up, as the number of guns in private hands in this country becomes as insane as any statistic of American life.

Good jihadists? Mike, what bizarro moral world do you live in? And the phrase  'the high church of gun manufacturers whose sales just keep going up' is pretty stupid. Guns are tools, highly specialized tools, but just tools. Change the tool and you see just how stupid-- the high church of reciprocating saw manufacturers whose sales just keep going up. There are fans of guns in the shortened version of the word 'fanatics' way but no one worships guns. Pathetic extended metaphor there, Mike.

But the worst is the last clause; 'as the number of guns in private hands in this country becomes as insane as any statistic of American life.' First, statistics are usually statement of facts and are not insane in any way, so to call statistics insane is pretty stupid. Since no statement of fact is insane, what Mike is saying is that the 312 million guns owned by Americans is as insane as any other statistic, which is to say gun ownership at that level is not insane at all. An actually competent writer who just had to use the words 'statistics' and 'insane' in the same sentence about despised gun ownership would have called the statistic of gun ownership more insane than any other statistic of American life.

Still they all hide behind the Second Amendment, which will eventually kill more Americans than ISIS ever will.
I thought it was the guns that were doing all the killing? This is reaching way beyond the strained conceit that the inanimate tools do the killing without any human influence or human responsibility, it's blaming the recognition that Americans have a right not to die just because of someone wants to kill them. We can fight back and we can fight back effectively, using the weapon of our choice and not the government approved weapon.

Mike, ISIS is a group of very evil people, all Muslims. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is ink on parchment, but deeper, an idea, a beneficial idea that we have a right to life, to self defense, to keep and bear arms (because it's a good idea to have a civilian militia to oppose a coup by government armed forces). This is your typical stupid comparison of two completely unlike things because, Mike, I hate to break this to you, you're none too bright.

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Saturday, December 12, 2015


Strike Three

It is beginning to look like the NYT is assigning its current string of anti-gun rants only to the writers who know absolutely nothing about guns. Think I'm kidding? Check this out.

As each new mass shooting leaves dead and wounded Americans strewn like casualties on a battlefield — a butcher’s toll that has now intersected with the international terrorist threat — the gun industry’s culpability amounts to war profiteering through the reckless sale of military weapons tailored for the civilian homefront.

First of all, war profiteers are those who sell weapons to people waging war, as the two word phrase might suggest to those able to read. Selling ordinary, non-military guns to citizens may be some sort of profiteering but it's not war profiteering. Gunmakers can't sell military guns to citizens by law (the unfortunate 1986 ban). Apparently the writer's or writers' ignorance of gun legislation is as complete as the patent gun ignorance in the piece. So the thing starts with moronic overstatement. In what way is legal sales to citizens with intact 2nd Amendment rights reckless? In no way. As stupid as the first paragraph is, it gets worse, much worse.

Across recent decades, gun manufacturers, facing a decline in general gun ownership as demographics shifted and sports hunting faded, have cynically created a domestic market for barely altered rifles and pistols developed for the military. These are weapons designed for the rapid spray-shooting of multiple enemy soldiers in wartime, not homeland civilians living in peace.
What are these morons talking about? Gun ownership has been steadily increasing over the last few decades and went into hyperdrive with the election of President Obama. Since 1994, gun ownership went from 194,000,000 weapons to 310,000,000 (and, apparently unknown to the NYT, during the same period, gun homicides decreased by nearly half). That's a gain in gun ownership of more than  50% in just over two decades. "Facing a decline", my broad ass. Only a few million of those were the mean looking semi auto AR 15 and its clones. And those are substantially altered from the M 4 carbines our soldiers use now--the military ones are full auto and the domestic ones are single trigger pull single shot (semi auto). When you're using semi auto (like out boys in WWII) you aim each round. There is not a spraying of bullets. I'm not so sure the gun manufacturers created the market so much as catered to the choice of the buyers (the AR 15 was developed in 1957).

Yet the latest casualty count of 14 killed and 21 wounded last week in the gun carnage at San Bernardino, Calif., is another horrendous confirmation of how these easily available weapons — marketed as macho tools for a kind of paramilitary self-defense — are being used again and again for rapid-fire attacks on innocent people. The fact that the California killers were self-proclaimed Islamic warriors makes the ease with which their arsenal was assembled all the more outrageous.
I'm not sure talking about the worst Islamic terrorism attack on the US since 9/11/01 is going to help the position of the NYT. And what's wrong with macho? Gun ownership should be macho. It's certainly not metrosexual. Yet the NYT managed to stumble onto the acorn of truth. Civilian gun ownership is precisely for a kind of paramilitary self-defense. Well done, writers. But the last sentence of the paragraph goes full retard. If the US intelligence forces don't know that the San Berdoo couple are Islamic terrorists, how are the local gun shop owners supposed to know?

While lurid-looking rifles may cause the most shock in the public aftermath, the industry has also been selling pliant statehouse politicians on the legalization of “concealed carry” handgun licenses. These are spreading powerful semiautomatic pistols with the firepower of rifles through the civilian population, from bar rooms to college campuses, even as evidence mounts that they cause more harm to innocent victims than to fantasized malefactors.
The phrase "lurid-looking" is very nice. I have no idea what it means but it alliterates. Again the NYT tries to get us to believe that it's the handful of gun manufacturers that are making the legislators do bad things with the law--like allow the citizens to keep and bear arms. I bet the influence of the gun lobby is near zero on state legislators. I know the gun lobby guy here in Denver. He's not had a lot of luck getting the Democrat legislators not to pass stupid laws. But again the real moronic statement is "powerful semiautomatic pistols with the firepower of rifles". This is an absurd statement. I'm also completely baffled by the last line of the paragraph. As stated above, gun homicides have declined by half over the past 21 years. What evidence is the NYT referring to? Criminal use of a handgun will cause harm to innocent victims. Self defense may cause harm to the apparently non-existent 'malefactors' (I wonder who is harming the innocents if the gunmen are merely fantasies) but merely showing a gun, not firing a shot, is how most gun crimes are avoided by the use of a gun for self defense. So I would think the harm to the fantasized malefactors is indeed a lot less than harm by them to innocent victims. I'm not getting the NYT's point here. They're not continuing with the concealed carry will cause a bloodbath meme, are they? We all know that never happens. Good guys with guns remain good guys nearly all the time.

Assault weapons were banned for 10 years until Congress, in bipartisan obeisance to the gun lobby, let the law lapse in 2004. As a result, gun manufacturers have been allowed to sell all manner of war weaponry to civilians, including the super destructive .50-caliber sniper rifle, which an 18-year-old can easily buy in many places even where he or she must be 21 to buy a simpler handgun. Why any civilian would need this weapon, designed to pierce concrete bunkers and armored personnel carriers, is a question that should be put to the gun makers who profit from them and the politicians who shamelessly do their bidding.

I'm pretty sure the 10 year sunset was in the bill when it passed in 1994, so no, the "bipartisan obeisance to the gun lobby" didn't happen in 2004. What happened is that the Congress didn't renew the ban because even the dense legislators knew it had done virtually nothing to lower the crime rate. There are .50 BMG round shooting rifles our there to buy. They are bitches to shoot but the round goes a long, long way accurately and packs a huge wallop when it hits. Some people like to shoot at targets a long, long way away. The bolt action ones go for $3,000 to $4,000 and the Barrett semi-auto ten round one costs about $10,000 if you can find one (they are very popular). So, no, I'm doubting that teenagers are buying these very often. And again the NYT questions why would citizens need such a gun? That's not the question to ask about 2nd Amendment rights. I want to own it is sufficient and not subject to groundless government intervention. It's just as stupid to ask why would you need a certain book, magazine or newspaper? And opposition to the .50 BMG rifles is groundless as they have never been involved in a murder. Not one.

The NYT then criticizes, pointlessly, the advertising campaigns of some gun manufacturers but inserted in this general idiocy is this full moronic statement:

An ad for an armor-piercing handgun shows an embattled infantryman above the line: “Built For Them ... Built For You.”

Armor-piercing handgun? Not a lot of those around. A pistol round won't penetrate even class II body armor. And top of the line military grade body armor will stop (sometimes) a .223 or 7.62 x 39 round. There is the Thompson Center Arms Contender and a very few others, but they're not very popular or widely owned. Single shot pistols are not a criminal's hand weapon of choice.

Congress has shamelessly become the last to admit what the public senses with each new shooting spree: The nation needs restoration of a federal assault weapons ban — this time minus the loopholes the gun industry exploited to boost sales.

This is awkward in light of the latest polling where less than half of the nation wants mean looking rifles banned. It is the NYT that is the last to know the hearts and minds of the populace and the legislators who seem to know how pointless a ban on some small subset of auto-loading rifles would be. (Rifles of any sort were involved in only 248 out of 11,961 weapon homicides in 2014. Knives are 13.1%. Feet and hands are 5.5%). Rifles are not a big crime problem unless you think that the mass shooting incidents are the only crime problem that matters. Here's the big finish.

After the schoolhouse massacre three years ago in Newtown, Conn., a state commission focused on the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle the shooter used to slay 20 children and six workers in barely five minutes with 154 rounds. It found “no legitimate place in the civilian population” for such a war rifle and its 30-round magazines. The same style weapon, routinely marketed as a “sporting rifle,” was used in the San Bernardino rampage. Something like it is likely to be in the hands of the next mass shooter, whatever the killer’s obsession.

Well, if there's an unnamed study that says mean looking semi-auto rifles have no legitimate place in civilian arsenals then I guess we just ought to just start turning them in. Forgive my sarcasm there. The NYT's call to re-ban the misnamed assault rifles is a very tired Democrat talking point. They undercut it even more by revealing an appalling ignorance of even basic facts about guns.

I have to admit, however, that it was kind of a funny read. I chuckled more than a few times. I don't think the editorial board was going for funny though.

UPDATE: The ever sensible Brit, Charles Cooke, notices the ignorance too, here.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015


Strike Two

Having largely embarrassed themselves on December 5, 2015 with their bone headed editorial about gun control, the NYT editorial board strikes again today here.

They are all ecstatic about the Supreme Court passing on taking up a case of local law prohibiting mean looking semi-auto weapons.

It was the 70th time since 2008 that the Supreme Court has declined to consider a lawsuit challenging a federal, state or local gun regulation. This creates a big opportunity for Americans to put pressure on their state and local leaders, especially since Congress refuses to approve even uncontroversial measures like universal background checks for gun sales, which are supported by nearly nine in 10 Americans. Until that changes, states and cities have the constitutional authority and moral obligation to protect the public from the scourge of gun violence.

I think their joy is misplaced for two reasons. First and least, they are misinterpreting the decision of the Court. It's far more likely that the Justices voting not to take up the case did so, not because they think the gun banning law in question is hunky dory, but because the Circuit Courts of Appeal have not yet split on a gun banning law.

Second, and more importantly, passing a gun law and having it make any difference to the evil it is designed to ameliorate are two very different things. There is, of course, the old age and insoluable problem that only the law abiding obey gun control legislation while criminals ignore them. But lately, not even the law abiding are obeying stupid, useless gun ban legislation. Behold.

It isn’t even St. Patrick’s Day, but we are all Irish now: In Connecticut, the boneheaded state government passed a law demanding the registration of certain firearms, and the people of Connecticut, perhaps communing for a moment with their independent-minded Yankee forebears, mainly refused to comply. On the other side of the country in the heart of California’s technology corridor, the city of Sunnyvale demanded that residents hand over all firearms capable of accepting magazines holding more than ten rounds — effectively, everything except revolvers and some single-shot rifles — and the good men and women of Silicon Valley responded by turning in a grand total of zero firearms. Similar initiatives in other jurisdictions have produced similar results.
So perhaps the NYT needn't put the champagne on ice just yet.

The Supreme Court has been more than clear, on more than one occasion, that the Second Amendment says what it means and means what it says. We also have a long legal and constitutional tradition that prohibits stripping people of their civil rights — including their Second Amendment rights — without due process, generally in the form of an indictment and a trial and a conviction. If the Democrats want to do away with the Second Amendment, let them begin the amendment process and see how far they get. We should challenge them to do so at every opportunity.
 To paraphrase what a great American once said in a movie: "Repeal the Second Amendment? Go ahead, make my day."

There is kind of a downside to the editorial in the NYT, however, in that it quotes Justice Scalia's dicta in Heller as follows:

Like most rights,” Justice Scalia wrote, “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” He continued, “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms” — “prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ ”

I hadn't remembered how sloppy Scalia got here. He seems to give the judicial OK to gun free zones and he seems OK with the 1986 ban on full auto weapons in private hands. That stings a bit. But look how stupid Scalia can be--the government can constitutionally prohibit the carrying of dangerous weapons? What? All weapons are dangerous; it's the whole point. If by unusual he means "of no use to the militia" echoing the Miller decision, I'd feel a little better, but everyone and his brother sees this as the judicial OK to ban weapons which are completely useful to the militia. That ain't so good. The requirements of full auto ownership dictated by the 1934 act have been wholly successful. In 80 years only two such weapons (and maybe only one, it's hard to tell) owned pursuant to the law have been used in a crime. That's a success story we should revel in. The 1986 ban made it so only the elite could own these weapons as the law of supply and demand created an artificial spike in the cost of the grandfathered full- auto weapons. I hate it when the government for no good reason screws up a good thing and messes with free enterprise.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015


Thought of the Day

Leftist Truthers like Obama are forced to constantly substitute new “right-wing” villains. Today it’s the NRA. Yesterday it was a Coptic Christian who made a YouTube video. But like the USSR’s efforts to blame its economic failures on a shifting gallery of villains, these explanations are unsatisfying. And they leave even leftists, never mind ordinary Americans, uneasy about a crisis they don’t understand.

There is something of Orwell’s “We have always been at war with Eastasia” to these deceits.

Today Muslim terrorists are attacking us because of the NRA. Yesterday it was because it was too hot. Before that, it was because of Israel. And before that, it was because of Bush.

But what if Muslim terrorists are attacking us because they’re Muslim terrorists?

What if we can’t beat them by banning guns, changing the weather, supporting Islamists or any of the other magical answers that completely fall apart at even the most casual examination?

The left’s response to Islamic terrorism has been built around a frantic effort to distract and divert us from exactly that question, blaming anything and everything but Islam, while sharply denouncing anyone who ignores the distractions and addresses that central question.

Daniel Greenfield


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.


Friday, December 04, 2015


Stating the Bleeding Obvious

I have often said that sometimes it takes genius to see an obvious fact. My best example is General Grant during the Civil War. He saw that he had more men and all he had to do to beat Lee was to continue to fight without let up. He did and he won. Genius.

But this is not one of those times. In fact, I laughed out loud at this article, by Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post, particularly at its first line.

The common denominator in mass shootings is the use of firearms. Variables such as political ideology, religious fervor and mental illness are motivating factors, but death comes from the gun.

Yes, Eugene, by definition a shooter uses a gun. Well noticed.

Mr. Robinson, a man of the left, obviously wants us to focus on the guns now, in the wake of another attack by Muslim extremists, because the human circumstances surrounding the use of guns (and explosives) in California this week does the left no good with public attention.
'Never mind the human pulling the trigger, the problem is guns and only the guns' is his point. He does the usual exaggeration about gun deaths by including suicides but at least he admits that most of the gun death number are suicides. Then there is this dim piece of writing.

About two-thirds of deaths by gunshot are suicides. (Cue the mental health discussion.) How many of these people would find other ways to kill themselves if a gun were not at hand? Some, surely, but not all.

No, Eugene, I promise you that 100% of the people who commit suicide without a gun found a way to kill themselves by other means than a gun. But, of course, he means would the lack of access to a gun prevent a suicide. Gee, if only there was a place where a large percentage of guns were suddenly confiscated and destroyed, we could see if a diminished ability to get a gun had any effect on the suicide rate. There is such a place, Australia, and the people who killed themselves after the gun grab did indeed find a substitute for guns, mainly hanging. See here for details. So maybe not very many to none at all would-be suicides would be stopped by lack of access to a gun. Certainly that modest return should cause us to violate for millions of others a right actually mentioned in the Constitution. What a great idea.

But he's not finished with laughable stupidity.

Most of the remaining gun deaths are homicides. Other countries have people with mental illness and disgruntled employees and jihadist preachers and political fanatics of every stripe, but no other developed nation has a body count remotely this high. The only difference is that, in the United States, virtually anyone can amass an arsenal of handguns and assault rifles.

Well, Mr. Robinson, the United States is the third largest nation in the world by population, so in actual numbers, even if we were more peaceful than other much smaller nations, we would probably have a higher toll each year merely because we have more people than other nations. But let's not let the facts get in the way of the anti-gun narrative. Per capita, we are pretty high on the list for numbers of slain in a mass murder but by no means are head and shoulders above the rest of the "developed" nations, as he states. France, you might remember (since it happened this year) had three mass slayings by Muslim extremists (what are the odds?) for a body count of 174. Divide that by the population of France and you get 2.7 mass murders per 100,000. Our body count of mass slayings at least as bad as the least of the French atrocities is 462. Divide that by our population and you get 1.42 per 100,000. Hmmm, Eugene seems to be lying to us about how bad our mass slaying problem is. Also, how could the Muslim murderers in Paris have gotten their hands on full auto Kalishnikovs (and the Czech clones thereof) and pistols? France has the kind of gun control laws that Eugene thinks we ought to have here. Certainly he doesn't think the Muslim murderers came to America to arm up and then returned to France. That thought would be looney tunes. So what do the facts on the ground in Paris do to Eugene's scolding that only in America can criminals and terrorists get their hands on handguns and assault rifles? I'm pretty sure he's clueless about that.

Here is the real truth, the actual skinny. Since most states amended their concealed carry policies to be more in line with the Second Amendment, our murder rate has fallen precipitously. In 1991, the worst recent year, it was 24,700. In 2014 it was 14,249. That's a tumble. Gun murders in America are down 49%, nearly half, since their worst year in 1993.

As long as there are as many guns in this country as there are people, as long as we don't meaningfully restrict firearm purchases or keep track of weapons, we will have mass shootings and individual killings and gun suicides. Tragically, this is the choice we make.

So Mr. Robinson is advocating having fewer guns in this country which could only be achieved by confiscation and destruction. Therefore, don't believe lefties when they say they are not for taking away your guns. They are. He is also for restricting firearm purchases in an actual "meaningful" way, as opposed to the joke restrictions we now employ. Like how? And how exactly would "keeping track" of weapons prevent mass shootings, individual killings and gun suicides? I'm pretty sure Mr. Robinson is unaware of the Canadian effort to register and track long guns in Canada. They abandoned the costly exercise as stupid and useless a couple of years ago.

I know your heart is in the right place, Mr. Robinson, but your head, your brain, well, not so much. Just like too many of your ilk.


Thursday, December 03, 2015


Stupid Sentence of the Day

This is from the normally accurate Newsmax, regarding the ammo cache of the extremist Muslims (who could have seen that coming?) who murdered Californians yesterday:
There were thousands of rounds found in the couple's home for their weapons, including 2,500 high-caliber .223 rounds.
We gun fans just laugh at this idiocy.

Rifle bullets are generally measured by the diameter of the bullet either in percent of an inch or in millimeters. The available rounds which could conceivably be fired by single person holding it go from .17 (the size of a BB) to 20mm.

The really large .50 BMG round is 12.7mm. .30 caliber is 7.62mm and .223 is 5.56mm, just over one quarter of a truly high caliber round.

Saying .223 is high-caliber is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp.

And if that's a mistake and the writer meant high-power, wrong again. The .223 is an intermediate round designed for our assault rifle; it is too wimpy to be used to hunt deer. The highest foot-pounds of power for .223 which I could find is 1642. The lowest power for a .50 BMG round is around 12,000.

The .223 does have a good velocity (usually around 3400ft./sec. and as high as the rare 4000 with a 35 grain (small) bullet); so saying high-velocity would not be laughed at, but that's not what the person wrote.


Tuesday, December 01, 2015


In What Way Are These Criminals on the Right?

Seriously unfunny Arab American comic Dean Obeidallah has this month's duty to revive the tired meme that while it seems that Muslims are doing nearly all the terrorism in the world, what we really need to fear is the far right. Dean dives in, but plumbs no new depths here.

And if you're wondering if you're supposed to know who Mr. Obeidallah is, here's a blast from the past. Remember when the non-stop liberal gab fest on Melissa Harris-Perry's show made fun of the Romney family for having an adopted black baby, as shown in a family picture they laughed at? Dean was the sparkplug to that hilarity. Of course it's funny to the liberal Weltanschauung that a white conservative family would adopt a black baby because white conservatives are supposed to hate blacks. (I guess black conservatives hate themselves). This is known. His firm belief that conservatives are racists shapes his newest routine. Behold.

The threat posed by ISIS is real and must be forcefully addressed. But if these Republicans truly want to keep us safe, why don’t they ever raise the issue of right-wing terrorists? After all, as The New York Times reported just a few months ago, “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.

So, the talented Mr. O is merely updating the fairly stupid NYT article from last June which made it OK to call every "white supremacist, antigovernment fanatic and other non-Muslim fanatic" a right wing extremist whether or not any evidence of the political affiliation of the criminal exists. The trend continues here.

Mr. O identifies Robert Curtis Doyle, Ronald Beasley Chaney III, Charles Daniel Halderman, Glendon Scott Crawford, Craig Tanber, Robert Doggart and Dylann Roof as right wing extremists. And he knows this because he has researched these losers' political party affiliation, their political beliefs, their voting patterns and political contributions, what they read and what they listen to, right? No, they are right wing because they hate someone--blacks, homosexuals, Muslims or Jews and of course only the right does that. The only thing they actually seem to have in common is a long history of criminal behavior. Most criminals are Democrats, moron.

The left always calls the shooter right wing and they are nearly always wrong. My bet is, if we could find out the political beliefs of the 7 people mentioned the majority would not be conservatives or Republicans at all.

Unfortunately, I can't find out anything about their political affiliation. What's up with that?

UPDATE: Add Colorado Springs shooter Dear to the list of right wing extremist. Never mind the lack of evidence for that assertion.


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