seriously, get off my side

I think, by now, I have established that I am a firm, if not ardent, supporter of open carry.  I absolutely believe that it should be legal everywhere, regardless of its “acceptability” to the the general public, and that not even a permit should be necessary to do it. 

All that said, get the hell off my side, Open Carry Texas

Seriously.  If your half-baked tactics have functionally failed three times in a row, it is well past time to rethink those tactics, not double-down on stupid.  And, yes, Open Carry Texas, you have failed, and it is specifically your fault. 

This is not to say that the useful idiots at Moms Demand Action and the rest of the “gun sense” crowd have won – they decidedly have not, despite their vociferous claims to the contrary – but OCT has unquestionably lost, and along with them, the pro-rights movement as a whole is losing ground thanks to their actions. 

No, Chipotle has not actually banned firearms on their premises, just like Starbucks and Jack in the Box have not actually banned firearms on their premises, and that is why Shannon Watts’ claims of “victory” ring hollow; until those companies legitimately post their premises, nothing has changed.  However, all three companies have come out with varying versions of, “Leave us the hell alone, and leave your firearms at home,” all thanks to OCT actively making this an issue and forcing the companies to respond. 

The simple truth is that these fast-food joints, like all companies, just want to make money.  Introducing a contentious and strife-ridden concept into their business plan – which Open Carry Texas has enthusiastically and clumsily done – is bound to annoy them, and when someone offers them an easy solution to the situation, they will jump on it.  Obviously they are not going to actually post their premises, because they know that will cut into their revenue stream, but they are going to do exactly what they have done – take a stand against being used as a soap box for someone else’s political hobbyhorse. 

So how about we stop doing that, huh? 

If you actually want to normalize open carry, you do that by acting normal while openly carrying.  This is not rocket science folks.  And, no, making a spectacle out of yourself, and posing for pictures, and all the rest of that nonsense is not “acting normal”.  Nobody likes the in-your-face evangelical who runs around restaurants shoving those freaky little mini-Bible-books into people’s hands, but no one bats an eye at someone wearing a religious-themed shirt (unless, of course, you try to wear it into a public school, but that is another topic for another time). 

Open Carry Texas, your tactics are not working, they have not worked, and there are absolutely no indications they are going to work.  How about you take the time to reconsider your tactics and perhaps figure out something that, I dunno, somehow manages to not alienate every restaurant and commercial establishment out there? 

Or you can keep doing the same stupid thing over and over again and expect different results; you know, the very definition of insanity

In related news, did you hear about the restaurant in Durham that posted their premises as “gun-free” and, wait for it, was recently robbed by armed gun men?  One hopes the “gun sense” movement takes note of this, but something tells me they are incapable of such introspection. 

all i am going to say

Do not expect much of a post from me about the shooting at the school in Newtown, CT last Friday; I, for one, do not believe in using the blood of victims as a fuel to further my political goals, unlike your average "gun control" fetishist. My thoughts and prayers are unquestionably with the families of those killed in this horrific crime, though, and if you do want something to read, you should read this.

I will say this much: "gun control" failed those children. Connecticut has an "assault weapon" ban. It did not work. Schools are "gun-free zones". That magical forcefield did not work. It is illegal to carry a handgun in Connecticut in public without a license. That did not stop the murderer. The teachers and principal of the elementary school were disarmed by the force of law. Even though at least one of them tried to resist, he lacked the tools to do so effectively.

And yet, despite the abject and complete failure of "gun control", the answer is… more "gun control"? How does that even begin to make sense?

More to the point, how does it make sense to punish millions of law-abiding American citizens because one person chose to become a criminal? I am not responsible for other people’s actions. I am not accountable for other people’s actions. As such, I refuse to be punished for those actions. At least the asshole murderer (who shall remain nameless on this site, for reasons well-documented here) took care of his own punishment for us.

And one final comment: "gun control" remains racist, even to this day. Every month, Chicago sees more firearm-related fatalities than transpired in Newtown on Friday, with the overwhelming majority of the victims being of darker skin tones. "Gun control" extremists never seem to care about those people, though (probably because such caring would be something of a tacit admission that the draconian "gun control" in Chicago is not working out so well for the city). Likewise, we will probably never know how many thousands of Mexicans, and possibly Americans, were killed with firearms the federal government smuggled across the border into Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious. Unfortunately, anti-rights cultists do not seem to care about brown victims.

But give those blood-dancing, victim-exploiting vampires a school full of lily-white children murdered by someone using a firearm, and all of a sudden, it is "GAME ON!" (Yes, there were minorities represented amongst the Sandy Hook shooting victims, but there were also whites shot in Chicago; the point stands.) I do not think I can adequately describe my contempt for such people.

In the end, I hate that these children were murdered, but I also hate that people like Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who attempted to stop the murderer bare-handed, were prohibited from employing tools that have a recorded history of stopping spree- and mass-shooters. "Gun free zones" demonstrably do not work, and only create an environment where mass-murderers know they will not encounter any kind of armed, effective resistance. How about we give up on a failed program and try something else?

graphics matter – we do requests

Over the weekend, the below email came in from Miguel at Gun Free Zone:

Have you done a correlation/whatever is called between the number of guns in a country and the # murders and/or violent crimes?

The attachment is a list of countries and their number of guns according to the Small Arms Survey which the antis can’t bitch about because it is a group on their side. I used this wikipedia link to get the number of Homicides per country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

According to that, it only "takes" Great Britain 4,709 guns to have a homicide. The US requires 20,000 guns to have a homicide.

OK, so I have no clue about statistics and every time I open Excel I go "What kind of sorcery is this?" but I think you get the idea.

One of your graphics work there perhaps?

Attached to the email was the 2011 update to the Small Arms Survey, complete with a table supposedly showing "Civilian gun ownership for 40 countries, in descending order of averaged civilian firearms"… except, after looking at the source information for the table, it shows no such thing, so I am not even going to bother linking to the 2011 document in this post.

Anywise, the question intrigued the statistician in my mind, so here we are. We are all familiar with the tried-and-false "argument" of the anti-rights cultists that "more guns = more deaths" – a hypothesis we have already tested and found significantly wanting. However, assume for a moment that we accept that we take complete leave of our senses and logic and accept that hypothesis as true; given that basis, how many more guns does it take to yield another murder?

After all, if more guns results in more murder, then there must be some kind of metric one could build indicating that if you add X more guns to the population, you will get Y more murders. So how many firearms does it "take" to "cause" a murder?

As with all such questions, the answer is complicated. Given that most individual states in America do not document how many firearms their residents own (as they should not, and never should do), we are going to have to look farther abroad for our dataset and instead consider this question across international borders. Instead of simply limiting ourselves to the numbers included in the 2011 Small Arms Survey update, we will instead return to the original 2007 document (*.pdf warning) which documents, estimates, and straight-up guesses at firearm ownership in 178 different countries (I used the average of the Low Total From Outside Sources and High Total From Outside Sources where available, Registered if not). Of those countries, I will use the numbers for every country in North, South, and Central America; North, South, Eastern, and Western Europe; Oceania; and a few other odds and ends to round out a good sample body of 90. (Do note that some useful countries were omitted from the Survey, like Denmark, India, and Luxembourg.)

Much though I hate to use Wikipedia as a source for… anything, really, we will also use the page Miguel linked to in his email, simply because it has hundreds of countries’ statistics all in one conveniently, easily-sourced location.

So what is the end result? Probably not what you think:

GunsPerMurder

(You will probably want to download this thing to view locally; it is huge, and the text is, obviously, small.)

First off, way to go Iceland for messing with the curve, by only having one murder in 2010. Bravo.

Moving on, the numbers at the far right end of the orange bar indication how many firearms there are in the country per murder transpiring in the country. Given that Iceland has somewhere around 90,000 firearms in-country and all of one murder, it’s number is obvious. America has somewhere around 270,000,000 (probably far north of that, but that is the official number) firearms and we had 12,996 murders in 2010, so it "takes" somewhere around 20775 firearms to "create" an unlawful killing. Obviously firearms do not create murders any more than spoons cause obesity, but, as I said at the beginning, we surrendered logic and reason in order to adopt the "more guns = more deaths" hypothesis and further examine it.

Now, remember that higher numbers are "better", in that it "takes" more guns to "cause" a murder. So consider the countries above us… and then the countries below us. For example, observe how the functional theocracies typically rank over us, at least if they have not suffered a war recently. Likewise, those countries with a strong history in firearms – or just an absurdly low population or population density – are up there with us or above us. Now, take a look at where the United Kingdom – the oft-vaunted example of "ideal" "gun control" – falls on the chart: apparently their firearms are four times more deadly than ours. Or how about Mexico, where private ownership of firearms is functionally impossible, but "murder" seems to be the recreational sport of choice? Hell, Fiji has functionally no guns (all of 1538, or "what I have buried in my back yard"), but they managed to crank out 23 murders despite that.

While this interesting chart does answer Miguel’s question – with the answer being "it depends" – it is also not as honest as it could be; after all, Fiji has a population of under a million souls, while Switzerland has over 7 million folks on its rolls. So how does the rate of firearm ownership affect the rate of murders in these various countries?

Wrong question. Just seeing if you all are paying attention – as always, I am not here to document that guns affect murders, or even crime in general; I am sorely equipped to do so (read: "underpaid") and the examination of that kind of causal relationship would require a lot more consideration and information than I have available at the moment. So, the right question is, "How does the rate of firearm ownership correlate to the murder rate in these various countries?" Kind of like this:

MurderGunsInternational

That line slanting to the lower-right and disappearing beneath the x-axis is the trendline for the datapoints, and the equation for that line tells you everything you need to know. Specifically, there is a correlation coefficient of -0.2055 between the rate of firearm ownership and the rate of murders in the 90 countries I have documented on the bar chart above. In other words, using those countries’ data from a single year as our test population, countries with higher gun ownership rates tend to enjoy lower murder rates and vice versa. However, this is a very weak correlation, and thus does not hold true in all cases.

As always, there are more forces at play here than just the number of firearms in public circulation; after all, the median household income for Switzerland is somewhere around $27,000 USD, while Mexico’s is more like $5,000 USD. Likewise, population density is not really a problem for those crazy folks in Iceland (though I would imagine other things are), but Brazil is largely uninhabited too… in a bad way for the millions of folks living there.

In any case, given the negative correlation between firearm ownership rates in various countries and murder rates in those same countries, the causality outright claimed by "more guns = more deaths" cannot exist, even across international borders. If there were even a chance of a causal relationship, the trendline in the above graphic would be sloping up to the right, rather than down, as the hypothesis would clearly indicate.

I sincerely wish there were a simple and easy way of reducing murders and other violent crimes, but the simple, honest, rational truth is that restricting/controlling/banning inanimate lumps of machined metals does not work. It has not worked before, it has not worked in other countries, and it is not working here; how about we consider alternatives, and try to find something that does work?

(Source Excel spreadsheet available here.)

(Updated in 2014 with labels on the second chart.) 

a case study

What happens when you try to child-proof the world?

People die:

This was Walpole Park in Gosport, Hampshire, on an overcast lunchtime last March when no fewer than 25 members of the emergency services, including a press officer, descended on a 3½ft-deep model boating lake minutes after Simon Burgess, 41, fell into the water when he suffered a seizure. But as an inquest heard last week, he lay floating face-down for more than half an hour while firemen, police and paramedics watched and did nothing.

The reason? Even though they could all swim, the first fire crew to arrive hadn’t been ‘trained’ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. Instead they waited for ‘specialists’ to arrive to retrieve his body. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes. When a policeman decided to go in anyway, he was ordered not to. A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right ‘protective’ clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

No, this story does not appear at The Onion, and no, they are not joking:

Our reconstruction shows that Mr Burgess could have been reached by firemen – who took five minutes to reach the scene – within seven minutes ofMrs Hughes’s 999 call, rather than the 37 minutes that it eventually took.

I am damned near speechless. Somewhere north of 13 firefighters, four paramedics, and various police officers literally stood around and watched a man drown to death in a gorramed three-foot-deep model boating pond, either because they convinced themselves he was already dead, or, worse, they convinced themselves that their regulations and rules prevented them from doing a damned thing. I would ask how those… people… who stood by the bank of the pond can live with themselves afterwards, but they are naught more than cogs in a slowly-grinding-down culture that has systematically, progressively destroyed the very notions of “individualism”, “self-determination”, and “self-reliance”. I suppose I should hold them up as shining examples of their society, rather than revile them as failed attempts at “human beings”.

Yes, it is entirely possible – if not outright likely – that Mr. Simon Burgess was dead before the first fireman or policeman made it on-scene, and it is thus possible/likely that no matter how quickly they moved, or what they did, the outcome of the situation would not have changed. But we will never know now, will we? All it might have taken to save an innocent man’s life would have been another man with enough gumption to piss on absurdly idiotic restrictions, misunderstood though they may have been, and realize that saving another person’s life is probably worth more than keeping his own paycheck.

Obviously, no such men stood on the banks of the Walpole Park pond that day. Obviously, no men at all stood on the shores of that water.

Is it any wonder why I and people like me are adamantly opposed to going down the same road as once-Great Britain when it comes to society, government, culture, and so forth? We are literally watching their country collapse under the self-imposed weight of their uncaring “social programs”, absurd legal system, intrusive Big Brother government, and devaluation of human life, yet there are those amongst us who are firmly convinced that if we try the same program but just execute it HARDER, everything will work out wonderfully.

No, it will not; it will just result in more dead Mr. Burgesses floating in more park ponds, and damned if I want that for my country.

(Courtesy of Say Uncle.)

ngvac set gun control up the bomb

I have to admit – I really, really love it when our opponents stab themselves in the back. It is no great surprise that the Germans had a word for that concept, but no matter how you cut it, watching anti-rights cultists destroy their own arguments with wanton disregard for the damage they are causing is hilarious indeed.

Speaking of, one of the few advantages of keeping at least half an eye on Twitter is that you occasionally find out about things before they hit the bigtime – for instance, when I read about some new "gun control" extremist organization called the "National Gun Victims Action Council" and how they were planning on boycotting Starbucks (yeah, because that has never failed before), I recalled seeing their Twitter account spouting a few stupid things before. At the time, their tweets were so remarkably inane that I figured they were yet another upstart, astroturf anti-rights organization offshooting from one of the parent organizations and scrabbling to gain traction in their dying community, and, as it turns out, I was not terribly far off-base.

ngvacboardbradyJust take a look at their board of directors, screencaptured to the right so you do not have to give them any traffic (arrows added for clarity). Who are these people? Well, they provide nice, complete bios on each one of them, but here are the important takeaways:

Elliot Fineman – "Senior member of the Brady Pac-Illinois". (He is also a "behavioral-science-based proactive marketing" professional, which explains why the site reads like one huge propaganda machine.)
Andrew Goddard – "President of the Richmond Chapter of the Million Mom March". (As a reminder, the Million Mom March is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Brady Campaign.)
Lori O’Neil – "Served as president of the Cleveland chapter of MMM for two years and as vice president for two years". (Yet another marketing professional, to boot.)
Kenny Barnes – Has generated press releases with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. (As a reminder, the CSGV is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Joyce Foundation, which accounts for most of the anti-rights funding in the country.)
Jeanne Bishop – "Volunteers with the Brady Campaign through its Million Mom March chapters as well as with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence".
Griffin Dix – "Chairman of the Brady Campaign’s Million Mom March National State Presidents Council and the chapter-elected member of the Brady Campaign Board of Trustees".
Bill JenkinsBill and his wife, Jennifer, frequently represent the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence at debates, panels, and other public meetings.
Thom Mannard – "President of States United to Prevent Gun Violence" and "founding member of the Brady PAC- Illinois". (As a reminder, SUPGV is another wholly-owned subsidiary of the Joyce Foundation.)
Alice Thomas-Norris – "President of the Million Moms March Chicago Chapter of Survivors".
Tom Vanden Berk – "One of the founding members of The Bell Campaign, which eventually became known as the Million Mom March" and "board member of the Brady Campaign/Million Mom March".
Amanda and Nick Wilcox – "Serving as the Legislative Co-Chairs of the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign and interim leaders of the Sacramento Valley Chapter" and "President of the Nevada County Brady Campaign Chapter".
Willie WilliamsFrequently works with the Brady Campaign to further "gun control" agendas.
Heidi Yewman – "Washington state president of the Million Mom March/Brady Campaign".

Notice a pattern? Well, apart from not a single one of them being an actual, first-hand victim of "gun violence" (which I find particularly interesting, given Collin Goddard’s willingness to jump on any "gun control" grenade out there), the overwhelming majority of the board has not-insignificant ties to almost every other major and minor anti-rights organization in the country.

In and of itself, this is hardly surprising, given how incestuous anti-rights organizations are these days (and with their decreasing memberships and support, can you hardly blame them?), but this overlap of members is not the backstabbing to which I was referring.

ngvactakeyourgunsawayInstead, I would direct your attention to the screencapture to the left. Verily, that thing could provide me blogfodder for… well… years*, but I want you to ignore the rest of the material (that I only screencaptured as proof that this did, indeed, come from NGVAC’s webpage) and instead focus on the highlighted-in-pinky-purple block.

So far as I can tell (the Board may be comprised of marketers and anthropologists and other high-brow pseudo-"intellectuals", but damned if they can create a webpage that communicates their ideas clearly and efficiently), the format of this section is:

#. Our Buzzword-Laden Name for One of the NRA’s Supposed ‘Main Tactics’
What they are doing.
• Our counterpoint.

While that is just a guess, it is substantiated by the pattern in item number 6. Now, pay attention to item number 7:

7. Simplistic Sound Bite Logic
Law abiding citizens are always going to be law abiding.
Fact: Every criminal was once law abiding citizen.

The government secretly wants to take your guns away:
Any sane gun law will lead to the government being able to take your guns away.

The only… *ahem*… "sane" response to the first italicized sentence is, "Duh." Every adult was once a child, every rapist was once "just a man", and every prostitute was once "just a woman". What was your point again? Oh, right, obviously the solution is to lock everyone up! (Which, given NGVAC’s love affair with once-Great-Britain and the developing police state there, may not be as sarcastic as I might like it to be.)

But the second italicized line… well, that is the money quote, so to speak. "Any sane gun law will lead to the government being able to take your guns away." The NGVAC seems big on "sane gun laws", with the phrase, along with "insane gun laws" (referring, of course, to anything the big, bad NRA proposes), occurring somewhere around once every two sentences on their webpage – can you say, "SEO-whoring"? I knew you could. But Google-bombing or not, that single sentence, right there, is a seven-inch, ivory-handled KA-BAR shoved between the third and fourth ribs of the dorsal side of "gun control".

Why? Simple: one of the favorite talking points of "gun control" extremists – especially when someone accurately observes that registration leads to confiscation – is that no modern "gun control" organization wants to take your guns away.

ORLY?

Well, then, thank you Elliot and thank you Andrew and thank you to the rest of the National Gun Victims Action Council for providing us such an easy counterpoint to that claim – after all, why would people so viciously obsessed with firearms and the demonization of them want the government to have the ability to take our firearms away if they did not actually want the government to do exactly that?

And look at the phrasing of the sentence – note how they simply say "take your guns"; not "take criminals’ guns", not "take convicted persons’ guns", not "take some people’s guns". Nope, take your guns – as in every single firearm-owning person who happened upon their webpage and happened to read that sentence. Nevermind the "why" of the situation (especially because it boils down to nothing more complicated than their deep-seated, pathological, uncontrollable fear of an inanimate object) – these people want to empower the government to whimsically and capriciously confiscate your private property… ironically, at the point of a gun.

We have committed no crimes. We have no convictions levied against us. We might not even know what the inside of a jail or courtroom looks like (I certainly do not). And yet these deluded, frothing-at-the-mouth blood-dancers sound like they are on a mission from God to disarm everyone and anyone, regardless of whether they want to be or not.

Is it any wonder why we fight them on every front? Is it any wonder why we "get angry"? Is it any wonder why I refer to them, and people like them, as ‘cultists’?

And remember, these are not just wierdos off the street or some fringe organization just spouting off nonsense; no, this organization is comprised of honest-to-God movers-and-shakers the lead "gun control" organization in the country (not as though that is saying a lot). Do you really think these bigoted, narrow-minded, and zealous views do not percolate down through their daily dealings in the Brady Campaign, SUPGV, or CSGV as well?

So thank you again, boys and girls of the National Gun Victims Action Council – your words will prove to be invaluable in showing the "gun control" movement for the authoritarian, intolerant, illogical, and irrational disaster it really is. I wonder if you comprehend that yet?

(* – Just look at the last two sentences of the first section. The first is a lie, confuses the causalities of market pressures, and implicitly spreads other lies that simply are not true. The second is a non sequitur; it does not follow logically from the first – simply due to the fact that respecting individual rights, especially that of self defense, is intrinsically sane – so there cannot be any "as a result". And this is without even touching on the fallacy of comparing once-Great-Britain’s crime rates to America’s, or the fallacy of maliciously narrowing the playing field to only the fabricated statistic of "gun murders", or the fallacy of "common sense"… er… "sanity". Oy.)

(Note: As always, family members of those killed by criminals, regardless of the tool employed by the criminal have my condolences. However, being related to someone who was killed in a criminal action, or even being someone a criminal attacked yourself, does not make you above reproach, it does not make you automatically right, and it does not give you the right to go about wantonly attacking other people’s rights. Your grief/outrage/anger/etc. is an insufficient reason to infringe on my right to self-defense, much less my Constitutionally-protected, unanimously-recognized-by-the-Supreme-Court individual right to own firearms.)

make your own future

Yesterday, I accurately said that there was nothing I could add to the letter A Girl and Her Gun wrote to those who would deprive her of her rights, and I stand by those words; however, coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous, and here I am… shall-we-say "expanding" on her driving point.

I found myself re-(re-?)reading Fallen Angels recently (available free online through Baen, if you feel so inclined), as a break between Dead Zero (an… interesting book, and one that I will have to review soon) and Soft Target, and I was intrigued/amazed by the prescient writing of Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn. No, they were not exactly on the money when the book was written back in 1992, but they were damned closer than I would like.

The modern-day future they paint is chilling, both literally and figuratively – "science" has been painted as the evil demon destroying the world around us, and thus has been cast down and replaced with "environmentalism", "conservation", the belief that "crystals have power" and all the rest of that greenie gos-se. Industry has been stymied. Popular opinion has replaced the scientific method. Talk about hard sciences or even science fiction results in "reeducation". Computers are regarded as "unreliable" and used only for monitoring and controlling the populace. "Belief" is considered to be more accurate than "facts", and "the alleged objectivity of materialist science was an invention of heterosexual, white males, so we shouldn’t use that as a basis for judgment" (a quote from the book). Remind you of anything?

Anywise, one of the fen – the folks who still read science fiction, and still try to keep the torch of civilization lit – made this comment in response to one of the main characters being confused as to the difference between scifi and the pabulum being written by the "mundanes", as they are called:

Thor: "Well, you can see it in our stories. Mainstream literature is about Being. For character studies, it’s probably the best genre around; but nothing happens, nothing changes. Imaginative literature is about Doing. About making the future, not just bemoaning it. We’ll all be living in the future by and by. Some of us like to scout ahead."

Taken literally, I find the parallels between contemporary "mainstream literature" and the fictional ones being described above to be far too strong for my likings – one need only examine the "Twilight" series (otherwise known as "The Importance of Having an (Abusive, Violent) Boyfriend (with a Whacked-Out Family)") in comparison to… well… pretty much any science fiction written over the past 50 years.

However, step away from the paradigm of science fiction versus mainstream, science versus faith, and recast your thoughts around the notion of our ongoing fights for the preservations of our individual rights, including the right to self-defense and the right to peaceably own property.

bradycampaignselfdefenseOn the one hand, when it comes to "gun control", nothing happens, and nothing changes; people who were victimized by criminals using firearms and who then buy into the "gun control" cult never recover from being victims. One need only examine the self-inflicted* situation of Joan Peterson, a person who is as much a "gun violence" victim as I am an Alzheimer’s victim – she has chosen to never move past her mentally unbalanced brother-in-law murdering her sister. That is, of course, her choice, and I will never begrudge anyone their own choices when it comes to their own lives; however, it is a damned shame, and it is completely reprehensible that she would use her sister’s blood to drag us all down to her "voluntary, willing victim" status. Not only is trapped in bemoaning the past, present, and future, she wants to destroy other people’s futures by forcibly disarming them in the face of violent criminal threats.

No, one person does not a movement make, but if you spend any time at all reading the weblogs, articles, and Twitter feeds of those who support "gun control", you will find Joan’s methods and mentalities, such as they are, echoed across the spectrum.

muggerself-defenseOh, sure, she and her fellow cultists can convince themselves that they are actually Doing Something by supporting "gun control" and occasionally getting one of their pet bills turned into law, but we all know the underlying flaw in "gun control" is that it simply does not work, and I am willing to wager good odds that the cultists know that as well (whether they are willing to admit it is another matter entirely). And so nothing changes – criminals go on preying on the law-abiding because self-defense has been demonized and marginalized by anti-rights cultists, "gun control" supporting victims never recover from being victims, and they keep pushing the same tried-and-failed methodologies as if "do it again, only harder" was a valid tactic.

On the other hand, pro-rights activists and advocates are all about Doing and making our futures – making our futures safer, making our futures better, making our futures at all. We firmly believe in taking demonstrably effective steps for ensuring our own safety and longevity – planning for potentially disastrous events (because if you are ready for the Zombie Apocalypse, some pissant hurricane is nothing), being observant of ourselves and our surroundings (because criminals exploit ‘condition white’), preparing ourselves for emergencies (something tells me the percentage of CPR-certified gunbloggers is higher than CPR-certified "gun control" extremists…), and so forth. And we firmly believe in providing the necessary tools – or at least ensuring they are available – to people to accomplish those goals, whether those tools are a little self-esteem boost, a helping hand, some training, a welcoming attitude, a safe environment, or a firearm.

And not only are we pro-rights activists scouting ahead every day, formulating new techniques, developing new arguments, discovering new ways of spreading the truth, we are more than willing to share that knowledge with anyone who is interested in listening… as A Girl and Her Gun discovered herself and can attest to.

predatormercyselfdefenseHowever, one important distinction sets us so far ahead of the "gun control" extremists that it is not even funny – we would never force someone to abide by our desires, our plans, or our intentions. We will certainly encourage people to consider things that actually work, but if they want to do something else entirely, then more power to them, and the best of luck with that. Why do anti-rights cultists have such a hard time letting other people live in peace?

It is too early to definitively state that we will all, one day, be living in a future wherein all of our individual rights – including that of self-defense – are acknowledged and respected by our government and our fellow men (too early indeed, given the current political tendencies of America), but that future will never be realized unless we, ourselves, work towards it.

So while the "gun control" extremists are ringing their bells or lighting their candles or doing whatever else it is they do in order to make themselves feel better about being victims or knowing victims or thinking they are victims, we will be encouraging potential victims and past victims to learn how to defend themselves, giving them the tools to do so, learning from their stories rather than bemoaning them, coming to terms with their experiences rather than endlessly reliving them, and educating them to be survivors… and we are everywhere.

Who do you really think is going to have a bigger impact on the future?

(* – When I say "self-inflicted", I refer exclusively to Joan’s daily decision to be nothing more than a "gun violence" victim-in-her-own-mind, not to her sister’s murder.) 

(All images courtesy of Oleg Volk.) 

the suicide of gun control

“Gun control” is a dying cause, and rightfully so.  You know it, I know it, and even the anti-rights cultists themselves know it (which could explain why their tactics are becoming increasingly vicious, abusive, and thuggish).  But the interesting thing is how many of those anti-rights cultists (aka “gun control” supporters) are acknowledging their failure and rationalizing it to themselves

WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR the strange death of gun control? Paradoxically, the story begins with two supposed victories for the gun-control movement, both during the Clinton administration. The first was the Brady Act, which established a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, to be replaced by instant background checks when a system for those checks was developed (which occurred in 1998). The second victory for gun control was the assault-weapons ban, which prohibited domestic manufacturers from producing 19 specified models of guns and other weapons with certain characteristics such as bayonet mounts and pistol grips.

[…]

But for interrelated reasons involving politics, policy, and law, both the Brady Act and assault-weapons ban turned out to be Pyrrhic victories.

In this regard, Carl Bogus (er…?) is correct – the last two major victories, such as they were, the anti-rights cultists have had were the Brady Bill and the Ban on Evil-Looking Firearms.  Unfortunately for the, there is simply no evidence to support the notion that the Brady Bill had any significant impact on overall crime rates, and not only did the Assault Weapon Ban not get renewed, the very administration that initially supported it admitted it failed to affect violent crime

“Pyrrhic victories” is, dare I say, an understatement. 

Since then, “gun control” supporters have suffered failure after failure after failure – permitted concealed carry is allowed, to some degree, in almost every state in the union; permitless carry has grown from one state to four; open carry is being normalized in those states where it is legal; the AWB has failed to make it out of committee any time a lame-brained politician has thought to bring it up; and we now have not one, but two separate Supreme Court cases setting the juridical precedent that the Second Amendment protects a pre-existing, individual right.  And through all of this time, society has demonstrated that not only is there a strong, negative correlation between firearm ownership and firearm-related fatalities, there is also a strong, negative correlation between firearm-ownership and firearm-related crime

“But wait,” cries Carl, “I have some statistics of my own!” 

Epidemiologists and social scientists have been studying different schemes of gun regulation for years. Gun availability varies markedly by region and state—for example, handguns are present in about 11 percent of New York households and 30 percent of Texas households—and these differences have allowed cross-state comparisons. Researchers report that homicide rates in high-gun states are triple those of low-gun states. Studies have also tracked the impact of the adoption of new gun-control laws. For example, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, during the nine years after the District of Columbia enacted a handgun ban, D.C. saw gun-related homicides fall 25 percent compared with contiguous areas in Maryland and Virginia. International comparisons yield similar results. One study found that stringent gun control works, while modest regulation does not.

Uh, no, Carl, you have nothing, and I will tell you why.  First, you failed to cite your sources, and you and I both know that naming the New England Journal of Medicine does not constitute a “cite”.  Second, “gun deaths” is a meaningless, made-up statistic fabricated by anti-rights cultists to maliciously limit the debate to the point where neither the salutary effects of private firearm ownership nor the detrimental effects of disarming victims can be considered.  And, third, your numbers are bulldren. 

You name Texas and New York as “high-gun” and “low-gun” states – the former had a murder rate of 5.4 in 2009, and the latter was at 4.0.  Yes, Texas’ was higher than New York’s, but nowhere near “triple”, and New York does not have an unsecure border with a drug-cartel-run, violent country to deal with. 

Moving on, the DC handgun ban (formally known as the Firearms Control Regulations Act) was passed in 1975 when the District of Columbia had a murder rate of 32.8 and a violent crime rate of 1774.3.  Ignoring your creatively editorial geography and self-serving “gun death” metrics, Virginia’s murder rate was 11.5 and its violent crime rate was 380.9, with Maryland’s numbers being 10.7 and 709.8.  Already DC’s murder rate was 2.8 times higher than its worst neighbor, and its violent crime rate was almost 2.5 times higher.  Moving forward to 1984, DC’s numbers were 28.1 and 1721.5, Virginia weighed in at 7.7 and 295.6, and Maryland “scored” 8.1 and 792.3.  DC’s murder rate was thus 3.6 times higher than VA’s and 3.5 times higher than MD’s, and DC’s crime rate was 5.8 times higher than VA’s and 2.2 times higher than MD’s. 

To break it out a little better: 

  D.C       Virginia       Maryland      
  Murder Violent Crime Murder Violent Crime Murder Violent Crime
1975 32.8 1774.3 11.5 380.9 10.7 709.8
1984 28.1 -14.3% 1721.5 -3.0% 7.7 -33.0% 295.6 -22.4% 8.1 -24.3% 792.3 +10.4%

In short, the only place the District of Columbia did better than its neighbors in those nine years was when you compare its violent crime rate against Maryland’s, which means its handgun ban accomplished no appreciable decrease in crime whatsoever.  And given that these are rates, this takes into account the precipitous drop in population the District suffered from during this time… a population that, no doubt, migrated to VA and MD, and thus affected those state’s rates as well.  All of my numbers for this comparison and the previous one came from Disaster Center, who pulls data from the FBI.  See, Carl, that, along with the links above, is a citation. 

Finally, your “international comparisons” fall short as well – not only is the very slight correlation between firearm ownership rates and murder rates overseas negative, but there is also no discernable correlation between firearm ownership rates and suicide rates. 

Whoops.  That would be three strikes; you are outta here! 

Of course, none of this matters – my individual rights are not subject to your interpretations of whatever ham-handed statistics you bring forward

So what is Carl’s solution to “gun control” failing to accomplish anything it purported to achieve?  Why, do it again, only harder, of course! 

Whatever significantly reduces the number of handguns in general circulation—-whether through culture or regulation—reduces homicides. Other measures such as waiting periods, required training for gun owners, and enhanced sentences for criminals have no discernable effect.

[…]

Under the Court’s ruling, however, laws designed to reduce the prevalence of handguns in general circulation may now be unconstitutional. At the moment, no strong form of gun control is going to get enacted anyway. But circumstances change, and Heller may permanently bar the only kinds of regulation that work.

Ah, no, D.C. v. Heller specifically and clearly labels any ban of any weapon “in common use for lawful purposes” as unconstitutional; there is “may be” involved.  That test was applied to the DC’s handgun ban, and it failed, and I dare say that the same would happen to a new Assault Weapon Ban, given how prevalent “evil black rifles” have become amongst the recreational shooters and hunters of our country. 

So, yes, you, as an anti-rights advocate, are specifically and Constitutionally limited to “commonsense gun regulation” that has been historically proven to fail at worst, and be completely irrelevant at best.  It must suck to be a “gun control” supporter with that albatross hanging about your neck, eh?  Of course, speaking of, how is something “commonsense” if even its supporter admits that it generally fails?  Oh right

Carl indirectly brings up an interesting point, though: “gun control” supporters are the “extremists”.  The Supreme Court has made it very clear that the Constitution protects the right to own and use firearms that are “in common use for lawful purposes”, which specifically included handguns.  On the other hand, anti-rights cultists like Carl here and Michael Bonomo and MissMarciaC want to explicitly and totally ban those handguns from civilian ownership.  By definition, the “ban” position is the extreme opposite of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which makes anti-rights cultists extremists. 

Ok, you have to admit – that is just damned high-larious! 

This revelation adequately illustrates and describes the fashion in which the “gun control” movement has been murdering itself for decades, though – they have consistently adopted positions that run contrary to the Constitution, contrary to jurisprudence, and contrary to the notion of protecting and preserving individual rights and liberties.  When compared to the beliefs that our country was founded on and still continues to loosely operate upon, “gun control” is about as extreme a position as you can take, and it is no wonder it has been suffering a slow death by its own hands as it progressively alienates the American people and loses ground in the courtrooms and legislatures around the country. 

I do wish the anti-rights cultists would acknowledge and act upon the writing that is clearly on the wall, though… there is yet time for them to abandon their blatantly anti-rights, anti-Constitutional, anti-freedom, and anti-liberty campaign and try to accomplish something actually meaningful with their lives… 

[Update] Amusingly, I was not permitted to post a comment linking back to this post, despite providing a summary of it in the comment and pointing out all of the ways Carl was mistaken/wrong in his article. I guess the moderators at The Prospect have something against people accurately observing that their authors’ articles are riddled with glaring factual errors… [/Update]