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Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

Clearly, only the police can be trusted with firearms.

Aggrieved former LAPD cop Chris Dorner is on the run.  He’s killed three and released a long, angry, narcissistic, but otherwise coherent manifesto.  He sounds like an entitled, over-promoted guy who fell back on the old saw of racism when things didn’t go his way. His Navy career didn’t work out, he was a mediocre cop, and when his training officer was ready to call him out, he decided to lie about her.  After stewing for a few years, he finally decided to throw in the towel and get even in a blaze of glory.

He also was a liberal-leaning gun control supporter with opinions on just about everything.  Somehow this angry cop’s rampage is being used to support gun control.  But notice, suspending moral judgment for a second, how his actions and the overreaction of the Southern California cops provide strong evidence for one of the key foundations of the Second Amendment.  Second Amendment supporters say that the right to bear arms flows from our founding history, where armed Americans threw off the control of the British and its state-of-the-art military.  This possibility and this reserved “last resort” power was always supposed to reside in the people and their arms.  We are told it is unrealistic today that this would ever be necessary or that it could ever be effective.  But here we have one man without any supporting network tying up thousands of law enforcement officers who are used otherwise to operating in a permissive environment.  The police are crippled, over-reacting, and one man has created fear and chaos throughout Southern California.

If the government ever truly were resisted by even a smallish percentage of Americans, it would not get very far.  Dozens or hundreds or thousands of Dorners could easily destroy its ability to govern at all.  And we have seen this in our own history in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We have also seen it in the history of other nations such as Northern Ireland, Algeria, the West Bank, and today in Syria.

First world militaries and their tanks and planes and high tech gear are not so effective at addressing this kind of problem, and, in their over-reactions, tend to alienate the very people whom they purport to represent.  This is the essential “David and Goliath” paradox of guerrilla warfare.

Now Dorner is a grievance-collecting nutjob, as best we can tell. And he was also a former cop, which suggests letting “only the police and military have guns” is not necessarily such a bulwark against shooting rampages and mayhem.  Let’s not forget Nidal Hasan or the biggest shooting spree killer of all time, Woo Bum Kim, a pissed off South Korean police officer.

On a purely tactical level, actions like Dorner’s or of the DC Sniper or of any of the other criminals who go “toe to toe” with law enforcement, show that the ability of the government to police things when it is opposed directly (rather than merely evaded in the manner of the typical criminal) is very limited. And if this type of activity were to happen on a large scale in an organized or spontaneous resistance by, say, 1% of America’s 100mm gun owners, it would be utterly impossible for the military, police, and other apparatus of the government to govern.

This would be a nightmare scenario, of course, just as all wars are terrible affairs. One could not know that such claimed oppression and call to resistance were not the prelude to tyranny, as in the French Revolution. But political oppression, the greatest tool of mass murder in the last century, is also nightmarish.  To pretend that it is an unknown phenomenon of right wing fantasy and not a real threat to freedom in a decadent, divided country like the United States today is the real fantasy. At least in a world where we retain our arms, we have the means to protect ourselves from any number of threats:  common criminals, an oppressive government, or would-be oppressors masquerading as freedom fighters.

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Connecticut Shooting

After the Newton Massacre, the usual suspects are harping about gun control, but passions are short lived on this, compared to the passionate love of guns held by the 100mm plus American gun owners. Let’s hope no idiotic laws are created to harass an overwhelmingly law abiding cohort of American society.

Of course, the Connecticut shooting is an absolute horror show, beyond even the macabre horrors we’ve seen in other mass shootings.  It is beyond words really.  But this event does reveal a problem that is a little more complicated than Auster, for example, would have it.  I wrote some about it here.  In short, there are a lot of crazy people, most need help, and many are undertreated or imprisoned or homeless.  Yet it’s equally true that for every weird crazy kid who shoots up a school, there’s hundreds more whose only crime is that they weird people out and don’t altogether know how to behave.  We can’t simply imprison them all or throw more than a few in looney bins.  It’s costly and too wide a net. Even though there is a continuum for levels of institutionalization, more may not help because it’s not so clear we can easily identify the potentially violent from the merely annoying or self-destructive.

One important development  in the last 50 years is how our rates of mental health institutionalization has gone down as our rates of imprisonment have risen.  When both dropped in tandem, crime soared.  I’m sure these things are probably linked. And we certainly know a great number of mass shooters–Virginia Tech, Columbine, Jared Loughner, and even Charles Whitman–involved individuals who were clearly “off.”

There is always going to be an appropriate total level of institutionalization in any society in order to be safe, and ours is probably too low.  Unfortunately, we have yet to develop the technology or methods to predict crimes such as these in advance.  Any such regime would have a great many false positives.  And, for that reason, real freedom is at risk if we were to institutionalize more mentally people than we do presently.  And it is not even a randomly distributed risk.  There is a great deal of discretion and politics involved in who is declared unfit to live in ordinary society, and shifting contemporary values make it more likely that gun owners, opponents of gay marriage, and so-called racists and chauvinists would be in the pool of the potentially institutionalized than others with more favored varieties of deviant behavior and attitudes.

Conservatives should be especially wary of empowering the mostly leftist psychiatric community to lock up people whom they deem unfit.  Decisions require decision-makers, and the character of this group–who has done so much to make excuses for atrocious crimes and criminals, broken homes, and other evils for a half century or more–leaves much to be desired.

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Perhaps it’s not that surprising when a clearly schizophrenic gunman kills a bunch of people, including a Democratic Congresswoman, the “mainstream” leftist media immediately describes him as merely “alienated” and the result of an atmosphere of “bigotry.” Where are these powers of generalization when all-too-common Islamic terrorism occurs?  Or black on white crime?  Or immigration-fueled gang violence?  Why in those cases is everything sui generis? Why in those more common cases, where reliable patterns have emerged, are we warned not to jump to conclusions about motives nor to demonize whole communities?

On the other hand, when a nutjob loosely affiliated with one of the two major political factions in this country, in that case, we can draw connections of beliefs and actions and demonize half the country in the process.

The liberal frenzy to find a Tea Party angle to the Tuscon mass murder is only made more ridiculous because this man many equally be said to be “left wing,” not least for his self-satisfied flag-burning demonstration on You Tube. The whole farcical reaction by the left is reminiscent of the 1960s-era desire to paint the Communist Lee Harvey Oswald as a tool of shadowy right-wing forces.

Seriously, the Arizona shooter wrote, “You shouldn’t be afraid of the stars. There’s a new bird on my right shoulder. The beak is two feet and lime green. The rarest bird on earth, there’s no feathers, but small grey scales all over the body. It’s with one large red eye with a light blue iris. The bird feet are the same as a woodpecker. This new bird and there’s only one, the gender is not female or male. The wings of this bird are beautiful; 3 feet wide with the shape of a bald eagle that you could die for. If you can see this bird then you will understand. You think this bird is able to chat about a government? I want you to imagine a comet or meteoroid coming through the atmosphere. On the other hand, welcome yourself to the desert: Maybe your ability to protest is from the brainwash of the current government structure.”  This is neither right, nor left.  Even if it were more one than the other, taken as a whole, it’s self-evidently the meaningless blather of a man that has completely lost his mind.

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I knew someone once whose entire frame of reference to the world was through TV and movies. If something happened in a movie, it became part of his factual compass about how people do and could behave. This is more common than admitted and very dangerous, of course. Hollywood distorts the world through lies of commission and omission. From Hollywood, you wouldn’t know that more Americans go to Church on Superbowl Sunday (and every Sunday) than watch the Superbowl itself. You’d probably not know that Stalin and Mao’s regimes murdered more people than Hitler’s. And you would probably presume some wrong-headed things about the demographics of crime, particularly as it relates to the generally uninteresting and low IQ perpetrators of most real crimes.

Reality is so much more interesting, yet it’s scandalous.  It doesn’t quite fit the liberal script. Orlando, Florida, once a relatively safe tourist town, has seen its murder rate basically triple in the last five years due to a variety of demographic changes: growing population, mass immigration of poor, low skill groups from violent parts of the Third World (along with their unsupervised teenage children), and weakening sense of community. Nonetheless, this week has seen some real gains by the good guys in my hometown of Orlando, Florida.

A passerby–almost certainly a lawful concealed weapon holder–intervened during a brazen three-on-one robbery of a lady doing some last minute Christmas shopping. One of the suspects (as usual left undescribed by the Sentinel) was found later with a gunshot wound.

Then, the next day, a 91 year old man shot at the perpetrators of a home invasion robbery and saved his elderly wife. The article said:

Johnson bought his revolver for protection decades ago. A former citrus grove manager and plumber, Johnson said, “I’m still active. I still garden. We want to get a message out to other people. Be prepared. Keep your doors locked. And be alert.”

His wife added, “And have a gun ready.”

The Johnsons weren’t worried that the home invaders might return.

“If he comes back he’ll be sorry,” Johnson said. “I’m ready for him.”

The press is woefully irresponsible in general. Suspects are not described because of alleged group sensitivities, but this practice conceals facts about actual crimes and on-the-loose criminals. When combined with the more interesting but unrepresentative crooks on the TV and movies, this omission distorts our collective sense of danger. Likewise, stories about good things happening with guns are hidden, while rare accidents and accounts of “too many guns on the street” get front page billing.

If more of these two “man bites dog” stories were reported widely–and they certainly are common enough occurrences–it might slow down the criminal element from preying on the general public as much as they already do.

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I thought Mitt Romney’s op-ed opposing the Detroit bailout had the right combination of free market instincts, industry knowledge, patriotic compassion, and credibility. It reminded me of why I voted for him.  I say that as someone who recognizes the unfairness of bailing out Wall Street while letting this strategically important industry suffer.  But there’s no reason to throw good money after bad.  The Unions have screwed themselves, management has done little more than make excuses, and the only way to get it right is a “cut to the bone” slashing of workers, debt, and other costs in a Chapter 11 proceeding.  I don’t buy the criticism that Chapter 11 is the death of GM or Ford, not least b/c the actual products are decent enough and warranties can always be exempted from the stay, something that occurs routinely in manufacturers’ bankruptcies.  But without changing their cost structure, all these companies are dead, to our collective detriment as their well-paid workers do not have skill sets that can be easily transferred, and there are a lot of reasons America should be making its own cars.

This bearish report by Gerald Celente predicting tax riots and mass homelessness rivals my own bearishness and, sadly enough, comes from a guy that has been right on everything from the Panic of 2008 to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997.

This analysis of the ebb and flow of “idealism” in American politics was interesting. Some of my favorite homeboys like Burke and Oakeshott make an appearance.  I’m glad the author noted that Obama is at best a pragmatist but, more likely, a purveyor of washed up 60s-era Welfare-statism.  One thing I wish Obama and his supporters would remember is that deficit spending is not wealth-creating, the government rarely “invests” right, and that all this money for bailouts to failed sectors and infrastructure and healthcare must be siphoned out of the healthy parts of the economy, which risk suffocation under the burden of “spreading the wealth around.”

The David Brooks thing on the “formerly middle class” is depressing, but worth absorbing.   I’ve met more such people (or people on the brink) in the last 12 months than I have in my entire life previously.

On a related note, I perused gunbroker.com recently. It’s the ebay of gun buying.  Colt 6920s are now going for $1700.  CMMG, STAG, and other generic M4s are north of $1000.  Thirty round PMAGs have crept north of $20, though they were previously available for about $14.  Ammo prices remain ridiculous, in spite of the drop in commodity prices.  This panic will probably last a while, both from the fear that Obama, the former Brady Campaign/Joyce Foundation board member, will make guns now available banned forever and untransferrable to boot.  I think the overall conditions also suggest fear of increasing crime, disorder, and Depression-era conditions.  My gut instinct on this is reinformed by the ridiculous premiums over spot–20-30%–for silver and gold coins.

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Unfortunately, with an impending Democratic presidency, we can expect more calls for gun control.  Horrible shootings like the schoolyard shootings in Stockton and Columbine were widely discussed in the national media and given front page treatment.  It’s not surprising that the recent tragedy involving a mass shooting by a police officer in Wisconsin is buried on the New York Times’ website today.  And why?  Well, it doesn’t support gun control, because even anti-gun types believe police should have guns.  The gun control agenda depends upon manipulating images rather than dealing with facts.  Accidental and mass shootings receive saturation coverage, while uses of guns in self-defense and the misuse of guns by officials are generally relegated to the local news, if they are covered at all.

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