Friday, January 25, 2013

Response to a tragedy, "thank you."

Violent, senseless acts of violence in our society pain many of us deeply. If they don't bother us, at least a little bit, something is wrong with us. 

To read a heartbreaking "thank you" from the daughter of a woman who was murdered reminds us that these tragedies touch more than just the victims hit by bullets, or witnesses to the act. 

It's important not to just "do something!" in the wake of such tragedies. Something surely must be done, but we should, as the author  of the linked article said, work towards "good policy based on good reasoning. Not the quickfire of emotion."

Unfortunately, some misplace their blame on the tools, rather than the person. Hence the phrases "gun violence," "gun murder," "gun crime." This takes our attention away from the actual causes of these tragedies, and doesn't move us any closer to a solution. This is evidenced when you review crime statistics around the world after gun control has been implemented (even total bans on entire classes of firearms in the UK and Australia), and see there has NEVER been any significant or consistent reduction in violent firearm-related crime. 

As painful as firearm-related tragedies are, it is a disservice to the victims and their families to continue to push for new laws which would not have saved their lives, and punish the rest of society in the process.  

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.
-- Cesare Beccaria, as quoted by Thomas Jefferson's Commonplace book


Friday, January 18, 2013

Back at it again.

I haven't focused too much on the gun control issue for a while, at least not enough to justify getting off my butt and coming back to my blog to enter any new material.

Sortof like that relative you haven't called in a while. The longer you wait, the harder it is to pick up the phone.

Well, recent events have certainly gotten me re-energized in the fight to protect the right to keep and bear arms, and I've found myself re-typing the same sort of things over and over, Googling to find research I thought I had bookmarked, backing my position that gun control has never had any significant or consistent effect on violent crime rates, anywhere in the world it's ever been tried.

So, I came back, and found I've actually gotten some spikes in page views on my blog here. Even a comment or two.

I hope time comes again when I don't have to bother fighting for our rights, and this blog again drifts off to obscurity.

In the meantime, I'll once again put my thoughts here, link to and comment on compelling evidence, and invite the public's completely un-moderated comments. I'll delete offensive insults and spambot stuff, but otherwise, I invite all comments.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Life gets in the way sometimes.

I haven't updated this blog in some time, because life just gets in the way of things like this sometimes. Between my two jobs and kids, I just haven't been able to make the time to come up with any more posts lately.

More will come before too long, I promise.


Friday, February 25, 2011

34 per day.

Via Mikeb302000, via Laci:

A common thread throughout the video is that almost nobody mentioned the shooter that was responsible, almost everything in that video blamed the gun or "gun violence."

"murdered with guns."

"killed with guns."

And at the end,

"In memory of the 34 Americans murdered every day by gun violence. Let's talk about reducing that number."

Yes, absolutely, let's do that!

Let's start by examining what has worked and what hasn't.

Here's what fails to show any real evidence that gun control laws have ever worked, anywhere:

Here's an example of something that has actual evidence to prove it works:

What's the difference? The gun control organizations mainly sit on their ass and work for government to implement useless laws and expect the police to do all the work on the street. These organizations and their supporters don't do anything directly that has any real effect on the "gun violence" they want to stop, instead wanting to put others (police) in harm's way to enforce gun control laws which have never really proven to have any positive effect anywhere they've been tried before.

Meanwhile, CeaseFire Chicago actually gets their hands dirty, getting down to business at the street level with violence prevention workers that work to stop violence where it occurs. Without calling for more useless gun control.

Back to some misguiding statements from the video:

"It makes no sense for anyone to possess or acquire a gun unless they pass a background check."

"If you don't close the loopholes, it's going to continue leaking, people will continue to die."

The whole premise of this assumes that a) you can actually force violent criminals to go through a background check, and b) that you can close all the "leaks" or routes for guns to get to the street and into the hands of criminals.

Yes, let's talk about reducing all violent crime, and I'll bet we could find some solutions that would actually work without infringing on the rights of individuals.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Safety at the cost of Liberty? No thanks!

Over at Baldr's blog, "A New Trajectory," I posted a comment in regards to (Child Access Prevention) laws for firearms. I suggested that such laws may save lives, asked if there were other alternatives that didn't involve infringing on our liberties and overriding our judgement. The the response was:
Are CAP laws overriding your judgement as a parent? Maybe, but their previsions tend to match what responsible gun owners do already. But if a few people are inconvenienced for the sake of the greater good, I am willing to support it.
- Baldr Odinson
He also stated he wasn't aware where CAP laws had ever cost any lives (you can read the rest of the discussion here).

Here is my response:

@Baldr: A primary example of CAP laws being directly responsible for 2 deaths:

There's no telling how many other people have died or become victims of other violent crime because laws required them to keep their firearms locked and unloaded, because such things are hard to count.

I will admit that this type of law may actually save more lives than it costs, but lives aren't the only thing to measure. What about the cost to our liberty, and the punishment by the law of innocent people guilty of nothing more than using their own judgement in violation of the law?

I do not think the "greater good" is EVER a reason to infringe on our rights. Such a "nanny state" mentality is wrong in my opinion by depriving a free people of their essential liberties.

The Declaration of Independence gives a clear, simple description of the purpose of government - The job of government is to protect our individual, unalienable rights by ensuring justice for those whose rights are harmed by punishing those that infringe upon the rights of others. Not to protect us from ourselves or ensure the "common good" at the price of our liberties. I doubt you will find ANY writings or speeches of ANY of the founding fathers that supports such an inherently flawed concept, and in fact will find many quotes to the contrary:

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin.

If you want a nanny state to protect us from ourselves, I wish you and your like-minded comrades would go find some other country that doesn't care about individual rights to ruin, instead of continuing to try and gain public support in THIS country for your twisted ideas of what constitutes the "public good."

Some of us would rather live in the animated contest of freedom with all it's inherent chaos and protected liberties than a coddled life subject to overly-restrictive laws that make innocent people into criminals for victimless crimes like CAP laws do.

Some like yourself, may be willing to give up their liberty for a little perceived safety. I, and many others, are not.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? As always, all comments are welcome!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gun Control Flaws 2.7, "What does it hurt? Hello, Unintended Consequences!"

A major problem with gun control "solutions" is their narrow perceived scope of cause and effect. Since most all gun control focuses on the tool used in violent firearm-related crime, it doesn't consider any of the other factors that are actually directly responsible for violent crime, such as socio-economic factors (poverty, prevalence of gangs), the failure of our criminal justice system to rehabilitate offenders before letting them go back onto the street, and how prohibitions actually serve to increase violent crime rates by creating a profitable enterprise for violent criminals.

Consider the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's. The government saw a problem (abuse of alcohol), implemented a solution (ban it completely), and once it was implemented, received a stern lesson in Unintended Consequences.

With legal distribution and sales of alcohol now illegal, organized crime took over, making millions of dollars distributing the contraband, making it profitable for those willing to engage in a life of violent crime.

The same thing has occurred with the prohibition of recreational drugs - all the laws and money dumped into the "war on drugs" have had little proven effect to reduce consumption or demand, or even the supply. Being a profitable enterprise for those willing to disobey the law, the lure of "easy money" draws those in poverty with little other opportunity to succeed into gangs for illegal drug distribution. They must be violent to protect their distribution "turf" from other violent gangs.

The lesson to be learned is: When something there is a demand for is made contraband, those willing to disobey the law will step in, drawn by the profitability, to supply the demand - actually increasing the number of violent criminals on the street and thereby increasing violent crime.

Viewing the history of homicide in this country, note the slow increase in the homicide rate leading up to and during prohibition, then the sharp drop right at the end. Note the same increase with the ramp-up on the "war on drugs" in the 60's.

Now consider the similarities in what's happened with increasing gun control:

Back before the Gun Control Act of 1968, except for some states, anybody had open access to purchase firearms from a legal gun dealer. Pretty much anyone could buy a gun, even through mail order. It stands to reason that since there was no real prohibition, guns were no different than any other item bought and sold on the street - perhaps a gun was stolen merchandise, but otherwise there was nothing special about them, because they could just as easily be bought from almost anywhere.

Now flash forward 40+ years to our current state, where the supply to "prohibited persons" within the US is limited - They can no longer buy directly from FFL dealers if they can't pass a background check, but it hasn't actually been proven to stop any significant number of violent criminals from getting their hands on a gun - instead, it has bolstered the "black market" on the street, making guns a profitable commodity for those willing to disobey the prohibition and sell to those that aren't allowed by law to possess a gun.

As we see with anything else we prohibit where a demand exists, the more tightly we try and regulate guns, not only will the law not have any significant effect keeping them out of the hands of "prohibited persons," but the black market on the street (and the number of criminals running it) will actually increase to meet the demand.

Not quite the result that gun control advertises, is it?


Gun Control Flaws 2.5, "What does it hurt? Plenty!"

Background checks revolve around the concept of a list of people determined to be "prohibited persons," based solely on the assumption that such people are more likely to commit crimes involving firearms. While originally this discrimination started with convicted felons, it has since spread to include people convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, people who have been institutionalized for mental illness, and people with current restraining orders against them. The current push is to "close the [so-called] Terror Gap," and prohibit the purchase of firearms to people merely SUSPECTED of being involved in whatever they define as "terrorism."

So we know from experience that a prohibition simply doesn't effect those willing to break the law - they will continue to get their guns, either with straw buyers, or steal them, or get them from the black market on the street. So what's wrong with making it harder for dangerous people to get guns?

First of all, with the wide variety of felony crimes our society has created, many of them victimless, a good many of these felons are NOT a danger to society, even if they have firearms in their possession. Consider some of the famous examples: Tim Allen (comedian) has a felony conviction for drug possession. Martha Stewart has a felony conviction related to her illegal stock trading. How is our society made better for prohibiting these people from possessing firearms for any good purposes?

While there ARE many convicted felons that really are a danger to society, if they are willing to disregard the laws prohibiting them from hurting innocent people, they're going to disregard the laws that prohibit them from having a firearm if they really want one. The only felons effected by this prohibition are the ones that choose to obey it, and the facts prove the ones obeying the law aren't the ones we need to be concerned about.

For individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, I actually know someone that fell into this category. My acquaintance Pete was living with his girlfriend when they got into an argument. He is well over 6' tall and she was over a foot shorter than him and less than half his weight. The argument got physical - she started the attack by jumping on him, knocked him over, and began flailing at him with her fists. He grabbed her, threw her off of him, and she hit a piece of furniture, causing a scrape and bruise on her back. He called the police to report the attack. When the cops arrived, she denied ever striking him and played the "poor abused girlfriend" sob story. The cops looked at him (with no visible signs of injury), looked at her bruise, ignored his side of the story and arrested only him. In spite of having a lawyer, the judge did the same thing, looked at the size of him, the size of her, believed her lies and convicted him. He has now lost his right to keep and bear arms under Federal law FOR LIFE unless he can get the conviction overturned on appeal (which he doesn't have the money to continue to fight), or gets a pardon from the governor.

Now I wasn't there, of course, so I only have the word of one party involved, but this kind of thing DOES occur. I also know people that have had restraining orders filed against them maliciously by an angry ex-wife (used as a tool to guarantee her custody of the kids), and that the prohibition of people with current restraining orders against them results in the restriction of people's rights without even being convicted of a crime! We know that truly dangerous people with restraining orders against them will break the law to go attack and kill their target, and sometimes they even use a gun - how is this prohibition supposed to work again?

The push to prohibit "suspected terrorists" is even worse, because the list is "secret." You have no way of even identifying IF you are on the list, WHY you are on the list, and removal from this list is next to impossible. It can result in people's rights being restricted with absolutely no due process, no convictions of a crime, and basically no redress. Those that really are terrorists willing to harm people won't be stopped by a simple law, and if they are denied their purchase, they may even realize they are now tagged as "suspicious" and change their plans to evade further suspicion.

Any of these prohibitions ONLY effect those who are willing to obey them. Trying to determine who is "dangerous" by these factors alone is a gross abuse of government, and in trying to protect us from these "prohibited persons" possibly abusing the right to keep and bear arms, they prohibit the good and rightous exercise of it. We throw many of these prohibited people who are NOT dangerous under the bus, in an ineffective attempt to prohibit the dangerous ones from getting guns, which doesn't work.

Either we all have equal rights, or we don't. We ALL have the equal right of self defense, and that means the equal right to an effective means of self defense of our life and liberty - This is the root behind the right to keep and bear arms. All people have this right, even if our government enacts unjust laws prohibiting it.