Thursday, December 31, 2015

In A Perfect World

The New England Journal of Medicine (*NEJM: in an article titled "Rooting Out Gun Violence") * is once again lamenting the terrible lack of cooperation on the part of gun-owners with the Health Issue improvements they have suggested.

*(H/T:  Ammoland, and The Gun

In A Perfect World --

Old people, women, even children would be protected from by vicious men who want to hurt us.

In A Perfect World, when we are assaulted by people who want to hurt us for the sheer joy of the pain, or for gain, or for fury unabated ... we would be able to summon help by pushing a button and rescuers would magically appear and save us from our tormentors.

This is not a perfect world, and the police ("To Protect And To Save") have no obligation to protect or to save us.  Nor have they the resources to do so, however much they would like to.

So we carry guns, because "Sam Colt Made All Men Equal".  And also mothers and fathers.

Here's how it sounds from the side of the fence:
Here we are again. Less than a year ago, an editorial in the Journal by Kassirer reexamined the massive public health problem of gun violence in the United States,1 and a Perspective article by Sacks, born of a personal tragedy, lamented the defunding of research on firearm-injury prevention.2 Kassirer called for electing “lawmakers at all levels of government with the courage to defy gun lobbyists,” so that essential regulatory changes can finally be enacted — as physicians, public health experts, and others have been recommending for decades. But in early December, the day after a young couple turned up at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, with semiautomatic weapons and went on a shooting rampage, killing 14 people and injuring 21.
NEJM Translation:  We keep telling you that guns are bad, but you won't listen to us and ... see?  THIS is what happens when you don't listen to us!

I hate it when grown men whine, but it seems endemic in the academic community.  They have chosen a side, and they don't recognize the other side; which is those who feel themselves most vulnerable.

Here, they have decided that all guns are bad, so nobody should own guns.  Period.

They studiously ignore the fact that the reason why Americans refuse to give up their guns is that the criminals won't give up THEIR guns!   

It's not that we're unaware of the abuses of firearms ownership.

It's just that we, the law-abiding community, understand that if we are unable to defend ourselves, then nobody else is there to step up for us.

Certainly, there are no members of the Academic Community who are willing to commit to our personal defense; nobody blames them for that, it's a tough job and they are not qualified even if they would accept the onerous duty.

The Academics have the courage to (defend) ... research on firearm-injury prevention
but they don't have the ability to provide "firearm-injury prevention".   That's The Way Of The Academic.

They may bemoan the real-world ethics;  they may rail against the thick-headedness of the hoi polloi who insist on the right to defend themselves.  But they are unable or unwilling to provide and alternate solution which will comfort the man whose family has been taken from him during a home-invasion.

It's not a Perfect World.

I have no idea ....

... but on New Years Eve, it's refreshing to find a video which is not filled with explosions and drunken college students going OOOOOOOO WAAAAAAH!

Published on Dec 26, 2013 James A. Keating demonstrates Comtech Bowie Knife Power Passing

I think it's great that they have those cool sunglasses on.  It adds an air of mystery.

Either that, or they're embarrassed to be seen in public without their spidey-mask on.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Insane Clown Posse Joke? Guns are not an individual right in Illinois?

Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HR0855:
 As Introduced Urges the courts, especially the United States Supreme Court, to adhere to the clear wording of the Second Amendment being a right afforded to state-sponsored militias and not individuals.
This has been all over the gun blogger-net for the past couple of days.  Those fun-loving scamps in the Illinois Legislature (who always reminded me of the characters in M*A*S*H) have a new trick to play on their fellow citizens.

They are were going to abrogate U.S. Supreme Court decisions which have determined that firearms ownership is an individual right.

Which completely goes against both the HELLER and the MACDONALD decisions.

The smart money today is on failure of the bill, though, as rats supporters are abandoning the sinking ship movement.  Check out the history in the House (ref: link above):

Need we mention that Welch (7th District) , Andrade (40th District), and Reaves-Harris (10th District) are all Democrats?   They were all "ME TOO!" when it looked like a good political move.

But apparently  the voters are not looking kindly on this abrogation of their civil rights.   Illinois is known as a "swing state", and the vote of the populace might go either way.

Also, the governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, is a Republican. He might have had a thing or two to say about this.

Chicago Pride!

Shootings -- Crime in Chicagoland --

Chicago Tribune Reports a banner year for shootings!
This year they reported a 14.84% INCREASE in the number of shooting victims in Chicago.

Jan. 1, 2015 - Dec 30, 2015
2,971 shooting victims

Jan. 1, 2014 - Dec 30, 2014
2,587 shooting victims
Chicago shooting victims Last updated Dec. 30, 2015 The map [see the link, above] shows where people were shot in Chicago, broken down by community area. Darker shades of blue indicate greater numbers of victims in those community areas. This data is compiled from reporting done by the Chicago Tribune Breaking News staff and is typically updated more than once per week. Therefore, the most recent shootings may not be displayed immediately.

If Chicago could report  that large an increase in productivity,it would be one of the most prosperous communities in the nation ... instead of the deadliest.

Just saying.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Gutting the Second Amendment: Fear and Loathing in Academia

There was a time, after I had graduated from high school, and after I had graduated from college, and after I had graduated from Viet Nam, when I was trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life.

I thought I would like to go back to school for an academic degree.  I thought perhaps I would like to teach, at a college level. I knew that I liked to teach.  I had the education, I had the experience, so perhaps I had something to offer to the next generation.

Seeking advice, I asked my Mom what she thought about it.

She said (not her exact words, although I present this as a quote:

"Well, Honey, you do what you think is best.  But when people ask me what my son is doing with his life, is it okay with you if I just tell them you're running a whore-house?"

Point well taken.  I got into computer systems analysis, and while I never thought I was leading an honest life, at least I could hold my head up among the relatives during the annual Summer Family Reunions.

Now I'm looking at an article in the New York Times titled "Guns and Racism" by Gary Guting.
 (H/T: David Codrea)

It starts out well:
Those of us in favor of stronger laws to abate gun violence mostly support our cause by arguing against the claims of the gun lobby (roughly, the N.R.A. and gun manufacturers). It should by now be obvious that this is a waste of time. The case for action is overwhelming, but there’s no chance of convincing the entrenched minority who are so personally (or financially) invested in gun ownership. Legislative efforts have failed because the opposition is more deeply committed — more energized, more organized, more persistent.

There are a few comments in this oh-so-fairly-reasoned article which I find disturbing.

Yes, those of us who are firm supporters of our Civil Rights are certainly "entrenched"; but it bothers me that the author suggests that we are minions of "the N.R.A. (sic) and gun manufacturers".

I'm not certain what incentives these nefarious groups are supposedly using to encourage firearms owners to support their evil actions, but I always thought that the NRA was an organization created by and for firearms owners .. and when the NRA doesn't speak for us, their membership plummets.

I don't particularly like the NRA .. I find them too liberal, usually; but I guess they have to tone down the rhetoric.  As far as the gun manufacturers .... when they don't do what we (firearms owners) want them to do, they lose business.

(There was a little contretemps with Smith &Wesson a few years ago, when they seemed to have kow-towed to gun-control influences; they lost a LOT of business from firearms owners over that one.  So it doesn't seem to me as if the firearms manufacturers are driving the Second Amendment dialogue in this country.)

So, who is driving the gun-owner rhetoric?  Certainly not the manufacturers!.  Might it be .. the gun owners?  Maybe the gun-owners are not puppets of industry or organizations, but are independently just really cranky people who don't want other people telling them that they are 'bad' because they stand up for their civil rights?

But wait!  There's more.

... the basic motivation of the pro-gun movement is freedom from government interference. They talk about guns for self-defense, but their core concern is their constitutional right to bear arms, which they see as the foundation of American freedom. The right to own a gun is, as the N.R.A. website puts it, “the right that protects all other rights.” Their galvanizing passion is a hatred of tyranny. Like many other powerful political movements, the gun lobby is driven by hatred of a fundamental evil that it sees as a threat to our way of life — an existential threat — quite apart from any specific local or occasional dangers.
It's so NICE to see that someone actually 'gets it', in the sense that ... firearms owners are not opposing gun-control measures out of 'fear', but out of a defense of the Constitution, civil liberties, and enumerated rights.

And yes, we do hate it when people tell us what to do.  Or not to do.  This is America, after all.

Then he goes and says something stupid; like playing the Racism Card:

But few of us actually see guns as existential threats to fundamental American values. In this, however, we are mistaken. Our permissive gun laws are a manifestation of racism, an evil that, in other contexts, most gun-control advocates see as a fundamental threat to American society.
Mr. Guting lives in Chicago, and his perception is:

I’m not particularly afraid, since — like most Chicagoans — I’m hardly ever where the violence occurs. There’s something to worry about only if you live in certain overwhelmingly black communities on the West and South sides of town. (The papers publish helpful maps showing how the killings are distributed.) These are where almost all the shootings occur, and the large majority of victims (and perpetrators) are black. 

[Mr. Guting decries the plight of Chicago's poor negro black, and avoids that part of town because (a) it's dangerous and (b) he can.  But he doesn't speak of his efforts to raise the socio-economic plight of the community.  Still, he feels free to criticize  the dreadful conditions in his community, which he attempts to alleviate by publishing an opinion article in the New York Times ... not the Chicago Trib!   He's not "part of the problem", but he still thinks it's a stinking rotten shame and it's not his fault even though he lives (and presumably votes) in the same city.  He's too proud to publish his criticism in the Chicago paper because, apparently, it's not a Chicago problem; it's an NRA problem.  Well, whatever ... it's not HIS problem!]

And that is the fault of Second Amendment defenders because ... what?

He goes on to decry the prevalence of gun violence in black parts of town.
The case for the racist effect of our permissive gun laws is especially powerful.  There’s no way of explaining away all these deaths as aberrations. If we fail to oppose with equal passion and vigor the relentless political pressure of (mostly white) gun advocates, we force a large number of black citizens to live with the constant threat of gun violence. We’re in effect letting the Second Amendment trump the Fourteenth Amendment, implicitly preferring the right of gun ownership to the right of black people to live free from fear.

I live in Oregon.  And this is MY fault?

Oh dear!
What is this "relentless political pressure of (mostly white) gun advocates" of which you speak?  Would it ... possibly ... be that we advocate for equal rights for all Americans, even if we (as you seem to imply) that 'some of us' seem to "force ... black citizens" to bear the onerous burden of living under their constitutional right to keep and bear arms?

Might part of the problem be that the EVIL Chicago Aldermen have decreed Chicago a city-wide Gun Free Zone, where honest citizens cannot defend themselves with the same (currently illegal) firearms that gang-bangers have?

[I know ... firearms ownership is strictly prohibited there ... which means that it is a GUN FREE ZONE to the criminals who have already demonstrated a total contempt for the Rule Of Law.   The only people who don't have guns are the law-abiding citizens.]

Isn't that a Chicago Gun Free Zones problem, and not an American Constitution problem?

What is the root cause of the "racist effect of our permissive gun laws"?

We ... legal firearms owners ... just want to protect our civil rights; rights which we support for ALL Americans. 

The NRA was started to counter the racist attitudes during post-civil war times, when "liberals" like you (Democrats) wanted to keep firearms out of the hands of black people.

Is it your contention, Mr. Guting, that Second Amendment Advocates are conspiring against black people?  Because that's the way it sounds, using your words.

"Permissive gun laws" are a reflection of the Constitutional rights of ALL Americans.  
What you consider "permissive", we consider "reasonable, common-sense gun rights".

NOBODY who cares about the Second Amendment would ever advocate any political stance which would undermine those rights; because if Black People can be denied their constitutional rights, then anybody would be threatened by the same kind of arbitrary infringement.

It seems to me, Mr. Guting, that you are the racist in the wood pile.   You are the one who has raised the proposition that one racial group would be accorded, and another denied, their rights.

The Second Amendment doesn't work that way.

Americans don't work that way.

Well .. perhaps a few pie-in-the-sky Academics have their heads so firmly entrenched in their nether regions that they don't know what the meaning of the words  "Will Not Be Infringed" is.  It applies to everybody, equally, without regard to race, creed or religion.

The rest of us are QUITE clear in our understanding that the Constitution of the United States of America is NOT a "living document", which might be subject to various and changeable interpretations based on YOUR crappy attitude.


Gary Gutting is a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and an editor of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. His new book, “What Philosophy Can Do” (W. W. Norton) offers essays, expanded from his Stone columns, on politics, science, religion, education and art.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Assault Weapons Ban of 2015

I just scanned the proposed Assault Weapons Ban of 2015, and someone went to a lot of trouble to put it together.

They must be feeling pretty smug about having avoided the pitfalls which made the last Assault Weapons Bans of the past patently unworkable.

Still, they persist in worrying about such things as "Barrel Shrouds" ... and I ask you why that cosmetic feature would turn a rifle into an Assault Weapon.  (NB:  That 1903A3 Springfield rifle has limited capacity, does not feed from a detachable magazine, but might conceivably be considered an "Assault Weapon" since there is a piece of wood the wraps around the barrel.)

Question: The bill includes an extensive list of "exempt" make and model of existing rifles.  So what happens next year when a major manufacturer creates a new model of an existing "exempt" rifle?  Do they have to add a rider to the law, if enacted?   That seems cumbersome to me.

Oh, and they have another 'cute trick'

Text - H.R.4269 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 | | Library of Congress: If any provision of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, the amendments made by this Act, and the application of such provision or amendment to any person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby.

Well, at least the admit to the mere possibility that they may be fallible.

Still, I think the whole thing infringes upon my Second Amendment Rights, and while I try to keep this a Family Friendly resource, I can only reach this conclusion.

Fuck you, Congress, you parsimonious pandering plethora of Political Pansies.

What's the worst that can happen?..

Nobody needs to carry a firearm in America, because the police are there to protect you.
If you are in fear, just call a policeman.   They are professionals; they are qualified to evaluate the situation and provide an appropriate response.

If you have a gun, you'll probably just make matters worse.  You might shoot an innocent bystander!

Besides, what's the worst that can happen?

Warning: Video contains very disturbing scenes of violence.  Should not be considered safe for work.  Do not play this video if children or other Liberals are in the room.