Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ANOTHER Right Wing Nut with a Gun near the Prez

The more we read of "Opposing Views", the more we become enamored of their style.

Yesterday we wrote about the "The New Turks" video (Have we reached the Tipping Point?), and today we read about yet another "Right Wing Nut" who brings a firearm to an Obama appearance.

Here is the link to the original news story (via Bloomberg):

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Armed protesters asserting their right to bear arms, including a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder, gathered yesterday near [emphasis added] a Phoenix convention hall where President Barack Obama spoke, a police spokesman said.

The protesters were taking advantage of an Arizona law that allows people to carry unconcealed guns, Phoenix Police Department spokesman Andy Hill said. Police made no arrests.

“Plainclothes police officers continually monitored the situation and no threats, either physical or verbal, were made,” Hill said in an e-mail.

The incident marked the third occasion in a week when guns have been linked to an Obama event. On Aug. 11, police arrested a man for having a loaded, unlicensed gun in his car near a New Hampshire school where Obama later held a health-care forum, USA Today reported. In a separate incident, another man outside that event displayed a gun in a holster on his leg, the paper said.

New Hampshire law allows people to carry unconcealed guns and the protester wasn’t arrested, said U.S. Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley.

The armed protesters weren’t a “cause for concern,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters today.

“There are laws that govern firearms that are done state or locally,” he said. “Those laws don’t change when the president comes to your state or locality.”

The staff at Opposing Views wrote an article presenting both the legal facts (state law allowing "Open Carry") and anti-gun opinion. From Opposing Views:
Is it the start of a disturbing trend that could end in disaster, or just people exercising their constitutional rights? People are beginning to bring guns to President Obama's events.

The latest incident was Monday in Phoenix, where a dozen people, including a man with a military-style assault rifle, openly showed their guns at a protest outside a convention center where Obama was giving a speech.

Arizona is a so called "open carry" state, where anyone who can legally own a gun can carry it around, as long as it is out in the open. A person would need a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

There were no incidents at Monday's event, and no one was arrested. The man with the rifle told The Arizona Republic [link added] that he was carrying the assault weapon because he could. "In Arizona, I still have some freedoms," he said.
"Because He Could."

Those three words should be cast in bronze and displayed in every governmental building and edifice across the country.

But wait! What about the "Opposing Opinion"?
But others say this is a disaster waiting to happen. "To me, this is craziness," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "When you bring a loaded gun, particularly a loaded assault rifle, to any political event, but particularly to one where the president is appearing, you're just making the situation dangerous for everyone. The more guns we see at more events like this, there's more potential for something tragic happening."

The "Opposing Views" article did a great job of presenting both sides of the controversy, in the "Fair and Balanced" sense which Fox TV supposedly strives to achieve, but rarely manages.

The really interesting part of the article, though, was found in the COMMENTS section of the article.

Pay attention now, because this is the real point of this article.

The free exchange of ideas and opinions in the COMMENTS section was a profound demonstration of the Principles of Freedom, as embodied in the U.S. Constitution, which makes this country great.

The dialogue there consisted of three parts:
  1. The 2nd Amendment is a right, and what can be wrong in exercising our rights?
  2. There is no excuse for carrying a firearm at a public political event, especially a Presidential Event, and only Right Wing Nuts and hot-doggers would do that.
  3. You're an Idiot!
Forgive me, point (3) actually was distributed among people advocating both points (1) and (2).

But while the discussion occasionally dipped below the limits of polite dialogue, the people expressing their views did tend to stick to the subject and only rarely used (3) to support their viewpoint, the important thing is that there were hundreds (?) of people who got together to state their opinions. During this discussion, nobody was physically harmed, or even personally threatened. Even though group (2) obviously suspected that group (1) contained a fair number of intransigent neanderthals, nobody seemed frightened (or threatened) by the obvious fact that they were arguing vociferously with people who carried guns!

There must be a moral to this tale, although I'm not sure what it is.

Unless ... could it be? ... no matter how people may disagree on these important Societal and Cultural issues, in this country no man need live in fear because he has had the temerity to argue his case in a public forum.

There it is: Hope You Can Believe In.

I love this job.

Bisley Long Range Rifle F-Class World Championship

Savage Arms Team Wins World Championship in F-T/R Class

Savage Arms announced that it's F-class team of Long Range Rifle Shooters have won the 2009 F-T/R World Championship at Bisley, England this July.

Shooting at ranges from 800 to 1000 yards, the four-man team from Oregon racked up impressive scores (see PDF here) prevailed over teams from Great Britain and Ireland.

We here at Cogito Ergo Geek are especially proud to note that our local USPSA "The Usual Suspects" team member BigDawg was points leader for the Savage Arms team.

For detailed information of F-Class shooting, click the image below.

(The Shooting Wire has the story here.)

UPDATE: 20-AUG-2009
Just received an update from BigDawg:
FYI on the "detailed information of F-Class shooting, click the image below" part. This is for F-Open class which ended up in 2nd place in the Open Class with the Britts coming in first. Here is our (F-T/R) web site. Not as nice as the open team stuff. We need to up date our page.
Just wanted to you to know that there is a difference:-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TYT - Have We Reached the Tipping Point on Gun Violence?

YouTube - Have We Reached the Tipping Point on Gun Violence?

The Young Turks ... you gotta love 'em.

TYT is a "liberal radio and internet talk show airing on Sirius satellite radio" (although they would probably prefer the term "progressive", if not "moderate") which never misses a chance to stick it to the "Right Wing Nuts".

If I seem to overstate my estimation of their political position, go to their website. They have a constant-running podcast during which the expressions "Right Wing" and "Progressive" are rarely omitted during interviews. Or if you don't want to listen to any more of their political agenda than is minimally necessary, just look at the blogroll on the left sidebar.

Well, their sidebar would be on the left side of their webpage, wouldn't it?

Still, they work hard to present their point of view, and you can't help admiring their energy.

(Excuse me while I pause to stop their annoying constantly running podcast. There doesn't seem to be any way to shut it down except to cancel the website.)

In this particular YouTube presentation (April, 2009), the presenter describes five " Shootings over the weekend", and then asks whether it isn't time for the NRA and the Gun Control Advocates to get together and say: "Hey, things are getting a little out of hand!"

Here are some of the points presented:

"... he committed suicide after he murdered his children, I aways wish they would reverse it."

"You know when your guns get taken away? When you use them against police officers. (...) So he killed three cops, basically in an ambush. (...) Look, I don't know how much we're suppose to say or not say it, but obviously he bought into the Right Wing ideology ... come on, the guy is clearly a Right Wing Nut that thinks Obama is going to take his guns away so he uses them against cops. ... So look at it, we had someone who is basically a Right Wing Nut who shot three police officers in the head."

"So that's five massive shootings within the span of a couple of weeks. (...) When do we get to the point when we say: 'We've gotten to the tipping point?'"

"Hey, wait a minute. Maybe it doesn't really help ... if all these people are armed. That if we don't allow everybody to get a gun so damn easy in this country, that perhaps it doesn't help that one (turns up hurting?) in terms of violence."

"I don't know if it's in the American tradition to ban all guns. But do we have to get stricter on guns? Absolutely! These should be the hardest things to get. You should have to go through a helluva lot of (trips?) to make sure that you're a guy we can trust. Instead, they hand them out at WalMart! They're the easiest thing in the world! You come in, you're like I'd like a gun here da-da-da boomp boom you're walking out with a gun."

"So my point of question in this regard is this: what will it take for the NRA and Gun Rights Advocates to say 'hey you know what? Maybe this is getting a bit out of hand. Maybe we should have some reasonable regulation of ... of guns in this country."

"At some point you say hey you know what? Maybe it's a dumb idea to give everybody a gun ... really really easy. Because it turns out a certain percentage of the population is a little unbalanced."

"Uh well I'm sure that politically we have NOT got to that point, so our politicians will continue to bow down to the NRA ... because the Democrats are so deathly afraid to touch this (stuff?) ... so we're going to get NO action on it and I don't know when we finaly say 'enough is enough'."

Okay, so I've been grabbing sound-bites like mad and I'm afraid I may not have transcribed the talking points as precisely as I might have wished. You view the video, let me know where I've quoted it incorrectly. But I'm pretty sure I've got the gist of it.

I'm not going to tell you what to think about this video. Still, there are a couple of points which just cry out for response.

Guns should be the hardest thing to get. Instead, they're the easiest thing to get.
I don't think so. Name one single consumer product, the acquisition of which is more fraught with government regulations.

Your car? I don't think so. You only have to pass a driving test, which is in your Skills Suite, not among your Legal concerns.

If you have had a Domestic Violence charge levied against you, you cannot legally possess a firearm ... even though you legally possessed it before the charge was accepted by the courts. You must dispose of weapons if you are convicted of a felony, and there is no mechanism for reimbursement of the value of the objects.

No, a firearm is the only object which absolutely requires that your personal record be reviewed to insure that you are not a felon (past or present), do not have a Domestic Violence charge on your record, and you are not ... for want of a better phrase ... a "Mental Case".

You can be a convicted felon, a wife beater and a pedophile, and psychotic: and you can still own a car and legally drive it if you can pass the driving test.

Might we point out that driving a car is legally a "privilege", while owning a firearm is a "right". There are distinct legal differences between the two terms, and if you don't understand the differences ... just try to buy a shotgun in America.

Some of the points made in the video are not controversial in my mind.

* Are you feeling grouchy and unloved, inclined to take up a weapon to kill your family and then yourself? I agree with the presenter. Why not kill yourself, and if that doesn't resolve your upset THEN look around for victims. (No, I don't advocate suicide except in situations when the alternative is homicide.)

* Killing other people is bad; killing policemen undermines our thin veneer of civilization and should be universally condemned.

*"At some point you say hey you know what? Maybe it's a dumb idea to give everybody a gun ... really really easy. Because it turns out a certain percentage of the population is a little unbalanced." Yeah, we don't allow crazies to own guns. So you tell me, Mr. Presenter, how we determine who is crazy and who is just eccentric.

I think this last point is seminal. The Young Turks advocate for " ... making it really, really" difficult to buy a firearm. There should be some sort of checks on who can buy a gun.

Well, there ARE background checks against everybody who buys arms from a licensed dealer, and still there are "mass murders" of innocents by people who in retrospect should not be allowed to possess a firearm.

The Young Turk we see here today has NO solutions to offer. All he has is rhetoric and emotion. Sure, we feel sorry for the children and the Alzheimer patients and the other innocents who fall victim to Gun Violence. We're all looking for a solution. The Young Turk has nothing at all except the old familiar Liberal Left admonition: "If it saves just one child ..."

Here, as an alternative, is a list of solutions:

  • Marry and love your spouse
  • Support your family, nourish your children
  • Teach your children that some values are absolute, teach them the difference between Right and Wrong, and encourage them always to Do Right
  • Give a fair day's work for a fair day's pay and admonish your children to do the same in their turn
  • Love your brother and your sister, keep them happy and prosperous
If you find that difficult to remember, there are always the Ten Commandments to keep as a moral guide.

NOW let's go to the video.

Monday, August 17, 2009

(under the NHS) you are treated as a sublicant and expected to be grateful for anything you get

From The Smallest Minority
"All of these things serve to make America less American."

Daniel Hannan, conservative member of the European Parliament for Britain gives a speech at the Army-Navy club in August of this year. Worth your time:

I find so many trenchant sound-bites in this three-piece, 27-minute YouTube Trio that I find I am unable to do it justice from a simpe "Fisking" of the video.

The speaker is a self-professed "British Conservative" speaking to an audience which he apparently takes to be an audience of "American Conservatives". (The Army-Navy Club.)

Sounds reasonable to me.

These videos describe a "Brave New World" which has been a dominating factor in the 21st British Century ... if not before.

They ("The Brits") have seen a continuing decline in services from the National Health System (NHS).

We ("The Americans") are pondering the establishment of a similar National Health System.

His message?

Hey, we messed this up big-time. What makes you think you can do any better?

Good question.

Monster Hunter International

The LawDog Files: MHI

Because I am a faithful reader of The LawDog Files, I noted his July 26, 2009 recommendation of Larry Correia's book "Monster Hunter International".

And with no small trepidation (Geeks buying 700+ page novels for less than $8? Scandelous!) I decided to order it from Amazon.

It showed up in my mailbox last week, and Sunday night I started reading it in bed to help me get to sleep.

It started out a little slow ... it seemed as if the author was still trying to get a handle on his subject ... so I had no problem reading a couple of dozen pages before I turned out the lights and went to sleep.

The next morning (Monday), I pulled it off my nightstand to read a few more pages with my morning coffee.

Big mistake.

Drank my coffee.
Drank grape juice, and water.
Ate breakfast.
Smoked cigarettes.
Ate lunch.

Buy this book.


When you get the book, wait until the weekend before you start reading it.

I lost a day of work, because I just ... couldn't ... put ... it ... down.

Just so you'll know.

PS: Looks like there will be a sequel.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gym Shooting Proves Concealed Permit Holders Do Kill

One of my favorite sources of controversial subjects is "Opposing Views".

They'll accept/select opinions from anyone, and then let you to track down the sources to make up your own mind.

One of the problems with this (excuse the expression) "Shotgun Technique" is that most many of the cited articles are written by individuals or organizations with cultural bias. Another is that most many of these articles fail to present reference links which allow the reader to examine the original statistics by which the authors' conclusions are reached.

It has been my experience that, unless the article (or White Paper) includes such a link ... usually as a citation rather than an actual link, it's all too easy to accept the prejudices of the author(s) as fact.

This article (see the link at the top of this page) is no exception to the general rule. In fact, the articles usually present links, which are supposedly offered to support their claim, from their own in-house opinion pieces! (See

Let's dig into this and see if we can't find some truth we can believe in.

The original (July 20, 2009) opinion piece by the Violence Policy Center (verified expert) asserts:

Concealed Gun Holders Kill 7 Cops, 44 Citizens in Two Years

Washington, DC -- Concealed handgun permit holders killed at least seven police officers and 44 private citizens in 31 incidents during the period May 2007 through April 2009 according to a new study ( released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC).

This is, of course, a National Tragedy. Make no mistake, murder of either police officers or private citizens is a problem that we must all work to eliminate.

The question is whether the portion of the problem committed by "Concealed handgun permit holders" is so endemic and so overwhelming that the obvious solution (as is hinted at by the VPC article) that issuing Concealed handgun permits to citizens should be abrogated.

The purported genesis of this article is this (hence the title of this blog-article):

CHICAGO – Yet another concealed weapons permit holder and “legal” gun owner, George Sodini, with no prior criminal record, committed mass murder. On the evening of Aug. 4, Sodini attacked an aerobics class at the LA Fitness gym outside Pittsburgh where he used three handguns, two of which used high-capacity ammunition magazines that could hold up to 30 rounds, to gun down three women and wound nine others before killing himself.

The shooting tragedy is yet another indisputable example that, despite gun lobby rhetoric, “law-abiding” gun owners and carrying concealed permit holders do commit crimes, including homicides and rampage shootings.

I do encourage you to go to the link for this article, follow the story and entirely familiarize yourself with the background.

(And you might dwell for a moment on the COMMENTS engendered by this article. Not everyone seems to accept the VPC interpretation of the raw story.)

Essentially, the facts as stated seem to be correct.

However, the implications as stated seem to be ... skewed to support the VPC basic precepts:

  • guns are bad,
  • guns in the hands of civilians are bad,
  • fewer guns available would result in fewer deaths of police and civilians,
  • and (in this specific instance) that no measures to keep guns out of the hands of outlaws yet allow their possession by 'honest citizens' are adequate to prevent outrageous murder.
Well, on that final concept, we can only accept that no practice or policy or procedure is perfect, and even in the realm of the NCIC (which The Brady Bunch and VPC have supported with few reservations since it's original inception) ... there are bound to be a few wackos infiltrating the system.

Still, is it reasonable to expect that a program being conducted under the auspices of the Federal Government be "perfect"? (Despite voluminous reports by the FBI detailing how the NCIC system prevents criminals, maniacs and other 'undesirables' from being allowed to purchase firearms.)

What are you talking about Willis?

Who here expects any better than mediocrity from the Federal Government? These are the people who brought to us MediCare, MediCaid, the U.S. Postal Service, Social Security, the Income Tax, Cash for Clunkers, and with a lot of lobbying going around ... ObamaCare.

Sorry, I digress.

No governmental program is perfect, and perhaps the most nearly perfect Governmental Program is that which has not yet been enacted.

So you got to ask yourself; do I feel lucky?

After all, how well has the National Instant Check System and (more important) the Concealed Carry program on the state level ... been administered.

With our federally mandated, state-level programs to allow Concealed Handgun Permits really working? Are we filtering the "Honest Citizen" from the General Population, and vetting these Honest Citizens to the benefit of the general population?

Or is this only a program supported by the Right Wing-Nut Conservatives in support their own nefarious agenda?

Maybe, somewhere, we can find some real "Statistics", from a "reputable source", in our Search for Truth.

For sure, we can't find Truth in the Popular Media.

Or can we?


During my research, I found that even the most egregious left-wing anti-gun websites sometimes cannot resist the urge to cite their sources. Sometimes, it does not reflect their particular agenda in the very best light.


Let's look at: "Law Enforcement and Private Citizens Killed by Concealed Permit Holders"

It's only when you get very near the bottom (look for "The Tennessee Experience") that you see ... curiously, a link to a "Conviction Rates for Concealed Handgun License Holders, Texas Department of Public Safety, Concealed Handgun Licensing Bureau,"

Now select "2007 Conviction Reports Rate (PDF)".

Texas may be considered one of the most "liberal" (excuse the expression) issuers of Concealed Handgun License in the nation but surprisingly the Texas state reports do not, to my jaundiced eye, reflect a preponderance of crimes committed by Handgun Permit Holders.

In their report:
Conviction Rates for Concealed Handgun License Holders
Reporting Period : 01/01/2007 - 12/31/2007

... Texas listed a mere 0.2612% of CHL holders cited for 'offenses' (160 offenders for 61,260 offenses committed). No, that's not 26% ... that's a tad more than one quarter of one percent of 5,000+ offenses a month being committed by CHL holders.

Curiously, of the 160 offenses committed by CHL holders, there are some which seem less than than immediately threatening to the community:

This might be interpreted as taking photographs (not of children, that's another category and does not list by CHL holders as participants) which might be likely to cause arousal. Of 16 offenses, two (12.5%) were committed by CHL holders.

"Unlicensed carry of handgun"?? I don't know what this can possibly mean, unless it means carrying a handgun in an area which is not permitted by the terms of a CHL. Whatever, it means that 9 of the 15 offenders hold a CHL, for a whopping 60%. This is the largest congestion of CHL offenses, which makes one wonder ... how did the other six get bundled into this category?

UNL CARRYING WEAPON 3,738 29 0.7758%
Here's another category which denies interpretation. "Unlicensed Carrying a Weapon"? One can only assume that 29 (out of 3,738) offenders chose that day to carry a weapon which was not a Concealed Handgun covered by their CHL,

This must be closely related to the previous two offenses. Apparently 4 out of 939 offenders were CHL holders who, on that occasion, chose to carry a switchblade knife or Brass Knuckles rather than/in addition to ... the handgun which they were permitted to carry concealed by the Great State of Texas. [Maybe they wanted a "non-lethal" alternative"? If they were police, we would consider this a virtue, wouldn't we?]

In this small sample we see in 4248 of the relatively minor offenses (nobody got shot, or even had a gun pointed at them) 46 were committed by CHL holders ... who didn't even have a gun with them at the time of the offense. Uh ... that represents just over one percent of the total offenses, doesn't it? Isn't that a big part of the 0.26+% of the total CHL Holder offenses? Let me see: 40/1560 = 28.75%. Yep, more than a quarter of these offenses have nothing to do with Concealed Handgun usage.

How about plain old, everyday "murder"?
MURDER 371 2 0.5391%

Two of the 371 murders were committed by CHL holders.
Something to think about, eh?

Yet according to the VPC, during the 1/96-10/97 period, Texas CHL holders were arrested for 946 crimes 263 of which were felony offenses.

The keyword here is "Arrested". That doesn't mean "Convicted". In fact, that doesn't even mean "Charged". (If they were found innocent at their trial; if they were released before trial; or if they were released before they were even taken to booking ... it still counts as an "arrest".)

It only goes to prove that statistics can mean whatever you say they mean, especially if you don't feel obligated to prove the validity of your statistics by citing source of the data.

I don't have the specific figures for how many citizens within the Great State of Texas actually
have applied for, and have been approved to legally carry a concealed weapon. However, if YOU are willing to do the research, I would be very interested in any data you can provide to prove that more than 00.26% of the citizens in Texas have a CHL.

Bottom Line:
Yes, we have some Bad Boys in CHL lists; but their number is exceedingly small. Far beyond their representation in the General Population.

The Brady Bunch and VPC have campaigned for tightened restrictions on private civilian firearms ownership for YEARS, and when the Federal Government has replied in accordance to their desires, these NGO organizations, instead of acknowledging that the Feds are working hard to respond to their concerns ... have only become more strident in their calls for more restrictions, and less acknowledgments that the general populace of the United States of America actually includes reasonable, sane people who are not driven to mass murder by the simple possession of a firearm.

(Do NOT postulate this to a member of VPC or The Brady Bunch; it would ruin their day and drive them to madness, with who-knows-what consequences to Law Enforcement Officers and Private Citizens.)

UPDATED 17-AUG-09 to break down the statistics from the TEXAS sources, and correct numerous typographical errors.