Sunday, July 22, 2018

U.S. Civilians Estimated to Own 400 Million Guns

According to The Firearms Blog (TFB) the civilian gun ownership in the United States has reached 393.3 million, or close to 400 million guns of all types. The data is provided by the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss based research organization.
...The latest report suggests that 120 firearms are owned per 100 people in the US. By this metric the next country to hold a substantial number of guns per 100 people is Yemen, with 53 guns per 100 people. Japan and Indonesia have the lowest number of guns per 100 people, both with an average of just just 0.3 guns per 100 people.
Interestingly, the UK and Australia don't even show up on the list.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What is an "Inthinkable?"

Have I ever mentioned that one of my favorite movies  of all time is the comedy Blazing Saddles? Yes, the movie is vulgar, outrageous, humorous at the same time. The movie is at once a spoof of other movies, and breaks the "rules" of racial portrayal in movies that had obtained a generation before. As such, it wasn't truly ground breaking in 1974, as much as it confirmed how far the U. S. had come in such a short time. In his article at the American Thinker entitled The Inthinkables, he notes that:
Schnatter lost it all this week, including his name on a football stadium and a business school. His offense? Referring to irrevocable history about the founder of a competing franchise during a conference call, though inappropriate vernacular has never been ascribed to Schnatter himself.

Once upon a time, Schnatter could have spoken of Colonel Sanders's ingrained culture without consequence. And once upon a time, Blazing Saddles was produced. Mel Brooks often laments that his comedy masterpiece could never be made today. But in 1974, the art of thinking without being offended was not lost. Sane people were not actively searching out cause for their feelings to be bruised.
I had experience once of exactly what Mel Brooks was speaking of in the Vanity Fair article. I was talking to someone at work about movies and asked if he had ever seen Blazing Saddles He claimed he had not. I then began to describe the scene where Cleavon Little rides up and reads the gathered town his appointment as the new sheriff. When the town folk point their weapons at Little, he draws his own weapon and points it at himself, saying in a gruff voice, "Lower your weapons or the nigger gets it!" Then, one of the Johnson women says something to the effect of "I think he means it. Better do as he says." Little then takes himself hostage over to the sheriff's office. My co worker became outraged. It didn't matter that the movie was a spoof, or that Richard Pryor had cowritten the movie script, or that Cleavon Little agreed to say the lines and that Mel Brooks, a Jew, would understand discrimination. For any thinking person, if was a comedy that made fun of everyone and everything. To the perpetually outraged, the 'inthinkables," any word may be a trigger to display outsized emotional response and signal their virtue.

Words convey meaning, nuance,  feeling, concepts and thoughts.  By closing off certain words to being expressed, we close off our ability to think the things the words express.  Even the so called hurtful words have historical meaning that should not be forgotten, lest future generations find themselves repeating the sins of the past.  This is why, for instance, the tearing down of the Confederate statues is a mistake.  The Confederate statues are a reminder of a time when we treated other human beings a beasts of burden, and some men took the labor of others as their own.

We were wise enough once to know what was truly evil and what wasn't. We were also strong enough to think for ourselves. Regardless of our level of education, we knew what words meant. And even those of meanest sustenance could articulate abstract notions without fear.

Words are vessels of thought. Words are not thought themselves, but they contain and convey thought, albeit sometimes crudely. But words must never supplant thought. Destroy a word, and it becomes difficult to conceive that thought again.

What transpires today is a more grievous abomination. If words are retained at all, they are now weighed and measured according to the feelings they evoke, and not the concepts they contain. It is but one channel through which reason is being actively replaced with unfettered emotion.
An "inthinkable" is one of these who has lost the ability to think and reason,  Along with the ability to reason, such people have lost any sense of humor, of irony and wit.  They would never understand the sarcasm of Jonathon Swift's famous essay A Modest Proposal thinking it was intended to be mean and heartless rather than putting a mirror to society and the politicians of his day.

Read the whole thing and if you are not an inthinable, think about what is happening to our society, of culture, and our nation.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Popular Entertainment Pushing an Anti-Gun Agenda

John Lott, the economist who did the first county by county research into the effect of gun laws, and wrote a book about it entitled More Guns, Less Crime has posted an article today at Townhall.com entitled How Entertainment Shows Have Become Vehicles for Gun Control Propaganda. Yes, the title is a little unwieldy, but in fairness I don't think Lott wrote the title.

In this piece, Lott shows how time and time again entertainment seems to show, often contrary to reality, a bias against guns in the public's hands, while showing guns in the hands of the authorities, particularly the police, as being good.  As a gun owner and a person who has studied guns and their uses for a lot of years, I often spot the same types of propaganda as does Lott, but he and I do not watch the same shows.

For example, I often enjoy watching British detective shows on Netflix.  I don't necessarily need to see explicitly played out in front of me man's cruelty  to man to know that it is boundless.  Shows like  Midsomer Murders appeal because they do not show a lot of explicit blood and gore.  But not seeing it does not in any way lessen what I know to be true.  But while I enjoy the show, the interplay between the characters, and the seemingly silly things that get people stirred up in Midsomer County, some of the gun handling that occurs causes me to wince.  For one thing, when they do occasionally come across a pistol, they routinely bag the evidence without clearing if of ammunition, or if the eject the magazine, they do not clear the chamber.   But most people in Britain probably do not know the difference.

In the process of exploring what else Netflix has to offer, I came across a show entitled Crossing Lines.  This show was made as propaganda for the International Criminal Court.  Unfortunately if one knows a bit about these matters, it really shows a bunch of Keystone Kops gallivanting about Europe while supposedly solving crimes. In one episode, the camera clearly showed a murder weapon as a pistol of some sort, while the actor called it a revolver. Clearly the show's director and producer figured no one in the audience would know the difference, and in fairness, perhaps they did not know the difference either. And while these "investigators" are supposedly armed, their gun handling skills are very poor.

I also like to occasionally watch American shows like Criminal Minds. While this show is not quite as lame as Crossing Lines, the anti-gun bias is still subtly there. For instance, in most shows, the bad guy us caught as he is on the verge of taking another victim, which supports the theory that "the police are there to protect you," when nothing could be further from the truth.  The police are there to protect the public, not the individual, and they do not have to respond to a call for help, nor do they have to help even if they do respond.   Their actual job is to investigate the crime after the fact, find the perpetrator of the crime, and turn him over for prosecution.*  You are responsible for your own life, and the lives of your children.  You are not responsible for anyone else either.

Go read John Lotts article to see how entertainment shows push an anti-gun agenda which is contrary to reality.  While you are at it, notice how they are now pushing a gay agenda by having at least one or more gay people in every single show you watch, even though you may no encounter a gay person in your life but once of twice a year.


* In saying that, I do not wish to disparage the police.  Most would agree that their job does not include being a body guard to individual citizens.  While most officers, I believe, if the stumbled across a crime in progress would attempt to stop the bad guys, their real job is to catch the bad guys and refer them for prosecution.  Indeed, the Supreme Court ruled in Castle Rock v. Gonzales that the Town of Castle Rock, CO, nor its police department of individual police officers could be sued for failure to protect.  But the doctrine goes back many many years. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Defense Distributed Wins Its Lawsuit...Sometimes You Can Beat City Hall

This case is big, and why it is getting so little coverage, even in the conservative press is beyond me.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) has just settled, really surrendered to Defense Distributed, in a way that essentially ends the gun control debate.  I wouldn't call it :Yuge," but it is a precedent that may shut up the gun grabbers shouting that civilians should carry "weapons of war" on America's streets.

Tom Knighton at Bearing Arms. Citing a Wired article, Knighton quotes:
FIVE YEARS AGO, 25-year-old radical libertarian Cody Wilson stood on a remote central Texas gun range and pulled the trigger on the world’s first fully 3-D-printed gun. When, to his relief, his plastic invention fired a .380-caliber bullet into a berm of dirt without jamming or exploding in his hands, he drove back to Austin and uploaded the blueprints for the pistol to his website, Defcad.com.
He’d launched the site months earlier along with an anarchist video manifesto, declaring that gun control would never be the same in an era when anyone can download and print their own firearm with a few clicks. In the days after that first test-firing, his gun was downloaded more than 100,000 times. Wilson made the decision to go all in on the project, dropping out of law school at the University of Texas, as if to confirm his belief that technology supersedes law.
The law caught up. Less than a week later, Wilson received a letter from the US State Department demanding that he take down his printable-gun blueprints or face prosecution for violating federal export controls. Under an obscure set of US regulations known as the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Wilson was accused of exporting weapons without a license, just as if he’d shipped his plastic gun to Mexico rather than put a digital version of it on the internet. He took Defcad.com offline, but his lawyer warned him that he still potentially faced millions of dollars in fines and years in prison simply for having made the file available to overseas downloaders for a few days. “I thought my life was over,” Wilson says.
…snip...
Two months ago, the Department of Justice quietly offered Wilson a settlement to end a lawsuit he and a group of co-plaintiffs have pursued since 2015 against the United States government. Wilson and his team of lawyers focused their legal argument on a free speech claim: They pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information. By blurring the line between a gun and a digital file, Wilson had also successfully blurred the lines between the Second Amendment and the First.
“If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident,” Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. “So what if this code is a gun?”
The Department of Justice’s surprising settlement, confirmed in court documents earlier this month, essentially surrenders to that argument. It promises to change the export control rules surrounding any firearm below .50 caliber—with a few exceptions like fully automatic weapons and rare gun designs that use caseless ammunition—and move their regulation to the Commerce Department, which won’t try to police technical data about the guns posted on the public internet. In the meantime, it gives Wilson a unique license to publish data about those weapons anywhere he chooses."
In this settlement, the DOJ is admitting that semiautomatic guns up through 50 caliber are not weapons of war.  The ability to print a gun from files obtained on the internet also means that criminals no longer have to steal guns from legal owners, they can make their own.  or they can purchase them from some enterprising individual who wants to make a quick, if illegal buck.  Another argument gone from the gun grabbers play book.

So far, 3D printed guns work, but the idea of putting 10,000 rounds through one is not possible.  That kind of testing and reliability is what law enforcement, the military, and concealed carriers generally are looking for, so I don't think 3D printing of guns will harm the traditional gun manufacturers bottom line.  But no doubt the technology will improve, better materials will be found, and it is entirely possible that relatively inexpensive, yet still reliable guns will be available such that people who are now excluded from owning a defensive weapons will be able to afford one.  Of course, that isn't what the Left had in mind when they wanted true democracy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Gun Grabbers Demand to Be Obeyed...Dammit

David Codrea has a piece continuing the theme from yesterday at Oathkeepers.org entitled Chicago Freeway Protesters Highlights Gun Grabber Sense of Entitlement Over Rights of Others. Codrea is talking about the shut down of the Dan Ryan Expressway by "Father Snuffy" Pfleger and a bunch of what will in all probability turn out to be rent-a-mobs to protest, what else, guns.  Somehow, I would have expected a Catholic priest to understand better than anyone that the cause of gun violence is not the guns, but the sinful nature of the people who wield them for evil purposes.  Obviously a case of not getting the message while at the Seminary.
The Illinois Department of Transportation maintains the Dan Ryan Expressway (which is part of the Interstate Highway System) and pedestrian obstruction is a hazard as well as a gross imposition on the rights of others who are lawfully using the system. Contrary to Emanuel’s assertion that the unlawful protest was “peaceful,” not only did it create a hazard, but one person has no right to violate the personal and commercial travel rights of another by physically imposing themselves and blocking others from going about their lives and business.
Still, as with all such actions taken by those who believe their lot in life is to obnoxiously demand that others obey them, there are plenty of indications the demeanor of the “protestors” is getting on more and more on normal people’s nerves. People previously not engaged in the “debate” have been dragged into it and inconvenienced without any say in the matter—and millions more now see it could just as easily happen to them. On top of that, there’s the sheer ridiculousness of using Chicago’s out-of-control gangland murders and total disregard for all “gun control laws” as the bar by which everyone else’s rights must be measured.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Gun Grabbers Advocating for the Right of Some to Take From Others...Including Those Others Lives

Scott Morefield today, over at Townhall.com makes the case that Defensive Gun Uses Far Outnumber Firearm Homicides, But Gun Grabbers Still Want You Defenseless.
When a drug dealer turned irate customer stormed into the kitchen of a Milwaukee George Webb restaurant last month and cold-cocked a waitress who had apparently fallen short of his lofty service expectations in some way, he was driven away by a quick-acting co-worker who immediately pulled her conceal-carry pistol out of her pocket. Liberals, of course, hate this story and will avoid it at all costs. There’s a reason.
The study by Kleck et al found around 2 million gun uses per year. That same number has been confirmed by the CDC, who buried their own study because it didn't fit with the narrative. WaPo cited fewer cases, but the fact remains that defensive gun uses far outweigh criminal assaults with a gun.  The reason the numbers seem so high is that most defensive uses of a gun do not result in a shooting, or anyone being killed. If a concealed carrier takes a firing grip on his pistol, but does not draw the weapon from the holster, and the criminal breaks off his attack as a result, that is a defensive use of the gun.  It will probably not be reported to the police. 

Even if this were not the case, if the utilitarian argument was the other way around, the moral case for citizens having the right to defend themselves with the most effective means possible would still hold. We all have a right to life (which is not abrogated by the fact that a criminal who assaults another deliberately risks losing his life by his own actions.) If a governmental law says we may not have the means to defend ourselves, that immediately places the burden on the government. The fact that they do not provide that protection, and indeed deem themselves not responsible, is an indictment of that government every time a citizen is killed by a criminal.

Similarly, if a law does not restrict a citizen from having the means to defend themselves, but an employer does, that employer then takes responsibility rather than the government. That employer should provide security to protect the people working there who are defenseless:

First of all, kudos not only go out to the hero co-worker who had her pistol ready to protect herself and others, but to the ownership of Milwaukee’s George Webb restaurant who reportedly allowed its employees to conceal carry in the first place. In today’s age of feckless, spineless corporate leadership to whom political correctness seems far more important than saving employee lives, their courage should not be unemphasized.
I am glad all turned out well for the waitresses working at George Webb restaurant.  But I wish gun grabbers could see it from the position of those of us who have faced such attacks.  It is not our responsibility to die so the other guy can take our stuff.  But that is the proposition for which they are advocating.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

From AWR Hawkins Mouth to God's Ear

AWR Hawkins is speaking to Breitbart Legal Editor Ken Kuklowski on his show Bullets With AWR Hawkins, thinks the next Supreme Court pick could end the gun control debate. Of course, Hawkins is thinking it could end the gun control debate in favor of gun rights. It is equally possible though, that it could end the gun control debate in favor of the gun grabbers. But it is clear that Hawkins thinks we will get another Originalist on the Court, which will essentially end debate for a generation. From Hawkins mouth to God's ear. It would be nice to know that this, at least, had been settled before I leave this earth.