Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Treating Human Life Like an Old Car

I have not previously discussed it here, because it is so personal to me, and is still, almost a year later, a wound that festers. My mother died on the 5th of June last year. As so often happens, we had known it was coming for five years or so, but when it happens, you still mourn. My mother was one of those who did all the "right" things, eating right, not smoking, not drinking (she took the very occasional drink for social purposes) and yet she ended up having some form of dementia. Toward the end, I could see the doctors, and the nurses treating her took the attitude that she did not have a "quality of life" that justified her continued taking up of oxygen. It was largely on the strength of both my Dad and me that she lived for another 2 months before slipping away. I have yet to write the obituary of my mother, and I wonder if I ever will. I know she would be disappointed, as an English teacher, that her son could not write her obituary. But each time I start, tears come to my eyes.

So, it was with great interest that I read this story, at the American Thinker, entitled The Death Panel's Loving Embrace, by Daren Jonescu. The story hit many of the criticisms that I felt during my mother's ordeal. I wanted to share it with you, gentle reader, in the event that reading a first hand account of the cruelty of Socialized medicine may cause you to think about the virtues of a market based system.

One of the things that I thought about a great deal as I sat there with my mother was this notion of "quality of life" (QOL). We all have things that, if we could not do them anymore, our quality of life would be impaired. Someone who cherishes his daily run may find that as he gets older he can no longer run. So he switches to the gentler bicycling. Does his QOL shrink? I think so, but not a lot. How about an older motorcyclist who at a certain age has to switch to riding a trike instead because he can no longer trust his legs to catch the weight of the motorcycle at stops? How about an elderly person whose eye sight becomes so impaired that he can no longer drive himself on his various errands, and must depend on neighbors and family members to take him where he needs to go? Question: When does QOL drop to a level where we decide that putting more resources into maintaining that life no longer "pays off?" Second question: If you can define that point, then what stops you from redefining that point whenever you need to because of budgetary shortfalls?  This is the fallacy of QOL as defined by others.  Your QOL may have suffered, but you may still see your life as valuable.  Should someone else then decide that it is not?

We have been discussing human life in utilitarian terms. Like a old car, we seem to have decided, without much debate among those who will be affected, that at some point we just throw that person away. We view people as if they were units, not unique individuals. But each human is unique. Their presence touches our lives, and our lives would be poorer if they were not there. The cost of repairing the old car is greater than old car is worth. But, a human life can not be weighed by its utility to anyone in particular, or to society as a whole. If we were to weigh a human life in terms of utility to society as a whole, more prisoners would be executed, rather than spend the $30,000 that the average inmate costs society in this country. Surely criminals contribute nothing to society. But we don't execute people for petty crimes.

Life is a gift from God, and only God has the right to end a life. It is not for us to hurry death along, particularly for the reason that this hospital bed is needed by another, so just hurry up and die.

Pro Criminal?

One of my daily reads is Sean Sorrentino's An NC Gun Blog. Today, Sean had an interesting piece about a crime in Australia, entitled, fittingly enough Meanwhile in Rebecca Peters paradise: Guns seized, shootings continue. A quote from the post:
That’s the scenario that our gun grabbers want to import. That’s the life they want for you to have to endure. They aren’t anti-gun, they are pro-criminal.
I have this thought buzzing around the edges of my mind when I read things that just don't make sense, like following a math proof that suddenly veers to the illogical, and the only thing the professor says it "it should be obvious."  But it isn't obvious, and in the end,  I reject it. I ask myself who could possibly be pro-criminal, except of course for other criminals. But, truly there is a group of people dedicated to creating chaos, dividing people, making people doubt there own instincts. So, who are these people? The Left. Most (not all) of your gun grabbers are people on the Left. We, in the gun blogging community out to call them out more, not as gun grabbers, or as anti-gun, but pro-criminal. That's what they are. Let it be know that every regulation they want to impose, every "reasonable gun law" that adds burdens not to the criminal class, but to peaceful citizens, favors criminals over the average person. That makes them pro-criminal.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Virginia Stands Up to Feds on NDAA

It is great to see that our compatriots in Virginia are about to sign into law a bill to prevent any Commonwealth official from enforcing certain provisions of the NDAA. I hope that Arizona soon joins Virginia.

The fact that Sen. McCain and several other Republicans were behind these clearly unconstitutional provisions suggests that we need to not merely wipe any remaining trace of the current Democrats from Congress, but to surgically remove a number of Republicans as well.  McCain should have been callenged and thrown out in the primaries leading up to his last run for re-election, for the McCain-Feingold debacle if for no other reason.

For other news on the NDAA, here is the the New American Anti NDAA Bills Worth-And Not Worth-Supporting.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

BofA Drops McMillan Group for Political Reasons

I missed this the day it came out. Bob Owens had a piece on Pajamas Media reporting that Bank of America drops Gun Company for Political Reasons. If you have an account at BofA, and the other banks in your area haven't thoroughly disgusted you yet, you might think about moving your money elsewhere.  Be sure to tell them why you are changing banks. You do not expect to change the company's policies, but why should you help fund something you don't agree with?

We are now seeing the real danger of the TARP bailouts, and indeed, of bailouts in general.  When the government pays the bill, the government gets to tell you what to do.  Given the rabidly anti-gun nature of this administration, it makes sense that they would try to cut off as much funding to gun manufacturers as the could.  While I am sure McMillan Group will survive, they way that these TARP bailouts were handled such that the government muscled there way into otherwise profitable banks has always struck me as being not much different from a mafia protection racket.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Juvenile Attempt at Blood Dancing

Kevin Jersey, a staff writer for the Valley Star writes a fairly typical anti-gun screed lacking any originality, or even, it seems, fact checking. The article, entitled Continued Lack of Gun Control means No End to Tragic Campus Shootings. I would assume that Mr. Jersey is a journalism school student, destined to become a future "Authorized Journalist," a term coined by David Codrea at the War on Guns blog. Let's see, where to start deconstructing this abomination...

The Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, and Americans have taken full advantage of this right. There are currently around 270 million guns in America, nearly one for every person in this country. That is despite the fact that guns are created for only one purpose: to kill.
Guns are, in fact, designed for a variety of purposes. Yes, they all can kill, even a highly modified target pistol shooting .22 Shorts. But I would be surprised to learn that any have. Certain rifles and shotguns are designed for shooting game. But I don't think that is what he is after either. No, the rage of Mr. Jersey's outburst appears to be targeted at your typical handgun. Perhaps Mr. Jersey doesn't know, for instance, that there are actually 2 million defensive gun usages every year, most of those do not involve having a shot fired. The purpose of defensive handguns is not to kill, but to save life.

Guns have killed an average of more than 32,000 people per year over the past three decades, according to a report from the Firearm & Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s almost a million lives that could have been saved if guns weren’t so easily available.
When we eliminate suicide as a cause of death, the number of people, of all ages, killed by firearms is 12,632 for 2007 according to the CDC. Suicide, we know from the Japanese experience, will happen whether or not guns are available. There are just too many ways to commit suicide. For that matter, there is no evidence whatsoever that the overall murder rate would be any lower if guns were banned. There are too many things that can be used as weapons. For example, machetes, hammers and screw drivers, knives, nail guns...well, you get the idea. Human ingenuity is such that anything can be turned into a weapon in a pinch.

Rather than just keep correcting the factual information that is there, let us look at what isn't there. The whole paper seems to be based on a collectivist conception of the State, rather than and individualist one. He has no problem taking recommending the taking away of the rights of 300 million Americans because he himself doesn't want to be prepared to defend himself. Now, he is free to do whatever with his own life, but what gives him the right to make those determinations for others?

Then there's the idea that it is actually possible to round up, and eliminate 270 million guns. Look, the press has been telling us that the government can't find 12 million illegal aliens. Guns are easier to hide than people are. But let's assume it can be done, how would he do that do you think? What about the fact that some of these guns are worth enough to be tempting targets for corrupt police. Perhaps some of the owners themselves might be willing to pay a corrupt police officer to let them keep their guns. It doesn't take very many getting through the confiscation to satisfy the needs of criminals for years to come. And has he ever thought about how easy it would be for someone with a small machine shop and some knowledge to make any number of guns for sale on the black market? And then there are those who simply will not give them up. How many will he have to kill in order to "save some lives?" I would like to see the cost/benefit analysis on that one.

This is a violent country, but it doesn’t have to be. Fewer people should have guns, and there should be fewer guns available. Laws making it easier for people to obtain guns are the cause and not the solution to the problem of gun violence. And until people realize this, no one will be truly safe.
Even here, he seems to have his facts wrong. In Study the United States came in 9th. Other studies I quickly found indicated 13th for one, and the US not even registering on the other. But one thing that the study also finds is that there is no correlation between the availability of guns and homicide. Thus the entire thesis of the paper is ultimately proved false.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Gun is Lighter than a Chip on the Shoulder

Ann Coulter has an interesting piece entitled Negroes with Guns. In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, she asks the obvious question:

I don't know the facts yet, but let's assume the conclusion MSNBC is leaping to is accurate: George Zimmerman stalked a small black child and murdered him in cold blood, just because he was black. If that were true, every black person in America should get a gun and join the National Rifle Association, America's oldest and most august civil rights organization.

Apparently this has occurred to no one because our excellent public education system ensures that no American under the age of 60 has the slightest notion of this country's history.

Coulter then talks about how the KKK was the militant arm of the Democrat party in the South, allowing the political wing to appear to have "clean hands." But the two wings of the Party worked together to discriminate against blacks. Let's be honest here, "may issue" laws were originally designed to keep certain people, whether those people were the blacks in the South, or the Italians in New York, from getting guns. In preventing people from defending themselves effectively, the people who put in place these laws, and the people who maintain them today, have the blood of every victim of gun violence on their hands.

No less a body than the Supreme Court has ruled that an individual has no right to police protection. For instance, in the 2005 case of Castle Rock vs Gonzalez, the Court found that Ms. Gonzalez had no right to police protection even with a restraining order. The Free Republic also discusses this case, but the useful thing here is the foot notes. I would point you to Warren vs District of Columbia. It is a very sad case.

There are now 38 States with "shall issue" concealed carry laws on the books, and all but the State of Illinois has some sort of carry provisions making it either easier or harder to get a permit. So, why don't the race hustlers and race baiters suggest that citizens get a gun, get trained, and carry wherever it is legal to do so? More on that in a minute.

Ms. Coulter goes on to cite a book by civil rights organizer Robert F. Williams, in which Williams cites a little self help in the war raging with the KKK at the time:

The NRA opposed these discretionary gun permit laws and proceeded to grant NRA charters to blacks who sought to defend themselves from Klan violence -- including the great civil rights hero Robert F. Williams.

A World War II Marine veteran, Williams returned home to Monroe, N.C., to find the Klan riding high -- beating, lynching and murdering blacks at will. No one would join the NAACP for fear of Klan reprisals. Williams became president of the local chapter and increased membership from six to more than 200.

But it was not until he got a charter from the NRA in 1957 and founded the Black Armed Guard that the Klan got their comeuppance in Monroe.

Williams' repeated thwarting of violent Klan attacks is described in his stirring book, "Negroes With Guns." In one crucial battle, the Klan sieged the home of a black physician and his wife, but Williams and his Black Armed Guard stood sentry and repelled the larger, cowardly force. And that was the end of it.
I have not read the book yet, but I will be getting a copy soon. It sounds like a good read. Incidentally, this story perfectly illustrates the proper use of a militia. No one will want to call it a militia, but that is exactly what it was.

So, why don't the race hustlers advocate for lawful concealed carry in defense of themselves and their families? I suspect that it is all about power. If the average person discovers that he can do for himself, he won't need them. He can start carrying a gun, and stop carrying a chip around on his shoulder. A gun is certainly lighter.