A while back I posted on MSNBC's poppycock claim that NRA was somehow responsible for Ebola's menace, since NRA had blocked the nomination of an anti-gun Surgeon General and that somehow impaired our response.
When an agency has no top dog, an "acting" head is appointed, often the deputy top dog. Yep, there is an acting Surgeon General. It gets better. Many small agencies are organized along these lines: (1) the chief is a political appointee, given the post as a political payback; his or her job consists of traveling around the country and giving speeches. (2) The deputy chief is a careerist who knows the agency, and actually runs the place. Some checking showed the Surgeon General's Office appears to be organized on these lines.
The result is that the deputy Surgeon General, now acting Surgeon General, is Boris Lushniak, MD. He started his medical career 31 years ago as a med student with the Public Health Service, and rose through the ranks. He's served with the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service, and with the FDA, as Chief Medical Officer of the Office of Counterterrorism. It doesn't look like the absence of a confirmed Surgeon General is hurting us.
MSNBC finds someone to blame for the Ebola scare: the NRA.
I just hope they never figure out how the virus was genetically modified in the NRA labs so that it cannot infect anyone who has recently been exposed to nitrocellulose smoke or Hoppe's No. 9.
"As busy as the gun lobby is in promoting macho myths about self-defense -- stand your ground and outshoot the bad guys -- it is no less dedicated to spinning myths for lawmakers to use as excuses to avoid enacting laws to deal with the shooting sprees that regularly afflict the nation. This was clear at the opening Senate hearing on gun controls this week, where Judiciary Committee members seemed to have largely swallowed gun lobby propaganda that the evidence shows the original 10-year ban on assault weapons was ineffective.... The false statistics comfort members of Congress who fear the gun lobby or their more conservative constituents, or both, and are blocking a new and stronger ban on assault weapons proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein."
NY Times Editorial, "The Moment for Action on Gun Control, January 15, 2013:
"Some lawmakers are already talking about focusing on the background checks and bowing to gun lobby's opposition to an assault weapons ban. That shouldn't stop the administration and its allies from demanding that all these provisions be passed immediately. With the deaths of Newtown's children still so fresh, the public will be repulsed by lawmakers who stand aside and do nothing."
"But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.
It turns out that big, scary military rifles don't kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.
In 2012, only 322 people were murdered with any kind of rifle, F.B.I. data shows.
Most Americans do not know that gun homicides have decreased by 49 percent since 1993 as violent crime also fell, though rates of gun homicide in the United States are still much higher than those in other developed nations. A Pew survey conducted after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., found that 56 percent of Americans believed wrongly that the rate of gun crime was higher than it was 20 years ago."
Background: of course felons are generally forbidden to possess firearms. But if put in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury, they have the same right to self defense as has anyone else.
Then there comes the rare case where a convicted felon is not in possession of a firearm at the outset, someone puts (or allegedly puts) him in reasonable fear of death, the felon manages to obtain a firearm that he did not previously possess, and defends himself. Did he become a "felon in possession" in that instant? The cases of this are rare, I can recall 2-3 at the Federal level, with splits resulting.
In looking at this issue we must also bear in mind that (1) defendants may argue it when it is bunkum and (2) prosecutors anxious to win may respond in kind and push the envelope of reason.
Florida has a "no retreat" law, which provides that a person put in reasonable fear of death need not retreat before responding with deadly force. There are exceptions, one of which is that the defender was "engaged in unlawful activity" at the time. Some imaginative Florida prosecutors have taken to arguing that, in the case of a felon who argues self-defense, this does not apply, since by taking possession of a firearm he "engaged in unlawful activity" and is outside the statute. (I believe Florida was "no retreat" even before the statute, so I'm not sure this makes a lot of difference anyway). The lower Florida courts have split on whether this argument flies, and its Supreme Court has accepted the question in order to resolve this split.
I don't know what to file this under -- an example of where the other side wants to go, or an example of how newspaper stories are written by cut and paste of slogans that have been used and re-used for decades.
Massachusetts of course is about as restrictive as can be, but the legislature felt the need to "respond" to something by enacting something more. So it passed a bill with sundry additional restrictions, but declined one: rifle and shotgun possession requires a permit, but it's a "shall issue" one, and the legislature declined to make that "may issue."
So the cut and paste story is headlined "Massachusetts Senate approves sweeping gun bill, but strips key measure."
Here's a quote, emphasis added:
""Gun safety advocates said the change guts the bill.
John Rosenthal of the group Stop Handgun Violence, said giving police chiefs added discretion over the issuing of FID cards was the single most important aspect of the bill.
"Without it, it's not worth the paper it's written on," Rosenthal said. "Shame on the Massachusetts Senate. Sadly they voted against police chiefs and against public safety and for the special interest gun lobby and people will die as a result.""
CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who broke the "Fast and Furious" story, has resigned from the network after 21 years of service.
"Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network's liberal bias, an outsized influence by the network's corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt like her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air."
A great Youtube video. It wouldn't be so funny were it not so true.
Via Instapundit, The History of Media Bias. Interesting thoughts on how the change from "a reporter works his way up" to "a reporter starts with a degree in journalism" may have affected that.
I can verify that once media bias was quite open, with no paper pretending to be objective. Arizona had its Democrat and its Arizona Republican, and their orientations reflected exactly that. Today the Democrat has long faded away, and the Republican became the Arizona Republic. In those early papers, one's editorials would respond to the other's, quite directly and even insultingly. It did make reading more interesting.
From a recent op-ed piece:
"The NRA advocates armed rebellion against the duly elected government of the United States of America. That's treason, and it's worthy of the firing squad. ... To turn the song lyric they so love to quote back on them, "We'll put a boot in your ---, it's the American way." Except it won't be a boot. It'll be an M1A Abrams tank, supported by an F22 Raptor squadron with Hellfire missiles. Try treason on for size. See how that suits."
He attacks his opposition as "knuckle-dragging Cretan talk," although what he has against the inhabitants of Crete is unclear.
His page at RateMyProfessors gives the real humor, tho:
"Class was supposed to be journalism, not liberal political rant 101."
"Prof Swindell needs to audit some American history courses. His understanding of Lincoln's motivation during the Civil War is elementary school level."
"Pretty full of himself and thinks his material is more demanding than what it is. He genuinely cares about his students though. Look for the lesson in between the bouts of political ranting."
"He's ADHD and sprays when he talks so sit 5-10 feet out of range."
Nothing like educating future journalists....
Right here. The writer is novelist who says that he grew up around guns (literally in a room full of them) and was at least somewhat proficient in their use. He explains how he killed a friend by accident:
"The driver, who worked with the county sheriff’s department, offered me his service revolver to examine. I turned the weapon onto its side, pointed it toward the door. The barrel, however, slipped when I shifted my grip to pull the hammer back, to make certain the chamber was empty, and turned the gun toward the driver’s seat. When I let the hammer fall, the cylinder must have rotated without my knowing. When I pulled the hammer back a second time it fired a live round."
It's hard to make any sense of that incoherence: it looks as if the novelist, knowing absolutely nothing of firearms, tried to write a moving story about them, and the Times editors, likewise knowing nothing about firearms, bought it.
It appears that the writer and the editors don't know much about automobiles, either. He writes that when he grew up, masculinity included "schooling a mean dog to guard your truck or skipping the ignition spark to fire the points..."
If the Times, in its ignorance, will buy stories like that, maybe I ought to write one about the accidental discharge I had after unscrewing the barrel on a Mauser to make sure it was unloaded, or how I fumbled after closing the cylinder on my 1911. And when I grew up, we all know how to check the oil level in the carburetor and make sure that the air filter was keeping the air out.
UPDATE: in the comments, reader Craig was apparently able to confirm the incident happened; the person who died was a student spending the summer as a trainee LEO, which would explain his gun handling, and not showing up on any list of deceased LEOs.
Christian Science Monitor headline of three days ago: "Is the National Rifle Association Beginning to Lose its Clout?"
Interesting... the present site of the NY Times headquarters building was obtained by having State agency condemn the land, evicting a mass of small businesses, and having the agency give the Times a 99 year lease for a fraction of its value.
Nobody tried to buy from the small businesses voluntarily; condemnation was cheaper than a voluntary transaction.
"''They never even came to ask if I wanted to sell,'' said Joseph Orbach, who has owned the 16-story building at 265 West 40th Street with his brothers, Markus and Sidney, since 1978. ''They're just taking it.'' There are some 30 tenants, including architects and engineers.
At a condemnation hearing on Sept. 24 and in later interviews, owners expressed anger that a large corporate neighbor, The Times, was getting the benefit of a fully assembled 80,000-square-foot development parcel at a price of $84.94 million, in addition to city incentives that may reach $29 million."
(Some say the tax subsidies will be nearer to $79 million). One architectural report explains, "The New York Times Company wants a headquarters building that befits its position in the media industry, in the city, and in the world." A Times spokesman explained it had a it had a duty to seek profits for its shareholders: "as long as these kinds of incentives continue to exist, it is incumbent upon us, as a publicly held company, to seek the benefit of those incentives for our shareholders."
I wonder how the Times would treat any other corporation's statement to that effect.... then, as Mel Brooks observed, "It's good to be the king!"
A former LAPD officer goes on a shooting spree, murders three, says he will kill more police, and leaves a manifesto.... and the media omits half of it, the half where he endorses gun control, praises the President, Vice President, and Nancy Pelosi, and expresses hate for the NRA.
"I know your route to and from home, and your division. I know your significant others routine, your children’s best friends and recess. I know Your Sancha’s gym hours and routine. I assure you that the casualty rate will be high."
"Sen. Feinstein, you are doing the right thing in leading the re-institution of a national AWB. Never again should any public official state that their prayers and thoughts are with the family. That has become cliche’ and meaningless. Its time for action. Let this be your legacy that you bestow to America. Do not be swayed by obstacles, antagaonist, and naysayers."
To make it appear that gun rights advocated heckled the father of a Sandy Hook victim.
A few days ago a NY newspaper published an interactive map showing gun owners' addresses. So Project Veritas sends a team around to ask if its editors would proudly post a sign proclaiming "this home is proudly gun-free." Strangely, they don't find many takers, although they do find the publisher's house and an editor's house with armed guards.
A few days ago the White Plains (NY) Journal News went public with an interactive map of handgun permit holders, entitled "The Gun Owner Next Door: What You Don't Know About the Weapons in your Neighborhood."
Now comes word that the newspaper has hired armed guards.
Nice to know that while payroll taxes go up for the rest of us, the new tax bill continues the special entertainment tax deduction. Because we know how many in the entertainment industry are indigent. Here's a summary. Essentially, the producing company gets a deduction of 9% of its income, up to 50% of the wages it paid.
Arizona used to have a State tax credit as well; New Mexico still has one. Since Hollywood companies aren't headquartered here, and thus don't pay corporate income taxes here, ours was transferrable, i.e., they could sell the tax credit to someone who did pay Arizona income tax. Note these are tax credits, not deductions: a $10 tax credit reduces your taxes by $10. New York offers an incredible 30% tax credit for filming! In practice, that means that, instead of paying taxes, a filming company is funded by the government.
The White Plains (NY) Journal News has put online an interactive map which displays the identity and address of every person with a handgun permit. So an enterprising blogger put online addresses, twitters, facebook pages and phone numbers of the editorial staff. It seems to have an effect: when you click on the chief editor's facebook page, you find it's been taken down.
I've commented on David Gregory of NBC waving an AR-15 magazine around which, given that the NBC studio is inside DC, made its possession illegal. Now, it turns out that NBC had previously contacted the DC police and been warned that this would be illegal.
NBC declines to comment.
NBC's David Gregory criticized NRA's proposal for armed guards in schools -- and now it's revealed that he sends his own kids to a school protected by armed guards. Same is true of Rahm Emanuel.
In The Atlantic: "The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control)".
"Even the leading advocacy group for stricter gun laws, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has given up the struggle to convince the courts, and the public, that the Constitution grants only members of a militia the right to bear arms."
"I would much rather have been armed than unarmed. I was not, and am not, under the illusion that a handgun would have necessarily provided a definitive solution to the problem posed by Colin Ferguson. But my instinct was that if someone is shooting at you, it is generally better to shoot back than to cower and pray."
"I called [DC Mayor] Gray to ask him about his assertion that more guns mean more violence, noting that he himself travels the city with armed police bodyguards, a service not afforded the typical Washington resident. “
"In 2004, the Ohio legislature passed a law allowing private citizens to apply for permits to carry firearms outside the home.... When I called [Ohio Chiefs of Police spokesman] Gilchrist recently, he told me that events since the state’s concealed-carry law took effect have proved his point. “Talking to the chiefs, I know that there is more gun violence and accidents involving guns,” he said. “I think there’s more gun violence now because there are more guns." Gilchrist said he did not know the exact statistics on gun-related incidents (or on incidents concerning concealed-carry permit holders specifically, because the state keeps the names of permit holders confidential). He says, however, that he tracks gun usage anecdotally. “You can look in the newspaper. I consciously look for stories that deal with guns. There are more and more articles in The Columbus Dispatch about people using guns inappropriately.”
Gilchrist’s argument would be convincing but for one thing: the firearm crime rate in Ohio remained steady after the concealed-carry law passed in 2004."
"There is no proof to support the idea that concealed-carry permit holders create more violence in society than would otherwise occur; they may, in fact, reduce it. According to Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and the author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, permit holders in the U.S. commit crimes at a rate lower than that of the general population. “We don’t see much bloodshed from concealed-carry permit holders, because they are law-abiding people,” Winkler said. “That’s not to say that permit holders don’t commit crimes, but they do so at a lower rate than the general population. People who seek to obtain permits are likely to be people who respect the law.” According to John Lott, an economist and a gun-rights advocate who maintains that gun ownership by law-abiding citizens helps curtail crime, the crime rate among concealed-carry permit holders is lower than the crime rate among police officers."
His tip of the hat to gun control is essentially, stricter background checks and and more training for CCW permitees.
Sabotaging ammunition for the jihadi enemy. Given the enemy's quality control, this is just raising the odds of a mishap.
"Emails Reveal Justice Dept. Regularly Enlists Media Matters to Spin Press". Daily Caller got the emails back and forth, largely dealing with Fast and Furious, via an FOIA request.
The Palm Beach Post argues that if a police officer wound up shooting nine bystanders, it must be that CCW holders would have done worse.
I suspect that actual, departmental training is modest, at best. That's not illogical, since it's training for an event that will never happen to most officers, so far more time is spent on what will be routine for them. But since the great majority of LEOs are gun enthusiasts, they get their real training the way all gun enthusiasts do, on their own time. In NYC, tho, opportunities for sport shooting are not easy to come by. One officer, I'm told, handled it well. The other seems to have done very poorly -- but then, his training and practice may have been miniscule.
Hat tip to Len Savage.
In its pitiful attempt to remain relevant (let alone solvent), Time magazine runs a pitiful excuse for an editorial.
It talks generically of "gun control," so as to avoid having to spell out an idea and show why it would work out.
It says that the US has the highest gun murder rate in the world. Not true. And in any event, gun murder rates are not relevant, it's the total murder rate that is. Using just gun murder rates, Taiwan seems peaceful (a fifth the US rates), and Northern Ireland even better. But in terms of overall murder rates, both are significantly higher than the US.
Finally, it argues that gun control is constitutional ... because Warren Burger said so (not mentioning it was a Parade magazine interview, which doesn't trump two recent Supreme Court rulings).
Matt Welch hits pretty hard.
ABC News is apologizing for its error.
The AP had an article today on the increased popularity of four cylinder auto engines, noting that designers are boosting their power and efficiency in three ways. First, direct injection (which is hardly new), and which the author explained "mixes air and gas in the chamber that surrounds the piston." Like the cylinder, I suppose. He got turbocharging roughly correct. Then, "some vehicles shut off their engines automatically at stoplights. They can run pumps and other devices off the battery rather than a belt that sucks power from the engine."
I think it was Glenn Reynolds who remarked that after you keep spotting errors and misunderstandings in areas where you have some knowledge, you start to wonder if journalists are as ignorant in all other areas, it's just that you lack the background to spot their errors there.
Which brings us to "no retreat laws," the story-writing fad of the day.
The Daytona Beach News Journal lists local cases where "no retreat" applied.
1. A fellow jumped by a knife-armed attacker, who tried to start his car to flee and fired when it wouldn't start. "No retreat" hardly governs there -- he tried to retreat.
2. A person who shot a burglar who had threatened to kill him. Even in the minority of States that require retreat, most if not all make an exception inside your own house.
3. Another response to a burglary.
4. A case where the defendant shot another person in an argument, and his attorney can't say whether "no retreat" applies.
The Chicago Sun-Times editorializes that "For centuries, the law has said you can’t kill someone if there’s a way to avoid it. That should still be the standard." Fact: the vast majority of American States (I'm told forty) have never had a retreat requirement. (My own State's Supreme Court rejected it in the 19th century). Even those that have a retreat requirement recognize that it doesn't apply if retreat would be dangerous (which is usually the case if you're being attacked).
On other fronts, the Muskegon Chronicle editorializes regarding "assault rifles," that "The real danger here is the risk of one of these assault weapons hitting a fellow hunter. Consider what might have happened if former Vice President Dick Cheney had been toting a semiautomatic when he nearly bagged a lawyer deep in the heart of Texas."
In it, we're told that "Kevin Fernandes is remembered as a loving daddy to his young daughter. Josh Henderson was said to be a good man to his family" and "Fernandes played football, basketball and ran track at Bethel High. In his News Tribune obituary, his family said "He lived life with passion and truly loved his family and friends." In a guest book note, his mother wrote: "I will keep your loving spirit alive and teach your baby girl all about her amazing daddy.""
The minor problem being that they broke into an ex-cop's house and, he says, advanced on him with a crowbar, and he shot in self-defense.
"Apparently there is bad gun violence and good gun violence." Yes.
"But of late, the law of defense has become more a law of offense, with homeowners - at least anecdotally - increasingly taking the lethal option." Hmmm... it leads off with two cases.
In one, a fellow who was likely psychotic attacked a homeowner, who warned him thru the locked door that he was armed, whereupon the fellow kicked in the door and came after him.
In the other a junkie broke through a kitchen window and was seen entering, hammer in hand.
It's hard to see that either homeowner was taking the offensive here....
It's staggering that the Boston Globe ran this article.
The Christian Science Monitor runs a fairly pro-gun article.
Interesting article on how the media buys and publicizes any "new study shows ...". Never happens in the field of firearm regulation, of course
Hat tip to reader Thirtyyearprof.
New York Times runs a typically biased and inaccurate story on concealed carry, and two days later Instapundit can do a roundup of all the blogger's critiques of it.
Right here. Paul Krugman takes first place. Click on entries in the left margin to see the runners-up.
Thug robs older lady, for pure fun pistol whips the heck out of her, is pursued by a person, turns and aims at his pursuer ... only to find he has a pistol and a concealed carry permit, and is a good shot. OK, at least the story had a good ending.
Shot in the Dark points out, tho, that the local (Miinneapolis) media have been trying to turn it into a tragedy, and not based on the lady whose face the thug smashed up. Why, “He has a good, loving family, and he has lots of friends. He wasn’t 100 percent bad,” his mother, Mary Evanovich of Minneapolis, said in an interview Thursday." He died in his sister's arms. She was conveniently present, since she was his accomplice in the robbery. No mention, of course, of the robber having aimed at the defender, and the beating of the lady becomes "accosting" her.
Original at Day By Day.
Right here. The editorial agrees that the Massachusetts gun laws are often beyond understanding, but goes on to argue that the legislature shouldn't repeal the requirement of fingerprints and background check before someone can buy a pepper-spray or Mace.
Not the theme of the article, "The National Rifle Association is vying to remain relevant in the 2012 presidential election...", but its content -- that guns rights have become so well-established, and the gun rights movement so powerful, that gun owners aren't worrying about it. I can remember back in the 1970s when the paper's theme was that NRA was a declining fringe group that would soon vanish.
Headline: "CRACKDOWN URGED ON RAPID-FIRE AMMO"
I recently read a book by George P. LeBrun, New York CIty medical examiner in the early 1900s, and who wrote that he was the actual author of the Sulivan Act.
What was interesting, also, was his list of reforms that he'd pushed and of which he was proud. One dealt with increasing traffic deaths by creating a "driver's license" and requiring a driving test before getting it. Before then, people were just buying cars and figuring they'd learn to drive on the way home ... in the process running down pedestrians and smashing things up. Another required that poisons be conspicuously labeled as such. Bug and rat poisons were often sold in drug stores, and sometimes had their nature mentioned only in fine print -- a legislator had died after the drug store messenger gave him the wrong tin.
I wonder if the mass media have an underlying world view, at a subconscious level, that stems from the days of the progressive era, when almost nothing was regulated, the new measures proposed were sensible and modest, and the move for them was a crusade for reform? Might the media value system have carried over for a century, into a radically different world? Values such as more government is *always* good, more laws are *always* good, these things will make the world safer. Not to mention that anyone who resists this is ignorant or selfish, government operations are always altruistic, etc.
Local newspaper runs a story on mass killings, on the front page. There's a big image (contributed by Brady Campaign) on it (the online version is much smaller). The caption, not contained in the online version, says 'MASS SHOOTINGS SAID TO FOLLOW LENIENT GUN LAWS" with the text "Of the 14 mass shootings since 1999 in the US, 10 have occurred in state identified by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has having the weakest or second-weakest gun laws."
The chart only shows the 48 contiguous States. Of those 39 are in "weakest or second-weakest," and 9 are not. So the nine non-weak States have had mass slayings ... just under half of them. The 39 "weak" ones have had 10 ... barely a quarter of them. That's simple math that a reporter could have done in thirty seconds or less.
Without getting into details such as why does Brady rate Pennsylvania as have stronger gun laws than New York or Massachusetts. Or why California, in Brady's top rating, shows as having no mass killings when five people were fatally shot in Temecula in 2007, and another nine died of shooting or fire in Covina the next year, and the following year three were killed in Long Beach.
The first sentence: "The U.S. agency that monitors gun sales has suffered a setback in its effort to increase scrutiny of the bulk sale of high-powered assault rifles in border state gun shops that are a chief source of weapons smuggling into Mexico."
But they must be very tiny rifles: ""It's not against the law, and it's not going to be against the law, for you to buy 40, 50, even 100 of these weapons and put them in the bumper of your car and drive them around or even down to the border," said ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson."
And "individuals on several occasions bought dozens of AK-47s as well as .50-caliber high-powered rifles capable of shooting down airplanes, even after rifles they purchased earlier had been seized."
The two themes consist of describing a scheme whereby straw purchasers bought from an FFL, and explaining why requiring FFLs to report multiple sales of rifles would deal with that, but it acknowledges "Howard [the FFL] cooperated with law enforcement during the investigation, calling agents when individuals purchased dozens of AK-47s at a time, according to a federal official familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing."
Oh, well, at least it's not as bad a slip as was this.
Hat tip to reader Jonas Salk...
Story here. Or of course the story could be the other way around.-- the media only shows up when given advance notice of a protest.
While working as an agency attorney in DC, at lunch I heard others describing a protest at the White House. It went something like -- they will enter with the 11 AM tourist group. At 11:15, eight members will depart from the group and enter the area where tourists are not allowed. About five minutes thereafter they will be told to depart, and only four will remain. At 11:30 the four will be arrested." I asked about the remarkable orchestration and was told it was normal. This way the park police were put to a minimal burden, the protesters were released without having to post bail, and the media knew exactly when to show up for the story. Later on, I heard of resolving disputes where the negotiated solution had gone awry. In one case an attorney for the protesters remained with them and was arrested. She was upset and argued that her arrest was not part of the deal, and park police argued that she had stayed with the people who were to be arrested, and so was not covered by the agreement. In another some protesters regarding AIDS had officers pick them up while the officers wore rubber gloves, which they thought insulting, and not part of the deal, and the park police position was that no terms had been negotiated regarding gloves. The last dispute was carried in the Washington Post, as something commonplace.
Give him your wallet
Recognize that he needs help
Take him to dinner
Explain that it's good to be nice
"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."
The times, they are a-changing.
I can't imagine the Times having anything good to say about any type of arms ten years ago. In fact I can barely imagine it now. [Update: I had to block gmail and yahoo email addresses due to waves of comment spam, but the blog will accept comments without an email address, so just omit it]
You know that's the case when the Washington Post blog -- specifically its book review section -- runs an article by Paxton Quigley.
Hat tip to Dan Gifford....
"Goldstein's neighbors were relieved: One told the Post, "Hopefully, he'll make people think twice about coming here and knocking down doors," and another said, "As a person who's been an opponent of gun ownership, I'm glad he had one now.""
This is the type of story you'd never have seen in print a few years ago. Then it'd have been ignored or, if covered, had quotes from the burglar's family about how terrible it was. There is a quote from the burglar's mother, but it leaves the reader chuckling:
Maginat, who is at Brookdale Hospital, had eight prior arrests and was charged with robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of burglar's tools. However his mother, a former auxiliary cop, told the Daily News that her son couldn't possibly be a burglar, "My son knows better than that."
Hat tip to Sixgun Sarah...
In Alabama, a 69 year old grandmother shoots a burglar, and gets a nice writeup, complete with a picture of her holding the gun. What's astonishing is, the story is carried by the New York Daily News.
Hat tip to Sixgun Sarah...
Story here. I find the story a bit unusual ... let's see, last session the legislature allowed CCW permittees to carry in establishments that serve liquor, so long as they don't drink, and legalized defensive display of a weapon. This session the proposal is to end the license requirement (in a "shall issue" State) for carrying concealed.
What's unusual is that the story has a modest slant against ... I'd have expected the NY TImes to be incoherently ranting.
Hat tip to reader Nick Lidakis...
David Codrea has some pointed insights.
Howard Nemerov takes down the Orlando Sentinel.
Howard Nemerov has the story. Four home invaders (three of them waving pistols) are engaged by a resident of the home. And the story winds up spun as the resident shot teens, schools summon grief counselors for friends of the thugs, and, horror of horrors, the Castle Doctrine may come into play.
A Philadelphia NBC news page is illustrated with one of the sloppiest Photoshop jobs I've ever seen. They wanted a shot of a muzzle loading cannon firing. So they took a shot of some re-enactors with a cannon, and spliced in a muzzle flash.
1) If they knew anything about cannons, they'd realize the tampion is still plugging the barrel as the gun supposedly fires.
2) And they'd know there should be some smoke.
3) Not to mention that the armor plate and hydraulic recoil absorber suggest that this is a 20th century
Hat tip to reader J Bryan Krämer.
A letter to the editor challenged the local paper's ignoring the "tea party" protests, and the newspaper responded: "As a general rule the Star does not cover protests. There are exceptions, but we make those decisions based on the uniqueness of the event, the anticipated turnout and the resources we have available."
In other words, they don't cover protests, except when they do. E.g.,
"Rosemont Mine Protest in Downtown Tucson Ends" -- that was a big one. "About 30 protesters gathered Downtown Tuesday morning to demonstrate against development of the Rosemont mine ended after about an hour."
"300 'join hands' to protest school cuts" (There were four articles on these protests).
Story here. An all too typical piece, written in a few hours. There are gun shows, interview and quote some antigunners, make claims without proof (i.e., that four firearms are the weapons of choice), confuse full and semiauto, and publish.
Story at Reason Online. The magazine documents how we are to be destroyed by Satanism, porno, overpopulation, drugs, schoolyard shootings, obesity, crack babies, and Pokemon.
OK, so they had a point about Pokemon....
"the so-called wisdom"
"timidity about standing up to the National Rifle Association"
"needed measures to curb gun violence."
"well-founded enthusiasm for reviving the assault weapons ban"
"this season of successive mass shootings"
"the nation’s lax regulation of guns"
Now, he's tearing into ABC 20/20.
Hat tip to reader Jim Kindred...
The story, or at least the predictable propaganda, is here. At least it has the virtue of unintended humor.
Antigunners "point out that most people are unprepared to handle a gun," because most states don't require a permit that requires formal training. In a fight, bullets will be flying at you, people running, screaming, you get so pumped up that you forget how to do things, can't even draw, get tunnel vision.... it's like trying to fly an airplane without lessons.
Some truth to that ... but if that means you cannot fire... isn't that also a proof that there can be no such thing as an active shooter? He's got all that AND knows to a certainty that he's going to be dead at the end. So he's worse off, can't draw his gun, forgets how to reload. So if the above were truly an bar to useful shooting, there would be no mass killers.
So what's ABC's alternate plan? Play dead. Hide and call 911.
Then they have a scenario with simunition guns in which the prospective students come off badly against a supposed mass killer. Sensibly Progressive takes that drill to pieces.
Oh, and the comments are chewing into them (even while some say they're being deleted)...
Reader Eric emails:
"You can go over to Clayton Cramer's Gun-Self-Defense blog and read dozens and dozens of news stories of people defending themselves with guns. Sometimes it doesn't work out well, occasionally the wrong person gets shot, but overwhelmingly the good guys win (either by killing, wounding, or repelling their assailant(s)), without injury to themselves or innocent bystanders.
I find it very unlikely that every one of these citizen defenders attended a Gun Site, Farnam, Suarez, or any other formal self-defense school. Most load up the gun, put it away until they need it, and when they do, pull it out. I don't recommend this as a conscious strategy, but the notion that an "untrained" adult cannot figure out how to use a handgun is nonsense."
Freedom States Alliance (a/k/a Joyce Foundation astroturf) is joyfully announced that it has the media back in harness.
10 PM tonight, ABC News on the evils of gun shows and why guns are no good in defense against crime (leaving us to wonder why police bother carrying them around).
The webpage also rejoices over how often the media quotes Freedom States Alliance and other Joyce operations (e.g., Legal Community Against Violence).
Hat tip to reader Jack Anderson.
Ah, that's the media I remember, with an agenda to push! The agenda here being that permit systems, even that of NY, are not functioning -- because they're just too liberal.
Reader Carl in Chicago notes that he emailed the AP (email@example.com) to point out that the writer equates having a firearm permit with being "entitled" to use a gun in homicide assault.
"They had more in common than unleashing carnage — nearly every gunman in this monthlong series of mass killings was legally entitled to fire his weapons."
From the photo caption: "Nearly every gunman in this month-long series of mass killings was legally entitled to wield the weapons he opened fire with. "
Hat tip to reader Ambiguous Ambiguae....
Howard Nemerov has some thoughts on a recent case. Homeowner awakens to find armed intruder coming into his bedroom, shoots first. Newspaper article focuses on people saying the intruder was a nice guy, and how tragic it was.
Of course it could be pure laziness. Cookie-cutter story line for "somebody gets killed in unusual way" is (1) get next of kin or neighbors to say he was a nice guy and (2) get someone to say they're terrified to think something like this could happen to them. Fits nicely, whether the fatal event is a flaming car crash, a plunge off a bridge, a homicide, or an airline crash.
I was once at a luncheon of a religious group, and one fellow spoke of his experience. It seemed quite incongruous until I realized there was an accepted format (patterned after the conversion of the disciple Paul) and a speaker must try to make his story fit it, as an art form. Sequence had to be (1) he was leading a terribly bad and dissolute life; (2) a sudden revelation of some manner changed him abruptly; (3) thereafter he is imperfect, of course, but much better and his life is good. The problem the speaker had had was with (1). You could sense at once this guy had always been quite decent. The worst example he could come up with for his days of debauchery was a traffic ticket. For a non-moving violation.
Anyway, the LA Times decides it has to make an anti-gunowner story fit its theme : (1) someone says something antigun and (2) Neanderthal gunowners spew hatred and personal threats but (3) the victim is brave and undeterred.
Doesn't fit very well. Despite reference to "loathing," "ire," and "rabid gun owners," the story reveals that she got a total of 30 emails on her article. The one quoted, which I assume is the roughest one sent, read "I hope you get into a situation that causes you to realize there are times when the ONLY tool that will do what you need to protect yourself is a firearm."
He then says her mother feared for her safety, but she is not worried.
Hat tip to reader Robert E. ....
Story here. This is the Chicago Tribune?
Hat tip to reader Ambiguous Ambiguae... maybe a double hat tip, since he gave much data to the columnist (who was fair on the issue to begin with).
Here's its report on the oral argument in the Hayes case. All the Court is trying to do is figure out what Congress meant when it defined domestic violence offense. Does that mean the elements of the underlying misdemeanor must be (1) use or threat of force (2) against a household member, or just (1) misdemeanor use or threat of force? (I.e., the household member can be proven in the federal prosecution).
Domestic violence abusers could get gun rights
The Supreme Court will decide whether people convicted of misdemeanor assault against their spouses or partners should have their 2nd Amendment rights restored because of a flaw in federal law.
First para: " Thousands convicted of a misdemeanor for threatening or assaulting a spouse or girlfriend could once again own guns because of a flaw in the federal law."
Story goes on to quote extensively from the government attorney's argument, and not a word from the other side. And no analysis of what the legal issue was.
Hat tip to Ambiguous Ambigue
Story here. I'm not holding my breath on the rest of the media picking it up.
Hat tip to reader Jack Anderson....
I've been doing some 14th Amendment research, reading newspapers of 1866-68. One thing is striking: they actually reported news then. The change has been so gradual that we can't see it (I've seen the alternative my entire life). But back then the New York Times would report, say:
A concise summary of what happened to the 14th Amendment that day in Congress. Rep. ___ moved to change it by adding these words, Rep. ___ opposed, arguing this way.
On days with really important action -- e.g., the day when Sen. Howard introduced it, with a speech, in the Senate -- they'd devote a page or more to setting out a transcript, or near-transcript paraphrase, of the floor speeches. The Times then didn't even have an editorial page!! The closest I could find was two issues (out of many I read) that had a long letter to the editor, like a modern op-ed, arguing about the amendment.
Today, of course, it'd be all their interpretation of events. With lots of articles on how this side was trying to spin it this way, and the other side was hoping to do something else, and nothing approaching giving you what was really said and done.
Someday I'll try to find out when the transition came. Might even be with advent of radio and TV, when it was hardly feasible to give details and the talking head became the rule. Perhaps that carried over into the print media? Or maybe not.
I've read Arizona Territory newspapers of the 1870s-1890s, and they were much the same. All were quite partisan, but their version of that consisted of printing their party's platform. Again, telling you what happened rather than interpreting it. They made no secret of their partisan nature. Today's Arizona Republic was then the Arizona Republican, and there was, if I recall, a Tucson Democrat. And these were published by people, not institutions. Often a paper would have an editorial quoting a rival paper's editorial and arguing it was all pap.
UPDATE: Yup, reporters were more respected then. I recall reading of the Civil War ... at one point Grant needs to get a message to President Lincoln, so he just sends it with a reporter who is going to DC. He adds a verbal message. The reporter only reveals that years after the event; Grant told him that it was for Lincoln alone. After Shiloh, I think, Grant for the only time gets blind drunk and passes out. A reporter (with whom he was riding) throws his coat over him to hide his stars if anyone rides by, and only reveals the event long after the war is over. A reporter is within earshot of Grant giving orders to his commanders, and is chastised -- you're not supposed to listen in at this level! Nobody thought anything unusual of a reporter traveling with army headquarters, it's just that there's an unwritten rule you won't actually listen in to Grant and Meade giving orders for the day. No need for interviews: you're there when everything is happening, out riding and drinking with them, etc.
Right here. It focuses upon media driven panics, with little or no basis in fact (e.g., a "study" that indicated 80% of internet images are porn, and a claim that 50,000 sexual predators are online at any moment), that led to federal legislation, specifically anti-internet-porn laws and concern over MySpace being exploited by hordes of sexual predators. In each case, there was either no hard evidence, or in one case a largely invented study (which the author convinced a law review to publish without verifying his data) that led to media hype, perception of a crisis, and legislation.
The parallels with, oh, "assault weapons," "cop-killer bullets," "a gun in the home is more likely to kill you than a criminal," and other such issues are rather striking.
Brought back a memory of my late ex, who upon watching an episode of "60 Minutes" became utterly convinced that drug pushers were everywhere hanging out around school, and passing out free samples in order to get students addicted. It was on the TV -- it had to be accurate!
From Mike Masnick of Tech Dirt, who has this post on it, and to reader Sam Wilson....
[Update: wouldn't have been the Wild Bunch, which came out in the 60s, I think, and featured shotguns and a belt fed Browning. Great flick. But as I recall the movie fad in the late 50s was juvenile delinquency, and I'm sure there were a lot with switchblades.]
Understand, I've been reading stories that NRA power is declining since the 1970s. As its membership went from 600,000 to 4-5-6 times that, the stories kept coming. But this one is a chuckle. It argues that NRA's power is waning because gun owners have completely defeated the opposition!
"Congress hasn't passed major legislation to restrict gun use in 14 years. Democrats -- scarred by past NRA campaigns -- almost never talk about the issue anymore.
And Americans now show little interest in gun control. Just half want tougher rules for gun sales, compared with nearly two-thirds in 2000.
"The issue has been essentially removed from the political agenda," said Robert Spitzer, a political scientist at the State University of New York in Cortland who has written extensively about the politics of gun control.
This marks a major victory for gun rights groups, which less than a decade ago were fending off demands from both Democrats and Republicans for strict new limits on gun ownership after the 1999 Columbine school shootings."
It goes on -- 40 states have right to carry, gun manufacturer protection was passed, the assault weapon ban not renewed, the Sureme Court is likely to find the 2A is an individual right....
OK, how to argue that's bad news for the gun rights movement?
Uh ... because gun control is almost a non-issue, the Times says, it's hard to swing elections based on it. I suppose it wouldn't occur to the Times that for groups with causes winning elections is not an end, but a means to an end.
Hat tip to a strong 2A supporter, in LA of all places, whom I met at the Backlot Film Festival...
I noted yesterday that NRA won its suit against Philadelphia. The judge struck down two portions of the city's gun ordinance, and as to three ruled that plaintiffs' didn't have standing to sue. I.e., not that the ordinances were lawful, but that until they were enforced it was an abstract issue rather than a case. (Note that the city attorney had said she wouldn't prosecute the cases). Here's NRA's release on the case.
So the city sets out to spin, and the Philadelphia Metro buys every bit of it.
Headline: "Court gives city right to enforce some gun laws"
"A Common Pleas judge yesterday ruled in favor of three city laws passed two months ago by City Council, including the requirement of city residents to report lost and stolen guns to police."
"An appeal by the National Rifle Association, which filed the lawsuit last month, is very likely."
"The ruling was immediately hailed as a victory for Mayor Michael Nutter and the city in its fight for stronger local gun laws by the state’s leading anti-gun violence group.
Joe Grace of CeasefirePA said he hoped the ruling would also set a precedent for other cities and towns in Pennsylvania to follow."
This is pretty brazen! I'm awaiting the paper's announcement that the US lost the war in the Pacific, since, after negotiations on the deck of the U.S. Missouri, it abandoned plans to invade the country and agreed to stop fighting.
Oh, here's what makes it really pitiful. On the paper's page, in the right margin, is the AP release on the case.
Headline: "Judge tosses Philly ban on assault weapons, purchase limits"
"District Attorney Lynne Abraham has said she will follow state law and not enforce the city gun measures.
Greenspan had suggested in arguments last month that she, too, would follow that line. But she also thought the NRA might lack standing to challenge the three laws upheld Tuesday because they were not in effect and no clients had yet been harmed by them.
A lawyer for the National Rifle Association hailed Greenspan's ruling.
"The assault-weapons ban was just ridiculous," lawyer C. Scott Shields said. "There's just no way this would be enforceable.""
Subtitle: "Despite the fact there are more than 200 million guns in circulation, there is a certain tranquility and civility about American life."
Hat tip to Peter Buxton....
"When a rash of gun murders takes place, it makes sense for the police to do one of two things: renew tactics that have been effective in the past at curbing homicides, or embrace ideas that have not been tried before. But those options don't appeal to Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis. What he proposes instead is a crackdown on assault weapons.
I'm tempted to say this is the moral equivalent of a placebo—a sugar pill that is irrelevant to the malady at hand. But that would be unfair. Placebos, after all, sometimes have a positive effect. Assault weapons bans, not so much. ..."
It's gotten 167 comments, and I think I see a few readers in there.... and one from "A Fed":
"First, let me note that I'm a federal prosecutor, but that my opinions are my own, and not necessarily those of the DOJ. However, I come to this debate with more than thirty years in law enforcement. Mr. Chapman is absolutely correct on virtually every point in his article.
The notion of heaping nonsensical restrictions on law-abiding citizens whose primary interest is in protecting themselves and their families has been tried and has failed miserably. In every instance, the effect has been to diminish citizens' constitutional rights, render law-abiding men and women defenseless, and empower human predators to wreak havoc.
The true answer to violence in our society would be complex and difficult. It would require intellectual honesty and genuine commitment on the part of politicians to tackle the real issues of poverty, a failed education system, racial discrimination, and more. However, that is apparently too difficult. So, they return to the intellectually dishonest, facile tactic of misleading the public about guns, engaging in scare tactics to make it appear as though they care. Meanwhile, they ignore the fact that restrictions on guns, ownership, and the right to self-defense have actually contributed to making Chicago a more dangerous place.
I had high hopes when Mr. Weis came to the CPD. Now, it appears, he joins the ranks of public officials who have failed us."
Hat tip to readers Blake and Ambiguous...
I was too busy to give it justice, but Confederate Yankee does a great job.
It is a sign of the weakening dollar that now you're expected to pay a $20 bribe to get your car, and anything hidden in its truck, across the border. In the days when I had time, $10 did it, and offering $20 would excite suspicion that you really did have a trunk full of AKs and C4 and a body.
Oops. I think with a declining value of the dollar you now have to be worth *ten* million to become eccentric....
Editorial in the (VA) Daily Press. Count the nonsequiturs. My favorite: a bill allowing CCW holders into restaurants that serve alcohol, so long as they do not drink it themselves, was properly vetoed because " Alcohol and firearms are a dangerous mix."
Of course illustrating that with two incidents involving drunken federal agents gets second prize.
And a bill allowing a firearm in a vehicle so long as it was under lock and key would have made the lives of policemen risky. We all know how cop-killers like to put their guns in locked containers, so the officer has a sporting chance.
"More Guns, Less Crime" Why a convention center in Wilmington was Ohio's safest place last weekend" in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
If it'd been the Philadelphia Inquirer, we'd know the Seventh Seal had been opened.
Hat tip to Dan Gifford...
[update: spelling corrected, thanks]
For the second time this week, I am thunder-struck:
"Daley unveils annual gun control legislation
Moved by the shooting deaths of five students at Northern Illinois University, Mayor Daley today unveiled his annual package of gun control legislation, even as a State Senate sponsor acknowledged that none of the bills could have prevented the tragedy."
"State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) acknowledged that none of the bills would have prevented Steve Kazmierczak from opening fire on Valentine’s Day afternoon in a crowded NIU lecture hall."
"For 19 years, Daley has been beating his head against the wall on gun-control issues, stymied repeatedly in Springfield."
Via Instapundit comes this from IowaHawk. First paragraphs:
"Bylines of Brutality
As Casualties Mount, Some Question The Emotional Stability of Media Vets
An Iowahawk Special Investigative Report
With Statistical Guidance from the New York Times
A Denver newspaper columnist is arrested for stalking a story subject. In Cincinnati, a television reporter is arrested on charges of child molestation. A North Carolina newspaper reporter is arrested for harassing a local woman. A drunken Chicago Sun-Times columnist and editorial board member is arrested for wife beating. A Baltimore newspaper editor is arrested for threatening neighbors with a shotgun. In Florida, one TV reporter is arrested for DUI, while another is charged with carrying a gun into a high school. A Philadelphia news anchorwoman goes on a violent drunken rampage, assaulting a police officer. In England, a newspaper columnist is arrested for killing her elderly aunt.
Unrelated incidents, or mounting evidence of that America's newsrooms have become a breeding ground for murderous, drunk, gun-wielding child molesters? Answers are elusive, but the ever-increasing toll of violent crimes committed by journalists has led some experts to warn that without programs for intensive mental health care, the nation faces a potential bloodbath at the hands of psychopathic media vets.
"These people could snap at any minute," says James Treacher of the Treacher Institute for Journalist Studies. "We need to get them the help and medication they need before it's too late.""
At American Spectator, the Wash. Time's Robert VerBruggen chews up the Harvard Crimson.
Editorial, via Instapundit, here.
I'll merely take on the first paragraph.
"Written in an age in which minutemen rose to dress and fight at a moment’s notice,"
Actually, the minutemen were but a tiny part of the militia that fought in those days.
" the Second Amendment was no doubt motivated by a young nation’s concern for its own safety and stability."
The use of "no doubt" suggests that the authors are completely unaware of the Second Amendment's history.
"But now, when the United States is protected by the most powerful security forces on the globe,"
Yep. They don't even understand that a major part of the push for a Second Amendment centered on fears of just that security force! I guess they've never heard of Madison's Federalist 46. Or perhaps of Madison.
"the Second Amendment is neither relevant nor useful."
That line is explained by their historical ignorance.
"Rather, it has become an impediment to vital public policy,"
I.e., enacting gun controls that do no good.
"and it should be repealed and replaced with nuanced federal legislation."
Nuanced? That's SO 2004! Why should any criminal law be "nuanced?" In that setting, "nuanced" means "void for vagueness."
And a good one. Let's see... the column says the solution is more gun laws, because locking up people who criminally assault others with guns would overcrowd the jails?
An editorial in the Philadelphia Daily News asks, "WHAT WILL it take to bring our Harrisburg lawmakers to their senses, to break them out of the National Rifle Association's hypnotic trance and pass the handgun laws we so desperately need? A splash of cold water to their faces? A sustained high-decibel scream? A sharp snap of the fingers?"
How about a demonstration that the gun laws the News is pushing will work, or have worked anywhere else? Strangely, the editorial entirely neglects that detail.
Snowflakes in Hell has further analysis of data on the question. As I'd noted a bit earlier, rifles of any type were involved in a small minority of LEO killings. He looks deeper into the data -- which doesn't give weapon type, but does give caliber -- and notes that in 2006, chamberings associated with "assault guns" were involved in a total of four LEO deaths. Since these chamberings are also used in rifles that aren't within most definitions of "assault rifles," the actual number may be lower. The most we can say is that in 2006, two years after the "assault rifle" ban expired, it is likely that the number used in LEO slayings was 0-4.
No wonder the CNN article, the newspaper piece, and the Brady Campaign claims that police are faced with a wave of AW attacks didn't quote any figures....
CNN runs a special on how police are under fire due to expiration of the "assault gun ban." "Across the country, at least 62 police officers have been gunned down this year -- a record pace, said Robert Tessaro, the associate director for law enforcement relations for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence."
Now the Baltimore Sun comes in with "The IACP reissued its call for a ban in September, noting a 59 percent increase in the number of law enforcement officers shot and killed this year compared with 2006....The group attributed the spike in police deaths to an increase in violent crime, the availability of guns and the absence of an assault weapons ban." I won't go into how misleading these pieces are (including quoting rates of fire for full auto weapons, and referring to former Soviet bloc guns flooding the streets) but it's immediately noticeable that when it comes to the core of the story ... officers being shot with "assault rifles" ... there are no figures given in either.
Here's a chart of LEOs killed feloniously (which is about the only way it can be done) in the line of duty, 1972-2006.
The worst point was 1973, 134 officers killed -- nearly twice the level that CNN and Brady call a "record." Throughout the 70s, the level remained about a hundred per year. In 1993, BEFORE the assault gun ban, it had declined to 70 per year. The same in 1994, first year of the ban. For the ten years of the ban, it see-sawed, mostly in the 50s and 60s. 2004, as the ban ends, it was at 57.
But if we're talking assault rifles, maybe we ought to look at that specifically. Unfortunately, I can't find any breakdown for that (because there is no real definition of assault rifle in semiauto form), but we can look at rifles in general.
Here's a table of weapons used to kill LEOs. Over the 1990s, rifles (of all types) figured in around 10 officer slayings per year. In 2004, when the assault gun ban ended, it was 13. In 2005, after the ban ended, that actually fell, to 3.
"Last week, The Investigators went undercover to expose a gaping loophole in New York state's gun laws. Now Governor Eliot Spitzer is promising to examine the problem more closely."
"The black powder rifle's exemption from gun laws is one of the last remaining major gun loopholes in the state of New York. But the days of buying this deadly weapon no questions asked may be numbered.
Our undercover investigation showed with alarming clarity just how easy it is to get a black powder rifle in New York."
From ABC News, "The Case for Israel's Strike Against Syria":
"A senior U.S. official told ABC News the Israelis first discovered a suspected Syrian nuclear facility early in the summer, and the Mossad — Israel's intelligence agency — managed to either co-opt one of the facility's workers or to insert a spy posing as an employee....
But the hardest evidence of all was the photographs.
The official described the pictures as showing a big cylindrical structure, with very thick walls all well-reinforced. The photos show rebar hanging out of the cement used to reinforce the structure, which was still under construction."
Great. Some ^% leaker, for the sake of ego, or maintaining a tie with the media, plus ABC itself, for the sake of releasing a story, lets the world know that (1) there is a spy in the facility, (2) he took photos (let's start asking if anyone saw a fellow that might be hiding a camera) and (3) the exact state of the construction at the point when the spy was there and taking pictures.
Channel 7 (ABC, NYC) is on a crusade... not against "assault weapons," handguns, .50 cals, but to close the musket loophole. They have calls in to the Governor's Office, asking what he's going to do about the risk of criminals and lunatics going on a rampage with an 1861 Springfield, or perhaps a flintlock plains rifle.
You can picture the headlines: "SWAT team rushes sniper, takes powder horn from his hand"
Instapundit is down on the FoxNews reporter who, well, stalked him, and with good reason.
UPDATE: it appears the reporter has been suspended. Maybe someone can find her, interview her and ask if those are tears of remorse?
Story in the NY Post. A native of NYC gets a posthumous Medal of Honor, the first such issued in the Afghan fighting ... and the NY Times declines to cover the story.
A Google search of news shows the story is covered by the AP, NY Sun, NY Post, Newsday, NY Daily News, newspapers in Hawaii, California, D.C., Pennsylvania, Colorado, and others. But not in the NY Times.
"It's a replica of an antique firearm and federal and state gun laws do not apply to antique-type guns. It can be purchased without any background check."
""We're undermined by weak laws elsewhere and this simply must be changed," said Jackie Kuhls, executive director for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
A former agent for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms says for state and federal law not to consider this rifle a firearm is crazy.
"It is totally outrageous to have this type of firearm considered to be an illegal type of firearm, especially under federal and state law," said former ATF agent Domincik Polifrone."
It's just what you might expect, but Instapundit draws attention to one remarkable gaffe:
"But that’s to care for them as human beings, under that other constitutional right — to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
A commentary on the MSM and the gun issue.
Here's the paper to which it refers. (pdf)
A comment on the previous entry noted that the "bullets" the Iraqi lady is holding appear to be, not only unfired ammo, but civilian unfired ammo. To get a better look, I enlarged their image 400% in Photoshop, then scanned in some military ammo (too lazy to take a good photo just now) beside it.
When a cartridge is manufactured, the neck and shoulder are annealed (heat treated). It leaves a visible discoloration, ranging from a lighter yellow to a silver shade, with bands of purple. (The neck of the military round isn't clearly visible, due to using a scanner, but it has the effect, too). Civilian ammo manufacturers don't like the look and polish it away. The military doesn't care and lets it be. The rounds she is holding certainly look like civilian ammo to me. But where would she get it and why? Possibly there's civilian 5.56/.223 floating around Iraq. The other possibility is that the "stringer" who took the picture picked some up as a stage prop.
Various media outlets reported yesterday that a military operation was underway to rescue Korean hostages held by the Taliban. The report turned out to be false.
That was the good news.
The bad news would have been that, if it were true, such reporting might have gotten people killed.
I guess the media just has to have its priorities....
Here's the audio. It's pretty funny when the radio host starts Mirandizing the reporter.
(IF, a big if, the version the reporter later gives is true, then maybe it wasn't a straw sale. The buyer was an NH resident kept the gun after the sale, and kept it in NH. Although Rosenthal of Stop Handgun Violence keeps insisting "it actually was a straw purchase." And there's always 18 US Code section 2, which makes it a felony to command another person to commit one, to advise or counsel them on it, etc.)
And Say Uncle takes them down.
Ah, at least CSM will remind me of how the media is supposed to be! Here's their editorial, "Rescue Mexico from US Guns". I'll take the major parts one by one.
It's not only poverty propelling Mexicans into the US. Rising gun violence by drug gangs, and lately a military surge against them, have driven many to cross the border. And where do these drug cartels get their arsenal of weapons? El Norte, of course.
Lax gun laws and lax enforcement in the United States have made it easy for Mexican gunrunners to buy and transport everything from AK-47s to Stinger antiaircraft missiles, which then allows the cartels to use these high-powered weapons against rival gangs or against a military attack.
Hmm... it's been a while since I've seen a Stinger for sale at the local swap meet, or an unlicensed AK-47. CSM's editors must hang out in some rougher places than I visit.
Most alarming is the increasing flow of combat-style rifles into Mexico, often just a few at a time hidden in the trunk of a car. That trend is partly a result of Congress allowing the US ban on assault weapons to lapse in 2004.
Earth to space cadet. Report in at once. The "ban" on AWs banned a few models by name, and required others to be made without a few features (e.g., a bayonet lug). Are the Mexican cartels fixing bayonets? As far as taking arms into Mexico in the trunk of a car -- this would be more difficult if the border guards couldn't be bribed (customary mordida is $10) to skip searching a car. This is a Mexican problem, not a US one.
But also worrisome is an increase in Mexican gang agents at US gun shows who brazenly pay citizens to buy weapons for them.
Got some examples?
An undercover investigation by Garen Wintemute, a University of California professor, found such illegal "straw purchases" are common at gun shows. He used hidden recording devices at 28 shows in five states during 2005 and 2006 to detect 24 illegal sales.
You can read his study (partially funded by Joyce Foundation) here. (1) We have to rely upon his judgment that he could tell a straw sale by watching, and that he reports it fairly; (2) the data on this is supposedly in Table 3. Unfortunately, the report has only two Tables. (3) He claims to have observed illegal sales in the immediate vicinity of police officers, which makes one justifiably suspicious that they weren't illegal sales; (4) he claims to have seen 24 straw sales and 3 probables, at 28 gun shows, which doesn't suggest much of an issue, and (5) he claims some behavior that I have never observed at a gun show, such as taking cell phone pictures of guns.
He says California has stronger gun laws than the other four states, and his research shows the result is less illegal trade and proves that tough regulation can work.
He refers to Table 3, which can't be found.
Just as the US expects Mexico to curtail illegal migration
Not a prayer, guys. Haven't you heard that there is a government agency, Grupo B, which gives them bus rides to the border?
the US needs to do far more to help Mexico in its current campaign against powerful drug cartels and to block these private armies from getting US guns.
Understand, CSM editors, the cartels own the Mexican government. There are even standard procedures for getting paid. (Cash is provided via third parties, who can be killed in the unlikely event the bribes are investigated).
he US and Mexico already work together against drug trafficking. But it is weak gun laws in the US – compared with strict ones in Mexico – that help drive the cross-border gun trade.
Those strict Mexican gun laws -- at least this part is true. What is also true is that Mexico has a murder rate 250% that of the US.
The Boston Herald picks up the story. A Boston Globe reporter set up a straw man sale in New Hampshire so he could write a story about it, and the Globe paid for the buy.
Say Uncle notes there's even more to the story -- a leader of the antigunners was involved in the illegal buy, too. Apart from the felonies committed (sale to nonresident, false paperwork), it's interesting that the Globe is comfortable with its reporters working hand-in-hand with such leadership.
The latest bin Laden videotape:
The Australian proclaims "CAIRO: Al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden has praised martyrdom as a weapon and a path to glory for Muslims in a new video posted on a website yesterday."
CBS says much the same. The new media: Michelle Malkin's HotAir runs it to ground, shows that the hills in the background exactly match those in a taped interview of bin Laden that was released in 2002 and probably dates to 2001 -- five or six years ago. As she notes, this is a further indication that bin Laden is dead. Why use ancient footage, unless he's not around to be filmed? Now BBC publishes a pretty fair article on Americans and guns. It opens with an interview of Suzanna Hupp, no less. But here in the US, the Sandusky Register, presumably hard up for controversy, publishes the names and addresses of CCW permit holders. Who respond by searching public records on the publisher and putting them online (they're polite enough to redact his SSN). Hat tip to Dan Gifford. The Washington Examiner reports that the National Press Club cancelled an appearance by Venezuelan Students Abroad, who wished to speak on human rights abuses in their country, after the Venezuelan Embassy objected. Always nice to see how seriously the press takes freedom of speech. It's unclear whether the principle involved is (a) you may only address human rights abuses if the abuser has no objection, or (b) you may only criticize human rights abuses if the abuser is not on the political left. At last there is a rival to the media's constant descriptions of denials of certiorari as "upholding" the decision below. I've seen this several times in the last few months: "...and other supporters say they will get the 60 votes needed on Tuesday to resume debate in the 100-member Senate." Note to reporters supposedly covering Capitol Hill: a cloture vote CUTS OFF debate. What do you think they are doing right now, if not debating? Not to say it's a tiny bit slanted, but the title tells you all you need to know: "The Next Big Thing in Law? The Harsh Jurisprudence of Justice Thomas". Although Thomas himself has explained his silence in oral arguments (he grew up speaking Gullah, and the transition made him shy about speaking) the article says that people speculate that it's because "he is afraid that if he speaks he will reveal his ignorance about the case; he is so ideologically driven that he invariably comes with his mind made up; or he has contempt for the process." He "regularly rules for the powerful over the weak, and has a legal philosophy notable for its indifference to suffering." "He appears poised in the next few weeks to achieve his longstanding goal: dismantling the integrationist vision of his predecessor Thurgood Marshall." He started out rather liberal, but then sold out: "But as he accepted jobs from Republicans eager to hire a conservative black lawyer, he shifted rightward." He is always "quick to reach a harsh result." [via Prof. Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy] Actually, a pretty balanced piece. The Arizona Republic carries a story on it. I wouldn't doubt that there's some of that, but I'm told by Border Patrol friends that the smugglers prefer full auto AKs, which you don't find in the typical American gun store, nor get without a government clearance if you do. And the story goes WAY overboard with scare lines like: "Cartel operatives flood Arizona to buy semi-automatic assault rifles, grenades, plastic explosives and rocket launchers in bulk. " Hmmm.... I dunno about anyone else here, but I can't think of a place that sells grenades, plastic explosive, or rocket launchers, let alone in bulk. If they are getting any, there's only one place they could come from: government supplies. Rec'd an email from Don Kates, via Dan Gifford: "The pervasive inaccuracy of the N.Y. TIMES on gun issues is epitomized From the article the ordinary reader would come away with the following The truth is almost diametrically opposite: 1) From its enactment till the outset of the 20th Century gun control 2) The states’ right and collective rights theories are inventions of 3) Over 120 law review articles have addressed the Second Amendment Newsbusters has the story. The 2007 Brady Center fundraising dinner will feature Sam Donaldson as Master of Ceremonies. (Mike Wallace was a speaker at their 2005 event honoring Art Buchwald). Media bias? Nawwwww.... [Second hand hat tip: Newsbusters says they got the news from Cam Edwards. A letter to the editor in the N.M. Daily Lobo: "Imagine that we can all carry weapons to campus. If an unbalanced individual walks into a class, pulls a weapon and opens fire, absolute chaos will ensue. The 20 students in the class will overreact as the adrenaline pumps through their bodies and open fire not only at the shooter, but at their classmates, as well. Other students who come into class brandishing their weapons, not knowing who initiated the violence, will start firing at everyone with a gun." [Link fixed--thanks...] Such as Mark Steyn, in the Chicago Sun-Times. Except: "Virginia Tech, remember, was a "gun-free zone," formally and proudly designated as such by the college administration. Yet the killer kept his guns and ammo on the campus. It was a "gun-free zone" except for those belonging to the guy who wanted to kill everybody. Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they rushed for their vehicles, grabbed their guns and pinned him down until the cops arrived. But you can't do that at Virginia Tech. Instead, the administration has created a "Gun-Free School Zone." Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says "Gun-Free School Zone." And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The "gun-free zone" turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world." Every now and then, one retires, and then speaks his mind. Tom Plate was formerly editorial page editor of the LA Times; now he teaching at UCLA and free to tell us what he thinks: "In the nineties, the Los Angeles Times courageously endorsed an all-but-complete ban on privately owned guns, in an effort to greatly reduce their availability." "The correct target of our concern needs to be guns. America has more than it can possibly handle. How many can our society handle? My opinion is: as close to zero as possible." WTOP has the rather casual story. CNN has a VERY good program on the Roanoke Times having "outed" CCW permittees. The reporter who outed them claimed to have been receiving threats after that, and then that a suspicious package (which turned out to be just what it was labelled, a bunch of DHL shipping lables in a box) had arrived on his doorstep. Just for more amusement, VCDL got an audio of the reporter's 911 call and the police radio calls thereafter. After searching for the threat reports, they mention that the only reports of his name are as an offender. Here's the audio. Puerto Rico has a high crime rate: the Orlando Sentinel says it must be due to Florida's law gun laws. [Link updated, thanks to comment] Here's the editorial. "this radical ruling will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded..." "it was not completely unexpected, given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights. " [At least they do give a mention to the Cato Institute, which actually filed the suit and handled the appeal. It's quite obvious that the Post hates the Second Amendment, and hates the NRA, so anytime it covers the first it has to insert the second]. " Nor, for that matter, would it serve the nation's interest to leave this dangerous ruling unchallenged." I could be wrong, but I don't recall the Post ever (and I lived in DC and read it for nearly ten years) going this wild over a court decision. It's amusing that in the entire editorial attacking the decision, not one mention is made of its reasoning or basis. The Post's only concern is with its result. The Florida Sun-Sentinel runs a long series on the CCW permit system. All utterly impartial of course, with headlines like: "Police, sheriff groups back tighter restrictions on state's gun laws" "Florida legislator targets concealed weapons permits of reckless users" "Gov. Crist calls for meeting on loopholes in concealed weapons law" "Who carries a gun? It's a state secret" "Marion Hammer, NRA lobbyist" "Errors, weak laws keep concealed weapons in questionable hands around Florida" "Most states draw tougher lines on guns" "Want a gun? Florida makes it easy" A station is announcing that its investigation shows non-dealers can legally sell to felons. No mention of the fact that a non-dealer selling to a felon has been a federal felony since 1986. The push is actually to require background checks for private sales. [Light blogging today--I'm on the way home, and doing this in a hotel where I wound up stranded overnight]. Texas is considering the different self-defense supplements, and the L.A. Times describes them... "In a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to personal safety, state lawmakers are weighing a bill that would give Texans the right to use deadly force as a first resort when they feel their safety is threatened." "The bill allows a person to claim self-defense if he or she feels threatened at home, in a car or place of business." "Florida legislators, who in 2005 were the first in the nation to enact a "stand your ground" statute, are already rethinking the law." The Sun-Sentinel has spent a week attacking the Florida shall-issue law, and a reader has a concise response. Best part: Readers respond to the Florida hit-pieces on "shall issue." I'd noted earlier that the media seemed to be going back to its traditional ways, of serving as an arm of the antigun movement. Well... Yesterday the antigun Violence Policy Center (as in Joyce Foundation is its main income, $400,000 a year) issued a press release
by the fact that the article that follows is probably the most honest
treatment it has ever given a gun issue – and yet is still fundamentally
impression: 1) from its enactment in 1791 to roughly 1980 everyone
viewed the 2nd Am. as a states right (or a meaningless "collective
right"); 2) since c. 1980 a few ivory tower intellectuals have theorized
that the 2nd Am. might be a right of individual gun owners; 3)
nonetheless the great majority of authorities say that is wrong.
movement there was no controversy over the 2nd Am. – not one court or
commentator denied that it was a right of individual gun owners. 18th
and 19th Century judges and commentators routinely described it as a
right of individual gun owners and expressly analogized it to the rights
of freedom of speech, religion, jury trial etc., etc.
the 20th Century gun control movement having no historical
constitutional provenance whatever. Far from the 2d Am being a states’
right, 200 years of Supreme Court cases on the militia hold that the
federal government has plenary power over it with state authority being
limited to issues on which Congress has not spoken.
since 1980. The overwhelming majority affirm that it guarantees a right
of individual gun owners. That is why the individual right view is
called the "standard model" view of the 2d Am by supporters and
opponents alike. With virtually no exceptions, the few articles to the
contrary have been written by gun control advocates, mostly by people in
the pay of the anti-gun lobby. In contrast, a very substantial
proportion of the standard model articles are written by scholars who
ruefully admit that they support gun control but must honestly admit
that the evidence is overwhelming that the 2d Am precludes banning guns
to the general population."
"Your newspaper direly predicted "gunfights erupting in the streets" when the carry laws were improved to allow for a better right to self-defense outside the home a few months ago. Where are all those gunfights now? "
CBS says much the same.
The new media: Michelle Malkin's HotAir runs it to ground, shows that the hills in the background exactly match those in a taped interview of bin Laden that was released in 2002 and probably dates to 2001 -- five or six years ago. As she notes, this is a further indication that bin Laden is dead. Why use ancient footage, unless he's not around to be filmed?
Now BBC publishes a pretty fair article on Americans and guns. It opens with an interview of Suzanna Hupp, no less.
But here in the US, the Sandusky Register, presumably hard up for controversy, publishes the names and addresses of CCW permit holders. Who respond by searching public records on the publisher and putting them online (they're polite enough to redact his SSN).
Hat tip to Dan Gifford.
The Washington Examiner reports that the National Press Club cancelled an appearance by Venezuelan Students Abroad, who wished to speak on human rights abuses in their country, after the Venezuelan Embassy objected.
Always nice to see how seriously the press takes freedom of speech. It's unclear whether the principle involved is (a) you may only address human rights abuses if the abuser has no objection, or (b) you may only criticize human rights abuses if the abuser is not on the political left.
At last there is a rival to the media's constant descriptions of denials of certiorari as "upholding" the decision below. I've seen this several times in the last few months:
"...and other supporters say they will get the 60 votes needed on Tuesday to resume debate in the 100-member Senate."
Note to reporters supposedly covering Capitol Hill: a cloture vote CUTS OFF debate. What do you think they are doing right now, if not debating?
Not to say it's a tiny bit slanted, but the title tells you all you need to know: "The Next Big Thing in Law? The Harsh Jurisprudence of Justice Thomas".
Although Thomas himself has explained his silence in oral arguments (he grew up speaking Gullah, and the transition made him shy about speaking) the article says that people speculate that it's because "he is afraid that if he speaks he will reveal his ignorance about the case; he is so ideologically driven that he invariably comes with his mind made up; or he has contempt for the process."
He "regularly rules for the powerful over the weak, and has a legal philosophy notable for its indifference to suffering." "He appears poised in the next few weeks to achieve his longstanding goal: dismantling the integrationist vision of his predecessor Thurgood Marshall."
He started out rather liberal, but then sold out: "But as he accepted jobs from Republicans eager to hire a conservative black lawyer, he shifted rightward." He is always "quick to reach a harsh result."
[via Prof. Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy]
Actually, a pretty balanced piece.
The Arizona Republic carries a story on it.
I wouldn't doubt that there's some of that, but I'm told by Border Patrol friends that the smugglers prefer full auto AKs, which you don't find in the typical American gun store, nor get without a government clearance if you do. And the story goes WAY overboard with scare lines like:
"Cartel operatives flood Arizona to buy semi-automatic assault rifles, grenades, plastic explosives and rocket launchers in bulk. "
Hmmm.... I dunno about anyone else here, but I can't think of a place that sells grenades, plastic explosive, or rocket launchers, let alone in bulk. If they are getting any, there's only one place they could come from: government supplies.
Rec'd an email from Don Kates, via Dan Gifford:
"The pervasive inaccuracy of the N.Y. TIMES on gun issues is epitomized
From the article the ordinary reader would come away with the following
The truth is almost diametrically opposite:
1) From its enactment till the outset of the 20th Century gun control
2) The states’ right and collective rights theories are inventions of
3) Over 120 law review articles have addressed the Second Amendment
Newsbusters has the story. The 2007 Brady Center fundraising dinner will feature Sam Donaldson as Master of Ceremonies. (Mike Wallace was a speaker at their 2005 event honoring Art Buchwald).
Media bias? Nawwwww....
[Second hand hat tip: Newsbusters says they got the news from Cam Edwards.
A letter to the editor in the N.M. Daily Lobo:
"Imagine that we can all carry weapons to campus. If an unbalanced individual walks into a class, pulls a weapon and opens fire, absolute chaos will ensue. The 20 students in the class will overreact as the adrenaline pumps through their bodies and open fire not only at the shooter, but at their classmates, as well. Other students who come into class brandishing their weapons, not knowing who initiated the violence, will start firing at everyone with a gun."
Such as Mark Steyn, in the Chicago Sun-Times. Except:
"Virginia Tech, remember, was a "gun-free zone," formally and proudly designated as such by the college administration. Yet the killer kept his guns and ammo on the campus. It was a "gun-free zone" except for those belonging to the guy who wanted to kill everybody. Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they rushed for their vehicles, grabbed their guns and pinned him down until the cops arrived.
But you can't do that at Virginia Tech. Instead, the administration has created a "Gun-Free School Zone." Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says "Gun-Free School Zone." And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The "gun-free zone" turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world."
Every now and then, one retires, and then speaks his mind. Tom Plate was formerly editorial page editor of the LA Times; now he teaching at UCLA and free to tell us what he thinks:
"In the nineties, the Los Angeles Times courageously endorsed an all-but-complete ban on privately owned guns, in an effort to greatly reduce their availability."
"The correct target of our concern needs to be guns. America has more than it can possibly handle. How many can our society handle? My opinion is: as close to zero as possible."
WTOP has the rather casual story.
CNN has a VERY good program on the Roanoke Times having "outed" CCW permittees.
The reporter who outed them claimed to have been receiving threats after that, and then that a suspicious package (which turned out to be just what it was labelled, a bunch of DHL shipping lables in a box) had arrived on his doorstep.
Just for more amusement, VCDL got an audio of the reporter's 911 call and the police radio calls thereafter. After searching for the threat reports, they mention that the only reports of his name are as an offender. Here's the audio.
Puerto Rico has a high crime rate: the Orlando Sentinel says it must be due to Florida's law gun laws.
[Link updated, thanks to comment]
Here's the editorial.
"this radical ruling will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded..."
"it was not completely unexpected, given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights. "
[At least they do give a mention to the Cato Institute, which actually filed the suit and handled the appeal. It's quite obvious that the Post hates the Second Amendment, and hates the NRA, so anytime it covers the first it has to insert the second].
" Nor, for that matter, would it serve the nation's interest to leave this dangerous ruling unchallenged."
I could be wrong, but I don't recall the Post ever (and I lived in DC and read it for nearly ten years) going this wild over a court decision. It's amusing that in the entire editorial attacking the decision, not one mention is made of its reasoning or basis. The Post's only concern is with its result.
The Florida Sun-Sentinel runs a long series on the CCW permit system. All utterly impartial of course, with headlines like:
"Police, sheriff groups back tighter restrictions on state's gun laws"
"Florida legislator targets concealed weapons permits of reckless users"
"Gov. Crist calls for meeting on loopholes in concealed weapons law"
"Who carries a gun? It's a state secret"
"Marion Hammer, NRA lobbyist"
"Errors, weak laws keep concealed weapons in questionable hands around Florida"
"Most states draw tougher lines on guns"
"Want a gun? Florida makes it easy"
A station is announcing that its investigation shows non-dealers can legally sell to felons. No mention of the fact that a non-dealer selling to a felon has been a federal felony since 1986. The push is actually to require background checks for private sales.
[Light blogging today--I'm on the way home, and doing this in a hotel where I wound up stranded overnight].
Texas is considering the different self-defense supplements, and the L.A. Times describes them...
"In a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to personal safety, state lawmakers are weighing a bill that would give Texans the right to use deadly force as a first resort when they feel their safety is threatened."
"The bill allows a person to claim self-defense if he or she feels threatened at home, in a car or place of business."
"Florida legislators, who in 2005 were the first in the nation to enact a "stand your ground" statute, are already rethinking the law."
The Sun-Sentinel has spent a week attacking the Florida shall-issue law, and a reader has a concise response. Best part:
Readers respond to the Florida hit-pieces on "shall issue."
I'd noted earlier that the media seemed to be going back to its traditional ways, of serving as an arm of the antigun movement. Well...
Yesterday the antigun Violence Policy Center (as in Joyce Foundation is its main income, $400,000 a year) issued a press releasefocusing on black homicide rates. Chuckle--it's a study of how to pick and choose statistics to get the desired result. Example: the states with the lowest black homicide rates are gunnie South Dakota and Montana. DC is omitted, probably because it would have an astronomical rate -- despite its handgun ban. And its lead target is Pennsylvania, with the study proclaiming it has the highest black homicide rate in the country. But since in 2004 (the year chosen) Pennsylvania had a lower overall homicide rate than the national average (5.2 vs. 5.5), for it to have the highest black homicide rate, it must also have had the lowest or one of the lowest white homicide rates in the nation. Of course the study doesn't mention the non-black rates...
But the media uncritically leap into line:
The Philie Inquirer runs an editoral today entitled "Open Season on Young Black Men; Thank Gun Laws for Fact PA Leads the Nation in Black Homicides." (It didn't do much research: it claims that the "Handgun Owner Protection Act" hobbles BATF. It's the "Firearms Owners' Protection Act," and doesn't).
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has commenced a week-long series of articles attacking Florida's shall-issue CCW law.
As I read the first article: Florida law gives judges the power to take a plea, impose probation (without entering a conviction) and if the person completes that, "withhold conviction." OK, they're not convicted of anything, and eligible for a permit.
So the newspaper hunts up those cases, looks for the worst -- one guy got judges to "withhold conviction" on a manslaughter rap, on possession of ten pounds of pot, and on a CCW charge. The real question is ... why are the judges withholding convictions, if the cases are this bad? The problem is with the judges and the legal system here, and the easy way to ensure these folks don't get licenses is to get the judges to convict.
A few days ago, I posted a critique of an Inquirer story, quoting Brady leaders, saying that dealers' records could only be inspected once a year.
An alert reader emailed the editorial staff with the link, and asked them to check it out. Today they published a correction, acknowledging that ATF can also check records anytime there is a criminal investigation.
The Sun-Times has the story.
They're starting to push on the assault weapons and gun show issues. Expect more.
It's in the Florida Times-Union. Sounds a little as if the reporter wanted to write an anti-gun story, but came up with no material. The murderer who talked said he got his guns by stealing them from a railroad car. Police tried some "stings" at gun shows and gun dealerships and came up empty, confirming their belief that illegal guns were coming from burglaries. The sheriff has a copy of the Second Amendment on his wall. The main beef is that prosecutors aren't anxious to find out the sources of illegal guns as part of a plea bargain or confession.
Glenn Reynolds has an Op-Ed, in the NY Times, favoring municipal statutes requiring gun ownership!
"While pro-gun laws like the one in Greenleaf are mostly symbolic, to the extent that they actually make a difference, it is likely to be a positive one.
Greenleaf is following in the footsteps of Kennesaw, Ga., which in 1982 passed a mandatory gun ownership law in response to a handgun ban passed in Morton Grove, Ill. Kennesaw’s crime dropped sharply, while Morton Grove’s did not.
To some degree, this is rational. Criminals, unsurprisingly, would rather break into a house where they aren’t at risk of being shot. As David Kopel noted in a 2001 article in The Arizona Law Review, burglars report that they try to avoid homes where armed residents are likely to be present. We see this phenomenon internationally, too, with the United States having a lower proportion of “hot” burglaries — break-ins where the burglars know the home to be occupied — than countries with restrictive gun laws."
"Anti-gun lobby concerned laws will be watered down". After reading the article, I concluded it means that an antigun lobbying group is concerned that existing gun laws will be watered down. At first read, I thought it might mean that laws concerning some manner of gun lobby would be watered down. On the up side, this is the first time which I can recall in which any media, US, Aussie or anywhere else, has described a group lobbying for gun control as an antigun "lobby."
A while back, the Journal News printed the names of 30,000 licensed New York gun owners (and thoughtfully provides an on-line list, for any burglars with internet access). It caught some flak and now has this response.
"The Constitution gives people the right to own guns in this country, and it also gives people the right to know whether they own a gun or not," said Henry Freeman, editor and vice president/news at The Journal News. "This is a public record. People have a right to know that.
"We did take it into consideration and did not publish your street address, which is also public information."
I don't think anyone doubted that they had a legal right to do it. Under the first amendment, they would have had a right to write a story praising the KKK, or suggesting excellent targets for future terror efforts. When you do that -- or run a story that targets people simply because they have obeyed the law -- the question is one of judgment, consideration, fairness, not of right. To talk of "having a right" in this context is the equivalent of "I did it because you can't stop me."
The legislature passes pre-emption, the Gov. vetoes it, the legislature overrides him by a comfortable 2/3 majority in each house.
The Morning Journal says it's time to take it to court.
A rather hyped article, and apparently by someone who knows little about firearms. "That's a clip," [fired off] Scott said matter-of-factly as he looked up, emptied the cartridge from his handgun and slid the weapon into his front pocket."
Hat tip to reader Ken Bullock...
The Bulletin has an article entitled The NRA Goes Global. I trust their grasp of science is better than their grasp of politics.
I guess it was a slow news day, so the NY Times ran a predictable editorial on the bill, introduced by outgoing Sen. George Allen, to allow firearms carry in national parks.
What was it the emperor Julian said of the gladiatorial games -- he would stand the brutality, but not the boredom? Let's see, the 2nd amendment is a collective right, the bill is being cheered on by the gun lobby (I don't see signs it's noticed it yet), the NRA and its cohorts stand for armed paranoia, if people feel insecure in the parks they should pay more taxes for more park employeees to protect them.
Reminds me of the famous painting of a NYC perspective, where NYC dominates 90% of the world view, there's a little strip representing the rest of the country, and dots of foreign countries beyond. From the NYT standpoint parks = city parks. Main risk is mugging. From the rest of the country's standpoint: National Parks, esp. mean thousands of wilderness acres, where risks include things like bears,venomous snakes, and the like.
That's how station WALB (Alabany, GA) carries the story, adding "Some Albany youth pledge to stay away from guns. "
Actually, the story says they swore "to stay away from gun violence."
More "security theater." One of the sponsors, the US Attorney's Office, commented that they "think that we need a response to violent crimes that are taking over here in our community..." So the solution is to make a bunch of people promise they won't commit violent crime. For Pete's sake, they didn't include the "stick a thousand needles in my eye" part, without which no gradeschool promise is binding!
From the Montreal Gazette comes this piece, about a group of licensed competitive shooters (obviously a suspicious if not bloodthirsty lot!):
"The shooting rampage at Dawson College last month refocused the gun-control debate."....
"You'd never know it to look at them. In regular life, the Sunday shooters are just normal people with normal jobs....." [Zombies. They're all around you, but you can't tell it]
"Though professing a message of vigilance and safety, they collect gun paraphernalia, troll the Internet looking for gun websites and wear T-shirts logo'd with the provocative names of gun manufacturers and organizations. One of them is called Canadian GunNutz, and its emblem is a beaver holding an assault rifle."
"....they feel part of a misunderstood fraternity." (No ____?)
"The targets themselves are of two types: special octagonal cardboard targets about the size of a human torso, and thick steel targets called poppers, shaped in the rough size of a child..."
"But to an outsider, the match does seem to mimic something all too real: the modus operandi of a madman on a murder spree."
After all, weren't gunmen like Kimveer Gill just as brazen and agile as these shooters aim to be in competition? Didn't Gill fire his semi-automatics while out in the open and on the move? And didn't he aim to hit his targets?"
The Philadelphia Inquirer actually covered the pro-gun side of the legislative debate in PA.
Gad, here's another article in it, saying that studies have shown the laws being proposed have no effect.
The NY Sun has run an article that actually covers critics of the Bloomberg lawsuits.
Newsbusters has a post on how, when the WashPo and the AP ran a story on a DC guy buyback, they for some reason couldn't find a single skeptic or critic to balance the story.
Actually, I rather like gun buybacks. I've got a cheapy gun I got at a yard sale and which has broken down, and I'd be happy to get $50-100 for it, when no buyer in their right mind would offer that. Last time we had one in Tucson, every gunny in town got rid of their old junk. I later got the records of what was turned in, and it was pretty funny. Air guns, gun parts (apparently the folks operating the buyback didn't know guns). A "Mars" brand revolver (those were cheapies made around the 1890s).
Some gun collectors took up station outside the collection points, and if they saw someone with a good firearm, offered them $25 more than the city was paying, and picked up some nice bargains. There were rumors that one local gun dealer cleaned out his stocks of junkers that were being cannibalized for parts and sent his employees rotating among the collection points, turning them in two or three at a time.
[Via the Volokh Conspiracy]
A CBS station in New York has discovered a new gun menace.
Minature guns. Apart from the fact that they are about two inches long, fire a tiny bullet at 400 feet per second, cost upwards of $5,000, only 50 have been made by this company, and can't be imported into the US, they are the perfect criminal tool.
"These bullets could be aimed at the face." "No SwissMiniGuns have been recovered here yet..."
I suppose the station would be really upset if told that miniature guns have been made for at least three centuries, and were long a "final exam" for high-level European gunsmiths, on the theory that anyone who could build a flintlock that fired a ball the size of matchstick had proven his artistry beyond any doubt.
UPDATE in light of comment: a .092 ball would be about the size of a single No. 8 birdshot, which weighs in at 1.07 grains or 1/400 of an ounce. At 400 feet per second (about a third of the speed at which a shotgun launches birdshot) I doubt it could penetrate the skin. Might leave a red mark, tho.
How many errors can AP make in a five-sentence story, based on a written report? Gene Volokh counts four errors.
Regarding Mayor Bloomberg's "sting" of gun dealers -- The total conviction count is one dealer pleads to disorderly conduct. Bloomsberg's police seize the gun store inventory, then return it quietly a week later.
He sues out of state dealers, two have filed counter-suits, and he offers to settle against the others for supervision -- for which NYC will pay.
Comes now the Queens' Ledger to proclaim it a great success. "As a result of Spallone's arrest, 200 handguns and 34 rifles were taken off the streets." "Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed happy with the news, stating that the case sent the message "if you break the law, you are going to pay the price."
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has a blistering editorial on Brady Campaign's opposition to expansions of self-defense.
[Hat tip to Budd Schroeder]
A Columbus OH paper responds to bills intended to expand self defense rights with a headline: "State lawmakers hope to pass a 'shoot first' bill" More below.
Michelle Malkin's HotAir is reporting a media event right out of Police Squad. CNN Anchorperson Kyra Phillips left her lapel mike live while going to the bathroom, during Pres. Bush's Katrina speech today, and the whole world got to hear about how she has to protect her brother from his "control freak" wife.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal has an editorial attacking the Florida firearms laws. [Hat tip of Bruce Mills]
Let's take it one step at a time.
"The bad news: Florida's gun-crazy. The worse news: The ailment is contagious.
Since the spring of 2005, 15 states have adopted laws expanding the concept of self-defense to ludicrous -- and deadly -- proportions. Florida was the first to adopt the so-called "shoot first" or "stand your ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force whenever they feel threatened, so long as they are in a place they have a legal right to be. The new law erases any duty to try to get away, even if escape is possible."
A person under criminal attack, and who has reasonable fear they would be killed or maimed, shoots the attcking thug. Now can't be prosecuted on the theory that they could have escaped.... so why is that a bad thing? I suppose newspaper's sympathies are with the criminal who got hurt. Mine tend to be with the victim. Take your pick.
As Don Kates has pointed out with regard to another article, "Among the highly misleading things in this article is that the ordinary reader will probably never realize that the retreat rule has always been the minority rule in the U.S. So instead of a horrible earthshaking change taking place, all that is happening is that the legislatures of at most 15 states have adopted what was already the rule in most states."
"And it blocks any liability for innocent bystanders. If a person is aiming his gun at a potential assailant but hits a 5-year-old girl instead, he still can't be arrested or prosecuted -- no matter how reckless he was. He also has immunity from civil suits."
I'd have to examine the law closely to see if that was the result. But in any event, how can one be reckless in that situation? Perhaps if, with an onrushing thug, the victim put his hand over his eyes and emptied a magazine in the assailant's general direction. If that has happened in the history of this Republic, it hasn't come to my attention. Gimme a break, editor!
"Over the past year, it's become clear that the law -- pushed by the National Rifle Association, but applicable to any deadly assault -- makes it tougher for prosecutors. To obtain convictions in cases where an assailant claims self-defense, prosecutors must prove, usually months after the fact, what a shooter was thinking when she or he pulled the trigger."
That's one thing the law did NOT do. Before and after, self-defense required proof that the defender believed they were under deadly attack, and that that was a reasonable belief. So prosecutors already had to prove, at trial months down the road, whether the defender had a reasonable belief at the time.
"When the law was passed, opponents predicted it would become a shield for warring gang members in drug disputes. That claim was dismissed as nonsensical -- until a drug dealer was lured to a Lexington, Ky., apartment by a man who owed him money and beaten to death with a lamp.
Two years ago, James Adam Clem, 27, would have faced homicide charges. But since Kentucky had passed a law identical to Florida's, prosecutors would have had to prove that Clem wasn't in fear for his life. The fact that he was able to club his victim to death, rather than shooting him, made no difference. Instead of going to trial, Clem got a favorable plea deal earlier this month, and may be eligible for parole by Christmas."
To be precise: the judge refused to dismiss the case, based on the law. He plead to manslaughter. His claim was that the guy had assaulted him (and, presumably, tried to kill him). There were no eyewitnesses.
The castle doctrine itself didn't play a role (the guy hadn't broken in). Retreat wouldn't have played a role, since Kentucky has never had a retreat requirement.
With or without the law, odds of getting a murder conviction on those facts are pretty slim. Even if you disprove self-defense, in a fight like that the jury is probably going to go with voluntary manslaughter. So the prosecution took what it'd probably get anyway. This is a case that turned out the way it would have turned out anyway, but the editorial blames it on the statute.
[I see a lot of complaints that the new law in KY was badly drafted, and that may be the case. If so, it merely points out that laws should be well-drafted, not that the idea itself was flawed]
"The Orlando Sentinel documented 13 shootings in Central Florida where the new law may come into play. In another case, a New Port Richey prostitute is using the new law as a defense against charges that she shot and killed her 72-year-old client after taking his gun away from him.
Because the state doesn't keep track of shootings, there's no statewide total -- but the early figures suggest that it would be daunting as more people learn about the major loophole in the law."
I blogged the Orlando Sentinel article here. Yep, there were 13 self-defense arguments where the law might come into play. Five persons have been cleared so far (one under investigation was an off-duty officer -- the castle doctrine laws protect law enforcement, too).
As far as the prostitute goes, Don Kates took that case apart here. "Her story is that her elderly client pulled a gun declaring that he was going to kill her and then himself. She wrests the gun away from him and then shoots him rather than fleeing. Even under the retreat rule one is only required to retreat if ths is clearly possible. Under these circumstances she was privileged to shoot rather than run away taking the chance that this homicidally desperate man can jump on her and get the gun."
I note the ediorial omits the fact that the client had pulled a gun on the lady of the evening and threatened to kill her, instead making it sound as if she just decided to whack a client (which is bad for business, of course).
"Right before the law became effective Oct. 1, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence launched a campaign warning tourists of the dangers of the new law. The campaign included ads in key "feeder" markets like Chicago, Detroit, Boston and the United Kingdom, and fliers distributed at Florida airports reading "An Important Notice to Florida Visitors." Under the heading of "sensible precautions," the fliers urged visitors to "not argue . . . with local people.""
As I noted in an earlier posting, Brady is having a bit of trouble here, since Florida's crime rates have fallen to the lowest level in 35 years. "A telephone message left for comment after hours with the The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C. was not immediately returned."
"The Brady Campaign can't single Florida out any more. Expect other states to see an escalation in unprosecutable shootings.
The spotlight may veer away from Florida, but the fact remains that this state was the first to enact this dangerous and bloody law. Florida can get national headlines again -- for the right reason -- by being the first state to tear up this virtual get-out-of-jail-free card."
Sounds like some serious trouble in Illinois ... and from the info given, it doesn't sound like the first time it's happened. I'm not familiar with ILL law, but from the way it's set out, it sounds like he was carrying legally (Firearm Owner ID card, unloaded gun, in a buckled case) and was arrested anyway.
UPDATE: The local paper has an editorial, essentially saying "he had it coming." Their version claims he faces felony CCW charges, and had a firearm in a hip holster, and treats it as if he were setting up a second amendment test case (which, from his posting, seems to have been far from his mind).
The Philadelpha Inquirer has an article on how much harder it was for a woman reporter to buy a gun in New Jersey (which the paper of course regards as a good thing). Two strange things, tho.
1. Apparently you must give the police references, to whom they send a questionaire asking, among other things, if you are an anarchist. I suppose this is a holdover from the beginning of the 20th century, when at least some anarchists were throwing bombs instead of holding long debates on how capitalism and neighborhood associations could replace government. But you'd think a newspaper would be a bit skeptical about police asking about First Amendment matters...
2. The authorities were so considerate, they dropped by her house to make sure her husband approved of her having a gun. Now, you think, the newspaper would find that a bit odd. This isn't 1883, after all. Women can even appear in public in bloomers without being arrested, even in New Jersey. But she calls up the president of NOW and is told "It's a very thoughtful law," Gandy tells me by phone. "Yes, it makes it harder for people who aren't criminals or violent to get a gun. But, at the same time, it makes it harder for the people who are."
Can't help but wonder why this didn't get media coverage:
"Hundreds of people were stranded in the hospital with no power to run lights or elevators and no running water. Anyone willing to carry a gun was deputized to watch the entrances as people broke into nearby buildings."
As far as the main story (doctor and two nurses arrested for allegedly killing patients with overdoses) goes ... it's pretty hard to picture the three just deciding, on a lark, to whack some patients during the story. It might be possible that they had some dying patients, not a snowball's chance in the infernal regions, and under those hellish conditions decided to let them go with no pain. When my ex was dying, if that'd been available, I'd have done it. Sometimes it's all over, and the only question is when and how painfully. In her case, cancer tumors were squeezing the breathing passages shut. No cure and no hope. An OD of painkillers isn't going to make any difference in the end. You can figure that anoxia will make them comatose, and it appeared to, but why not be sure?).
I don't much mind it when an editorialist displays his views and biases (views are what my friends have, biases are what my opponents have). It's clear that it's his opinion. I only find it annoying when news articles are written as opinion.
Local editorialist CT Rever made his views clear yesterday:
"Take away guns and the murder rate plummets."
"If I could pick and choose my constitutional amendments, No. 2 would be relegated to the trash heap."
The comments are interesting, too.
Even the Boston Globe is starting to get it. They just need to learn more about firearms and firearms laws before they write a piece on women and shooting ranges.
(Update. Chuckle. They ran a bit of a correction:
"Correction: Because of a reporting error, a story in yesterday's Living/Arts section about a Manchester, N.H., firing range mischaracterized Massachusetts gun laws. Residents with a Class A gun license may purchase semiautomatic weapons. Residents without a Class A license may shoot semiautomatic weapons at a gun range or gun club that holds a Class A license. Certified police firearms instructors or firearms collectors who hold a machine gun license may purchase machine guns. Also, the story should have made clear that US laws prohibit private ownership of fully automatic machine guns manufactured after 1986. The Uzi mentioned in the story was never illegal because it was made before 1986."
PajamasMedia has an amusing post noting: (1) A NYT proxy statement that they believe they produce quality news, and that to the extent the public sees them as unreliable, the value of their stock may be negatively affected and (2) a chart showing how the value of NY Times stock has falled by 50% over the last two years.
massBackwards takes on the Boston Phoenix's reporting on Boston crime trends.
The FBI issues its preliminary crime report for 2005, showing nationwide a 4.8% increase in murders (that's number, not rate, which will be somewhat lower). The preliminary figures give no breakdown as to weapon used.
Associated Press reports it with a note:
Criminal justice experts said the statistics reflect the nation's complacency in fighting crime, a product of dramatic declines in the and the abandonment of effective programs that emphasized prevention, putting more police officers on the street and controlling the spread of guns.
"We see that budgets for policing are being slashed and the federal government has gotten out of that business," said James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at Northeastern University in Boston. "Funding for prevention at the federal level and many localities are down and the (National Rifle Association) has renewed strength."
Hmm... NRA was pretty strong in 2004, too, when homicide rates fell by 2.4%.
And, strangely, in 2005, the FBI report notes, homicide rates fell by 3.9% in nonmetropolitan areas where gun ownership is highest.
And the lowest 2005 homicide increase came in the West, where gun ownship is also highest... 3.2% there, compared to 5.2% in the Northeast.
The Orlando Sentinel has an article on Florida's Castle Doctrine Law. As you might expect it's negative and of the "be very afraid" variety.
The title: "Gun law triggers at least 13 shootings." It says that 13 people in central Florida have "pulled the trigger this year under a new law that loosens restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense."
But the article doesn't try to show that the law played a role in their decisions, or triggered anything (in fact, the one person asked said he wasn't thinking of his legal rights, but of his fear). Five have been cleared of charged, three have been charged, and the other five investigations are pending. And one was an off-duty police officer.
Does it affect the charging decision? In one case, "The case was handled the way we would any aggravated battery without a life-threatening injury," said sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomons. "I don't know if the new law has impacted or affected the way we conduct these types of investigations."
Then it quotes one claiming, "In the old days, we'd say 'Where is the weapon?' Now the person only needs to have a 'reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm' and be able to articulate it," Ring said. "But what's reasonable fear? It's so vague, it's different for every one."
Hate to point it out, but reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm has ALWAYS been the core element of self defense. If anything, castle doctrine bills make it a little clearer, by providing that reasonable fear is presumed if the other person was breaking into a house, etc..
It ends with a quote that is way off: "All you have to say is, 'I was afraid,' and you can blow someone away."
So you want to write an article making people frightened of gun violence and of the "easy availability of guns." The good news is, you're in Florida, the home of "shall issue" and the "castle doctrine," so easy availability of guns is no problemo.
The bad news (for a reporter with that bent): Florida gun homicides have fallen 25% over the last decade. Even worse, they dropped 48% in your county.
Solution: keep looking until you find two zip codes where the rates have at least stayed stable. Didn't go up, didn't go down, either. And of course the cost of medical care has gone up over the last decade. The result is this article in the Palm Beach Post.
Dr. Wen Ho Lee has settled his suit against the government and five media outlets for a total of $1.6 million. He was the scientist arrested on charges of spying for China, held for nine months, and then allowed to plead to a minor charge. His suit alleged that the government had smeared him with false "leaks" to the press (and, I gather, that the press had happily reported them all).
The settlement was for just under $900K from the government, and $750K from AP, ABC, NY Times, LA Times, and Washington Post. Needless to say, the latter group is complaining and saying it proves the need for federal laws to shield reporters.
It's back to the good old days with some of the media -- you know, when the journalist's drive was to make sure gun laws were enacted, rather than to report on the issue.
The Lansing City Pulse has an article on the proposed Castle Doctrine bill. It begins:
"Picture this: A homeless man comes up to you and in a demanding voice asks for money. You have no knowledge if he is armed, and he says nothing to suggest he is. Still, you feel threatened. You are carrying a pistol legally because of the state’s concealed weapon law. You pull it out and shoot him. After an investigation, police determine that you acted legally — not in self-defense against someone threatening to cause you bodily harm, but simply because you felt threatened.
Sound like a farfetched scenario? Not if the state Legislature approves a new law already enacted in 10 other states."
The rest of the article is on a par with that -- lots of Brady Campaign quotes and [insert terrifying speculations here]. I haven't seen the precise text, but if it tracks what has been done in other states a person must have a *reasonable* fear of being subjected to *deadly force* before he can defend with deadly force.
ABC News has brought on Jake Tapper to handle gun issues, and here's his take on the NRA convention.
Turns out Tapper is a former employee of Handgun Control, Inc., which is today known as the Brady Campaign.
Here's a story with links to his past writings for Salon.com, which make it obvious why HCI would have hired him. "Another day, another school shooting -- and another brief focus by the media on gun control. But believe it or not, despite the rash of high-profile school shootings in recent years, not one major gun law has passed the U.S. Congress since 1996..." "That Congress continues to slay any and every gun law -- no matter how popular, incidental or seemingly reasonable -- is a tribute to the gun industry's powerhouse of a lobby, the National Rifle Association."
Here's a page where you can send ABC a comment. Let's see now -- hiring a reporter on an issue where he'll be quoting his former bosses and coworkers? No disclosure of the linkage?
NRO Online takes down the media over Katrina coverage. You know, the 40,000 dead, bodies stacked like cordwood, mass rape, etc.
We older fogies can remember the riots of 1967 (I know -- if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there). Cities terrorized by snipers (which was a major impetus to GCA 68). When they investigated later, it turned out there had been almost no sniping (sniping to media = gunshots somewhere). What had been happening was that from time to time a National Guardsman would feel threatened and fire a shot. That would go zipping or ricocheting for a mile, and every Guardsman who heard it would conclude he'd been fired on and fire back, and those would go zipping and richoceting... sorta like a nuclear chain reaction, with .308s instead of neutrons. Next day would come the story about how several square miles of (insert city name) had been terrorized by snipers in regimental strength. I remember one incident where a gunowner was seen taking rifles into his house (not surprising in the setting), someone called the authorities, and a tank was sent out ... which proceeded to demolish his house with .50 fire. (Luckily, he and his family had time to flee into the basement and survived).
Actor Bruce Willis gives an interview, in which he says everyone should have the right to defend themselves, gun control disarms only the law abiding, and that he believes even a pacificist would fight to defend their own life.
And the story runs with the title "Bruce Willis Supports Gun Laws."
Not specific to guns, but...
Irish Pennants notes how the NY Time spins a story. Our troops' Interceptor body armor will stop an AK-47 at 10 feet. Last year the Army predicted that ammo could be improved and this hypothetical future ammo might penetrate it, so they engineered even better plates, some thousands of which are already in the field. NY Times carries the story as -- a year after the need was seen, the Army is still struggling to get body armor to the troops. (Via Carnival of the Insanities, which also has a psychiatrist's discussion of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
And here's an interesting case where Time online distorted Condi Rice's photo. (The Times page has now changed it back to normal). (Via Instapundit). Michelle Malkin had an earlier case where USA Today distorted one of her photos to give her eyes a demented glare.
Oh, here's a truly hiliarious piece. Vote Sadaam in 2008 -- he's a uniter, not a divider!
At the CBS blog, Jim Geraghty reflects on CBS's reaction to the blogosphere heat regarding Dan Rather's speech to a Brady Campaign fundraiser.
Alphecca has an excellent roundup on the subject.
This from Dan Gifford:
We are accustomed to hearing about the 1950s official Hollywood blackballing of writers and others with suspected communist or even leftist leanings by "conservative" studio heads. But did an unofficial liberal Hollywood political blacklist replace it? Yes, it did. And award winning science fiction writer Neil Schulman
That contradicted the liberal politics of Law's writers. They dropped him and, according to what I heard, put his name on the whisper blackball grapevine. I first heard about the incident from a fellow ACLU board member who was an "LA Law" writer at the time. Neil wrote one of the more poignant "Twilight Zone" episodes and he is an example of the very liberal McCarthyesque bias that we are so accustomed to hearing does not exist.
Three UCLA economists have produced what appears to be an unbiased study of media bias.
(Hat tip to Bill Bailey)
An ABC affiliate has run a short story on women and guns. The script mis-spells Sandy Froman's name at one place, but it's interesting to note the spin. It's slanted somewhat, as you'd expect (quotes Sandy on sporting use of guns by women, then quotes Brady Campaign on gun dangers without giving any other side. Still, it's quite an improvement over media treatment of ten years ago, when they either would have cited Brady alone, or at best have tried to depict the NRA side as the babblings of neanderthals.
The Louisville Courier-Journal has an article on progress of self-defense legislation. Its impartiality is apparent from the first sentence, which tells us that bills expand "people's right to shoot anyone they believe is threatening them."
A few quotes the article uses: "I think there was some concern that this was just going to give people an opportunity to shoot somebody and not be held responsible," "This is not about self-defense."
It tells us that even gun owners disagree about the bills -- and cites someone saying that he wouldn't shoot to prevent auto theft (which the legislation doesn't allow, unless you're in the vehicle and a carjacker puts you in reasonable fear of deadly harm).
And the standard reference to "NRA clout," followed by a statement that "a lot of positions they take are mindless."
Below, I noted a press release by the antigun Violence Policy Center rejoicing in the decline of licensed firearms dealers (mostly reflecting the loss of small licensees who bought for themselves or a few friends).
The Christian Science Monitor has written a story around the press release. I must say the slant is low enough to where it falls within the "slant produced by a writer given a press release and a few hours to create a story around it" rather than the "slant produced by a writer who is out to bend things to specification."
Another VPC quote of the "we can make up anything and you'll print it" variety ""What we really don't want to see is a return to the early '90s, when there was just horror story after horror story of people who were using their license to buy huge numbers of guns and then traffic them illegally into urban areas with strict gun-control laws."
Uh ... name one?
A modest proposal for dealer inspections: right now, ATF encourages every police agency to trace every gun they encounter (including lost guns, stolen guns, whatever) because that way ATF can testify in appropriations hearings that they traced a zillion guns last year.
Split the traces -- record whether they were for a gun actually used in crime, or not. Take the traces for guns really used in crimes. Plot them against dealers. Now, some dealers will stand out for entirely innocent reasons (they're the biggest dealer in the county, and a certain proportion of any dealer's guns will be later stolen and used in crime). But at the least, you can probably screen out the great bulk of dealers and worry about inspecting the handful that remain. If a dealer has had zero real crime traces last year, you can skip inspecting him, and if only a few, probably ditto. Who cares whether he is 100% on his paperwork?
The Bitch Girls have been unloading on the media's reporting on firearms and hunting without the vaguest idea of what they're talking about here and here. I esp. liked the news mention of the long-nosed Luger.
Travelling in Lima, Peru, Prof. Bob Cottrol noted an article in the newspaper El Commercio. The newspaper had a photo of some Shining Path terrorists, carrying Smith and Wessons, which the newspaper described as "38mm" in bore.
I bet THAT would have a kick....
AP Headline: "Man Shot by Cheney Says It Was 'Accident'."
Now, that's a shocker. I suppose it will lay to rest all the conspiracy theories that Cheney was out to whack him because he knew too much.
The NY Times leads with "Violent Crime Rising Sharply in Some Cities".
Datelined Milwaukee, it begins "One woman here killed a friend after they argued over a brown silk dress. A man killed a neighbor whose 10-year-old son had mistakenly used his dish soap." People are killing each other over nasty looks and minor issues, and of course "more weapons are on the streets, giving people a way to act on their anger." A graphic on the side -- "an uptick in murders" looks like a 25% jump upwards.
Well, preliminary FBI data for the first half of 2005 (released last month, and the latest available) indicates that the homicide count did increase, but hardly by a great amount -- 2.1% nationwide. Given that the population also increased, the rate increase would have been less. Violent crime overall fell by 0.5%. Hardly a spiralling rate of crime.
Their charting of rates over time shows that it isn't that 2005 was exceptionally bad, but that 2004 was exceptionally good. Homicide rates had steeply fallen in the 1990s (funny how we rarely heard that in the media) and after 2000 edged upward a bit, up 1-2% a year in 2002 and 2003. Then in 2004 it dropped again, by 5.7%. 2005's increase of 2.1% came against that background -- still leaving the rate lower than in the rest of the decade.
I was curious about Milwaukee, the focus of the article, and so checked out past homicide counts for that city. The article states that those "jumped from 88 in 2004 to 122 last year." Again, it's a matter of 2004 being exceptionally low (the 2005 count is actually lower than that for four years ago):
2001: 127 homicides
I realize that fear sells newspapers, but you'd think they'd find some subject that they can legitimately scare people with, rather than going this far to create a boogeyman....
I was tipped off, too late, that the latest issue of ABC's 20/20's "Myths, Lies, and Straight Talk" had an astonishing segment on gun control. Here's the online summary:
"MYTH # 5 — Guns Are Always Bad for Us
America is notorious for its culture of gun violence. Guns sometimes do cause terrible harm, and many kids are killed every year in gun accidents. But public service announcements and news stories make it seem as if the accidents kill thousands of kids every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, fewer than 100 kids 15 and under are killed in gun accidents every year. Of course that's horrible, and I understand why demonstrators say we need more gun control.
But guess what? The Centers for Disease Control recently completed a review of studies of various types of gun control: background checks, waiting periods, bans on certain guns and ammunition. It could not document that these rules have reduced violent crime.
The government wants to say regulations and laws like the Brady Gun Control Law are making a difference, but they aren't. Some maximum security felons I spoke to in New Jersey scoffed at measures like the Brady law. They said they'll have no trouble getting guns if they want them.
A Justice Department study confirmed what the prisoners said. But get this: the felons say that the thing they fear the most is not the police, not time in prison, but, you, another American who might be armed.
It's a reason many states are passing gun un-control. They're allowing citizens to carry guns with them, it's called concealed carry or right to carry. Some women say they're comforted by these laws.
But many people, including Rev. Al Sharpton, are horrified at the idea of concealed carry laws, and predict mayhem if all states adopt these laws.
But surprise, 36 states already have concealed carry laws; and not one reported an upsurge in gun crime."
I may just start watching.... the other segments on this iconclastic broadcast included giving the rebuttal to claims that we have less free time, that Republicans actually do shrink the size of government, that overpopulation is a problem, that DDT and other chemicals are bad, and that we are nuking our forests.
And to think this is Peter Jenning's old network...
UPDATE: see more in extended posting below....
With regard the Florida TV broadcast mentioned below ... the version of the story online reportedly started out with a link to a list of names and addresses of Floridians who hold CCW permits. That'd be consistent with the story's lead ... why, anyone around you might have a CCW permit, so be scared! Here's a discussion on radio host Pat Campbell's blog. Needless to say, CCW holders are quite sensitive to this sort of thing... apart from the broad invasion of privacy, a thieves interested in firearms would be handed the equivalent of a shopping list. It's as welcome as, oh, the media releasing names, addresses, and value of jewelry in each home.
It turns out that the names and addresses are available online, at a Florida government website! I won't link to it -- no sense increasing the risk. I think Floridians might start looking into statutes along the lines of other states, which secure the privacy of CCW lists.
Some local bloggers are contending the State action is a violation of a 2005 Florida law. I haven't had time to track all that the statute's exemptions and provisions. It does look like (3)(o), which exempts records under sec. 790.06, the CCW permit statute, covers it, so that it's not a violation. The 2005 statute is aimed at prohibiting lists of firearms and firearms owners, not at ensuring that such lists as allowed are kept private.
WFTV in Florida leads off with
" Next time you're out in a crowded place, take a look around. Chances are someone's carrying a handgun and you wouldn't know. Channel 9's Steve Barrett has uncovered just how common concealed weapons are in the places we all go. It might be in a purse, or a pocket, a car, or a briefcase, and you have no way of knowing. In Central Florida, about one in 40 adults has a permit to pack hidden heat."
Then (having gotten the viewers' attention through the usual medium of fear, it can lay out the facts:
"That worries many people, especially now that Florida law allows the use of deadly force if someone feels their life or property is being threatened. Yet, statistics show violent crime actually decreased with Florida's right to conceal, depending on who you believe, anywhere from seven percent to 40 percent.
The Hogkinsons are tourists from Great Britain. Powerful guns are outlawed there, yet both wish they could carry.
"People who carry guns are not out there starting things. They're taking care of themselves in something somebody else starts," said Steven Hogkinson."
It's actually a pretty balanced presentation.... the amusing part to me is that they felt compelled to lead off with the fear angle, to get viewers' attention. I suppose it's just part of the style, something expected. If you saw the evening news begin with someone telling you why there is no reason to be concerned about avian flu, street crime, domestic terrorism, whatever, you'd probably wonder what was going on. Same thing if the description of an auto accident began with "Luckily, no one was hurt..."
That's the title of an entry in CBS's blog The Public Eye. It's the fallout of Cam Edward's raising the issue of Mike Wallace having been a speaker at a Brady Campaign fundraiser during which he went after NRA and Charleton Heston. The sorta-ombudsman blog takes the CBS assurance that they will consider Wallace's appearance and positions with regard to his future assignments as an assurance that he won't be reporting on the Second Amendment and related issues (which it isn't, but perhaps the internal bureaucratese means that).
Cam Edwards of NRA News picked up an interesting story: news anchor Mike Wallace speaking at a Brady Campaign fundraiser (appropriately held at the French Embassy). He parodied Charlton Heston, whom he described as the "self-righteous enemy of the Jim and Sarah Brady Bunch," and announced he'd made a $250 donation to the Brady Center.
We all know there's a certain media bias at work, but you'd think they'd be less obvious about it....
Edwards sent email on it to CBS's The Public Eye, which I gather is some manner of ombudsman blog, and here's their response.