Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas

It's Christmastime again and we're in Erie again, but this time our Christmas will be white.  It started snowing yesterday afternoon and then stopped after delivering a light dusting, but overnight the snow returned and we had five to six inches of fluffy vanilla frosting this morning when we woke.  It feels very strange.  This will be our first 'White Christmas' in about 32 years — since we moved out of Connecticut.

Jessica, of course, revels in it.  This is what she moved North for.  I admit I haven't dealt with the stuff in many years and I do not consider that 'a problem'.  It will continue to be 'not a problem' until the new Ford has to be moved.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thoughts for Bill Of Rights Day, December 15th, 2013

Today, December 15th, is "Bill Of Rights Day", commemorating the date in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was ratified.  Oddly, this commemorative day was first proclaimed on its 150th anniversary in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who, only second behind Abraham Lincoln, did the most to destroy the Bill of Rights.

The name "Bill of Rights" is itself something of a misnomer.  The Bill of Rights grants us no rights;  they merely codify and protect pre-existing rights:  "Congress shall make no law...", "...shall not be infringed", "...shall not be violated".  They are all prohibitions on actions the government might attempt.  The BoR simply says "thou shalt not".

Note, also, something else about those "rights" (actually, "those prohibitions"):  nowhere do any of them say "citizen", as in "the right of citizens shall not...".  The government is being told "don't do this to anybody", presumably even if they're French...  or Iraqi, even.  Given some of our Supreme Court's recent decisions relating to Guantanamo Bay, it appears those "learned justices" haven't actually read the thing they claim the authority to interpret.  (Not exactly a surprise, I know.)

It's said, and probably 'truthfully', that you can only have rights you are willing to demand.  When the police officer asks "Do you mind if I look around your car?" most of us, knowing our own innocence, respond "Sure, why not?"  If the police officer didn't need to ask, he wouldn't have.  This is your clue to decline the search (others by extension).

It is also said, absolutely truthfully, that you can only have those rights you're willing to let anyone exercise.  As soon as you say "I believe in the right to (here fill in a sample right), but..." you've lost it.  If you admit to circumstances where a right can be foreshortened, you've just burned the right down to the ground.  "IBITR of free speech but... you can't shout 'Fire!' in a crowded theater."  Oops.  What do you shout when the theater is on fire?  "Free popcorn!" doesn't have quite the sense of urgency called for here.  The prohibition on causing panic in the theater is actually a prohibition on lying.  You can speak the truth freely;  you can't slander.  You can keep and bear arms;  you can't murder.  You have the right to do things you should; you never had a right to do things you shouldn't.  More precisely, you don't have any rights to harm others.  Seems somewhat "Golden Rule-ish", no?  Don't do things you wouldn't want others doing to you.  Makes sense to me.


In line with that and with yesterday's commemoration still firmly in mind, today is also "Guns Save Lives Day".

Some background:  back oh... twenty-five years or so ago, someone did a survey to find out how often honest, peaceable folk saved themselves from victimhood because they had a gun.  It wasn't a very rigorous study, so when the figure "2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGU) per year" was announced, everyone snickered.  Ridiculous!

The Clinton-era Justice Department did their own study, this one a little more rigidly controlled.  Their number was 800,000 DGU.

Even this number was too unbelevably high for some people, so a(n anti-gun) Harvard researcher by the name of Hemmenway did his own study, eliminating every instance that might be even-a-little-bit suspect.  Hemmenway eliminated every case where it wasn't certain that a life in danger had been saved.  Hemmenway's number was 80,000 DGU, and even Hemmenway wasn't happy.  When he compared his own pared-to-the-bone number against the 30,000 annual unlawful gun deaths (40% of which are suicides), even he had to admit that it was likely — verging on 'extremely likely' — that guns in the hands of law-abiding folk prevented more deaths than guns in the hands of criminals took — by a factor of 2.7 .

If you're not so anti-gun that you're willing to accept the anti-gun Clinton-era DOJ estimate, then for every person criminally killed each year, 27 violent crimes are prevented, in almost every case without a shot being fired:  "Get lost.  I have a gun and I'll use it."  Problem solved.  2,291 times a day.

The implications of this are important.  Some organizations (Moms Demand Action, Committee to Stop Gun Violence, etc.) would like to see us all disarmed, claiming that this would solve our national crime problem.  That DOJ study, and to a lesser extent the Hemmenway survey, say otherwise.  They say our national crime problem would be horrendous without all those guns in the hands of good people.  What sort of moron would want that?  What sort of evil ghoul would want that?  Not you, certainly.

Happy Bill-Of-Rights Day.  Guns Save Lives.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Newtown, Arapahoe, and the Inherent Evil of Gun-Free Zones

Jessica, my daughter, posted on FB the day of the shooting at Arapahoe HS (and the day before the first anniversary of Newtown):

Repeat after me. Gun free zones are ONLY gun free for the people following the law!!! Criminals don't care about the sign on the front of the building touting it as a "gun free zone".

Agreeing with her, but elaborating, I commented in reply:

It is EVIL to demand our children remain unprotected against the ravages of a madman. The same people who demand (willing) teachers be disarmed in the classroom would never dream of leaving school children unvaccinated (that is: unprotected against the ravages of a communicable disease).

They KNOW what they are doing and they don't care. They WANT more dead children thinking it will shame us into defenselessness.


I'd like to go a little deeper with that.  This is not rocket science:  the notion that declaring a school a "gun-free zone" will somehow prevent gun tragedies within that zone is "magical thinking" and it is fantasy.  The proof that it is fantasy only requires us to look at the last 60-or-so mass shootings and examine them for commonality.

The common thread you will find is that in all but two, those mass shootings occurred in so-called gun-free zones.  With all the non-gun-free zones we have in this country, what an amazing coincidence that virtually none of the mass shootings occurred where it is legal to have a firearm!  Or is it a coincidence?

There's an old joke about some mental patients being transported by car when the car gets a flat tire.  The driver jacks up the car, pops off the wheel cover, undoes all the lug nuts and places them in the wheel cover so they don't roll away.  Just as he's ready to put the spare tire on, a passing car kicks up a rock that hits the wheel cover and scatters all the lug nuts.  The driver is frantic until one of the mental patients suggests: "Take one lug nut from each of the other tires.  That should secure the spare well enough to get you to a gas station."  The driver tells him: "That's brilliant!  Why are you a mental patient?"  The other responds: "I'm crazy, not stupid."

Mass murderers may be crazy, but they aren't stupid.  The craziest of them will still understand that in order to successfully kill a large number of victims it is necessary that there be little or no effective resistance.  Shoot up a gun store? They may be crazy, but they aren't stupid.  Gun store employees have guns!  Let's find a school, instead.

The solution is obvious to everyone without an agenda: gun-free zones are really criminal-enablement zones.  On the day such a thing was first proposed, sensible people warned of the easily-predictable consequences, but they would not be heard.  Those proposing the original gun-free zones had a thought permanently welded into their brains: guns are evil;  we must keep them away from those most vulnerable.

Could they really have been that stupid to think stern approbation would be enough of a deterrent?  Answer:  no, they didn't think simply declaring a school to be "gun-free" would be any sort of protection, but it sounds nice, and those who feel their way through life get a warm, fuzzy sensation that they have done something.  They haven't, of course.  You and I can see that;  they cannot, and because they cannot, they will think highly of the legislator who helped them feel better and they will vote for hir in the next election.

As to the legislators, they are neither crazy nor stupid.  They know what it is they are doing and they don't care.  Another school shooting merely gives them another opportunity to orate to the TV cameras and to sponsor another bill — clear evidence they are "doing something" about the problem of school violence.  In fact, if there were no such thing as school shootings, those politicians would have to invent it.  It is a fact that the first mass-shooting in a school occurred after passage of the Gun-Free School Zones Act.  Prior to that, the worst school-sited tragedy was the Bath Township disaster, May 18th,1927 (Google it) where a disgruntled school board member dynamited a school killing dozens.

No, dead school children are a good thing to certain people:  those who are so sure firearms are bad that they will suffer the deaths of innocents in order to shame you into giving up your guns.  They may have different motivations, but their end-game is the same.  Some just think guns are yukky;  others know that an armed populace can resist the tyranny they are planning, the world they look forward to;  still others are anti-hunter and wish to see hunting as a sport and hunting as a means of subsistence living done away with.  Whatever their motivation, guns in the hands of "ordinary people" are seen as a bad, bad thing and must be expunged from our culture.  Look!  That child pointed his finger like a gun!  Suspend him!  Shame the parents!  The madness continues because we allow it to continue.  They may be crazy, but they're not stupid.

The madness will continue as long as the bulk of humanity looks at the gun-free-school-zone adherents as merely well-meaning fools.  "They mean well;  they're just not very bright."  Enough of that.  People who put our children at risk regardless of the motivation must be challenged.  What they are doing is EVIL even if they did not intend evil.  The politicians who pass such laws are EVIL.  The people who demand such laws are EVIL.  Those who support evil laws are themselves EVIL.  School administrators who lobby legislators to keep their schools, their colleges, gun free are EVIL and we must get rid of them before more of our children are harmed by well-meaning fools.

The time is now long past that we should "suffer fools gladly".  These people are killing children with their policies.  They didn't pull the triggers, but they loaded the guns.  They need to hear a rising chorus of sensible voices telling them that the last child has died because of their insanity.  They need to be shamed into silence because they finally understand that being crazy and not getting professional help for it is really stupid.