Random thought of the day

Remember how the Feds needed to find a new job for the “Revenuers” after the repeal of prohibition and they were given the regulation of firearms with NFA34?

We should do the same thing with the ATF by retasking them with the regulation legal sale of marijuana as we go through the process of reducing Federal regulation of firearms.

The DEA? Those that can’t get a real job can just go beg on the street corner with a sign around their neck that says “Former DEA Agent”.

Quote of the day—John Lott

Bill Landes and I have examined all the multiple-victim public shootings with two or more victims in the United States from 1977 to 1999. We found that when states passed right-to-carry laws, these attacks fell by an astounding 60 percent. Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell on average by 78 percent. And to the extent that these attacks still occur in states with right-to-carry laws, they overwhelming occur in those few places where concealed handguns are not allowed. Gun free zones served as magnets for these attacks.

The desire to ban guns is understandable, but it is dangerous, too.  If we won’t hang “Gun-Free Zone” signs around our homes, let’s not hang them around our schools or other places we care about either.

John Lott
September 29, 2010
Why Gun Bans Still Don’t Work
[“Gun free” zones are victim disarmament zones. Let’s get rid of as many of these death traps as we can.—Joe]

Barbara Ann Scott

[This post is primarily for my amusement and for my children who will be far less confused that my average reader. Please note portions of this post are very carefully worded.]


If you read my blog frequently enough you will figure out that I married Barbara Scott and that she kept her maiden name.


What you might not know is that her full name is Barbara Ann Scott and that Barbara Ann Scott used to be very famous. Here are some videos of her when she won the gold medal in ice skating:








And when she was on the TV show, “What’s My Line”:





Yes. Wife Barbara is a little bit older than I am but she doesn’t show it. Dr. Joe’s Cure for Everything does help you live longer you know. Here is a picture from earlier this month:


Quote of the day—Bryan Miller

Senator Van Drew, for whatever reason, is kowtowing to the pro-gun forces of darkness who want to turn this country into an armed society. It’s very simple: Do we want to be standing in line at a grocery store, at a movie theater, sitting next to someone in a church or anywhere else not knowing whether that person is legally carrying a handgun?

Bryan Miller
September 26, 2010
Executive director of Ceasefire NJ
N.J. senator pushes law allowing residents to carry handguns
[Also with comments on this topic (in no particular order):

“Forces of darkness”? At first I thought Miller was talking about people with dark colored skin then I figured out  he had just upgraded his bigotry to version 2010.—Joe]

Random thought of the day

What if it was required political donations were anonymous rather than transparent? If the donations were collected by blind trust (or some such thing) anyone could say “I gave you X dollars.” Who the politician owed their loyalty to would be unknown to the politician!


It may be the problems of such a system would be fewer and less severe than those of complete transparency.

Biometrics are inherently fallible

I used to work in biometrics. In the first few minutes of a biometrics class in about 2004 the instructor quoted numerous people, going back about 30 years, each saying biometrics would be reliable “in ten years”. When I actually looked at the data for various biometric systems I was rather shocked by the failure rates. And those were in cases where there was no deliberate attempt to defeat the system. I attended a conference on biometrics and I invented a new biometric system (no, I can’t talk about it—a certain government agency says that information is restricted). It became quite clear to me that every biometric system in existence could be defeated if you knew it was being used. And furthermore it was unlikely that any system could ever be undefeatable.

Hence, I am not surprised experts are coming to the same conclusion I did several years ago:

Biometric systems — designed to automatically recognize individuals based on biological and behavioral traits such as fingerprints, palm prints, or voice or face recognition — are “inherently fallible,” says a new report by the National Research Council, and no single trait has been identified that is stable and distinctive across all groups.

Quote of the day—Violence Policy Center

An objection continually raised to gun control is that the Second Amendment to the Constitution somehow forbids it. This is pure myth. No gun control law has ever been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on Second Amendment grounds. Federal bans on machine guns as well as city ordinances banning handgun possession have remained on the books for decades—despite vigorous court challenges.

If Congress or individual states want to ban handguns, they can do so constitutionally—all they need is the will.

Violence Policy Center
March 2000
Unsafe in Any Hands — Why America Needs to Ban Handguns
[Of course the Heller and McDonald decisions falsified these claims. But don’t ever forget these people want to ban guns and pay others to forcibly take them away from us. And given the correct Supreme Court they will try.—Joe]

Object embedding tool

I thought I had a picture of this up on the web someplace else but I can’t find it now. So here it is (possibly again):

ObjectEmbeddingTool

This is a close up of part of the lower receiver of an Olympic Arms PCR-01 (Politically Correct Rifle). It has a 24” heavy stainless steel barrel. With the right ammo it is very accurate. It was part of a Second Amendment Foundation and Microsoft Gun Club (now Gun Club at Microsoft) group gun buy in 1996.

I used this rifle to help win the 1998 Intermountain Tactical Rifle Team Championship.

Gun ‘tards

Juan was not the first to express his belief that gun owners are stupid. It has long been a belief among anti-gun bigots that gun owners are fatter and slower and dumber that “the enlightened ones”.

In response to Juan’s claim Eric Shelton sent me an email:

EricShelton

Juan, do you really want to go there? ‘Cause one of those cards says I’m a gun owner, and the other one says statistically I’m probably a fair bit brighter than you. Perhaps we’d waste less time if we had an IQ test before one were allowed to speak? You know, since we apparently have no problem infringing on the rights of others based on perceived intellect and all…

Don Kates pointed out as far back as 1994 the belief that gun owners are stupid uneducated yahoos failed reality tests when sociological studies demonstrated gun owners were actually better educated, had better jobs, and were only willing to use violence in defense of crime victims.

I cannot count the number of times I have been in conversations face to face or electronically with anti-gun people and had them “vapor lock” (as hazmat expressed it) after a question or two. In nearly all instance either they or someone else nearby declared “Reasoned Discourse!” and shut down the conversation to avoid excessive embarrassment to the anti-gun side of the discussion.

Last May when I had the chance to ask Paul Helmke a question I asked why he only talked about the rate of crimes where guns were involved. After all isn’t the total crime rate a better indicator of the effectiveness of restrictions on personal weapons? Because Alan Gura picked up the chase and took it in a slightly different direction I didn’t get a chance to respond to Helmke’s answer, “Our organization focuses on the one component of violence.” If I had been able to respond I would have pointed out, “The components of the crime vector are not orthogonal, hence you cannot consider them independently.” But he probably wouldn’t have understood anyway.

As Roberta X said, “Bring it on!”

A commitment to ‘Reasoned Discourse’

I’m sure no one will be surprised that Brady Campaign board member Joan Peterson is now firmly committing herself to “Reasoned Discourse”:

After careful thought and reflection about the direction my blog has taken since I asked questions and got answers from the “gun guys”, I have changed the purpose of my blog. As stated in my last post, I have found that most of the comments were just not getting the two sides of this volatile issue to a place where a thoughtful discussion could take place. Though the title of my blog indicates that I would like to have a discussion, I am not sure that is possible.

But after spending the last few weeks reading and responding to the many comments written on my blog, I realized that, rather than coming closer to an understanding, we have become further apart.

[M]y intention for my blog will not be a discussion but rather a way to keep the issue front and center and to urge those who can do something about gun injuries and deaths to put this issue more towards the top of the agenda.

She is right, it isn’t possible to have a discussion with a bigot who is incapable of distinguishing truth from falsity. And we should not dignify her bigotry regarding a specific enumerated human right by engaging her on her turf.

Major fail of the Jews in the Attic Test

Let’s just say, “There are ways to defeat this” but I’m not happy about having to do it. It would be MUCH better to defeat it at the legislative level rather than at the technological level:

Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.

It is “Necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers”?

What about the erosion of private communication? It used to be one could have a conversation in their home, while walking across the field or down the road and the conversation was technologically guaranteed to be just between those present. They are now demanding a technological guarantee to eavesdrop on any private conversation, anytime, anywhere.

You can have my crypto keys when you reanimate your cold dead hands.

Quote of the day—Joseph Stalin

The press is the only weapon with whose aid the Party every day speaks to the working class in the language of the Party.

Joseph Stalin
Contribution, Pravda, c. 1917
[From The Great Thoughts (link is to the 2nd Edition, mine is the 1st Edition–1985) .

Stalin was referring to the Soviet press but it generalizes quite well.—Joe]

Second place in the Steel Challenge match

I shot in the Lewiston Pistol Club Steel Challenge match today.

I came in second

Shooter

Zipper

Down Time

Jethro’s pyramid

Basic Instinct

Total time

 

Field course

Roger W (auto)

18.22

12.92

18.55

13.49

63.18

22.71

Joe H

21.12

13.27

18.62

14.83

67.84

25.05

Roger W (Revo)

19.55

14.65

20.47

16.45

71.12

33.74

K W H

25.74

14.47

18.6

13.76

72.57

25.1

Bill M

22.31

18.69

27.48

18.87

87.35

31.26

Brent R

26.67

18.32

23.67

19.13

87.79

25.62

John G

23.4

24.29

29.17

23.98

100.84

31.01

Brandon C

49.22

17.84

31.52

19.05

117.63

22.66

Andrew F

52.02

19.44

31.34

25.46

128.26

28.89

Mike G

62.73

18.85

29.81

20.56

131.95

DNF

Jay C

63.61

27.34

73.57

28.64

193.16

27.41

I found it somewhat amusing that some young guys I didn’t recognize attended and frequently talked about their hardware. Which manufacture was better, which caliber, etc. They all shot semi-autos. Roger W, when shooting a revolver, had stage times which were approximately one-half of theirs. I’m not sure that lesson really sunk in for them. But one of them did comment that they didn’t have to pick up nearly as much brass after I shot as when they shot.

The hardware makes a difference but it’s the meatware that wins or loses.

Quote of the day—Chris Byrne

The problem is a literal inability to distinguish reality from fantasy in certain contexts.

In their world, there is no distinction between intention and result. No distinction between symbol and reality. No distinction between attempt, and accomplishment.

These idiots who go to meetings to “raise awareness”, genuinely believe they have accomplished something; because in their distorted reality, there is no difference between talking about something, and doing it.

To a liberal it doesn’t matter if what they do doesn’t work, because the INTENTION was to do something good, and intentions are the same as reality.

You can show them all the numbers, all the facts, all the reality of it that you want, they just don’t care.

They hate us, passionately, because we cause injury to their world view. We negate their sense of accomplishment. We prevent them from feeling the enhancement to their self esteem and self regard they wish to feel by “doing” whatever it is they are talking about.

Chris Byrne
September 25, 2010
Comment to A process failure.
[Yes.

As friend Jim G. once told me when I asked why was it that there are so few (or zero) mass demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, press conferences, etc. in support of our side? “It’s not our currency”, he said. Our currency are facts, reason, and votes. Their currency is emotion, intimidation, and ridicule.

With the Internet we are now in a much better position to take one piece of their currency away from them and use it for ourselves. Ridicule. Since they are frequently incapable of determining truth from falsity ridicule can be ours. Seize it. Use it.—Joe]

A process failure

Some people are saying Joan Peterson is lying or that she simply doesn’t know how to avoid a question she can’t answer. I think there are alternate hypotheses that fit the facts better. First let’s examine what she actually said: Sean D Sorrentino:

“Joe- this is a new one. So, reduced gun deaths isn’t safer from the public? Please explain.”

he already did. Let’s do a thought experiment. there is a room with 100 people. in one room there is a gun, and one person will be killed with it. 1 death per hundred, 1 “gun death” per hundred. in another room there are no guns, just a knife. 2 people will be killed. 2 deaths per hundred, but 0 “gun deaths.” which is “safer?” Using the metric “gun death” doesn’t tell you the total rate.

japete:

Huh? totally missed this logic. I don’t think there is any there.

This was after I had tried, and failed, to get the point across several times with these comments:

I am interested in actualities not potentialities. My point is that we should, and probably can, agree on replicating laws that produce clear, measurable, results that make societies safer with no appreciable risk and low cost. If the goal of anti-gun activists is to improve public safety then they should agree, and would get agreement from the pro-gun side, that if a law cannot be shown to provide benefits with low risk and reasonable cost it should not be replicated and in fact should be repealed. Because it has been repeatedly shown that gun laws do not measurably improve public safety, and have non-zero risk and cost yet anti-gun activists do not agree to repeal ineffective laws we question the claimed motive to improve public safety. There must be some other motive for increasing restrictions on weapons.

And:

You are avoiding the question again. The question is whether such laws made them safer. Not whether such laws reduced the “gun deaths”. This has been pointed out before here, if in response to firearms restrictions the criminal homicide using a firearm goes to zero but the total homicide and violent crime rate doubles then society has not been made safer. If more innocent life is taken or permanently injured I take no consolation in the fact that no firearms was involved. So again, where is the data that shows any restriction on person weapon ownership has made the average person safer?

And:

just because there are fewer criminal uses of firearms does not mean the public is safer. Violent crime may increase even though firearms are not involved. The hypothesis to explain this unexpected (by some) results is that restrictions on the access of firearms may in fact enable crime because the victims are less able to defend themselves. To the best of my knowledge there are zero peer reviewed studies that clearly show increasing restrictions on firearms has resulted in decreased violent crime. There are indications that criminal use of firearms has decreased but violent crime without a weapon or the substituting of different weapons increased to at least equal the benefits of the decrease in the crimes enabled by the firearms. Hence, a decrease in the criminal use of firearms does not result in an increase in public safety.

Again, her response to Sean, was:

Huh? totally missed this logic. I don’t think there is any there.

The claim is that this insistence that she doesn’t understand the point we are trying to make is a lie. The supporters of this hypothesis claim, “she is either so incredibly stupid it’s a wonder she’s not in an institution or she’s just lying.“ Those same thoughts certainly go through my mind too. I think there are alternate hypotheses which fit the facts just as well if not better. One hypothesis put forth is cognitive dissonance. While this is possible I think that is unlikely. Cognitive dissonance frequently manifests itself in an increase in proselyting, as she has, but it requires social support. She does have some social support by way of her involvement with various anti-gun groups but I don’t think she is sufficiently isolated from the rest of the world such that the support from those organizations in sufficient. In an Internet world with dozens of people posting comments on your own blog that you cannot avoid the social support for false beliefs is going to be seriously undermined. I think a better hypothesis is a total lack of knowledge, and perhaps ability, on how to distinguish truth from falsity. This does not necessarily mean stupid. Some examples might help:

We would consider such a trial and execution of a thing as a demonstration of medieval ignorance. Yet the deodand law was not removed from England’s lawbooks until the last century. Medieval England was not the first place where the object was blamed for crimes. Anthropologist Joseph Campbell cites similar customs from Africa to New Guinea, to biblical times. Old habits die hard, and the deodand rule exists to this day.

Neal Knox
December 22, 1987
Deodand Law from The Gun Rights War, pages 112 and 113.

See also here.

From Guns in Hell:

The mother had come to watch the gun that was used to kill her son be sawed into pieces in an acrid plume of white-hot sparks. Ms. DeCambra’s act of witness was made possible by a law Maine enacted in 2001 that requires handguns used in homicides to be destroyed when they are no longer needed for evidence. Before that, guns were often sold or auctioned by police departments to raise money for other equipment. … Maine’s law came about because of Debbie O’Brien, a Kennebunk woman whose 20-year-old son, Devin, was shot to death in 1996. When she learned that the state police would probably sell the gun used to kill her son, Ms. O’Brien said her reaction was, “Oh, my God, the police are here to help you and the next thing you know they’re turning around and selling a gun, making money off my dead son.” Ms. O’Brien lobbied for the proposed law, saying that she told the state police, “Look, if you need money, let’s do bake sales.” “You’re in hell,” she said. “You’re just struggling to have a life, and then I realized that would include the gun.”

Haruspex from Wikipedia:

Human sacrifice has been practiced on a number of different occasions and in many different cultures. The various rationales behind human sacrifice are the same that motivate religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice is intended to bring good fortune and to pacify the gods, for example in the context of the dedication of a completed building like a temple or bridge. There is a Chinese legend that there are thousands of people entombed in the Great Wall of China. In ancient Japan, legends talk about Hitobashira (“human pillar”), in which maidens were buried alive at the base or near some constructions as a prayer to ensure the buildings against disasters or enemy attacks.[6] For the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs reported that they killed about 80,400 prisoners over the course of four days. According to Ross Hassig, author of Aztec Warfare, “between 10,000 and 80,400 persons” were sacrificed in the ceremony.[7] Human sacrifice Wikipedia This test typically required that the accused walk a certain distance, usually nine feet, over red-hot plowshares or holding a red-hot iron. Innocence was sometimes established by a complete lack of injury, but it was more common for the wound to be bandaged and reexamined three days later by a priest, who would pronounce that God had intervened to heal it, or that it was merely festering – in which case the suspect would be exiled or executed. Ordeal of fire Wikipedia In Roman and Etruscan religious practice, a haruspex (plural haruspices; Latin auspex, plural auspices) was a man trained to practice a form of divination called haruspicy, hepatoscopy or hepatomancy. Haruspicy is the inspection of the entrails of sacrificed animals, especially the livers of sacrificed sheep and poultry. The rites were paralleled by other rites of divination such as the interpretation of lightning strikes, of the flight of birds (augury), and of other natural omens.

It’s not just ancient people either. More recently:

There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason… Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.

Martin Luther

I asked them, “If a belief you held was shown to be irrational would you abandon that belief?” Any rational person would only find one answer to this question, I was sure of it. One by one my classmates shared their answers going around the circle. They would speak in quiet voices and talk in circles as if they didn’t have any determination behind their words. It was clear I had made them very uncomfortable and that they weren’t sure what to believe. I was proud of my question, maybe I had finally managed to get these students to think and question their own beliefs. Then it came time for my teacher to answer, he sat up straight in his chair and spoke in his soft but wise voice. I only remember one sentence that he said in his answer, it is forever etched in my mind. “Just because something is irrational doesn’t mean you don’t have to believe in it.”

James Huffman-Scott
Summer of 2002 Manuscript Speech Comm 101

No one has the right to destroy another person’s belief by demanding empirical evidence.

Ann Landers
Nationally syndicated advice columnist and Director of Handgun Control, Inc.

These people do not know, and perhaps are incapable of knowing, how to distinguish truth from falsity. Furthermore, as evidenced by that last quote by Ann Landers and the quote by Martin Luther, they are sometimes of the opinion that empirical evidence and reason are counterproductive to valid belief systems. You cannot dismiss these examples as things that happened a millennia or three ago by ignorant superstitious people. These examples include a law passed in Maine in 2001. I realize how crazy this sounds to most people but it is my hypothesis that some people who appear to be normal functioning members of society simply do not or cannot determine truth from falsity. Even through repeated application of the evidence and the reasoning supporting falsification of their beliefs these people continue to hold on to ideas that are conclusively shown to be false. I believe Joan Peterson is one of those people. For example, she apparently cannot distinguish a hypothesis from a conclusion. When I repeatedly asked for evidence that some law restricting weapons resulted in a safer society she responded with this:

We do know that the Brady Law has prevented about 1.7 prohibited purchasers from buying guns.

[Please substitute “1.7 million” for “1.7”. I’m giving her a pass on this error.]

The hypothesis is that prohibiting people who fail background checks from purchasing firearms will make people safer. She concludes that some large number of failed background check is success. But a failed background check is actually part of the hypothesis. Paul Helmke and others at the Brady Campaign do the exact same thing. It is also what is done by gun control advocates in Canada in regards to the long gun registry. The unspoken hypothesis is that frequent access of the registry will benefit society. The gun control advocates proudly claim frequent access of the registry is proof of it’s benefits.   Peterson’s sloppy thinking continues:  

To me it proves that if we require background checks on all gun sales, we can prohibit people who shouldn’t have guns from getting them.

Read that sentence a time or four. Perhaps she really meant “prevent” instead of “prohibit”. Even giving her the benefit of the doubt on that her “proof” has holes in it that Mexican drug traffickers can (and perhaps do) drive semi-trucks through.   And I don’t think we should give her the benefit of the doubt on using the wrong word in that sentence. Here is another example from the same post:

4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?
5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?

As pointed out by Joel (via Tam): 

The question is incoherent. “Banning” requires no physical action at all, and is quite simple to do. Even Clinton managed it. If you mean confiscation, well, there you’ve got a problem. Were you really coming to me for suggestions?

Now read a half dozen or more of her posts. Her thinking is filled with things like this. She is frequently incoherent. She cannot distinguish the difference between intentions and results. If she is a liar she would not repeatedly make these kind of mistakes. Or if she is a liar then she is very very smart and skilled to consistently use the same sort of tool without ever slipping up. I claim it is not necessarily and in fact probably isn’t stupidity. If this were stupidity then this sort of faulty thinking would not continually show up throughout human history even with people that are exceedingly well respected. Every age and society has stupid people in it and they are easily recognized and the instances of them being well respected are exceedingly rare.

This is some other type of mental disorder. This mental disorder can be, and has been, easily detected. Ask the question, “What is the process by which you determine truth from falsity?” People suffering from this mental disorder not only won’t be able to supply an answer but frequently cannot even understand the question. The question is nonsensical to them.

They are lacking a thinking process. Hence, by necessity, they fail to process information. Asking them to supply a process when they are totally unaware of the existence of such a concept results in the same sort of difficulty as asking a person blind since birth what color the walls are. They have no common basis with the questioner such that they can even understanding the question. This is the same sort of response we get from her. She cannot understand concepts that to us are intuitively, blindingly, demonstrably, obvious. It is nearly impossible for us to believe that she does not understand what we are saying.

But if she were blind you would not claim she was stupid or a liar if she did not know the color of the wall. With all due respect to those that claim she is being “coy”, has poor arguing skills, or is a liar, I think this is unfair and unjust. She is lacking a thinking process or has a process failure.

Update (October 13, 2010): A name has been given to this mental defect. In honor of Ms. Peterson it is now called “Peterson Syndrome“.

Update (June 14, 2012): Cognitive distortion is probably the term used by psychologist to describe this mental problem. There may be some therapies which offer some hope for these people. But from talking to a therapist about this the patients tend to be very resistive and insist there is nothing wrong with them. Also of interest is that she told me these sort of problems are worse or may only show up in close personal relationships. It would be very interesting to talk to Ms. Peterson’s husband about these things.

Warehouse fire near Royal City

As I was driving across central Washington on my way back to Idaho tonight I stopped to take pictures of a warehouse fire just east of Royal City on the south side of Highway 26. I’m pretty sure this is the warehouse.


IMG_3724Web2010IMG_3727Web2010IMG_3728Web2010


Click on the pictures to enlarge.


I’m nearly certain the warehouse contained some sort of agricultural products. It smelled like burning grass or grain.

Random thought of the day

Repeal of NFA ‘34 in its entirety isn’t viable in the near future. Not via courts and not via legislation.


But many parts of NFA ‘34 probably are vulnerable. Short barreled rifles and shotguns would seem to be at the top of the list with suppressors not too far behind.


In the next legislative session we should attempt to repeal some of these nonsensical restrictions. It may not be as cool as getting access to new full autos but it is probably a weak spot in the anti-gun defenses. And anytime you can cause the opposition to spend resources defending a losing battle you should give serious consideration to engaging them on that front. It also somewhat reduces the power of the ATF.


Even if it costs us twice as much (in dollars and political capital) as it does them they have far less than one half as much to spend. Every backward step they are forced to make brings them one step closer to the cliff of oblivion.

Quote of the day—Neal Knox

Just why so many otherwise intelligent people want to blame anyone and everything except the culprit is beyond me. But they do.


And if they can’t blame “society,” or poverty, or racism, they fall back upon the gun which he illegally obtained, possessed and carried—which “caused” him to shoot it out with police.


That unwillingness to blame the person for his own acts, and to instead blame the thing which he committed those acts, has ancient roots.


In England during the middle ages, if a rock fell from a wall and killed someone, that rock would be formally charged with the crime of murder; formally tried, formally convicted and formally executed—by being pulverized by other rocks.


The “punished” inanimate object that caused the death was called the “deodand”,” a Latin word meaning “given to God.”


We would consider such a trial and execution of a thing as a demonstration of medieval ignorance. Yet the deodand law was not removed from England’s lawbooks until the last century.


Medieval England was not the first place where the object was blamed for crimes. Anthropologist Joseph Campbell cites similar customs from Africa to New Guinea, to biblical times. Old habits die hard, and the deodand rule exists to this day.



The deodand theory of law still lives. It’s called “gun control”.


Neal Knox
December 22, 1987
Deodand Law from The Gun Rights War, pages 112 and 113.
[Some people are saying Joan Peterson is lying. This quote from Neal is my lead-in to a post I hope to write this weekend. I will attempt to defend Peterson from the charge of lying. I don’t believe that charge is true.


On a side note—I finished The Gun Rights War last night. I highly recommend the book for gun rights activists. I didn’t like the last section, Part 7 An Uncertain Trumpet, about corruption within the NRA. It made me very uncomfortable. But it wouldn’t have been have been appropriate to leave it out either. Thank you Chris and Jay for all the work you put into the book.—Joe]