Letter to my representative

“Regarding the gun issue (and all issues really); We who advocate liberty are getting tired of reacting to the Left’s latest outrages. Shouldn’t they be forced to react to our “outrages”? In that spirit, I call for a bill removing all firearm restrictions on the state level, and for ordering all state and local law enforcement to prevent any federal gun law enforcement in the state. In other words, uphold and protect the constitution you’re all sworn to uphold and protect.

How’s THAT for an “outrage”? Let’s see the leftists go nuts trying to pick that one apart, and get them to feel lucky if WE only get half of OUR way this time through.

See how this works?.

Sincerely,
[Me]“

Not that it’ll have a whelk’s chance in a supernova of doing any good. We’re dealing with Republicans after all. But it has to be said, if for no other reason than to be able to say we told them so, to give them a chance to do the right thing while they still have a chance.

Incident number 2013-8424

Remember the guy that threatened me with, “If you know whats good you will keep your fucking mouth shut about Obama or you will come up missing on the news.”?

Yeah. Real piece of work. He called me. I was on the phone with daughter Kim at the time but I got a garbled voice mail and I called him back a couple minutes later.

After talking about a minute I hung up on him. It was difficult to even figure out what he was talking about and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. He called again, and again, and again…

He left a second voice mail which was as follows (reading my blog post for the first part):

  • Any place that I frequent should be considered a known distance gun range.
  • If I can see you then you are within range.
  • My eyesight is quite good.
  • Don’t mess with me.

Yeah. I’m pretty sure those are threats. You looking at some jail time buddy. Have a good day.

He also sent me text messages. Actual time of calls (PST) and text messages were as follows. After the first two calls I did not respond to anything. Typos, punctuation, and grammar errors in the text messages are his:

  • 12:49 (missed call)
  • 12:51 (my outgoing call)
  • 12:55 (ignored call)
  • 12:56 (ignored call)
  • 12:56 (ignored call. Yes, every few seconds)
  • 13:02 (ignored call)
  • 13:02 (ignored call)
  • 13:07 (Text: 206-622-0460 seattle FBI’s number and I also logged a restraining order through the San Diego office next call is to my lawyer to file a suit)
  • 13:11 (Text: I tried to be nice and let you delete it yourself now Im leaving it to the courts. You breaking federal laws Joe not just state.)
  • 13:14 (ignored call)
  • 13:18 (ignored call)
  • 13:18 (ignored call)
  • 13:23 (ignored call)
  • 13:23 (ignored call)
  • 13:23 (Text: and if anything should happen you are held directly responsible. Enjoy the next 4 years of Obama you nazi republican jackoff)
  • 13:25 (ignored call)
  • 13:26 (ignored call)
  • 13:29 (ignored call)
  • 13:29 (ignored call)
  • 13:30 (ignored call)
  • 13:30 (ignored call)
  • 13:31 (ignored call)
  • 13:33 (Text: Thought so you fucking pussy republican asshole. . I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE NOW MOTHER FUCKER!! Thanks)
  • 15:26 (Text: I dont even own a single weapon. I dont hide behind a gun or computer screen like some conservative pussy from seattle washington. Sleep tight.)

After the message at 13:33 I went to the Bellevue, Washington Police station. I talked to Officer Dill who gave me the incident number 2013-8424 and gave my new “friend” a call. I only heard one side of the conversation but it sounded a lot like my conversation. Officer Dill couldn’t complete a sentence and sometimes even a word without being interrupted. At the end, after maybe a couple minutes, Officer Dill was almost yelling at him in a vain attempt to get him to call the Bellevue police department with the incident number. But he was unsuccessful and my “friend” hung up on the officer.

Officer Dill told me (paraphrasing some), “Yeah. Same as what you described. He is clearly irrational.”

[Stuff deleted on the advice of a psychologist.]

About 15 minutes after I left the police station the 15:26 text message came in.

Liberals are violent. We are better than this.

Update 2/19/2013: I don’t know that either is related but I received a call from a Brooklyn, NY number at 12:52 AM this morning and one from an Illinois exchange at 8:26 AM. Both calls hung up when I answered.

I would like to add, up front, that I cannot recall saying anything more offensive about Obama than I wasn’t going to vote for him and that I believe he was anti-gun. And furthermore I don’t even consider myself a Republican. This guy threatening me is nuts.

Crazy talk

For a long time I never really understood battered person syndrome where someone would stay with, go back to, or find a new partner that also abused them. Why couldn’t they see what everyone else thought was obvious? How could they think that was normal?

I understand better now. Even though I’m not a psychologist I’ve dealt with a number of crazy people in my life and I’m getting pretty good at recognizing “crazy” when I see it and what to do about it. This book helped a bunch: Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder.

It turns out a close parallel can be drawn between those that tolerate and even seek abuse in their personal relationships and our current relationship with the anti-gun people and our governments.

Read this and look at the parallel:

Since the victim is not at fault and the violence is internally driven by the abuser’s need to control, this self-blame results in feelings of helplessness rather than empowerment. The feeling of being both responsible for and helpless to stop the violence leads in turn to depression and passivity. This learned depression and passivity makes it difficult for the abused partner to marshal the resources and support system needed to leave.

We are told that “gun violence” is our fault. We are abused for something we had nothing to do with. We are told we must change and tolerate yet another abusive act. But no matter how much we concede, no matter how much abuse we put up with they always come back and abuse us more.

It’s driven, as in the battered person syndrome, by the abuser’s need to control. It is not because of anything we have done wrong.

We are dealing with a form of insanity and we tolerate it.

You don’t think so? Let me give some examples (see also this blog post).

Goldilocks guns

The anti-gun people want to outlaw guns that are “small and easily hidden”. They want to outlaw “.50 caliber sniper rifles” that are large and powerful . They want to outlaw guns that are “deadly accurate”. They want to outlaw guns that can be used for “spray shooting from the hip”.

You would think that perhaps a gun that fires an intermediate cartridge and is of medium weight and is not easily hidden would be acceptable to them. Nope. Such a gun, when capable of full auto” was called an “assault rifle” by the Germans during WWII. The anti-gun people, utilizing their talent for twisting words and preying on the ability of the public to be easily confused, banned these type of guns as “assault weapons”.

These intermediate power, intermediate size, with intermediate rates of fire, semi, not fully, auto guns were called “assault weapons” and banned.

So some guns are too big. Some guns are too small. But no guns are “just right”. Some guns are too accurate. Some guns can be wildly “sprayed”. But there are no guns that are “just right”.

That’s crazy talk!

1000 round arsenals

To anti-gun people and the press even a hundred rounds of ammunition found in the trunk of a car or in someone’s home is cause for concern. If the police decide to search someone’s car or home the finding of a few hundred rounds of ammunition will nearly take the breath away from the talking heads in the media. If it was within a few blocks of a school they make sure the implication is that each one of those rounds could, and should, be translated into the intent of the gun owner was to kill at least that many children.

This fascination with the number of rounds of ammo reached the point that in 1994 the U.S. Congress was contemplating requiring an arsenal license for people that had more than 1000 rounds of ammunition. There was talk of something similar again after the Newtown Connecticut shooting.

If I am going to the range for practice it is about 400 rounds per handgun and 100 for a rifle. If I were to go to a regional match I would take at least 1000 per gun. If I were to attend a weekend class the minimum round count is typically about 1500.

1000 rounds and they want to require a special license? I can put 1000 rounds of .22 LR in my coat pockets. Do they want me to license my coat?

And even in the most horrific mass shootings only something on the order of 100 rounds are fired. How could a restriction on owning more that 1000 rounds possibly make any difference?

That’s crazy talk!

Registration of guns

Of what benefit is it for guns to be registered? I’ve blogged about this many, times before. It is exceedingly costly and contrary to what you see on T.V. and at the movies it has near zero impact on solving crimes. But still the anti-gun people insist on gun registration.

That’s crazy talk!

Safety

If there were a very clear correlation between highly restrictive gun laws and lower violent crime, suicide, and/or accidental injury or death by gunshot then we could have a meaningful discussion about the merits of firearm regulation. But despite over a 100 years of gun regulation in this country there still isn’t any conclusive data any of the gun laws have improved public safety in any of the instances where they have been implemented.

A decent case can even be made there is more violent crime where firearms are banned. Yet in response to a mass shooting in yet another “gun free zone” they demand still more “gun free zones”.

That’s crazy talk!

Background checks

I’ve blogged about this too. But the more succinct version can be expressed in two sentences.

Background checks to prevent some people from gaining access to firearms is like checking ID to prevent underage drinking and smoking. How long does it take your average high school dropout to find a way to light up while drinking a beer?

Yet even most gun rights activists and gun rights “leaders” don’t object to something that is expensive, time consuming, and open to abuse.

The anti-gun people want to expand a system that clearly doesn’t and can’t possibly work any better than ID checks for underage drinking and smoking.

That’s crazy talk!

One gun a month

Who needs to buy more than one Bible a month? Why do Bible owners get all upset about the minor inconvenience of restricting people to just one Bible a month? It would cut down on trafficking of Bibles from states with lax Bible laws to those with strict Bible laws.

Is that crazy talk? Yup. It’s also crazy talk when you substitute “gun” for “Bible” in that paragraph.

[If you want to claim Bibles aren't "responsible" for killing people like guns are then substitute “Koran” or “Communist Manifesto” and reevaluate before you engage me in that debate.]

Waiting periods

The anti-gun people want waiting periods before someone can take home a newly purchased gun. When asked why, even in the age of nearly instant background checks, they said they wanted a “cooling off period” so people wouldn’t buy a gun when angry or depressed and used it to harm someone else or themselves without having a few days to think about it.

It that were true then why did they insist on waiting periods even for people that already owned dozens of guns?

That’s crazy talk!

Conclusion

It’s not going to get any better if we continue to tolerate this misbehavior. It’s not in the psychology of the individual that batters their partner and it’s not in the history of governments.

We are better than this.

We must do something about this bad relationship. We need to recognize we are enabling it and we need to place the blame where it really belongs. Only then can we have a normal, healthy relationship. But most of all we have to recognize we have made only feeble attempts at “couples counseling” (the courts) when we probably should be trying to “get out of the relationship”.

Original Principles

You cannot claim to defend the second amendment while supporting or openly accepting the NFA of ’34 and GCA ’68. Or background checks. It makes absolutely no sense.

Progressive president FDR knew exactly what he was doing. Before 1934 you could buy a Thompson sub machinegun by mail order with no paperwork. Or a BAR. Or an M2, et al. The second amendment said so. It was understood. The convenient ruse was Prohibition. Never let a crisis go to waste. Prohibition naturally led to gang warfare, widespread corruption and a general degradation of society, just as the “War on Drugs” does today. Then, as now, the violence and degradation guaranteed by a profitable, government-enforced monopoly for criminals is used as a tool to intimidate you into accepting infringements on your rights. It isn’t so much a conspiricy as a natural progression for those in power.

You don’t HATE children, do you? Of course not, and so you must give up more of your rights, and your children’s rights. Remember that, Grasshopper; this “for the children’ or “for the good of society” crap demands giving up not just yours but your neighbors’ and your children’s rights – so now who hates children? Who hates your grandchildren? Since you gave up THAT little bit (NFA, GCA, NICCS, et al) you have ceded the enemy’s point. You’ve agreed that restrictions on gun ownership are a legitimate and sensible way of addressing crime. You’ve proven to everyone that, under the right pressures, you’re willing to give up more, and more and more, until you’ve forgotten what the right was in the first place. Which is where we are now. You’re dancing someone else’s dance and you don’t even know it. It works so well that many of us are afraid to articulate the true meaning of the second amendment in public, for fear of being branded as extremists. That cheap, transparent game is as old as the hills, but it’s so effective, over and over again, that many of you reading this are still falling for it. Cowards. Don’t think that your clever rationalizations make you less of a coward. You’re clever cowards.

If we allow ourselves to be suckered by proposals for “mental health” screening for gun purchases, for example, just watch how quickly the number of people being determined to have “mental health” issues starts to climb, and climb, and climb exponentially. Don’t ask later, in bewilderment, (NRA) how it could have come to such a state of affairs. It will. And you will have helped it along (which means you’re crazy, which means you can’t have guns ; )

No, Young Grasshopper; the only way to fix this is to rediscover Original Principles, then articulate them clearly, then stand our ground, and then win it all back. The enemy wins through subtle lies, mind tricks, degradation, intimidation, smear, and outright lies. We are better than this. We win with the truth, and with the courage to stand up for it.

Perceptions

Joe and I, and several other bloggers, have referred to this photo as an example of how different people can look at the same thing and see something completely different;
woman
You see either a beautiful young woman or an old hag, or maybe both in rapid succession. It depends on your “wiring”. My theory is that most men will key in on the young woman because our brains are wired to notice them, but I have no evidence whatsoever to back it up other than watching other men in their cars or out and about, looking at young women. If the military could devise a system that efficient at locating enemy combatants, we’d never lose a battle. (Yeah; I see you guys zeroing in on all the women – it’s like a magnet drawing in all those iron filings you never knew could possibly be on your floor, or something)

A search for that image brought me to this site, which is great. I now do not remember what exactly it was I wanted to say using the above image as an example, but that first link also links to this site, where I found a great gift. The person who does most or all of the posts demonstrated the concept, and did so with regard to gun rights! This is a VERY beautiful juxtaposition (or something) on the subject, on a site that SPECIALIZES in perception and illusion art. How great is that?

First I found this, posted on January 12, 2013;

“We should all stop being petty about each other, learn to be tolerant, and stop aggressively intruding our ways on others. I think if we all learned to do this, we would find our place under the sun, and these differences wouldn’t even be brought as important.” (emphasis mine)

Excellent (the author sees the beautiful young woman). I couldn’t agree more.

And then I found, written by the same person (Vurdlak) on December 16, 2012 (on page three as of the day this is written)

“I have to say I’m still under shock after reading what happened in Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut (USA). My heart is broken, and I can’t seem to understand how such horrible things are even possible. What is happening with our species?! I also read how pro-firearms lobby suggests that every teacher should be allowed to keep firearms in their class (for protections)?! Are those lunatics for real? What makes you think this wouldn’t cause another incident??! I for one wouldn’t feel safe sending my kids to school where teacher keeps a gun in his desk. All this literally makes my stomach hurt. Owning a gun should be heavily regulated, like rest of the world does it – period.” (emphasis mine, for various reasons I’m sure you understand)

And there’s the old hag, and the author is just about ready to beat the shit out of you if you insist it looks like a young woman if you look at it differently. It don’t think it can get any better than that.

I could go on and on with a thousand or more words, fisking that last quote, but I think this audience already understands it completely.

Anyway, to change the subject entirely; check out those links. WOW! I got lost in there for about an hour before I knew it. Now my eyes hurt a little bit. I love that stuff (you probably should avoid it of you’re epileptic – some of that stuff wanted to make me dizzy).

I now remember noticing sometime in junior high school that, looking at a shadow alone, you have zero information to tell you whether the shadow figure is “facing you” or “facing away from you”, hence the moving silhouette of the woman that can be seen to rotate in either direction. Did I tell you I love that stuff? Speaking of shadows; a few weeks ago my wife had a football game on the tele, and you know they use computers to “paint” the scrimmage line and the first down marker line on the ground for the TV audience, while showing the players above it. Pretty sophisticated programming, I figure. Anyway, the thought hit me at that time that it would be really stinking cool if there was a program that could delete the players’ images entirely, and only show their shadows, so you see a game played by teams of two-dimensional silhouettes painted on the turf, fighting over a two-dimensional “ball”. Yikes! Joe?

Background checks

The anti-gun people insist “improved background checks” and even “universal background checks” should not be controversial. Let me try to explain why they are both pointless and completely unacceptable to thinking people.

Pointless demonstration number 1:

The claimed purpose of background checks is to prevent “people who shouldn’t have guns” from acquiring them. That is a noble objective. It sounds so reasonable and “common sense” that I  want to agree without giving it even a seconds thought. It’s an excellent idea! It’s such a great idea we should apply that to some other dangerous things. Let’s have background checks before people can purchase recreational drugs. Far too many people abuse them and destroy their lives and frequently the lives of others. Keeping recreational drugs out of the hands of people that would likely abuse them is just “common sense”. Right?

Oh! That’s right. We have something way beyond background checks in place for most recreational drugs. We have banned them not just from “people that might abuse them” but from everyone. How’s that working out? How long does it take the average high school dropout to find a way around the ban? Yeah, that’s right, Einstein. The average high school dropout can get all the recreational drugs they want within an hour anytime of the day, any day of the week. So just how effective you think a background check would be in reducing the abuse of recreational drugs?

Now apply what you know about the recreational drug issue to firearms. A background check is totally pointless.

Pointless demonstration number 2:

Universal background checks can only claim effectiveness if they can be enforced. Prostitution is illegal in most states but if a beautiful woman leaves a $100 bill on my nightstand when she leaves in the morning (yes, stretch your imagination a bit, or a lot, for purposes of illustration) how does  the government enforce the “no sex for money” prohibition in this case? It was a “private transaction” between willing parties. Do you think either party has an interest in disclosing the transaction to the police? And even if they do there is a significant obstacle in that it becomes a “he said, she said” problem.

In the absence of gun and/or gun owner registration the case of the “private transaction” between gun owners boils down to the same thing. The government, and perhaps one party to the transaction, can claim no background check was done. As long as the person being prosecuted keeps their mouth shut and the transaction wasn’t recorded it is going to be impossible to prove that a background check wasn’t performed. Remember, in order to get the Brady Act (“instant” background checks for gun transactions) passed the law states that all record of passing background checks must be destroyed. Searching the records of all those authorized to perform background checks would be a violation of Fourth Amendment rights.

Pointless demonstration number 3:

Even if a background check is performed it only requires a stolen or fake ID to defeat it. The fake ID doesn’t even have to be for a real person! The check is not against a “white list” of people that are “allowed” to have guns. The check is against a “black list” of people that are disallowed from possessing guns.

Conclusion:

If you still advocate for background checks for firearms I can only think of two possibilities:

  1. You have a motive other than reducing the misuse of firearms.
  2. You also get confused when your caretaker is reading Dr. Seuss books to you.

Now that we have it settled that background checks are completely pointless let’s proceed on to the “unacceptable” demonstrations.

Unacceptable demonstration number 1:

Background checks cost money and time. The FBI portion of them is “free” to the people doing the transaction. But really that just means the government is wasting scarce law  enforcement resources using money they obtained through taxes (obtained at gunpoint–oh, the irony!). The only people authorized to do background checks are people with Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). Because it is time consuming they always charge a fee and you must do a face-to-face transaction. This adds more wasted time and money to the transaction. A transaction which is a specific enumerate right.

This pointless waste of time and money is unacceptable at any time but when the government is deeply in debt and the economy is doing poorly wasting precious government and private resources it is even more so.

Unacceptable demonstration number 2:

If law requiring universal background checks is passed it will only be a short time before the politicians will “discover” the “loopholes” that prevents the law from working as intended. These include the lack of gun registration and the lack of defense against fake IDs. Any attempt at gun registration in the U.S. will result in massive non-compliance on a scale that will make alcohol prohibition look like first graders failing to stay in a straight line while waiting to go on recess. Look at the non-compliance experienced in the failed long gun registration in Canada. Multiply that by three (the difference in per capita gun ownership rate), multiply that by two (U.S. citizens trust the government less than Canadian citizens), then add ten billion rounds of ammunition (annual consumption by private citizens). Or look at New York state,  multiple by fifty (the citizens of other states included in the non-compliance) and multiply that by ten (the citizens of New York state have the option of moving to a freer state, with no place to escape the resistance will be more fierce), then add ten billion rounds of ammunition.

The “ID loophole” was identified years ago by the Feds and they passed a law requiring “Real ID” by the states. How’s that working out?

For the government to force this sort of situation upon the people is unacceptable.

Unacceptable demonstration number 3:

Since demonstrating that background checks are pointless the continued insistence upon forcing them upon the people this must mean that those continuing to advocate for them are either evil (option 1 above) or have the comprehension skills no better than that of an above average German Shepard (option 2 above). Despite the existence of blue dog democrats we have never elected someone so stupid as a real dog to a Federal office (Senator Patty Murray is not a counter example, she is capable of reading and comprehending most Dr. Seuss books). One can only conclude those advocating for background checks are evil or are doing so under duress.

Good people don’t knowingly and willingly cooperate with evil. It is unacceptable.

Conclusion:

Background checks are pointless and unacceptable. We are better than this.

Even compromising with those that advocate for them is the moral equivalent of compromising with people that want “common sense” limits on the 13th Amendment or someone intending to rape your 10 year-old child. The response must be an exceedingly firm no.

Update: I almost forgot, as pointed out by Tim S. in email a few days ago, there is a form of background check almost all gun owners would accept. That is if there were an “endorsement” on your state ID card (such as drivers license) like the restriction for corrective lenses or endorsement for motorcycle or commercial drivers license. It wouldn’t be much, if any, more effective than that currently proposed by the anti-freedom people. But it would eliminate the concerns over registration and most of the expense and wasted time. If such a thing is offered as a compromise to the anti-gunners expect it to be vigorously rejected. They know it doesn’t meet their “needs” and as such will refuse to give in.

Quote of the day—MY

I can easily buy a hand gun or a rifle without restriction. It is absurd that someone like me could ever have access to such dangerous weapons.

MY
Sonoma
January 19, 2013
Comment to Please Take Away My Right to a Gun
[Many people have said something to the effect, "They want to take other's people's guns away because they believe other people are the same as they are." I never really expected to find someone who admitted that.—Joe]

Prior restraint

Gun control is prior restraint. Since prior restraint for the First Amendment is unconstitutional it is also unconstitutional when applied to the Second Amendment.

The classic example of falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater can be extended to illustrate.

Prior restraint would be requiring a gag on everyone as they enter the theater because someone might falsely yell fire.

The solution we have is to punish those that do, not gag everyone who enters the building.

“Gun free zones” are the same sort of thing. You must leave your gun behind because it is feared that you might use it in a criminal manner.

The solution must be that we punish those that injure innocent people and we must not attempt to prevent all people from using their gun at all.

One might claim that the risks are so high that prior restraint is justified as in drunk driving laws. There are two counters to that. 1) Driving is a privilege, not a specific enumerated right; and 2) Only in extremely rare cases does driving drunk have any benefit to society.

And even if we were to accept crime prevention is a valid means to protect innocent life we have problems. Does that mean to prevent rape we should castrate all the men? How about sewing all vaginas shut so women can’t engage in prostitution? Or removing eyes so people can’t engage in voyeurism? And to prove I’m not stuck on sex crimes, we can prevent fights by shackling the hands and feet of everyone. We can prevent drunk driving and public drunkenness by banning alcohol. Slander can be prevented by removing people’s vocal cords. Libel can be prevented by banning publication of, well, everything. And while we are at it we can prevent theft by abolishing private property.

Crime “prevention” is a very hot button for me.  There is no limit to the evil that can be justified and/or enabled once you accept the premise that it is acceptable to prevent crime by restricting liberty.

The very name of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence demonstrates they are a very misguided and dangerous organization.

We are better than this.

If statistics were really that important…

…we’d have gotten something like this;

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the statistical averages which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Statistical Ranges, that among these are Crime Rates, Unemployment Rates and the pursuit of Smaller Relative Income Disparities.–That to secure these statistics, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these statistics, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their desired statistics…

The first ten amendments to the constitution would have been called the Bill of Statistics, and it would lay out the target statistical ranges for various things like crime, accidents, economics, and so on.

Careful with the whole stats argument…thing

 We like to toss out statistics that bolster the pro second amendment position.  That’s something of an oxymoron, really.  I’ve done my share of it, certainly.

For example, there is the decline in our murder rate as gun ownership has gone up.  That’s nice and all, but I heard the other night that if our medical and response training and technology were that of the 1960s, our murder rate would be three times what it is today.  A person must actually die, you see, before it’s actually murder.  I haven’t looked it up (that’s your job – I’m not your servant) but it certainly sounded plausible.  If it’s true, then it means that there is in fact much more violence, but that yet more lives are being saved.  Gun owners couldn’t very well take credit for that.

I’ve been harping on this stats issue, and probably pissing off some people.  It may seem like a subtle point to some, but if so it is a subtle point of crucial importance.

Like Tam said, and I paraphrase; “Even if every other gun owner on the planet tried to kill someone last night; I didn’t, so leave me alone!”

And that’s really it, isn’t it?  As the story goes, Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared for just one righteous person.

The concept of a right is a purely moral concept, and if you can find where the Bill of Rights was to be dependent on statistics, I’d like you to show me.

The communists hate the concept of unalienable rights, and will use stats as a way of changing the subject– of completely reframing the conversation.  I call them “tweakers” because all they care about is tweaking this and tweaking that, using the force of government ostensibly to get some predicted result in the statistics.

That’s a communist premise, and it stinks right from the get go.  It puts us into disparate groups, each being ruled according to its status.  Statistical arguments alone, either for or against a “right” imply the non-existence of rights by ignoring them.  Conversely, if rights truly exist, stats have no bearing on them, and the discussion is purely about morals– right verses wrong.

Our premise is, or should be, that justice demands the respect of all human rights, all the time, that rights belong only to individuals, just as criminal prosecutions are of individuals.  If you didn’t violate, or attempt to violate, someone else’s rights, you are to be held harmless in all regards.  If there were only one, that is the American principle.  If that ideal is not upheld, you have no rights and in that case your statistics won’t save you.

The communists know exactly how this works, and you all know that they know it, and of course they hate the very concept of rights.  They will ignore it and fall back on statistics.  It’s a pretty clever, evil trick.  I’ll give them that, but what else have they got, being that they’re on the wrong side?

That is where we (I hope) differ.  Not only is the moral rights concept all we need, it is all that can work in the long run to persuade good people.  If we rely on stats, we’re relying on the weather, essentially, because stats, like the weather, are not only very fickle but are subject to interpretation, while rights are eternal.

Sure; bring out the human interest stories– we probably don’t do near enough of that, all told, but start them, and finish them, with the moral Declaration.  There’s not a Republican alive, and very few in the NRA, who can do this, so it’s up to us.

The problem with experts

Plenty of research, plenty of information, zero mention of the second amendment or the core principles behind it;

http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/2013/01/with-megyn-kelly-on-fox-news.html#comments

In other words, he didn’t make the case.  Instead he argued purely within The Enemy’s framework, proving who had all the control over the conversation.  Human rights, and the power relations between citizens and government, were apparently not even worth mentioning, yet those are THE points to be made.  Listen to their words very carefully.  Lott and Kelly both took the bait, hook, line and sinker, and ran with it.  It’s sad.  The term, “too clever by half” comes to mind.

In fact, a fundamental human right is being impugned and attacked without being mentioned– as though it didn’t exist– as though infringements on that right aren’t specifically prohibited.  “Machineguns are already highly regulated, and aren’t used in crimes” as if that would matter– as if your rights depend on statistics– as if a certain set of infrigements to your rights is all we’re going to talk about.  It would be like discussing how to cook your mother for dinner, with no mention of the mother’s moral right to life or the legal prohibition against killing her and eating her.  Cannibals are arguing over the cannibal pot, and the audience is to see one chef as the more clever culinary tactician than the other.  No doubt many of us on both sides are cheering along like mindless sports fans at a game.  We are better than this.  It’s not a goddamned game.

The necessity of an accurate problem statement

Many times I have heard, “Both sides can’t be right.” While there are certainly times when this is true there are also lots of times when it is not true but it appears to be true on the surface.

My classic example is the Civil War. If it were true the war was entirely about slavery and those fighting for the south were fighting to preserve slavery then sure, only one side can be right. But if those fighting for the south were fighting to preserve states rights while those in the north were fighting to end slavery then both sides could be right. They are “talking” past one another, but they could both be right.

A similar thing happens in some gun control debates.

One side (exaggerated to make the point) can claim, “Innocent children should not be shot! Ban all guns!” The other side can claim, “Banning guns will not make the children safer! Let good guys carry guns in schools to protect them.”

Although the proposed solutions are at complete odds with no possible compromise between the them both sides are fighting for what are almost for certain equally valid truths. Innocent children should not be shot and banning guns will not make children safer.

While I cannot claim any extraordinary expertise in this endeavor it is going to be far more productive to identify the things you do agree with one another on before engaging in a battle over the things you disagree on. Compromise may be impossible, but there might be solutions that are agreeable to both/all sides if you can realize you have a common goal. For example a orthogonal solution may work without stomping on either side.

What’s an orthogonal solution? In the case of the school shootings a solution to “ban guns” versus “good guys with guns” an orthogonal solution would be to “ban schools”. For example if children were to be taught online supervised by their parents or in much small groups there wouldn’t be such large groups of tempting, nearly helpless, targets.

There may be many solutions to a problem but without a clear problem statement and agreement that common ground does exist people are likely to get stuck pushing their solution rather than solving the problem.

Problem statements drive the solution. Incorrect and unarticulated problem statements limit the range of solutions.

In the case of school shootings examine the following problem statements, somewhat exaggerated to make the point:

  • There are too many guns brought to schools.
  • Good guys are prohibited from protecting themselves and our children at schools.
  • An unacceptably high number of children at schools are being injured and killed by people with guns and other weapons.

Depending on the choice of problem statement the range of solutions are completely different. And there may be other problem statements beyond what I have enumerated above. Defining the problem correctly is frequently more difficult than finding solutions.

I know it’s tough but finding common ground and accurately defining the problem not only leads to a broader range of solutions but it also gets people working to solve the problem rather than fighting each other. Work on problem statements rather than fighting with others. We are better than this.

NRA fisks Feinstein’s proposed firearms ban

The NRA did a good job on this. They included some of the deliberate deception by Feinstein on her website:

On her website, Feinstein claims that a study for the DOJ found that the 1994 ban resulted in a 6.7 percent decrease in murders. To the contrary, this is what the study said: “At best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders. Our best estimate is that the ban contributed to a 6.7 percent decrease in total gun murders between 1994 and 1995. . . . However, with only one year of post-ban data, we cannot rule out the possibility that this decrease reflects chance year-to-year variation rather than a true effect of the ban.  Nor can we rule out effects of other features of the 1994 Crime Act or a host of state and local initiatives that took place simultaneously.”

You know they know they are in the wrong when they have to lie in order to have any hope of winning.

We don’t need to lie to win. We are better than this.

Quote of the day—Krishna Murthy

except army and police no one should have a gun;violent films should be banned;constitution should be amended accordingly;

Krishna Murthy
December 20, 2012
Comment to After Newtown, Gun Control Steps We Can Take
[Why not do away with due process and the right to not testify against yourself since you are gutting the Bill of Rights anyway?

Not just anti-gun. Anti-freedom.

We are better than this.—Joe]

Quote of the day—James Freeman Clarke

All the strength and force of man comes from his faith in things unseen. He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.

James Freeman Clarke
April 4, 1810 – June 8, 1888
[Clarke was an advocate of human rights. He was active in the abolition movement and the education of women.

Today the basic human right of self-defense is under attack. We have strong convictions but in some people they have been trampled so hard and so deep for so long that they have not been expressed. Now it is essential to find your voice, find your convictions, and stand up against a great evil that is attempting to destroy our right to keep and bear arms.

Don't let that happen. Don't let the last decade of progress be swept away because of one mentally ill young man and a million mental midgets who think yet another restriction on guns would have made any difference in the Newton, Connecticut tragedy.

We are better than this.—Joe]

This is what they think about you

A selection from Twitchy Staff:

sam tarling@sammyswordfish

All NRA members should be shot!!!! I thank you, that’s one of my own !!

Bitter Old St. Nick@90sRememberer

Murder every NRA member

Elizabeth V@cochisev

Happy I live in Canada not USA. Land of handgun nuts.nra should be shot & put out of their misery. Not babies@school.

John Cobarruvias@BayAreaHouston

Can we now shoot the #NRA and everyone who defends them? #PrayForNewton

I see no difference between this and the people who would call for the murder of all members of the NAACP after someone of color murdered a bunch of people. These people are the moral equivalent of the KKK and should be treated as such.

Update: More death threats and wishes for us and our families to be killed.

Random thought of the day

Having a government agency to control and regulate firearms in light of the Second Amendment is like having a government agency to control and regulate people with black skin in light of the 13th Amendment.

This isn’t to say that the use of firearms should be unregulated. You still could, and should, be punished for causing harm to innocent people or the property of others regardless of the means by which you caused the harm.

Quote of the day—Tom Mauser

People don’t trust government to do what’s right. They are very attracted to the idea of a nation of individuals, so they don’t think about what’s good for the collective.

Tom Mauser
Gun-control activist.
November 2012
The Case for More Guns (And More Gun Control)
[It's good to have him explicitly say it. Mauser (how ironic!) is opposed to a nation of individuals and individual rights. The collective is what is important.

Mauser is opposed to not just a specific enumerated right called out in the Bill of Rights, but the very foundation of this nation. He should move to a country more closely politically aligned with his views. I'm thinking North Korea would be appropriate. The United States Constitution clearly was designed for people totally different from him.—Joe]