Happy New Year!

To be honest, I have my doubts about how happy 2013 is going to be. (You can see my new year prediction, along with the more thoughtful ones from some of my fellow Watcher’s Council members, here.) Still, planning for the worst (even if only emotionally), doesn’t mean we can’t hope for the best. And it is in that spirit of hoping for the best that I wish all of you a very Happy New Year!

Fireworks

Found it on Facebook: a story about a mass murder that didn’t happen

One of my high school friends is black, pro-union, devoutly Christian and (to my surprise, given her San Francisco upbringing) apparently pro-Second Amendment.  She passed this along from one of her Facebook friends (who is a big numbers conservative Christian Facebooker):

San Antonio police crime scene

San Antonio Theater Shooting

On Sunday December 17, 2012, 2 days after the CT shooting, a man went to a restaurant in San Antonio to kill his X-girlfriend. After he shot her, most of the people in the restaurant fled next door to a theater. The gunman followed them and entered the theater so he could shoot more people. He started shooting and people in the theater started running and screaming. It’s like the Aurora, CO theater story plus a restaurant!

Now aren’t you wondering why this isn’t a lead story in the national media along with the school shooting?

There was an off duty county deputy at the theater. SHE pulled out her gun and shot the man 4 times before he had a chance to kill anyone. So since this story makes the point that the best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, the media is treating it like it never happened.

Only the local media covered it. The city is giving her a medal next week.

Just thought you’d like to know.

I remain disgusted with the media’s deliberate attempt to whitewash news while at the same time creating their own narrative for whatever sinister reasons.

As far as I can tell, the only thing inaccurate about the story above is the date — the shooting that was stopped by an off-duty deputy took place on December 30, not December 17.  Everything else is accurate — guy goes into theater, starts shooting like crazy, people panic, and then this happens (emphasis mine):

The gunman entered the theater, Antu says, where he fired a shot but did not hit anyone. An off-duty sheriff’s deputy working security then shot the gunman.

The best defense against a crazed, armed bad guy, is a heroic armed good guy.  End of story.

One more point:  the Facebook post says “I remain disgusted with the media’s deliberate attempt to whitewash news while at the same time creating their own narrative for whatever sinister reasons.”  Apropos the media narrative, it’s worth noting a point that Dan Baum, a pro-Second Amendment Progressive, makes in a Harper’s Magazine article he wrote after the shooting in Aurora:

Among the many ways America differs from other countries when it comes to guns is that when a mass shooting happens in the United States, it’s a gun story. How an obviously sick man could buy a gun; how terrible it is that guns are abundant; how we must ban particular types of guns that are especially dangerous. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence responded to the news with a gun-control petition. Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times has weighed in with an online column saying that “Politicians are far too cowardly to address gun violence . . . which keeps us from taking practical measures to avoid senseless shootings.”

Compare that to the coverage and conversation after Anders Behring Breivik murdered sixty-nine people on the island of Utøya in Norway, a year ago next Sunday. Nobody focused on the gun. I had a hard time learning from the news reports what type of gun he used. Nobody asked, “How did he get a gun?” That seemed strange, because it’s much harder to get a gun in Europe than it is here. But everybody, even the American media, seemed to understand that the heart of the Utøya massacre story was a tragically deranged man, not the rifle he fired. Instead of wringing their hands over the gun Breivik used, Norwegians saw the tragedy as the opening to a conversation about the rise of right-wing extremism in their country.

The problem in America isn’t the Second Amendment.  Instead, the problem comes about because the Progressive media creates a warped narrative that takes guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.  The result is that guns exist, but law-abiding people (a disproportionate number of whom are black) die from killers who know that there is no one and nothing that can stop them:

It is true that all countries in Southern and Western Europe had lower murder rates than the U.S. But it might be worthwhile to parse the U.S. number if we continue to make such comparisons.

In over 52% of the murders in the US in 2011 in which the race of the murderer was known, the murderer was black. Over half of the victims of murder were also black. But blacks are only 13.6% of the population. Put all that together, and the murder rate in the US for non-blacks was more like 2.6 per 100,000 in 2011.

As Peter Baldwin put it in his book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences, “Take out the black underclass from the statistics, and even American murder rates fall to European levels.”

It’s timely, as always, to remember that gun control in America began as a way to keep blacks defenseless and disenfranchised.  Progressives dress the whole thing up in prettier language, but their eugenic roots are starting to show.

 

Know your political opponent

I am really becoming a fan of Kevin Williamson, over at National Review.  Today, he goes beyond Progressives’ superficial characteristics (wealth reallocation, gun fear, etc.), and digs deep into their values and their psyches.  It’s fascinating reading on its own terms.  It’s also extremely useful because, as Williamson himself says, you have to understand your enemy to defeat him.  Knowledge, of course, is power.

Conservatives are not positioned to engage in a full frontal attack against Progressive politics.  The two avenues open are stealth attacks, where we sneak up when they’re not looking (ideologically speaking) and judo-style attacks, where we use their own momentum to take them down.

The one thing we can’t allow ourselves to be is demoralized.  Dr. Helen notes that conservatives in 2012 are infinitely more depressed than liberals were in 2004.  My thinking has been that, while liberals didn’t like the Bush policies as they were playing out, conservatives are deeply worried about Obama’s “fundamental transformation” plans.  Once you start treating the Constitution like toilet paper, it’s hard to resurrect it as a binding agreement between government and people.  In other words, we have more to worry about than the liberals did.

Dr. Helen, though, has a simpler explanation, which is that the liberals are creating the Zeitgeist, and the Zeitgeist is that conservatives are deeply flawed, evil, and murderous:

The media and Obama blare the non-stop message that Republicans are no good, racist dogs and support fat cats. None of this is true, of course, but the media and Obama spin the message and Republicans get the blame for the majority of all that is wrong with America.

Oh, by the way, speaking of murderous, here is a great, gory mash-up (definite violence alert) showing Hollywood liberals in all their hypocritical glory:

President Silver-Tongue is remarkably tactless of late

My post title says President Obama has been tactless of late.  That’s not true.  He’s always been tactless.  Remember him denigrating handicapped people on the Jay Leno show?

Lately, though, the President has upped his game.  Last week, shortly before the Sandy Hook shooting that saw myriad children die, Obama “jokingly” told Barbara Walters why he really ran for president:

Secret service guarding Obamas

We joke sometimes about how Malia’s getting to the age now, and boys start calling and, you know, sort of, I always talk about how one of the main incentives for running again was continuing Secret Service protection to have men with guns around at all times. . . .

For a president who has sat back while hundreds of black children have died on the streets of Chicago and other cities, it’s impossible to imagine a more tactless remark.  The remark reverberates especially strongly now, since Obama’s minions have gotten hysterical at the thought that the children of ordinary Americans should also be protected by armed guards.

You’d think Obama had topped his game with that one, but you’d be wrong.  Unaided, our esteemed President just came up with another spectacularly tactless remark, this one about Benghazi (where four men, including an American ambassador, were brutally murdered on Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s watch) (emphasis mine):

Bloody fingerprints in Benghazi

When you read the report, and it confirms what we had already seen based on some of our internal reviews, there was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don’t have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies.  So we’re doing a thorough renew. not only will we implement all the recommendations that were made, but we’ll try to do more than that. You know, with respect to who carried it out, that’s an ongoing investigation. The FBI has sent individuals to Libya repeatedly. We have some very good leads.

Videos don’t kill people.  Terrorists don’t kill people.  Nooo, nooo.  What kills people is sloppiness.  I’m sure the families of the four dead men were relieved to hear that nothing really bad killed their loved ones.

The New York Times comes out pro-gun: but only for African elephant protection

Babar's mother getting shot

As far as the New York Times and the rest of American Progressives are concerned, those Americans who insist that they want to exercise their Second Amendment rights for self-protection are delusional and, quite possibly, nascent psychopathic killers.  Guns are bad.  Really, really bad.  The evidence is irrelevant because . . . yes, guns are bad.

Except that guns aren’t always bad.  While your average Progressive understands that they’re obviously a bad idea when people use them to protect themselves, they’re a very good — indeed, an innovative idea — when Africans come together with guns to protect elephants.

I am not delusional (nor am I a nascent psychopathic killer).  The New York Times practically vibrates with excitement as it describes the way Kenyans have armed themselves and come together to protect elephants from poachers:

From Tanzania to Cameroon, tens of thousands of elephants are being poached each year, more than at any time in decades, because of Asia’s soaring demand for ivory. Nothing seems to be stopping it, including deploying national armies, and the bullet-riddled carcasses keep stacking up. Scientists say that at this rate, African elephants could soon go the way of the wild American bison.

But in this stretch of northern Kenya, destitute villagers have seized upon an unconventional solution that, if replicated elsewhere, could be the key to saving thousands of elephants across Africa, conservationists say. In a growing number of communities here, people are so eager, even desperate, to protect their wildlife that civilians with no military experience are banding together, grabbing shotguns and G3 assault rifles and risking their lives to confront heavily armed poaching gangs.

[snip]

Villagers are also turning against poachers because the illegal wildlife trade fuels crime, corruption, instability and intercommunal fighting. Here in northern Kenya, poachers are diversifying into stealing livestock, printing counterfeit money and sometimes holding up tourists. Some are even buying assault rifles used in ethnic conflicts.

The conservation militias are often the only security forces around, so they have become de facto 911 squads, rushing off to all sorts of emergencies in areas too remote for the police to quickly gain access to and often getting into shootouts with poachers and bandits.

“This isn’t just about animals,” said Paul Elkan, a director at the Wildlife Conservation Society, who is trying to set up community ranger squads in South Sudan modeled on the Kenyan template. “It’s about security, conflict reconciliation, even nation building.”

You can read the whole thing here but, if I understand it correctly, the Times isn’t just excited about the elephants (although that’s important).  The Times is also thrilled about is the fact that, when African villagers form armed militias, they can protect themselves from crime, economic destitution, and hostile neighbors — all as a byproduct of protecting elephants.

Hey, I’ve got an idea!

Let’s import a few hundred elephants into various American cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, etc..  Then, when Obama and his team go after American guns, we no longer have to rely on something as outdated as the Second Amendment to protect American gun ownership (it’s just for muskets, for Gawd’s sake!).  Nor do we have to drag out all those tired old statistics showing that, as John Lott trenchantly puts it, “More Guns, Less Crime.”

Instead, when the Obama government shows up on our doorsteps, demanding that we disarm ourselves, we can talk in language the Progressives understand:  “If you take away our guns, hundreds of elephants will die needlessly!  Use a gun; save an elephant.”

The last Watcher’s Council results for 2012

The Council has spoken, wrapping up the year in grand Council style:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

In lieu of control, can we surf the wave and land safely?

Surfer

It’s winter break, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that, for the time being, my life is not my own.  It belongs to husband, children, mother, children’s friends, neighbors, etc.  I never even looked at the news yesterday, which left me feeling both bereft and relieved.  Bereft because I am a high information type of person; relieved because the news has been nothing but depressing lately.

I spoke with a relative in Israel on Friday.  Although she’s a cousin, she’s more than a generation older than I am, she started a family young, and her children started young too.  The net result is that several of her grandsons are now or will soon be in the Israeli Army.  When I wished her a Happy New Year, she responded dryly “I don’t think so.”

Ironically, I think that, if my cousin had been an American citizen in 2008, she would have voted for Obama in a heartbeat.  She was born into the Israeli Left and Leftism is her spiritual home.  Like many Israelis, however, she’s a pragmatist, and only a fool would look at Egypt and Syria and Lebanon and Iran and think that Israel can expect good fortune in the short-term.  More than that, I think she’s realized that, even if Obama shares the politics that were mother’s milk to her, he has no love for her country.

Thinking of my cousins very real concerns, I periodically try to remind myself that change is inevitable, that it can be necessary, and that it’s often good, at least in the long run.  I’ve scoffed so long at the global warmers fear of the earth’s natural cycles, that it’s quite hypocritical of me to fear human kind’s natural cycles.

The problem that I’m facing, and that the global warmers refuse to face, is that change invariably brings death and suffering in its wake.  Even if the majority benefit, a minority will always be hurt.  That’s true whether most people have more arable land, but some people have their lands flooded; or whether a great nation gently declines without too much pain for its citizens, but leaves the way for minor nations to become explosively violent.  Life is not stasis.

The main thing with change is to recognize whether you can control it, shape it, head it off, or do nothing at all.  The climate changers think that they can affect the earth and the sun, so they’re making what is, in their mind, a noble effort to save the world.

To me, climate change is a situation over which we have no control.  Since we can’t stop it, we shouldn’t waste our energies trying to so but should, instead, bend those same energies to accommodating this change in the best way possible.  The resource we’re really wasting is brain power that we could use to surf the wave of change.  Right now, we’re expending that same emotional and intellectual energy fruitlessly sweeping back the tide.

Up until the election, I thought that, as part of an intellectual conservative movement, I could change the election’s outcome.  It turned out I couldn’t.  We’ve now been dealt the Obama hand.  We cannot re-do the election, as he won square, if not fair.  What we can do, though, is to surf the wave.

One of the things I’d like to do is go off the fiscal cliff.  Elections have consequences, and we need to give the people what they want:  more taxes and less government.  I would have preferred less taxes and less government, but that’s not what the voters asked for.  They asked for stalemate, and one of the consequences is that there’s no one there to stop sequestration and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.  I hate more taxes, but so does everyone else.  And a lot of people may find, to their great surprise, that less government actually is a good thing.

Another wave surfing thing is that I think Republicans should keep the pressure on Hillary Clinton.  If she’s too sick to carry out her duties, she should be immediately retired.  And if she’s not too sick, her first responsibility is to explain how four Americans, including an ambassador, died on her watch.  Although Republicans in Congress seem to have severe backbone issues, I can see them keeping to this one, even as they’re too frightened to tackle big issues like spending, national security, etc.  There are always people in Washington willing to engage in personal destruction.

What other waves can we ride?  Right now, Obama things he’s riding the gun control wave.  Is there any way to stop him or is this also one where we’ve lost control?  It would certainly be helpful if this issue hit the Supreme Court before Obama gets the opportunity, for whatever reason, appoint yet another ultra liberal to the Court.  Once that happens, we’ve really lost control.

I’m trying to remind myself that being a control freak works only if you can actually control something.  So, what can we control now?  That is, acknowledging that conservatives lack a sufficient majority to carry out any of their initiatives, how do we surf the oncoming waves (and they are coming) so that we land upright, with someone salvageable left behind and we’re not just left wiped out?

Surfer wiping out

This post is labeled “Open Thread,” so please feel free to overwhelm me with ideas.

A great two-fer on gun control

National Review Online is running hot today, because it’s got two great articles on gun control, both of which clearly express what I was trying to tell those Marin-ites around me who are absolutely certain that (a) gun control saves lives and (b) the Second Amendment is stupid or misunderstood.

Rich Lowry, armed with data, asks the gun control crowd questions about guns and public safety that they are going to be hard put to answer while still retaining their blinkered world view.

And Kevin Williamson explains that, Hell yes!, the Founders wanted paramilitary weapons.  As I tried to tell my friends, if you disagree with that little historical fact, your option is to amend, not ignore, the Constitution.

A long list of interesting stuff

I wasn’t kidding when I said family is keeping me on the guy — family and work on a new project that has the potential to be at least somewhat remunerative.  The new project requires that I master PowerPoint, a program with which I have only the most glancing acquaintance.  Fortunately, there’s a wealth of informative material on the internet — including Microsoft’s own website — so I’m busy learning all about animations and fades.

Meanwhile, between kids and learning, I’ve been reading some very interesting stuff.  In no particular order:

Rhymes with Right comments on the media’s peculiar silence when it comes to the late Sen. Inouye’s replacement.  (And yes, I’m being sarcastic.  There’s nothing at all peculiar about the media’s silence.)

Is it wrong for me to love a man I’ve never met and about whom I know nothing other than his ability to organize data logically?  Nah.  It can’t be wrong.  Every person who’s driven by data, rather than emotion, has to love the data compilation Randall Hoven published showing a very strong correlation between guns and individual safety.

Speaking of guns, Jonathan Tobin makes the very good point that, by demonizing gun owners, the gun control crowd is making rational debate impossible.  Of course, that’s not a bug, that’s a fixture, since rational debate militates against gun control.

Dianne Feinstein’s proposed bill is Exhibit A for the case that Dems don’t want debate; they just want to overturn the Second Amendment without bothering with the constitutional amendment process.  (More here on Feinstein’s bill.)  This is, of course, the same Feinstein who thinks she’s entitled to carry a gun for self-defense.  It’s just you little people who can’t be trusted.

Egypt has gone sharia.  Libya is de facto sharia.  Syria is imminently sharia.  Is it any surprise that Obama’s best friend, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is planning on turning Turkey in a sharia state too?  No surprise here.

The media has worked it’s magic, and the majority of Americans are primed to blame the Republicans if the country slides further down the fiscal cliff.  Mitch McConnell is trying to fight back, but I doubt he’ll have any success.

Last I heard, Wendy Kaminer was a Democrat.  I have no idea why, since she’s one smart cookie, who understands the First Amendment as well as the decay of the American spirit.

Michael Ramirez gets to the root of evil — and it’s not guns.

If you’d like smug media talking head David Gregory to get into trouble for violating Washington, D.C.’s gun laws, good luck with that.  However, if you’d at least like to make his willful violation of those gun laws something of a cause célèbre, you can sign this “We the People” petition.

Would you like to add anything?  I’ve labeled this as an Open Thread.

 

Watcher’s Council submissions to round out 2012

This is it — the last Watcher’s Council submissions for 2012.  Looking back, it’s been a good year for opinionated bloggers, although I wish I could say the same for everyone else.  I’m not sure that I’m looking forward to 2013.  Nevertheless, the Watcher’s Council is always good.  BTW, I hope that, when you read through this list, you also take some time to read the posts from our Honorable Mentions, a great list made up of friends of the Council, as well as former Council members.

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Post-Christmas blahs Open Thread

As I’m sure has been the case for you, my life over the last few days has been all family, all of the time.  This is the way it should be over the holidays.

Indeed, when I do glance at the headlines, I’m almost glad that this is the way things are.  The headlines in ObamaWorld, whether foreign or domestic, are depressing.

I’d be less depressed if I knew that, in three weeks, Obama was retiring to Hawaii.  As he’s not, though, I see these headlines as the inevitable prelude to even worse news.

Do you have anything cheerful going on?

The Tim Tebow haters out themselves as . . . haters

Yes, I like Tim Tebow.  I like his eclectic playing style, I like his deep commitment to his non-hate-filled religious principles, and I like that he’s been raking in money and basking in fame for a few years without being involved in a sordid scandal.  The same things that I like, of course, drive certain people nuts.  Two sports commentators (and please understand that I don’t really follow sports) have spent the last couple of years trying to gnaw away at Tebow’s image.  The most obvious line of attack, of course, is his skill (or lack thereof) as a quarterback.  Just a few days ago, though, they thought they’d hit the jackpot with “proof” that Tebow is a poor sportsman and that his whole “good Christian” persona is therefore a lie.

Factually, the reporters were barking up the wrong tree.  Still, the whole kerfuffle was still worth something.  As Rick at Brutally Honest amply demonstrates, while the reporters didn’t hurt Tebow, they made a very convincing argument that they themselves fall far short of the true measure of a man.

The Watcher’s Council is again on Doug Ross’s list of Fabulous 50 bloggers

2012 Fabulous 50 blog awards

Every year, the inestimable and inimitable Doug Ross compiles votes to come up with the Fabulous 50 Blog Awards.  And this year, as in years past, he has anointed the Watcher’s Council (and all of its bloggers) as the Best Blog Ring.  I am honored, although this is a reflection more on my fellow council members than on anything I contribute.

Check out the whole list.  My ego was pleased when I looked it over and discovered that, not only are most of the winners known to and respected by me, but I am known to most of them.

 

Gun control supporters count those who have died; Second Amendment supporters count those who will live

View of Marin from San Francisco

Because this is Marin and I am not a hermit, I frequently find myself in conversation with Democrats.  It was to be expected, therefore, that conversation over the Christmas holiday would end up revolving around gun control.  These conversations were disheartening on all sides.  My friends concluded that I support wild-eyed mass murderers, since I believe in the Second Amendment, and I concluded that their devotion to feelings over facts will result in many unnecessary deaths over the years.

As I explain at some length below, the only fact that matters to them is that guns do indeed kill people.  Any other data is irrelevant.  Indeed, the conversations were practically textbook illustrations of the giant chasm that separates the two world views.

My friends began by attacking the NRA and Wayne LaPierre as evil and fanatic. Only a deranged person could come up with the lunatic idea of placing armed guards in schools. They batted aside the fact that Clinton had proposed and put into place the same plan LaPierre now suggested — armed guards in schools — and that Obama had de-funded that initiative.  LaPierre is evil because he wants people to have semi-automatic weapons with unlimited magazines.

I explained that semi-automatic still means you have to pull the trigger.  I also explained that large magazines are a small convenience, but they don’t change the dynamics of shooting, because a practiced person can change clips in seconds (see the video above).  I got shouted down before I could even point out that the Dunblane killer, who didn’t have large magazines, simply went into a gun-free zone with more weapons and ammunition.  I also got shouted down when I said that the magazine size is pretty irrelevant if you’re in a gun-free zone.  The counter to this was that the only reason to have a large magazine is to have a people killing gun.

Reginald Denny

Well, yes, I said.  Imagine you’re in a riot, such as the 1992 Los Angeles Riots or the completely lawless situation after Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy.  In those circumstances, you want to be over-armed, not under-armed.  “Ha!  So you admit it.  You just want guns to kill people.”  “No, they’re also fun for sport shooting.  But the fact remains that, when you’re isolated and the mobs are coming, a gun with a good capacity is your only protection.”  “Yeah, you want to kill people.”  I realized at this point that I wouldn’t get any mileage out of saying that some people deserve killing — meaning that, if they’re coming to kill or rape me or mine, I don’t think I’d have second thoughts about valuing their lives at zero.

Shifting arguments, my friends bemoaned the fact that the NRA is so rich and powerful.  If only there was an anti-gun lobby.  They were taken aback when I out that the Brady Center is precisely that anti-gun organization.  In other words, the NRA has not driven all other money or approaches out of the marketplace of ideas.  Americans, though, have voted with their feet by voluntarily supporting the NRA rather than the Brady Center.

George Zimmerman broken nose

Someone shouted out George Zimmerman — and was then shocked when I said that (a) Trayvon Martin wasn’t a sweet 12-year-old but was, instead, a hulking gang banger; (b) that Martin had smeared Zimmerman’s nose all over his face and was busy smashing his head into the pavement; and (c) that Zimmerman had black family members, was part Hispanic, and had a reputation for helping black youths at risk.  Zimmerman instantly vanished as a gun control topic.

The next argument to emerge was that the only thing the Second Amendment allows is muskets.  I countered that the Founders were good with words.  If they’d wanted to limit the Amendment to muskets, they would have.

Second Amendment

Well, you need a “militia” then, they asserted.  No, I explained.  We are all the militia.  The Founders had just emerged from a lengthy battle against a tyrannical government with a standing army.  They were able to engage this army only because, living as they did on a frontier far away from the motherland, ordinary citizens were generally armed and could therefore come together to stand against the government.  The Founders wanted to protect against any future tyranny by ensuring that the nation’s own government was never able to turn against the people.

Rounding Up Jews

I also pointed out that the first thing the Nazis did was confiscate guns.,  The response was predictable, and can be distilled to “that can’t happen here.” I’m sure that’s what my dad’s family thought, probably right up until they entered the gas chambers.

Since my friends think the Second Amendment is a pointless relic, I suggested that they get rid of it through the amendment process.  We should, they agreed — only the Red States would never allow it to happen.  Neither would the Blue States, I muttered.

London OWS riots

Where things really got frustrating, as far as I was concerned, and what I alluded to in my post caption, was my friends’ total disregard for the hard data we’ve received from existing gun control experiments.  In both Chicago and Washington, D.C., strict gun control played out exactly as the NRA said it would:  When guns were outlawed, only outlaws had guns.  When guns were reinstated in Washington, D.C., violent crime dropped.  In England, outlawing guns resulted in a huge uptick in violent crime, including gun crime.  Gun homicides in Britain have leveled out somewhat but, aside from the fact that the gun ban never effectively lowered gun crimes, the sad truth is that Britain is no longer a civil society:  instead, it is one of the most violent societies in the Western world.

The response I got to that indubitable fact is that Britain has a much lower murder rate than America.  This is true, but that’s an apples to oranges argument.  Britain has always had a lower murder rate than America.  When we at the effects of gun control on gun and other violence, we can’t reasonably compare Britain to America.  Instead, we have to compare pre-gun control Britain to post-gun control Britain — and that comparison shows that gun control coincided perfectly with a vastly increased crime rate.

Armed civilians save lives

My interlocutors were also unimpressed by the fact that, if someone opens fire in a public place (meaning he’s planning a mass slaughter), the best lifesaver is a civilian with a concealed carry weapon.  After all, the average police response time is measured in minutes.  Even if the shooter doesn’t have a big magazine, when he’s the only one there who’s armed, nothing stops him until the police get there.  If there is an armed civilian at the site of the shooting, however, and that civilian is neither crazed nor criminal, you usually end up with an intended mass shooting that becomes nothing but a small headline as the tragedy is limited to one or two, not scores.  I understand that correlation is not causation, but I suspect that there’s a connection in America between the increase in concealed carry over the last 20 years and a corresponding decrease in gun crimes.

When I threw out data about police response times, the difference in numbers of dead when someone with a concealed carry weapon is present, and the decrease in gun crimes over the last two decades, the gun-control people scoffed at the data.  “That can’t be true.”  “Guns kill people.”  “That doesn’t make sense.”  “If we got rid of guns, fewer people would die.”

It was at this moment that I realized that there truly was a giant intellectual chasm between me and them.  They can see only the people who died in the past, while I can count the ones who will live on into the future.  To them, the body count is the only data that counts.  To me, the statistical difference between those who die under a “gun control” regime and those who don’t die in a concealed carry environment, was the single most compelling piece of data out there.

Unlike my fellow Marinites, I realize that people are going to die under any circumstances.  Even the gun-control people concede that gun control will not actually do away with guns.  They’re just pretty sure it will decrease the number of guns overall — and to hell with the fact that this will be a lopsided decrease with law-abiding people ending up disarmed and lawless and crazy people ending up holding all the remaining arms.  It’s the gun equivalent of the old saying that, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of the disarmed citizen, the armed, crazed criminal rules.

My goal is to create the circumstances in which the largest possible number of people live.  My friends, however, believe that there is a Utopian future in which no people die.  To the extent that they understand that guns kill people, and they have the body count to prove it, they want to outlaw guns.  That data shows that outlawing guns results in more deaths is irrelevant to them.  The one fact they know and accept with comfortable certainty is that those who have already died because of guns might still be alive today if those particular guns hadn’t been available on that day, in that time, at that place.  Because this is the only fact that they can recognize, they focus obsessively on past deaths that could have been avoided with a few less guns, rather than projecting to future lives that, statistically, could certainly be saved with many more legal guns.

And as I said, I have absolutely no idea how to (a) get them to acknowledge that people will always die and (b) get them to understand that the best way to prevent future deaths isn’t to rehash old crimes but, rather, is to take the steps that are most likely to prevent future crimes.

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.  I extend this wish to Christians and non-Christians alike.  I feel so blessed to live in a country that shares this lovely holiday with everyone.

Vintage 1920s Christmas Card

The Leftist delusion of a world without danger

Thomas Hobbs, who was born into the waning years of the 16th Century and lived three-quarters of the way through the 17th Century, in his great work, Leviathan, characterized man’s life as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” He was not an optimist.

William Hogarth's Gin Lane

Hobbs may have been a pessimist, but he was also quite accurate.  In a pre-industrial, pre-scientific era, half of the children lucky enough to survive childbirth would die before their fifth birthday, with death usually resulting either from disease or accident (falling into an open fireplace or drowning in a well or waterhole were accidents common to the pre-modern era).

If one was lucky enough to survive early childhood, life still didn’t get much easier.  Even in stable communities, food supplies were unreliable; crime was prevalent; war had a nasty habit of breaking out all over; disease stalked everyone; childbirth was the scourge of young women; lightning and cooking caused deadly fires that swept through wood-built communities; and weather forecasts were nonexistent and weather deaths (cold, heat, lightening, floods, winds, etc.) were commonplace.  Old age was a rarity — or at the very least, was defined differently, with a toothless crone in her late 40s qualifying as “old.”

For those who managed to avoid premature death, life was dark indeed.  I mean that literally.  Except for the very rich, who could enj0y beeswax, the poor lit their homes (which usually had no windows) with smoky fires or tallow lights that left everything smelling like an old fryer at McDonalds.

Personal cleanliness was viewed with suspicion (as a sign of moral debauchery) so it wasn’t uncommon for people to go a lifetime without bathing.  Nor was this filth limited to the lower classes who had no access to running water.  James I of England was famous for his certainty that bathing would kill him.  Even the marginally clean English found his personal habits distasteful.  Streets and sewers were interchangeable, with people in buildings tossing the contents of their chamber pots into the streets, regardless of passing pedestrians.

Child Labor minor miners

The Hobbesian world began to change with the industrial revolution.  Wealth was no longer tied to the land and, therefore, finite.  It was suddenly infinite.  Although the initial transition from agricultural to industrial wrought appalling havoc for the poor, by chaining them to factory labor or coal mines in conditions that were little better than slavery, working their children to death, and herding them into filthy urban ghettos, overall the standard of living rose for everyone.  The rich, of course, benefited first, but the poor did too, to the point at which (at least before the endless Obama recession) even the poorest in American (unless they were insane homeless people) were able to buy cool shoes and disposable cell phones at Walmart.  Poverty became a matter of discomfort, not death.

Louis Pasteur

Things became even better when the scientific revolution picked up steam.  Suddenly, scientists and physicians had the comforting illusion that, when it come to the mysteries of disease, they could see all and know all.  Bacteria were visible and, with Penicillin, vulnerable.  Ailments originating within the body (a hot appendix, a bladder stone, even a damaged heart valve) could be fixed.  Viruses bowed down before vaccinations.  We were going to live forever.  Indeed, even though we 21st century residents haven’t actually achieved immortality, our modern lifespans would have been unimaginable only a century ago.

Battledore and Shuttlecock in 1845

One of the most stunning byproducts of the industrial and scientific ages was childhood, not just as a biological reality, but as an intellectual construct.  Past times recognized infancy and early childhood (until about 7 years old) as times of necessary development and dependency.  After that, though, right up until the Victorian age, children older than 7 or 10 years were regarded as mini-adults.  They were put to work in field or factory, indentured to trade, married in their mid-teens, and generally given responsibilities that, nowadays, we still consider too extreme even for “children” in their mid-20s.  Even twenty years ago, people would have laughed at the thought that “children” of 26 were dependents for insurance purposes.  Go back a time a few more decades than that, and the rules were simple:  if you survived childhood, you headed rapidly into adulthood.

These very positive historical trends have left us with one very wrongheaded delusion:  the belief that we can insulate ourselves and, especially, our children from all danger.

Old-time football player

Sometimes, the very act of insulation creates greater, counter-intuitive risks.  Those of us who don’t remember football being so dangerous in decades past are right.  It’s not just that we were less aware of the risks, it’s that football players had less protective gear.  It was a speed and passing game, one that favored smaller players and less aggressive contact.  Leather helmets provided some protection, but did not encourage players to pretend that they were big horn sheep who could engage in serious headbutting.  Once players became enswathed in protective gear — high-tech helmets and shoulder pads — they began to play a more aggressive game, one that favored big players and high impact tackles.  In other words, the counter-intuitive result of more protective gear in football is a higher, rather than a lower injury rate.

19th century boxers

The same is true in the boxing world.  When boxers were bare handed, they couldn’t land a hit harder than their own knuckles would bear.  As between a solid jaw bone and a knuckle bone, the jaw usually won.  Even with the advent of gloves, the early gloves were thin enough that the striker still had a risk about equal to that of the person on the receiving end.  It was only when the boxing world shifted to massively padded gloves, which successfully insulate the knuckles, that boxers were able to land such devastating strikes against their opponents’ jaws, eye sockets, and temples.

Tony Peitrantonio knockout

We’ve also over-protected ourselves is in the battle between antibiotics and bacteria. After a seventy year run in the antibiotics’ favor, the bacteria have regrouped and are coming back strong. One regularly reads upsetting stories about treatment-resistant bacteria.  Tuberculosis has the potential to become a scourge again; MRSA haunts hospital hallways; and many of us our digging out our grandmothers’ household hint books to find out how people treated garden-variety infections (cuts and ear aches) in the era before antibiotics came along.  In the same way, we’re facing the ugly truth that, due to a combination of parents resisting vaccination, and diseases resisting vaccination, old childhood scourges such as chicken pox, whooping cough, and measles are on the upswing.

We can’t win for losing.  Or rather, we have become so confident of our victories that we forget that the enemy — even one that lacks cognitive abilities — is as intent upon its own survival and is as adaptable as we are.

The above are, in a way, mechanical protective reflexes, where industrialism and science enable us to place barriers between us and objects or pathogens that are dangerous.  What is a peculiarly Leftist foible is believing that we can ignore entirely Nature writ large, human nature, or cultural pathology.

Going back to the topic of childhood mortality, the sad fact is that, while kids once fell prey to disease, they now fall prey to all sorts of other things, some new and some old.  Here’s a 2007 snapshot of the things that killed American children who survived congenital diseases in infancy:

Car accidents:  6,683 deaths
Firearm homicide:  2,186 deaths
Suffocation/strangling:  1,263 deaths
Non-firearm homicides:  1,159
Drowning:  1,045 deaths
Poisoning:  927 deaths
Suffocation suicide:  739 deaths
Firearm suicide:  683 deaths
Fires/Burns:  544 deaths
Firearm accidents:  138 deaths
Poisoning suicide:  133 deaths

What may leap out at you is how many children died in 2007. What leaps out to me, since I’ve always bathed my brain in history, is how few children died in 2007.  Although each of the above numbers represents indescribable grief, the percentage of child deaths is infinitesimal compared to the overall population of children in America.  Moreover, by far the largest number of deaths occurred in a peculiarly utilitarian way:  car accidents.  These were unintentional deaths that resulted from an object that is integral to our society’s functioning.

Bloods gang member with gun

The next highest number of deaths, as any Progressive would point out, is indeed from guns.  But here’s what the white liberals ignore until there’s a Columbine or Sandy Hook that makes them feel vulnerable  In that same year (2007) that 3,345 American children were murdered, here are the statistics for male youth deaths within the black community:

52.3% of black, male 15-19 year olds who died were murdered.
15.5% of black, male 10-14 year olds who died were murdered.
6.3% of black, male 5-9 year olds who died were murdered.
14.3% of black, male 1-4 year olds who died were murdered.

The situation is better, but not much, for black girls in 2007, as they are less likely to die as teens, but more likely to die as toddlers:

18.3% of black, female 15-19 year olds who died were murdered.
9.3% of black, female 10-14 year olds who died were murdered.
6.5% of black, female 5-9 year olds who died were murdered.
15.3% of black, female 1-4 year olds who died were murdered.

In other words, we don’t have a gun problem:  we have a black-children-are-getting-murdered problem. Those liberals who pay any attention at all to deaths that don’t involve white suburban children, never bothered looking at human nature in order to determine how to deal with the problem.

They didn’t look at the way welfare renders stable, earning males obsolete, thereby breaking down the family unit and forcing young men to find other ways than family and maturity to prove their “manliness.”  They didn’t consider that if you attack Judeo-Christian morality without providing an alternative morality, you end up with no morality.  They didn’t consider that advancing abortion in all-black communities is a subliminal message that black lives are disposable.  Instead, they ignored the human factor entirely and decided that, if they made weapons illegal, the communities would instantly become hippie-like communes of peace, with a little pot on the side.

Because Progressives thought they could bring a mechanical solution to a human problem, even more black children died.  Think of it this way:  Getting rid of bacteria doesn’t make them go away.  They come back stronger in different ways.  Likewise, getting rid of guns doesn’t make murder vanish.  Humans get creative with other forms of murder, and guns go underground and, removed from law and morality, get applied in ever more violent ways.

We cannot protect ourselves into safety.  The world is a dangerous place, albeit infinitely less dangerous than it has ever before been.  We are deluding ourselves if we believe that, either through hyper-safety mechanisms or bans (bans on bacteria or bans on guns) we can instantly make things safer.  In fact, it’s often the case that eradicating the danger entirely is either a delusion (bacteria are still out there) or creates worse dangers than that we originally sought to avoid.

What we can do is try to modify certain behaviors in order to decrease (although never eliminate) risk.  If antibiotics are becoming less useful, let’s wash our hands more often.  If violence is plaguing a community, let’s try to temper the community by giving people constructive purposes in life and by creating a sensibility that values life.  Getting rid of guns will not get rid of violence.  Valuing life might just diminish it somewhat, though.

Jews should never be without weapons — nor should anyone else

Some lessons seem almost impossible to learn in the abstract.  Even if we know the hard truth, until it has an impact upon our own lives, we go merrily along, assuming that the worst will never happen and that, if it does, we’ll muddle through somehow.

I’ve known a couple of people who awoke to find their homes on fire.  Both had exactly the same response:  “This can’t be happening to me.”  They were wrong.  It was happening to them and both ended up losing everything to the fire.  The fire also exerted profound behavioral control over them.  Neither would ever again sleep in the buff.  Both had fire extinguishers in every room.  And both vowed never again to get too attached to possessions, since they were, ultimately, so ephemeral.

Experience is a good teacher.

Jews, collectively, have experienced thousands of years of persecution, culminating in the Holocaust.  Israel, collectively, learned from the Holocaust that Jews must always be capable of self-defense.

Rounding Up Jews

Sadly, though, Jews as individuals, rather than as a collective, especially American Jews, have learned few lessons from the past.  Like the German Jews before them, they think “It can’t happen here.”  And like the true Leftists they are, they think the only safe repository for weapons is the state — forgetting entirely that it was the German state that used those same weapons for genocide on a hitherto unknown scale.

LA Riots

All of which leads me to Robert Avrech’s autobiographical essay about life in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots.  As Robert mentions in his essay, he had been in Israel during the Yom Kippur War, so he knew that it could happen (including know that children are always a terrorist’s first soft target).  But until the 1992 riots, he had never fully appreciated that it could happen here.

Moreover, when it happened, it didn’t just have to be them against the Jewswhich seems to be the only historic lesson Jews will ever contemplate. It could be them against whoever and whatever you are.  In 1992, it was them against whites and Koreans and, as is always the case when riots take hold, the rioters also manage to destroy the weakest and most vulnerable in their own communities.

The riots also brought another lesson home to Robert:  when all Hell breaks loose, the statistical likelihood is that the police will not be there to protect you.  What few people remember until it’s too late is that the police are a peace-time entity.  They are not equipped to deal with vast uprisings.  That’s an army’s responsibility.  But in America, the military isn’t going to be there instantly either.  It takes time for the President to mobilize the National Guard, assuming he even decides that a particular riot merits that response.  So, with police disabled and the military absent, you are on your own.

Katrina looters will be shot

I figured this one out, not after the L.A. riots, but after Hurricane Katrina.  Despite the savagery of the media’s knee-jerk attack against George Bush, the fact is that it was completely obvious from Day 1 that no government entity could aid all people at all the times.  The only ones who were assured of a modicum of safety against looters were those sitting on their porches with a rifle or semi-automatic in their lap.

Robert’s essay is delightful (he’s a professional screenwriter, so he really knows how to tell a tale), but it’s also a reminder:  It can happen here, whatever it happens to be.  It could be a pogrom, a Holocaust, a race riot, Zombies, etc.  You could be under attack because you’re white, black, Jewish, Asian, Hispanic, short, tall, rich, or poor.  It could happen spontaneously or because of a natural disaster.  The one thing we know with absolutely certainty is that, if it does happen, if you’re unarmed, you’re helpless.  Dumb luck might see you out of the line of fire or within the ambit of police protection but, without that luck . . . .

The littlest bodies in the Rwanda genocide

I will be back!

This is an Open Thread.  I’ve been on the go since yesterday morning, and things won’t slow down for another couple of hours.  Then, I blog!  Until then, please feel free to let us know what you’re thinking.

Book Review: Allen Mitchum’s “28 Pages”

One of the things that makes it very difficult to write a conservative-oriented thriller is that you cannot simply assume that your audience will understand your references.  In a standard pot-boiler, written for an American market brought up in public schools and addicted to Hollywood movies and television shows, there are so many shortcuts you can use to keep the action moving. For example, the phrase “corporate executive” equals “bad guy,” and everyone knows it.  Likewise, conservative politicians are malevolent hypocrites, who are usually in bed with the corporate executive.

On the other side of the good guy/bad guy divide, if the character opens his morning New York Times, you know that he’s good, smart, and has the right values.  People of Middle Eastern extraction are always good, even though wrong-thinking people enliven the plot by stereotyping them as bad, and blacks and Native Americans have surreal insights into the human soul.

The only good members of the military are the ones who are emotionally tormented by their service.  If you enjoyed your service, you must be a psychopath.  (Jack Reacher is anomalous in this regard, although Lee Child, the author, makes it clear that the military generally is run by greedy fools.  The military background is useful only to establish Reacher’s investigative, physical, and artillery expertise.)

Standard thrillers are, in a word, predictable.  But they’re also satisfying, because right (or, I should say, Left) triumphs at the end, after the hero has survived hair-raising gun battles (“Crazy people, don’t do this at home or school”), and then shot the conservative politician or corporate executive through both kneecaps before flinging him off a tall building.

Writers with a conservative perspective have two choices:  they can also rely on shorthand references, but that means they’ve got a very small audience, because most readers have been fed on standard media fare and don’t understand nuances that make sense to those with a broader knowledge base.  Or they can turn their books in boring treatises, with more preaching than action.  For this reason, it’s always a great pleasure to come across a thriller that’s got a conservative orientation, but that is neither preachy nor too dogmatic.  Allen Mitchum’s 28 Pages: A Political Thriller is such a book.

Mitchum’s protagonist, Heather Grahl, is a sharp young lawyer who’s good at what she does, but incurious about the world around her.  This changes when she receives a phone call notifying her that her sister’s beheaded body was found on a yacht in Bimini.  The evidence points to a Saudi conspiracy to destroy forever 28 pages that were omitted from the 9/11 Commission Report.  Soon, Heather finds herself on the run, a target of a Saudi hit squad.  Help comes to her from two people:  an expert in Saudi’s involvement in the worldwide jihad, and a shadowy figure who may have been complicit in her sister’s death or, perhaps, was a victim himself.

Mitchum’s book, of necessity, has didactic interludes, since the plot make sense only if he can educate the reader about Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism, which is the most aggressive form of Islamic jihad in the world.  Overall, though, Mitchum keeps these passages short and sweet, all the while developing the book’s characters and increasing the tension level.  Indeed, when I was about three-quarters of the way through, I got so nervous, I had to put the book aside and take my dog for a walk.  By my standards, that’s a pretty darn good thriller.

Another appealing thing about Mitchum’s writing is that he avoids the standard literary clichés I mentioned in the first few paragraphs of this review.  People are defined by their actions and beliefs, not by their racial or national identity.  Further, Mitchum isn’t partisan insofar as he believes that all Washington administrations, Democrat and Republican, have fallen prey to the siren song of Saudi money.  Because Mitchum isn’t a blind partisan, the core idea driving his novel — namely, that the Saudis are not our friends — is more credible than it would have been had he attacked a specific politician administration.

28 Pages is quick, enjoyable read, and one I highly recommend for those who like thrillers, but not the standard politics that go with so many of them.

Two articles on gun control, one pro, one con. Only one makes sense. Guess which.

I’d be surprised if you haven’t already read the post advocating against the imposition of Democrat-style gun control.  The author is Larry Correia and, as a nice Jewish grandmother would say, he knows from guns.  In other word, he’s writing from a position of factual strength.

Correia’s post is a long one, but well worth your time.  Here are some choice quotes, but don’t cheat yourself by reading only these quotes and then skipping the rest:

The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response. The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again.

[snip]

The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started.

[snip]

In my experience, the only people who are worth a darn with a gun are the ones who wish to take responsibility and carry a gun. Make it voluntary. It is rather simple. Just make it so that your state’s concealed weapons laws trump the Federal Gun Free School Zones act. All that means is that teachers who voluntarily decide to get a concealed weapons permit are capable of carrying their guns at work. Easy. Simple. Cheap. Available now.

[snip]

Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people. Period.

[snip]

In all honesty I have no respect for anybody who believes Gun Free Zones actually work. You are going to commit several hundred felonies, up to and including mass murder, and you are going to refrain because there is a sign? That No Guns Allowed sign is not a cross that wards off vampires. It is wishful thinking, and really pathetic wishful thinking at that.

The only people who obey No Guns signs are people who obey the law. People who obey the law aren’t going on rampages.

[snip]

I want to talk about the media’s effect on the shooters.

[snip]

These people want to make a statement. They want to show the world that they aren’t losers. They want to make us understand their pain. They want to make their peer group realize that they are powerful. They’ll show us. The solution is easy. It’s right there in front of your nose.

If you can kill enough people at one time, you’ll be on the news, 24/7, round the clock coverage. You will become the most famous person in the world. Everyone will know your name. You become a celebrity. Experts will try to understand what you were thinking. Hell, the President of the United States, the most important man in the world, will drop whatever he is doing and hold a press conference to talk about your actions, and he’ll even shed a single manly tear.

You are a star.

Please read the rest here.  Part of being armed for battle means being armed with the facts, and you will get them from Correia’s post.

Speaking of facts, The Atlantic has published a long online post likening the Second Amendment crowd to the pro-slavery crowd in the years leading up to the Civil War.  It is an exquisite example of Progressive reasoning, long on irrelevant facts and then using irrational reasoning to tie these irrelevant facts together into a Progressive conclusion.  As an added bonus, it makes a spectacular logical leap to tie together the racist Democrats, who were the first to demand gun control in order to disarm Southern blacks, with modern-day Constitutionalists who believe that every one has a right to self-defense, including blacks.

I’m too lazy to deconstruct the factual, historical, and analytical fallacies, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy doing that, especially after having read Correia’s post.  The only thing that saddens me greatly is that Ta-Nehisi Coates, who writes from a strong foundation of emotionalism and ignorance, has the imprimatur and reach of the still-respectedAtlantic behind him/her (can’t tell gender from name), while Correia, who has first-hand knowledge and actual facts (as opposed to feelings and historic rewrites) can only rely upon word of mouth in the blogosphere.

At long last! An election in which every candidate deserves to win

Winner

November 4 was disappointing, but we have got to shake it off.  To help with your post-election blues, let me direct you to the Gay Patriot’s Grand Conservative Blogress Diva 2012/13 Official Ballot. If you look closely, you will see that yours truly is one of the candidates.  I would, of course, appreciate your vote, but here’s the good thing:  No matter who wins, she will be worth.  I mean, the lineup is incredible:

Grand Conservative Blogress Diva 201213 Official Ballot

So, vote early and, because it’s sometimes fun to go the Chicago way, vote often.  (You can vote once a day.)

Watcher’s weather Mayan Apocalypse!

Alpaca Lips

Nothing keeps a good weasel watcher down, not even the end of the world.  The votes are counted and we have winners:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Sensible ideas for protecting our students *UPDATED*

Armed guard at school in Israel

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive VP, says that our violent culture is to blame for gun violence and that, as long as the culture is what it is, school children should have police protection.  Despite the fact that the majority of Americans agree with him, the drive-by media is excoriating as if he had just announced that he eats children for breakfast and urges us all to do the same.  Americans, who have been schooled out of rational thinking, will soon be referring to LaPierre in the appropriate pariah-like terms and, like the useful idiots they’ve been trained to be, mouth agreement with the same media that espouses values they reject.

Well, that’s all I have to say on the subject, because promised that I’d back off from the gun posts for a little while.  That doesn’t mean, though, that I can’t direct you to other people’s.  (Hey, I’m a lawyer.  I’m always looking for loopholes.)

First, Bookworm room friend Servo1969 put up a solid post at the Free Republic detailing practical ways to protect our children when they’re herded into public schools.  And honestly, I had no idea you could holster a gun in your bra.

Second, when it comes to the media’s performance in the wake of this tragedy, Mark Steyn says it best:

For those untouched by death this Christmas, someone else’s bewildering, shattering turn of fate ought to occasion a little modesty and circumspection. Instead, even by its usual execrable standards, the public discourse post-Newtown has been stupid and contemptible. The Left now seizes on every atrocity as a cudgel to beat whatever happens to be the Right’s current hottest brand: Tucson, Ariz., was something to do with Sarah Palin’s use of metaphor and other common literary devices — or “toxic rhetoric,” as Paul Krugman put it; Aurora, Colo., was something to do with the Tea Party, according to Brian Ross of ABC News. Since the humiliations of November, the Right no longer has any hot brands, so this time round the biens pensants have fallen back on “gun culture.” Dimwit hacks bandy terms like “assault weapon,” “assault rifle,” “semiautomatic,” and “automatic weapon” in endlessly interchangeable but ever more terrifying accumulations of high-tech state-of-the-art killing power.

Okay, I’m done for now. But please don’t tune out of this debate. Our fundamental liberties have never been more at risk. The Obama administration has now taken aim at both the First Amendment (religious freedom) and the Second Amendment (right to carry arms). With the media running interference for him, we have to be strong on facts and logic, and willing to take the fight to the Left, if we want our Constitution to be more than just a tattered piece of paper.

By the way, this bit of Israeli satire, especially the first minute or so, explains a lot.  An awful lot.

UPDATE:  One more.  You have to read this one, regarding the lunacy of the Left’s instantaneous negative reaction to LaPierre’s proposal.

Hagel wins over Andrew Sullivan by groveling to gays and smearing Jews

Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel apologized for making a fairly nasty gay slur more than a decade ago.  The execrable Andrew Sullivan is proud of Hagel, especially because Hagel’s mea culpa wasn’t accompanied by a companion mea culpa to the Jews and the State of Israel, as to both of which Hagel has directed a boatload of smears, insults, and threats.

According to Sullivan, Hagel recited his dictated apology perfectly, and it’s a mercy that Andrew and his ilk trained Hagel so well, because it won’t be the first apology Hagel will probably be called upon to make.  Why?  Because of the Joos, whom Sullivan views in much the same way the Arab crowd does:

Antisemitic imagery from the Arab world

The rest is smears – and there will be more to come, knowing how fanatical and ruthless the Greater Israel lobby is.

Hagel need not worry too much, though. Sullivan rightly divines that, in Obama’s America, as long as you make nice to the gays, it’s okay to start preparing the pathway to a new Jewish genocide:

This [i.e., Hagel's ability to appease various Leftist victim groups] is fast becoming a litmus test of whether an American president can nominate a defense secretary without getting the blessing of the AIPAC chorus. Yes, we have sunk that far. But this could be a turning point for a saner Middle East policy.

I think the Palestinians have a phrase for a “saner Middle East policy“:  “There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.”

It’s not just that Sullivan is ever more proudly wearing his antisemitism alongside his homosexuality.  It’s not even as if he sounds as if he’s reading out of the Cliff Notes version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  What’s so horrific is that he has a bully pulpit on the blogosphere — and, moreover, one that, to those unaware of modern media’s ideology collapse, seems respectable.

Andrew Sullivan

Sullivan is a mental slob and a moral deviant (something entirely separate from his sexual identity, which is his own business).  In a free nation, he’s allowed to be a pea brain and antisemite, but it says something just awful about America that he has a large and loyal following.

And if we want to take horrific and multiply it by appalling, what’s really astounding and depressing is that, as I know from my Leftward friends, many of his most devout followers are Jews.  Or rather, I should say that, genetically they’re Jewish and they observe the High Holy Days, but their sensibilities are shaped entirely by Leftist politics.  Like all useful idiots and appeasers, they’re pretty sure the crocodile, once it starts its attack, will pass them by for someone who forgot to grovel and pander as well as they did.

Oh, wait!  I’ve thought of something even more dreadful than horrific multiplied by appalling:  It’s not just that Andrew Sullivan approves of Chuck Hagel.  It’s that our president — reelected by 52% of the American population — does too.  Rather than leading the call for surrender of arms, smart Jews should be stockpiling.