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!
Archives for December 2012
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 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.
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.
A friend send me a link to to this poster:
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:
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:
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):
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.
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.
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 Council has spoken, wrapping up the year in grand Council style:
- *First place with 3 1/3 votes! Joshuapundit –A Game Change In Syria
- Second place with 2 votes – Bookworm Room– The Leftist delusion of a world without danger
- Third place with 1 1/3 votes – VA Right!-Virulent ‘Pro-Choice’ Rhetoric, ADHD Drugs, Video Games to Blame for School Shootings
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – The Razor- The Conscience Pangs of a Drone Pilot
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – Rhymes With Right-A Silly Anti-Gunnite Argument On Second Amendment Rights That Needs Dismissing
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – The Independent Sentinel-Gun Control Move Is Political Theater – Here’s Proof
- Fourth place *t* with 1 vote – The Noisy Room- Big Business and Marxist Collusion – Bourgeois Socialism
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – The Right Planet – A Real Plan for Recovery …
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Simply Jews –The Guardian report on Christmas in Bethlehem
- Fifth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Gay Patriot –Larry Elder’s message to the GOP: Explain how Democratic policies hurt the poor
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – The Mellow Jihadi – Suicide Strikes the Navy, SEAL Commander Down
- Sixth place *t* with 1/3 vote – The Political Commentator – If your employee did these 10 things, would you fire them?
- First place with 4 votes! – Larry Corriea/Monster Hunter Nation–An opinion on gun control submitted by The Noisy Room
- Second place with 2 1/3 votes –American Thinker/Anne Lieberman –Against Nothingness submitted by Joshuapundit
- Third place with 1 2/3 votes – Thomas Sowell –Gun Control Ignorance submitted by The Right Planet
- Fourth place with 1 1/3 votes –The Socialism of Fools-The New Laocoon submitted by Simply Jews
- Fifth place with 1 vote – Seraphic Secret –Jew Without a Gun submitted by Bookworm Room
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 votes –Victor Davis Hanson – Let the Real Fat Cats Pay Their Fair Share submitted by The Independent Sentinel
- Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote – Sultan Knish –The Perfect Prison submitted by The Political Commentator
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote –Boston Globe/ Michael Kranish –The Story Behind Mitt Romney’s Loss In The Presidential Campaign submitted by The Watcher
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote –J.D. Tuccille/Reason.com –Gun Restrictions Have Always Bred Defiance, Black Markets submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote –Urban Grounds – Does Anybody at the Texas Tribune Even Own a Gun?submitted by Rhymes With Right
- Seventh place *t* with 1/3 vote -Ann Althouse –Scenery chewing in the Theater of Outrage over Wayne LaPierre’s unremarkable news conference. submitted by Gay Patriot
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?
This post is labeled “Open Thread,” so please feel free to overwhelm me with ideas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Joshuapundit–A Game Change In Syria
- The Noisy Room – Big Business and Marxist Collusion – Bourgeois Socialism
- The Political Commentator – If your employee did these 10 things, would you fire them?
- The Independent Sentinel – Gun Control Move Is Political Theater – Here’s Proof
- Simply Jews – The Guardian report on Christmas in Bethlehem
- VA Right! – Virulent ‘Pro-Choice’ Rhetoric, ADHD Drugs, Video Games to Blame for School Shootings
- The Right Planet – A Real Plan for Recovery …
- The Glittering Eye –Do We Really Want Less Work or Investment?
- The Razor – The Conscience Pangs of a Drone Pilot
- Rhymes With Right – A Silly Anti-Gunnite Argument On Second Amendment Rights That Needs Dismissing
- The Colossus of Rhodey – Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week
- The Mellow Jihadi – Suicide Strikes the Navy, SEAL Commander Down
- Bookworm Room – The Leftist delusion of a world without danger
- Gay Patriot – Larry Elders message to the GOP: Explain how Democratic policies hurt the poor
- GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Best Chick For The Gig
- Right Truth – The Worst Woman of 2012
- Ask Marion – Simpler Times – A Groetzmeier Christmas
- Crazy Bald Guy – My review of “Brave”
- Wolf Howling – The 2nd Day Of Christmas
- The Pirate’s Cove – Campaign 2012: The Titan of Entitlements
- American Thinker/Anne Lieberman – Against Nothingness submitted by Joshuapundit
- Larry Corriea/Monster Hunter Nation –An opinion on gun control submitted by The Noisy Room
- Sultan Knish –The Perfect Prison submitted by The Political Commentator
- Victor Davis Hanson – Let the Real Fat Cats Pay Their Fair Share submitted by The Independent Sentinel
- The Socialism of Fools – The New Laocoon submitted by Simply Jews
- Marathon Pundit – Chicago Teachers Union offers class cutting strategies to members submitted by VA Right!
- Thomas Sowell – Gun Control Ignorance submitted by The Right Planet
- J.D. Tuccille/Reason.com – Gun Restrictions Have Always Bred Defiance, Black Markets submitted by The Glittering Eye
- The Patriot Perspective –David Gregory Violates DC Gun Law On National TV Update:CNNs Don Lemon Admits To Breaking Gun Laws, Too? submitted by The Mellow Jihadi
- Seraphic Secret–Jew Without a Gun submitted by Bookworm Room
- Ann Althouse –Scenery chewing in the Theater of Outrage over Wayne LaPierre’s unremarkable news conference. submitted by Gay Patriot
- Taki’s Magazine –10 Facts About Brooklyn Natives submitted by The Razor
- Urban Grounds – Does Anybody at the Texas Tribune Even Own a Gun? submitted by Rhymes with Right
- The Delaware Libertarian – The Inquisition of Mr. Marvel submitted by The Colossus of Rhodey
- Real Clear Markets/Bill Frezza – Clement Moore Revisited: Twas the Night Before Fiscliff submitted by The Watcher
- Boston Globe/ Michael Kranish – The Story Behind Mitt Romney’s Loss In The Presidential Campaign submitted by The Watcher
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.