Shooting off steam, with the NRA’s Women on Target

BulletIt turns out that a great antidote for being disgruntled is to fire off a few rounds.  That’s what I did yesterday when I attended an NRA “Women on Target” gun safety and training class at Bullseye, Marin’s only indoor shooting range.  I had a wonderful time.

We spent the first hour receiving instruction about guns — how they work and how to use them — from a former Navy weapons instructor.  He opened by telling us that he loved teaching women, because they seemed more open to instruction than men and were definitely more willing to ask questions.  And question him we did.  By the time the hour was over, we knew more than I ever thought possible about the way guns and bullets work.  It was very entertaining.

We also learned, of course, the gold standard for gun safety:  (1) Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction; (2) Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; and (3) Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

With respect to Rule 1, a workplace colleague who is also an NRA instructor told me that he tells his students that they must never point the gun at anything they’re not willing to kill.  When he taught his daughter shooting and she carelessly turned an unloaded gun towards him, he immediately announced that, because he was now dead, the lesson was, and then made her wait a week before he’d resume her lesson.

After the classroom instruction, we headed down to the firing range.  There were five instructors for ten women, ensuring that we all got lots of personal supervision.  I got to work with a revolver and a pistol, both of which shot .22 caliber bullets.  The revolver weighed less than the pistol, which should have made it a nicer gun for me, but I found it easier to aim with the pistol.  I therefore ended up using the pistol three-fifths of the time.

What was most fun was watching the other women just light up as they got more adept at shooting.  Some had used guns before, but most were newbies.  They were there for myriad reasons:  personal security reasons, for principle, for curiosity, for family pride, etc.  One women was terrified of guns and was taking the class in the hope that it would help assuage her fear.  Last I saw her, she was still a little nervous, but was also happily, and competently, firing away at a target.  I think she learned that a gun, like a car, is both a tool and a source of fun, provided that it is used safely and responsibly.

Another woman went from firing one cautious shot per minute, without getting anywhere near the target, to emptying the 10 round magazine in a couple of minutes.  When she started, she was game but nervous.  When she finished, she was glowing with happiness as she showed how she had a nice pattern of shots all contained within a circle that was about 3″ in diameter.

Why is firing a gun so much fun?  I know that it satisfies my targeting abilities.  Over the years, I’ve discovered that I have decent aim, whether playing darts, tossing paper balls into a garbage can or, as it happens, shooting guns at targets.  It’s also fun to know that there is room for improvement.  Since I’m merely a decent shot for a beginner, there’s so much room to grow.  I like doing activities at which I can get better.  As I tell my children, there’s only so good you can get at folding laundry . . . and then it’s just boring.

Guns are also fun because they make one feel less helpless.  I know that, should I be in a situation in which I need to fire a gun to save my life (or someone else’s) I can do it.  I hope that I’m never in such a situation, but now I know that I can handle it should it arise.  That’s a good feeling.

And finally, I wonder if guns aren’t fun because, after growing up anti-gun, shooting a gun feels like a slightly illicit activity to me.  I also feel very good knowing that, with every shot I take, I’m thumbing my nose at the sizable segment of the population that would like to erase the Second Amendment, leaving us without recourse against predators, both governmental and non-governmental.

I’ll end by throwing in a very deserved good word for Bullseye, the shooting range and gun supply store.  I cannot tell you how nice the people who work there were, and that goes for the instructors and the people manning the counter.  They weren’t just courteous and efficient, they were really friendly.  Being a neophyte, I find the thought of gun stores and ranges somewhat intimidating, but these people couldn’t have been nicer.

I also learned that, to encourage women, Bullseye has a ladies night.  Every Wednesday night, from 6 to 8, ladies get half off on lane rental.  (Also, although it’s not on the website, there might be a special deal if two or more women come in during ladies night needing to rent guns and buy bullets.  If you’re planning on going, call and check on what deals they have. )

“Captain Phillips”: The most pro-Second Amendment movie I’ve ever seen

Captain-Phillips-poster-26Jul2013_02I finally got around to watching Captain Phillips. The move is ripped from headlines in 2009, when a Maersk captain got kidnapped by Somalia pirates, and was then rescued when Navy SEALS managed to kill the kidnappers in a sniper tour de force — perched on a rocking boat, the SEAL snipers took out three pirates who were standing within the confines of a closed – and also rocking — life boat. The movie didn’t do much for me as entertainment (more on that later), but I thought it was a splendid argument supporting the right to bear arms.

Since we’re all familiar with the actual kidnapping story, which we watched play out in real time, I’m not giving anything away when I say that the movie’s plot begins when four Somali pirates, traveling in a small, open skiff and armed with semi-automatic rifles and pistols, board a giant Maersk cargo ship. Their goal is to hold the ship’s crew hostage until Maersk’s insurance meets their ransom demand. Things go awry, though, when the ship’s crew fights back and manages to kidnap the leader of the pirate band. When the Maersk crew returns the pirate to his own crew, now ensconced in the Maersk’s fully enclosed life boat, the pirates successfully turn the tables, grab Captain Phillips, and take off.

The musical score indicated that the scenes in which the pirates stalk and eventually board the Maersk ship were meant to be gripping. Certainly, you could see the crew getting nervous. There they were, helpless, as these cruel predators stalked them. The only thing they could do was to turn on their ship’s water cannons in an effort to make boarding difficult. Here’s a nice picture showing the teeny skiff working its way up to the giant cargo ship with all its cannon going full force:

Water cannons in Captain Phillips

The image reminds of nothing so much as a feisty little mouse stalking a terrified, moribund, drooling elephant. Watching this scene, therefore, my dominant emotion wasn’t fear or anxiety, it was exasperated anger. If the Maersk had been armed with a few semi-automatic weapons or a mortar launcher or two, it could have blown that little skiff out of the water in an instant.

A small skiff would never have dared approach a boat it knew was armed. The only reason the pirates could act with such impunity was because they had the weapons and they knew that the only thing that the cargo ship could do was to spit at them.

At movie’s end, Phillips wasn’t rescued because of his ingenuity or courage (although the script works hard to give him both).  Instead, he was rescued because the U.S. Navy out-manned and out-gunned the rag-tag band of pirates.

To me, the movie’s overwhelming message was that, if the outlaws are the only ones with guns, you’re helpless. However, if the good guys also have guns, the outlaws are mincemeat. This is as true within a country as it is on international waters. The Maersk ship was a metaphor for every law-abiding American who is denied the right to bear arms, and who then finds himself staring into the barrel of a bad guy’s gun, aimed right at him.

Thankfully, the Captain Phillips incident helped some of the shipping companies see the light. Rather than viewing ransom payments as a cost of doing business, thereby incentivizing piracy, some of the companies now hire armed guards who can, presumably, knock off a pirate skiff even before it gets within range of water cannons. You won’t be surprised to learn that the pirates, who are now greeted with the business end of a gun rather than the promise of cash, have pretty much gone out of business.  Again, this is a perfect metaphor for the Second Amendment, which posits that there are more good guys in America than bad ones and, from that, extrapolates that, if the good guys are armed, the bad guys will retreat.

Aside from that powerful Second Amendment message (which I suspect was inadvertent), the movie left me pretty cold:

It failed as a suspense movie, because I already knew how it ended.

It failed as a hagiography of Captain Phillips, because I had already read months ago that the crew vehemently disputes Phillips’ heroic version of events. One could say that this is just sour grapes on the crews’ part, because they missed out on the money (and because the movie painted them as sniveling union cowards), but the facts bear out one important piece of information: given the prevalence of pirates in the region, ships were told to stay 600 miles off shore, well out of pirate range. Phillips kept his ship within 300 miles of shore, a fact even he concedes. If the crew is right about that incredibly salient point, it may well be right about all the other stuff.

It failed stylistically, because the director, Paul Greengrass, tried to shoot it as if it was a documentary happening in real time. This stylistic choice had two byproducts: First, it gave the movie that jerky, handheld quality you see when documentary filmmakers are running after a subject. I find this irritating. I tolerate it for real documentaries, but find it unnecessary and unpleasant in faux documentaries. Second, the actors weren’t acting, they were mimicking. You could see them sweat (and then inwardly congratulate themselves) as they tried to copy the speech and mannerisms of a real person. They therefore never fully inhabited their characters, leaving them one-dimensional. This made the movie lifeless.

It failed morally to the extent it seemed to say that the pirates were also innocent victims, more to be pitied than censured. Certainly, it’s true that Somalia is a country of abysmal poverty and disarray, made worse by its citizens’ addiction to khat. The pirates are shown chewing khat to get themselves excited for the hunt, and then becoming increasingly paranoid and desperate as their khat supply runs out. When one looks at the dreadful country, all of Somalia’s citizens are much to be pitied. Still, that’s not a license to engage in crime on a mass scale. Moreover, it was clear from the movie that the real malfeasors are the shipping and insurance companies that saw ransom as a cost of doing business, giving the Somalis a rational incentive to engage in piracy. As noted above, without this incentive, the Somali pirate trade pretty much ended.

And finally, the movie failed for a reason unique to me: I don’t like Tom Hanks. I’ve been dragged to see all of his movies over the years, and I’ve never like him. He runs the gamut from maudlin to overacting, a range that doesn’t just leave me cold, but leaves me with a vague, shuddering revulsion.

Does Progressive atheism drive the hostility to guns and self-defense?

Sistine-Creation-DetailHqMike McDaniel is one of the best and most knowledgeable thinkers and writers when it comes to guns and the Second Amendment.  That’s why it’s worth sitting up and taking notice when he revisits one of his own posts to discuss reader objections.  I’ll run you through what Mike has to say and then tell you why I agree with him.  This is a long post, but I hope it’s engaging enough to sustain your interest all the way through, so that you’ll take the time to weigh in with your own opinions.

It all started with a post entitled “Why It’s So Hard To Discuss Guns Rationally With Some People,” which Mike published at The Truth About Guns (“TTAG”), one of the internet’s premier Second Amendment sites.  Mike’s starting point is the same problem I had when discussing guns with liberal friends in the wake of Sandy Hook: Progressives cannot move beyond emotions and get to actual facts.

Mike, though, didn’t stop with my facile conclusion about how frustrating it is to talk about guns with Progressives.  Instead, he looked beyond the emotional drivel and honed in on the core ideologies driving Progressive or, more accurately, statist thinking.  These ideologies are

(1) the Progressive’s belief in the state’s ability to solve every problem and its corollary,  which is that every individual other than the Progressive holding this thought is incapable of knowing what’s best for him;

(2) the Progressive’s refusal to acknowledge that there is a Higher Power or Being, reinforcing the belief in the all powerful state and further diminishing an individual’s standing; and

(3) the Progressive’s belief that the state is both infallible and unfalsifiable.  This belief allows Progressives to argue that, if a specific law fails — say, that a law specific guns fails to stop or even slow gun crime — the answer is to pass the same law, only to make it more far-reaching and consequential.

Mike’s article garnered 355 comments.  To Mike’s surprise, the point in his article that got the harshest criticism was his second argument, the one holding that rejecting a Higher Being is what allows Progressives to deny the right to armed-self defense.   Here’s Mike’s argument in that regard:

The second factor: a refusal to acknowledge the existence of any power higher than themselves. In essence, they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God. For some, this lack of belief is nothing more than being made uncomfortable by the idea that there is One greater than themselves, than their current maximum, cult-of-personality leader, than the state itself. For others, progressivism/statism takes on all of the characteristics of a religion; it become a matter of unquestionable faith. For such people, believing in God is essentially apostasy.

As it relates to the Second Amendment, these two factors make it not only possible, indeed, mandatory for the progressive/statist to deny the unalienable right to self-defense. If there is no God, the individual human life has only the value recognized by the state at any given moment. The individual exists only in service to the state, and the value of their life is measured by the individual’s adherence to the state’s goals and their usefulness to the elite ruling class. That being the case, there’s nothing particularly unique or precious about any individual, therefore an unalienable right to self-defense is nothing but an annoying impediment to the larger, more important goals of the state.

Indeed, God need not even be involved for the committed statist to deny the existence of any right of self-defense. Any unalienable right is an inherent limitation on the power of the state, and no such limitation can be acknowledged. Whether such rights are bestowed by God or invented as a result of human philosophy matters not. The power of the state cannot be diminished, and if the individual is allowed control over their own existence — if that control is bestowed by God which is far more powerful than the state — the power of the state becomes illegitimate and unquestionably hampered.

In any case, if there is no unalienable right to self-defense, there can be no right to keep and bear arms, or as progressives/statists often argue, such “right” guarantees nothing more than the privilege to carry arms in the military—in the service of the state and its ruling elite—and perhaps for hunting or sport shooting under highly restrictive circumstances.

To such arguments, conservatives and others commonly point to the Constitution and particularly, to the Bill of Rights. This is why progressives/statists argue for a “living Constitution,” which is another way of saying that the Constitution says what they want it to say and means what they want it to mean at any given moment. The better to legitimize whichever progressive/statist policy they wish to implement. This is also why progressives/statists labor to install judges who reflect the “living Constitution” frame of mind. Politics are too fickle; better to have true believers legislating from the bench when it’s not, for the moment, possible to impose progressive orthodoxy through the legislative process when the masses are temporarily rebelling against the elite.

To summarize:  For varying reasons, true Progressives cannot simultaneously hold a belief in God and state, so God goes out the window.  Without God, the individual has neither innate dignity nor inherent rights.  He is, instead, just a cog in the state’s workings and his value can never be greater than that which the state assigns to him.  Indeed, inalienable rights are antithetical to an all-powerful state.  They cannot exist simultaneously.  The moment that the individual is subordinate to the state, the state can make whatever rules it wants regarding arms and self-defense.  Usually, these rules benefit the ruling class to the detriment of everyone else.  To the extent the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights indicate otherwise, they must be ignored, interpreted out of existence, or amended to make explicit the state’s control over guns and, by extension, self-defense.

To Mike’s surprise, several TTAG readers took umbrage when he argued that Progressives’s elevation of the state over God (or denial of God altogether) is inextricably intertwined with their rejection of guns and the inherent right to self-defense.

Take, for example, “joleme’s” objection:

I was with him until the god comment.

I’m not sure why some pro-gun people need to split pro-gun supporters by making such statements.  It’s one of the reason’s [sic] I tend to feel uncomfortable around some large groups of gun supporters.  I myself am very pro-gun.  I see no reason to limit the 2nd amendment.  Inevitably however, it seems like someone always has to start a religion talk and ends up being a “only us god fearing men are in the right”.

I think you need to assess your own religious discriminating views.

Mike was quite disturbed that he could be considered as someone who would discriminate against fellow Second Amendment supporters on religious grounds.  He went back through his original TTAG post to see if he came across as a Fire and Brimstone preacher.  I can assure him that he did not.  And since he’s my friend, I want to assure him further that (a) he didn’t insult atheist gun owners and (b) he was right about the “godly aspect” of America’s constitutional right to self-defense.

As to the first point (that he wasn’t insulting atheist gun-rights supporters), Mike needn’t worry.  He definitely wasn’t waiving a discriminatory Bible at people who support the Second Amendment but don’t believe in God.  Those readers who took offense seem to have missed the fact that Mike was entirely unconcerned with pro-Second Amendment people.  Instead, he was trying to understand how America’s self-defined Progressives can deny an individual’s right to self-defense.

It was in that context — why true Progressives cannot accept self-defense, armed or otherwise — that Mike advanced his theory that rejecting a Higher Being’s existence inevitably means living and dying at the state’s whim.  Significantly, that conclusion does not imply its corollary.  That is, while Progressives’ collective atheism drives the hives’ hostility to self-defense, one doesn’t need to believe in God as a predicate to believing in self-defense.  They are not mutually exclusive ideas.

I can easily believe in armed self-defense for non-theistic reasons:  (1) the lesson of history, which is that the greatest number of deaths in the last 150 years have invariably followed a government’s move to disarm its citizens; (2) the fact that mass shootings always happen in “gun free” zones; or (3) the fact that crime goes up when gun control goes up and crime goes down when concealed carry goes up.  All three of these are inarguable facts and it’s impossible to maintain a reasonable gun control stand when faced with these facts.

Since the above facts are the arena in which most gun control discussion are carried out, arguing with gun control fanatics invariably ends with them calling you names.  Indeed, calling Second Amendment supporters blood-crazed, murderous, child-killing Nazis is the only appropriate response when the facts show that, within the confines of a free society (as opposed to, say, Yemen), guns advance individual safety, rather than destroy it.

None of the above facts rely on God.  Both theistic and atheistic individuals can cite them to justify gun rights.

But let’s be honest:  Mike wasn’t talking about a specific individual’s understanding of facts or rights.  Instead — and this is the second issue Mike raised — he was asking a fundamental question:  Why, in America, unlike all other nations, do we have a Constitutional right to bear arms?  Answering this question, at a societal rather than an individual level, requires looking at rights inherent in all men, rather than preference among both theistic and atheistic individuals.  In this larger context, Mike is absolutely right that the Founders’ belief in God was a prerequisite to their drafting the Second Amendment and the Progressive’s collective belief in the State is the overarching justification for their denying the Second Amendment.

Many of the Founders disdained traditional religious worship, but all were theists.  They believed that there was a higher power that created man and elevated him over all other beings on earth, complete with inherent rights that flowed from God, not the state.  That belief is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The state is subordinate to these rights, as the Declaration makes clear in the sentence immediately following that affirmative of rights inherent in all men, irrespective of the state:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The hierarchy is clear:  First, God; second, His creation (man); and, third, man’s creation (the state).  To ensure that the state retains it’s place at the bottom of the hierarchy, the Founders enacted the Bill of Rights.  As I’ve argued (often), the entire purpose behind the Bill of Rights is to ensure that government is subordinate to each individual, and not vice versa.  It is within this context that the Second Amendment makes sense:  First, it exists to ensure that the state cannot become tyrannical as to the collective of all; and second, it exists to ensure that each individual is protected from the state and that each individual has the right to defend the sanctity of his own life, separate from the state’s needs or power.

On the pro-gun side, incidentally, you can also say that you only need the second and third elements of the above hierarchy to justify guns:  man comes first, the state second, and men get guns to keep the state in place.  That’s a valid, non-theistic, pro-gun argument too.

But now look at it the other way, from the Progressive’s point of view, which was Mike’s point.  The Progressives also have an ideological hierarchy underpinning their conception of man’s relationship to government:  First comes the state.  Then comes man.  There can be no God, because God would, by definition, have to supersede the state in the hierarchy.  Man must therefore be subordinate to the state.  This means that the state gets to make all the rules and rule number one is:  NOTHING CAN THREATEN THE STATE.  Moreover, statists fully understand that nothing threatens the state more (as we see on this, the 71st anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising or as we saw with the Bundy & Co. stand against the BLM) than an individual with a gun.

So Mike is right:  both the godly and the godless (and yes, that last is said with a light laugh and not meant as an insult) can support an individual’s right to bear arms.  However, the only way to deny an individual’s right to bear arms is to deny man’s inherent value vis a vis the state — and that requires a world in which there is no God.  The Progressive hive (as opposed to the individual Progressive who attends his leftist church or synagogue) must deny God both as man’s creator and as a counterweight to the state’s absolute primacy in order to justify denying the Founder’s conclusion that each of us is endowed with an inherent right to self-defense through arms.

And think about it:  Back in the day, Americans didn’t just call communists “communists.”  They called them “Godless communists,” understanding that the Godless part was an intrinsic aspect of the state’s absolute, unfettered power, a power that was and still is invariably accompanied by gun control and the refusal to recognize self-defense as a valid individual right.

Georgia Mayor speaks truth to Bloomberg’s anti-2nd Amendment Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization

No gunsAs is the case with so many Leftist organizations, on the surface former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s alleged gun safety organization sounds so reasonable:  “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (“MAIG”).  Heck, we’re all opposed “illegal” guns, right?  It’s only the definition of “illegal” that might trip some of us up.

When I think of an “illegal gun,” I’m thinking of a shoulder mounted rocket launcher, a fully automatic machine gun, or perhaps an otherwise innocuous revolver in the hands of a 14-year-old Chicago gang-banger.  It’s become increasingly clear, however, that when MAIG talks about illegal guns it’s envisioning a world in which all guns are illegal unless in the hands of (a) a police department or (b) a Democrat politician’s body guards.

When the Orwellian-named MAIG approached David Lockhart, the mayor of Fort Park, Georgia, he wasn’t interested in playing cute semantic games with an organization dedicated to destroying the Second Amendment.  Instead, he sent them a delightful, long letter detailing exactly what’s wrong with MAIG:

I do not support your efforts. I oppose efforts to require private sellers with minimal sales (non-dealers) to perform background checks. I am proud that gun shows are regularly conducted in Forest Park.

If you really want to reduce illegal gun sales, perhaps your energy would be better focused in petitioning the BATF to end its illegal gunwalking. Because of Operation Fast and Furious, Brian Terry was murdered with a weapon sold by our own government.

Your organization claims that the goal is “protecting the rights of Americans to own guns, while fighting to keep criminals from possessing guns illegally,” yet none of your “Coalition Principles” further any such protections. One of the principles is to “keep lethal, military style weapons off our streets.” First, I am awestruck that you would focus on “lethal guns.” It seems that guns’ lethality is the point of their design. That you believe a gun’s “military style” makes it more lethal is asinine, and however you would define such style does not make guns so designed illegal. Your stated goals–protecting legal ownership and eliminating criminals from illegally possessing guns–are belied by your specific objectives. What you propose would convert what is currently legal possession into criminal behavior. You may have fooled other mayors, and you may have other fools who agree with your actual objectives, but you haven’t fooled me.

That your organization was founded by Michael Bloomberg, who criminalized the sale of sodas of a certain size, is telling. It is impossible to believe such a man is really concerned with the protections afforded by our Constitution.

Hat tip: Guns Save Lives

Fort Hood exemplifies the insanity of our modern age

David Burge (aka Iowahawk) reduces the insanity at Fort Hood to a mere 22 perfect and pithy words.  (Hat tip:  Caped Crusader.)

No guns on army bases

Imagine, if you will, that what happens at one of these bases isn’t one crazed gunman or disaffected Islamist but is, instead, a sustained, surprise paramilitary attack. Will our sitting duck troops call 911 then too? They are vulnerable to any surprise attack, whether it comes from one or dozens or hundreds of murderously inclined and heavily armed people.

Friday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe Taliban has hit Marin County (indirectly).  Marin County is headquarters for Roots of Peace, an admirable charity that seeks to advance agricultural development in poverty-stricken areas.  It has an outpost in Afghanistan, where it seeks to enable the Afghani people to feed themselves.  The Taliban can’t have that kind of thing happening in its country.  It therefore sent off some foot soldiers to attack the Roots of Peace Kabul office, killing a child in the process.  If radical Islam had a cable-TV station, it’s motto would be “All war, all the time.”  One wonders if this will be a bit of reality that mugs that peaceniks who are so self-centered that they cannot envision cultures that have, as their core value, a desire for perpetual warfare.

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David Clarke, Milwaukee’s Sheriff, made a splash when he encouraged Milwaukee’s beleaguered citizens to arm themselves:

Police chief get a gun

I think Clarke may have found a kindred spirit in Detroit Police Chief James Craig. During a press conference in which he discussed the rising numbers of homeowners (successfully) using arms to defend themselves, he had this to say:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference last week that in his 37-year career, he’s never seen as many homeowners defending themselves by shooting intruders. Craig told The News in January he felt the crime rate could be lowered if more “good Americans” were armed, because he said criminals would think twice about attacking.

“It does appear more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered,” Craig said. “More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence. I know of no other place where I’ve seen this number of justifiable homicides. It’s interesting that these incidents go across gender lines.”

We want more law enforcement like Clarke and Craig, and less like Marin’s Second Amendment-challenged sheriff.

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I also want more of this:  An Ebony magazine editor went on a rant against conservative blacks; got called on it; claimed that the person calling her out was a white racist; when she learned that the person calling her out was black apologized for calling him white; and then doubled down on rants that were both anti-conservative black and anti-white.  (That’s not want I want to see more of.  It’s this next thing I like.)  Normally, Republicans would run away screaming from this type of confrontation, leaving the racist Leftist in control of the field.  This time, the RNC demanded an apology . . . and got it.

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Speaking of the Left’s racial obsessions:  Any half-sentient being knows that Stephen Colbert’s shtick is that he created a faux-conservative character who is pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc., and that Colbert, a marginally-talented generic Leftist, uses this character to claim that all conservatives are pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc.  That’s why it’s hysterically funny that, when his show tried to  highlight (non-existent) Republican racism by having his character ostensibly tweet out a crude anti-Asian stereotype, the Asian community got riled and demanded that Colbert be fired for being an anti-Asian racist.  Asians should stop getting their knickers in a twist about stupid TV shows and should start looking at where their real politic interests lie.  (Hint:  It’s not the Democrat Party.)

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Leland Yee has been around forever as a fixture in Bay Area politics.  As his name implies, he’s Asian, he’s hard Left, and he represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo in the California legislature.  Since Sandy Hook, Yee’s been very vocal about being anti-guns.  He also just got indicted for gun running, including trying to sell arms to Islamist groups.  The MSM has been trying hard to ignore his story, as it’s been trying hard to ignore a bunch of other stories about spectacularly corrupt Democrat figures.  Howie Carr therefore serves a useful public service when he calls out the media, the Democrat party, and the crooks.

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Speaking of crooks, Harry Reid claims never to have called Republicans liars when it comes to Obamacare, despite footage of him calling Republicans liars because of Obamacare.  There’s some debate on the Right about whether Reid’s gone senile or is just trying out his version of The Big Lie.  My theory is that we’re seeing malignant narcissism in play.  As I’ve said a zillion times before in speaking about Obama, malignant narcissists never “lie” because their needs of the moment always dictate the truth of the moment.  That is, if they need to say it, it must be true.  (It’s nice to be your own God.)

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Keith Koffler identifies the four roots of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy.  I agree with him, although I would add a fifth, which is that Obama desperately wants to see America knocked down to size as punishment for her myriad sins.  Perhaps Obama should read the DiploMad, as he explains why Russia, the country before which Obama is now weakly doing obeisance, has always been much worse than America could ever be, both as a protector and an enemy.

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Adm. Jeremiah Denton, Jr. has died at 89.  The public learned about Denton during the Vietnam War when, during one of the forced confessions that the North Vietnamese liked to televise to the world, he blinked out a Morse code message — “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” — thereby providing the first proof America had that the Commies were torturing American POWs.  During the same interview, he bravely said he supported his country, a statement that led to more torture.  Denton was also America’s longest-held POW, spending almost 8 years in the Hell that was the Hanoi Hilton, and various related prisons.  During that entire time, he was brutally and repeatedly tortured and he spent four years in solitary confinement (where he was tortured).  My heart bleeds when I read what happened to him.  But Denton came home and he got on with a full, rich life, including six years in the U.S. Senate.  If anyone deserves to Rest In Peace, it is Adm. Denton.

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I don’t think much of Stanford.  It’s nothing personal.  I think all the big universities (and most of the small ones) have become intellectually corrupt.  However, Prof. Michael McConnell, at Stanford Law School, has somewhat restored my faith in Stanford by writing one of the clearest analyses I’ve yet seen of the problems facing the government in the Hobby Lobby case.  Of course, law and logic will not sway Ginsberg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer, all of whom are activists much more concerned with making policy than with applying law.  As happens too often, Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote — a reality that places way too much power in the hands of a man who seems too often to blow, not where the Constitution takes him, but wherever his fancy for the day alights.

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And to end on a light note, two more ridiculously funny Kid Snippets, offering an inspired combination of kid wisdom lip synched by some remarkably talented adult actors:

 

Marin County Sheriff: I love everything about the 2nd Amendment, except the part where it lets people carry guns

Heading into Marin CountyIt turns out that even in Progressive Marin County, law-abiding residents want to carry guns on their persons.  In the weeks since the 9th Circuit (!) held that county’s cannot condition concealed-carry permits on the sheriff’s determination that the applicant has made a credibly showing that he or she is in fear for his (or her) life, the upswing in concealed-carry applications has even reached true blue Marin (emphasis mine):

As Californians in some locations have flooded sheriff’s offices with applications and inquiries for permits to carry concealed guns, in Marin, sheriff’s officials say they have been fielding more calls than usual.

Demand is being driven by a federal appeals court ruling last month that made it easier for some residents to obtain the hard-to-get permits. About 56,000 Californians have a concealed-weapons permit in a state of 38 million residents. [Prior to the ruling] In Marin County, the sheriff’s office has issued only 21 concealed weapons permits.”

Those in Marin afraid of guns, though, need not worry that their perfectly nice neighbor, the one who brings casseroles when they’re sick and helps prop up fences in winter storms, will be packing legal heat any time soon.  Although the 9th Circuit may have spoken, that’s not good enough for Marin’s Sheriff:

Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle said he doesn’t plan to loosen how permits are issued until the issue has been conclusively decided by the courts. He said he’s not sure how may people have applied for permits since the ruling as most of the inquiries in Marin have been phone calls.

“We’ve had more requests than usual since the ruling. We’ve told people they can apply, but we’re going to apply the same standard of demonstrating ‘good cause’ until it’s finally been decided by the court,” Doyle said. “The decision has basically been put on stay for three weeks to give the parties time to respond.”

Color me cynical, but I’m willing to bet that, if Sheriff Doyle had been in charge, Marin would have been issuing same-sex marriage licenses within minutes of the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down California’s Prop. 8, the much-maligned law holding that marriage is between one man and one woman.  A foolish consistency, though, is never the hobgoblin of Leftist minds.

What’s so incredibly funny in all this is Sheriff Doyle’s position on gun rights:

Doyle said he’s a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but believes concealed-weapons permits should be reserved for those who have some sort of verifiable threat in their lives.

“I don’t agree with the adage that the more guns we have, the safer we are,” Doyle said. “We do have business owners that have been robbed and some people that carry large sums of money in the course of their employment carrying concealed guns.”

Properly translated, what Doyle is saying is that “I strongly support the Second Amendment, except for the part where it says that the right to carry arms is inherent in the people, and not dependent on the whim of the government.  But otherwise, if I decide someone deserves to have a gun, I might actually give that person permission.  Maybe.”

I shouldn’t poke too much fun at the sheriff.  He is, after all, a perfect reflection of the county he serves.  Everyone here claims fealty to the Bill of Rights, provided that it’s eviscerated to conform with Leftist norms.

Even if Doyle is, as I suspect, a very nice man, I’d rather have Milwaukee’s Sheriff Clarke in charge of our concealed-carry licensing program:

Police chief get a gun

George Washington understood why we have a Second Amendment *UPDATED*

George Washington and the 2nd Amendment

Hat tip: Caped Crusader

UPDATE: If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.  Thanks to Earl, I know that Washington actually said this:  “A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.”  It’s a great quotation in support of arms, but not quite as punchy.

Remember, when it comes to guns and gun crimes, never believe the media *UPDATED*

No gunsMike McDaniel, who blogs at Stately McDaniel Manor, is one of the blogosphere’s go-to guys when it comes to guns.  Not only does he know his stuff, he’s a wonderful writer.  Today, he’s brought his knowledge and skills to bear on the recently released final report about Adam Lanza’s attack on Sandy Hook.  Unsurprisingly, given that the only source for information was the MSM, just about everything you thought you knew was wrong — except for the fact that Sandy Hook elementary school was a gun-free zone. For Adam Lanza, it was an irresistible target.

UPDATE:  This story about an armed bystander stopping an attempted mass shooting seems apropos.

You can’t argue with an ideologue — the gun control edition

NRA LogoSince the Sandy Hook shooting, I’ve written several posts about interactions with liberals who refused to believe the facts I cited them about guns.  (The facts I rely upon are here; a good example of a fight with liberals is here.)  Clearly, I am not persuasive.

As I learned today, though, when you’re arguing with an ideologue, nothing is going to be persuasive.  Today was the day I opened my “real me” Facebook page and saw, much to my surprise, that one of my uber-liberal friends (someone with whom I was once very close, so I continue to “friend” on Facebook), had linked to this article from Mediaite (a hard left-leaning outlet):

A study published in the latest issue of the academic journal Applied Economics Letters took on many of the claims made regularly by advocates of stricter gun laws. The study determined that nearly every claim made in support of stronger restrictions on gun ownership is not supported by an exhaustive analysis of crime statistics.

The study, “An examination of the effects of concealed weapons laws and assault weapons bans on state-level murder rates,” conducted by Quinnipiac University economist Mark Gius, examined nearly 30 years of statistics and concluded that stricter gun laws do not result in a reduction in gun violence. In fact, Gius found the opposite – that a proliferation of concealed carry permits can actually reduce incidents of gun crime.

Along with the link, my friend included his own statement to the effect that this was certainly food for thought, but that he still believes that guns should be as tightly regulated as cars.  I couldn’t resist adding my mite to this, because I thought that, with his having cited the article himself, his liberal mind might be opening just a crack to let in the light of pure reason.  We ended up having a polite back and forth that I’ll summarize so as not to destroy his privacy.

I noted, as I always do when the car comparison comes along, that cars are not constitutionally protected, while guns are accorded the highest protection possible (“shall not infringe”).  Otherwise, you can compare cars and guns:  both are useful, both are fun, and both are dangerous.  I added that life overall is dangerous and governments are the most dangerous of all.  I even threw in the fact that, as a predicate to committing mass murder against their own people, totalitarian governments always disarmed them first.

My friend replied that he wants a constitutional amendment so that guns can only be in the hands of people the government pre-approves.  He believes government can commit mass murder without first disarming its people.  To him, it was irrelevant that those governments that actually (not hypothetically) murdered their people all began with disarming them.  Somewhere, somehow, he’s sure there’s a government that successfully committed mass murder against its own well-armed citizens.   He then threw in the usual trope that guns are made solely to kill, while cars are not.

That last comment left me with an opening:  his statement seemed to belie the very study that he had posted in the first place.  It said that fewer people are killed when more people of good will had guns.  That means guns are made for protecting people, not killing.

My friend’s response was to launch into a laundry list of shooting stories — drive-bys, robberies, fights, etc., all of which explain (to his mind) why guns should be banned.  Once again, he’d totally forgotten about the study he cited.  He then repeated that guns are meant only to kill and that the only way to save society is to get rid of guns.

I came back with fact:  as the study he cited shows, places that ban guns have more crime, including gun crime.  Places that once banned guns and then un-banned them (as happened in Washington, D.C. after the Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller) had less gun crime.

He opted for sarcasm:  So, do we give everyone a gun?

I suggested that doing so is reasonable, based on the conclusions from the study he cited.  I also said that Hollywood is a problem.  Even as its people demand gun control, they make pictures rife with guns and hide behind armed guards.  They might want to change the message in their movies.  I also pointed out that gun crime is an inner city problem and that we should look at the culture there, rather than at the guns themselves.

His bottom line had the virtue of being honest:  I don’t really care about the study.  Guns are bad and should be done away with.

And that’s why you can’t argue with an ideologue.  Data is irrelevant.  Blind faith is everything.