Two good things about the new James Bond movie #JamesBond #Spectre

James Bond SpectreLast night, I saw the new James Bond movie, Spectre. I enjoyed it, although I must admit that it lagged in places. The fight and chase scenes, however, were spectacular, and they went a long way to make up for the slow parts. I’ve also come to like Daniel Craig’s Bond. I didn’t at first — Craig is a funny looking guy, despite those amazing blue eyes — but I’ve come to enjoy his tightly-coiled, muscled Bond, which is much closer to the character in the original books than the other Bond actors have been.

Daniel Craig and the fight/chase scenes notwithstanding, Andrew Klavan observed correctly that the movie fails at a very fundamental level because it doesn’t reflect real-world concerns:

But more than that, as with last summer’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (a much better movie) — and with the last three Star Wars flicks (much worse), Spectre suffers as a result of the deterioration of American values since the original source material was made.

The Bond of Dr. No, like the Ethan Hunt of the original MI TV series, like the Luke Skywalker of the first Star Wars trilogy, knew what he was fighting for and what he was fighting against. The story — all those stories — took place with the presence of the Soviet Union and Red China in every viewer’s mind. We knew they were slave states who wished to impose their brand of slavery — called communism then, progressivism now — on the entire world. We knew we needed brave men and strong ideas to defeat them.

Where oh where could we find such villains today? Who holds to a slave philosophy now? Who wants to impose that philosophy on the rest of us? Why are they evil? Why should we oppose them?

The answers are 1. In the Middle East; 2. Islamists; 3. Also Islamists; 4. Because individual liberty is an objective good; and 5. Because if good men don’t fight evil, evil wins.

The people who make these movies live in a haze of such intellectual dishonesty that they have forgotten, or chosen to ignore, these answers. They aren’t honest so they can’t write honest plots. Their villains have no motives and their master plans are confusing where they’re not just laughable. Their heroes are merely an assemblage of characteristics from an earlier age: empty images that move and talk a certain way but have no virtue and so no power to thrill. They are, so to speak, merely spectres of their former selves.

I think, though, Klavan missed one very real issue that the movie did address, and that’s the fact that our governments spy on us constantly.  This is especially true in England, which has more cameras per citizen, I believe, than any other First World country.  George Orwell would not be pleased.  Given the English setting, it’s not surprising that a strong theme in the movie is a technocrat’s efforts to create a massive, worldwide information database drawn from all cameras and telephone calls trained on every individual. It may not be Islamists, but it’s a problem, so the movie isn’t completely in la-la land by recognizing it.  (For those who like exotic locales, England’s not the only place the movie shows.  It travels the world, with an especially strong opening sequence set in Mexico City.)

The other thing I liked about the movie — and I won’t develop on too much lest I give away a few fun plot points — is that the movie is like an NRA advertisement.  Bad guys have guns and the only way to deal with them is when the good guys have guns.  Indeed, there are two scenes in which guns are front and center.  In one it’s made clear that, even if one doesn’t like guns, they serve a useful and necessary purpose.  In another scene, it’s made just as clear that the mere fact that someone has a gun doesn’t mean that the person will use it.  Guns are tools.  Whether they are safe or dangerous depends on the user, not the tool.

For current events, Spectre gets (as Andrew Klavan said) a “B.”  For gun rights, though, I give the movie a strong “A.”

Brief thoughts about today’s news #Paris #Islam #Mizzou #terror #Yale

paris-attackBefore I begin, I want to extend my sincerest condolences to the French people. This Mumbai-style attack is terrible and cruel.

Having said that, I feel obligated to point out that France, which has expended a great deal of energy trying to appease the Muslim crocodile (including trying to undermine Israel at every turn and punting on a moral nation’s obligation to protect its Jewish population) failed as signally at appeasement as Churchill implied would happen to all appeasers.

I was speaking to a friend who said that the Paris attack would almost certainly improve Marine Le Pen’s political prospects. Although she’s a socialist through and through, she at least understands that the medieval strain of Islam is France’s enemy, just as it is the enemy of all civilized nations. Thinking about Le Pen, I realized that we have a Le Pen too: Donald Trump.

Unlike a true conservative who believes in individual liberty, which can only be achieved through limited government, Trump, a former Democrat, is a Big Government guy in both theory and practice. And like Le Pen, the only thing that really distinguishes Trump from any other statist political figure is that he too is hostile to immigrants. They are both xenophobic nationalists.  Neither is a true conservative.

As it happens, I support Trump’s hard-line stance on illegal immigration. As it happens, my favorite candidate, Ted Cruz, is also a hardliner on immigration but — and this is why I like him so much — he’s also a true individual liberties kind of guy, one who believes federal government should fulfill limited functions that happen to include strong border and national security.

And of course, let me be one of many to comment that, last I heard, Obama still can’t make himself choke out the words Islam or Muslim.

Closer to home, I’m getting the feeling that the Mini Maos who have taken over America’s colleges and universities might have finally broken through the wall of ignorance behind which middle class parents have been hiding when it comes to the Leftist insanity they’re funding. I had three Progressive friends ask me today (because they know I follow the news fanatically) what the heck is going on. I was happy to explain.

Indeed, I’m wondering if today won’t be an inflection point — a “come to Jesus moment,” if you will — when mindless liberals finally realize that conservatives are not racist, censorial fascists, but have, instead, been the tocsin desperately shouting out a warning about the dangers of fascism at home and Islamism both at home and abroad. Certainly, every Progressive with even a few functioning brain cells should ask him or herself if things in Paris would have been different if the Parisians had concealed-carry. And those who have been watching events in Israel must surely have noticed by now that the best defense against a terrorist with a knife is a gun.

The Bookworm Beat 6-20-15 — the “Summer Solstice” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265This is the first day in two weeks where I haven’t been (a) taking someone to a doctor or (b) frantically trying to beat some insanely urgent legal filing deadline. I’ve celebrated this wonderful day by (a) practically sterilizing the room of an unwelcome house guest who left a surprising amount of chaos and filth in his wake and (b) trying to catch up on my blogging. I’ve already done the long post about our very small window of time within which to ward off tyranny. Now comes the catch-all post, with interesting articles I’ve snagged over the past few days.

Guns aren’t the problem

All the bleeding hearts on my Facebook feed are at it again, chiming in with President Obama to say that killings will magically stop when guns are equally magically gone. We know from the evidence of other nations and our own cities that the gun genie is already out of the bottle. The only thing that happens when government uses its might to ban guns is that honest people are rendered helpless while criminals and government (but I repeat myself) have unlimited, unstoppable power. Anyway, here are a few common sense link about guns:

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The Bookworm Beat 6-6-15 — the “I’m still standing” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m sorry for the long silence, but to quote Granny Clampett, “I was just plumb tuckered out.” Between escalating work demands and the usual family demands, I haven’t had either spare energy or spare time. It was only two days ago that I stopped being in denial and accepted that, for the time being at least, I have a 3/4 time legal job that requires a heightened level of commitment and organization. (Incidentally, I’ve found that, for managing large projects, Microsoft’s One Note, when combined with a good calendaring program, is very helpful.) I still intend to blog, but I just need to buff up my time management skills a bit.

And that’s it for the excuses. On to the post itself:

It’s not such a wonderful life

Victor Davis Hanson has scored another home run with his post examining at Obama’s new world order as another Pottersville:

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Three short sentences that I wish unthinking liberals would ask themselves

Welfare state as a con gameA friend emailed me this. I think it’s a remarkably good distillation of the giant values chasm between Statists and Individualists/Constitutionalists in this country:

When you vote for an incumbent you are perpetuating our government as it is now. Nothing will change.

These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our current government and cultural environment:

1.) We are advised NOT to judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics.

Funny how that works. And here’s another one worth considering.

2.) Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money.

How come we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t.

Think about it….. Last but not least:

3.) Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping payments to illegal aliens such as monthly payments for each child, money for housing, food stamps, free education including college and also the right to vote?

Am I the only one missing something?

Monday at dusk round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThere’s a study out saying that owning a dog will make you look 10 years younger. I’ve got two dogs. Does that mean I look 20 years younger? I doubt it, but I know that owning dogs makes me at least 20 years happier than the next person. 😉

** 1 **

We’ve long suspected that Washington, D.C. is so disengaged from the rest of America as to be a separate country. The TSA has now made that suspicion official: at least one of its agents refused to recognize a D.C. driver’s license.

** 2 **

Even as Hamas places its weapons caches and launchers in schools and hospitals, and tells its citizens to ignore the fliers that Israel sends out before bombing a terrorist location, this is what the Israeli Defense Forces do:

IDF soldiers protecting a child with their bodies


An Israeli women shared this online saying that on her way back home she heard the rocket sirens while sitting in her car. When she got out, soldiers from an IDF vehicle nearby gathered around the woman’s son and protected him with their own bodies.

This is the true face of the Israel Defense Forces – protecting and preserving life.


** 3 **

Hillel Neuer has put together a very simple test so that you can determine whether you’re truly interested in human rights or, instead, are just a garden-variety anti-Semite (or, as Neuer more politely phrases it “anti-Israel”).

I think Obama falls in the second category:

** 4 **

My Watcher’s Council comrade-in-arms, Snoopy the Goon, writes from the front lines in Israel, where the bombs are falling. It seems as if Israelis are finally saying “Enough! We must fight to win, not just to give Hamas time to re-arm.”

Snoopy also caught what may be the most blatantly, stupidly anti-Israel headline the British Guardian newspaper has ever published.  It’s as if the Guardian was trying to out do Dry Bones without understanding that Dry Bones is satire:

It won't be a big deal until Israel fires back

** 5 **

The world has become very surreal when you find yourself periodically nodding in agreement with an Egyptian talk show host’s assessment of Hamas:

** 6 **

My sister and I got around to talking about the changing nature of sex and sex crimes on college campuses. It used to be that boys and girls lived in separate facilities, their events were chaperoned, nice girls didn’t drink, and nice boys didn’t get drunk around nice girls. Now, they share bathrooms and shower stalls (go to 2:20 in this video, for example), sleep in the same rooms, get blotto drunk at parties, and hook up with just anybody. Then, when a girl has Sunday morning regrets after a drunken debauch on Saturday night, it’s the boy who gets in trouble (or maybe the boys). As the mother of a future male college student, I think this stinks.

In criminal law, a person’s drunkenness doesn’t excuse bad acts. That is, you can’t say “I didn’t have the proper criminal intent because I was drunk.” If you freely drank yourself to drunkenness, that decision to leave your rational mind behind is itself evidence of criminal intent.

I think that same standard should apply to women who willingly drink to the point of incoherence, only to discover later that they slept with someone they didn’t like or, worse, that a bunch of equally drunk (although presumably still functional) guys had sex with her while she was unconscious. They should all be kicked off of campus, the whole drunken lot of them, rather than treating the woman as the victim and the men as the criminals. Once you start ejecting all of them, I bet the campus drinking culture will dry up pretty quickly.

But the campus is what it is now, which led me to say, half-jokingly, to my sister, “God help me, but I feel my son would be safer at college if I told him ‘If you need to have sex, invest in condoms and go to a high-priced hooker. At least she probably won’t scream rape the next day.'” I’m exaggerating, of course, because I find prostitution inherently demeaning and exploitative. Moreover, if the FBI has its way, prostitution will also be more dangerous than it needs to be.

** 7 **

Rolling Stone has uploaded a post identifying “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America.” The post itself is too stupid to click through. What makes it worthwhile are the comments. Here’s a sampling:

I can play the headline/no substance game too.

Top 5 Most dangerous Bears to watch out for this Summer

1.) Bears with teeth
2.) Bears with claws
3.) Large bears
4.) Small bears
5.) Medium sized bears

“Popular among handgun-owners, pistols are defined by their built-in barrel and short stock.”

Oh man this sentence was hysterical. It seriously doesn’t even make sense. Popular among handgun owners? They are handguns! Build in barrel? The barrels are removable, but I don’t even think that’s what you’re referring to. Short stock? Pistols don’t have a stock. If you were talking about cars, it would litterally read, “Popular among automobile owners, cars are defined by their built-in tires and short flatbeds.”

Ignorance is required to write something this glaringly stupid.

Hey Kristen,
maybe you can do and article on the 3 most dangerous dog breeds.
1. Large
2. Medium
3. Small

Really…The article can simply be summed up with one sentence:
“Kristen Gwynne thinks guns are icky, because potato”

I’m glad to see Rolling Stone is hiring special needs writers.

I could do this for hours. Tons of the 1000+ comments are brilliant.

** 8 **

We’ve talked for years about the “hate speech” laws in England which are, instead, censorship laws. Those laws are moving to America. In Maryland, graffiti opposing illegal immigrants (without ever mentioning race) is being investigated as hate speech. I consider graffiti vandalism, but this is not a hate crime.

** 9 **

Obama’s love-affair with himself is escalating. He is the hero in his own drama, with Americans alternating playing the roles of villainous foils or adoring fans. Ron Fournier suggests that this self-aggrandizing pose is unpresidential.

** 10 **

Aside from the occasional maudlin, belligerent forays into self-love or subject-specific Republican-hate, when it comes to Obama’s speeches, when you’ve heard one, you’ve heard them all :

** 11 **

The Obama administration has tried to claim that the refugee crisis on our Southern border is because of some vague, inchoate violence somewhere down south there in that far-away Latin American place. This surprisingly indescribable, unspecifiable violence is apparently so bad that these children have to trek through several Latin American countries, all the way to Texas, in order to escape it. That’s what the administration says. Will you be surprised to learn that this is untrue?

Midday Tuesday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansies[I’ve got to run, but I don’t want to delay publishing this by two or three hours. I’m therefore publishing as is. Please forgive the inevitable typos.]

I was reading an enjoyable book about the clash between good and evil. I commented to a friend that the only problem with the book was that too many good guys die. I like my books to end with the heroes still intact. He responded that “As to the deaths of good guys, when you’re fighting ultimate evil, some casualties are to be expected, lest ultimate evil be trivialized.”

His comment is correct as an artistic matter. It’s also correct as a practical matter. When we are threatened by evil, it’s the good guys who step and fight — and therefore die — first. The rest of us lurk in corners hoping the conflict will pass us by entirely. When the conflict finally ends, if there’s still a society left to rebuild, too often the good guys are gone and the builders are the cowards, and the whiners, and the useless people.

On that cheerful note, let me dive into what may well be the mother of all round-ups.


As if to make my point, I got word today that my fellow Watcher’s Council member, Tom White, who did yeoman’s work helping David Brat’s candidacy and who accurately predicted Brat’s victory, is on the receiving end of threats from the former Chairman of the Republican 3rd District. Tom put himself out there in the best possible way, and now he’s in the line of fire. Tom is more than capable of taking care of himself, but the whole thing is disgusting.


Okay, here’s something cheerful: This story illustrates perfectly why an armed society is a civil society and why, to gun-banners’ constant chagrin, when legally held arms increase in number, crime decreases in proportionate number.


We’ve all remarked here on the fact that the climate Nazis are remarkably flexible when it comes to attributing everything to anthropomorphic climate factors. Hot summers? Climate change. Cold winters? Climate change. Islamic aggression? Climate change. You know the drill.

It turns out that they’re equally flexible when it comes to data. This flexibility goes beyond the hidden data, the “adjusted” temperatures, and the manufactured hockey sticks. It now includes turning back time.


Sometimes a writer phrases something in a way that makes you think “That’s it! That’s what I was trying to say.” I had precisely that response to Stephen Hayward’s article about the corruption of Civil Rights, something that he addresses specifically in the context of the way in which same-sex marriage advocates are targeting businesses and individuals who object to same-sex marriage. Some of you may recall that I long ago argued that the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education was good politics and a morally correct decision, but a legal disaster that led to the corruption of the relationship between individuals, on the one hand, and the law and the state, on the other hand.


A few useful and interesting posts about the deaths of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel. Along with all of you, I was horrified, although unsurprised, to learn that the three boys were dead. I’ll say only that it was small consolation to learn that, because Hamas bungled the kidnapping, it killed them instantly rather than torturing them before killing them. As I said, it’s small consolation.

American Jews shouldn’t just weep, they should act. We Jews are always the first in the Islamic cross hairs and our own government has been exceptionally passive about rising Islamism, not to mention the Palestinian/Islamist nexus.

Just how bad was Obama’s behavior? This bad.

Bret Stephens looks at Palestinian mothers, who delight in sending their own children off to murder other children. (It might be behind a pay wall.)

As for the Palestinians and their inveterate sympathizers in the West, perhaps they should note that a culture that too often openly celebrates martyrdom and murder is not fit for statehood, and that making excuses for that culture only makes it more unfit. Postwar Germany put itself through a process of moral rehabilitation that began with a recognition of what it had done. Palestinians who want a state should do the same, starting with the mothers.

These horrible mothers raise children such as these, whose raised three fingers show that they are celebrating the kidnapping and death of three Israeli children:

Muslim kids celebrate death of Israeli teens


Mike McDaniel examines both the long, long list of illegal acts in the Obama administration and the power a president has to issue pardons. Adding these two things up leads to some very ugly conclusions.


With its despicable tactics to retain Thad Cochran in Congress, the once Grand Old Party betrayed its history and created what may be a very damaging schism in conservative ranks.

Of course, it didn’t help at all that the best known Tea Party groups, to the extent they bothered to show up, used their money ineffectually. My sense about these groups is that they mostly send out lots of emails.


I first became aware of Dan Bongino in connection with his impassioned speeches against gun control efforts. He seems to be a very solid conservative, something affirmed by an Open Letter he wrote to America’s political class, both Left and Right.


If you’ve been thinking that our federal government is increasingly looking like the government you’d see in a banana republic, here’s fuel for your fire: Congress has quietly done away with rules requiring elected officials to disclose information about trips they take courtesy of lobbyists.


In part because the media refuses to play along (unlike its behavior during Watergate), it’s perhaps inevitable that the House’s efforts to go after the IRS are bogging down into a mediocre political spectacle. Fortunately, others are also going after the IRS, including Judicial Watch. The exciting news is that Judicial Watch drew an honest judge — Emmit Sullivan. Judge Sullivan will not countenance any corrupt behavior in a litigation. The IRS’s “computer ate my emails” excuse should end in his courtroom.


And remember, even with the IRS, where there’s life, there’s laughter, this time courtesy of plaintiffs suing the IRS:


If you think our military is something special, you’re right. This video, of a Marine flyer with broken landing gear nevertheless sticking a landing on an aircraft carrier is epic:


Surprisingly enough, on the subject of Hobby Lobby, a writer for The Atlantic tells the Left to cool the hysteria.


Sometimes, one persistent individual can make such a big difference. Miriam Noujaim, a Sacramento DMV employee who is a member of SEIU Local 1000, the largest state-employee union, wants to see what the heck the union has been doing to create annual travel expenses that have gone up to $5.21 million. The union doesn’t want anyone to see its records, but Noujaim won’t let go. I have nothing but applause for her pit bull tenacity.


Guns are good. Keeping guns away from kids is also good. And this is a clever, slightly risque ad to make that point:


William A. Jacobson is putting words to my worst nightmare: He thinks that Elizabeth Warren has the potential to be 2012’s Barack Obama. I don’t know that she would be worse than Obama, but it’s doubtful she’ll be any better. Safe in her million dollar Ivory Tower enclave, Warren is an angry limousine socialist who will aggressively ensure that the government takes over the lives of everyone but for her and her cronies.


I’ve mentioned many times the brilliant friend of mine who says that the real issue Islam has with the West is control over women. Muslim men have it and want to keep it. Everything else is ultimately subordinate to their desperate efforts to ensure that women are sexually available to them. Two stories out of Iraq, one about women fearful of rape attacks and the other about ISIS’s demands that the women simply make themselves available for sex, lend credence to my friend’s contention.


Oh, this is a good one: Now they’re arguing that doctors should decide who can get a gun. Let me tell you something about the doctor’s in my neck of the woods: If they’re under 50, they’re DemProgs who demand gun control. They’re the last people who should be deciding who gets to exercise Second Amendment rights and who doesn’t.


When I first saw this Slate article challenging San Francisco’s housing policies, I thought it would be an intelligent article arguing against rent control. Boy, was I wrong. Instead, it’s part-and-parcel of the administration press to grow urban areas (Democrat strongholds) and kill suburbs (the last gasp of conservative thinking). We’ve been fighting this fight in Marin, where the federal government is trying to turn Marin into part of a vast, urban conglomeration with centralized management taking direction from the feds. No, thank you!


Is the Fed heading for the horrible crash that inevitably follows the bubble?


Ever since I was slightly taller than knee high to a grasshopper, I’ve known that societies that are friendly to the Jews are also societies that enjoy enormous economic, social, and military success. Societies that try to destroy Jews inevitably fail, not just when it comes to destroying the Jews, but they also fail themselves. Now, I have support from a great video that examines the Israel litmus test:



Dyslexic bank robbers

Gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone

Leading cause of hard drive failures

(Thanks to Sadie, Earl, Caped Crusader, and Danny Lemieux, all of whom contributed in some way to this post.)

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. )

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.

John Lott will be at Berkeley for a debate on October 25

Unfortunately, I have a prior engagement that I can’t avoid, but I wish I could go.  John Lott brings common sense and sound data to information about gun ownership and gun use in America.  This forum sounds so good it would even be worth lifting, only temporarily, of course, my self-imposed ban on going into Berkeley, my least favorite city and my least favorite college, in America.

John Lott at Berkeley

Hat tip: Jose