Guns Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

Guns: A year after a law was passed in Virginia allowing those with permits to carry concealed weapons into bars (i.e. "alcohol-serving businesses"), gun-related crime in bars actually declined slightly. They did not turn into the shooting galleries that were predicted. This didn’t make national news, of course, because it doesn’t fit the narrative. If it had gone up, I’m quite sure we’d have heard about it for days on the evening newscasts.

Politics: First Ed Schultz and MSNBC selectively quote Gov. Rick Perry to make it sound like he’s being racist against the President. Seems you can’t say the word "black" in any context without it being called "racist". Then, MSNBC’s newest talker, Al Sharpton, takes the smear and, ironically, calls Gov. Perry divisive and ugly for saying something he didn’t ever say! Say what you want about Fox News, but if you don’t see far, far worse bias on the part of MSNBC, you’re just not paying as close attention as you think you are.

The Economy: The US may have lost it’s AAA rating from Standard and Poor’s, but on that same day, Ohio’s rating went up. Republican Governor John Kasich has presided over newly-balanced budgets, an 8.6% unemployment rate, and a steadily improving economy, coming back from the recession quicker than the Feds. This was done with reducing the size of government and rewarding job-creators.

And speaking of the economy (click for a larger version):

Friday, er, Monday Link Wrap-up

There have been more casualties in Afghanistan under less than 3 years of Obama than we did under 8 years of Bush. Additionally, in the first 3 years of the Iraq war, we had fewer casualties than two and a half under Obama. This is not to criticize Obama for these deaths; that’s what happen in war. But Reason magazine notes that this raises 2 questions. "First, where are the antiwar protests? And second, where is the press?" The "anti-war" protestors are, as I’ve said before, more anti-Bush (or anti-Republican) than anything else. And the press are tied up trying to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin. It’s a full-time job, y’know.

Unions hand-picked 6 of the most vulnerable Republican state senate districts to target for recall. They just needed 3 wins to take control. They could only manage 2. Granted, recall elections have been notoriously difficult to win over the years, but if Democrats and the unions that sponsor them can’t get their base energized over their own referendum on alleged "anti-worker" sentiment in hand-picked districts, that doesn’t say much about how the public views them.

Atheists seem to believe that if humanity would just get rid of this archaic religion thing, violence would drop and peace would reign. Just ask Richard Dawkins, Chris Hitchens, or even John Lennon. Yeah, well, how did that work in the Soviet Union, where atheism was essentially the national religion? Or in Europe today, especially Britain, where religion is on the decline?

And speaking of ideas not working, how’s that gun ban in Britain working out for those store owners in the middle of the riots?

Remember the spontaneous "You lie!" outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson of S. Carolina during an address by President Obama about his health care bill? Joe said that after Obama said, "There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally." Well guess what? Turns out Joe was right.

Why do we need voter ID laws? To keep this from happening; overenfranchised Democratic voters. And how about this bit of irony: "While NAACP President Benjamin Jealous lashed out at new state laws requiring photo ID for voting, an NAACP executive sits in prison, sentenced for carrying out a massive voter fraud scheme."

Dale Franks of Questions & Observations has some great points about our economic situation. A couple of paragraphs, from one post talking about the hole we’re in:

And don’t come back at me with some lame "Our GDP:Debt ratio was 120% at the end of WWII" silliness.  Yes it was. And you know how we fixed it? We cut Federal spending from $92 billion in 1945 to $38 billion in 1949. For 2011, 40% of the federal budget was financed with borrowed money: We’ll spend  $3.818 trillion, of which  $1.645 trillion is borrowed. If we funded only defense, Medicare/Medicaid, and Social Security, and interest on the debt, we’d still have a deficit of $673 billion. Just to balance the budget this year—forget paying off any debt—we’d have to cut an additional ~25% from Health, Defense, and Pensions. Follow the link and download the CSV file, open it up in Excel, and run the numbers yourself. The magic number to balance the budget this year is the revenue of $2.174 trillion.

That’s $2 trillion this year, not over 10 years.

And from another post, noting that tax increases alone, even historic tax increases and an incredibly rosy set of other assumptions, aren’t going to do it. Spending cuts, substantial cuts, must happen.

In order to pay off this year’s share of the $61.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities, the government will have to collect $4.261 trillion in revenues.  With an estimated 2011 GDP of $14.922 trillion, that comes to 28.6% of GDP. If we assume government revenues rise to the historical average, the we’ll need the government to take 31.6% of GDP in tax revenues. Happily, because we’re assuming a 3% rise in GDP and revenues for every year over the next 30 years, that percentage will decline slightly every year, until, in 2041, we’ll only need to collect 20.5% of GDP in tax revenues to pay off the last installment, assuming, again, 14.8% of GDP covers the operation of government.  If we go back to the 17.8% figure, then we’ll have to collect 23.5% of GDP in revenues.

Either way, for the next 30 years, we need to collect substantially higher tax revenues than we have collected at any time in the nation’s history, and we have to do it every year for 30 years.

The point being, this is probably not possible, economically or politically. This is how bad our situation is, and how much action we need to take now on spending.

And yet, who gets blamed for trying to bring sanity back to the budget? (Click for a larger version.)

Friday Link Wrap-up

It’s not often (well, ever) that a Friday Link Wrap-up would have breaking news, but as I type this, Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as President and put the military in charge, not his recently-named VP. This is a historic day for Egypt, as it now has its first living ex-President. Barry Rubin runs down the "now what?" scenarios.

Some town in the US, including one suburb of Atlanta, have a law requiring each household to own a gun. These towns have much lower crime rates than their neighbors. But with the cases going through the courts on the constitutionality of the ObamaCare individual mandate to buy health insurance, and with South Dakota considering a bill requiring gun ownership, Glenn Reynolds goes over the major differences between the two.

Reaganomics vs Obamanomics and getting us out of a recession.

In his first speech as Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron argued that a shared national identity prevents extremism more so than multiculturalism, and indeed, the latter may encourage it. If you have no connection to your country, you have no problem burning it.

Friday Link Wrap-up

I’ve been on the road this week, and by the time this posts I’ll be heading home.  I haven’t done much blogging as a result, but I have collected a few links.

Remember all the riots, protests and violence when the US military burned Bibles?  Or when Muslims blew the doors off churches, burned Bibles and destroyed every cross they could find?  Yeah, me neither.  Define for me “religion of peace” again?  The actions that the Left calls “Islamophobia” in America don’t hold a candle to what gets done to Christians by Muslims elsewhere, but somehow “Christophobia” hasn’t entered their vernacular yet.

The amount of money the United States now owes is more than all the money in the worldThat’s how bad it is.

Christians protest abortion, the media yawns.  One pro-abortion protestor hits the streets, you get an article with pictures.

Gun owner ship goes up.  Violent crime goes down.  If the Left was right about poor economic times causing crime, and that more guns cause more crime, there ought to be more heads exploding on that side of the aisle, if they’re being intellectually honest.

The return of no-money-down mortgages.  Um, that’s what got us into this mess in the first place!

The disappearing homeless.  Well, they’re still there, and likely there are more now that the housing bubble popped.  But the media has gone silent on them.  Guess they’re waiting for a Republican President, like they did before.

And finally, from Chuck Asay, some advice about getting your religion hijacked.  (Click for a larger version.)

More Guns, Fewer Gun Homicides

No, really.

Americans overall are far less likely to be killed with a firearm than they were when it was much more difficult to obtain a concealed-weapons permit, according to statistics collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control. But researchers have not been able to establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

In the 1980s and ’90s, as the concealed-carry movement gained steam, Americans were killed by others with guns at the rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population. In this decade, the rate has fallen to just over 4.07 per 100,000, a 28 percent drop. The decline follows a fivefold increase in the number of “shall-issue” and unrestricted concealed-carry states from 1986 to 2006.

The highest gun homicide rate is in Washington, D.C., which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry: 20.50 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate. The lowest rate, 1.12, is in Utah, which has such a liberal concealed weapons policy that most American adults can get a permit to carry a gun in Utah without even visiting the state.

This isn’t from some right-wing news source, this is from MSNBC, for cryin’ out loud. (But you have to wait until the last page of the article to get the above paragraphs and the link to the stats and comparative graphs.  This is MSNBC, after all.)

Here in Georgia, the town of Kennesaw passed a law that every head of household must own a gun.  It is not one that is enforced, but the law went on the books in 1982.  Crime started to go down, and 25 years later the crime rate was cut by more than half, with zero residents involved in fatal shootings.  Worth considering.

More Guns, Less Crime

Just after Barack Obama won the presidency, gun sales rose dramatically, in the fear that he’d be going out rounding up firearms.  Well, that round-up didn’t happen, but something else didn’t happen either; a rise in crime.

After all, it has been an article of faith among gun-control advocates that guns cause crime. That catechism was repeated relentlessly after the 2008 Heller ruling, in which the Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on gun ownership: "Introducing more handguns into the District will mean more handgun violence," D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty lamented.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin agreed: "There is no question that this decision from the Supreme Court makes it harder for all mayors to keep their city safe," she told NPR. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley called the ruling "very frightening." The New York Times fumed the court had "all but ensured that even more Americans will die senselessly." The Chicago Tribune issued an equally nuanced and measured response: "Repeal the Second Amendment," it begged.

Yet despite a remarkable uptick in gun sales, during the first six months of 2009 violent crime fell 4.4 percent, property crime fell 6.6 percent, homicides fell 10 percent, and car thefts fell 19 percent.

As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute recently pointed out, the falling crime rate was particularly precipitous in big cities such as Los Angeles, where homicides fell 17 percent in 2009, and New York, where they fell 19 percent.

If guns caused crime, then we should have expected precisely the opposite to happen — particularly given the related liberal belief, which Mac Donald dissects, that hard economic times drive people to desperate acts. Among others, she quotes a New York Times editorial in late 2008 fretting that "the economic crisis has clearly created the conditions for more crime and more gangs among hopeless, jobless young men in the inner cities." If liberal orthodoxy held true, then the combination of hard times and more guns should have made the past year a record-setting period for bloodshed. It didn’t.

And yet this perfect storm of circumstances, long held by liberals as a reason for crime, not only didn’t happen, but things went precisely in the opposite direction.  I’ve been noting this for over seven years now.

Shire Network News #136

Shire Network News #136 has been released. The feature interview is with Dr. Mordechai Kedar, of the Arabic Department of Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. While appearing recently on Al Jazeera talking about building apartments in Jerusalem, he decided not to take the role of a piñata as expected by the show’s host. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

With all due respect to the host of this show, who comes from the land we broke away from 232 years ago, I’m going to touch a bit on Independence Day in these United States. 

This quote from John Quincy Adams was brought to my attention recently.  He was writing to his wife Abigail about how he thought Independence Day would be celebrated in the years to come.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.

Well, we seem to have the pomp and parade, fireworks and barbeques down pat.  Some sporting events, like Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race, are exclusively on July 4th.  But it’s this clinginess to guns and religion that one US presidential candidate would, no doubt, find beneath him.  Thanks to the Heller Supreme Court decision, it now appears that individuals can celebrate Independence Day, not just "well-regulated militias".

In the intervening years since Adams’ prediction, and indeed hope, America has been there to fight for freedom in other places as well.  Imagine that; a country strong enough and with the right frame of mind to consider more than just its own well-being, but the well-being of other nations.  The American "empire", if you want to call it that, has been unlike any other.  Instead of entering a country and annexing it or taking it over, we come in, get rid of the bad guys, and, instead of installing our own government in perpetuity, we install voting booths.  Granted, it’s not always been that way, and we have certainly made our share of mistakes, no doubt.  But on balance, compared to other nations of our size and strength throughout history, I believe we’ve been an overall force for good and liberty in the world. 

And, quite notably, very often with our former enemy, England, by our side.  If our Founding Father’s had been told that someday the US and the UK would be BFFs, they’d ROFL.  Well, if they did any text messaging.

And to sound so utterly un-PC — something which we major in on Shire Network News — I believe we are this force for good precisely because we cling to our guns and our religion.  The guns represent individual liberty and individual rights.  They show that we are willing to fight for our ourselves and for what we believe in; both individually and as a nation. 

But this nation also clings to its religion, and while there is the freedom to practice any or no religion, much of our foundational ideas came from Judeo-Christian principles, including, by the way, that religious freedom, as well as concern for others as much as oneself.  Clinging just to guns, without that religious component, would have made us no different than the Romans or the Huns or the Nazis.  But we have also gone into Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, western Europe, and yes, even Vietnam, with the purpose of holding back oppression in other countries.  We could just hunker down behind our borders, clinging to our guns, but there is more to being a good neighbor that just waiting for the bad guys to show up here.  No, we can’t police the world, that much is certain.  But there are things we can do. 

Again, it is true that we’ve not always kept those two things in their proper proportions, sometimes leaning more on the guns that we should.  But we do eventually return.

Thomas Jefferson was a guy that I would have some religious disagreements with.  But there is a quote from him on one of the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC that I can buy into and, I think, brings this all together.  So, consider this:

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . . ."

Happy Independence Day, all you Americans.  Cling to your guns if you will, but cling tighter to your religion.  Consider that.

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"And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press,  or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions." — Samuel Adams

Emphasis mine.  Apparently, Adams never envisioned liberal judicial activists.

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Shire Network News #133

Shire Network News #133 has been released. The feature interview is with Martin Bright the political editor with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine.  When Israel marked it’s 60th anniversary recently, he decided to mark the occasion by publishing an article questioning the Left’s increasingly hysterical assaults on the country, which have escalated from criticism of individual policies to an outright questioning of it’s very legitimacy and existence.  Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

This is a story about a city under siege, a city in a war zone.  The munitions that it swims in threaten its inhabitants day after violent day.  Some won’t even go outside for fear of what might happen to them. 

In one zone, during the first 5 months of 2008 there have been more murders than in all of 2007.  It’s because of statistics like this that the local police have started cracking down harder than ever.  It’s these kinds of zones that they will cordon off and completely shut down for hours at a time.  Checkpoints will be set up and all cars inspected.  Failure to cooperate will result in arrest.

Now, it’s been well known that crime in this city has been on the rise.  However, the government, even with of its attempts to curb the violence, hasn’t been able to achieve even the most modest benchmarks.  While local politicians worry about a police state mentality, they do support the measures.  Some residents are not thrilled with the manner in which the police are making their presence known, but others say it’s better than nothing.

And yet, with all the efforts of government and local police, the tide is not turning fast enough for some.  Pundits have called the situation a quagmire, and suggested pulling out.  Perhaps, with a change of US administrations in November, Washington can bring our men and women home.

To the suburbs.

Because, you see, this isn’t Baghdad or Mosul I’m talking about, but it is a city torn apart by violence.  Good thing they have some of the most stringent gun control laws.  That got them off the street.  Or not.  No, this city is a lot closer to home than you might think.  So perhaps it’s time to pull out…

…of Washington, DC.

Paul Harvey would say, "And now you know the rest of the story."  I’d say, "Consider that."

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Guns By The Numbers

Year Kennesaw, GA passed a law requiring every head of household in the town to own a handgun: 1982
Kennesaw crime rate prior to enactment: 4,332 per 100,000
National average: 3,899 per 100,000
Kennesaw crime rate today: 2,027 per 100,000
Number of residents involved in fatal shootings since enactment, as either victim, attacker or defender: 0
Population growth, 1980 to 2000: 425% (5.095 to 21,675)

Click here for more information and dire predictions about Kennesaw that never came true. More stats here, and a NY Times editorial by the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds here.

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