Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Armed Citizen

When an altercation between a man and a woman escalated at Shoop's Bar, the man was escorted out. As the troublemaker was being escorted out of the building by the bar's bouncer, he turned and drew a pistol. He began firing inside the main area of the bar striking the woman, as well as two others. Aaron Childers, 25, the bar's bouncer, acted quickly, drawing his own gun and returning fire, killing the shooter. It was reported that the three injured individuals did not sustain life-threatening wounds and are expected to recover. (The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, WV, 12/14/2013)

Four people had been joking around, setting up Christmas trees in a lot when they were approached by a man they did not know. The 29-year-old stranger grew agitated and seemed to think they were laughing at him. They assured the man that they were not and apologized. He then left the area, but
returned a short time later. He pulled out a knife and advanced toward the group. One man drew his handgun and warned him to stop while another individual called police. Officers arrived and were able to subdue the man with the knife. He was believed to have been under the influence of narcotics at the time of the incident. (Elko Daily Free Press, Elko, NV, 12/03/2013)

Two men arranged to meet one another about a Craigslist ad for a motorcycle. When they met, the man who posted the ad pulled out a gun and pointed it at the buyer, who was with his daughter and father. The buyer pulled out his own pistol and fired at the armed suspect causing him to flee. The family called police and reported the incident. Officers located the suspect and he was treated for his gunshot wounds. Inves­tigators reportedly found ski masks and batons in the suspect's car. He had been previously convicted of various crimes including arson, theft and aggravated robbery. (Dallas News, Dallas, TX, 12/03/2013)

Bill Canada, owner of Meadow's Pharmacy, had just opened the drug store moments before an armed man wearing a mask entered and demanded money. Canada backed away from the robber, but the robber advanced toward him. Canada pulled out his gun and fired a single shot. The suspect's wounds proved fatal. Canada was not injured during the robbery. (Pine Bluff Commercial, Dumas, AR, 10/19/2013)

Everton Mosby, 24, was approached by two men outside of his home . around 2 AM They forced Mosby inside the home where they beat him. During the assault, Mosby was able to pull out his concealed firearm. He fired at his attackers, striking both of them. One suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. The second assailant was treated for a gunshot wound to the knee before being placed under arrest. It was reported that the surviving suspect had been previously convicted of charges includ­ing breaking and entering, theft, criminal damaging and felonious assault. (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH, 12/18/2013)

Colby Patout and Debra Richard were witness to a vicious dog attack. "They were mauling this guy's leg," Patout said. The man was cycling when two dogs attacked, biting his legs and eventually pulling him off his bike. Patout and Richard rushed to help the man. Richard blocked traffic with her vehicle and Patout grabbed his gun. Patout tried to help the man, who was already seriously injured and bleeding excessively, but was forced to fire at one of the dogs, killing it. Patout said, "I knew this guy needed his life saved at this point. I would want you to stop and do the same for me." Animal Control officials arrived a short time later and retrieved the second dog. Patout said, "This is what our firearms and the United States is all about. [It is about] saving lives." (KATC.com, Lafayette, LA, 12/23/2013)

Matt Dosser was walking by a neighborhood market around 9:30 PM when he witnessed two men pounding on the window, trying to get in. The owner of the market, Mohamed Ahmed, was inside screaming for help. Dosser said, "At first, nothing made sense, then I saw the gun." Dosser realized that the two men had attempted to rob the market, but somehow got locked out when Ahmed fought back. Eager to help Ahmed, who was trapped inside and bleeding from the head, Dosser pulled out his concealed firearm. When the suspects saw Dosser's firearm, they fled the scene. Ahmed had been hit in the head with one of the suspect's pistols. After a few surgical staples, Ahmed was expected to recover from his injury. Dosser was unharmed during the attempted robbery. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN, 12/19/2013)

Want even more stories? Visit The Armed Citizen blog.

Other accounts of self-defense collected on this blog:
Shopkeeper Defends Himself and Employees,
2nd Amendment Saves a Pregnant Woman,
Armed Student Saves 10 People,
2nd Amendment vs. a Serial Rapist,
Crime Spree Stopped with the Simple Presentation of a Firearm.

Failures of Gun Control:
UK Government under reports gun violence to pretend their policies work
Scotland holds a Summit on their Failed Gun Policies, Chicago's gun ban continues to fail
Real Women's Rights (This one includes one of my favorite personal accounts)
Opposition to CA AB 2062
Knife Control?!
Protecting Children through Gun Control?
Futility of the Gun Banning Philosophy
A Contrast to VA Tech

Thoughts just prior to the release of DC v. Heller, with one of the best appellate court quotations ever.

Thoughts on publicized shootings: Shootings early in 2009, Alabama Shootings, Finland School Shooting. Remember: The only proven method to mitigate the disaster of a rogue criminal shooter is to have more first responders, e.g. CCW permit holders lawfully armed and on scene. These criminals do not respect "gun free" zones, but simply view them as target-rich opposition-free areas in which to slaughter innocents.

Carrying a firearm is an inherently civilized act.

Right to Carry Statistics.

Does Violence Beget Violence?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong

This isn't my post.  It's a link for those of my readers interested in Global Warming.  The post is great:

95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong

Go read it.  A bit to whet your appetite:
I’m seeing a lot of wrangling over the recent (15+ year) pause in global average warming…when did it start, is it a full pause, shouldn't we be taking the longer view, etc.

These are all interesting exercises, but they miss the most important point: the climate models that governments base policy decisions on have failed miserably.
Now go read it.

Here's the scientific truth:  If your models do not match real world observations, your models are wrong.  Period.  Science is in the business of discovering how the real world actually works, not making up lies to support political ideology.

Friday, February 7, 2014

CVS to stop selling Tobacco Products

Several outlets carried this story.  I'll quote from CNN:
CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its CVS/pharmacy stores by October 1.

The retailer said the move makes CVS/pharmacy the first chain of national pharmacies to take tobacco products off the shelves.
President Obama praised this move, which brought some criticism from the right (and from some of my friends), but I don't think that criticism is warranted.  Let me explain.

Tobacco has no redeeming qualities.  After the first couple of uses, it does nothing for a human than relieve the withdrawal symptoms that come from nicotine addiction.  It is an addictive poison, and that's all it is.  Nobody should sell it.  CVS is acting as a conscientious capitalist company should by voluntarily ceasing to sell this poison to a clientele it cares about.  They're not saying, "We know what's best for you," but rather saying, "We can't live with selling this to people we care about.  It's wrong and we're going to stop doing it."

Some of my friends have argued that they should stop selling alcohol and candy, too.  Well, maybe, but both products might be argued to have some therapeutic value and in the case of candy, some nutritional value as quick energy.  That is, they may not be great for you, but they do have some redeeming qualities, so it's up to a responsible adult to make good decisions regarding those products.  Tobacco has absolutely no redeeming qualities, no therapeutic value and so it makes sense not to sell it if a retailer professes to care about its customers as more than sources of revenue.

I also think it's perfectly fine for a president I disagree with on almost everything to praise a positive move by a company.  I'm always happy to find common ground with ideological opponents.

What I really love about this story is that by voluntarily ceasing to sell this poison, CVS is demonstrating that under capitalism, responsible retailers will choose to do the right thing without government coercion.  I hope other retailers will follow suit.

White House press secretary Jay Carney volunteers you to support people who choose not to work

White House press secretary Jay Carney volunteered you (if you work) to support everyone who chooses not to work.  His comments came in response to the recent CBO report on the ACA (also called Obamacare).

Here's the Forbes article on the CBO report:  CBO: Obamacare Is A Tax On Work, May Cut Full-Time Workforce By 2.5 Million

A snippet of that article:
In its new budget outlook, CBO very clearly states that Obamacare amounts to an implicit tax on work and workers that will reduce employment by as much as 2.5 million jobs over the next ten years.

Here’s how the CBO arrives at its new conclusion:

As workers transition from part time work (without benefits) to full time work (with health benefits) many workers will actually lose income in the form of the subsidies that they will have to forgo (and the additional fact that lower wage workers, who are in lower tax brackets, won’t benefit as much from the implicit subsidy they will get from the special tax treatment of health benefits bought at work). CBO seems to focus mostly on people who are out of the labor force for a period of time and transitioning back to full time work, which suggest its estimates may be low.

CBO states, in reference to these impacts, that the “exchange subsidies effectively constitute a tax on labor supply for a broad range of workers.” CBO focuses mostly on those transitioning to full time work (with benefits). But the same disincentives apply to workers on Obamacare who are already employed full time, and looking to grow their income.

Translation? The old employer sponsored system forced people to stay in jobs they didn’t like because they needed the health insurance coverage. The new Obamacare system will force people to stay out of jobs they do want because they need to maximize their subsidies. And this is social progress?
I'd encourage you to go read the rest.

So, how does White House press secretary Jay Carney respond?
“Opportunity created by affordable, quality health insurance allows families in America to make a decision about how they will work, or if they will work.”
Carney approves of the idea that families in America can make a decision not to work.  Where would the money to support those families come from?  From you of course.  Surely the average family would have no trouble supporting 2-3 more families that choose not work, right?  Oh, wait.  I know I can barely support my own, let alone plan for retirement.  Carney, how about you don't volunteer me to support people who choose not to work?

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer thinks Carney's Obamacare comment "Will Be Emblazoned on the Tombstone of Liberalism."  See his full comments here.  I'm not quite so optimistic, but I can hope he's right.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

President Obama says Abortion is the ultimate betrayal of God's Will

At the National Prayer Breakfast the President confidently declared,* "...for the killing of the innocent is never fulfilling God’s will; in fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal of God’s will."

So, surely he's talking about slaughtering millions of innocent, defenseless unborn humans every year.  Oh, wait.  He doesn't consider them human.  My bad.

*Note that the writer at the link was making a different but equally valid point.  It's worth a read if you have a moment.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Karl Marx explored

Having just posted on communism killing more than 100 million people, a friend alerted me to something I should listen to.  It was a post on Karl Marx. 

I won't reinvent the wheel on this one.  Visit Captain Capitalism's post and if you enjoy podcasts, take the time to listen to the one linked.  I did, and it made me understand how the theories behind communism arose from Karl Marx.  The short version is that he was a sick and twisted man who expected others to support him because he believed he was too important to work.  Communism now makes sense, doesn't it?  Now go read the post and listen to the podcast. 

Communism has killed more than 100 million people

I was surprised to find I've never posted on this.  A Mayday or two ago I tweeted something that Adam Badlwin retweeted, something along the lines of, "Today we should remember the 70 million people killed by communism."  I was low-balling the number.  It's really somewhere around 100 million or 110 million people killed by communism, communist policies or communists since we started trying out the theory.

This topic comes up because a recent Salon article defended Communism.  If we did it here, indicates writer Jesse Myerson, it would be a kinder, gentler communism.  Sure it would.  Instead of Mao's 70 million dead, the Weather Underground estimated they'd only need to slaughter 25 million Americans to institute Communism.*  That is way kinder and gentler.  Of course, with population increases since then, it's probably up to 50 million or so they'd have to slaughter to make the US communist.

Now, that's worse than Stalin and Lenin, but definitely kinder and gentler than Mao.  Years of calling themselves "Progressives" have really mellowed those commies out.

Note that the 110 million people killed is one that Myerson disputes, but not on the actual numbers.  Communism has killed about 110 million people.  Instead, it was okay in his eyes because many of the people slaughtered were communists themselves:  "For one thing, a large number of the people killed under Soviet communism weren't the kulaks everyone pretends to care about but themselves communists."  I'm against the wholesale slaughter of millions of people whether they're devoted communists or capitalists, so I don't see this as somehow making it okay.

In China, the vast majority of the 70 million deaths were caused not by Communists shooting people in the back of the head but were rather due to communist policies, so Myerson feels that's okay, too.  He writes that the deaths were cased by Mao's  "'Great Leap Forward,' a disastrous combination of applied pseudoscience, stat-juking, and political persecution designed to transform China into an industrial superpower in the blink of an eye."  I still chalk those deaths up to communism, because whether you die quickly from a bullet to the back of the head or from slow, painful starvation due to communist policies, it was the implementation of communism that caused your death.  So those 70 million count.

It's hard to come up with a precise number of people killed by communism, but when you add up all the deaths in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, North Korea, Africa, Eastern Europe and Vietnam, you have between 100 and 110 million people killed..  There's no defense for that.  There's no "kind and gentle" implementation of communism.  When it's instituted,  millions of people die.  Mr. Myerson, let's just admit that communism is a bad idea.  Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's far better than the mass human slaughter communism brings.


*I've linked the source, but in case that link ever goes dead, preserving the testimony of Larry Grathwohl, the man who infiltrated the Weather Underground for the FBI is a worthwhile endeavor:  
"...[the leaders of the Weather Underground] felt that this counter-revolution could best be guarded against by creating and establishing re-education in the [American] Southwest, where we would take all of the people who needed to be re-educated into the new way of thinking and teach them how things were going to be.

I asked, “Well, what is going to happen to those people that we can’t re-educate, that are diehard capitalists?” And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated. And when I pursued this further, they estimated that they’d have to eliminate 25 million people in these re-education centers. And when I say “eliminate,” I mean kill 25 million people."

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Confessions of a TSA Agent

You may have seen this on Drudge.  If not, it's worth a read.  It confirms what we'd previously said about the TSA scanning machines.  Once you read it, you won't want to fly until something is done about this out of control agency performing their invasive security theater at your expense.

Some clips:
We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. Not long after the Underwear Bomber incident, all TSA officers at O’Hare were informed that training for the Rapiscan Systems full-body scanners would soon begin. The machines cost about $150,000 a pop.

Our instructor was a balding middle-aged man who shrugged his shoulders after everything he said, as though in apology. At the conclusion of our crash course, one of the officers in our class asked him to tell us, off the record, what he really thought about the machines.

“They’re s**t,” he said, shrugging. He said we wouldn’t be able to distinguish plastic explosives from body fat and that guns were practically invisible if they were turned sideways in a pocket.
We quickly found out the trainer was not kidding: Officers discovered that the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hidden explosives and guns. The only thing more absurd than how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone.
......
Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible. Women who’d had mastectomies were easy to discern—their chests showed up on our screens as dull, pixelated regions. Hernias appeared as bulging, blistery growths in the crotch area. Passengers were often caught off-guard by the X-Ray scan and so materialized on-screen in ridiculous, blurred poses—mouths agape, à la Edvard Munch. One of us in the I.O. room would occasionally identify a passenger as female, only to have the officers out on the checkpoint floor radio back that it was actually a man. All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.
.....
Then, in March 2012, a blogger named Jonathan Corbett published a video on YouTube, titled “How to Get Anything Past the Full Body Scanners.” In it, Corbett revealed one of the greatest weaknesses of the scanners, known to everyone I talked to within the agency: A metal object hidden on the side of the body was invisible to an image operator. Corbett showed how a passenger could bring a pistol to the airport and get it past the full-body scanners and onto a plane.

More than a million people saw the video within a few days of its being posted. Finally, the public had a hint of what my colleagues and I already knew. The scanners were useless. The TSA was compelling toddlers, pregnant women, cancer survivors—everyone—to stand inside radiation-emitting machines that didn’t work.
If you're not outraged, you should be, especially since we've known the entire time how we can actually successfully secure flights without irradiating anyone.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Humane Capital Punishment

A recent execution in Ohio has reignited the debate on capital punishment.
A condemned man appeared to gasp several times and took an unusually long time to die -- more than 20 minutes -- in an execution carried out Thursday with a combination of drugs never before tried in the U.S.

Dennis McGuire's attorney Allen Bohnert called the convicted killer's execution "a failed, agonizing experiment" and added: "The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names."

McGuire's lawyers had attempted last week to halt his execution, arguing that the untried method could lead to a medical phenomenon known as "air hunger" and cause him to suffer "agony and terror" while struggling to catch his breath.

McGuire, 53, made loud snorting noises during one of the longest executions since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999. Nearly 25 minutes passed between the time the lethal drugs began flowing and McGuire was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m.
Now, gasps and snorts don't necessarily mean anything--McGuire was likely unconscious.  Even if they did, courts have (rightly in my opinion) ruled that a condemned prisoner is not entitled to a pain free execution.  It's pretty hard to feel much sympathy for Dennis McGuire, a scumbag who anally raped a pregnant woman, stabbed her above her left collarbone, then cut her throat and left her and her baby to die.

Still, we shouldn't let disgusting, subhuman crimes turn the rest of us into animals.  Capital punishment isn't about revenge, it's about permanently safeguarding society against a criminal so horrifically bad we can't risk parole or escape.

Some would argue that life in prison without possibility of parole is sufficient to safeguard society.  Barring a natural disaster that cracks open a prison, that may be true.  Nevertheless, capital punishment polls well.  That is, the majority of people are strongly in favor of it at least for the worst crimes, so it's going to continue to be a political reality in the United States.

If we're going to keep executing people, we should switch to a painless, mess free method.  It's called inert gas asphyxiation.  I've linked wikipedia, but the information can be searched and corroborated in other sources as well.  Here are the details:
Inert gas asphyxiation is a form of asphyxiation which results from respiration of inert gas in the absence of oxygen rather than atmospheric air (a mixture of oxygen and the inert nitrogen). The painful experience of suffocation is not caused by lack of oxygen, but because carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream, instead of being exhaled as under normal circumstances. With inert gas asphyxiation, carbon dioxide is exhaled normally, and no such pain experience occurs.

Hypoxic atmospheres have been used as a method of animal slaughter in animals such as chickens, where it is known as controlled atmosphere killing.

An occasional cause of accidental death in humans, inert gas asphyxiation has been used as a suicide method, and has been advocated by proponents of euthanasia (using helium or nitrogen in a device called a suicide bag). Nitrogen asphyxiation has been suggested as a more humane way to carry out capital punishment, but so far this use of inert gas has not been attempted by any country, state or territory.
It's painless.  It's messless.  It's free of all the unpleasantness nobody wants in an execution.  It's not even technologically hard to implement.  Unlike a cyanide chamber, a nitrogen chamber need not be perfectly sealed, since a bit of extra nitrogen won't hurt anyone in surrounding rooms.  States with an old cyanide chamber could easily repurpose it.

There's still a question if we should use a punishment as final as the death penalty.  It's always worth discussing, but so far I'm still in favor of it.  As mentioned earlier, I think its purpose is to prevent the most heinous of criminals from harming others again.  As it turns out, there seems to be another benefit for society.  Studies made headlines in 2007 because they found that the death penalty does seem to deter some crime.

From the New York Times article, "Does Death Penalty Save Lives? A New Debate":
According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented.

The effect is most pronounced, according to some studies, in Texas and other states that execute condemned inmates relatively often and relatively quickly.

The studies, performed by economists in the past decade, compare the number of executions in different jurisdictions with homicide rates over time — while trying to eliminate the effects of crime rates, conviction rates and other factors — and say that murder rates tend to fall as executions rise. One influential study looked at 3,054 counties over two decades.

“I personally am opposed to the death penalty,” said H. Naci Mocan, an economist at Louisiana State University and an author of a study finding that each execution saves five lives. “But my research shows that there is a deterrent effect.”
Some studies have indicated a much stronger deterrent effect. From "Capital Punishment Works":
Most commentators who oppose capital punishment assert that an execution has no deterrent effect on future crimes. Recent evidence, however, suggests that the death penalty, when carried out, has an enormous deterrent effect on the number of murders. More precisely, our recent research shows that each execution carried out is correlated with about 74 fewer murders the following year.

For any society concerned about human life, that type of evidence is something that should be taken very seriously...

In the early 1980s, the return of the death penalty was associated with a drop in the number of murders. In the mid-to-late 1980s, when the number of executions stabilized at about 20 per year, the number of murders increased. Throughout the 1990s, our society increased the number of executions, and the number of murders plummeted. Since 2001, there has been a decline in executions and an increase in murders.

It is possible that this correlated relationship could be mere coincidence, so we did a regression analysis on the 26-year relationship. The association was significant at the .00005 level, which meant the odds against the pattern being simply a random happening are about 18,000 to one. Further analysis revealed that each execution seems to be associated with 71 fewer murders in the year the execution took place.
In short, in addition to making sure the most brutal of our criminals can never harm anyone again, capital punishment seems to remind other would-be lawbreakers that some crimes carry too high a price to commit. That seems worth doing, and using inert gas asphyxiation we can do it in an easy, painless way.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Armed Citizen

Joseph Eisel, 51, was asleep with his wife around 3 AM when he woke to a 27-year-old man he did not know standing over his bed. Startled and fearful for his life, Eisel reached for the 9 mm pistol he keeps bedside. The intruder fled the room and entered the Eisels' garage. Eisel followed him into the garage where the intruder fell to the floor. Eisel ordered the intruder to stay on the floor while his wife dialed 911. Eisel held the intruder at gunpoint until police arrived a short time later. The intruder allegedly entered the home through a broken basement window. Reportedly no one was hurt during the home invasion. "Everybody complains about guns," Eisel said of the incident, "but I'm glad I have one." (Butler Eagle, Cranberry Township, PA, 10/01/2013)

After an argument occurred at a house party, one man was asked to leave. The 27-year-old man returned a short time later with a rifle and began firing shots outside the home. According to witnesses, the man then pointed the rifle at several people attending the party. A 39-year-old party-goer took action to stop what could have resulted in tragedy; he pulled out his own firearm and shot the man brandishing the rifle. The assailant was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported. (KPHO.com, Glendale, AZ, 10/20/2013)

Dave Svensen, 69, was witness to a 22-year-old man's crime spree at a Seattle yacht club. The man used a stolen boat to cause an estimated $500,000 in damage. He rammed other boats docked at the marina, as well as a support post, causing a section of the marina's roof to collapse. Svensen borrowed a shotgun from the owner of an adjacent boat to end the aggressor's out-of-control behavior and prevent anyone from getting hurt. Svensen fired, striking the suspect in the head and hands. However, medics characterized his injuries as non life-threatening. The suspect was treated before being arrested under multiple felony charges. He was reportedly under the influence of narcotics at the time of the rampage. (The Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, 09/17/2013)

Gary Spencer, 36, and his wife stopped at a Wells Fargo Bank around 9 a.m. Spencer waited in the car while his wife went inside the bank to deposit a check. While waiting in the parking lot, Spencer witnessed two men struggling with one another for a red money bag and heard a "zapping sound." The assailant had been waiting in line behind the man with the bag as he withdrew $5,000 from the bank. When leaving the bank, the victim was then attacked with a stun gun. When Spencer realized what was happening, he reached into his wife's purse and pulled out her .380 pistol. Spencer approached the suspect and ordered him to stop. When the suspect saw Spencer's gun, he dropped the stun gun and fled empty-handed. The victim suffered only minor injuries. (Independent Tribune, Concord, Ne, 10/09/2013)

The tables were turned on a teen playing "the knockout game," a "game" of brutal street violence in which a target is chosen at random and beaten in an attempt to knock them out; a recent crime trend among troubled juveniles. A 17-year-old carrying a stun gun approached his 28-year-old victim, who was waiting for his daughter at her school bus stop. When the assailant turned and pressed the stun gun against his intended victim's side, it failed to discharge. The man responded by pulling out his .40-cal. Smith & Wesson and firing. The teen was later taken to the hospital and treated for a single gunshot wound before facing charges. The intended victim was not harmed during the attack. (The Muskegon Chronicle, Lansing, MI, 08/28/2013)

Richard Duffy, 48, and his teenage son were home around 8 PM when a 44-year-old man wearing a ski mask and brass knuckles broke into their mobile home. After a brief altercation in the living room, Duffy pulled out a firearm and fired multiple rounds killing the intruder. It was reported that Duffy and the intruder did not know each other. Neither Duffy nor his son were injured during the home invasion. (Portland Press Herald, Rome, ME, 10/01/2013)

While officers were detouring traffic after an accident, witnesses say a 54-year-old man became angry at a motorist and began honking his horn. The man then reportedly exited his vehicle carrying a metal baton and approached the vehicle ahead of him yelling violent threats. The driver of the car in front of the enraged man feared for his safety and drew his pistol. Police officers intervened and arrested the irate man wielding the baton. No injuries were reported during the incident. (Johnson City Press, Kingsport, TN, 10/15/2013)


Want even more stories? Visit The Armed Citizen blog.

Other accounts of self-defense collected on this blog:
Shopkeeper Defends Himself and Employees,
2nd Amendment Saves a Pregnant Woman,
Armed Student Saves 10 People,
2nd Amendment vs. a Serial Rapist,
Crime Spree Stopped with the Simple Presentation of a Firearm.

Failures of Gun Control:
UK Government under reports gun violence to pretend their policies work
Scotland holds a Summit on their Failed Gun Policies, Chicago's gun ban continues to fail
Real Women's Rights (This one includes one of my favorite personal accounts)
Opposition to CA AB 2062
Knife Control?!
Protecting Children through Gun Control?
Futility of the Gun Banning Philosophy
A Contrast to VA Tech

Thoughts just prior to the release of DC v. Heller, with one of the best appellate court quotations ever.

Thoughts on publicized shootings: Shootings early in 2009, Alabama Shootings, Finland School Shooting. Remember: The only proven method to mitigate the disaster of a rogue criminal shooter is to have more first responders, e.g. CCW permit holders lawfully armed and on scene. These criminals do not respect "gun free" zones, but simply view them as target-rich opposition-free areas in which to slaughter innocents.

Carrying a firearm is an inherently civilized act.

Right to Carry Statistics.

Does Violence Beget Violence?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Gender Pay Gap is Fiction

I've written about the the gender pay gap before, but a recent article in Slate did a great job of looking at the issue.  Because Slate is generally Left with regard to politics, I thought readers might be interested in their take.  You'll get plenty of Right/moderate from me.  The Slate post is "The Gender Wage Gap Lie" and I'd encourage you to read it.

Note that the author, Hanna Rosin, won't go quite as far as I do.  She qualified her analysis with, "The point here is not that there is no wage inequality. But by focusing our outrage into a tidy, misleading statistic we’ve missed the actual challenges. It would in fact be much simpler if the problem were rank sexism and all you had to do was enlighten the nation’s bosses or throw the Equal Pay Act at them."
[The official Bureau of Labor Department statistics give] the impression that a man and a woman standing next to each other doing the same job for the same number of hours get paid different salaries. That’s not at all the case. “Full time” officially means 35 hours, but men work more hours than women. That’s the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35.
So that's problem one.  Our official statistics aren't comparing apples to apples.
The fact that men are more likely to be in unions and have their salaries protected accounts for about 4 percent of the gap. The big differences are in occupation and industry. Women congregate in different professions than men do, and the largely male professions tend to be higher-paying. 
This issue isn't the fault of employers.  If men and women tend to self select for careers that pay differently, that's simply a choice.
...why do women work fewer hours? Is this all discrimination or, as economist Claudia Goldin likes to say, also a result of “rational choices” women make about how they want to conduct their lives...you have to leave room at least for the option of choice—that women just don’t want to work the same way men do.
This is really a huge part of what this comes down to.  Gender discrimination, like racial discrimination is never okay.  That doesn't seem to be what's happening.

At the end of their lives, many men say they regret having spent too much time pursuing financial success and not enough time with their families.  It seems that as a category, women tend to be smarter in that regard.  It isn't that they're less valued by employers, it's that they're choosing to spend their time on more valuable things.  It doesn't appear that there's anything government needs to address here, and the sooner the public recognizes that, the sooner the dishonest speeches on the subject will end.

GMO Foods are Safe

GMO foods have been a hot topic for some time, and it seems like legislatures and food manufacturers are responding.  Opponents of GMO products are relying on a campaign of fear and disinformation to get the public to support their cause.  For rational people, the question is, "What does the science say?"

Before we get to the science, let me explain what "GMO" even means.  It stand for Genetically Modified Organism(s).  GM food, or GMO food, is food produced using genetically modified plants or animals.  The phrase "genetically modified" may sound scary, but it shouldn't.  If you've ever eaten beef, you've ingested a product of centuries of genetic manipulation.  Cows aren't wild animals--they are domestic animals bred from their now extinct ancestor, the auroch.  The animal we know of as a cow was created through careful breeding, a practice known as animal husbandry.  Similarly, most of our crops bear little resemblance to the plants we bred them from.  Thousands of years of careful selection of seeds and deliberate pollination to get desirable traits have led to the crops we grow today.

What activists are objecting to in GM food is the method of altering the genetics of the food organism is a bit different.  Instead of cross breeding similar plants or animals to get desired traits, scientists are carefully inserting a single or a few desired traits into the plant or animal.  These are traits that probably couldn't have been bred into the animal or plant because they come from a different species (animals and plants can only produce offspring with members of the same species).  So, these combinations, though far more precise than the old fashioned breeding method, do introduce traits that probably couldn't have been produced in a "more natural" fashion.  For more on this, let me suggest the following article that covers the matter in a bit more detail:  Labels for GMO Foods Are a Bad Idea

Now that the basics are covered, it makes sense to ask if this newer method of modification is safe.  The overwhelming body of scientific evidence says it is.  From the article, "2000+ Reasons Why GMOs Are Safe To Eat And Environmentally Sustainable":
Every major international science body in the world has reviewed multiple independent studies—in some cases numbering in the hundreds—in coming to the consensus conclusion that GMO crops are as safe or safer than conventional or organic foods. But until now, the magnitude of the research on crop biotechnology has never been cataloged. In response to what they believed was an information gap, a team of Italian scientists summarized 1783 studies about the safety and environmental impacts of GMO foods—a staggering number.

The researchers couldn't find a single credible example demonstrating that GM foods pose any harm to humans or animals. “The scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops,” the scientists concluded.
If you're interested in this topic, I'd encourage you to read the whole article.  There's no credible evidence, no peer-reviewed study that proves any danger to humans or animals from GMO foods.  The handful of studies I've seen that linked GMO foods to anything negative were junk science done to support the anti-GMO activists.  They've been discredited and/or retracted.

Science is ever evolving.  It's always possible that at some point in the future we'll find something wrong with the food we eat whether it's GMO or bred the old fashioned way.  However, so far as the science can tell today, GMO foods are as safe as or safer than traditional crops.