Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Freedom vs. Safety, the Mormon Edition

Most Bible-readers are aware of a passage that refers to a war in Heaven before this world was.  For accessibility, I'll quote the NIV verses from Revelation 12:
7.  Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
8.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
9.  The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
LDS scripture gives us a bit more regarding what this was about.  Satan rebelled against God because his plan was rejected in favor of Jesus Christ's plan.  Jesus, recognizing God's pattern, wanted to allow people moral agency (freedom to make choices and accept the consequences thereof).  He said, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever." (Moses 4:2)

Satan, on the other hand, had a different plan:  "Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor." (Moses 4:1)

Prophets have since clarified that the only way Satan might have carried out his plan is to have taken away the moral agency (freedom to make choices and accept the consequences thereof).  Take away freedom, and nobody can sin, make mistakes and end up condemned for them.

That sounds pretty great at first.  Garden of Eden forever, right? 

Satan betrayed his real desire in the second part of his statement, however:  "...surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor."

Ah, you see we grow in power and ability and become more like God by making good choices.  We become more and more powerful in righteousness and choose a path that leads to eternal glory with God.  Take away choice, and nobody ever gets more powerful.  Satan would be the only powerful being in the universe, having been brazen enough to ask God for His honor (His power, his Mantle, His Godhood) to carry out the plan.  Even God would have been cast down and made less in favor of an all-powerful, all-controlling Satan.

For fellow Mormons, always remember when someone promises safety in return for a surrender of your power that Satan also promised complete safety if we would only give up our freedom (power to act, moral agency). How many times must we hear that lie repeated until we recognize the Serpent's voice behind it?  The War in Heaven continues to this day and we must fight it with the freedom we claimed when we backed God and Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The quill and inkwell, a 1st Amendment appeal

In discussing the 2nd Amendment with a long-time, beloved friend I had to think of a way to help her understand that what she was saying wasn't correct.  This thought isn't new, but it's an effective illustration.

Remember that social media and the broadcast media are driving this mass shooting phenomenon with irresponsible reporting that gives shooters the notoriety they're after and normalizes the behavior. What do you think the response would be if we said: "We just want reasonable, responsible controls on media, including the right to ban dangerous information. We want to ban Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and similar applications as these are powerful platforms that not only contribute to mass shootings, but also bullying and teen suicide.  If it saves only one child's life, this will be worth the sacrifice. The founders never imagined such powerful tools when they wrote the 1st Amendment. They were referring to quill pens, ink wells, manual printing presses and handbills. We have the right to ban or regulate anything more modern than that."

That statement sounds reasonable.  It sounds loving.  However, within it are the seeds of totalitarian control of a population.  People understand that and they reject this sort of argument.  What shocks me is that they don't logically extend the same protection to the 2nd Amendment, which defends the unalienable rights of free speech, free assembly and the right to petition the government.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Armed Citizen

NRA Country superstar Craig Morgan was whitetail hunting when he received a terrifying phone call--his daughter‘s home was invaded, but luckily Morgan had taught her well. ”My daughter was smart enough to go in her bedroom and lock herself in, and she had a pistol, so she was waiting if he came through," Morgan explained Rather than face an armed citizen, the suspect fled the home. ”I’m grateful that we live in a country where we as citizens have the right to bear arms and protect ourselves," said Morgan."God bless the USA.” (www.nracountry.com, 06/29/2011) 

Already on edge following a burglary that occurred just days prior, Omar Medina was awakened by loud noises coming from somewhere inside his home. He quickly retrieved his handgun and stepped out into the hallway. An intruder was in the living room. Medina tired three shots. The intruder grunted loudly, ran out the door, collapsed and died. Police say the man had an extensive criminal record and was a suspect in other burglaries. (The Item, Sumter, SC, 05/28/2011) 

Peggy Melton returned home unaware that a man and woman were in the act of burglarizing the residence. As she entered a bedroom, she discovered the male intruder, who possessed a gun illegally. He threatened to shoot her. Fortunately, Melton has a concealed-carry permit and had holstered a handgun earlier that day. She drew the gun and fired three shots, striking the burglar. He ran from the home and his accomplice sped them away in a stolen truck. Police caught up with the burglars and took them into custody. (News-Leader, Springfield,MO,06/23/2011) 

How’s this for a bold, criminal act? A thief who burglarized a residence and stole the homeowner’s Lexus returned in the stolen ride intent on further burglary. He broke into the home, perhaps knowing the owners were out of town. What he surely didn’t know was that their son was house-sitting and armed with a shotgun. When the son heard the suspect enter the home, he took up his shotgun and confronted him.The intruder cursed and reached toward his back as if to draw a weapon.The son shot the intruder three times, killing him. Neighbors say the area, home to many military retirees, has been hit hard by burglars and residents have armed themselves in response. "I don’t feel scared, I feel violated," said neighbor Mary Gramm. "l have a gun.” (San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, TX, 05/23/2011) 

When a homeowner’s dogs began barking in bizarre fashion, he grabbed a handgun to investigate while his wife called the police. The victim of two burglaries in recent weeks, the homeowner cautiously approached his detached garage. He confronted two prowlers lurking inside, drew his handgun and told them not to move. Initially it appeared the suspects would wait for police, but suddenly the desperate men charged.The homeowner made quick work of the criminals, opening fire and connecting with each shot. One suspect fell dead.The other lay wounded.The homeowner grabbed a medical kit and provided assistance to the wounded man until police arrived. (The Chronicle, Centralia, WA, 05/23/2011) 

A 9-1-1 dispatcher received a call at 4:34 a.m. that someone was trying to break into a 4-year-old girl’s bedroom. The female caller remained on the line, but before police could arrive, the suspect threw a concrete block through the glass portion of a back door. Fortunately, the caller’s husband had a Plan B one that did not involve waiting for police to arrive. He quickly retrieved his .22-cal. revolver and fired three shots through the broken glass window. Moments later the brazen suspect returned and stuck his hand through the window. The husband fired two more shots, this time striking the suspect in the head and abdomen. When police arrived, the suspect was sitting on the back porch covered in blood. At press time he was listed in critical condition at the hospital. (The Baxter Bulletin Mountain Home, AR, 06/14/2011) 

It’s a familiar scenario: An armed citizen with a concealed-carry permit is likely once again to have saved multiple lives. Several customers were doing business inside a pawn shop when a man walked inside, pointed a gun toward the ceiling and announced a robbery. Did the gunman intend to shoot the clerk? Would he take hostage? We’ll never know, because a customer with a concealed-carry permit promptly drew a pistol and shot the robber in the stomach.The robber has been charged with aggravated robbery. (KSAT-TV, San Antonio, TX, 06/22/2011) 

Want even more stories?
Breitbart is providing 2nd Amendment stories. (Despite what Steve Bannon did to Breitbart, the 2nd Amendment stories are still good).
The Blaze is providing 2nd Amendment stories.
Visit The Armed Citizen blog for older stories (the blog seems abandoned).

Other accounts of self-defense collected on this blog:
2nd Amendment Saves a Pregnant Woman,
2nd Amendment vs. a Serial Rapist,

Failures of Gun Control:
UK Government under reports gun violence to pretend their policies work
A great personal account:  My Transformation From Anti-Gun Feminist To Armed Feminist
Knife Control?!
Protecting Children through Gun Control?
Futility of the Gun Banning Philosophy
A Contrast to VA Tech

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.

CCW Holders are an especially lawful group.

Carrying a firearm is an inherently civilized act.

Right to Carry Statistics.

Does Violence Beget Violence?
Firing a gun at another human being will never make your life better.  This is always true.  Police officers I've spoken with agree:  use of lethal force (even on the job) never makes things better.  It may save your life, and that is why self-defense is a right.  The loss of any human life is regrettable.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

An Open Letter to the San Francisco Police Department

Hey, San Francisco Police Officers.  I've visited your fair city a number of times and felt safe each time in part thanks to your hard work.  Admittedly, I haven't been in years and will never set foot in San Francisco again if I can help it.  You should probably consider the same choice.

There are many police and sheriff's departments that need good officers throughout California and across the nation.  It's time to seriously start applying to them.  Cost of living is also much lower almost everywhere but San Francisco, so you might find your salary is sufficient to live on elsewhere.

I'm recommending this because of recent events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The one that truly shocked me was protestors organizing and marching over a recent shooting.  For those who are unfamiliar, the quick version is that an armed robber hiding in the trunk of a vehicle.  His accomplices had been secured.  When asked to show his hands through the opening of the partially-ajar trunk, he produced a firearm and began shooting at officers.  Note that one's aim isn't very good through the gap of a partially-open trunk, so the reality is he began shooting indiscriminately.  Officers returned fire for their own safety and the safety of innocents in the area (who were later interviewed and many were grateful and felt the police waited as long as they could*).  This is among the most justified of police shootings I've ever heard of.  Yet the activists of San Francisco marched protesting your actions.

This raises an obvious question for the protestors.  What exactly did you want the police to do?  Simply allow the suspect to keep shooting, potentially killing officers and innocent bystanders?  Yes, every human life is precious and as a society we've chosen to safeguard as many innocents as possible by defending ourselves against aggressors actively using deadly force by stopping them as quickly as possible.

In a clear sign that Bay Area residents are hostile to their police forces, an Oakland coffee shop has decided it won't serve police officers any longer "for the safety of its customers."  This policy was exercised a few weeks ago.  Of course, refusing service may be illegal, but I would guess officers won't push it.  My recommendation:  police should return the favor.  The Supreme Court has ruled that police don't have a Constitutional duty to protect people even if those people have a restraining order against their assailant (buy a gun, folks).  So, they have no obligation to protect this coffee shop or investigate any crimes against it.

Better yet, leave the San Fransisco Bay Area entirely for a department and community that appreciates its officers.

The entire police force quitting wouldn't be unprecedented, though it's never happened in a city so large.  Towns in both Indiana and Alaska have had their police forces quit and they're doing fine.

San Francisco wouldn't fare as well, but they might grow up a bit and realize how much  they really do need the thin blue line.

*From the linked story:
Area resident Albert Balcazar said the officers gave the armed suspect plenty of time to surrender.

“They gave him five to ten minutes of instructions before bullets went off,” said Balcazar. “They gave him a long time to get out. They wanted him to live. I know they wanted him to live.”

Friday, March 9, 2018

What the NRA really does

After the recent school shooting, the political Left in America has begun to insult, attack and slander the NRA.  They call them child murderers.  There's a billboard now in Florida proclaiming (falsely) that the NRA is a terrorist organization.  If you scroll back to the post about Collectivism vs. Individualism, you may understand why the Left feels this way even though NRA members aren't doing any shooting of children.

Let's talk about what the NRA and its membership does.  If you do some research, you'll find that the NRA, while it does give political donations, gives small donations compared to other lobbying organizations.  In fact, what they do best is not buy politicians, but organize voters who support individual gun rights.  Even critics of the NRA will admit this after a bit of research, as shown in this Vox article:  The NRA doesn’t buy politicians. It swings elections.  Notice they aren't friendly to the NRA (Vox's readers lean slightly Left and they know it), but they're honest about this.
Although many members of the media blame the NRA’s huge donations to politicians, it’s not the full story. As Jeff Stein pointed out for Vox, liberals love to feed the narrative that politicians are being bought by the NRA, when in reality the proportion of money given to politicians is fairly small.

"When you really look at how that money fits into the grand scheme of congressional fundraising, it looks much less likely to actually be playing a crucial role," Stein wrote. "According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA gave close to $1 million to Republican senators’ PACs in 2014 — or about 1 percent of the $67 million they raised that year."
This won't make any of their critics like the NRA, but even if one doesn't support the organization, its membership is saving lives and teaching others how to defend themselves.

Remember the Texas massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas in fall of 2017?  Man Who Shot Texas Church Murderer Is An NRA Instructor  The man who shot the bad guy developed his rifle skills in part because of his NRA membership.  Also, he was teaching other good people how to defend themselves and others.  Oh, and he was using an AR-15 rifle.

He's not alone.  Here's another story about an NRA instructor using his AR-15 to protect someone.  He prevented a pregnant woman from being stabbed.  Full story here:  NRA Instructor With AR-15 Saves Pregnant Woman Being Stabbed.  No shots were fired, the simple presentation of the AR-15 in competent hands stopped the attack.
You don't have to be an NRA member or instructor to benefit.  Here's another man's story of how the NRA helped his family learn self defense:  The NRA Doesn’t Kill People, It Saves Lives. Just Ask My Family  From this fellow's story: 

In the early 1990s, a member of my family was robbed at knife and gunpoint while trying to earn a living at his small business. The experience changed my family’s perception of our own safety and security forever. After several days of reflection, this family member made a heartfelt decision: he needed to protect his life, property, and our family by purchasing a firearm.
This is where the NRA came in. When he did make a firearms purchase, it was NRA-trained and -certified instructors who spent hours of their own time to teach him how to safely operate his preferred method of self-defense. They did not talk politics or try to indoctrinate him in any way, but did what they could to teach him how to safely and effectively defend himself if the moment ever came.
The NRA helped my family find a sense of peace again. We collectively decided to be survivors and never victims, making sure our families’ safety would never be placed in jeopardy again.
His article is short and very good.  His story is compelling.  The NRA and its members save lives, both directly and through self-defense instruction.  I'll conclude with words from the above-linked article, in which he quotes an NRA staffer.
“[A]ll I can do is keep my head down and keep fighting the good fight,” he continued. “The NRA wants an honest discussion with anyone who will listen, who will treat gun owners, hunters and law enforcement with respect. All we ask is that we are treated in a fair, honest manner. That’s all the millions of NRA members and law-abiding gun owners want. Please don’t make us into monsters.”

That’s all I want as well. It’s time for the war on the NRA to stop.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Racist Roots of Gun Control and why we still need guns in private hands

Gun control, at its heart, has always been racist.  Earliest gun control laws had to do with prevent black slaves and black freedmen from having guns.  For a paper on this topic, please read:  The Racist Roots of Gun Control

The whole piece is worth a read, but here's an excerpt to encourage you to spend some time reading:
 It is not surprising that the first North American English colonies, then the states of the new republic, remained in dread fear of armed blacks, for slave revolts against slave owners often degenerated into less selective forms of racial warfare. The perception that free blacks were sympathetic to the plight of their enslaved brothers, and the dangerous example that "a Negro could be free" also caused the slave states to pass laws designed to disarm all blacks, both slave and free. Unlike the gun control laws passed after the Civil War, these antebellum statutes were for blacks alone. In Maryland, these prohibitions went so far as to prohibit free blacks from owning dogs without a license, and authorizing any white to kill an unlicensed dog owned by a free black, for fear that blacks would use dogs as weapons. Mississippi went further, and prohibited any ownership of a dog by a black person.

Understandably, restrictions on slave possession of arms go back a very long way. While arms restrictions on free blacks predate it, these restrictions increased dramatically after Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831, a revolt that caused the South to become increasingly irrational in its fears. Virginia's response to Turner's Rebellion prohibited free blacks "to keep or carry any firelock of any kind, any military weapon, or any powder or lead..." The existing laws under which free blacks were occasionally licensed to possess or carry arms was also repealed, making arms possession completely illegal for free blacks. But even before this action by the Virginia Legislature, in the aftermath of Turner's Rebellion, the discovery that a free black family possessed lead shot for use as scale weights, without powder or weapon in which to fire it, was considered sufficient reason for a frenzied mob to discuss summary execution of the owner. The analogy to the current hysteria where mere possession of ammunition in some states without a firearms license may lead to jail time, should be obvious.

One example of the increasing fear of armed blacks is the 1834 change to the Tennessee Constitution, where Article XI, 26 of the 1796 Tennessee Constitution was revised from: "That the freemen of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence," to: "That the free white men of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence." It is not clear what motivated this change, other than Turner's bloody insurrection. The year before, the Tennessee Supreme Court had recognized the right to bear arms as an individual guarantee, but there is nothing in that decision that touches on the subject of race.
Surely we'd solved this problem by modern times, though, right?  No, we actually haven't.  Just a few days ago former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on "The View" of all places, explained to the very Left-leaning anti-gun hosts why she doesn't support gun control.  Here's a link to the DailyWire piece, but you can find it several places with a quick web search.  Ms. Rice said:
Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment. I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late fifties, early sixties. There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham Police were going to protect you. And so when White Knight Riders would come through our neighborhood, my father and his friends would take their guns and they’d go to the head of the neighborhood, it’s a little cul-de-sac and they would fire in the air, if anybody came through. I don’t think they actually ever hit anybody. But they protected the neighborhood. And I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were he would have rounded them up. And so, I don’t favor some things like gun registration.
To be clear, Black Americans need lawfully-owned firearms to protect themselves from the pockets of racism that still exist.  Any Leftist will happily tell you we haven't ended racism in the U.S. and she'd be right, so we can't deprive people of their rights to self-defense. 

Black Americans aren't alone in defending their rights with firearms, though.  An iconic example of the ending of political corruption was the Battle of Athens (1946).  You can do a web search and read about it.  Here's an article on it, and below is a video if you prefer to hear about it rather than read it.  The short version is that a corrupt political machine had taken over McMinn County, Tennessee.  After they shot a Black man in the back for having the temerity to insist on his right to vote, things got ugly, and newly-returned WWII veterans decided to defend the right to vote with firearms.  The veterans won.  The corrupt political machine that was trying to fix the vote lost power.  It's an important example of why voting and the 1st Amendment aren't enough to maintain one's rights, and why it's critical that police not be the only folks with firearms.

Here's that promised video:

It should be clear that we need firearms, including rifles (even if they look scary) to protect our rights, whether we're Black, White, Female, Male or anything else.  Even in America, use of force may be critical to preserving our rights.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Australian police outgunned

The ongoing gun debate had me looking into Australia's gun ban.  I found out a couple of things I didn't know before.  For example, that gun violence was in decline before the ban, and nobody is sure why.  That trend continued after the ban.  Also, only about a third of Australians actually handed in their guns, so much like people are saying a gun ban in America is pointless because there are too many out there, it turns out that was true in Australia, too. 

I don't have the data to say whether Australia's gun ban or whatever was causing their decline in gun violence prior the ban has led to success in reducing violence. 

What I can say because of their own press is that even if the statistics show that gun violence is down, it still appears to be a big problem there, and lawful citizens have no personal defense.

'Outgunned' police need a rifle in every squad car, Brisbane cop says
...Senior Sergeant Tony Collins, officer-in-charge at Brisbane’s Moorooka police station, said the policy change was essential to keep up with a changing world.

“There are members of the senior executive who are opposed to rifles and rifle training for no reason other than that it is their personal opinion,” he wrote, in the latest Queensland Police Union journal.

“Get over it. Times are changing more quickly than they think.

“Training with rifles needs to be more comprehensive and more than just a marksman course; it needs to be built into recruit training.”
Senior Sergeant Collins said the presence of a rifle...could help in situations were criminals were armed with high-powered weaponry, such as the shooting of Toowoomba police officer Brett Forte.

“Their accuracy is far better than ours,” he told Fairfax Media.

“Their ability to engage us is further than our effective capacity with a pistol.”
Such inexperience with firearms may have been part of the cause of an incident recently in which San Francisco PD officers, some armed with AR-15 rifles, could not hit a suspect despite 65 shots fired.  Note that the suspect was inside of an RV, so they probably shouldn't have been shooting anyway since they couldn't see or track their target.  Still, if they had an idea where he was, they should have hit him with the rifles.  Yet they didn't.  An anti-gun culture seems to handicap police when it comes to doing their jobs against well-armed opponents.  Well-armed criminals seem to be a fact of life despite gun banning in many countries.  Good people (especially those who will become police officers) need to be familiar with firearms to help prevent armed criminals from running amok.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Collectivists vs. Individualists and the gun debate

I saw a thought-provoking post by Robert Kroese.  I don't know him or anything about him, so I don't necessarily endorse any of his political thoughts or positions, but found these ideas interesting. Robert, if you have any objection to sharing this way, please just contact me and I'll take it down.
The main reason pro-gun people and anti-gun people can't talk to each other is that their respective rhetorics are based on two irreconcilable worldviews. The anti-gun people are essentially collectivist; the pro-gun people are essentially individualist.

Lately, for example, I've been hearing arguments from the anti-gun people about how "arming teachers" is a bad idea. The image they're evoking with this language is that of a group of teachers lining up to receive their mandatory government-issued firearm for use in defending their classrooms. Most proposals I've seen, however, aren't for arming teachers en masse. They are for allowing individual teachers who are already permitted to carry guns to do so on school property. The anti-gun people use collectivist language about "arming" a group of people, while the pro-gun people use individualist language about allowing individuals to make a choice about whether to carry a gun.

Similarly, anti-gun people often say things like "More guns are not the solution." The image they are evoking is that of a basically homogeneous group of people, some percentage of which are causing problems for the group with their guns. To the collectivist mind, the proposed solution--increasing the percentage of gun ownership within the group--is absurd. But of course arbitrarily increasing the percentage of guns is not a solution anyone is proposing. The solution the pro-gun people are proposing is to remove limitations on the law-abiding members of the group that put them at a disadvantage when dealing with the non-law abiding members.

I often see anti-gun people make statements like "Children dying isn't worth your right to have an AR-15." To a collectivist, this statement makes perfect sense: after all, there's no doubt that as a group, we'd be better off if there were no AR-15s. To an individualist, though, this statement is at best nonsensical and at worst insulting. To an individualist, the statement translates to "You personally having an AR-15 increases the chances of children dying." And it doesn't help when the anti-gun people go the next logical step and call NRA members "murderers" for something that none of their individual members have done.

This is also how collectivists are able to justify a ban on guns which would have to enforced by people with guns. To the collectivist, "police" are a different group than "civilians," and it's assumed that when you are talking about gun regulations, you are talking about regulations for civilians. For individualists, this distinction reeks of hypocrisy, because they see both the police and civilians as individual members of society, to whom the same laws should apply.

The problem of incompatible worldviews is complicated by the fact that in America, overt collectivism is still frowned on to some degree. Americans of all political stripes like to think we are proponents of individual freedom. Many collectivists in the U.S. are so inculcated in individualist language that they don't even know they are collectivists (these are the people who resort to supporting their arguments with vague pronouncements about "the greater good," "social welfare," "the social contract," etc.) Thus, collectivists tend (intentionally or unintentionally) to cloak their language in individualist rhetoric about "rights." For example, "Doesn't my child have a right to go to school without being shot?"

The problem with this question is that while it's ostensibly about individual rights, it's really a way of surreptitiously shifting the conversation onto collectivist grounds. It's a way of saying that my fear (rational or not) outweighs your so-called rights. And once you accept that premise, you're stuck in the collectivist mindset. Individual rights are now just an obstacle in the way of creating a perfectly just, peaceful society where no one is ever shot (or harmed in any other way, presumably).

You've probably figured out by now which of these two camps I'm in. I don't pretend to be objective, but I have some pretty good reasons for preferring the individualist mindset to the collectivist. For one thing, as I've already mentioned, it's telling that the collectivists have to employ misdirection and rhetoric borrowed from individualism in order to make their point. Most Americans still know on some level that the greatness of our country was its emphasis on individual rights over collective concerns, so the collectivists have to rely on deception to win them over.

Secondly, in my experience individualists have a pretty good understanding of the collectivist worldview. It isn't difficult for most pro-gun people to perform a convincing imitation of the anti-gun argument. Anti-gun people, on the other hand, seem genuinely incapable of understanding pro-gun arguments, and end up arguing against strawmen tainted by their own collectivist ideology. This leads me to believe that collectivism is an intellectual crutch for those who can't make sense of individualism.

But the main problem with collectivism as it relates to gun control and any other problem is that in the end, people *are* individuals. If you break a gun law, you, an individual, go to prison. If a burglar breaks into your house, you, an individual, are victimized. If you shoot a person, you, an individual, are responsible. You can talk about "society" having a problem with "gun violence," but in the end what you are talking about is some individuals being hurt by other individuals with guns.

Collectivist language can be useful, but the collectivist worldview is at best an approximation and at worst a crutch for bigots and the intellectually lazy. Laws are applied to individual people, and I believe they should be passed with that in mind. You don't have to believe that, but if you are in favor of gun control, you should at least make an effort to understand why many people do.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Simplest Proof that Guns aren't the Problem

If you've never listened to Bryan Suits' "Dark Secret Place" and you read this blog, you should give it a listen.  He offered the simplest proof I've ever heard that firearms aren't the cause of school shootings.

There's a simple fact:  the worst neighborhoods in California, especially in and around Los Angeles are awash with guns.  We're not just talking "assault style rifles," which are scary-looking rifles that operate like other hunting rifles (one trigger squeeze, one shot).  We're talking about full military assault rifles that have the option to select automatic fire.

In these really bad neighborhoods there are shootings.  It's mostly gang-on-gang violence.  There are no school shootings, however.  None.  They don't take their fully automatic assault rifles into schools and shoot them up.  No, school shootings are left nearly exclusively to young white males, many of whom have just stopped taking their SSRI and other mood-altering medications and 70% of whom didn't have a father figure. 

School shootings aren't about the guns.  They never were.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

You should probably never visit San Francisco

Sometimes poor policy fails in really unattractive ways.  San Francisco isn't safe.  It's not just your belongings that will be stolen, but you could get diseases simply from breathing. 

San Francisco policy makers don't want to be mean to anyone.  Combine that with a mild climate and generous handouts, and you have a high homeless population that panhandles aggressively and poops in the street.  The latter behavior has some unintended consequences that could give you a serious disease.

Survey of Downtown SF Reveals Trash, Feces, Drug Needles
“If you do get stuck with these disposed needles you can get HIV, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and a variety of other viral diseases,” said Dr. Lee Riley, an infectious disease expert at University of California, Berkeley. He warned that once fecal matter dries, it can become airborne, releasing potentially dangerous viruses, such as the rotavirus. “If you happen to inhale that, it can also go into your intestine,” he said. The results can prove fatal, especially in children.

Riley has researched conditions across the poorest slums of the world. His book titled, “Slum Health,” examines health problems that are created by extreme poverty.

Based on the findings of the Investigative Unit survey, Riley believes parts of the city may be even dirtier than slums in some developing countries.

“The contamination is … much greater than communities in Brazil or Kenya or India,” he said. He notes that in those countries, slum dwellings are often long-term homes for families and so there is an attempt to make the surroundings more livable. Homeless communities in San Francisco, however, are often kicked out from one part of town and forced to relocate to another. The result is extreme contamination, according to Riley.  [Emphasis mine]
So, if you go to San Francisco your children could literally die simply because they inhaled dried hobo poo.

What are the chances, though, right?  What's life without a bit of risk?  Your visit will probably be ruined if you park a car in San Francisco.  While they're notorious for ridiculous tickets, now the government isn't doing anything about its competition:  smash and grab car burglars.

SF neighborhood, police powerless against car break-ins
As we talked the other day amid construction cones and loose bricks, I asked McMahon how many car break-ins he’s witnessed while on the job on Lombard.

“Easily 100, even more,” the 54-year-old Ireland native said in a thick brogue.

And how many arrests has he seen?

Sometimes, the losses are major: passports, cash, laptops, entire packed suitcases. Other times, they’re small yet devastating. McMahon vividly recalls the time parents with two little girls returned to their car to see the window smashed.

The older girl burst into tears. She’d just been released from UCSF Medical Center, where she was being treated for leukemia, and a teddy bear that she’d been given at the hospital was gone.

“She said, ‘Mom, take me to the airport right now — I want to leave,’” McMahon said.

Police came out to take a report that time, but said nothing could be done. That’s what they usually say, McMahon said.
In short, avoid San Francisco if you care about your life and your property.  Cheers!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

If we're infringing on rights...

There's something that's been bothering me.  I've noted several times that a huge key to stopping mass shootings has to do with coverage.  The Wall Street Journal put this article behind a pay wall, so I found it for free:  What Mass Killers Want And How to Stop Them

For those who feel this is TLDNR, please never comment on the issue, because you haven't bothered to take 15 minutes to understand it, so you clearly don't care as much as you claim. However, the quick points are:

1. Never publish a shooter’s propaganda.

2. Hide their names and faces. 

With the possible exception of an at-large shooter, concealing their identities will remove much of the motivation for infamy.

3. Don’t report on biography or speculate on motive.

4. Minimize specifics and gory details.

5. No photos or videos of the event.

6. Talk about the victims but minimize images of grieving families.

7. Decrease the saturation. 

Return the smaller shootings to the realm of local coverage and decrease the amount of reporting on the rest.

8. Tell a different story. 

There is a damping effect on suicide from reports about people who considered it but found help instead. Some enterprising reporters might find similar stories to tell about would-be mass shooters who reconsidered.

If we're honestly considering infringing on the 2nd Amendment, it's clear we also need to infringe on the 1st Amendment, too.*  The most famous example of reasonable limits on the 1st Amendment is that you can't shout "fire" in a crowded movie house if there's no fire.  It adds no value to society and people can be hurt trying to flee.  On a societal level, what the media does after mass shootings is equivalent to screaming "Fire" in a crowded theater.  It's normalizing mass shooter behavior and feeding into the fantasies of would-be shooters.  It has to stop.  If we're going to apply coercion regarding rights, this one can't be neglected.

*Note that I do not support infringing on either.