Thursday, January 25, 2007
I watched Crank last night, and noticed that a movie that prominently displays a wide array of handguns pays no attention to detail. You hear the sound of a Glock being cocked on the draw, despite no external hammer. You see that the XD clearly has no bullet in the chamber (good old chamber indicator. Really shouldn't blame them for this one, since it's easy to miss). A single-action has repeated trigger clicks. You hear a revolver's hammer get pulled back and later decocked. Problem is, it doesn't actually get cocked. The sound is only matched to the draw and reholstering. It wasn't a bad movie, but it always strikes me as odd when a movie that has plenty of violence feels the need to make guns sound scarier.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Of course, it would help if the charges had a little more to do with the leak. He's actually being charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. Whether he was the fall guy for the leak or not, he still may have lied to a grand jury.
Libby's lawyer mentions a note Cheney supposedly wrote which read: "Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy who was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."
I don't know if there will be a conviction, but I do know that Libby's defense is going to avoid the actual charges and make this about him as a fall guy. But, then, anyone other than the NYT shouldn't be too surprised by that.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Ted Nugent performed using "machine guns as props." Real ones, fake ones, loaded, unloaded, actually full-auto, just scary looking? Depneding on the answers, it might have been an interesting show.
He wore a shirt with a Confederate flag. We've been over how I feel about that. We still haven't shocked or upset me.
Shouted "offensive remarks about non-English speakers." Like asking them to speak the language of the country they live in? Still not offended.
"This would normally be the place we'd insert a smart-aleck remark about the celebrity in question ... if we weren't afraid the celebrity in question would hunt us down and kill us." Yes, you think you're witty, don't you?
"They're lucky the Nuge didn't get out the crossbow and flaming arrows, release some wild boars, and provide the evening's fresh meal right then and there." That would have delayed the meal far too long, not to mention been kind of messy. The hunt could have happened outdoors and beforehand, though. Oh, wait, that's your butterknife-sharp wit again.
"Nugent, a hunting and gun-rights advocate, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday because he was out trying to kill stuff, a spokeswoman said. The word she actually used was 'hunting.'" No, really, tell us how you feel about hunting. Oh, and did you know that we humans, as omnivores, should eat meat with our veggies? That meat isn't peeled off of a live animal, causing no lasting harm, you know.
I still haven't been shocked or appalled by the behavior this article describes. Ah, well, I guess I just don't get liberalism.
A kid comes into a classroom with "An air pistol. A shotgun. A hunting knife." Okay, so one of those is a real firearm, one is a pellet gun, and one is a knife. The kid pulled them all out, according to the article. Had someone been armed, that's a lot of time to draw.
"In North Carolina, it is easier to get a shotgun or rifle than a handgun. People under the age of 18 cannot buy a shotgun, but minors can possess a shotgun with few legal barriers." It's easier across the nation. And the law regarding minors buying/possessing firearms under the age of 18 is federal.
"'Even the most ardent gun owner ... agrees that kids shouldn't have guns,' said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign/Center to Prevent Gun Violence. " Oh, really, Paul? I had guns as a kid. And I'm not talking about just under 18. I mean as a youngster. BB guns when I was 6 or 7, a .22 shortly thereafter. And I was shooting guns before I ever had one. Did I go into a classroom and pull a shotgun? No.
"'The question is whether you allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves,' Valone said.
"Kukla disagreed. She said one fortunate aspect of the incident is that nobody was injured -- including Foster." If someone had been armed, he likely would have backed down (especially if they'd drawn while he was pulling his three weapons out). If he had really wanted to kill people, he would have come in shooting. This was a power play on his part, and he had the power. And an armed assailant will have the power as long as the sheeple are unarmed.
Should anyone be surprised that North Korea is misusing UN funds? The UN, of course, didn't want anyone to know that they had misplaced their trust, so they've kept this abuse secret since 1999, at least.
If Mark Wallace hadn't been so insistent on seeing such "management tools" as audit reports, the UN could have kept this hidden.
"Wallace relates in his letter that whenever the auditors, contracted from the consulting firm KPMG, tried to discover what was going wrong, they were either limited in what they were allowed to investigate, or they were forced to accept “sham” audits done by the North Koreans themselves.
"The picture painted by the auditors, according to Wallace, shows a U.N. agency that 'operated in blatant violation of U.N. rules.'"
But why should the UN care if Kim Jong-Il takes that money and uses it to develop nuclear weapons? After all, most of it is US money, anyway?
Wallace sent a letter to Melkert asking for a full audit and outlining some of the problems he found.
"A representative speaking for Ban Ki-Moon announced Friday that in response to the allegations regarding North Korea and the UNDP, the secretary-general has called for 'an urgent, systemwide and external inquiry into all activities done around the globe done by the U.N. funds and programs.'" It's a start, but what will be done to punish North Korea? More empty threats of sanctions? This is yet another reason the US needs to pull out of the UN. no more US funding, no more headquarters in the US, and a lot fewer problems like this.
Hopefully Ban Ki-Moon will get the UN to thoroughly address the problem, but I fear it will continue to do more of the same.
Sounds nice, doesn't it? Industry looking to get laws passed that will hold it to certain standards. But wait, might there be an ulterior motive?
"This comes close to a rejection of almost all new coal-fired power plants on the drawing boards, including the 11 plants recently proposed by TXU, a Texas utility." Hmm. TXU isn't one of the companies in the coalition, nor are any members of the coalition planning any coal-fired power plants (as far as I know). It's pretty easy, if you are the big dogs, to force regulations that mirror your own current standards. And it really hinders competitors who may not meet those standards without some serious investment.
Do I think that these companies might be willing to buy out a few up-and-coming competitors? Yes. Will this make those competitors cheaper? Probably. Would the left be okay with an industry group pushing for legislation on other subjects? I doubt it. This is a smart move by the coalition, since it looks benevolent, hurts competition, and caters to a party who wouldn't agree to anything else from them.
Did MySpace give sexual predators too much information? Should MySpace be constantly monitoring messages sent through the site, just in case someone gives out too much info? Maybe ISPs are to blame. After all, they allow that information to get to the internet.
Did the parents of these children ever show any interest in their online activities? If they had, they might have seen that the children were giving out too much info. They could have talked to them or even just blocked MySpace.
What's next, suing malls and parks because sexual predators might walk into those places? Suing AOL because their instant messenger is an easy way to contact children? Suing the schools for not parenting children well enough? When do parents have to start accepting some responsibility?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
As for the caps on troops, you may want to note that not only is Bush the Commander-in-Chief, but Congress gave him the authority to deploy the military to deal with the Iraqi situation in any way he sees fit.
"Countering Boehner's claim that Democrats don't have an alternative plan for Iraq, Daly said that the party has been saying for months it's for "responsible redeployment" of troops out of Iraq." "Responsible redeployment," Daly, is neither a strategy nor responsible. Democrats have been saying that we need to pull out according to some mythical timeline that would ensure that Iraq wouldn't fall to pieces. In this case, responsible seems to simply be tacked on for effect, while redeployment seems to have been defined as ending deployment.
There are other parts of note, such as Daly assuring everyone that the Democrats would never be against funding the troops. You really should read the article.
Cox and Forkum has a nice cartoon to accompany the article.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Karen Heller, the author of the article claims that "Any fool can kill a deer." She then relates her experience with deer on the roadways. What either of these have to do with gun violence is a little beyond me, I suppose.
She then muses about "pen-raised fowl," which she thinks executives pay big bucks to hunt. Maybe out in Philly, that's all you've got, but I happen to know of quite a few areas one can hunt fowl that isn't pen-raised (and, often, the places that you pay to hunt are actually fairly affordable).
Finally, she gets off her hunting complaints for a second and claims that a "militia being necessary to the security of a free State" no longer rings true. Because the military and police are getting better arms, we should have fewer civilian arms? That's exactly the opposite of the reasoning behind having a well-armed militia. After all, tyranny from within will make use of police and military. Also, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" (emphasis obviously mine). Not the right of the states, nor the nation, nor the police, but the people.
She then complains that we've exiled smokers (much of the gun crowd also fights for smokers' rights), made alcoholism a public affair (I'm not even sure what she means other than the attempts to inform people of dangers...maybe DUI enforcement), and fight trans-fats in the courts (another fight the gun crowd is largely against).
"Guns, however, reign supreme. Criticize the need for guns, the obsession with guns, and you're labeled unpatriotic, anti-Constitution or - horrors - a liberal." Unpatriotic, yeah. After all, look at some of the things the Founders of this country said. Anti-Constitution, check. See the Second Amendment. For clarification as to who "the people" are, see the Fourth Amendment. If the right to bear arms is a right of the states, the states have a right to "be secure in their persons[...]" If the citizens are protected from unwarranted search and seizure, then we must use the same definition of "people" for the Second Amendment. As for liberal, that one's pretty obvious. They are only liberals by the Dem definition. Dictionary.com has a definition that includes "favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers." Freedom isn't found in gun bans. Also, as The War on Guns noted, she forgot nazi.
She then tosses out the NRA and their supposed control over politics. Yeah, they have some power, but they don't get their message out nearly as effectively as the Joyce Foundation (see Geek with a .45's analysis).
She mentions that an author said that gun rights were only tied to civil rights only happened during the civil rights riots, which transformed America into an "armed citizenry." Look once more to the Founders. See also the Second Amendment and the human right of self-preservation.
She then tells us there were 406 murders in Philly last year, and that most of them killed poor young blacks. First, I think she meant homicides. If, in fact, they were premeditated, it does even less for her case that guns cause violence. Secondly, some of those were defensive shootings, most of the non-defensive killings were likely done with stolen guns, and the people involved aren't going to start following the law because you add one more to the books. Finally, if she's going to make generalizations, get me actual figures.
In response to firearms as a durable good: "So the gun industry keeps producing more terrorizing models that satisfy macho fantasies, outsized security fears, and haven't a thing to do with hunting quail. As if anyone cares about quail." No, they don't have anything to do with quail. The right to bear arms is not a right to hunt. As for the "more terrorizing" models, I haven't seen anything getting worse. In fact, I see more people buying the friendly-looking wood stocks than the scary black guns. As for sheer power, autos are effectively illegal (only ones that were in the country before '86 are okay, and they require some paperwork and a tax), calibers are largely stagnating (there are, of course, exceptions), and I haven't seen any guns that have any special killing features. As for macho fantasies and security fears, this is called projecting. Because the only reason the author would get a gun is to satisfy some strange fantasy or to protect against all us gun nuts, she assumes we get guns for the same reason. As for her obvious fear of newer guns, maybe we should treat all our freedoms like that. Maybe a person could only type so many words a day (these computers allow a dangerous amount of free press, you know). Perhaps we could restrict the practice of newer religions. Radio would be limited, and no shows could be syndicated. Television...that'll be limited to very local shows, which a person can only appear on for 30 minutes a week.
She then notes some crimes guns have been involved in. She doesn't mention the success of Britain or Canada's strict gun control...probably because she's aware of the level of success they've had (I'll give you a hint: it's not a level of success so much as failure). Yes, guns allow more efficient killing. Take, for example, the wheelchair-bound 84-year old I mentioned yesterday (this links to a more thorough story). He definitely needed something efficient, or he would've been the one headed to the hospital (or the morgue).
She finally cries out to PETA, celebrities, and local governments to fight guns (many examples can be given as to how those groups already do). She calls our nation a backwards nation (y'know, it's kind of funny she chooses to live here), then mentions the 406 homicides in Philly one more time.
It would be kind of funny if she weren't so sure that gun control would help. And even if it would, the right to self-preservation (and preservation of freedom) with the best means available reigns supreme. They won't take my guns in my lifetime (which, of course, may be considerably shorter if they try).
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
HB 1014 calls for mandatory safe storage of firearms. In other words, you yell to anyone breaking in that you'll need a second to open the gun safe. The penalty for noncompliance is up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
HB 1026 would close the "gun show loophole." Y'know, that pesky ability of a private citizen to sell firearms at a gun show rather than letting the dealers make all the money. I can't sell a gun I own at a gun show, which is meant to be exactly the place for that?
HB 1126 would wave the late fee for CPL renewal for military personnel serving out of state at the time of expiration. I shouldn't have to tell you why you should support a bill like this.
SB 5197 is the Senate "gun show loophole" bill. An important note is the committee it went to. Rather than going to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is where it belongs, it went to the Senate Labor, Commerce, Research and Development Committee, where anti-gun Dems have thorough control. In the Judiciary Committee, there's a pro-gun Dem and some GOP to strike it down. And, you know, things like the Constitution.
Here's hoping reason rules the day...or at least that only HB 1126 passes.
While I disagree in principle with taking away guns whether they cause or prevent crime, it is always good to show that they don't cause crime. After all, that's one of the big battlecries in the push to ban guns: "But less guns will mean less crime!"
And, as some have noted, the study is flawed because of several things. A lot of gun owners are a bit shy about telling some stranger on the phone that they've got guns. The study adjusts for many factors (which begs the question of the relevance of these factors), but asks a random sampling from each state in question, which can easily lead to crime rates in urban areas being linked to gun ownership in rural areas. The study also polled only 200,000 people across all 50 states. The current estimated US population is 300,983,000 and a few hundred in change. The sample size, then is less than 0.07%. should have provided us with some plus-or-minus adjustments to the results. I can't afford to buy a $30 report, but no chart I've seen shows any statistical margins of error. This could be something I would find in the full report, so don't take my word on it. Finally, it was backed by a noted anti-gun organization, which calls into question the validity of the study (Geek with a .45 and The Smallest Minority have more on the Joyce Foundation). After all, the anti-gunners would never accept a study backed by the NRA.
Read Alphecca's response to the study. He's more thorough than I am.
There are many other stories just like this one. Would you deny the disabled and the elderly the one best way to defend themselves? And would you deny the able-bodied the means to defend themselves? After all, no matter who you are, a gun is a better defense than a bat or golf club.
As for the content, I'm always happy to see laws requiring gun ownership. They may not be enforced, but they've proven effective at reducing crime and they make people more aware of guns as a useful tool.
And, you know, should a tyrant think of taking control, an armed citizenry is a wonderful deterrent.
First, who was Virginia going to apologize to? U.S. slavery has been abolished for too long to have any former slaves to apologize to. And who were they apologizing on behalf of? The slaveholders lives are long over, as well. Those sponsoring the bill admit it is symbolic, though they claim it is because "Virginia's success was built on the backs of slaves." One could argue, though, that Virginia's current economic success has absolutely nothing to do with slavery, since it had to be rebuilt without slaves, has grown well without slavery, and promotes equality today. Of course, we aren't to argue that, nor are we to point out that there are more important matters for lawmakers to discuss. Otherwise, we are culturally insensitive. (Don't ask which culture, because it is, of course, slave culture we are insensitive to. Also, don't mind the fact that this brings us full-circle back to the question of why we're worrying about something that hasn't existed for well over a century.) This was another one of those white guilt moves that only serve to tell whites to hate themselves.
As for the comment about "getting over" slavery, from what I've seen, most blacks are pretty much over it. After all, slavery's not affecting them now.
Was it right of Hargrove to say that blacks should get over slavery? I can't say. Was it in bad taste? Quite possibly. Does he have the right to say it? Yes. Do the voters have the right not to re-elect him because of it? Yes.
As for his comments about asking Jews to apologize for crucifying Jesus, see the previous paragraph. Yeah, it may seem religiously insensitive, but he was trying to make his point (however ill-advised his comments may have been). Does it look likely that the Jewish religion will formally apologize? No, and he wasn't asking for that. He was pointing out the absurdity of such an apology and comparing it to the apology Virginian lawmakers were proposing.
On an unrelated note, note the quote in the Fox News article from Del. Dwight C. Jones: "When somebody tells me I should just get over slavery, I can only express my emotion by projecting that I am appalled, absolutely appalled." Without worrying about the content of his statement, guess which party he's from. The Dems apparently keep the same levels of emotion at all levels, not just federal offices. I can only express my emotion by projecting that I am amused, moderately amused.
Please note that I mean no disrespect to anyone's ancestors, be they slaves or slaveholders. It was terrible if your ancestors were slaves, but there's nothing that can actually fix it now. My ancestors were white and too poor to hold slaves, as were the ancestors of many of the whites who might apologize for slavery, so we should really cut back on these apologies.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Sea of camo? Big gun show? I only see business attire in the picture of the SHOT gun show, a trade show that the public isn't allowed into. Alan, of course, was way ahead of me in pointing that out.
As for the idea that middle America will vote for him because he has suddenly decided to change direction, I hope it blows up in his face. Since he has earned his state posts by being vehemently anti-gun, it would be nice to see his constituents keep him from ever holding another state office after a failed bid for the Presidency.
As for the NRA fawning all over him, it's no real surprise. They love the publicity and they really haven't been the staunchest defenders of the Second Amendment for a good while now. They've pushed for compromises and trigger locks a bit too much to be trusted.
Yes, Lincoln "freed the slaves" during the war. Why is that in quotes? Mostly because he only freed those slaves in the states that had seceded. They weren't following his edicts, anyway, and those states not in rebellion were unaffected. The reasoning for the Emancipation Proclamation hinged far more on preventing European support for the South. It was a smart move, but hardly the same move the textbooks relate to our schoolchildren.
The agricultural South was being dominated in national politics by the industrial North. Tariffs, import/export laws, and taxes were being unfairly levied against the South's economy. The Southern states decided to use their perceived right to peacefully secede, which the North denied.
Would we have slaves today if not for the Civil War? No. Slavery was already doomed by advances that were making that much labor not only unnecessary, but also uselessly expensive. Also, the political pressures and Underground Railroad (which helped gain ground for abolitionist sentiment) were marking the death knells for the institution of slavery.
Was the War of Northern Aggression a bloody and dark war? Yes. Should we try to erase it? No.
By the way, I have not provided nearly enough of a history lesson for you here. Please do your own research. I'm tired and Northern.
As most of the right side of the blogosphere has already reported, the first paragraph is misleading. The defense would have argued a Constitutional case, but were not allowed to. Judge Hendren did not allow the jurors to hear such a case. As for the second paragraph, there's just nothing but nonsense to it. The right to bear arms applies to the people, not the states. Also, since every able-bodied male aged 17-45 is legally a part of the militia, keeping a militia armory should be completely legal for anyone.
The defense tried to make the case an issue of the Constitution versus federal gun laws. The government tried to make the case as simple as possible for jurors — Fincher had the machine guns and they weren’t registered as required by federal law.
A major issue was whether the Militia of Washington County is a valid state militia for second amendment purposes. Judge Jimm Larry Hendren ruled it’s not.
A lot of people will tell you that the Constitutional case could not be argued because of precedent. This is a common misconception. Most people don't know the full extent of a jury's rights. A jury may consider context, refuse to apply a law, or decide that a law may not Constitutionally be applied. If these jurors had listened to everything the judge disallowed and still reached a guilty verdict, I would still disagree with the verdict, but it would be far less of a travesty.
Others will say he should have legally purchased and registered machine guns. They seem to indicate that he could have filled out a couple forms, paid a few hundred extra dollars, and easily gotten a modern full-auto for market price. The 1986 machinegun ban, however, prevents lowly citizens like us from acquiring full-autos made after '86. And, since no new full-autos may be sold in the US or brought in from outside the country, there is an ever-diminishing supply of older guns, making it increasingly difficult to even locate one for sale, much less afford one or more.
Still others mention the "fact" that no one needs anything better than semi-auto...and they fearfully speak of schools full of RPGs (the rocket-propelled grenade, not D&D and such). Let's say for a second that we give everyone unrestricted access to these weapons. You wanna guess which ones will be used in most crimes? Concealable handguns, most likely. And who wants to go rob a store with a pistol if the shopkeeper's got a large-caliber select-fire rifle to defend it with? And what about the fact that the militia is supposed to be armed with modern military weapons? Sawed-off shotguns were ruled non-military and unprotected, so why don't we allow militarily useful arms? You may say I don't need an RPG, but I may be defending against tanks (especially if the threat is tyranny from within). Yeah, my pistols and hunting rifles will be great then.
However you feel about gun control, know that Wayne Fincher hardly got a fair trial. Let a jury hear all sides of an argument, decide whether a guy making full-autos for a semi-organized militia is really a horrible criminal, and convict or acquit as they see fit. Justice demands it.