I attended Sunday’s Falcons game at the Georgia Dome. In addition to the usual presentation of our nation’s flag and the singing of The National Anthem, there was a moment of silence. In days gone by, it would have been a public prayer. Instead, we were instructed to be quiet for a moment of reflection on the lives lost last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. It was brief, but lasted long enough to make me wonder if we didn’t need a longer one, not just at football games, but across the whole country.
I became consciously aware of the shooting just after 1:00 pm Friday, not from the breathless news reports, but while reading Twitter and Facebook. I made the decision not to turn on the television right away. Unfortunately, this has become too familiar that I knew what to expect by doing that. There would be pictures and stories of unimaginable tragedy, told with incomplete and often incorrect information for the first few hours. I decided I could actually postpone reality for a bit, though I pieced together enough thoughts to post a request for “prayers for Connecticut” on my blog at Peach Pundit.
Then I checked out for a couple of hours. It was time for a moment of silence.
Facebook and Twitter are now the rapid response sites for citizen-based commentary during all events. When observing initial reactions there is a one general rule of thumb: You will lose faith in humanity reading knee-jerk responses and political solutions from instant experts while first responders are still trying to treat the wounded and remove bodies.
Senator Dianne Feinstein is no friend of the Second Amendment. After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Sen. Feinstein called for a new assault weapon ban. Now, however, she’s claiming that it’s even more important that these so-called “assault weapons” be taken off the streets in light of the tragic events last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?” Feinstein wrote on her campaign website. “These weapons are not for hunting deer — they’re for hunting people.”
On Sunday Feinstein laid out details of the bill.
“It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets, Feinstein said. “The purpose of this bill is to get… weapons of war off the streets.”
Ah, the old hunting argument. Before I address that though, I find it disgusting that the senator would choose to talk about her bill in light of what happened, especially since this most recent act had nothing to do with so-called “assault weapons”. Adam Lanza is alleged to have used two semi-automatic pistols to commit his acts of voilence that horrible day, and unless this assault weapon ban proposes to just hit all semi-automatic weapons, it wouldn’t touch the murder weapons.*
I’d also like to take a minute to remind Sen. Feinstein on the exact wording of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
By now most Americans have heard the tragic story of the deaths of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Belcher, and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins. For those who’ve not, I will try to synopsize the story as I understood it from NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, as relayed to the audience of NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast. As Costas regales, the tragedy started when Belcher got into argument with his girlfriend (and the mother of his daughter), 22-year old Perkins. As the argument escalated, both Belcher and Perkins were too distracted to notice that a gun had slipped into the room unobserved. Taking advantage of the distraction, the gun then jumped out from behind the door, fatally shooting Perkins, as Belcher could only watch helplessly, horrified.
So distraught was Belcher at the killing of his baby’s mama that he fled to the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice facility, where he breathlessly recalled, to the listening ears of his coach and general manager, the events of just a short time earlier. Compounding the earlier tragedy, Belcher was again distracted by his retelling of the killing, and was therefore caught off guard by the same gun which had killed his girlfriend. Unbeknownst to Belcher, the gun had followed him to the practice facility, where it refused to allow Belcher to reveal the horrible truth, gunning him down in front of the coach and GM before the real story could be told.
Shootings will continue to make headlines. Recent incidents such as the Aurora, Colorado shooting and events Friday at the Empire State Building continue to put guns and gun rights under a spotlight. One of the latest columns I’ve come across was spawned from the Huffington Post. In it, writer Marian Wright Edelman says she thinks it’s time for “common sense gun control”.
Every time another mass shooting happens in the United States, the debate over gun control comes fleetingly to the forefront — until political fear paralyzes courage and action. Inevitably, some people repeat the argument that the solution to preventing mass shootings is not better gun control laws — even control of assault weapons, which have no place in nonmilitary hands — but getting even more Americans armed. The apparent fantasy result would be something straight out of Hollywood where every single time a bad person stands up with a gun a good person with their own gun would quickly rise up out of the crowd, shoot the bad person, and save the day.
Edelman spends a good bit of time talking about mass shootings, invoking not just Aurora but also Columbine, Virginia Tech, and a host of others. After all, we must prevent these horrible events.
I don’t think anyone believes that these events aren’t horrible. However, I want to point out some things to Edelman. After all, she is writing from a position of emotion, rather than actual facts.
After the most recent mass killing at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, the usual suspects have been calling for gun control (aka civilian disarmament). They seem to believe that if only we had tougher gun laws, some of these people or possibly all of these poor people who died, wouldn’t have. Some other cowardly politicians like our Dear Ruler, Barack Obama (aka the Messiah) say they merely want to hold a “conversation” about stricter gun laws. But never forget, “gun control” is not really about public safety or even saving lives, it’s about increasing government control over the populace.
The arrogance of civilian disarmament advocates is best shown by these comments by Josh Sugarmann, director of some outfit called the Violence Policy Center:
“There is no valid reason for civilians to have assault rifles, semiautomatic handguns and high-capacity magazines,” he said. “We have to start ratcheting down the firepower in civilian hands in the United States.”
First of all, who the hell does Josh Sugarmann think he is!? Just because some left-wing douchebag somewhere gave him a fancy title at a silly anti-gun group, he thinks he knows what’s best for everyone else. I own a semi-automatic AK-47 clone, a 12 gauge shotgun, and a .22 rifle. Personally, I don’t think that’s anywhere near enough firepower for me. I would like to add one of those semi-automatic pistols Joshy boy hates so much for example, among a few other weapons. I like having options to deal with whatever comes my way.
Based on this from Cato’s Roger Pilon, apparently, the National Rifle Association only cares about some parts of the Bill of Rights:
NPR ran a story this morning, “NRA Targets One Of Its Own In Tenn. Race,” that nicely illustrates the perils of single-issue politics, although you’d never learn the principle of the matter from the NPR account. It seems that the NRA has launched a $75,000 ad campaign against state Rep. Debra Maggart, a long-time NRA member and avid gun-owner who a year ago had an “A+” rating from the NRA. Her sin? She and several other Tennessee Republican officials opposed a bill that would have allowed employees to keep guns in their cars while parked in their private employers’ parking lots.
The NRA’s Chris Cox, who’s spearheading this political vendetta and, in the process, is supporting Maggart’s tea-party backed opponent, invokes both “our First Amendment right to assemble to petition our government” and, of course, the Second Amendment, seemingly oblivious to the fact that neither is relevant here. In fact, the issue could not be simpler: individuals, including employers, have a right to determine the conditions on which others may enter their property.
When one talks about the left, it’s important to note that the left is a large group and not everyone on the left is in lockstep on every issue. However, there are a large number of people on the left that have the ideological consistency of a turnip…and I apologize to any turnips that are insulted at the comparison.
The most recent example stems from Team USA shooter Corey Cogdell, an Olympic trap shooter who is in London right now representing the US. Cogdell, like a lot of competitive shooters, is also a hunter. Recently, she shared some photographs of animals she’s taken while in the field.
With me so far? Good, because a report over a Twitchy.com shows how “tolerant” some on the left can be with regard to hunting. Screenshots after screenshots of individuals wishing Cogdell would “shoot [herself] in the knees” and declaring her a “waste of oxygen and an embarassment to the human race.”
One particularly stood out to me:
What a f***ing waste! WTFIs wrong with ppl?cruel!! These ppl need to be shot deheaded and posted on a wall
Now, I can understand that not everyone shares my views of hunting. For the record, I am a hunter as well. I understand Cogdell’s love of hunting, I really do. The vast majority of hunters either eat the game they take, or they donate it to programs like Hunters For The Hungry which uses wild game to feed needy families. While I have little doubt that they exist, I don’t know a single hunter - trophy hunter or otherwise - that doesn’t eat what they kill.
The recent Colorado theater shootings made the news again – tragic, visceral. But it seems that any discussion of guns revolves around a very strong selection bias, where all we see is violence, school shootings, highway snipers. This leaves the conversation incomplete.
These shootings constitute the “seen”. But what if—like economic processes—the issue of gun violence and gun control also has a “not seen” component? And what if the “not seen” is of equal importance as the “seen”? This recalls 19th century French political economist Frederic Bastiat’s famous essay, “That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen”, where Bastiat critiqued contemporary economic thinking by noting that for every economic process that is “seen” there are other equally important processes taking place that are “not seen” (his famous “broken window fallacy”).
There is therefore opportunity to stop viewing the gun control debate only through Constitutionality or even the “seen” and rather, to also address the “unseen.” Currently, most gun arguments are centered on the 2nd Amendment, especially its use of the word “militia.” Did the Founders purposely use “militia” in order to confer only a “collective” right to bear arms, or was the Amendment meant for individuals? The Supreme Court answered this question in its landmark Heller vs District of Columbia case, when the majority found that the Second Amendment indeed applied to individuals.
James Holmes is an evil man. Sick? Quite possibly, but evil none the less. The same can be said of Jared Loughner who is responsible for the Tuscon shooting. The two men, and the events they started, also have something else in common. Both sparked the debate regarding high capacity magazines.
First, let’s clarify something for the non-gun folks who may be reading. Most semi-automatic weapons are designed around specific magazines. For an AR-15 or an AK-47, that is a 30 round magazine. For a 9 mm pistol, it’s usually in the neighborhood of 15 rounds. Those are properly considered standard capacity magazines, not high capacity.
Now that the bit of nomenclature is out of the way, I know that opponents of guns don’t see any reason why someone needs so many rounds in their magazine. Well, let me touch on that one. I probably don’t. On that note though, neither do the vast majority of police officers in this country who could legally secure these so-called “hi capacity” magazines during the Assault Weapon Ban. Law enforcement was exempt from the ban, yet how many officers legally discharge their firearms during the course of their career, not counting range time? Very, very few.
Despite what the movies tell us, police officers find themselves needing to discharge their weapons remarkably few times. Most police officers go their entire careers and never fire their weapons. The same is true for most private gun owners as well.
After a tragedy, there are things that happen. Friends and families of the deceased try to come to terms with the event, journalists try to learn what they can about the event and the people affected by it, and if the tragedy involved a madman with a gun then a politician will scream for gun control.
This time, we have none other than President Obama calling for the gun control:
“A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,” Mr. Obama said at the annual National Urban League convention in New Orleans. “They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.”
“Every day, the number of young people we lose to violence is about the same as the number of people we lost in that movie theater,” Mr. Obama said. “For every Columbine or Virginia Tech,there are dozens gunned down on the streets of Chicago or Atlanta, here in New Orleans. Violence plagues the biggest cities, but it also plagues the smallest towns.”
I guess he thinks he can get it passed now? After all, four years ago he said he wouldn’t try to pass gun control legislation because he didn’t figure he had the votes. Now, he has lost control of one chamber of Congress, with a lot of politicians still battling to keep their seats. Gun control is usually a loser issue for Democrats.
However, Obama clearly believes that the Aurora massacre will swing things his way. He’s using the word “gun owners” to convey the idea that the very people who will be regulated share his belief that an “AK-47” belongs in a soldier’s hands. Well, that may be true in a few places, but I haven’t met too many of those gun owners.