How do they WRITE this Stuff With a Straight Face?

(From the Cincinnati Enquirer)

How many more Javontays must die?

Two school buses let children out in front of an apartment building on Linn Street. Across the street, in front of a dwelling bearing burglar bars and an electronic door gate, the bereft mother of a slain 7-year-old keened.

Javonna Williams’ eyes were dry. But her tears flowed through the words she shouted to the street, to no one in particular.

“They don’t know what they’ve done,” she said. “I was there. I saw his pain. He was in pain.”

Little Javontay died Monday night, police said, after a child playing with a gun in a Mount Airy townhouse shot him in the chest.

It was an accident, police believe, but it’s hard to piece together the facts.

People aren’t telling police everything, including who owned several guns police found at the apartment.

What is clear is a neighborhood is missing one friendly little boy who used to ride his bike and build imaginary forts in a store parking lot next to his home.

Kevin Milline, who owns the grocery store, said Javontay’s mother wouldn’t let him or his 3-year-old sister play in a neighborhood tot lot a block away, because drug dealers had taken it over.

“It’s too dangerous,” Milline said.

Javontay’s West End neighborhood has drug problems, as does the neighborhood he visited in Mount Airy. There have been shootings and assaults in both in recent months.

But carelessness, not drugs, killed Javontay. Some adult let kids find the guns.

How do we as a community reduce the chances of that happening again?

Gee, I don’t know. How about cracking down on the drug dealers? Or, sparing that, how about ending the “War on (some) Drugs” and taking the profitability out of the trade?

Our children are over-exposed to guns – even in low-crime neighborhoods. It is estimated that 40 percent of American households have firearms in them; 30 percent of those guns are unlocked and loaded, according to Common Sense About Kids And Guns, a national group.

A statistic that:

A) Ignores the fact that the percentage of American households with firearms in them hasn’t changed significantly for over fifty years (except, possibly to go down,) and

B) The total number of accidental deaths by firearm (not just rate per 100,000 population) has been declining ever since we started keeping records.

This is part of the “more guns equals more death” meme.

Nationally, 1,200 kids and teens die from gun accidents and suicides annually. Another 18,000 or more are injured.

As I’ve illustrated before, removing a method does not affect overall suicide rates. Australia has suffered a dramatic increase in teen suicide in the last few years. Method? Asphyxiation.

Here’s the facts on accidental firearm death for “kids and teens” up through 17 year-olds:

Year Deaths

2000 150
1999 158
1998 207
1997 247
1996 272
1995 330
1994 403

Shall I go on? And remember, during that time the number of guns in private hands has increased by over three million per year – about a third of which were handguns.


The problem is, the gun banners control forces define “DOING SOMETHING” as “passing new gun control laws.” Nothing else qualifies.

You won’t hear them talk about the dramatic decrease in accidental deaths. Instead, they will attach suicides to the total in order to keep the numbers as high (and emotion-grabbing) as possible.

Javontay’s case is unusual because he died in an inner-city neighborhood, said Dr. Rebeccah Brown, a pediatric surgeon and assistant director for the trauma unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“I don’t think of (accidental shootings) as being an inner-city problem. Usually it’s kids whose dads are hunters and who find the gun.”

Sweet freaking Jebus. No, Doctor, you don’t think of accidental shootings as being an inner-city problem because you’re overwhelmed by deliberate shootings. Accidental shootings – especially of small children – are quite rare everywhere.

In 10 years, Children’s has treated 127 gunshot wounds in children; most between the ages of 10 and 14.

And how many of them were deliberately inflicted as in, say, drive-bys? (Or are they going to redefine getting hit in a drive-by as an “accident?”)

“Chances are your children have been somewhere or played somewhere where there’s a firearm,” said Tracy Cook, executive director of ProKids, which helps abused kids.

The usual precautionary warnings – don’t mix kids with guns; lock up your weapon; keep ammunition separate – still apply, even with stolen guns, she said.

“Just because you purchase a gun illegally doesn’t mean you can’t put a lock on it. Who wants a kid to die?”

No one wanted Javontay to die.

Through family members, Javonna Williams declined to be interviewed for this column. As neighbors and relatives encircled her, she rocked back and forth.

If those who know something about this accident could only see her pain, I bet they’d give police the information they seek about the guns police found in the apartment Javontay visited.

And if the rest of us are realistic about the chances for more accidental shootings – we’d do whatever it takes to keep kids away from guns.

This is the mentality. Just pass another law. The people willing to steal or acquire a gun illegally will follow that one!

I am not often dumbstruck by the mental processes of the gun grabbers controllers, but this one floored me. I cannot fathom the “logic” here.

(Update: Kevin McGehee advises: “Don’t try to comprehend the logic of gun grabbers controllers. It’s like mud wrestling with a pig — you only wind up getting dirty, and the pig likes it.” I can’t help myself, Kevin. I’m an engineer – I’m unable to believe that some people are incapable of logic.)

Ages 5 and Up, Eh?

I GOTTA get one of THESE for my grandson! (He’s three now.)

And a close-up view of the kit, which appears to be based on the Swiss SIG 550:

Underbarrel grenade launcher & everything!

Of course, this would get the gun-control people’s panties in a bunch, so I was unable to find a single on-line retailer who actually carries it.

Why am I not surprised?

This is Old News, But…

I just found it. I knew the Denver P.D. had “lost” an AR-15, but here’s a Denver TV station’s story about it. I’m not going to quote the whole thing. The story is that a loaded, cased rifle with four loaded magazines “fell out” of a police cruiser trunk back in August.


Anyway, it was one of the last lines that got my attention:

Police say that if you see the rifle, you should not handle it for safety reasons.

I think that translates as: “Because mere civilians shouldn’t know how a weapon of military usefulness functions, and because there’s been such a successful effort to ensure that the majority of Americans are completely ignorant or at best woefully misinformed about weapons in general and especially “assault rifles” in particular, (All bow towards Hollywood) if you find it, do not touch the dangerous magical talisman, or it might “just go off,” and slay a toddler. Contact one of the annointed who will come and render it safe, and remove its evil visage from your presence.”

I Thought DEAN Was the Frontrunner?

Kevin Siers of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer isn’t very considerate of the feelings of the deep space nine other Democratic Presidential hopefuls in this cartoon:

But isn’t it accurate? (The little car, I mean. Clark’s tank strikes me as being about as formidable as one of the decoys used to confuse the Iraqis before the ground campaign in ’91. Looks good, but no armor, gun or engine. Just a heat source.)

Another Example

As I’ve illustrated before, those interested in gun banning control have a very common tendency to lie twist the truth to suit their agenda, fully confident that the media will not only not fact-check their claims, but will very often further distort them and pass them on as fact.

Here’s another example:

Right Thing To Do, Or Just Good Politics?


Gun advocates were perplexed a few months ago when President Bush, a staunch long-time supporter of the National Rifle Association and its goals, decided to support an extension of the 1994 ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. The bill to extend the ban for another decade will be presented by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Charles Schumer (D-NY). The two crucial questions regarding this issue are: whether the ban that has been in place over the past nine years has made a difference, and if it is broad enough.

While gun-rights groups claim the assault-weapon ban has done nothing more than deprive hunters and sportsmen of high-powered rifles they use for recreational purposes, a study soon to be released by the Violence Policy Center – a Liberal Washington group that supports the ban’s extension – found that at least 41 of the 211 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty from 1998 to 2001 were shot with assault rifles. These were usually copy-cat weapons designed so that they do not fall under the law. Kristen Rand, the study’s author said “the gun industry’s open evasion of the assault weapon’s ban continues to place America’s law enforcement officers at the highest possible risk.”

President Bush’s position has caused anger and confusion among gun owners and lobbying groups on both side of this issue. So, in answer to the question posed in the title of today’s column: supporting this ban was indeed good politics and thus the right thing to do. A good politician realized that this is an extremely popular measure.

(Emphasis mine.) Not so fast, Mr. Giovanelli.

I studied the VPC’s report when the Atlanta Journal Constitution commented on it back in May, and here’s what I found (and I will quote myself shamelessly):

“Assault rifles were created solely to kill people; today, those people are often law enforcement officers. Forty-one of the 211 U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty between 1998 and 2001 were murdered with assault rifles, according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center.”

Well! The Violence Policy Center! That bastion of unimpeachable agendaless fairness! They would be referring to this table. Let me see….

Four (4) with M1 Carbines, eight (8) with SKS rifles, two (2) with Mini-14’s, three (3) M-11’s, and two (2) TEC-9’s. First, the M1, SKS, and Mini-14’s are not and have not been classified as “assault weapons” – no lethal pistol grip on those guns. They look like “nice” semi-automatic rifles because they have the pretty non-lethal wood stocks, rather than the ugly, lethal plastic and metal ones. The M-11 and the TEC-9 are not rifles, they’re handguns. That’s NINETEEN (19) of the 41. And, if these guns were created “solely to kill people,” what of the other 170 officer deaths? They were killed with weapons designed to tickle people?

Now, according to this site between the years of 1998 and 2001 (inclusive) there were 229 officer deaths by firearm, not 211. And according to this table the number of police deaths, at least for the last couple of decades (and excluding the 72 killed in the Twin Towers in 2001) has been apparently unaffected by the relative explosion in the mid 1980’s of “assault weapons” (as defined by the law) into the general populace. They’re trying to make it sound like the presence of “assault weapons” has somehow added 41 deaths that otherwise would not have occurred. The evidence does not support this. But that’s the conclusion you’re supposed to draw. “Ban ’em, and these cops would have lived!”

Now, it took me about an hour to collect that information and fact-check the VPC, yet here it is four months after the Atlanta Journal Constitution piece, and this guy is stating that “Forty-one of the 211 U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty between 1998 and 2001 were murdered with assault rifles,” which makes it obvious that he didn’t check anything, just took it as gospel. His only nod toward “fairness?” He noted that the VPC was “a Liberal Washington group that supports the ban’s extension.”

Accept their information at your own risk? I *cough* thought we were supposed to *cough* trust the media to check it for us. *cough*

Nope, the meme is now “Ban assault weapons and save 41 cops!” And nothing I say is going to change that.

But I don’t intend to shut up.


Now that I’ve found two references to “41 law enforcement officers killed with ‘assault rifles'” during the period of 1998 to 2001, I predict that – before the assault weapons ban expires – that “fact” will morph without attribution into “41 officers a year” in the media.

Anyone want in on that action?

A Difficult Question to Answer

Instapundit (who else?) points to this, er, unforgettable quote by Vlae Kershner, SFGate news director since 1999, without comment. I have to comment.

We’ve undoubtedly lost some of our audience to Web sites that specialize in politically tinted news. Not that it hurts us that much, but it makes political polarization even worse if people only read the opinions they already know they’re going to agree with.

A lot of readers don’t believe there’s such a thing as journalistic objectivity and seek out news sources according to politics. During the Iraq war, some readers from outside our market area wrote to thank us for being an antidote to the TV networks’ pro-war coverage, and I’d have to write back and say thanks, but as a news Web site we don’t take sides. We reflect San Francisco’s attitudes with colorful liberal columnists like Mark Morford, but we have conservative columnists too.

I suspect that print newspapers are also losing readers to overtly political Web sites and places like Fox News.

So, is Mr. Kershner:

A: Your average liberal journalist blind to the “political tint” of SFGate’s daily reporting, as Bernie Goldberg et al. have suggested?

B: Quite aware of the “political tint,” but dismissive of it because that position is so obviously correct that it represents the mainstream? (Arguably a subset of option ‘A’, but I think it’s a sufficiently different question to merit its own choice. One is conscious, the other, unconscious.)

C: Fully aware of the liberal position of SFGate, but dedicated to making everyone else think “correctly,” thus dismissive of the idea that SFGate might have a “political tint” of its own?

D: Simply an idiot?

You may choose more than one.

Mike Spenis of Feces Flinging Monkey Comments

on the recent Ohio Supreme Court concealed-carry decision here.

Read the whole comment, but the money quote is this:

“I’ve long believed that democracies live and die by the education of their people. I suppose we should add that constitutions live and die by the whims of our judges.”

As I’ve written, a right is what the majority of people believes it is. If the majority of Ohioans believed that the right to arms enumerated in the state constitution really existed, then the Ohio Supreme Court would reflect that belief, not decide 5-2 that making concealed-carry illegal somehow didn’t infringe on “the right to bear arms for their defense and security.”

Which, I believe, is why our school system is collapsing or has collapsed. Connie du Toit said recently:

The other day our Carpenter’s helper heard me say something along the lines of, “it is difficult to conclude that incompetence is the reason why our public schools have deteriorated. There comes a point where you have to suspect sabotage, or a conspiracy.”

He asked me if I really meant that.

I then went on to tell him about how public schools changed at the turn of the last century. That there were others involved in turning Americans from free-thinking individualists to factory drones. I also added that many people probably went along with it because it seemed like a good idea, but there were certainly enough people behind the scenes, who knew that the goal posts had been moved. THAT is a conspiracy.

Yes. There does come that time when you are forced to don the tinfoil hat.

And then there’s this quotation attributed to Justice Antonin Scalia (though I’ve not been able to verify it):

To some degree, a constitutional guarantee is like a commercial loan, you can only get it if, at the time, you don’t really need it. The most important, enduring, and stable portions of the Constitution represent such a deep social consensus that one suspects if they were entirely eliminated, very little would change. And the converse is also true. A guarantee may appear in the words of the Constitution, but when the society ceases to possess an abiding belief in it, it has no living effect. Consider the fate of the principle expressed in the Tenth Amendment that the federal government is a government of limited powers. I do not suggest that constitutionalization has no effect in helping the society to preserve allegiance to its fundamental principles. That is the whole purpose of a constitution. But the allegiance comes first and the preservation afterwards.

Make sure that the children you are educating don’t believe in the fundametal principles that founded the nation, and those principles will, inevitably, vanish. The Constitution will become merely words, and words will begin to mean what we want them to mean – and that meaning can change at a whim.

Just like George Orwell described in 1984.

Yes, the Ohio constitution, Article 4 states:

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security;

but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up;

and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

But try to carry a firearm for your “defense and security” in Ohio – either open or concealed – and see how long it takes you to end up in police custody.

A right is what the majority of a society believes it is.

And those of us who really believe in the rights of the individual are losing to the education system that is teaching our children that those rights aren’t real.

Tinfoil hat ON.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer discusses the Ohio Supreme Court decision with his usual thoroughness.

I Want One of These

Next year we are going to try expanding attendance at our IHMSA (International Handgun Metallic Silhouette) matches by also running (very similar) NRA handgun metallic silhouette (the only difference being that the smallbore and Field Pistol chickens are shot at 25 yards in IHMSA, and at 40 yards in NRA). We’re also going to start shooting Cowboy Rifle (an offshoot of Cowboy Action shooting.)

Cowboy rifle rules allow the use of lever-action rifles on the Hunter Pistol (small targets at 40, 50, 75, and 100 yards) and Big Bore (full size targets at 50, 100, 150 and 200 yards) targets.

So I want one of these:

The Marlin 1894SS, chambered in .44 Magnum. Ten-round magazine capacity, 20″ barrel, and it weighs about 6 pounds. The .44 Mag out of a handgun is sufficient to knock down the Big Bore targets, so out of a 20″ rifle barrel, it won’t have ANY problem. The problem would be my eyes and iron sights.

I’m really not much of a fan of Cowboy Action Shooting (I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said “beware of any hobby that requires a new wardrobe”) but I know I’d enjoy this, and I’m enough of a Western fan that I’d kinda like at least one lever-action. I’ve seen them on sale used between $325 and $500. It’s got an MSRP of $680, which I think’s a bit pricey for a lever-gun, but the popularity of CAS has put them in demand, I guess.

Maybe when I win the lottery.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike. Dipnut over at Isn’tapundit wants an 1894SS too, and a Ruger Vaquero to go with it. And we posted on the same day at very close to the same time.

Coincidence? I think not!

Dept. of OUR Collapsing Schools

Artist: Larry Wright, Detroit News.

It seems that the teachers decided to skip school today so they could protest charter schools:

The Detroit Public Schools abruptly canceled classes for its 153,000 students today, after teachers threatened to use personal days to protest a political deal that would have expanded charter schools in the city.

As officials announced late Wednesday that they had too few teachers to open, Gov. Granholm broke off negotiations with Republicans, apparently ending talks on charter school expansion. Nevertheless, teachers did not cancel the scheduled protest.

The district estimated that 3,200 of the Detroit Federation of Teachers’ 12,500 members would take personal days to attend the 10 a.m. Capitol rally.

Yup, that’s democracy – 25% of the employees get to decide what 100% are going to do. Here’s the kicker:

Union officials argued the effort to stop charter expansion was worth any inconvenience.

Of course it does. Charter schools threaten the power of the teacher’s union. To hell with what’s best for the kids – they stopped caring about that decades ago. And it’s about money too, of course:

(Schools chief executive Kenneth) Burnley and others have opposed the charter expansion, estimating the district could lose close to 25,000 students in 10 years, which would translate to a loss of about $180 million in state aid.

However, it has become blindingly obvious that throwing money at the school systems doesn’t result in better education.

Union President Janna Garrison said she was pleased Granholm hasn’t signed anything but: “We know that those who have sponsored this aren’t going away.”

Teachers will be carpooling and some have arranged for buses to take them to the Capitol, she said.

“The overwhelming support of the rally by our members show the depth of their commitment to our students,” Garrison said. “We invite the parents to come to Lansing and stand up for their children.”

One problem with that, Ms. Garrison: I doubt the majority of parents interested in protesting the actions of the teachers and their unions can afford to take the day off from their non-government, non-union jobs. They actually have to work for a living.

If it’s at all possible, home school.

Dept. of Our Their Collapsing Schools

Via Ravenwood (via…) comes this story of the education system in Mother England that, if anything, seems to be catapulting down the slippery slope faster than ours.

You Haven’t ‘Failed’ – You’ve ‘Nearly Passed’

Pupils across Lincolnshire may soon be able to sit exams without fear of failing, when new government guidelines come into effect.

The guidelines, for marking key national curriculum exams, recommend that the current F grade, for ‘fail’, should be replaced with an N grade, for ‘nearly’.

“Nearly’ what? “Nearly exhibited brain function?”

The guidelines were sent out to markers of this summer’s exams by the Government’s Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

They include instructions that maths exam answers should be marked as either ‘creditworthy’ or ‘not creditworthy’, rather than correct or incorrect.

So, the math used to smash a probe into Mars rather than establish orbit around it would have been graded as “not creditworthy?”

This is a perfect example of George Orwell’s “Newspeak:”

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, (English Socialism) but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’ since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

As I’ve said before, it looks like Orwell just missed by a decade or four. To continue:

The changes cover English, maths and science exams at key stages one, two and three, which are taken by seven-, 11- and 14-year-olds.

Youngsters who do not achieve a minimum mark, where the tests have a target of levels three to five, can be given a ‘compensatory level two’ award.

Which means what? “Well, Johnny, you nearly passed the test, so here’s your level two award!

A spokesman for the authority denied that the marking scheme blurred the distinction between passing and failing.

The spokesman said the use of ‘creditworthy’ was appropriate because some answers to maths questions were worth several marks, and it was possible to get some marks even if the final answer was wrong.

Nick Seaton, the chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, described the changes as “political correctness gone stark raving bonkers”.

He said educational managers were afraid to use the words ‘right’, ‘wrong’ and ‘fail’.

They’re not afraid, Mr. Seaton, they’re doing this with deliberate intent.

The local Junior High Middle School I drive by every morning on my way to work has a marquee out front on which they post, generally weekly, a slogan or the names of the latest award winners or some such. For the last two weeks or so the slogan has been (IIRC)

“Failure is success if you learn from it.”

Particularly if you learn that failing nearly passing the seventh grade does not mean you get promoted to the eighth grade anyway.

And this is another example that Connie du Toit is right.