Another Quora Thread

No, not that thread, a different one.  If you’re among the tl;dr crowd, just skip down to the last comment.  It’s in gold.

Here’s the question that was asked last December:

Questions that Contain Assumptions:  How do extreme gun rights advocates defend the fact that the shooter in San Bernadino was able to legally buy AR-15 assault rifles with 1400 rounds of bulletproof vest-piercing ammunition?

Here’s my answer and the comment thread that followed:

You’re obviously not familiar with California’s gun laws. If, in fact, the San Bernadino shooters were armed with fully-functional AR-15 rifles, they did not acquire them legally. Those are verboten in California, as are pipe bombs.

You are also obviously not familiar with “bulletproof” vests. Vests are classified by what power levels they are rated to stop. The classes are:

Level I – rated to stop up to .38 Special, a rather mild handgun round.
Level IIA – rated to stop up to 9x19mm and some .357 Magnum handgun rounds.
Level II – rated to stop high-velocity .357 Magnum.
Level IIIA – rated to stop most .44 Magnum handgun rounds.

You’ll note that none of these are rated to stop any rifle cartridge. The Level IIIA vest is the heaviest vest normally worn by police officers in the performance of their everyday duties, because as the level of protection goes up, the vests get thicker, heavier, stiffer, hotter, and more uncomfortable. A Level IIIA vest or lighter won’t stop a .30-30 Winchester round (traditional deer rifle cartridge) from one of these:

 photo win94.jpg
The lightest rated vest that can stop a 5.56NATO round (the round fired by the standard AR-15 rifle) is Level III, and it includes plates made of steel or ceramic. Level IV vests are the only vests literally described as being able to stop “armor piercing” ammunition fired from rifles, and 5.56NATO ammunition does not meet the definition of “armor piercing.”

As far as having 1,400 rounds, that’s less than a case and a half of ammunition – otherwise known as “a good weekend” in a lot of places in America.

Edwin Blake Waddell
We can quibble over specifics. My only point here is that it bothers me (and many others) that these shooters were able to get assault-style rifles (or weapons, whatever semantics you prefer) legally. My point was never that the weapons were obtained illegally. That’s the whole problem! Some laws need to change. I question how thorough these “background” checks are. The F.B.I. found evidence that Farook was in touch with people domestically and abroad who have Islamist extremist views, according to officials. Sounds like a red flag to me. We can argue about whether they had “rifles” or “weapons” and how many rounds of ammo they had, and what kind of bullets they were but the bottom line is: another day in America, another mass shooting and it is becoming the “new normal.” Whether they are terrorists or mentally ill or normal people who “snap”, I’ll say it again: It’s too damn easy to get a gun (especially multiple assault guns) in this country! Something needs to change. Background checks need to be expanded. Maybe a mental health evaluation needs to be passed before purchasing a gun. I think I am hearing from “good guys” who want to “keep their guns.” NO PROBLEM! I don’t want to take away guns from good guys. They may save my live some day. But strengthening a few regulations might, just might, keep some “bad guys” from getting guns. I would think responsible, safe gun owners would welcome tighter regulations. You guys would PASS a tighter background check. The Farooks of world (mostly) would not. I know: “bad guys still find a way of getting weapons.” Well some, yes. But if tighter regulations kept just a few mass shootings from happening, it is worth it!

Except the weapons were acquired illegally, and apparently modified illegally, and combined with illegal explosives.

And your response is that you want to make it MORE illegal. Illegaler!

I think you need to do some research. How about reading this report (PDF, 18 pages):

Enforcement of the Brady Act, 2010

If that’s too long for you, here’s the TL;DR version:

In 2010, about 76,000 background checks resulted in denial of sales, some 47.4% of which (34,459) were for “a record of a felony indictment or conviction.” How many people ended up in jail for signing their names to a falsified Form 4473 – which carries a 5-year prison sentence? Well, 62 people were “referred for prosecution.” That’s 0.18%.

Of those 62, thirteen plead guilty or were found guilty – down from 73 in 2006.

Or how about this:

 photo federalprosecutions.jpg
It doesn’t appear that more laws are needed, but possibly the will to use the ones we’ve got already. I have to ask – if we aren’t using those laws, then what are they for? And why should we add MORE?

Ok, I’m fine with using the ones we have if they will really bring down gun related deaths. I just think that access to guns is part, not all, of the problem. I’m not satisfied with the ways things are in America related to gun deaths. The rate of prosecutions are not keeping up with the rate of gun deaths. Look at the stats in this article especially in contrast to other countries:

Gun related deaths are down. Are YOU aware of this?

Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware

 photo homicides.jpg
The guns are already out there. They’re not going to go away. Making it more difficult for people to buy guns from gun shops will have NO EFFECT on firearm accessibility to people who are willing to commit murder, which (as it happens) is also illegal.

Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from the gun control meta-study commissioned by the Carter Administration and published in 1982 as Under the Gun: Weapons, Crime and Violence in America:

“The progressive’s indictment of American firearms policy is well known and is one that both the senior authors of this study once shared. This indictment includes the following particulars:

(1) Guns are involved in an astonishing number of crimes in this country.

(2) In other countries with stricter firearms laws and fewer guns in private hands, gun crime is rare.

(3) Most of the firearms involved in crime are cheap Saturday Night Specials, for which no legitimate use or need exists.

(4) Many families acquire such a gun because they feel the need to protect themselves; eventually they end up shooting one another.

(5) If there were fewer guns around, there would obviously be less crime.

(6) Most of the public also believes this and has favored stricter gun control laws for as long as anyone has asked the question.

(7) Only the gun lobby prevents us from embarking on the road to a safer and more civilized society.

“The more deeply we have explored the empirical implications of this indictment, the less plausible it has become. We wonder, first, given the number of firearms presently available in the United States, whether the time to “do something” about them has not long since passed. If we take the highest plausible value for the total number of gun incidents in any given year – 1,000,000 – and the lowest plausible value for the total number of firearms now in private hands – 100,000,000 – we see rather quickly that the guns now owned exceed the annual incident count by a factor of at least 100. This means that the existing stock is adequate to supply all conceivable criminal purposes for at least the entire next century, even if the worldwide manufacture of new guns were halted today and if each presently owned firearm were used criminally once and only once. Short of an outright house-to-house search and seizure mission, just how are we going to achieve some significant reduction in the number of firearms available?” (pp. 319-20)

“Even if we were somehow able to remove all firearms from civilian possession, it is not at all clear that a substantial reduction in interpersonal violence would follow. Certainly, the violence that results from hard-core and predatory criminality would not abate very much. Even the most ardent proponents of stricter gun laws no longer expect such laws to solve the hard-core crime problem, or even to make much of a dent in it. There is also reason to doubt whether the “soft-core” violence, the so-called crimes of passion, would decline by very much. Stated simply, these crimes occur because some people have come to hate others, and they will continue to occur in one form or another as long as hatred persists. It is possible, to be sure, that many of these incidents would involve different consequences if no firearms were available, but it is also possible that the consequences would be exactly the same. The existing empirical literature provides no firm basis for choosing one of these possibilities over the other. Restating the point, if we could solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter very much what we did about guns, and unless we solve the problem of interpersonal hatred, it may not matter much what we do about guns. There are simply too many other objects that can serve the purpose of inflicting harm on another human being.” (pp. 321-22)

Here we are 33 years on, with probably 200 million more firearms in private hands. Homicide rates are at levels last seen in the 1960’s, but nobody told the public, and the constant drumbeat of “GUN CONTROL!” is increasing in tempo.

I wonder why that is?

I’m sure we could trade “definitive” articles all night to support our views (my turn) but ‘crazy me’ still thinks that the more guns there are, the more gun deaths there are.

AKA: “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

Yep. We both have our own versions of reality.

The question is: Which of our two respective realities is the one that doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it?

And the pièce de résistance, posted tonight, more than a year after this thread originated:

Sekaye Knutson

I was leaning towards increased gun control until I saw this beautifully thorough thread.

And THIS is why I write there.

RIP Professor Brian Anse Patrick

Just announced on his Facebook page:

It brings me great sadness to report that Brian Anse Patrick, pictured here with a great elk that he took down in Montana in 2010 (his favorite activity of all), known to many as the author of numerous books published by Arktos and elsewhere, as a Professor of Communication at the University of Toledo, as a championship target shooter and advocate for gun rights, as a CCW permit instructor, as well as through his many lectures and interviews on the subjects of propaganda and the American gun rights movement, passed away after suffering from cancer on the night of December 26/27 at the all too premature age of 62. As generous a soul as there has ever been, many of us who knew him can attest that our lives were made better through our friendship with him. Brian helped me through many rough patches of my own life over the course of nearly 20 years with his sage counsel and indefatigable drive to help his friends, as well as with his astute wit, which was matched only by the sharpness of his marksman’s eye. He was also the one who first taught this city boy how to shoot and appreciate the outdoors at his estate in northern Michigan, a true refuge from the ravages of the modern world where we would be regaled with tales of his wild youth and philosophically plumb the depths of life, the universe, and everything while quaffing the finest spirits. He was certainly the most fiercely independent individual I have ever known in both mind and action, and a man who benefited from a lifetime of wide reading and love of good books. I also never knew anyone else who could throw together a meal in half an hour from whatever was lying around his kitchen and have it taste like the best thing you’d ever eaten on every single occasion – and never be the same twice. His story, rising from a ne’er-do-well problem child with a GED to become a tenured professor, should be an inspiration to those who see academia as closed to the unconventional. He was representative of an archetypal type of primordial American which is becoming all too rare in America today. Brian, wherever you are now, you won’t be forgotten.

Professor Patrick is the author of The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage, which I quoted from extensively in my 2008 überpost The Church of MSM and the New Reformation. Someone sent the Professor a link to it, and after that we sometimes traded emails and he sent me proof copies of a couple of his later publications. Great guy and a stout supporter of the Second Amendment. Read his 2015 Daily Caller peice, A Martin Luther of Gun Rights?

Give ’em hell wherever you are, Professor.

It’s official:  2016 sucks donkey balls.

I Was Only Off by Twelve Years…

Back in 2004 I predicted:

So, here’s my prediction: When Bush wins the election with enough margin to prevent cheating on the part of the Dems, there are going to be riots. There will also be domestic terrorism by the moonbats.

The “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party” has no place to go? They’ve been stirred up past the point of no return. They’re going to go completely nuts.

I was only off by, oh, twelve years and three elections:

 photo desperate_democrats.jpg
Ironbear was right – the thought that they no longer have their hands on the levers of power has made them go stark-raving.  In addition to the items listed above:

Suddenly that “cold civil war” is warming up.

“May you live in interesting times,” indeed.

Observations on South Carolina

So I’ve been back in South Carolina for my third trip in the last eight weeks or so, and I’ve had some thumb-twiddling time here so I’ve done a bit of driving around and sampling local cuisine at non-chain restaurants, and one trip to a local movie house (tiny, two-screen, one-show-a-night), and I’ve noticed some things.

  • Apparently there was a helluva recent storm (I expect it was Hurricane Matthew).  There are trees and highway signs down everywhere in various stages of being cleaned up. 
  • There’s a lot more swamp in South Carolina than I realized.
  • There’s a lot more trees in South Carolina than I realized.  Damn those woods are thick!
  • There are more churches per square mile than I would have believed.
  • Palmetto State Armory has a LOT of billboards up on major thoroughfares.  Black rifles – with suppressors! – don’t seem to frighten the natives.
  • I’ve lived in the South before, and South Carolina is hands-down one of the most polite and friendly places I’ve ever been.
  • Even small towns seem to have 2-3 Japanese restaurants of some kind or another.
  • BBQ appears to be the State Food.
  • At least in November and December the combination of cool air and lots of water makes for a lot of morning fog.  Coming from southern Arizona that’s kinda cool.  Haven’t seen fog in a while.

Anyway, that’s what I have to report.   Oh, and I saw a couple of deer this morning crossing a fairly major road.  Lots of “deer processing” places advertising on the side of the highways, too.  Given the thickness of the local woods, I don’t imagine there are a lot of long shots during hunting season, unless you’re on the opposite side of a farmer’s field.

Miss Sloan

So there’s a movie opening this weeked wherein the NRA is bashed by a Washington lobbyist.  I thought I was going to have to sit down and write a screed, but someone already beat me to it.  Once again in the longstanding tradition of TSM, here are another person’s words who said it better than I could.  From the page for the film, I give you AdultAudienceMember’s review of “Miss Sloan”:

Movies like this are like peeing on yourself in a dark suit. It might make you feel warm and relieved for a little bit, but in the end you have done nothing but stained your underwear. This movie was obviously meant to be red meat for the victorious Hillary. Ooops, that didn’t work. Libs, gun control is dead. This movie is full of lies and half truths. According to the FBI, so-called assault weapons are used in so few crimes (only a fraction of the 500 deaths out of 30,000 annually), that they don’t bother keeping and exact count. Most deaths (2/3rds) are suicides of old white men. Of the remaining the vast majority of deaths are associated with gangs, drugs, and cities run by Dems. Why isn’t there a movie about the urban culture of Chicago where young black men are being slaughtered by other young black men? Well, that wouldn’t fit the narrative, would it? As for the contention that most gun owners want more restrictions, that is believed only by the uneducated. I teach psychology, sociology, and statistics. That number was milked from a survey. Surveys are statistical and psychological manure. They require voluntary participation and honesty. Few gun owners are going to participate and civil-rights opponents will lie.

The WHO concluded that there is no correlation between gun violence and ownership. It is a cultural issue. As for suicides, Japan allows no firearms and has just about the highest rate while the US, with just about the loosest on the planet, is tied for 50th in the list of nations. It doesn’t take any courage to make a movie based on lies. It’s about the money….and this dog will lose tons of it.

Since 2000, the FBI has processed 300 million firearm sales. Prior to that there was a conservative 200 million already in civilian hands. BHO has sold more guns than any other President hands down. And yet, with one half billion firearms in the US, the violent crime rate continues to fall. As concealed carry States have swollen to include all but three, crime has dropped. Where is the blood in the streets?

What should have been made is a movie about Obamacare and all the damage it has done to health care. That is a crime. Well, that’s going to get washed away soon, too.

I am sure pajama boys and overweight Trigglypuffs will go see this and then weep at what could have been. And that is good. Nothing is so sweet as the taste of liberal tears.

Bravo, sir. Bravo!

Deal With It

I got this piece by email from my dad.  Apparently it’s making the rounds of the interwebs.  Written by Irish op-ed columnist Ian O’Doherty in Ireland’s Independent newspaper, his Nov. 13th column A two fingers to a politically correct elite is worth your time, I think (links and bold emphasis mine):

Tuesday November 8 2016 – a day that will live in infamy or the moment when America was made great again?

The truth, as ever, will lie somewhere in the middle. After all, contrary to what both his supporters and detractors believe – and this is probably the only thing they agree on – Trump won’t be able to come into office and spend his first 100 days gleefully ripping up all the bits of the Constitution he doesn’t like.

But even if this week’s seismic shockwave doesn’t signal either the sky falling in or the start of a bright new American era, the result was, to use one of The Donald’s favourite phrases, huge. It is, in fact, a total game changer.

In decades to come, historians will still bicker about the most poisonous, toxic and stupid election in living memory.

They will also be bickering over the same vexed question – how did a man who was already unpopular with the public and who boasted precisely zero political experience beat a seasoned Washington insider who was married to one extremely popular president and who had worked closely with another?

The answer, ultimately, is in the question.

History will record this as a Trump victory, which of course it is.  But it was also more than that, because this was the most stunning self-inflicted defeat in the history of Western democracy.

Hillary Clinton has damned her party to irrelevance for at least the next four years. She has also ensured that Obama’s legacy will now be a footnote rather than a chapter. Because the Affordable Care Act is now doomed under a Trump presidency and that was always meant to be his gift, of sorts, to America.

How did a candidate who had virtually all of the media, all of Hollywood, every celebrity you could think of, a couple of former presidents and apparently, the hopes of an entire gender resting on her shoulders, blow up her own campaign?

I rather suspect that neither Donald nor Hillary know how they got to this point.

Where she seemed to expect the position to become available to her by right – the phrase “she deserves it” was used early in the campaign and then quickly dropped when her team remembered that Americans don’t like inherited power – his first steps into the campaign were those of someone chancing their arm. If he wasn’t such a staunch teetotaller, many observers would have accused him of only doing it as a drunken bet.

But the more the campaign wore on, something truly astonishing began to happen – the people began to speak. And they began to speak in a voice which, for the first time in years in the American heartland, would not be ignored.

Few of the people who voted for Trump seriously believe that he is going to personally improve their fortunes. Contrary to the smug, middle-class media narrative, they aren’t all barely educated idiots.

They know what he is, of course they do. It’s what he is not that appeals to them.

Clinton, on the other hand, had come to represent the apex of smug privilege. Whether it was boasting about her desire to shut down the remaining coal industry in Virginia – that worked out well for her, in the end – or calling half the electorate a “basket of deplorables”, she seemed to operate in the perfumed air of the elite, more obsessed with coddling idiots and pandering to identity and feelings than improving the hardscrabble life that is the lot of millions of Americans.

Also, nobody who voted for Trump did so because they wanted him as a spiritual guru or life coach.

But plenty of people invested an irrational amount of emotional energy into a woman who was patently undeserving of that level of adoration.

That’s why we’ve witnessed such fury from her supporters – they had wrapped themselves so tightly in the Hillary flag that a rejection of her felt like a rejection of them. And when you consider that many American colleges gave their students Wednesday off class because they were too ‘upset’ to study, you can see that this wasn’t a battle for the White House – this became a genuine battle for America’s future direction. And, indeed, for the West.

We have been going through a cultural paroxysm for the last 10 years – the rise of identity politics has created a Balkanised society where the content of someone’s mind is less important than their skin colour, gender, sexuality or whatever other attention-seeking label they wish to bestow upon themselves.

In fact, where once it looked like racism and sexism might be becoming archaic remnants of a darker time, a whole new generation has popped up which wants to re-litigate all those arguments all over again.

In fact, while many of us are too young to recall the Vietnam war and the social upheaval of the 1960s, plenty of observers who were say they haven’t seen an America more at war with itself than it is today.

One perfect example of this new America has been the renewed calls for segregation on campuses. Even a few years ago, such a move would have been greeted with understandable horror by civil rights activists – but this time it’s the black students demanding segregation and “safe spaces” from whites. If young people calling for racial segregation from each other isn’t the sign of a very, very sick society, nothing is.

The irony of Clinton calling Trump and his followers racist while she was courting Black Lives Matter was telling.

After all, no rational white person would defend the KKK, yet here was a white women defending both BLM and the New Black Panthers – explicitly racist organisations with the NBP, in particularly, openly espousing a race war if they don’t get what they want.

Fundamentally, Trump was attractive because he represents a repudiation of the nonsense that has been slowly strangling the West.

He represents – rightly or wrongly, and the dust has still to settle – a scorn and contempt for these new rules. He won’t be a president worried about microaggressions, or listening to the views of patently insane people just because they come from a fashionably protected group.

He also represents a glorious two fingers to everyone who has become sick of being called a racist or a bigot or a homophobe – particularly by Hillary supporters who are too dense to realise that she has always actually been more conservative on social issues than Trump.

That it might take a madman to restore some sanity to America is, I suppose, a quirk that is typical to that great nation – land of the free and home to more contradictions than anyone can imagine.

Trump’s victory also signals just how out of step the media has been with the people. Not just American media, either.

In fact, the Irish media has continued its desperate drive to make a show of itself with a seemingly endless parade of emotionally *incontinent gibberish that, ironically, has increased in ferocity and hysterical spite in the last few days.

The fact that Hillary’s main cheerleaders in the Irish and UK media still haven’t realised where they went wrong is instructive and amusing in equal measure. They still don’t seem to understand that by constantly insulting his supporters, they’re just making asses of themselves.

One female contributor to this newspaper said Trump’s victory was a “sad day for women”. Well, not for the women who voted for him, it wasn’t.

But that really is the nub of the matter – the ‘wrong’ kind of women obviously voted for Trump. The ‘right’ kind went with Hillary. And lost.

The Irish media is not alone in being filled largely with dinner-party liberals who have never had an original or socially awkward thought in their lives. They simply assume that everyone lives in the same bubble and thinks the same thoughts – and if they don’t, they should.

Of the many things that have changed with Trump’s victory, the bubble has burst. Never in American history have the polls, the media and the chin-stroking moral arbiters of the liberal agenda been so spectacularly, wonderfully wrong.

It was exactly that condescending, obnoxious sneer towards the working class that brought them out in such numbers, and that is the great irony of Election 16 – the Left spent years creating identity politics to the extent that the only group left without protection or a celebrity sponsor was the white American male.

That it was the white American male who swung it for Trump is a timely reminder that while black lives matter, all votes count – even the ones of people you despise.

You don’t have to be a supporter of Trump to take great delight in the sheer, apoplectic rage that has greeted his victory.

If Clinton had won and Trump supporters had gone on a rampage through a dozen American cities the next night, there would have been outrage – and rightly so.

But in a morally and linguistically inverted society, the wrong-doers are portrayed as the victims. We saw that at numerous Trump rallies – protesters would disrupt the event, claiming their right to free speech (a heckler’s veto is not free speech) and provoking people until they got a dig before running to the *media and claiming victimhood.

Yet none of Clinton’s rallies were shut down by her opponents (unlike Trump’s aborted Chicago meeting) and the great mistake of the anti-Trump zealots should have learned was that just thinking you’re right isn’t enough – you need to convince others as well.

But, ultimately, this election was about people saying enough with the bullshit. This is a country in crisis, and most Americans don’t care about transgender bathrooms, or safe spaces, or government speech laws. This was about people taking some control back for themselves.

It was about them saying that they won’t be hectored and bullied by the toddler tantrums thrown by pissy and spoiled millennials and they certainly won’t put up with being told they’re stupid and wicked just because they have a difference of opinion.

But, really, this election is about hope for a better America; an America which isn’t obsessed with identity and perceived ‘privilege’; an American where being a victim isn’t a virtue and where you don’t have to apologise for not being up to date with the latest list of socially acceptable phrases.

Trump’s victory was a two fingers to the politically correct.

It was a brutal rejection of the nonsense narrative which says Muslims who kill Americans are somehow victims. It took the ludicrous Green agenda and threw it out. It was a return, on some level, to a time when people weren’t afraid to speak their own mind without some self-elected language cop shouting at you. Who knows, we may even see Trump kicking the UN out of New York.

Frankly, if you’re one of those who gets their politics from Jon Stewart and Twitter, look away for the next four years, because you’re not going to like what you see. The rest of us, however, will be delighted.

This might go terribly, terribly wrong. Nobody knows – and if we have learned anything this week, it’s that nobody knows nuthin’.

But just as the people of the UK took control back with Brexit, the people of America did likewise with their choice for president.

It’s called democracy.

Deal with it.

Fake But Inaccurate

So there’s been a lot of buzz about “fake news” in media and political circles.  But Newsweak‘s political editor, Matthew Cooper admits that its “Madame President” issue cover article wasn’t written by Newsweak staff, and wasn’t even read by Newsweak editors before it published:

How much other content is written and unvetted by Newsweak‘s staff?  And for that matter, other “news” magazines’?

As Instapundit states about Global Warming alarmists’ rants, “I’ll believe it’s a problem when they start acting like it’s a problem.”