Didn’t the NRA Stop…

….all the firearm related research?

I mean that is what the anti-rights cultists claim all the time. So exactly how does this happen?

Editor’s Note: Mary Vriniotis is a researcher at the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. She has more than a decade of experience researching and writing about the prevention of firearms-related violence. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

 

How does someone have a decade of experience researching about the prevention of firearm related violence? Of course she isn’t the only one researching the issue either. Some others have been making up stuff researching the issue for decades.

Slate contacted Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. For over 30 years, he has studied firearm violence and published more than 100 studies in the field.

I was surprised to learn what the language in the restriction against the CDC actually said.

PT: Have other agencies besides the CDC also been intimidated by funding this type of research?

GW: I’ll let the agencies discuss whether they’ve been intimidated or simply prevented or prohibited. The statutory language, which remains in appropriations legislation for the Department of Health and Human Services to this day, is that “none of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.” I think it’s fair to say that this language has been interpreted at times to mean that none of the funds could be used to support research that, depending on its findings, might be used in support of efforts to alter current firearm policy.

Not a prohibition against the research but against pushing for gun control. A significant distinction in the mind of liberty minded folks but I’m sure the anti-rights cultists don’t see it that way.

So Mr. or Ms. Anti-rights Cultists; how do you explain decades of firearm related research some of it funded by our government?

 

Not Always Rational

One of the common refrains from the anti-rights cultists is to “Just give the criminal what he wants” – apparently they believe that nearly every criminal is just trying to make a living or something. This idea completely ignores the fact not all criminals are after just money or property.

 

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Okay….let’s deconstruct this report a little.
First, I’m not sure a ‘naked’ man should be considered a burglary suspect. I think it will be interesting to follow up and see it he has previous arrests/convictions.

the incident happened just after noon. David Bacoka, who lives at the home, told NBC 7 that his mother was at the house when the intruder tried to break through several windows.

She called 911, he said.

“My mom called me and told me there was a naked guy trying to break in all the windows,” Bacoka said. “And so he’s pounding on the windows and all the doors and she said she ran, she called 911 and then ran to the neighbor’s house.”

No word on exactly how long it took for the police to respond (and good for for a seemingly fast response time) but the suspect was still there despite the fact the police probably responded code 3  -lights and sirens. Any LEOs please let me know if that isn’t the policy.

Next we can look at the fact this wasn’t in the middle of the night. it was at Noon. Why does this matter, well some states like Texas, the laws change depending on the time of day. (Section 9.42)
The antis make a big thing about people being in fear of their life; many of them believe that people should have to wait and be able to show an action on the part of the criminal that could be conclusively proven as a threat before self defense is used. As if a person trying to break into a house wasn’t enough to make a person afraid; I wonder if they would say being naked would be enough justification of fear?

 

Lastly, let’s look at the struggle the suspect put up.

Officers responded and confronted the intruder, who then attacked an officer. The suspect pushed the officer through the wood panels of a fence into a neighboring yard.

The officer and man struggled over the gun, but the officer managed to get a hold of it and shoot the suspect in the chest, Guadarama said.

“Somewhere in between, the officer even attempted to tase the suspect with negative results,” Guadarama said. “The officer was able to grab the weapon back and fire one round at the suspect.”

The suspect continued to fight until other officers arrived to help take him into custody.

Again, no hard evidence on the size, physical condition or strength of the responding officer but generally males are stronger than females. The anti-rights cultists would prefer this woman be made to confront the suspect without a firearm. Forced to use a taser or fight hand to hand with the intruder. Ignoring the fact that even after the suspect was shot, he continued to struggle until more officers arrived. How do you think a female home owner would fare?

While this is an anecdotal illustration, it shows that not all criminals are rational. Some of them have serious issues. Some of them aren’t after money either. If the anti-rights cultist do not want to use armed self defense; that is their right. They just have no moral justification for disarming the people who think otherwise.

 

Please join the discussion. 

Criminal Mindset

I normally don’t name criminals, especially murderers, on this blog. Part of that reasoning is to deny them the publicity they want. Sometimes though, publicity is the last thing they might want. So for that reason, I’m naming – Artrai Alexander — the car jacker who was taken down by the minivan mom and her boyfriend. Mostly the minivan mom; Mr. Alexander, I hope that fact follows you for a very long time.

 

Fox 4 news had a brief clip of a jail house interview with Artrai Alexander – take a look.

 

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Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com
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Now, let’s think about some of the statements which shows Artrai Alexander (and to some extent many other criminals) mindset

 

Alexander told FOX 4 that yes, he stole a Dodge Challenger and yes, he drove crazily while trying to get away from police.

However, he does not take any responsibility.

He claimed the car’s owner pulled a gun on him earlier in the day, and that he did not stop because he was afraid police would shoot him.

Because someone else committed a crime; possibly, maybe, he claims; it is okay to commit another crime. He didn’t call the police, he didn’t avoid the situation, he didn’t try to work out their differences (if there were any). Nope, he stole a new $25,000 vehicle.

Next, after committing a crime; he believes it was acceptable to endanger other lives to avoid jeopardizing his own. Says a lot about how he values other people eh? He risked many lives, including driving at high speed through a school zone, just to keep from possibly maybe, he claims from being shot. Gee, I wonder why he might think the police would shoot him. Anyone else notice the first pictures of Artrai Alexander was a 2009 mug shot?

 

And the reporter is absolutely right about denying responsibility.

Liesmann’s 13-year-old son, T.J., was also in the van when it was hit, and police said Liesmann was like a mad mama bear, hanging on to Alexander until officers arrived.

“She’s pretty tough, huh?” FOX 4 asked Alexander.

“Yeah,” said Alexander. “Thumbs up to her…I want you to understand my upset-ness as well for being put in that situation

Emphasis mine — he didn’t do anything himself; he was ‘put in that situation. Excuse me if I disagree Artrai you and only you are responsible for the situation. Ever wonder how criminals can justify the horrific acts they do? Easy, they blame some one else.

This is a great example of why I do not agree with the mentality and advice of ‘just give them what they want’. I don’t know what they want, I don’t know if doing so will keep me safe and I don’t know if they even see me as anything other than a walking resource.

We don’t need gun control. We need to gain control of social values that raises up people like Artrai Alexander. We need to implement laws that reduces the chance of someone like Artrai Alexander being able to repeatedly endanger the public for his own gain.

 

Please join the discussion. 

Illustration on Why I Own a Car

Can readily be seen in this image – might have to click to enlarge to see the entire image.

Against Public Transportation

If you look carefully you can see a little difference in the routes and by a little difference I mean an hour longer if I take public transportation. I plotted this route to find a possible store I needed to visit for business reasons. If I value my time — at least as much as the company does – I wouldn’t take the public transportation route. It would eat up 1/4th of my day just getting there and back.

And of course Weer’d Beard points out another reason why I don’t like Public transportation; it isn’t always available when you need it.

 

Freedom of Press or Police Orders?

I’m still processing this video; not quite sure how I feel about it. The video is a backdrop to this tragic story.

 

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Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com
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On one hand, I think the press is way too intrusive. I believe that all too often the media, especially video crews, are too quick to get information on the air. The voracious 24 hour news cycle has led organizations to push the limits; especially the bounds of decency. I’m not sure there was anything that couldn’t have been broadcast from the studio in what Saul Garza reported from the scene.

There is also a valid reason for law enforcement to control a crime scene. The public needs to be protected from possible further violence, evidence needs to be preserved and in some cases the very evidence collected needs to be shielded from immediate dissemination.

 

On the other hand, the deputy was clearly out of bounds; in so many ways. First, there was no justification for moving the news team away from their location. It was stated they were going to be bringing in more equipment. HUH? Were they going to park it in the yard? I could see asking them to move the news van but not to step away from the location. The freedom of the press is well established. The freedom of people to be where they are legally able to be is another principle too many of the police simply choose to ignore.

I thought it was hypocritical for the deputy to insist on not being touched while blocking the camera, holding her hand over it and generally bullying the news team under the color of law. Nor should any law enforcement officer, in uniform, be allowed to block their face from being legally recorded.

And her mangling of the law was appalling. Someone’s yard isn’t private property because it is within the city?? Seriously folks that is sad.

So what do you folks think?  Please join the discussion.

Let’s talk Liberty, Shall We?

Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately; work had me out of town on travel. I don’t know about others but when I travel on business; it makes for some really long days. I’m normally at the location early in the morning, staying till business close and often getting another hour or two of work back at the hotel.

I knew the travel is coming up so there is no excuse for not scheduling post; other than lackawanna/motivation.

Today, I would like to expand on a comment and conversation from over at Perfectly Frank.

Can I suggest one? The topics you’ve suggested (like Liberty for example) feel way to broad to me. I’m sorry if that is insulting to you. Right now I have no idea what you’ll take as insulting and what you won’t.

How about “Smart Guns”. Can we talk about those? Can we talk about the left’s assertion that the NRA nearly put Smith and Wesson out of business over smart guns? As a technologist I may be biased, but I’d REALLY like to understand the logic there.

P.S.S. Microstamping also seems like another good candidate for a “narrow” debate topic, if you’d rather

Yes. The topic of liberty is very broad – but that is exactly the conversation we should be having before we even think about discussing anything like smart guns or microstamping. To me, starting a conversation at smart guns is pointless unless we have decided at least the broad outlines of what rights, what liberty, what freedoms we have. And what restrictions on those freedoms is ‘reasonable’.

So in the interest of debate, how about some less broad topics regarding liberty?

How about topic idea #1 — The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental liberty.

As it actually says in the Constitution, As it is has been held in court after court. Including two recent Supreme Court Decisions (Heller and Mcdonald). Until we have agreement that liberty; everything else is useless to talk about. To steal a phrase, we need a national conversation on just exactly what does it mean to “keep and bear”.

Should people be allowed to carry a firearm in most places? Should most people, including felons, have the right to keep and bear arms. Talk to me about why we allow felons to drive, to marry, to speak, to have protection against unreasonable search and seizure but we don’t allow them to own and carry a firearm. Are they not worthy of protecting their lives with firearms?

Talk to me about why the ‘full faith and credit’ clause applies to my driver’s license but not my concealed carry license? Do my rights stop at the state border?

What type of “arms” is covered under that fundamental right is another area of topic. Before we get to microstamping or smart guns; tell me why I shouldn’t be able to own a howitzer cannon, a shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile or a Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range. Little difficult to put a stamp on a plasma burst, eh.

Topic idea #2 — Governmental restrictions on liberty should be narrowly tailored.

For many people, this will be “DUH”. There is an entire doctrine of court decisions regarding this.

Strict Scrutiny

This is the highest level of scrutiny applied by courts to government actions or laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that legislation or government actions which discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, and alienage must pass this level of scrutiny to survive a challenge that the policy violates constitutional equal protection.

This high level of scrutiny is also applied whenever a “fundamental right” is being threatened by a law, like the right to marriage.

Strict scrutiny requires the government to prove that:

  • There is a compelling state interest behind the challenged policy, and

  • The law or regulation is narrowly tailored to achieve its result.

Let’s really have an interesting conversation on what ‘narrowly tailored’ means. I don’t need a license to speak in public but I need one in Texas to exercise my right to carry a firearm outside of my home. Shouldn’t we agree on this incredibly important subject; or at least have a basic agreement; before we move onto yet another law?
And we definitely need to come to an agreement that prohibiting an entire class of firearms, such as the Washington D.C. Gun ban, the Assault Weapon ban tried to do, is not narrowly tailored. We have to agree that it is wrong to ban 10+ round magazines because someone used them to commit a crime. 

That brings up something else you said Frank,

More than one republican leading member of the Supreme Court has stated publicly that the second amendment is not about giving all guns to all people with no rules.

That is a straw man argument; unless you can come up with a quote with those words. What was said in the Heller decision.

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26

And very importantly but often overlooked is that Footnote #26 which says.

26 We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.

Now, I’m not a lawyer and I did stay in an Holiday Inn but that was last week; so  take this for what it is worth. But I don’t see that as the blanket protection of existing laws. I see it as a simple statement that a.) the Supreme Court was not asked to determine the status of those laws and b.) they are clearly not stating those laws are constitutional at this time. They could be…..but that is another court case or dozen to come.

Topic #3 Liberty will result in the loss of lives.

It is not cold and heartless to say this but simply a reflection of reality. We could save lives by banning air-travel; hundreds of people die each year in plane crashes. But we accept that having the freedom to travel is worth the risk and the loss of life. We could save lives by making everyone eat in government ran cafeterias that serve only healthy and nutritious meals; but family meals are important and the freedom to choose more so. We could save lives in tens of thousands of ways but we choose, deliberately, willfully and knowingly to allow liberty even if it costs lives to do so.

We have to come to an agreement that people will choose to do idiotic things; people will choose not to become proficient with devices; that people will make bad decisions about narcotics, alcohol, etc and the safety of themselves and others. Trying to mandate perfect decision making process with anything is ridiculous but that is the basis for many gun control laws. Things like ‘Safe Storage’ or even Smart Guns.

 

Topic #4 – I have the Liberty to defend myself, my family and/or friends/others.

Not just in my home but on the road, in stores, in church – with few exceptions; people should be free to use the most effective means of self defense, yes or no?
This is one of the important ones we have to talk about. I have health issues — Asthma to be exact – which means some self defense products like O.C., pepper spray, mace, etc are really hazardous to my health even if used correctly. My wife is physically weaker than many women (due to breast cancer surgery) much less than most men; she shouldn’t have to try to wrestle or fight hand to hand to defend herself. My daughter, my sons, etc shouldn’t have to try to fight off multiple attackers with just a TASER. We should be able to decide for ourselves what means of self defense we want to use.

We already have a process in place, and it seems to work quite well, to determine if someone used violence in self defense or not. Banning firearms from places where people go doesn’t make much sense to me. Which brings up another thing you said — the part in bold this time.

 

More than one republican leading member of the Supreme Court has stated publicly that the second amendment is not about giving all guns to all people with no rules. Just like the first amendment gives free speech, it doesn’t allow you to walk into a movie theatre and yell fire.

 

That is a really bad analogy. See it is still perfectly legal to walk into a theater and yell fire if there is a fire. What gun control advocates like you want to do would be the equivalent of muzzling people when they go out in public so they couldn’t yell, much less yell fire. Currently to carry a firearm in public, in the State of Texas, I have to get a license in which I have to pass a background check, pass a proficiency test, pass a knowledge test, be approved by the state !!!! Could you imagine the same restrictions on you if you wanted to simply go to the theater and talk?

And yes, I have the liberty to defend myself with firearms that you may not think are appropriate. You don’t get to decide what is right for me. Several states have ‘approved rosters’ of firearms that can only be sold in there states. That is ridiculous. Many gun control advocates argue that I don’t need (show me in the Bill of Rights where NEED is mentioned) an AR-15 or a magazine with more than 10 rounds or a small concealable pistol or a cheap firearm (Saturday Night Specials). You want to make those restrictions then I get to demand you exercise your free speech with just a quill pen and parchment. Or stand on a soapbox in the public square.

 

Want to keep going on the subject of liberty? We certainly can narrow it down and discuss it. I think it should be very clear why I wanted to start with such a broad topic before we move onto something like microstamping or smart guns.

So Frank and everyone else, please join the discussion.

Politcs and firearms.

Anti-Rights cultists, like “Perfectly Frank”, usually try to do two things; first they want to make firearm related violence simplistic (There are too many guns) and second, they usually try to paint gun owners with a broad brush.
Frank tried it with his “Adding Color To Firearm Death Rates” . He took the very simplistic approach of ‘determining’ which states are ‘Red’ (Conservative) and which states are “Blue” (Liberal); of course the top states with high firearm death rates are predominately Red. I left a reply – actually two – with links or the images below. That was Thursday; funny how there has been no reply since then.
These images are still very simplistic but add a layer of information or two.

First, as I showed with the city statistics for the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex; not every area is the same. Especially not at the state level like Frank is trying to imply. I really like this first graphic; everyone has seen it. It shows some major cities in relation to the firearm death rates of other countries. Of course these aren’t ‘advanced, developed, western, handpicked nations’ so I’m sure some people will claim the comparison is invalid.

 

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The last graphic shows the voting pattern, broken down by county level, for ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states. Amazing how Red the country looks at this level of detail; much different from Frank’s list by state.

 

 

And when we look at the homicides by city and then look at the counties those cities are in; an amazing thing happens — it looks like many of those cities are voting liberal !!! Oh no, doesn’t that kinda run counter the ‘conservative’ areas are killing others more often?

Now, there are some important differences between urban and rural areas that need to be addressed.

Objectives. We analyzed urban–rural differences in intentional firearm death.

Methods. We analyzed 584629 deaths from 1989 to 1999 assigned to 3141 US counties, using negative binomial regressions and an 11-category urban–rural variable.

Results. The most urban counties had 1.03 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.87, 1.20) times the adjusted firearm death rate of the most rural counties. The most rural counties experienced 1.54 (95% CI=1.29, 1.83) times the adjusted firearm suicide rate of the most urban. The most urban counties experienced 1.90 (95% CI=1.50, 2.40) times the adjusted firearm homicide rate of the most rural. Similar opposing trends were not found for nonfirearm suicide or homicide.

Conclusions. Firearm suicide in rural counties is as important a public health problem as firearm homicide in urban counties. Policymakers should become aware that intentional firearm deaths affect all types of communities in the United States.

Cities have nearly twice the firearm homicide rate of rural areas while rural areas only have a slightly higher rate of suicide. Other distinctions have been noted.

Background: Family physicians can play a vital role in preventing gun violence, and better data on which to base their interventions might result in more effective prevention efforts. Using Washington State data, two assumptions on which interventions can be based were tested: compared with urban areas, rural areas have (1) a higher percentage of gun deaths from shotguns and rifles, and (2) a higher percentage of gun deaths from suicides and accidents.

This is important as we consider that suicides are much more common then homicides and the types of gun control laws proposed by anti-rights cultists are unlikely to address the most common rifles and shotguns used in rural suicides. That is unless they push for really draconian laws.

I won’t get into the debate about whether or not we suicide should be illegal. I’ll just note that very few of the gun control laws proposed by any of the antis address suicides.

Please join the discussion.