Taking the Name Too Seriously

 

(CNN)A fire broke out early Saturday at a luxury apartment skyscraper in Dubai, engulfing several floors on at least three sides of the building and spewing flaming debris to the ground.

No deaths were immediately reported and it was unclear whether anyone was hurt in the fire at The Torch, an iconic building on the Dubai Marina.

Sounds like someone took the name as a challenge.

Caffeine — Where Art Thou Caffeine

Caffeine seems to have deserted me. Left me in a dire time of need.

So if anyone has seen it or my motivation; please let me know where to find them.

 

 

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.

Good, Better, Best

Good – having a really nice steak dinner.

Better – enjoying the dinner with some new friends

Best – having the company pay for the dinner.

 

Been fun traveling but I’ll be glad to get home today.

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.

 

 

 

Going off Memory, seems about right

The last time I was out in Arizona, the temps didn’t quite get as high; it just felt like it.

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Has anyone heard from Minstrel and his Better Half lately?

State Statistics

Frank over at Perfectly Frank put up a post; one we often see from gun control advocates.

I’ve taken his chart – from the VPC and added a column.

Rank State Firearm Related Rate Firearm Ownership
1 Alaska 19.59 57.8
2 Louisiana 19.15 44.1
3 Alabama 17.79 51.7
4 Mississippi 17.55 55.3
5 Wyoming 17.51 59.7
6 Montana 16.94 57.7
7 Arkansas 16.93 55.3
8 Oklahoma 16.41 42.9
9 Tennessee 15.86 43.9
10 New Mexico 15.63 34.8
11 South Carolina 15.6 42.3
12 West Virginia 15.1 55.3
13 Missouri 14.56 41.7
14 Arizona 14.2 31.1
15 Nevada 14.16 33.8
16 Kentucky 14.15 47.7
17 Idaho 14.08 55
18 Indiana 13.04 39.1
19 Georgia 12.63 40.3
20 Florida 12.49 24.5
21 North Carolina 12.42 41.3
22 Michigan 12.03 38.4
23 (tie) North Dakota 11.89 50.7
23 (tie) Maine 11.89 40.5
25 Oregon 11.76 39.8
26 Colorado 11.75 34.7
27 Utah 11.69 43.9
28 Kansas 11.44 42.1
29 Pennsylvania 11.36 34.7
30 Ohio 11.14 32.4
31 Delaware 10.8 25.5
32 Texas 10.5 35.9
33 Virginia 10.46 35.1
34 Vermont 10.37 42
35 Wisconsin 9.93 44.4
36 Maryland 9.75 21.3
37 South Dakota 9.47 56.6
38 Washington 9.07 33.1
39 Nebraska 8.99 38.6
40 Illinois 8.67 20.2
41 Iowa 8.19 42.9
42 California 7.89 21.3
43 Minnesota 7.88 41.7
44 New Hampshire 7.03 30
45 New Jersey 5.69 12.6
46 Rhode Island 5.33 12.8
47 Connecticut 4.48 16.7
48 New York 4.39 18
49 Massachusetts 3.18 12.6
50 Hawaii 2.71 6.7

 

 

Since Frank is still trying to figure things out; I’m going to keep this real simple. Let’s just look at the top ten states for the two variables; Firearm Related Homicides and Firearm Ownership. One of the most common gun control mantras is “more guns = more death”

Top Ten by Firearm Homicide Rate Top Ten by Ownership
1.  Alaska 5.  Wyoming
2.  Louisiana 1.  Alaska
3.  Alabama 6.  Montana
4 . Mississippi 37. South Dakota
5.  Wyoming 4. Mississippi
6.  Montana 7. Arkansas
7.  Arkansas 12. West Virginia
8.  Oklahoma 17. Idaho
9.  Tennessee 3 Alabama
10. New Mexico 23. North Dakota

The Numbers in both columns are the states’ ranking for Firearm related homicide rate. So Frank, if More Guns equals more firearm related deaths; why does Wyoming have a higher percentage of firearms but fewer deaths then Alaska or Louisiana or Alabama or Mississippi?

Why does Mississippi have more firearms then Louisiana but Louisiana have more firearm related homicides?