Wednesday, April 18, 2007

World Reaction: Condemn America

The world reacts to the Virginia Tech massacre:
LONDON - The deadly university rampage in Virginia that killed 33 people sent shock waves around the world Tuesday with newspapers and talk shows delving into the American psyche and raising questions about lax gun controls in the United States.

Most expressed shock at the shooting but few said they were surprised — criticizing the availability of guns in the U.S., lax gun controls and the number of Americans who cling to the constitutional right that allows them to bear arms.
Imagine that, clinging to a constitutional right!
British Home Office Minister, Tony McNulty, earned a masters degree in political science at Virginia Tech in 1982.

"I think if this does prompt a serious and reflective debate on gun issues and gun law in the states then some good may come from this woeful tragedy," McNulty said.
A hundred times more people were murdered on 9/11, and nobody called for banning airplanes, even though nobody needs to fly: just take a boat or a train. Why did nobody call for a serious debate on jetset culture?

Maybe because McNulty can't imagine living without flying?
The shooting drew intense coverage by media in China, in part because the school has a relatively large Chinese student body and because U.S. reports said the gunman may have been Chinese or Asian.

Private citizens are forbidden from owning guns in China.

"Why are there were so many shooting incidents in American schools and universities?" said a comment posted on the popular Internet portal Sohu.com. "People should think why an American-educated student would take revenge against America?"
Hmm, maybe it has something to do with a culture that teaches its students to hate their civilization for all the terrible wrongs it supposedly did in the past?
Yuan Peng, an American studies expert, was quoted by state-run China Daily as saying the shooting illustrated America's problems with gun control and a lack of security at American universities.
Oh, that's rich!

Two words: Tianenmen Square.
Chinese expatriates who left the country after the killings said that the total number of deaths ended up being in the thousands. This was a combination of the hundreds killed on the spot and the "miniature" purge that followed.
I'll pass on that kind of Chinese security, thank you very much!

Comparisons of homicide rates between the US and other countries invariably follow, with the generally higher violence in the USA attributed -- without proof -- to the higher level of gun ownership, without considering the culturally high levels of violence lead to higher gun ownership rather than the other way around!

Because those other countries are generally highly homogeneous in terms of ethnic makeup. And the United States is rather unique in its blending of different nationalities and races. Indeed, much of the violence stems from the consequences of slavery, rather than gun ownership rates; a truly astonishing and tragic fact (from the US Department of Justice) is that though only about 10% of the population, nearly half of all murders are committed by African-Americans, generally against each other.

Let that sink in.

The African-American murder rate isn't 20% higher, or 50% higher, or double that of the general population, but instead nearly ten times higher!

(Happily, at least it's dropped to "only" about seven times higher in recent years from a peak of 10x in the mid-90s.)

If guns alone caused crime, why wouldn't the murder rate be more evenly distributed among ethnic groups? They don't own guns at ten times the rate of everyone else! Instead, it clearly is shaped by socio-economic factors peculiar to America's history.

For a huge nation of mongrels, we're doing quite well.

It is more instructive to compare trends within America itself, rather than to make spurious cross-cultural comparisons.

Some tidbits follow.

Guns reduce crime:
There are approximately two million defensive gun uses (DGU's) per year by law abiding citizens. That was one of the findings in a national survey conducted by Gary Kleck, a Florida State University criminologist in 1993. Prior to Dr. Kleck's survey, thirteen other surveys indicated a range of between 800,000 to 2.5 million DGU's annually.
That's one every 13 seconds.

Who is Gary Kleck?
Gary Kleck is a Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University (see curriculum vita and this overview)...The author is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Independent Action, Democrats 2000, and Common Cause, among other politically liberal organizations. He is a lifelong registered Democrat, as well as a contributor to liberal Democratic candidates. He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of, or contributor to, the National Rifle Association, Handgun Control, Inc. nor any other advocacy organization, nor has he received funding for research from any such organization.
Not convinced? Peruse the annals of The Armed Citizen, detailing successful DGUs you never hear about.

Still don't like guns? And don't want other people to have them? Then why not put a big sign in your front yard boldly declaring, This is a gun-free home! Of course only a fool would do that, but banning guns effectively puts that sign up for everyone, doesn't it?

This comprehensive, well-documented article covers all the statistics in the debate; here is a tiny snippet:
But there is no simple statistical correlation between gun ownership and homicide or other violent crimes. In the first 30 years of this century, U.S. per capita handgun ownership remained stable, but the homicide rate rose tenfold.[2] Subsequently, between 1937 and 1963, handgun ownership rose by 250 percent, but the homicide rate fell by 35.7 percent.[3]
...
(As noted above, most defensive uses simply involving brandishing the gun.) The number of self-defense uses is at least equal to, and probably more than, the number of times handguns are used in a crime.[167]
...
Since handguns have replaced long guns as a home defense weapon over the last 50 years, the firearm accident fatality rate has declined.[171] The overwhelming majority of accidental gun deaths are from long guns.[172]
The "A gun in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a loved one than
a criminal" statistic soundbite is a deliberately-created myth, not supported by the actual primary study.

Here is another take on the same data, all meticulously documented: gun ownership is at an all-time high, and crime is at a 22-year low.
The number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high.
...
The number of gun owners is also at an all-time high.
...
Violent crime has declined while many "gun control" laws have been eliminated or made less restrictive. Many states have eliminated prohibitory or restrictive carry laws, in favor of Right-to-Carry laws.
...
The FBI reports that the nation`s total violent crime rate declined every year between 1991 2004. In 2004, the violent crime rate fell to a 30-year low, lower than any time since 1974.
More guns in the US do not equate to more crime.

US Department of Justice statistics:

Firearm-related crime has plummeted since 1993

The firearm victimization rate has dropped by 67% over last ten years

Gun homicides generally declined since 1974

Homicide trends by weapon type.

Note the large decline from handguns starting in early 1990s, when more states began allowing concealed carry permits in response to the handgun violence spike of the 80s.

Indeed, the origins of gun-control laws were to control slaves and free blacks! The next round of prohibition came not during the gangster era of the 1920s, but during the Great Depression of the 1930s when it was feared the underclass would stage a communist revolution.

A history of the sharp increase in States allowing concealed carry permits since 1987:
To the shock and dismay of gun control proponents, concealed-carry reform has proven to be wildly popular among state lawmakers. Since Florida launched its experiment with concealed-carry in October 1987, 23 states have enacted similar laws, with positive results.

Prior to 1987, almost every state in America either prohibited the carrying of concealed handguns or permitted concealed-carry under a licensing system that granted government officials broad discretionary power over the decision to grant a permit. The key feature of the new concealed-carry laws is that the government must grant the permit as soon as any citizen can satisfy objective licensing criteria.
...
We now have at least 10 years of actual evidence from 25 different states with diverse rural and metropolitan populations, including the cities of Miami, Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, New Orleans, Seattle, and Portland, regarding perhaps as many as 1 million permit holders carrying their weapons for hundreds of millions of man-hours. The results are in, and they show unequivocally that

(a) the number of persons currently in possession of permits to carry firearms ranges from 1 to 5 percent of the state's population;

(b) criminals do not apply for permits;

(c) permit holders do not take to settling their traffic disputes or arguments with guns, or "take the law into their own hands";

(d) shall-issue licensing states have almost no problems with violent criminality or inappropriate brandishing of firearms by permit holders; and

(e) some permit holders have used their guns to defend themselves and others. There appears to be no reported case of any permit holder adjudged to have wrongfully killed another in connection with carrying and using his weapon in public.

Dodge City has not returned; the blood is not running in the streets.
Today, now fully 40 of the 50 States are considered to have the "right to carry."



Non-natural death rates by age group, from the government Center for Disease Control, show that vehicular traffic, drowning, and fires all much worse than accidental firearm deaths for children of any age, and "unintentional firearm" only makes the chart as #9 in the 10-14 age group.

Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my guns.

Gun ownership demographics from the Center for Disease Control show that "banning guns" is a pipedream:
38% of households and 26% of individuals reported owning at least one firearm. This corresponds to 42 million US households with firearms, and 57 million adult gun owners...[and] 93 guns per 100 people.
That's basically more than 275 million guns.

And not to mention the fact, that they can be manufactured by tongueless people living in caves...with their bare hands!

But it's not about statistics, it's about a fundamental human right to be able to protect your own life.

From the Yale Law Journal, here is a comprehensive overview of the constitutional issue by a liberal legal scholar in 1989, called The Embarrassing Second Amendment, which shows by all means of interpretation, the Second Amendment recognizes an inalienable and individual right to firearms.
For too long, most members of the legal academy have treated the Second Amendment as the equivalent of an embarrassing relative, whose mention brings a quick change of subject to other, more respectable, family members. That will no longer do. It is time for the Second Amendment to enter full scale into the consciousness of the legal academy.
Last month, in a landmark case, the courts are catching up to this scholarship.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal appeals court overturned the District of Columbia's long-standing handgun ban Friday, rejecting the city's argument that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applied only to militias.

In a 2-1 decision, the judges held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent" on enrollment in a militia.
This ruling (Parker v. District of Columbia) could not be clearer:
"[T]he Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad)."

"[T]he phrase `the right of the people,` when read intratextually and in light of Supreme Court precedent, leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual."

In the Second Amendment, "the most important word is the one the drafters chose to describe the holders of the right" "the people." That term is found in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. It has never been doubted that these provisions were designed to protect the interests of individuals against government intrusion, interference, or usurpation."

"The Amendment does not protect `the right of militiamen to keep and bear arms,` but rather `the right of the people.`"

"The modern handgun`and for that matter the rifle and long-barreled shotgun . . . passes [the Supreme Court`s U.S. v. Miller] standards. . . . Once it is determined "as we have done" that handguns are `Arms` referred to in the Second Amendment, it is not open to the District to ban them."
It's not about sporting only! Indeed, it is precisely military-style firearms that are specifically protected. The DC Appeals Court is a serious and influential jurisdiction. This is a big deal.

By the way, the whole "militia" phrase causes confusion because people today have forgotten their civic duties that the Founders assumed. By tradition and Common Law, every free adult, the yeomanry, IS the militia. It exists independently of the government in an unorganized form, and is distinct from a standing army which is a creature of Congress. That is why Congress specifically has two different powers in the Constitution that use different wording: one to raise armies, and the other to organize the militia. And the US Code contains a description that Congress set out for itself -- which hasn't been changed -- of which portion of the general militia it would consider to organize:
a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
That means YOU!

So go and do your civic duty as a free citizen-militiaman (ahem, person!), and learn how to safely and effectively use a firearm!

So to turn the tables, why doesn't the AP call for a discussion of the psyche of other countries, in which the people expect some external entity to provide for their total security (and which has no liability when it fails to do so), totally abdicating their sovereignty as free human beings?

1 Comments:

Anonymous Det.Brian McMenamin(NYPD-Ret) said...

Thank you for such a thorough article. Secondly, could you please remind the British that they are one of the primary reasons that we have that amendment. They were a 'tyrannical' oppressor.

10:46 AM, April 19, 2007  

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