The etymology of Molon Labe
1. The United States has an indisputable gun violence problem. According to the report, "the U.S. rate of firearm-related homicide is higher than that of any other industrialized country: 19.5 times higher than the rates in other high-income countries."The US rates of overall homicide, not just firearm-related, are much more in line with other nations, and the comparison gets even better when you consider overall violent crime rather than just homicides. Are you better off being killed with a knife than with a gun? No.
3. We have 300 million firearms, but only 100 million are handguns. According to the report, ?In 2007, one estimate placed the total number of firearms in the country at 294 million: ?106 million handguns, 105 million rifles, and 83 million shotguns.? ? This translates to nearly nine guns for every 10 people, a per capita ownership rate nearly 50 percent higher than the next most armed country. But American gun ownership is concentrated, not universal: In a December 2012 Gallup poll, "43 percent of those surveyed reported having a gun in the home."The 43% number is still likely low. How many of the people responding to the poll didn't know whether their spouse had a gun? How many said "None of your business" and hung up?
6. Gun suicide is a bigger killer than gun homicide. From 2000 to 2010, "firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States," says the report. Firearm sales are often a warning: Two studies found that "a small but significant fraction of gun suicides are committed within days to weeks after the purchase of a handgun, and both also indicate that gun purchasers have an elevated risk of suicide for many years after the purchase of the gun."Suicide is means-independent. If you want to kill yourself, you'll find a way to do it. A firearm is one of the easier and more certain ways to manage it, but you can jump off a bridge, set yourself on fire, or drive your car into something solid at high speed. If you don't want to kill yourself, but just want to make a sick cry for help and attention from those around you, you'll know not to use a firearm. Given both those facts, I don't see suicide by firearm as a bad choice to have. Which doesn't mean suicide itself is a good choice, of course.
9. Denying guns to people under restraining orders saves lives. "Two-thirds of homicides of ex- and current spouses were committed [with] firearms," the report observes. "In locations where individuals under restraining orders to stay away from current or ex-partners are prohibited from access to firearms, female partner homicide is reduced by 7 percent."There are a couple points to be made here. First, this is current federal law -- any domestic violence restraining order triggers a firearms prohibition. I'm not sure what the study means by saying "in locations where...", but either this is "everywhere in the US" or they have some additional criteria. Second, this is not a cost-free result. These domestic violence restraining orders are handed out like candy in divorce cases, without noticeable due process of law, and this can create significant legal issues for peaceful people who happen to own guns and get divorced. Third, those restraining orders can go both ways -- if both parties to a messy divorce get a restraining order against the other, the woman's ability to defend herself is reduced a lot more than the man's.
"If you go back and look at candidate Obama's statements about whistleblowers and civil liberties, breaches of freedom and privacy under the past administration, you'd have a hard time saying Candidate Obama would agree with President Obama on this," Jilani said. "Within six hours of the whistleblower being outed, they were already talking about a criminal probe. They weren't talking about any internal investigation of the NSA's conduct or abuses of the Patriot Act."I think a lot of people voted for Obama hoping he would fix these problems. Instead, he's made them worse. That was fine so long as the programs were secret. Now that it's out in the open, it's a problem for liberals who actually believe in freedom.
The inspector general stressed that 100 percent of the groups with "Tea Party," "patriots" and "9/12" in their name were flagged for extra attention, while only 30 percent of the groups with "progress" or "progressive" were highlighted as potentially political. George?s letter does not say why the progressive groups were given extra scrutiny.
"While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria we described in our report, including employee interviews, e-mails and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that 'progressives' was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention," George wrote to Levin, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
The 14 BOLO lists Levin released, though they contain the term "Progressive," instruct IRS screeners to treat the applications of progressive organizations differently from those of tea-party groups. In George?s words, the "Progressive" entry "did not include instructions on how to refer cases that met the criteria," whereas tea-party cases were automatically sent to higher-ups in the agency for coordination with Washington, D.C. The "Occupy" entry to which Cummings refers instructs screeners to send cases to the same group processing tea-party applications. The head of that group, though, told Congress that when she received applications from liberal groups, she sent them back to "general inventory." George on Thursday told the House panel that, of the 298 cases scrutinized for political activity, zero fell under the "Occupy" rubric. The "Progressive" and "Occupy" listings may be problematic -- it is not clear why the terms were added to the list -- but the political activity of liberal groups simply was not put under the microscope.Put them all on the list, so the list looks fair, but treat them differently.
Today, a federal judge heard the Department of Justice's argument about why Al-Awlaki, the ACLU, and the CCR couldn't challenge the US killing of Al-Awlaki, his son, and Khan. The government argued that its killing of US citiziens was "extraordinary" and not a regular occurrence, and that the courts did not have a place in reviewing those security decisions. The judge found that argument "troubling," pointing out the America was "a nation of laws." Nevertheless, she has not yet made a ruling on the government's motion to dismiss.... but when we're talking about targeted strikes on specific, identifiable US citizens, that's a bit more questionable, isn't it? And let's not lose sight of the fact that there was a case brought before the strike.
Still, the Center is an evidence-based research effort, not an advocacy group; its faculty are not attempting to overturn the constitutional right to bear arms. "We're an academic institution that can't exist by selling snake oil," says Webster. "We're not out raising money for some political cause."If they really were an evidence-based effort, they would know about the CDC's comprehensive survey of actual gun control laws that found absolutely no measurable effect from any of them. The CDC is not exactly known as a pro-gun organization, in fact, it has engaged in biased research in the past. That survey was conducted with the deliberate intent of finding some gun control laws, somewhere, with a demonstrable success rate in reducing gun violence.
Yet surveys show that many Americans, even gun owners, are in favor of stricter ownership regulations and better safety devices for firearms. "The Center polled some 2,400 people for a study we published in 1998 in the New England Journal of Medicine," says Teret, "and the majority were in favor of expanded restrictions, and for regulating the design of guns to make them safer."Those would be the same surveys that don't bother to inform the people taking them what the current gun laws are. When you ask those same people whether they support the 2nd Amendment -- which states that the right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed", a statement that doesn't seem to permit much in the way of "expanded restrictions" -- you get very strongly positive results as well.
WHEN A COMMUNITY knows that its water and land are being poisoned by effluent from a chemical factory, or its air is being rendered foul by smokestacks, it goes after those polluters to protect the health of its people. The approach taken by the epidemiologists, public health experts and lawyers at the Center for Gun Policy and Research is the same: "Where are these guns coming from? It's not like they spontaneously generated in the forest? 'Oh look, a baby gun!'" says Stephen Teret, JD, MPH '79. "The loading docks of the gun manufacturers are the point sources of this pollution." Adds Teret, who founded the Center in 1995 and is now an associate dean at the Bloomberg School, "There are some segments of the American population where the number one cause of death is gunfire. That's a major public health problem.""When a community knows that its water and land are being poisoned..." Really? Really? Guns are not like pollution. Guns are harmless mechanical devices. They don't emit mind control rays to create violence. They are tools. People have intent, and when people use tools with ill intent, they can cause harm. That is the same for guns as it is for hammers, screwdrivers, knives, cars, and airplanes.
As abundant evidence shows, it is very hard to keep Americans from shooting one another (or themselves), either on purpose or accidentally. The problem is easy access to guns that are easily used. Take accidental shootings by children: "Parents think they can teach their kids to handle guns responsibly," Webster explains, "but the data say otherwise. Homes with guns in them are more dangerous than homes without guns. Unintended shootings and suicide are much more common. A gun is a pretty darn difficult thing for a kid or adolescent to not want to hold."Actually, the data shows that parents can teach their children to handle guns responsibly. Gun accidents are very rare. It is more dangerous to have a swimming pool than to have a gun.
Teret knows firsthand this tragic truth. In 1982, the 2-year-old son of his close friends was shot and killed by a 4-year-old who had found a loaded, unlocked pistol in a nightstand.Unbiased scientific researchers!
IN NOVEMBER 2005, New York Police Department Officer Dillon Stewart was shot and killed after trying to pull over a car that had run a red light. The next month, NYPD Officer Daniel Enchautegui was shot and killed by two robbersDo you think those police officers had guns? Would they be happier if Bloomberg announced he was going to help prevent gun violence in New York City by taking away their guns? No. They would still be dead. Their guns did not save them, but neither would taking away their guns, because they were shot by criminals who don't obey laws.
Mayor Bloomberg has always been a big fan of data. Prior to taking public office, he made his fortune through Bloomberg L.P.'s financial data computer terminals.Those would be the terminals he could use to spy on the activities of people trading with them?
Webster, Vernick and Teret developed a seven-page guide called "How Cities Can Combat Illegal Guns and Gun Violence." It detailed effective strategies (used by cities like Chicago and Detroit, for example), such as undercover stings and lawsuits against gun dealers, and examined how those strategies had worked.Effective strategies like undercover stings and lawsuits against gun dealers? Used by cities like Chicago (16.03 murders per 100,000 people) and Detroit (49 murders per 100,000 people)? If that's what success looks like, I don't want to experience failure.
"The mission of the Center for Gun Policy and Research has never been limited to advancing our scientific understanding of gun violence," he says. "It's nice to see our work published in prestigious journals, but it can do far more good if we put it into the hands of people who can act on the research."Journals, even public health journals, have pesky peer review standards and prefer to publish things that at least have a thin veneer of science over the political propaganda. I'm not surprised that a research center funded by a prominent anti-gun politician and staffed by biased "researchers" has trouble getting even minimally respected scientific journals to publish their propaganda.
While the poll continues, so far over 80 percent of the 11,000+ respondents [in the UK] have told the Telegraph that they want to see the handgun ban repealed. The news comes as America contemplates its own new laws on gun ownership, with British talk show host Piers Morgan claiming to back a UK-style ban for the United States.The poll was run by a major UK newspaper and offered a number of different legislative suggestions. In other words, it wasn't a joke poll, it was something that might actually have a chance of becoming law.
Is it all starting to make sense now? Good.
As a result, murders that have not been solved are not included. If indications in the Telegraph are correct, that would substantially reduce the homicide rate in itself. Murders that have resulted in an arrest but no conviction are not counted. Convictions that have not been appealed are apparently not counted. And the number of minorities reported as murder victims is far below either the demographics or of reason.
If the media reports of a total of 4,760 "violent fatalities of interest to the police" from 1 January 2011 to 30 November 2012 are correct, the murder rate is 4.7 per 100,000 population, the same as our much more inclusive homicide rate, and substantially higher than the United States murder rate.
Today there is still genuine disagreement among well-meaning people about what steps we should take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country. But you -- the American people -- have spoken. You've made it clear that it's time to do something.Never mind whether it works. Never mind whether it makes the problem worse. Never mind whether it prevents people from stopping an attack. Never mind whether it costs someone's life. We have to do something, and gun control is "something".
Two weeks ago, the Senate advanced a bill that would make it harder for criminals and people with a severe mental illness from getting their hands on a gun -- an idea supported by nine out of ten Americans, including a majority of gun owners.It is already illegal for criminals and the mentally ill to have firearms, to buy firearms, or for an honest person to knowingly sell a firearm to. It is already illegal for a dealer to sell a firearm without conducting a background check (yes, including at gun shows).
The Senate also made progress on a bill that would crack down on anyone who buys a gun as part of a scheme to funnel it to criminals -- reducing violent crime and protecting our law enforcement officers.This is called a straw purchase, and, yes, is already illegal. Which presents sort of a problem for Obama, because his administration ran a scheme to funnel guns to Mexican drug cartels and US gangs.
Finally, the Senate took steps to reinstate and strengthen a ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons, set a 10-round limit for magazines, and make our schools safer places for kids to learn and grow.What does gun control have to do with making our schools safer? Connecticut had an assault weapons ban in place when Newtown happened. It did not stop the killer.
Sally asks Suzy over for a play date. Suzy's mother learns through neighborhood gossip that Sally's family recently adopted a man-eating Bengal tiger named "Roscoe". Ignoring the advice from animal experts, Sally's parents have decided not to enroll the family in tiger training due to their busy schedules.
Instead of keeping this known killer in a cage, the family lets it roam freely in the house. Sometimes they put Roscoe behind closed doors when guests are over. However, 5-year-old Sally always seems to sneak her way into the forbidden room to show her classmates Roscoe's shiny teeth and sharp claws.
Remember, you've been technically "arrested" if you've been pulled over for speeding. According to 5 of the nine justices -- not the usual mix, Scalia flipped sides on this one -- you can have DNA taken any time you are arrested. For now, it's "for a serious offense", but felony inflation means everything is serious these days.
The Supreme Court on Monday [June 3rd 2013] upheld the police practice of taking DNA samples from people who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime, ruling that it amounts to the 21st century version of fingerprinting.
The ruling was 5-4. Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative, joined three of the court's more liberal members -- Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan -- in dissenting.
As I have said before, while the rhetoric surrounding gun control always talks about targeting criminals and public safety, the reality is that enforcement of these laws is always aimed at regular gun owners whose only crime is believing that they are committing no crime.He's right that a lot of the gun laws on the books are stupid, oppressive, or both. The BATFE is not an agency fond of puppies and cute kittens. We shouldn't invite full enforcement of laws designed to oppress us.
The target of gun control isn't criminals, it's us. The objective of these laws is to make us criminals and make lawful gun ownership too difficult and dangerous to attempt.