How Covering up Minority Crime Leads to Gun Control

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke   6/6/14
Commenting recently on the Elliot Rodger killings, arch-leftist Michael Moore wrote that while “other countries have more violent pasts…more guns per capita in their homes…and the kids in most other countries watch the same violent movies and play the same violent video games that our kids play, no one even comes close to killing as many of its own citizens on a daily basis as we do….” From a man who used to take the simple-minded gun-control position “fewer guns=less homicide,” it was surprising evidence of growth. After making his point, however, Moore made a mistake in following up with, “and yet we don’t seem to want to ask ourselves this simple question: “Why us? What is it about US?” It’s not, however, that we don’t want to ask the question.

It’s that we don’t want to hear the answer.

We can begin seeking it by asking another question: Why is it that Vermont, with approximately the same rate of gun ownership as Louisiana, has less than one-eighth the murder rate? Even more strikingly, why does New Hampshire have both a far higher gun ownership rate and a lower murder rate than England, Piers Morgan’s favorite poster-boy nation for gun control?

Professor Thomas Sowell provided more of these seeming contradictions in 2012, writing:

When it comes to the rate of gun ownership, that is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks.

… [There are also] countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico. All of these countries have higher murder rates than the United States.

You could compare other sets of countries and get similar results. Gun ownership has been three times as high in Switzerland as in Germany, but the Swiss have had lower murder rates. Other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates include Israel, New Zealand, and Finland.

So what’s the answer we don’t want to hear? The critical difference among these regions and nations is explained right in Sowell’s title: it’s “not guns.”

“It’s people.”

What “people” differences are relevant? Let’s start with race and ethnicity. In the cases of homicide in 2012 in which the races of the perpetrators were known, 55 percent were committed by blacks, 62 percent of whom were under 30 years of age. Black youths are 16 percent of the youth population, but constitute 52 percent of those arrested for juvenile violent crime.

The statistics for Hispanics are more difficult to ferret out because, unbeknownst to many, law enforcement agencies tend to lump them in with whites in crime statistics (the FBI has announced that it will finally categorize Hispanic crime — in its report on 2013). However, there is some information available. Examiner’s Ken LaRive tells us that “Hispanics commit three times more violent crimes than whites,” but that the disparity could be even greater because of their often being classified as white.

The National Youth Gang Survey Analysis reports that gang members are approximately 49 percent Hispanic, 35 percent black and 10 percent white. And while whites are 35 percent of NYC’s population, blacks and Hispanics commit 96 percent of all crime in the Big Apple and 98 percent of all gun crime.

Another good indicator is international crime statistics. Hispanic countries dominate the homicide-rate rankings, with Honduras topping the list with a rate eight times as high as that of our worst state, Louisiana. Also note that there are no European/European descent nations in the top 20 and not one Western-tradition nation in the top 30 (Russia and Moldova are 24 and 28, respectively).

And what can we say about these “people” differences? It’s much as with the question of why men are more likely to be drunkards than women. You could explore whether the differences were attributable to nature, nurture or both. But it would be silly to wonder if the answer lay in men having greater access to bars, alcohol or shot glasses.

This brings us to why covering up minority criminality encourages gun control:

Americans won’t understand that the critical factor is people differences if they aren’t told about the people differences.

They will then — especially since most citizens aren’t even aware that there are nations with more firearms but less murder — be much more likely to blame guns. Of course, this is precisely what you want if you’re a left-wing media propagandist.

There is a question that could now be posed by the other side: if the main difference in criminality is demographics, why not outlaw guns? After all, it won’t make a difference one way or the other, right? I’ll offer a couple of answers to this question.

First, for a people to maintain just liberties, a freedom must always be considered innocent until proven guilty; the burden of proof is not on those who would retain it, but on those who would take it away.

Second, while private gun ownership and just law enforcement can’t turn barbarians into civilized people any more than excellent schools can transform dunces into geniuses, they can act as mitigating factors that minimize criminality as much as possible given the “raw material” with which the particular society has to work. It’s much as how you can maximize your personal safety: you may be safer in a great neighborhood with no martial arts training than in a terrible one with that training. Nonetheless, it allows you to be safer than you would be otherwise whatever neighborhood you choose.

And what do the stats show in our fair to middling USA neighborhood? Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck reported that guns are used by good citizens 2.2 to 2.5 million times per year to deter crime. That likely saves many more innocent lives than are lost in massacres every year, but these unseen non-victims don’t make headlines the way Sandy Hook tragedies do. That’s why I like to say, using a twist on a Frédéric Bastiat line, a bad social analyst observes only what can be seen. A good social analyst observes what can be seen — and what must be foreseen.

Lastly, one more truth becomes evident upon recognizing that demographics are the main factor in criminality: even if you do believe in gun control, imposing it federally and applying a one-size fits all standard is ridiculous. In terms of people and crime, there’s a world of difference between towns in New Hampshire or Vermont, with their England-level murder rates, and cities such as East St. Louis, IL, or Detroit, which rival El Salvador in citizen lethality. You can make gun control the same everywhere, but you can’t change the fact that people will be very, very different.
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62 Responses to How Covering up Minority Crime Leads to Gun Control

  1. steve lancaster says:

    I believe the Constitution supports my self-defense rights to own any weapon, from a pocket knife to a nuclear weapon the only restraint being cost. However, if I were to consider imposing a mandate from the top it would be a requirement for every person to own and carry a suitable weapon at all times. After a brief flurry of dead gangsters our entire culture would be much more polite and law abiding.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      With all due respect, Steve, no sane person would be okay with his neighbor owning nuclear weapons just because he had the money. You’re not doing much to sell me on the idea that libertarians are anything but anarchists who cannot be trusted with political power.

      Also, “arms” as understood by the framers of the Constitution meant arms, not armies. It mean rifles and hand guns, not cannons and ships-of-the-line.

      George Will said “The four most important words in the English language are: ‘up to a point’…” This is not a thought that commonly enters the heads of libertarians.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        In J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night, some people go to a secret agora and find someone offering nuclear weapons for sale. Schulman made no attempt to comment on this (one of them had wondered, given what he saw in the market, if such a weapon would be available). Incidentally, the book has a key scene near the end that might be considered a rebuke of Ayn Rand. (A libertarian group is putting out a movie of the book.)

        • The Alongside Night movie is out in selected theaters.

          Go to http://www.tugg.com/titles/Alongside-Night to find where and when.

          As for the nukes, they are shown in the movie as on sale in the underground marketplace — with a 15 day waiting period, an AntiWar.com sticker, and to be used on the moon excavating for water and oxygen.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Nice hearing from you here. I’ve read a number of your non-fiction books, including several on gun control (I’ve several times pointed out that the “well-regulated militia” clause was intended to explain why there is a natural right to “keep and bear arms”, not to limit it) as well as your Heinlein interview. You may have heard of me via Brad Linaweaver.

      • steve lancaster says:

        My understanding is that the 2nd amendment is intended to popular militia to provide a counter force to a tyrannical government.

        In 1776 that was rifles and hand weapons, however, the shot heard round the world was when the British were attempting, lawfully under British law, to confiscate not only rifles and hand weapons but also cannons and gunpowder that could only be weapons of war.

        If you believe that our present tyranny will restrain itself because you and I have a hunting rifle in my home, than you like many conservatives are living a fantasy.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          My understanding is that the 2nd amendment is intended to popular militia to provide a counter force to a tyrannical government.

          But words mean things. And “arms” meant rifles and pistols back then, not cannons. This has nothing to do with what the British confiscated. Again, words mean things.

          If you believe that our present tyranny will restrain itself because you and I have a hunting rifle in my home, than you like many conservatives are living a fantasy.

          Steve, if you need to stuff words into my mouth as if I was a rag doll in order to try to make your case then your case can’t be very strong, nor is your argument honest.

          I’m not against the second amendment. I’m just not so absurd as to believe that it extends to nuclear weapons. You said it, I didn’t. If you were just joking or running a little hyperbole up the flagpole, that’s one thing. But if you truly do hold to your absolutist libertarian ideals, I stand by my above statement. You must have a screw loose. There is no situation that I foresee wherein either the second amendment authorizes private ownership of nuclear weapons as “arms” or where such a thing is in any way desirable.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          The man who wrote:

          you like many conservatives are living a fantasy.

          also wrote:

          I believe the Constitution supports my self-defense rights to own any weapon, from a pocket knife to a nuclear weapon the only restraint being cost.

          Who is living in a fantasy? I think this goes beyond fantasy to clinical delusion.

          Yes sir, in the name of self-defense, it is clear everybody should have the right to store anthrax, sarin, ricin as well as a couple of Davy Crocket W-54 nuclear warheads in their garage. It’s not as if a W-54 is the same as the Tsar Bomba. Really, who could get hurt? What could go wrong?

          Steve, you can believe you are Batman, Robin and Topo Gigio all in one, but it doesn’t mean it is so.

          This adolescent absolutist theoretical bent of Libertarians, of your ilk, is a very strong reason they cannot be taken seriously and should rarely, if ever, be given any position in government. Reality seems to elude you.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            If nothing else, anyone who openly espouses such a position couldn’t win an election anywhere.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Given their hair-brained philosophy, and I use that the word philosophy very loosely, I am inclined to believe that many, if not most, of these leprechauns of licentious libertinism have many such radical and poorly considered positions which they do not openly express.

              It is only when a Libertarian goes behind a bolted door, uses a secret handshake and speaks the password (i.e. when he goes to the basement to speak to himself) does one hear the true inner voice and desires of the Bolsheviks of the Right.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                As a connoisseur of wordplay, I rather like the alliteration of “leprechauns of licentious libertarianism”, though I will note that steve Lancaster seems not to fit that description. Incidentally, I believe it’s “hare-brained” rather than “hair-brained”.

            • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

              If nothing else, anyone who openly espouses such a position couldn’t win an election anywhere.

              True: “A nuke in every home” will never replace “A chicken in every pot”.

        • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

          If we fail to stop a tyrannical Federal Government in America, Steve, it won’t be because we lacked for nuclear weapons, it will be because either we failed to lay the intellectual groundwork for resistance to the government or because we were not organized enough to use our rifles when the time came. For two simple confirmations of this thesis, consider first that every tyranny either arises after gun control has deprived the citizens of arms, or disarms the citizenry upon taking power. Obviously, these dictatorships are very afraid of citizens with ordinary rifles – the Chinese government has nuclear weapons, and it makes damn sure the people have no rifles.

          Second, consider this hypothetical situation: the 26 governors of the states that sued over Obamacare banded together and informed Obama that whatever the Supreme Court thinks, the act is plainly unconstitutional and is therefore null and void in their states. Obama would have been helpless to do anything to save his half-assed version of socialized medicine. The states are powerful enough to resist Federal marshals by force, and the people would not have tolerated Obama sending in the Army. Do you really think Obama would have been allowed to nuke more than half the country?

          This didn’t happen, largely because we are still unprepared with plans to resist the government when it crosses any a number of red lines. But nuclear weapons did not enter into the equation at all.

          How to handle a despotic President willing to use nuclear weapons to put down a widespread attempt at secession is an interesting question, but one for another day. Still, it should be obvious that having, say, 20,000 nuclear weapons in private homes and garages is not the answer.

      • Libertymark says:

        Let me take Steve’s side for a minute here, not to further argue a nuke in every pot, but to examine this a little differently.

        I think the rest of you are reacting kinda shrilly, IMHO.

        Brad, what is your basis for adjudicating the interpretation of “arms” in the 2nd? Is this common sense? Who’s common sense? Yours?

        Mr. Fu, while I appreciate the snark (I truly do – it made me laugh), let’s think about this a minute.

        The 2nd was constructed around a citizen militia, meaning all men. See quotes on militia from Geo. Mason, Richard Henry Lee and Melancton Smith. At the battle of Lexington and Concord, the militia (private citizens) were hiding militia armaments (powder and cannon and yes, long guns). How is this not “arms”?

        Now, let’s examine Steve’s nuke hyperbole. Ya’all’s argument is that this goes too far, beyond the spirit and letter of the 2nd. May I remind you how the Left uses your same argument to a) limit the number of bullets in your nuke – er, loader, b) decide what nuke – er, semi-automatic – you can own and c) at least here in Mexifornia, decide that just about every long gun is a nuke – er, semi-automatic weapon.

        So, fall into the Left’s trap if you like, but at least do it, as Mr. Fu has done, with great good snark. LOL

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Ya’all’s argument is that this goes too far, beyond the spirit and letter of the 2nd. May I remind you how the Left uses your same argument

          Mark, I agree that the Left abuses logic and the language at times, but just because that is the case does not mean conservatives must abandon reason and debase the language in arguing our case by jumping to absurd absolutist positions such as the one Steve posited.

          As one of my business professors impressed on our class, “reasonable people can disagree on things”. (This was done by making the class act as a company board of directors who had to decide on certain decisions on the direction of a theoretical company which we ran. You can imagine the differences of opinion we had.) However, there is little reasonable about Steve’s statement. He is wont to make absurd, simplistic unconditional slogans every now and then and sometimes they must be answered with snarky absurdity.

          The whole of modern political history consists of people trying to find the balance between security and liberty. When a society ends up at one end of the spectrum good things rarely happen.

          The human condition is such that each generation must grapple with their own imperfect time and place. I think this is one reason Reagan observed that the loss of liberty is only one generation away.

          • Libertymark says:

            So then, let’s refine the argument. What is the limitation in the word “arms” in the second? Because the statement that Steve made is the very other side of the coin that anti-2nd people make: “so what are you saying, that everyone should have the right to own a nuke/bazooka/tank? ” Of course, as soon as you answer this, you fall into the trap of limiting (“infringing” if you will) one’s right to bear arms. Then it’s all down the relativism slope from there…

            So what is the limit? Brad expressed his opinion on limit, without attribution I might add. (I’m anxious for attribution of the authority of the limit he described.)

            Better yet, how do YOU argue with the Left on “shall not be infringed”?

            I tell you, given the level of armament of late by every Podunk paramilitary wannabe Mayberry RFD and every non-military federal agency (witness the Post Office for one), maybe I do need a bazooka.

            So what is your defense on the limits, if any, on your right to bear arms? This is something I am actually struggling with in certain conversations.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              A serious discussion is possible over the meaning of “arms” in the second amendment. In reality (as all things must be), we have to make judgments about that…particularly as technology has advanced. Sometimes bad and dishonest judgments are made by liberal justices simply because they want to ban all arms, not because they are trying to decide just what does comprise an arm. (Note, the preceding sentence was a complex thought. Libertarians, do not strain yourselves.)

              But a serious discussion is not possible when the only limiting factor is what people can afford to buy. It’s absurd on the face of it, as Mr. Kung pointed out, that only market forces should decide whether or not my neighbor can own stores of anthrax, sarin, or ricin.

              The absolutist positions of libertarians (which defines nearly all their position) reflect more of a desire to hammer us over the head with their supposed superior intellect. But the truth is, these issues (as are most of the important ones) are not subject to simplistic utopian dogma.

              • libertymark says:

                With all due respect, Brad, you seem to be dodging the question. Laws are black and white, so if you had to make a law as to what constitutes “arms” and what does not, where do you draw the line. So far you’ve condemned nukes, Sarin, Ricin, and anthrax. So far so good.

                So now, declare your position.

                The ad hominem attacks on Steve Lancaster are entertaining and all, but there is a serious question here, one which it seems the Left has the high road on. What are my rights according to the 2nd? Can I have a 15-bullet mag or not? Can I have a semi-automatic rifle or not? Do I need the state’s permission to own a fire arm? If so, how big a caliber?

                Is the purpose of the 2nd to allow me and others like me to defend against abrogation of the 1st? Isn’t this why the 2nd follows so closely on the 1st? The 2nd is not an after-thought, for crying out loud.

                If it is the purpose, can I at least with my neighbors form a militia of similar strength to the state, or at least the local state-controlled law enforcement?

                It’s all fine and good to berate the Libertarian for what you called simplistic utopian dogma. But at some juncture, the point of the 2nd comes home: to wit, to protect us against the mis-use of the coercive power of the state, whether ours domestically or others which seek to attack.

                In a word, at some point someone may need to use those “arms”. Someone may need to shoot. Please, tell us, how much fire power is lawful under the 2nd?

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I wouldn’t put too much importance in the positioning of the amendments in the Bill of Rights. Don’t forget that the 1st is actually the 3rd; the first 2 amendments (on congressional replacements and congressional pay increases) failed to pass at the time (though the amendment on pay increases did pass about 20 years ago). This doesn’t make your question unimportant, of course. But the reality is that any claim that personal nukes should be legal is unlikely to succeed politically, so there will inevitably have to be some sort of limit that will be worked out politically. How popular do you think it will be to legalize bazookas or machine guns?

              • libertymark says:

                Mr. Lane, you are asking my question back to me. How do I feel about machine guns and bazookas? How do YOU feel about Federal agencies arming to the teeth (e.g. why does the Department of Agriculture need body armor and sub machine guns? Why does the Department of Homeland Security need 1.5 B rounds?)

                I get it on nukes. No nukes. Never advocated a nuke in every pot.

                So what’s your stand on this, Mr. Lane? Mr. Nelson keeps touting “common sense”. How big a caliber does common sense have?

              • Timothy Lane says:

                I certainly don’t like federal agencies arming themselves to a degree that would only be necessary if they anticipate going to war against those they consider their subjects. As for limits on weapons, what we have now seems to work well enough, so I certainly see no need to tighten those limits any further. If someone wants to propose loosening them, I’ll consider that with some skepticism (though I would see nothing wrong with removing more recent restrictions on automatic weapons — the 1934 change worked well enough).

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Mark,

              I have sent Brad a learned essay on this subject and asked him to make it available to all readers. My thoughts are pretty much in accord with what the author of this piece writes. I would note special attention needs to be given to:

              1. Page 5, the sentence covered by footnote 34.
              2. Page 7 Part III
              3. Page 9 last paragraph particularly parts covered by footnotes 68 and 69.

              The piece is about 11 pages and I believe should be required reading for civics.

            • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

              “So what is your defense on the limits, if any, on your right to bear arms? This is something I am actually struggling with in certain conversations.

              LM – I would suggest we look for guidance at the twin purposes of the Amendment, (1) To use arms for aid in self-defense, and (2) to use arms to overthrow a tyrannical government (which is actually just a more urgent kind of self-defense). Then let's consider some possible "arms" beginning with the big firecracker, the nuclear weapon.

              A nuclear weapon is of no use in ordinary self-defense. If you live in a bad neighborhood in Chicago, you may very well need an AR-15 to defend your home against all the gangsters around you with their 9mm handguns, but tempting as it might be to lay waste to the failed subculture of the inner-city with its 99% support of Barry Obama, dropping the big one on them isn't much of a solution, although it would reduce the number of low-information voters somewhat.

              For ordinary home, business, and street defense, it would seem possible to justify handguns (needed for concealment and portability), rifles (including semi-automatic), and shotguns. You could make a case against fully-automatic rifles on the grounds that they could not be discharged safely off the range, although I think that case is weak and the fact is, these weapons still exist as Tim pointed out but are almost never used in crimes. The question of which type of gun and how many rounds of ammunition a magazine should hold are rather obviously within the bounds of individual choice, not to mention the fact that any restrictions of these types would not be obeyed by criminals anyway. That disposes of a number of the more-important questions without getting to (2), which we do next.

              Let's say we want to overthrow the (Federal) government – what sort of weaponry would we need? Rifles and pistols, obviously (although we can justify our right to possess them for ordinary self-defense needs, as demonstrated above). Do we also need tanks, artillery, an air force etc? It seems to me that a large-enough force of light infantry could take Washington and arrest the major culprits (President and Congress), which is what overthrowing the government would mean, even without heavy weapons, especially since it is doubtful that the regular army would fire on American citizens demanding no more than their natural rights and that government return to its proper purpose of protecting those rights. (But as I have written elsewhere, it would be best to strike before things have deteriorated too far, as police and the military become progressively more corrupted as the country moves further Left).

              But suppose I'm wrong in this military judgment, and that some heavy weapons were needed – what then? I would suggest that unless our rebellion had motivated a number of states to join it, it wouldn't have much of a chance. The states have their own regular militias and as both a legal and practical matter it would seem any rebellion against the Feds should be state-based. The state militias could then supply any needed heavy armament, and their manpower added to the non-regular militia we've been discussing should be sufficient to overwhelm the central government even if some army units decided to fight. And of course in case of actual rebellion, any normal limits would be discarded anyway, and patriots who were able to manufacture cannon, for instance, could certainly do so. But even in such a dire situation, I don’t see why the patriot forces would require nuclear weapons. It seems unlikely to me that even a power-mad President would use nuclear weapons against several states united in rebellion – you can’t bring a seceded state back into the union by turning it into a cinder. If that weren’t enough, I would think the states could threaten devastating retaliation with non-nuclear means.

              Finally, if a state government needed to be removed by force, since state governors and legislatures are relatively more vulnerable than Congress and the President, one would think they could be taken into custody without artillery, etc.

              I think that's a good beginning in answering your question.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                This looks like an excellent analysis. I would add that anyone trying to use his personal tank to fight back against the government is likely to find out how vulnerable a single tank is. Nor would a nuclear weapon ever be appropriate for anyone other than a suicide bomber.

              • libertymark says:

                Thank you, Nalhakides, for addressing the question I posed. It is an important question, and yours is even a more important answer, because you touched on the two-fold need for the 2nd, both of which I agree with, based on my readings.

                While many revere the 2nd, I wonder whether they have actually contemplated the awful implications of the need for it.

                Those on the Left of course revile the 2nd, by contrast, with many inane and specious arguments ranging from Cuomo’s “You don’t need 15 bullets to kill a deer” (implying that the 2nd was to protect sports shooting or some such rubbish) to those who mis-use the “militia” aspect of the 2nd to say that the 2nd only applies to some form of National Guard-like organization (didn’t some former SC Justice say this recently?).

                I appreciate your thoughtful discussion here. Condemnation of the personal nuke thing is easy; you’ve done the hard part: attempting to actually consider the implications of the discussion.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Those cannons were in the possession of the militia units, not the individual members. Here’s an example of gun control that worked at a very mild level: In 1934 (I think), the federal government “banned” automatic weapons (such as the tommy guns that were popular weapons for the bank robbers and bootleggers). To be precise, anyone who wanted to own an automatic weapon had to get a special license, which required some sort of form to be filled out (and thus effectively some sort of background check) as well as a fee.

          From that time on, automatic weapons ceased to be used in crime (though liberal gun prohibitionists are quick to pretend otherwise whenever a mass shooting occurs). As it happens, the laws have since been strengthened, but this was unnecessary.

          I think that approach can be applied to all heavy weapons. So (I’m writing here conceptually, having no idea of the legal specifics) if you want to own a functioning tank or a bazooka or a Long Tom, you need to fill out the appropriate form and pay the appropriate fee, which would probably be more onerous than for a tommy gun. I suspect the requirements for a personal nuke would be even more so.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I find a lot of very interesting material here, including the idea that a freedom (especially one specifically recognized in the Constitution) should be considered “innocent until proven guilty”. It’s also nice to see someone point out that Moore’s claim that the murder rate is highest in the US is completely false.

    Culture undoubtedly plays a major role in the murder rate. One might note that (as David Hackett Fischer pointed out in Albion’s Seed) the southern states (and to some extent the southwestern ones) are populated by British subcultures more inclined to violence than those who settled the northern states. This is why blacks (who absorbed this propensity for violence from their southern neighbors, often as victims of racist groups) make up the overwhelming majority of violent criminals in many northern cities (though Hispanics are catching up with them as they become more numerous).

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    This is in reference to Tim’s post above.

    I believe it’s “hare-brained” rather than “hair-brained”

    You are correct. My hirsute mistake is hare-brained as I came across this same error recently in some other publication.

    Glad you liked the reference to the little green men.

    One positive about Steve is he doesn’t go into the basement and hide his thoughts about Libertarianism. He is open about them.

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      I’ve always thought that either “hare-brained” or “hair-brained” is correct, and in fact I remember this issue coming up years ago in some magazine I read regularly, probably The Comics Journal. As I recall, someone found a dictionary that supported both versions. I do prefer “hare-brained” myself as it seems to make more sense – many of our enemies on the Left do indeed seem to have a cranial capacity closer to that of the harmless hare than to homo sapiens (making them, ironically, far from harmless themselves).

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I regard professional liberals as subhuman because they don’t think about the political matters that are of such importance to them, and thus are (by their own choice) non-sapient.

  4. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    The fact that crime in America is only a problem in certain urban areas was already known, except of course to those who didn’t wish to know it, but I don’t think I’ve seen this disturbing breakdown by race before Selwyn presented it here. 96% of the crimes in NYC are committed by either blacks or Hispanics? Yikes! Selwyn is right – that’s an answer too many people don’t want to know.

    I knew that 1/3 of the outstanding murder warrants in L.A. County California were for illegal aliens, but added to the statistics presented here we have even more reason to oppose the open-borders crowd. Not only are we letting in low-skilled uneducated people who believe in lots of welfare and take American jobs, they’re also going to commit crimes at disproportionate levels! A real triple-threat.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Of course, that explains precisely why liberals want open borders. The best way to acquire government power is through crises that you don’t want to waste. If you have to create them yourself, so what? And so we have street anarchy combined with unlimited government control.

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I hope this thing isn’t too copyrighted.

    I see there is some sort of exemption for educational purposes. I think this site would fall under that heading as no money is exchanged, nothing is sold and you don’t receive “in kind” from advertisers. If there is a problem, the piece can be easily found on the internet.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      That works for me.

      And regarding this whole issue, unless one wants to adopt a “Progressive” method of law (whereby you bend things to the result that you want), we have to admit that words mean things. Both “bear” and “arms” meant fairly specific things back in the 18th century.

      The Constitution is a legal compact between WE the PEOPLE. It’s not a piece of Silly Putty. And for that piece of paper to mean anything, we must put aside what we want and must ask what the Framers intended.

      This isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense. And if one’s political ideology willfully runs a steamroller over this common sense then such political doctrine is mere zealotry.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    With all due respect, Brad, you seem to be dodging the question.

    Mark, I don’t require respect but I do desire clarity.

    I believe that I set the general parameters of the argument without yet (if necessary) getting into the specifics (semi-automatic but not automatic, for instance). That is, that “arms” doesn’t mean nukes, that some sense of reasonableness outside of unhinged and naive political zealotry must be a guide. The Framers had rifles and pistols in mind, generally speaking.

    As technology has progressed, it presents challenges regarding what to define as a hand gun or rifle. And it presents challenges even for those who mean to do an honest job of it and don’t simply have a raging hostility to the private ownership of arms.

    Regarding ad hominem attacks, I prefer to call that “clarity.” It was a little ice water needfully splashed in the face. Libertarians, much like Black Liberation adherents and other Marxist causes, have for too long gotten by on people refusing to stand up and calling a spade a spade. I have yet to meet the reasonable libertarian. Their politics is the politics of one idea, taken out of context, and rammed full speed ahead into absurdity, such as Steve’s remark about the only limit on arms being what one could afford, including nukes.

    I’m a big proponent of the free market and the second amendment, but neither are absolutes. If you want to get into a discussion on the fine points of why this arm and not that arm, that’s fine and might make a good article if someone wants to get into the minutia of it.

    • libertymark says:

      My brother is a Lib(ertarian), and his conversations with me, a very conservative Conservative, are frustrating, because he ends up picking a fight over what I think he considers my lack of purity, shall we say. So I “get” your frustration with the Libertarian mindset.

      At the same time, having not been to ST and commented in a while, I found the reaction to the initial post by Mr. Lancaster to seem, well, over the top. But it’s your site and you are the moderator, so far be it from me as the casual observer to cast aspersions.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    How do YOU feel about Federal agencies arming to the teeth (e.g. why does the Department of Agriculture need body armor and sub machine guns? Why does the Department of Homeland Security need 1.5 B rounds?)

    Mark, you state that as if there is some natural conservative affinity for the militarization of Federal agencies. I’m certainly not for that (Mark Steyn has had more than one article that has mentioned this and with which I agree) and I’d be extremely surprised if Tim was in favor of the militarization of Federal departments.

    Plus, this has little or nothing to do with the second amendment. You seem to be floating a red herring in search of some connection. We’d be better off treating these as two separate subjects — or unitng them together under the heading of “government tyranny.”

    But there are certainly libertarians out there who think that if one isn’t for the legalization of any and every kind of weapon then one is therefore a useful idiot for the statists. And I’ve just had too much of this kind of nonsense from libertarians (not in this thread as yet, thank goodness) to turn a blind eye to their misguided and overly-simplistic political philosophy (which I view now more as a personal identity than any kind of coherent or semi-coherent political doctrine).

    No apologies will be forthcoming from this quarter for calling libertarians and libertarianism a little looney.

    • libertymark says:

      “you state that as if there is some natural conservative affinity for the militarization of Federal agencies.” Just the opposite. I would expect most if not all those who posted here to find that militarization abhorrent. That was my point.

      “You seem to be floating a red herring in search of some connection. ” On the contrary, I think that government militarization is core to a discussion of the 2nd. (See Nahalkides prior post in this blog on the two-fold purpose of the 2nd.) If the purpose of an armed citizenry is to deter tyranny, either from individuals or the state, how is government militarization at all levels not germane to a discussion of how much “arms” is too much? If the post office or the department of agriculture or whatever has a shadow military force with body armor and hollow point bullets, doesn’t that prompt a curiosity to find the bounds of the private citizenry’s right to bear arms?

      So Mr. Lancaster’s post, while absurd to many, at least served the purpose of asking the question, “what does ‘keep and bear arms’ really mean today?” We may not have answered that to anyone’s complete clarity, but I for one appreciated the exercise.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        If the purpose of an armed citizenry is to deter tyranny, either from individuals or the state, how is government militarization at all levels not germane to a discussion of how much “arms” is too much?

        You’ve got two issues. One is what the second amendment means. The other is what to do in the face of tyrannical government. In such a case, we refer to Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:

        That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

        That is when we are talking extra-Constitutional actions. There is a duty and a right over and above what is laid out in the Constitution. If this were not so, the Constitution itself could not have been written as it was, a document more or less grounded in unalienable rights and eternal principles of government.

        And if we see the various departments of the Federal government weaponing up, then it is time to ask if a new Second Amendment (possibly one that allows nukes) needs to be passed. But we dare not act like fuzzy-headed “Progressives” (or libertarians) and read into these amendments whatever we think is called for at the time. It is the rule-of-law that we are lacking at the moment. We don’t need to add to the lack of that.

        • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

          “That is when we are talking extra-Constitutional actions. There is a duty and a right over and above what is laid out in the Constitution. If this were not so, the Constitution itself could not have been written as it was, a document more or less grounded in unalienable rights and eternal principles of government.”

          Brad – you’ve raised some important points here that really need to be addressed in a full-length article. When someone has time for it…

      • Timothy Lane says:

        When I first read that the 2nd Amendment was for protection from government (about 30 years ago), I considered that a bit much. Now I know better (Ruby Ridge and Waco had a lot to do with that).

        Incidentally, as for the “well-regulated militia” clause, J. Neil Schulman (see above) once questioned a couple of professors of English to establish (as anyone with a good knowledge of the language should realize) that this clause is intended to explain WHY the natural right of self-defense “shall not be infringed”, not to limit the right to state militias.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          The language of the second amendment is horribly fumbled, in my opinion. It should have simply said, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Adding that qualifier of “A well regulated Militia” just muddles things. I’m not really sure why they wrote it that way.

          After all, the first amendment does not say, “In order to keep sleazy politicians and oppressive governments at bay, Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.” It just says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

          After all, there are more reasons for owning a gun than just as a hedge against tyrannical government. That’s certainly one of the reasons, and a good one. But so is the reason of self-defense, or duck hunting, or target shooting, for that matter.

          The fact is, as written, we don’t have to justify the purpose of the second amendment (except in the face of justices who want to outlaw all arms). The right of self-defense is an unalienable right that existed before the Constitution. The second amendment merely acknowledges that, and the lawyers effed up the language, if you ask me. But, hey, they’re lawyers.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I appreciate your thoughtful discussion here. Condemnation of the personal nuke thing is easy

    Yes, Nik is thoughtful. But it there are some things, Mark, that ought to be self-evident. One of them is that your neighbor owning a nuke just because he can afford to is a bad idea. One needn’t reach deep into the nuances of the second amendment for that. And I’m not rebuking Nik but scratching my head as to why this is even an issue at all.

    Sorry if I ruffled any libertarian feathers. But, Jesus, if you need a detailed argument for why your neighbor owning a nuke is a bad thing, I don’t know what else to say.

    • LibertyMark says:

      You are picking on the wrong guy. I’m not a Libertarian, and I stipulated at least three times that I’m not in for the Nuke Next Door, and stated explicitly I am not a Libertarian. I didn’t defend it, not once. So clearly, I’ve wasted my time here and done nothing more than to leave you scratching your head “as to why this is even an issue at all”.

      Sounds like the ruffled feathers are on your end.

      As to this: “The language of the second amendment is horribly fumbled, in my opinion.” Strange, given the care and years of debate put into the Founding documents, I’m astounded you would state that. It was perfectly clear to them at the time of ratification. Plus, there are tons of quotes from the Founders available via Bing to clarify for you.

      May I suggest this treatise: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674893069/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      Not a long read, a little dry, but scholarly on the origin of “bear arms”.

      Thank you for your time, all.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Thanks, Mark. I’ll check out that book.

        And the language of the second amendment I do find to be muddled. That preamble to it sounds to any reasonable ear as if the entire purpose of the right to bear arms is based on maintaining and supporting state militias.

        This is great news for those who say, “We now have standing armies and the National Guard. We have large police forces. Therefore we don’t need a Minuteman type of militia, therefore the second amendment no longer applies.”

        The second amendment would have been stronger and less ambiguous without that little preamble. And if you did want a preamble, how about something like, “In order to preserve liberty and defend against tyrants…”

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Perhaps the Founders didn’t anticipate that someday there would be people who carefully forget that the “militia” is the entire male population of military age. Then, too, one must remember that a basic knowledge of English would enable anyone to realize the purpose of the clause. Whether those who deny its meaning are really ignorant of the language, or simply dishonest, is impossible to say. They’re liberals, so either is easily believable.

          • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

            I think that’s basically it, Tim. Of course, modern Leftists don’t want to know that “militia” and “people” meant the same thing. Finally, the language has changed since 1787, so language in the Constitution that would have been plain to even simple farmers then might not be so today. I agree with Brad that “A well-regulated militia” just encourages confusion among modern Americans (but see my post with Madison’s original language, which made the synonymy of “people” and “militia” obvious).

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Incidentally, I recall reading a book by John Keegan once and coming across a reference to “well-regulated” as referring to an army of citizens instead of mercenaries (as was at least partly true of the Prussian army, for example). Unfortunately, when I went back to try to locate the reference I couldn’t find, so all I have to go on is memory, which can be fallible.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Yep. And in fairness to the Founders and Framers, Timothy, there is no language possible that can protect from dishonest and evil people like the leaders of the Left. This is why Rush says “Words mean things.” But if they don’t, then you just can re-define them and have the words mean whatever you want them to. And if you repeat the lie often enough, it will tend to stick in the minds of people. There are people here, for instance, who rightly say “Don’t use ‘gay,’ use the term ‘homosexual.'” And I couldn’t agree more. Let’s not help these plunderers and Communists unwittingly.

            Changing the language is what the Left has done time after time. And remember that ill-intentioned deceivers are often very very clever. There is a natural process whereby even honest and well-intentioned people must struggle and strive to get at the original intent of words written hundreds of years ago. The Left hides their dishonestly within this process.

            And as Nik says, if “people” and “militia” mean the same things, that’s something I didn’t know. Nor could any reasonable person know that without an honest study of the 18th century use of language. And this presents the perfect opportunity for nitwits such as Justice Kagan and Sotomayor to manipulate the law. There is only one proper way to read the law and that is via original intent. It is not honest to bend the words simply to fit the outcome that one wants. Without the integrity of the law, we are lost.

            Part of the problem of the preamble of “A well-regulated militia” is that is makes it sound as if that is the only reason to allow private ownership of arms. That should have been seen as a very obvious flaw. Owning a gun so as to have defense against a burglar (or an IRS agent) has little or nothing to do with a well-regulated militia. For whatever reason, this flaw wasn’t widely noticed (although Nik notes that Madison must have understood the problem better).

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Incidentally, when J. Neil Schulman checked this out, he proposed an alternative positing that “a well- read electorate” was necessary, and thus proclaiming the people’s right “to keep and read books”.

        • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

          It’s interesting that you say that, Brad, for as it happens I think James Madison would agree with you. In February, while researching Madison for (what else?) material to be used in articles on ST, I discovered the original text of the Amendment that Madison proposed in the House:

          “A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, but no one religiously scrupulous of beari ng arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person. “

          Madison makes it clear that the “militia” was indeed composed of “the body of the People”! This confirms what those of us who have been saying that the “militia” and “people” meant the same thing at that time. If only the Senate hadn’t insisted upon its shortened version of what would become the 2nd Amendment it would have been far tougher for the Left to pretend the right to bear arms did not somehow inhere to the people themselves and not the National Guard or whatever foolishness they were trying to pass off.

          We also see Madison’s characteristic concern for the rights of conscience, which we could sure use nowadays as the Left is forcing people to bake cakes for gay “weddings” and fund abortions.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the People, being the best security of a free State,

            That’s a better way of saying it. As it is now, the militia seems to be the point of bearing arms. With Madison’s formulation, it’s clear that the security (securing) of a free state, ensured by an armed people (whether you call them the “militia” or whatever), is the point. Jeepers, they had enough lawyers running around back then to get this right. 🙂

            Thanks for the further info.

  9. steve lancaster says:

    Well, well, well go away for a few days without internet and all hell breaks loose. It seems that I have been accused of being everything, but a child of God. Surely, I must be the anti-Christ for observing that the Constitution says what it says.

    A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Seems pretty straightforward and direct, but perhaps I don’t have the talent for nuance that my attackers have.

    A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, ( comma) this is and educative statement intended by the founders to explain to even the most dense why the 2nd amendment is necessary.

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. Gosh, that sounds simple to this old Marine. I do not read any limitations on the type of arms. It does not say except for. . . fill in the blank. It does not have a technology exception and surely, the founders could foresee that weapons would someday fire faster and further than they did in 1789.

    Then there is the pesky language of SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. It does not say to a limited extent, or only hunting rifles or low capacity magazines or any of the arguments you gentlemen have chosen as straw men arguments.

    As I said before, the purpose of the 2nd amendment is not to allow Joe Doaks, Sally Soaks and all the folks to go shot a deer. The purpose is establish in law a force of power equal to the power of the Federal government, and that includes all of the weapons available to the government. This amendment is a restraint on the power of government and it has served us well for 238 years. In short it is a declaration of war by the people on the government. Do any of you think that without the knowledge of an armed populace we would still have the freedoms we have today? Even as eroded by the last 3 presidents as they have been.

    Do I want a nuclear weapon? No, security problems of that kind I don’t need. However, if for example I had the billions of Warren Buffet I might choose to own one. I believe the asking price on the Pakistani market is 1 billion dollars in gold. I might choose to own an M1A1 Abrams tank, perhaps I will propose that to the libertarians I hang out with and we can keep it at Galt’s Gulch.

    It is not likely that I will post here again, most of you people are all closet statists and the only difference between you and BHO is you hide your statist philosophy in so called social conservatism and any deviance from your orthodoxy is attacked. BHO is more honest about what he is then you are.

    Good luck, call me when the Russians, or Arabs invade and you’re peeing your pants wondering why you are no longer free or more likely when the feds take what weapons you have and build concentration camps for the feeble minded.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Go look at my posts and explain why you think your comments about me are justified. Do you think J. Neil Schulman is a closet statist? Who do you think he was responding to? I have as much sympathy for libertarianism as anyone here aside from you, but there are limits. But then, that’s the reason why, even when I agree with them most of the time on specific issues, I don’t call myself a libertarian: because they don’t seem to have such limits.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I do not read any limitations on the type of arms.

      Steve, we all agree that the meaning of “arms” is somewhat fungible and subject to definition (the correct one being rifles and pistols). That’s not my particular area of contention.

      You said that private citizens should be able to own any weapon, including nukes, as long as they have the money. If you were joking, then fine. If you were serious, you ought to come to grips with this bit of libertarian lunacy.

      It is not likely that I will post here again, most of you people are all closet statists …

      How is Mr. Kung wrong in calling libertarians the “Bolsheviks of the Right”? I mentioned in one of my posts that it was all but a matter of time until we were told we were statists simply because we disagreed with some of these bizarre libertarian ideas.

      You sound like a typical Leftist (especially those race-hustling black leaders) who swears that there is racism all over the place, even if it isn’t evident. They say it’s all gone “underground.”

      You can leave or stay, that’s up to you. You have a lot of good thoughts and writings regarding other things. But if you’re going to say something as patently absurd as saying that people should be able to buy any kind of weapon if they have the money, you’ve got to expect sane people to take notice.

      Your attitude shows why I think libertarianism is more of an identity or cult rather than any kind of coherent political doctrine. And it’s why I believe that libertarians are in no way allies of conservatives.

      Hey, I’m sorry you are constrained by absurd libertarian ideas. The free market is a wonderful thing. But libertarians tend to take things to absurd and ruinous absolutes. Remember that wise George Will line: “The four most important words in the English language are: ‘up to a point.’”

      There is an “up to a point” aspect of the free market. It’s “up to the point” point is regarding allowing people to buy anthrax, poison gas, or nuclear weapons and store it in their basement just because they have the money. If you don’t see the absurdity of this then it is true as one author wrote that “Libertarianism makes you stupid.”

      I like you, Steve. I really do. But I don’t have the kind of personality that can just sit back and pretend that grand absurdities are not grand absurdities. I don’t call people stupid, insane, or absurd merely because they disagree with me about some issue. I do so when someone has said something truly stupid, insane, or absurd, as you did about nuclear weapons.

      And this isn’t softened at all by your definition of the word “arms” in the second amendment. Even if the Founders would have been for the private ownership of anthrax, poison gas, tanks, artillery, and nuclear weapons (which is highly doubtful), that doesn’t change the fact that such a thing is a very bad and absurd idea.

      What you lack is a more well-rounded education in our Constitution. There are many fine books to read including “The 5000 Year Leap.” The step forward is self-education, not clinging with a death grip to simplistic libertarian canards.

  10. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I think libertarianism is more of an identity or cult rather than any kind of coherent political doctrine

    I believe Theodore Dalrymple is spot on when he observes, “Rights expand to meet the egos of those for whom freedom is nothing but unconstrained action”. I think many Libertarians are like two year olds who neither understand nor care that their actions can have negative effects on others.

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