This is the first submission of a multi-part essay by Jim V on Gun Control. It’s well researched and packed with information. Looking forward to the following chapters by Jim!
“Quemadmoeum gladuis neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.” (A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer’s hands.)
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca, circa 4 BC – 65 AD
“Americans [have] the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust their people with arms”
– James Madison, considered the father of the US Constitution
“[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are left in full possession of them.”
- Zacharia Johnson, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
“During World War II, six million Swiss had guns and six million Jews did not.”
– Author unknown
“…sort of like the people who repeat foolish slogans like “guns kill” – as though guns sprout little feet when no one is looking and run around shooting people all by themselves.”
– Doug Casey, financial columnist
“If you don’t have to give up your car because others drive drunk with theirs, then why do you have to give up your gun because others commit crimes with theirs?”
– Anonymous internet wag
“When a crime is committed, does the gun go to jail?”
- From BrotherJohn.com
“Let’s stop playing games. The problem is people, not guns. Our society suffers from a deficiency of personal responsibility – not from an excess of personal freedom.”
– Star Parker, African American writer and commentator
“The horrifying truth is this: we live now in a culture that not only does not respect life, but discards it like trash — not only at the beginning of life, but also at the end, and every place in between. What has happened to us?”
– Catholic Deacon Greg Kandra
“…we’re also going to make it clear that when a pig gets iced that’s a good thing, and that everyone who considers himself a revolutionary should be armed, should own a gun, should have a gun in his house.”
– Bill Ayers, leftist activist and confidant of gun control happy Barack Obama, in A Strategy To Win, appearing in New Left Notes, September 12, 1969
“‘The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.'”
| - HL Mencken
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”
– Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334
The utterly horrific Colorado and Connecticut shootings, among others, are still being processed into the collective conscience of America. Clearly, everyone of good conscience will grieve for the lives that were lost and damaged. But it is time now to reflect on what has caused tragedies such as these, and others. Here are some preliminary thoughts that may be worth reflecting on as you consider the gun control issue, that is sure to surface again in the near future:
First, is it guns, or is it people, that kill? As the old saying goes, Teddy Kennedy’s cars have killed more people than all the guns of 99.999% of all gun owners in America. And this true around the world. My brother lived in ultra-safe Switzerland for years. Why is Switzerland so safe? Is it because guns are outlawed?
Wikipedia notes: “If you were a Swiss man, you would be a soldier as well. Every able-bodied Swiss man must go to the army in Switzerland for 90 days (Rekrutenschule-Ecole de recrue) and then every 2 years until the age of 42, he must return for practice for 19 days. This allows the government to raise an army of 400,000 men, fully armed, within 24 hours, as every soldier has an assault gun in his house, complete with ammunition.” http://switzerland.isyours.com/e/swiss-business-guide/swiss-army.html “; moreover, “Each individual is required to keep his army issued personal weapon (the 5.56x45mm SIG 550 rifle for enlisted personnel or the SIG 510 rifle and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home with a specified personal retention quantity of government issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56/48 rounds 9mm…)
http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/gun_politics_in_switzerland.” Switzerland which has had three times the gun ownership as, for example Germany, has also had a much lower murder rate. And statistics like this ring true throughout the world. A short 3 minute video is here, for those that wish to see a short report on the Swiss and their guns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WFUu7cfa7k&feature=player_embedded#t=22s
Indeed, Thomas Sowell notes countries with stronger gun control laws than the US, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico (Mexico basically bans firearms completely, yet has a higher gun homicide rate than the US), have much higher murder rates, while there are many countries with high rates of gun ownership but low murder rates, such as Israel, New Zealand and Finland. In fact, in Mexico, the murder rate is 22.7 murders per 100,000, whereas the global average is ~7 homicides per 100,000, and the gun happy US is 4.8 murders per 100,000. http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to-end-gun-debate-forever.html. That is correct – the US, which has the widest gun ownership in the world, is below the worldwide average in homicides. Of course, in the US, approximately 90 million legal owners of guns, owing 300 million firearms; murdered zero people last year. Contrast that with the approximately 170 million Prof. R.J. Rummel of Univ. of Hawaii, in his book Death by Government, says were killed in the last century, the majority of them after their governments disarmed them (Stéphane Courtois, author of the highly regarded Black Book of Communism estimates 94 million were murdered by Communists alone). An hour long, very sobering summary video documenting what happens when the population has their weapons removed can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDivHkQ2GSg&feature=player_embedded#t=8s Or perhaps one might wish to contrast this to the 32,000 people who lost their lives – including thousands of youth – in car accidents last year (see http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1103.pdf or http://www.nhtsa.gov/NCSA to get the latest exact figure). And for those of you who correctly answered the “cars are necessary, but guns are not” objection, a gold star, for indeed you are correct – an armed population, as the Founding Fathers repeatedly noted, is the sine qua non of a free country and a free population. “Free” as in – as historical records show – comparison to a country like the USSR, Cuba or China that end up murdering millions – including children (just google “Ukrainian Kulak” and look at the photos of millions of children who were murdered by Stalin’s government. As the saying goes, “Free men have guns; slaves do not.”
An interview in The State Journal of West Virginia, regarding guns and the 2nd Amendment, is illustrative of the rabid anti-gun attitudes of the politically correct cadre. Predictably, the media talking head, who is of course anti-gun, interviews Keith Morgan, president of the West Virginia Citizen’s Defense League. The reporter tried to push the old canard that a national debate on guns is long overdue. (Yes… apparently leftist media reporters all get their same talking points from the same, lame “LeftistTalking Point Depot!”), to which Morgan replies “I have to take issue with the immediate premise that we started out with that it’s a long overdue discussion. The discussion is as old as the country itself. The Framers set everything up and settled that discussion pretty well with the wording and language of the Second Amendment…”
Mr. Morgan has it 100% nailed on the head!
HOW EFFECTIVE IS GUN CONTROL?
A 2000 study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms revealed that 47% of guns used for crime are obtained via a straw purchase, while another 26% are stolen. So, how effective is firearms control in practice? In gun-control happy Chicago – which has banned guns for all practical purposes – the city has become the leading “alpha” city for gun murders in the world. 2012 ended with around five hundred murders in the city. http://news.yahoo.com/chicago-reaches-500-homicides-fatal-shooting-145951769.html – sixty of which were children! In fact, “gun free” Chicago had more murders than the entire nation of Japan in 2012. For comparison, drug war ridden Mexico City has 8.0 murders a year per 100,000 population, Moscow 9.6, Sao Paolo 15.6 and Chicago 19.4. Similarly, Washington DC, which has banned concealed carry since 1975, has one of the highest rates of murder in the U.S. And of course, one might also have the temerity to ask why there are no theatre, mall or school shootings in Israel, where a goodly percentage of the population is armed, including fully automatic weapons. (Picture from http://janmorganmedia.com/2012/12/why-you-dont-hear-about-any-school-shootings-in-israel/ )
Let’s examine Chicago and a similar size city, Houston, which has concealed carry. Details are from 2012 – and do note that Chicago just recently was forced to adopt more lenient gun laws in the past year – during which time the homicide rate dropped. Those facts are not indicated in the chart below. How did formerly gun control happy Chicago and Houston compare?
Chicago , IL
Houston , TX
Median HH income
% non-Hispanic White
A reasonably similar matchup -until:
Concealed carry gun law
# of gun stores
84 dedicated gun shops,
1500 places to buy guns
Homicides per 100k
high temp, F
Presumably the leftist conclusion from the above is that cold weather causes shootings!
OK, so what about New York City? Yes, there was a reduction in gun shootings in 2012, but there were still 414 homicides in 2012. Notwithstanding the fact that NYC is almost becoming a police state, a one year drop could be attributable to many things, and as Frank Zimring, professor of law at UC Berkeley told NPR, “”If you’re gonna make the assumption that changes in crime rates always are responding to policies then why shouldn’t we be blaming the police for the slight increases [in New York's murder rate] in 2010 and 2011?” No word from Mr. Bloomberg on that… nor why Mr. Bloomberg has changed his tune from “al Qaeda hates us for our freedoms” to the situation today, where the NYPD conducts unconstitutional stop-and-frisk searches all over NYC. And the reality is that the general trend in NYC has been a general trend of a drop in murder rates in NYC since the 1990s.
As a matter of fact, Dr. John Lott spoke on the Piers Morgan show shortly after the Connecticut school shooting, and noted that since 1950, in almost every public mass shooting in which three or more people died, it was in a setting where guns are banned, such as schools. Of course, relative to the Sandy Hook tragedy, Connecticut already had banned “assault weapons,” and the Newtown school was already a gun free zone. There also is already a total ban on guns in the possession of mentally unstable in Connecticut. A lot of good that did. And if the shooter didn’t get it from his mother in this case, do you really think he wouldn’t have gone to the black market to get one, or turned to other tools, such as the bombs the leftist Unibomber or Timothy McVeigh used? Were people any less dead because those two men used bombs instead of guns? On a personal level, when I was a student teacher in Illinois, a young high school student set a bomb right outside my classroom – it was found before it went off, but could have killed many students if it hadn’t been found in time. Are we next going to ban intelligence so that people can’t make bombs out of various materials? As a matter of fact, perhaps we already have banned intelligence – or at least wisdom – from our schools. But that is a story for another day…. along with some enterprising researcher conducting a study correlating the number of school shootings with the number of teachers having sex with their students.
Meanwhile, hidden from public view by a leftist media, school shootings are indeed occurring in countries with strict gun control. Former psychology professor and Army Ranger Lt. Col. David Grossman noted in Dec., 2012, on his Facebook site atwww.facebook.com/LtColDaveGrossman, that gun control poster child Germany has had two mass murders in their high schools that had body counts surpassing those at Columbine, while Dunblain, Scotland had a massacre in a kindergarten class, and just down the road from where I used to live in Alberta, Canada, the town of Taber experienced a school massacre. Handguns are outlawed in Canada. Finland has had three school massacres, and of course there was the Anders Breivik massacre in Norway, which also has restrictions on gun ownership. And if it isn’t guns, it’s knives. Grossman notes in gunless Belgium, a sicko dressed as the Joker from Batman got into a day care centre and hacked a dozen babies in their cribs, injuring them. Two more babies were killed, as well as one daycare worker. If leftists want schools and other areas as “gun free zones,” perhaps we should make those who created gun free zones liable for the murders that occur there? And at the same time, may we ask why government buildings in Washington DC are “gun free zones” – or is it that the “let them eat cake” ruling class gets armed security everywhere they go in the town (not to mention exemption from ObamaCare), while the rest of us poor, unwashed masses have to trust our safety to luck? In fact, there is a formal petition to the White House to have the Secret Service protecting the president and others in Washington made a gun free zone – remember, it is guns themselves that are the cause of crime. (Article at http://www.examiner.com/article/white-house-petition-demands-secret-service-be-replaced-by-gun-free-zone?cid=Editorial-NearYou-HP-RecentArticles
But, in case you don’t believe Lt. Colonel Grossman or Dr. Lott, perhaps you might believe the man running lead for Obama’s gun control task force after Sandy Hook, Joe Biden? Here is Biden in his own words, explaining that gun control will not stop a potential mass shooting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTyoppK_aDM&feature=player_embedded#t=2s
The top ten school massacres are listed here, for your reference: http://listverse.com/2008/01/01/top-10-worst-school-massacres/, the worst being the Beslan school massacre in Russia, with 386 dead, and over 700 injured by Chechen militants. In the US, one of the first US school massacres occurred, as Mark Steyn notes, on July 25,1764, when “…four Lenape Indians walked into a one-room schoolhouse in colonial Pennsylvania and killed Enoch Brown and ten of his pupils. One child survived, scalped and demented to the end of his days” (no assault rifles were recorded as being used in this attack); and the worst massacre in a US schooloccurred May 18. 1927, in Bath, Michigan, when school board treasurer Andrew Kehoe used a bomb to blow up the Bath Consolidated School, killing 44 people, including 38 children. Again, much to the chagrin of the left, no assault weapon was used.
And the comments from the left that masquerade as “fact,” such as the post-Sandy Hook Bill Clinton statement: “Half of all mass killings in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005. Half of all of them in the history of the country.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=or-inV1KKDE#t=0s are not even close to reality. Leaving aside the definition of what “is” is, what are the actual facts? Unfortunately – similar to the ClimateGate revelations – someone actually did the research in a 2007 book entitled Mass Murder in the United States” A History, authored by Grant Duwe, director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Dept. of Corrections. Here’s what Duwe found, as summarized from http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/01/bill-clinton-caught-in-lie-over-mass-shootings-fact/ :
In the past 100 years, there have been 156 mass killings where at least four people were killed publicly with a firearm in under 24 hours, where the killings did not include robbery, drugs or gangs. As of Jan., 2013, there have been 32 mass public shootings since Clinton’s assault weapons ban expired on Sept. 13, 2004, with seven in 2012. Here is the tally by decade:
1900s : zero
2010s (three years): 14
Data from Boston.com, using data extracted from official police reports to the FBI, shows mass shootings in the US over the past 30 years have not increased. (See http://boston.com/community/blogs/crime_punishment/2012/08/no_increase_in_mass_shootings.html or as below)
Of course, the vast majority of these were not committed with semi-automatic rifles; rather, they were committed by handguns. Why no outcry re. handguns? Is it because they look less “scary?” Or might it really be because rifles could be used by a free people to defend themselves against totalitarianism? Perhaps the left should lift all restrictions on long guns, and legislate against handguns if they honestly wanted to make a dent in the death toll. (And while they are at it, perhaps they could pass legislation against “Fast & Furious” Eric Holder being anywhere within 100 miles of any gun at all.)
On the other side of the school shooter equation, in 2008, the isolated Harrold Independent School District in Texas, noting the damage done in the Columbine shootings, among others, decided the 20 minutes it could take police to arrive could lead to a horrific disaster, trained school staff were allowed to carry firearms in school. The result? Dead students? Mayhem? Actually… nothing, except a safe school. School district superintendent David Thweatt simply stated “We’re the first responders. We have to be. We don’t have 5 minutes. We don’t have 10 minutes. We would have had 20 minutes of hell” if the school was attacked. In fact, Evan Todd – who was shot and wounded at the Columbine massacre – makes this exact point (and a few more!) in his open letter to President Obama of Feb., 2013, found at http://chicksontheright.com/posts/item/23858-have-you-read-evan-todd-s-letter-to-obama-yet . Todd elucidated on his points in a further interview found at http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/19/being-shot-gave-this-columbine-survivor-strong-views-on-gun-control-heres-why-he-opposes-more-restrictions/
But lurking behind the school shooting question is the issue of “never let a crisis go to waste,” per Rahm Emmanuel. Is it really guns, or is it rather the gun grabber agenda that is in the dock here? If the former, why no comment from the leftist media that every month after the Sandy Hook shooting, on average 40 juveniles will be murdered with something other than a rifle? Or doesn’t that meet with the agenda du jour? (And I’m just waiting to hear some leftist claim that rifles cause global warming!)
And finally, if gun grabbers are so “concerned for the kids,” why then this story that came out just after Sandy Hook:
“Amid all the hubbub surrounding Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s “assault weapons” ban, there are still everyday stories of average law-abiding citizens using firearms to defend themselves and others from evil — or in this case, serious harm. An 11-year-old boy was riding his bike in a Washington, DC, neighborhood when he came upon three pit bulls. The dogs pounced, mauling the boy. Fortunately, a neighbor saw what was happening, grabbed his handgun and rushed out to shoot one of the pit bulls. A DC police officer patrolling nearby on a bicycle heard the shot, and came to the boy’s aid as well, shooting the other two pit bulls. The boy’s injuries were severe, but he will survive, thanks to the quick action of this neighbor. However, the hero is under investigation for violating local gun laws — discharging his weapon while not on his own property. No word yet on whether charges will be filed, but DC’s gun laws are what put children at risk.” (Source for this story not retained, but published week of 21 Jan., 2013)
This story clearly illustrates that for many on the left, it is not about the kids. It is about their agenda.
There is more to come, but this should get you started on your reflections on the issue.