We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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Samizdata quote of the day

“Moreover, an assault-weapon ban (along with a ban on high-capacity magazines) would gut the concept of an armed citizenry as a final, emergency bulwark against tyranny. No credible person doubts that the combination of a reliable semiautomatic rifle and a large-capacity magazine is far more potent than a revolver, bolt-action rifle, or pump-action shotgun. A free citizen armed with an assault rifle is more formidable than a free citizen armed only with a pistol. A population armed with assault rifles is more formidable than a population armed with less lethal weapons. The argument is not that a collection of random citizens should be able to go head-to-head with the Third Cavalry Regiment. That’s absurd. Nor is the argument that citizens should possess weapons “in common use” in the military. Rather, for the Second Amendment to remain a meaningful check on state power, citizens must be able to possess the kinds and categories of weapons that can at least deter state overreach, that would make true authoritarianism too costly to attempt.”

David French, at National Review.

130 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    “…that would make true authoritarianism too costly to attempt.”
    Not to mention organized dupe violent assault, under the guise of protest.
    And lest we forget, riots are not protests.

  • Buford T. Justice

    Nor… citizens should possess weapons “in common use” in the military.

    That’s exactly what they ought to be able to possess. This argument that the 2nd amendment predates machine guns or whatever, therefore they shouldn’t be allowed, doesn’t hold water. The weapons people allow that the second amendment does permit were exactly the most dangerous things available at the time, and were the weapons of choice for the British army.

    How do people think George Washington’s boys got hold of all them muskets and cannons and such? They certainly weren’t allowed to have them.

    The second amendment is pretty clear: “…shall not be infringed.” Doesn’t say a word about what type of arms. In fact, if you wanted to split hairs you could say it’s only referring to the type of arms that a militia might use – in other words if anything should be illegal it’s pistols and hunting rifles.

    Anyway, point being, David French is a pussy. I want my Davy Crockett.

  • My very limited knowledge of the subject tells me that typical (respectable) 2nd amendment jurisprudence tends to look some mix of the following criteria when deciding if a given weapon falls under its protection for law-abiding citizens.

    – of a kind in common use among law-abiding people

    – part of ordinary military equipment today and/or useful and appropriate not just for military purposes, but also for law enforcement and individual self-defense

    – lineally descended from the kinds of weaponry known to the Founders

    – suitable for a single individual to keep and bear (i.e. use)

    – not impossible/improbable to use without also killing innocent bystanders

    The above exclude atom bombs and include assault rifles at first glance.

    Most of the critical ‘assault rifle ban’ commentary I’ve seen focusses rather on asserting the impracticality of defining ‘assault rifle’ in a meaningfully-bannable way. I have no reason to doubt these arguments, but do not claim the expertise to pronounce on them.

  • Aren’t people asking the wrong question here? As The Devil’s Kitchen pointed out a few days agoy, gun ownership hasn’t changed much recently, rather there has been a run of nutters going amok with them. Clearly, they were not fit to own any weapon – regardless of how automatic they are.

    Like DK, I don’t have any answers, but banning guns simply means that the state has them and we don’t – like here in the UK, for example.

  • bobby b

    “The argument is not that a collection of random citizens should be able to go head-to-head with the Third Cavalry Regiment. That’s absurd.”

    No one’s going to be trying to shoot down jets and tanks with Glock 9mm pistols. What the Second Amendment does for us is enable the waging of Fourth-Generation Warfare against the despot State.

  • Alisa

    I keep wondering about the assault part: if that word is used in its legal sense, then isn’t any weapon whatsoever can be used to commit an assault, including items that normally are not used as weapons? And if it is used in its wider non-legal sense, than isn’t it part of the very definition of a weapon?

  • Rob Fisher

    This is of course what the debate should be about. Here in the UK, at least, prominent people (such as Richard Dawkins) are claiming things such as that Republicans and Trump supporters only care about guns and fetuses and don’t care about dead schoolchildren. Which is a complete distortion of the whole point of the second amendment and is either just ignorance or else deliberate exploitation of tragedy for political aims.

  • Alisa

    is either just ignorance or else deliberate exploitation of tragedy for political aims

    Why not both?

  • bobby b

    Amongst gun people, an “assault weapon” must necessarily by able to fire continuously for as long as the trigger is pulled. This is called “automatic fire.”

    All AR-15s made and sold today are semi-automatic weapons, which means that if you pull the trigger and hold it down, you will fire one bullet only.

    Amongst non-gun people, an “assault weapon” is a weapon that looks scary and technical.

  • zenit

    bobby b
    February 22, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    No one’s going to be trying to shoot down jets and tanks with Glock 9mm pistols. What the Second Amendment does for us is enable the waging of Fourth-Generation Warfare against the despot State.

    Waging war? You talk about waging war?

    You would all agree that in recent history, freedom in the United States is going down, while numbers of guns are going up, up, up. And no one is fighting.

    Illegal wars of aggression around the world – not a shot fired by the “Second Amendment people”
    War on Drugs – ditto.
    Imprisonment and killing of American citizens without trial – ditto.
    Asset forfeiture laws – ditto.
    Illegal surveillance – ditto.
    “Plea bargaining” and 95% conviction rate in US courts – ditto.
    World’s highest imprisonment rate, institutionalized torture and rape in prisons – ditto.

    And when some people really fight the government, the “second amendment people” call them thugs, scream “Blue lives matter” and cheer the despot state.

    Your guns have nothing to do with freedom, they are collector objects and fashion statements, nothing more and nothing less.

  • Alisa

    Amongst non-gun people, an “assault weapon” is a weapon that looks scary and technical.

    Yep. Although I suspect the original thinking behind this term was ‘a weapon you don’t need’ (under the clear understanding that We know what you need better than you do).

  • zenit

    Moreover, an assault-weapon ban (along with a ban on high-capacity magazines) would gut the concept of an armed citizenry as a final, emergency bulwark against tyranny

    In Iraq of Saddam Hussein, a tyranny if the ever was one, gun ownership was nearly universal. Another beautiful theory shot down by ugly fact 😡

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2003/04/iraq_and_the_nra_reader_response.html

    https://www.quora.com/How-were-gun-laws-under-Saddam-Hussein-in-Iraq-Were-citizens-allowed-to-own-firearms-How-did-this-change-after-the-U-S-invasion-in-2003

  • pollo

    How do you stop mass shootings at schools? If banning the weapons that are used is not possible what are the alternatives that should be looked at?

  • Deep Lurker

    A bright-line rule would be that ordinary private persons should be able to buy and keep any weapon available to any uniformed law-enforcement or plainclothes civilian government agent. So any “gun control” law with exemptions for police or other civilian government agents should be rejected out of hand. And if the National Guard or the regular army gets used for law enforcement, they count as “uniformed law-enforcement” too – and their weapons become fair game for private ownership as well.

  • Alisa

    Zenit, no one is claiming that gun ownership is the only bulwark against tyranny, only that it is the last one. The US is not Iraq (although never say ‘never’).

  • the other rob

    Another beautiful theory shot down by ugly fact

    Except you’re comparing apples with oranges. The Middle East, aside from Israel, does not have an established tradition of democracy and civil rights.

    For an apples to apples comparison, you’d have to compare the USA with Europe, supporting the point in the OP and negating your attempt at refutation.

  • bobby b

    “Waging war? You talk about waging war?”

    zenit, some of your parade of horribles do truly exist, but in fact touch the lives of a very small number of Americans. Others in your list seem rather fanciful and confused. Overall, we seem to enact laws that overreact to perceived problems, and it takes us a while to right that ship, but we retain the means to do so, and sometimes the will.

    We remain one of the most free nations in the world. Your picture of us is wrong. We have a long way to go before we would ever need to use our weapons against the State. But if we did reach such a point, I have little doubt that we would use them.

  • Runcie Balspune

    An assault rifle is proper military terminology defined as a combat rifle with selective fire, i.e. it can be semi-automatic or fully automatic, as opposed to a semi-automatic rifle or self-loading rifle (single shot only) or a machinegun (automatic fire only).

    An assault weapon is a meaningless political term that can apply to whatever range of weapons you like.

    The term semi-automatic is also misused, as strictly speaking virtually all pistols are semi-automatic, although the terminology usually applies to how the firing pin is cocked and therefore excludes revolvers.

  • the other rob

    …and therefore excludes revolvers.

    Except for the Webley Fosbery and one other, the name of which escapes me.

  • bobby b

    “How do you stop mass shootings at schools? If banning the weapons that are used is not possible what are the alternatives that should be looked at?”

    Most school shootings happen in the very large suburban schools – schools with so many students that the damaged kids, the loners, the ones who are different and powerless, aren’t watched over sufficiently to keep them from being bullied and tormented by the various cliques and groups of kids who get off on such things.

    Most school shootings are in fact carried out by these damaged, bullied, tormented, often mentally ill kids, who eventually crack and seek their revenge.

    As a first move, I’d say we need to end factory schools of several thousand kids and get back to smaller, better-supervised student bodies so that the target kids get some protection and monitoring.

    As a second move, we need to change the school environment such that bullies get tossed. (I get a kick out of school kids protesting the shootings. If they policed themselves and stopped the bullies, most of the problem would be solved.)

    As a third move, we need to lock the school doors and put security in them. Heck, we protect Wal-Marts better than schools.

  • zenit


    pollo
    February 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    How do you stop mass shootings at schools? If banning the weapons that are used is not possible what are the alternatives that should be looked at?

    If second amendment is untouchable, then the first one needs to go.
    Total ban on publishing the names and pictures of mass shooters. Share the picture of the latest “hero” – go to prison for life like you were the shooter.

  • Mr Ed

    I’ve heard that the US has categories of weapons called a ‘destructive device‘ (Yes, I know) which includes high-calibre weapons, such as this wonderful Finnish Lahti L39 20mm rifle on the YT Forgotten Weapons channel. It was a 1930s concept overtaken by improvement in tank armour levels. This is my favourite picture of it, used in an AA role, with a man who is almost certainly not the shortest soldier of WW2, but he looks as if he is.

    Given that there is already legislation on destructive devices, is the 2A really that much honoured?

  • Alisa

    Runcie Balspune:

    An assault rifle is proper military terminology defined as a combat rifle with selective fire, i.e. it can be semi-automatic or fully automatic, as opposed to a semi-automatic rifle or self-loading rifle (single shot only) or a machinegun (automatic fire only).

    I’m just curious, is this the actual origin of the term?

  • zenit

    bobby b
    February 22, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    We remain one of the most free nations in the world. Your picture of us is wrong.

    The only freedom that United States have and other developed countries lack, is freedom of speech.
    If you say something unpopular and politicaly incorrect, you will be fired from your job, beaten by mob, disowned by your friends and family, but you will not be sent to prison.
    And this freedom have nothing to do with guns. It was won not by the guys with guns, but by the Communist Jews of ACLU, who got rid of the laws again blasphemy, obscenity, sacrilege, sedition and incitement. Thank them, not your rifle.


    We have a long way to go before we would ever need to use our weapons against the State. But if we did reach such a point, I have little doubt that we would use them.

    What exactly would the government have to do for you, you personally, pick your gun and start shooting?

  • pollo

    bobby b I’m sure these new schools would help in some cases but I don’t see where the money comes for that – any ideas? And would “tossing” the bullies make any difference? It’s not as if Adam Sanza was a pupil when me massacred those kids at Sandy Hook.

    And of course these new schools would only protect schools, granted that would be a start, but it wouldn’t stop something like the Las Vegas Strip shootings of last October.

  • Alisa

    There is no a catch-all or a silver-bullet solution to any of this. Murder is already illegal, and mass shootings happen in countries where private gun ownership is illegal or severely restricted as well.

  • bobby b

    “If you say something unpopular and politicaly incorrect, you will be fired from your job, beaten by mob, disowned by your friends and family, but you will not be sent to prison.”

    If this were true, I’d be long since dead.

    I’m not very PC.

    But you’re speaking about what my fellow citizens might try to do to me, not what the state might do. That’s a completely different argument.

  • Paul Marks

    The term “assault weapon” seems to mainly refer to the appearance of the rifle – what it looks like.

    One can either feel empathy for such a view (out of respect for suffering and so on) or feel utter contempt for the total lack of logical reasoning.

    As for the idea that any “Gun Control” would have stopped this young man in Florida – that is clearly absurd, he would have bought the weapon in illegally (as young criminals in Mexico do – which has a much higher murder rate than the United States, even in border towns the murder rate is much higher on the Gun Control Mexican side of town). In future people may “print off” weapons from the internet – presently such weapons are crude, but they will improve in time.

  • bobby b

    “I’m sure these new schools would help in some cases but I don’t see where the money comes for that – any ideas?”

    It’s a question of priorities. Here in Minnesota, we just held the Super Bowl. If I remember correctly, we spent somewhere close to $5,000,000 for security for this one day event. I’m sure we have a better chance of increasing security in existing schools than replacing the huge schools, but we’ve been naive about school security so far.

    And we also need to fix the education system so that kids can’t get away with the mistreatment of others that goes on now. No, Lanza wasn’t a student, but the Columbine kids were, and this last one was, and several in between were, and they were all outcasts and bullied. And Lanza would have been stopped, I think, with a simple metal detector at the door.

  • zenit

    Paul Marks
    February 22, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    As for the idea that any “Gun Control” would have stopped this young man in Florida – that is clearly absurd, he would have bought the weapon in illegally

    It could in theory have happened, but it just isn’t happening. Of the recent mass shooters in Europe, only Ali Sonboly got his gun on black market, all other were owned legally (or taken from family members).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Munich_shooting


    as young criminals in Mexico do

    Criminals, who have contacts among the mob, who know someone who knows someone, and have some money, because black market tends to be pricey.

    Mass shooters tend to be loners who know no one at all and usually are not very rich.

    Check this guy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik

    Breivik was smart and had lots of money. He tried for two years to buy guns on black market and utterly failed. Had to grit his teeth and get the weapons legally.

  • Ferox

    School shooters want notoriety.

    And our media deliver that notoriety to them, again and again and again. The Parkland shooting was followed, within a few hours, by stories on the major media outlets profiling the shooter and speculating as to his motives, thus guaranteeing that we will have yet another school shooter soon.

    If we really wanted to deter these lunatics, we would take one of two paths: (1) refuse to publish any information about the shooters at all, not even their names. No pictures. No speculation about causes. Nada. Give them not a single moment of notoriety.

    Or (and I prefer this option) (2) Publish nude photos of the shooters, with the intent of publicly ridiculing them. Distribute the photos widely, and make the media rights to the photos public domain, so that anyone can print them. Bonus points for closeups of their inadequate genitalia. Let the CNN analysts spend some time mocking that. Publish all the contents of their computers (all the gay furry porn, all the weird awkward emails, etc). Completely expose them to the most merciless public humiliation we can conjure. If one of them happens to not be a complete oddball deviant, make some stuff up. Remove all libel and slander protections for convicted school shooters, forever, and encourage media outlets to speculate about them in the most scurrilous way possible. Turn their memories into memes of scorn and ridicule.

    Instead, we get ctrl-left fascists using mass shootings as an opportunity to disarm their political opponents, media outlets using those shootings to sell ads, and a cycle which is self-perpetuating.

  • pollo

    Or (and I prefer this option) (2) Publish nude photos of the shooters…

    This is the kind of gold that keeps me coming back here. Amazing.

  • Sigivald

    that would make true authoritarianism too costly to attempt

    Yes.

    An armed populace is there to make the marginal cost of serious tyranny too high.

    Not to “fight the Army and win” (assuming we live in either a far-degraded world or a parallel universe where the Army would stand for being used to prop up such a regime), but to make it too expensive to try to use the Army like that, and to destroy its morale and command structure if the attempt is made, and to ensure that any sufficiently Hitlerian/Stalinesque politician cannot avoid the threat of the assassin.

    The point isn’t set-piece battles against a professional military, as some people imagine.

  • Thailover

    The fact is, no one need fear a law abiding citizen with an AR-15. (And no, AR does not mean assault rifle.) And those who ignore laws and the consequences thereof, (i.e.criminals) will not abide by gun laws to begin with. All bans accomplish is creating a monopoly for gun runners. And no one is talking about banning “hunting” semi-auto rifles, which are the same damn thing with a different “form factor”. “The Left” are simply virtue signalling to stupid people.

  • zenit


    Thailover
    February 22, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    All bans accomplish is creating a monopoly for gun runners.

    Anders Breivik with over $300k tried 2 years to find a gun runner who will sell him guns, and failed. Will some 19 years old loner with some pocket money succeed?

  • Runcie Balspune

    I’m just curious, is this the actual origin of the term?

    “Assault Rifle” is the literal translation of the “Sturmgewehr”, related to the original German Sturmgewehr 44 (or StG 44, or MP 44) which is considered one of the first operational commissioned weapons of it’s type, at the end of WW2, when the German Army identified the need for both traditional powerful rifles for long range combat and automatic weapons for close quarters fighting, thus combining them into one weapon. The AK-47 and M-16 are post-war examples that followed and set the stage for the standard infantry weapon of modern armies.

    and no, AR does not mean assault rifle

    Well, this can be a bit confusing, the original Armalite AR-15 was a selective fire rifle which later became the M-16, so it was a true Assault Rifle, by then Armalite was owned by Colt who continue use the AR-15 “brand” for modern civilian semi-automatic (only) rifles (that “look” like the original Armalite or M-16), it would be the “not an Assault Rifle” Colt AR-15 that is referred to nowadays.

  • bobby b

    FYI, just in case it isn’t clear, the “AR” in AR-15 stands for Armalite, not “assault rifle.”

    If someone wants a more exact definition of an “assault weapon”, look to the legislative acts that created the definition. Various “Assault Weapon ban” acts have existed since the late 1980’s. It’s a hodge-podge of definitions, and can include rifles, pistols, shotguns – it all depends on where you are.

  • the other rob

    It’s a hodge-podge of definitions, and can include rifles, pistols, shotguns – it all depends on where you are.

    And don’t forget “the thing that goes up”. 😀

  • Alisa

    Thanks Runcie, live and learn.

    Bobby, that’s what I meant by ‘something you don’t need’ – the definition can be endlessly fluid.

  • Jon

    It seems to me that this is a topic on which libertarians take a principled approach which is at odds with common sense, or at least those with a pragmatic approach to life.

    In this thread, we have assertions that guns are the final defence against a tyrannical government. One commenter has pointed out that this didn’t protect armed to the teeth Iraqis. And even a fully automatic assault weapon (with whatever semantic definition) doesn’t protect you much against a cruise missile. So either you’re going to need to offer stealth bombers to the citizenry or the second amendment ship has sailed (at least insofar as it functions as a realistic bulwark against state tyranny). We also have assertions that Americans are protected more from tyranny by the tradition of democracy, which I would suggest most people would agree with. Given that most citizens can’t afford the kind of weaponry to provide a realistic bulwark against tyranny by the federal government (indeed, there aren’t really any governments globally that can, either, America could more or less conquer the world without much trouble aside from Russian nukes) you may as well arm the citizenry with pea shooters for all the good it would do.

    Additionally, in a liberal democracy, rights and responsibilities are very often a trade off. St Paul made sort of this point in (I think) his letter to the Corinthians so it’s not new. Which is more important, your right to bear an assault weapon and face minimal inconvenience in acquiring it (regardless of your mental faculties and or state, as if wanting the thing isn’t a pretty good warning flag) or the right of your kids not to have to (best case scenario) face the harrowing practise of enacting drills for mass shootings (and you to keep your fingers crossed they never see one)?

    Finally, wars fought for land and/or resources are increasingly futile when human capital (and indeed capital) is far more valuable but also flightier. What’s the point in conquering a people when you can just accept all its PHDs as citizens fleeing their own kleptocracy?

    If the best bulwark against tyranny is actually Americans institutions, and if the federal government prosecuting a war against its people would be financially futile anyway, and if all the assault rifles in the world wouldn’t prevent tyranny, doesn’t it make sense to get rid of the bloody things?

  • bobby b (February 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm), school shooters of this kind are not the result of bullying. If they were, we would not see killing sprees, we would see specific killings of one or a few pupils, known by all in the school to be members of a gang and bad news. When a school shooter’s method is to seek to kill all in a classroom and then all in the next classroom, they are not responding to specific bullies. It may be that in the latest case, or in some other specific case, something will emerge about the chosen victims (but first there would have to be evidence they were ‘chosen’ at all), some specific interaction with the shooter in the past, but I doubt it. In general, such spree shooters seem not very interested in who the specific victims are, just that there are many.

    Obviously, the perpetrator in this case did all sorts of stuff previously at the school (kicking doors open, throwing stuff, threatening, etc.), that would bring him into confrontation with fellow pupils. It may well be those in any gangs the school had would be among those who chose to resist, and some of them might not need much prompting from his behaviour to do the sort of stuff they in any case did. But that he was quite some bully himself, and gave the rest every reason to resist, to plot ways to “get him back” or “shut him up” and/or to look away if others did, seems a very basic aspect of the situation. Bullying, created by his own behaviour or not, can figure in the situation but was not bullying, just like guns, common enough in schools in the old days?

    Just as I see restricting the 1st or 2nd amendments as positively counterproductive, so I do not see giving victim status to the perpetrator to be anything but harmful. Smaller schools, more local governance – all these ideas you also suggest are indeed good, but surely having more involved and empowered governing-board parents in smaller schools would mean less bureaucratically-driven PC-ness – and therefore more likelihood of arrest (less of the “His name is Cruz, we have to keep our school minority arrest figures down”) or expulsion (“So what if the Feds think his need for an education outweighs the others’ need for an education that his wildness interrupts – thanks to the changes, we decide”), etc. Quite apart from whether such ideas are better or worse or ‘it depends on the individual case’, that is the way smaller and more locally-governed would go, if the devolution of power were real.

  • mickc

    Jon,
    Indeed let’s get rid of them…so long as the state’s non military agents also do….

  • Jon — if all the assault rifles in the world wouldn’t prevent tyranny, doesn’t it make sense to get rid of the bloody things?

    Almost no US citizens own assault rifles. The rules and fees and prices are too fierce. Assault rifles belong to the military.

    Hunting rifles, that’s different. Some of them have wood stocks. Some of them have black stocks with doo-dads. Except for looks, an AR-15 isn’t all that different from a hunting rifle with a polished walnut stock.

    The difference is in the definition. An assault rifle has been thoroughly defined by the military, and they are barely available to citizens. An assault weapon is something that looks scary. In preventing tyranny, the military is simply not the same as the citizenry. To get rid of assault rifles, you must address your concerns to the militaries of the world. They will laugh at you.

  • Alisa

    Niall, I suspect your profile of a school mass shooter is just as overgeneralized as Bobby’s.

  • bobby b

    Niall Kilmartin February 22, 2018 at 7:45 pm – Strongly disagree, Niall. You can argue that shooters rarely go into schools and search out and target their own specific bullies, but that ignores one of the main consequences of disaffection – kids that are bullied and tormented because of their social ineptness or mental health or just differences from most other kids end up resenting and hating not just the bullies, but all of the kids who failed to help them and all of the kids who don’t share in their pain, which really works out to all of the kids. They’re not going into Walmart or crowded parks or anywhere else – they’re going where they can find the people whom they have learned to hate and resent.

    I’m not including the shooters who are just plain schizophrenic or otherwise seriously mentally ill in this, of course. They need no such motivation – the voices are enough.

  • Jon

    Sorry, I think you’ve missed my point, Ellen. The semantics of what is and isn’t an assault rifle are not material to the underlying ethics of possession of the kind of weapons used in school shootings. My point was that it could be whatever style/ capability of weapon but the military would laugh (as you correctly put it). So why bother with any of them?

  • morsjon

    The point remains that these shootings are incredibly rare, and the chance of a school child dying in such an incident is extremely small. I read somewhere that the number of deaths from school shootings average about 30 per year. There must be millions of high school children. This alone means that it is not something the government should do something about. Indeed, the only strong argument for doing something about it is to prevent the left from using these occasions to push for gun control. Coldhearted? Maybe, but policy should be facts based.

  • bobby b

    “So why bother with any of them?”

    No one seriously thinks that the sorts of weapons allowed through the Second Amendment would be used to fight a frontal war with our armed forces.

    Look in the comments above for a link that reads “Fourth Generation Warfare”. It’s a more modern and techie version of insurgency, essentially, and that is where the value of carryable weapons comes in.

    You don’t confront and fight the military. You make life nasty and brutish and short for the people who have decided to use government to do away with your rights and liberty. It is the viable threat of such an experience that may serve to dissuade partisan government types from doing what they really want to do.

  • Alisa

    Just saw this. Ignore the characteristically overwrought rhetoric, and focus on the data.

  • staghounds

    Pollo, we start with terms- we’re not trying to stop school shootINGS, but trying to stop school shootERS.

    And the first step is to not give them what they want, which is what they get- fame.

    Next is to train students RHF- Run, Hide, Fight.

    Third, put people who can kill shooters in the schools- either special ones, arm and train some who are there anyway, or both.

  • Alisa

    I am far from sure that all these shooters necessarily seek fame – maybe some do and others less so. Plus, I think that the public does need to know who they are – see the link above.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    As the Declaration of Independence put it: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.

    That’s a self-evidently meaningless assertion – unless the ‘People’ are possessed of the means to enforce their ‘right to alter or to abolish’ against a firmly entrenched destructive government that has nobbled the normal (i.e. electoral) channels through which change is effected.

    Ultima ratio regum? Ultima ratio civium!

  • Jon, I didn’t miss your point. I sneered at it.

    You want to take away all the weapons used in school shootings? How are you going to do it? And what will happen if you do? Even your plans are imperfect; it’ll be near-impossible to get them all. The uncooperative people will manage to keep theirs, and they are just the ones you don’t want to have them.

    No school is without bullies. They’ll twist your arm and beat you with their fists. They’ll bring knives to school. They’ll bring pointy sticks, and rocks in socks. Dump the hammers, and the saws, and the chisels, and all the dangerous tools in the workshop. Get rid of peanuts — allergic kids die from peanuts. Put governors in all the cars so they can’t go over thirty miles an hour. If you’re being extra cautious, make it thirty kilometers an hour. You know perfectly well if the grand scheme doesn’t work, politicians and ideologues will double down on it.

    Far too many people want to take away anything dangerous – but it’s people that are dangerous. You can confiscate this’n’that. If you have the powers of a God, you can even do it successfully. But if you confiscate everything dangerous, you’ll be coddling humanity in cotton batting. And when the world, red in tooth and claw, comes to pay a visit — nobody will have the faintest idea of what to do.

    This is called evolution in action. If we made everything totally safe, we’d flunk the test. Go read Kipling’s The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    We banned guns in Singapore. It’s very safe here.

    The problem is that it takes a lot of conditions to get to this point. Fail any single one of these conditions, and you get a worse situation than a gun-regulated (not control, mind you) zone.

    Fist, you need a pliable population that’s relatively self-controlled. Whites and asians generally. Africans have some problems here – see Africa, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit (hey, that’s ABCD!)

    Next, you need harsh punitive measures. In Singapore, it’s the death penalty. I can tell you it works great. Liberals in the US will moan and cry abut civil rights and so on, but hey, they live in a fantasy world where they think a few months of rehab will be effective in dissuading would-be criminals from getting guns, so who cares about their opinions?

    Third, the law must apply equally. No squirming, especially when a majority of the punishment happens to fall upon a significant minority. I can already foresee ‘disparate impact’ lawsuits when many of those convicted happen to be black.

    Fourth, law enforcement needs to be effective. I think the police in the US has yet to recover from their fetal position after Ferguson, as evidenced by the rising gun homicides in BCD (Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit). And after all, if the liberals and Dems cannot even curb illegal gun possession in cities they have ruled for more than 50 years, what makes them think they can do so on a nationwide scale? Fairy dust?

    So yeah, liberals and Dems. Please do continue to scream long and loud about gun control. Just be sure to show some evidence that you can control your own cities before you try it on others.

  • Eric

    How do you stop mass shootings at schools? If banning the weapons that are used is not possible what are the alternatives that should be looked at?

    From a statistical point of view, your odds of being killed by a long gun in the US are zero. As far as I’m concerned, the minuscule chance that some nutter will shoot me in this kind of incident is a price of freedom I’ll gladly pay.

    By the way, the largest mass school killing in US history didn’t involve guns at all.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Zerren,

    As the Declaration of Independence put it: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.

    That’s a self-evidently meaningless assertion – unless the ‘People’ are possessed of the means to enforce their ‘right to alter or to abolish’ against a firmly entrenched destructive government that has nobbled the normal (i.e. electoral) channels through which change is effected.

    What you don’t realize is that libertarians, constitutional conservatives, old whigs, anarchists, minarchists, Objectivists disagree about many things but AGREE that rights do not have anything to do with reality. Facts about the real world have no bearing on what rights people have according to these people.

    So yeah. You’re right but the fact that you are right has no bearing whatsoever on the religious beliefs of these people.

    I mean, if writing that people have the right to rebel when the form of government becomes destructive of those ends actually gave people the right to rebel when the government became destructive then the government would never become destructive in the first place because writing down the protected freedoms of the people would, ya know, work in the first place! Of course it doesn’t work and that’s why the American people ought to rebel now but cannot rebel. The second amendment will within the next 50 years no longer exist in the USA whether de jure or de facto.

    Politics swims one way in democracy and that way is leftwards because democracy institutionalizes support for factions, movements, and groups insofar as they are destructive to social order, break taboos, erode social trust, and invert hierarchy. Hence we have 17 year old children that CNN puts on national TV to lecture Americans – active duty cops, war veterans, professional historians, constitutional scholars, Fortune 500 CEOs, top flight lawyers, and teachers that guns ought to be banned and that it is outrageous that we do not take these 17 year olds who do not have the right to drink alcohol seriously. CNN is making democracy work.

    As I said a few years ago, the government America is going to get in the coming decades will make President Barack Obama look like Ronald Reagan by comparison.

    Democracy is blooming. Enjoy its fruits.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    How do you stop mass shootings at schools? If banning the weapons that are used is not possible what are the alternatives that should be looked at?

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/02/22/shooting_survivor_colton_haab_cnn_gave_me_scripted_question_after_denying_question_about_armed_guards.html

    CNN gives kid who survived the FL school shooting a scripted question instead of his idea of having armed guards at schools. He stays home instead of being on national television.

    An armed society is a polite society. But to be armed a society must be free and society is made less free insofar as society is democratic. Thus it actually makes sense that America was a more polite culture when only white male property owners could vote. Don’t get me wrong, though. I don’t think anyone should be able to vote. Obviously.

    Anyway, armed guards works for banks, vaults, museums, art galleries, rich people’s estates but let me tell you something. A solution to the problem is not what CNN or the mainstream media is looking for. The mainstream media, as part of the Progressive Establishment (academia, courts, Hollywood, federal civil service, and media) is looking to take your right to own a gun away from you. Why? Because there is power in making people reliant on the government, because virtue signaling fashionable opinions is a cardinal attribute of social status in secular Progressive democratic nations, because individual rights contribute to forming a cohesive, durable, orderly fabric and in democracy movements, factions and groups are rewarded insofar as they degrade order, erode social trust, and make people less independent, because in modern democracies there is no good thing as good as progresss and there is no progress like denying the past history of gun ownership

    Democracy is blooming. Enjoy its fruits.

  • zenit

    Eric
    February 23, 2018 at 3:56 am

    As far as I’m concerned, the minuscule chance that some nutter will shoot me in this kind of incident is a price of freedom I’ll gladly pay.

    Sure, all the killings are price of freedom. Broken egs, omelettes, etc.
    Well, I see lots of broken eggs, but no omelet. Where exactly is the freedom your guns give you?


    Ellen
    February 22, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    You want to take away all the weapons used in school shootings? How are you going to do it? And what will happen if you do? Even your plans are imperfect; it’ll be near-impossible to get them all. The uncooperative people will manage to keep theirs, and they are just the ones you don’t want to have them.

    Very simple.
    The Supreme Court rules that “well regulated militia” means what it says.
    Federal and state govts pass anti gun laws.
    9,999 of 10,000 of gun owners hand over their guns.
    1 in 10,000 will bury their guns and tell absolutely no one where they are. When they die, the guns just stay buried.
    Mission accomplished.

    Remember Katarina?
    In 2005, after the hurricane, all the fears of NRA came true. The government goons actually went from house to house and took away guns. 100% illegally, 100% unconstitionally. And 100% of gun owners complied, no one fired back.
    Because all the “cold dead hands” Rambo bullshit is just … bullshit.


    And when the world, red in tooth and claw, comes to pay a visit — nobody will have the faintest idea of what to do.

    This is called evolution in action. If we made everything totally safe, we’d flunk the test. Go read Kipling’s The Gods of the Copybook Headings.

    This is good idea, life of perpetual fear makes people tough.
    Let’s make YOUR life tougher. Just ban guns and let you live in fear, every day that someone saw you hiding your gun and called the cops. Let you fear every night that SWAT team, red in tooth and claw, comes without knocking.
    Will make you amazingly strong.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    And we also need to fix the education system so that kids can’t get away with the mistreatment of others that goes on now. No, Lanza wasn’t a student, but the Columbine kids were, and this last one was, and several in between were, and they were all outcasts and bullied. And Lanza would have been stopped, I think, with a simple metal detector at the door.

    Wait so kids bullying each other is a modern thing? When did bullying come around? The 1990s? 1950s? 1800s? I’ve never heard this before.

    I think that kids these days have no self worth. They value themselves based on how their peers think of them. So if their peers treat them like shit then they feel like they are worthless. Sometimes – rarely, but sometimes – they do horrible things as a result. Bullying is not new. Bullying is endemic to human nature. What is new is that people (both kids and adults) don’t know how to deal with bullying. Hence school shootings, safe spaces, microagresions, sensitivity training, hate speech, etc.

    Also the overmedication of kids and people in general may have more than a little bit to do with school shootings too.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/one-6-americans-take-antidepressants-other-psychiatric-drugs-n695141

    If kids stopped bullying each other then that would be a real reason to start worrying, in my opinion.

  • Eric

    Sure, all the killings are price of freedom. Broken egs, omelettes, etc.
    Well, I see lots of broken eggs, but no omelet. Where exactly is the freedom your guns give you?

    Self defense. Or do you believe only the young and skilled, or people who can afford to pay for protection, have a right to self defense?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    And after all, if the liberals and Dems cannot even curb illegal gun possession in cities they have ruled for more than 50 years, what makes them think they can do so on a nationwide scale? Fairy dust?

    Ah, you think that liberals want to curb illegal gun possession in cities they have ruled for more than 50 years? hahaha

    Anyway, even assuming that they REALLY have wanted to do so (a pretty big if that I don’t accept) what makes it different is that those, um, who don’t live in “inner cities” tend to comply with the law more often than those who do. Not all. But most people who do not live in urban centers tend to be upstanding people most of the time. If you make guns illegal a lot of rural, suburban folks will turn them in, especially for money. Gangs in “inner cities” won’t turn in their guns because they have a greater need to defend themselves than people who live out in the middle of nowhere, USA and because they tend to, um, not give a f*ck what the law says anyway.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Moreover, an assault-weapon ban (along with a ban on high-capacity magazines) would gut the concept of an armed citizenry as a final, emergency bulwark against tyranny

    In Iraq of Saddam Hussein, a tyranny if the ever was one, gun ownership was nearly universal. Another beautiful theory shot down by ugly fact

    Zenit is dishing out red pills like a boss.

    He’s crushing this thread.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    You would all agree that in recent history, freedom in the United States is going down, while numbers of guns are going up, up, up. And no one is fighting.

    Illegal wars of aggression around the world – not a shot fired by the “Second Amendment people”
    War on Drugs – ditto.
    Imprisonment and killing of American citizens without trial – ditto.
    Asset forfeiture laws – ditto.
    Illegal surveillance – ditto.
    “Plea bargaining” and 95% conviction rate in US courts – ditto.
    World’s highest imprisonment rate, institutionalized torture and rape in prisons – ditto.

    And when some people really fight the government, the “second amendment people” call them thugs, scream “Blue lives matter” and cheer the despot state.

    Your guns have nothing to do with freedom, they are collector objects and fashion statements, nothing more and nothing less.

    I’d add that little TWENTY TRILLING DOLLARS OF DEBT thing, TSA systematically groping, stripping, manhandling, abusing young boys, young girls, elderly, disabled, pregnant women, all Americans at airports everyday by the thousands, the unfathomable quantity and staggering complexity of ever-burgeoning laws and regulations that not even top flight lawyers can always understand, a tax regime so complex that accountants are hired by millionaires to save massive sums of money in taxes that the merely well-off cannot afford so they cannot enjoy the loopholes, the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, pot is illegal, taxes are orders of magnitude more complex, oppressive than King George ever dreamed of.

    Americans have the guns to rebel. Americans have the right to rebel according to libertarians and constitutional conservatives. Americans have the reasons to rebel.

    But Americans do not have what they used to have and that is that they are not worthy of liberty. They do not deserve it.

    As a man by the name of Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said:

    I sense the difficulty of the project of freeing your common people. I am afraid not merely of the badly understood self-interest, the self-conceit, and the prejudices of the masters; if these were surmounted, I should also fear the vices and the cowardice of the serfs. Liberty is a food easy to eat, but hard to digest; it takes very strong stomachs to stand it. I laugh at those debased peoples who, allowing themselves to be stirred up by rebels, dare to speak of liberty without having the slightest idea of its meaning, and who, with their hearts full of all the servile vices, imagine that, in order to be free, it is enough to be insubordinate.

    before everything else, to make the serfs who are to be freed worthy of liberty and capable of enduring it

    The irony is that libertarians are right – everyone has the right to rebel. But this right is not earned by writing it down. It is earned by the threat, ability to exercise it. The Progressive Left has long ago called Americans’ bluff because they know that Americans are not worthy of liberty; there will never be a glorious Revolution in this country ever again. But disorder – that will come. Perhaps before the twenty trillion dollars in debt is liquidated but certainly not later than that because printing that payment will bring mayhem and bloodshed to American cities on such a scale that it will turn the world upside down.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Sure, all the killings are price of freedom. Broken egs, omelettes, etc.
    Well, I see lots of broken eggs, but no omelet. Where exactly is the freedom your guns give you?

    Self defense. Or do you believe only the young and skilled, or people who can afford to pay for protection, have a right to self defense?

    Eric even if the government banned all guns you would still have a God-given right to defend yourself. Nobody can take your rights away. But your guns? Those can be taken away from you.

    Your freedom to defend yourself does not mean you can own a tank but it does mean you can own a knife. What about in between? Ah, a gray area. Looks like the Left is going to fill that gray area in with a big tub of black ink called “In Democracy The Government Gets Bigger & Stronger and Individual Liberty Gets Smaller & Weaker”. Buy your ammo now!

  • Shlomo Maistre

    So yeah, liberals and Dems. Please do continue to scream long and loud about gun control. Just be sure to show some evidence that you can control your own cities before you try it on others.

    This is like reasoning with an Islamic terrorist. Liberals and Democrats aren’t going to consider reason, logic, facts in examining their own religious beliefs about how the world should be – and they think that people should not have the right to own firearms. This is because they are Liberals and Democrats.

    You even bringing evidence, facts, reason to what is an emotional debate just shows that you don’t even know that you have lost the argument before you even opened your mouth – because you don’t understand what the argument is about.

    Americans are listening to the 17 year old child in a tie on CNN telling the world that it is outrageous that his opinions are not valued just because he, ya know, can’t drink, drive, serve in the military, has never had a full-time job, has never been to college, still lives in his mother’s basement, has never experienced the real world, has mediocre intelligence (at best) and has no particular scholarly expertise about the impact of gun laws on shootings. Americans are listening to HIM AND NOT YOU. Americans are not listening to you because what you say brings them no feelings. They can’t do what you suggest and feel good about it. Americans are listening to him because he survived a school shooting and therefore he is able to make Americans feel badly for him and take your guns away from you as a result. They will do this and they will feel good about doing this.

    You are bringing facts to a debate that is about emotion. Wake the fuck up.

  • Eric

    Eric even if the government banned all guns you would still have a God-given right to defend yourself.

    Sure, sure. I can pit my fat, aged body against some young thug.

    That’s self defense, I guess, of a sort.

  • Runcie Balspune

    In Iraq of Saddam Hussein, a tyranny if the ever was one, gun ownership was nearly universal. Another beautiful theory shot down by ugly fact

    Wrong argument, were guns freely available _before_ Hussein’s Ba’ath party overthrew the government? In any case that was an Army coup, not a situation likely in America.

    Besides, if you read through the facts, Hussein “allowed” citizens to have weapons, apart from those who might oppose him (Kurds, Shi’ites, etc), that is not a Second Amendment situation.

  • Runcie Balspune

    but it does mean you can own a knife

    Sure, here in old blighty you can _own_ a knife, and it stays in the kitchen drawer, otherwise you get up to four years in prison if you get caught carrying one around (without good reason).

  • Alisa

    Quote: The Broward County Sheriff’s Office(BSO) didn’t “miss warning signs” or make “mistakes” in not writing up reports. The Sheriff’s office did exactly what their internal policies, procedures and official training required them to do, they intentionally ignored the signs, and intentionally didn’t generate documents.

  • Zenit’s argument that guns were common in tyrannies such as Saddam’s Iraq is misconceived. Hitler’s Germany was awash with weapons but the state controlled who had them. Even before Hitler came to power, a government programme (to make people ‘safer’, of course) had eliminated (as far as it could) private ownership of guns, and had indeed ensured that Jewish communities, for example, were almost wholly without arms. The same is true of Stalin’s Russia, Saddam’s Iraq, etc. In the years when Mao’s communists and Chiang’s nationalists divided China, it was well known that you could always tell a communist-controlled area by the fact that you could hear wolves howling. In nationalist areas, the peasants were allowed guns to defend their herds against wolves. The communists always took all the weapons they could find from the peasants, which was good news for the wolves.

    The question is not whether arms are plentiful but whether citizens have a right to them or whether they are a privilege, bestowed by the state upon its servants and denied by the state to its intended victims. There is also the matter of free speech, freedom of association et al. If the government can go from selected target to selected target, disarming them (or more) without anyone being able to report it, let alone organise to campaign against it, then indeed arms alone matter less: “Ten men acting together can make a hundred thousand tremble apart.”

  • The Austrian

    One issue here is the ‘ideal’ historic libertarian State which one has in mind. As a British libertarian, mine would be something like industrialised Western Europe and the eastern US of 1860 to 1910 – low taxes and regulation, job and business opportunities everywhere, easy movement of labour and capital, and rapid technological progress. Having weapons just isn’t in the picture. But I am sure for North Americans the western frontier of this era (and before) is the ideal they have in mind, and being armed was critical to protecting your property. There are two different strands of libertarian thought here – one is industrialised specialisation and interdependence, and the other is agricultural, homestead self-reliance. People in (metropolitan) Europe have no understanding of the attachment of so many in the US to their guns, me included.

    But please spare us the cant about bearing arms as a potential last stand to defend against tyrannical government. If anything the number of guns in circulation will speed US decline from freedom. Extreme division within a nation and a sense of emergency is what allows the State to assume militarised power, via a gradual increase in control by the executive, e.g. a ‘strong man’. Read your Hayek. What would justify troops on the streets of the US, and the State control of the media, food, utilities, etc? The very armed insurrection by disparate militia groups that you are threatening! If half of Germany in 1933 had been armed with rifles, would that have stopped Hitler being elected Chancellor? Or half of Russia in 1917? Of course not.

  • Runcie Balspune

    If half of Germany in 1933 had been armed with rifles, would that have stopped Hitler being elected Chancellor?

    I think it would, before the war there were many attempts on his life (with bombs) and the KPD Communists would have been all too willing if they’d had the means, although that would have been “meet the new boss same as the old boss”. Even during the war, consider General Franz Halder who planned a coup because he thought the war plans would collapse Germany.

    Disarming the German public was actually a consequence of the Treaty of Versailles.

  • morsjon

    What would justify troops on the streets of the US, and the State control of the media, food, utilities, etc? The very armed insurrection by disparate militia groups that you are threatening!

    First amendment version: “Why do you think they are cracking down on speech!? Just stop offending people!”

  • Ian Bennett

    But this right is not earned by writing it down. It is earned by the threat, ability to exercise it.

    Rights, in my view, are neither invented by the would-be holders nor awarded by Government; they derive, a priori, from the nature of man himself. For them to be of any value, however, Government must recognise and uphold them, and that, it seems to me, was the function of the Constitution; it sought to establish a Government on the basis of that principle, assuming that Government would keep its side of the bargain. That has ceased to be the case.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    You don’t confront and fight the military. You make life nasty and brutish and short for the people who have decided to use government to do away with your rights and liberty. It is the viable threat of such an experience that may serve to dissuade partisan government types from doing what they really want to do.

    And that is the case for owning firearms.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    What is new is that people (both kids and adults) don’t know how to deal with bullying. Hence school shootings, safe spaces, microagresions, sensitivity training, hate speech, etc. Also the overmedication of kids and people in general

    Shlomo, agreed!

  • Richard W

    In the darkest hours of WWII, thousands of privately own American guns were collected and sent to Britain to “Defend a British home”. After the war, the British collected and destroyed these gifts from the private Americans.
    Perhaps someday I might need a gun and I don’t want my government taking them from me now.

  • The Austrian

    @Runcie Balspune
    Fine, but the people of Germany in the 30s and Russia in ’17/’18 wanted a strong man in charge. The slide to tyranny had well and truly begun, and whether citizens had handguns or not, or one leader was assassinated, was not going to stop that – in fact the battles on the streets in Germany between brownshirts and Reds (as well as hyperinflation, a failing govt etc) propelled the thirst for ‘order’.

    The desire to own guns in the US has lots of reasons, and as I say I don’t really understand them. For many people I expect there is a deep belief in self-reliance, so if bad guys attack my home and family the gun owner has a means of defence – in which case make a serious effort to get the guns out of the bad guys hands and end that arms race. But pretending an armed citizenry stands against tyranny and thus all libertarians must oppose gun control is BS. As others have commented here, at what point in the slow loss of liberty by a thousand cuts are these self-appointed militias meant to rise up in credible fashion against the police, FBI, USAF and Army? It’s just never going to happen, and in the meantime the availability of guns to law-abiding citizens also makes them available to nutters and criminals, and leads to unbelievable suffering.

  • Alisa

    and in the meantime the availability of guns to law-abiding citizens also makes them available to nutters and criminals, and leads to unbelievable suffering.

    Only problem is their availability to nutters and criminals is in no way connected to their legality.

  • bobby b

    “As others have commented here, at what point in the slow loss of liberty by a thousand cuts are these self-appointed militias meant to rise up in credible fashion against the police, FBI, USAF and Army?”

    I think you’re being somewhat overwrought. You’re characterizing the USA as being something other than a free country right now, and I think you’re simply giving in to hysterical press accounts that sell product, or you’re pushing an agenda.

    We have a few challenges that we’re working on through the democratic process – sadly, almost half of our voters seem to want to empower government and limit liberties even more – but the picture you draw is incompatible with a country that needs to build walls on its borders to keep people out.

    So if your point is, we haven’t risen up yet so we obviously never will, it’s laughable.

    As to your point about small arms versus military might, it’s been addressed above several times. It’s a canard.

  • The Austrian

    @Alisa
    You’re simply incorrect. In the UK guns are tightly controlled – shotguns for farmers and hobbyists, almost impossible to own if you have a criminal record, and with an annual inspection of where the guns are kept under lock and key. Gun murders are under 1 per million population per year– something like 26 in 2016. The US is six times larger in population, but with 160 times the number of gun murders.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/06/16/gun-violence-united-kingdom-united-states/85994716/

    The evidence is clear and obvious – if it’s hard to get hold of guns, there are fewer gun deaths.

    @bobbyb
    Hardly overwrought, just stating the obvious – there is no point at which militias of US citizens could stand against the organised forces of the US state, so that is a terrible argument for allowing guns to proliferate. I agree with you, the US is still a beacon of freedom and prosperity, but mass ownership of guns is not necessary for that to continue. The argument for a free society is undermined by the characterisation that this requires people to be armed and ready to kill. What nations want to emulate that?

  • bobby b

    ” . . . there is no point at which militias of US citizens could stand against the organised forces of the US state . . . “

    I agree. Similarly, there is no point at which militias of Afghanistan citizens could stand against the organized forces of the US or Russian state. But have those Afghan militias affected the course of their country?

    Had the North Vietnamese come at the ARVN and USA forces frontally, the war would have been over in weeks. But they didn’t, and they won.

  • The evidence is clear and obvious – if it’s hard to get hold of guns, there are fewer gun deaths.

    Not really, it’s just not that simple, and yet again, I find myself pointing out the difference between correlation and causation. Indeed, it reminds me of the NHS debate: please stop comparing just the USA and UK. There are countries with low firearms ownership with higher murder rates, and countries with far higher high gun ownership rates than the UK with lower or comparable murder rates (Czech Republic comes to mind).

    there is no point at which militias of US citizens could stand against the organised forces of the US state

    Yet strangely militias of Afghan citizens seem to have made a pretty good fist of doing precisely that, and moreover, I think ordering US soldiers to fire on Afghans is a somewhat easier sell to the average G.I. 😉

  • The Austrian (February 23, 2018 at 5:57 pm), in 1914 in the UK, a boy of 11 could walk into a bike shop unaccompanied and quite legally buy a saloon rifle for seven shillings and sixpence (as, for example, the young Eric Blair – George Orwell – did). Natalie owns a 1920s-printed book in which an uncle advises his young nephew on shooting as a sport (as a literary medium for advising young people entering the sport generally). The uncle explains in one chapter how to go to the shop, buy his rifles, etc.. There is no suggestion the uncle need accompany him, or that there will be a ton of administrative checks. Thus the evidence is not as

    clear and obvious

    as you suggest. The UK has always been a land of low crime relative to some countries. It was so when guns were easy to acquire and it became less so as they became harder to acquire. As Perry remarked recently in another thread (and also in this thread after I’d posted this but before my 5 minutes correction time had run out 🙂 ), correlation does not prove causation – but neither is it clear and obvious proof of its opposite.

  • Laird

    “Overwrought” is precisely the right word, and bobby b is correct: any resistance to governmental tyranny wouldn’t take the form of a frontal attack against the US military (and, by the way, that presumes that the military would actually obey an order to attack the civilian populace, which I view as highly unlikely), but rather a “fourth-generation warfare” style of widespread and decentralized insurgency. He notes several obvious instances where that style of warfare has succeeded, and I would add that our own revolution largely followed the same path. At the time everyone “knew” that a relative handful of irregulars and poorly-trained and -equipped troops couldn’t stand up to the mightiest army on the planet, but somehow it prevailed anyway. A well-armed populace could very well stand up to the federal government if it had the will to do so.

    And therein lies the issue: Have we become so inured to a massively invasive and increasingly heavy-handed federal government that no amount of provocation would drive a significant enough number of us into active rebellion? Is there an event which could push us over the line? Do we have any refreshment left for Jefferson’s tree of liberty? Or has the temperature in the pot been raised slowly enough but high enough that the frog is truly cooked? I don’t know, but I fear that could be the case.

    It has been reported that only about one-third of the American colonists supported the revolution, and only about 3% actually participated in it. Do we really have 3% today who would do so? I truly don’t know. And even if we do, would another 10 or 20 years of progressive governmental expansion eliminate whatever residue of patriots now remains? I have no answer, but I fear for our future. And if the facile arguments of such as The Austrian and zenit gain currency we are well and truly lost.

  • Eric

    To add to Perry’s point: In the early 20th century gun laws in NYC and London were substantially similar. And the murder rate in NYC was much higher than that of London. There’s a lot more to this than just the availability of firearms.

  • Saddam was a tyrant. But Iraq was not an awful place to live at times during his reign. Would the Kurds still exist if the cost of exterminating for Iraq and Turkey had not been increased by gun ownership? Iraq is a poor choice for gun control I think.

    Two points that could be sensible

    Age. Why can you drink booze later than you can own a gun? Gun ownership is an adult responsibility…

    If anyone was serious about gun control, ammo is the place to star. Not guns themselves. Professionals study logistics, amateurs study tactics or strategy…… The democrats want to virtue signal far more than they want your guns. Yet.

  • the other rob

    PdH is exactly right at 7:24 pm, with one caveat. He, as do most commenters here, falls into the trap of conceding that comparing the “murder rates” of different countries is a thing. It isn’t.

    The UK records murders, defined by a very specific set of criteria. The USA records homicides, defined by a very different set of criteria. I have no idea what the Czech Republic records, not having studied their system.

    There exists a large set of manners of death that would be recorded as homicide in the USA but which would not be recorded as murder in the UK. This is called the congruity problem. There is abundant literature on this, for those who care to look.

    I raise this, not out of academic pedantry but because it is an example of how our enemies have so successfully shaped the metacontext that even the man who introduced me to the concept of the metacontext appears not to have noticed.

    They have been doing this for a long time and are both very persistent and, occasionally, good at it. This is an example of the former, which I fear that we (with the honourable exception of the PMO) might have underestimated while focusing on the latter.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I think you’re being somewhat overwrought. You’re characterizing the USA as being something other than a free country right now, and I think you’re simply giving in to hysterical press accounts that sell product, or you’re pushing an agenda.

    Speaking for myself, I am pushing an agenda. That agenda is to get you to see that the USA is not a free country right now. Admittedly, I stand to make millions of dollars if you agree with me while CNN, NYT, academia, the federal civil service, the mainstream media, the courts, mega corporations, and Hollywood have absolutely nothing to gain from making you think that you live in a free country.

    So, tell me. How do you know that the USA is a free country?

    Like what is the ACTUAL THING THAT YOU CAN POINT TO IN REALITY THAT FOR YOU MEANS THE USA IS A FREE COUNTRY in your book. Seriously.

    For me, yeah it’s nice that Americans can buy guns and it’s great that people can say whatever they want and though they may be fired, lose their friends and be shunned by society they will not be sent to jail.

    But for me what outweighs those nice things by many many orders of magnitude are the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, an insane war on drugs that puts in prison people who commit nonviolent crimes on a horrific scale, the greatest welfare state the world has ever seen and upon which huge swaths of the population rely on not just for some money but for housing, healthcare, education, food, and more, $20 trillion in debt dooming generations of unborn children to lives of hardship, misery and possibly bloodshed, TSA molesting young children by the thousands every fucking day at airports, federal bureaucrats writing laws which they enforce when and on whom they wish with no accountability, extraordinarily oppressive tax rates, widespread use of eminent domain, a regulatory regime that serves as the primary barrier of entry for new businesses, Plea bargaining and 95% conviction rate in US courts, asset forfeiture laws, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, the ability of the President to start wars without Congressional authorization of war, the most intrusive surveillance state in the history of the world, and a federal budget that not only cannot be balanced but whose growth cannot even be slowed.

    Now I’m just one dude. I am sure you can name specifically what it is that you see in the real world that means to you that America is a free country. What is it?

    I guess you could say, well, the government is not putting us in ovens like Hitler did. And you would be right! So is that your threshold? Is that how you know that America is a free country?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    “Overwrought” is precisely the right word

    So what is it that would need to happen for you to say “oh, America is no longer a free country”? What specifically would need to happen?

    Somehow I suspect that you and I have very different thresholds for “free country status” because the USA has not been a free country in my book for a long long time.

    What is it that you see in reality that you can point to that means for you that America remains a free country?

  • the other rob

    Shlomo Maistre @2:19 am. Your parade of horribles is, undoubtedly horrible.

    But I can open my mouth without fear of the Gulag and, if there’s an attack upon me or mine, I can stop the threat. I couldn’t do either in the UK.

    You dismiss that, but I think that they were numbers one and two in the Bill of Rights for a reason.

  • the other rob

    Admittedly, I stand to make millions of dollars if you agree with me…

    Seems unlikely, but I have to ask: Did you get drunk and out yourself as a Soros plant?

    It’s a wilderness of mirrors, y’know.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    but the picture you draw is incompatible with a country that needs to build walls on its borders to keep people out.

    So let me get this straight.

    A country that many people want to move to and live in permanently is a free country.

    Many people want to move to the USA and live in the USA permanently.

    Ergo, the USA is a free country.

    Brilliant!

    I like the logic of libertarians. If we abolish the welfare state then most illegal immigration into the USA would stop, they often claim. And yet at the same time we know that America is a free country, they say, because many people try to come here illegally. I guess for these libertarians the welfare state upon which massive portions of the American population rely for food, housing, healthcare, education and more is how we know that America is a “free” country.

    Am I living in 1984? because I do not think that “free country” means what you think it means.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    the other rob,

    Shlomo Maistre @2:19 am. Your parade of horribles is, undoubtedly horrible.

    But I can open my mouth without fear of the Gulag and, if there’s an attack upon me or mine, I can stop the threat. I couldn’t do either in the UK.

    You dismiss that, but I think that they were numbers one and two in the Bill of Rights for a reason.

    I never dismissed that. I specifically named, in fact, those precise attributes of American life as being very nice that count in favor of America’s “free country status” bona fides. But for me, I take a more holistic approach to “free country status” than you do and the parade of horribles, for me, ya know, counts enough to no longer consider America a free country in my book. I guess for me “free country” status means that most people need to be, ya know, free, while for you it means that you have to be able to say what you want and buy a gun.

    I’m glad that you have an actual definition as to how you know that you live in a free country.

    You think you are on the side of freedom but I, unlike you, realize that Jefferson’s tree of liberty needed refreshment before you were born. There will likely come a time in the future when you will still be able to say whatever you want and not be sent to jail and you will still be able to buy a firearm and defend yourself with it and government spending will constitute OVER HALF of America’s GDP. And you will continue, even then, to celebrate America as a free country, since by your definition it will still be one! Incredible.

  • bobby b

    See, this is what I mean by overwrought.

    ” . . . the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, an insane war on drugs that puts in prison people who commit nonviolent crimes on a horrific scale . . .”

    The war on drugs is the most serious and real of your charges, and drives the incarceration rate. We’re working on it, democratically. Legalization of marijuana is the first step. Too much of law enforcement is financially driven by this war, and so they remain an impediment, but attitudes are changing.

    ” . . . the greatest welfare state the world has ever seen and upon which huge swaths of the population rely on not just for some money but for housing, healthcare, education, food, and more . . . “

    These are financial and social decisions we’ve made democratically, and not an impediment to liberty. We can argue the wisdom of such choices, but I’m no less free because of them. Most of these systems put together pale before the combined weight of our public pension program and our medical care program. We will need to do something to lessen their cost, but the overall philosophy is entirely acceptable to most citizens.

    ” . . . $20 trillion in debt dooming generations of unborn children to lives of hardship, misery and possibly bloodshed . . . “

    We’ve been wringing our hands over public debt since the Hartford Convention, with many predicting imminent doom. We’re still here, and still hand-wringing. We’ll figure out various temporary fixes for the next couple of centuries, I imagine. We’ll repudiate debt before we get to the starvation and bloodshed stages.

    ” . . . TSA molesting young children by the thousands every fucking day at airports . . . “

    Please. For fifteen years, ending maybe six years ago, (meaning, during the worst of TSA times) I traveled once or twice per month via airport. I took my family with me on many trips thanks to frequent flier miles. TSA is a poorly conceived security scheme enacted in a panic, but at worst it slows us down. My kids were never bothered, I’ve never known any kids who were bothered, and it’s rare to hear such stories, which are mostly one-offs pushed by people with agendas and about as common as lightening deaths. I just wish TSA was better at what they do.

    ” . . . federal bureaucrats writing laws which they enforce when and on whom they wish with no accountability . . . “

    Administrative law is world-wide, and is generally a reasonable solution in a huge country with limited legislative capacity. Congress gives direction, agencies take that direction and craft rules, which cannot be put in place until after set periods of public response and input. If they get out of hand, the legislators suffer the voters’ wrath eventually. We go through cycles where the agencies overreach and then we bat them down. We’ve just started a bat-down cycle. The CFPB is currently the worst of it, lacking in oversight as it is, but that was Obama, and he’s gone, so I’m thinking it dies too.

    ” . . . extraordinarily oppressive tax rates . . . .”

    Have you seen the new tax bill? The rates are nicely low. Spending is a problem, but we’re not over-taxed.

    ” . . . widespread use of eminent domain . . . “

    Where? To build roads? Honestly, eminent domain is rarely seen, but the instances where it is get a lot of press. By people like me, who would like to see it limited to true “public purpose.” But Kelo is dead or dying, depending on who you ask.

    ” . . . a regulatory regime that serves as the primary barrier of entry for new businesses . . . “

    See Admin Law, above.

    ” . . . Plea bargaining and 95% conviction rate in US courts . . . “

    As an ex-defense attorney, let me dissent. The problem is sentencing guidelines, primarily in drug cases (about which, see above.) Legislatures set guideline sentences for crimes, and they’ve set them too high. Prosecutors can only try so many cases, and need to settle 95% of their caseload. So, they offer deals that are so good they are almost coercive, compared to the guideline sentence a judge must impose if a defendant is tried and found guilty. We need to get guideline sentences to a more reasonable place, but plea bargaining will always be with us, and it’s not the fault of the prosecutors. As to conviction rates, frankly, they come very close to mirroring the actual guilt rates of my former clients. Our court system is so overbooked, charges aren’t leveled unless there is a very strong case for conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.

    ” . . . asset forfeiture laws . . . “

    Horrible. Unfair. Less common than lightening strikes. Overblown danger that does need to be fixed.

    ” . . . the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex . . . “

    Don’t forget fattening foods and bad TV movies.

    ” . . . the ability of the President to start wars without Congressional authorization of war . . . “

    So we get attacked and we need to wait for Congress to defend ourselves? We see imminent danger and have to wait for Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell to draft an acceptable bill? Presently, the Executive can take that first big step, but then Congress must be brought in quickly to approve and fund it all. That’s not been happening correctly, but we’re working on it, and this affects my liberty not at all.

    ” . . . the most intrusive surveillance state in the history of the world . . . “

    Agaiin, lightening strike levels of danger.

    ” . . . and a federal budget that not only cannot be balanced but whose growth cannot even be slowed.”

    Stupid financial decisions do not equal a loss of liberty.

    “Like what is the ACTUAL THING THAT YOU CAN POINT TO IN REALITY THAT FOR YOU MEANS THE USA IS A FREE COUNTRY in your book. Seriously.”

    I do what I want. I go where I want. I say what I want. Government intrudes on my life almost never. I have a written Constitution which, while nibbled on around the edges, retains the bulk of its influence and power. Sure, free speech doesn’t include libel. Sure, the right to arms doesn’t include a Shrike. Sure, at times “public purpose” gets pimped out. The day someone tells me the Constitution is suspended is the day I know the union is over.

  • Alisa

    Everything is relative, as Einstein probably never said (at least not on record).

  • I would add that our own revolution largely followed the same path. (Laird, February 23, 2018 at 8:50 pm)

    I confirm Laird’s history. In a late-1776 letter to other British friends of the Americans’ cause, Burke urged them to greater political resistance because “The Americans have done wonders, but it is clear they cannot look British regulars in the face.” (Quoted from memory.) This remained largely true; British regulars tended to win most of the set-piece battles they fought. (One of the debatable points in the checkered career of Benedict Arnold is whether his inspiration on the field of battle in 1777 was vital to preventing Burgoyne escaping from the strategic mess he – with Howe’s and Germain’s aid – had gotten himself into, through British regulars ability simply to drive better posted and more numerous but less trained continental forces.)

    Thus it was shortly after receiving detailed and repeated experience of the advantage of regulars, in a contest to keep their existing “rights of Englishmen” from being diminished by their own legal government of the time, that the US founders wrote the second amendment. I value their experience above the abstract speculations of those who choose to think the idea absurd.

    As regards the percentage needed for effect, I note a point from Glenn Reynold’s paper on coups. If just 1% of the legal gun owners in the state of Virginia alone were to drive to Washington on reports of a coup, whichever side of the coup they disfavoured would be in serious trouble.

  • TSA is a poorly conceived security scheme enacted in a panic, but at worst it slows us down

    One of several reasons I stopped visiting the USA was the TSA. Twice I had TSA compliant padlocks simply snipped off my luggage, with a little note left inside telling me to get TSA compliant locks. Twice. That’s just taking the piss.

    Was in LAX circa 2008 and had my passport and papers checked four times, three times in areas I could not have reached without having my passport and papers checked, and the final bunch were quite aggressive when I pointed this out politely. The final straw was chum of mine being asked for his phone & password to unlock it at the border. Screw that. I have many good friends in the USA but you know what? They can come visit me.

    I am delighted your experiences have been less negative (or maybe I am just easier to annoy than you are), but I’ve travelled to active war zones with less hassle. I like the States, but not that much.

  • I’ve had the “checked in a place you only reached through being checked” TSA experience that Perry (February 24, 2018 at 11:33 am) describes, but happily not the others.

    On one occasion less than a decade ago, due entirely to my own incompetence, I arrived at the airport (for an internal US flight) without my passport or wallet and no way to get them, or other identification, before the flight left. They were very nice about it and arranged for me to (go through special search and) fly, both for that flight and for my return flight a few days later. It would have been easy for them to say, “Can’t do anything: you’re stuffed. Next!”.

    So while Perry’s experience may suggest the bad stories are not “lightning-strike rare”, I have to describe mine as never worse than tedious and once quite good, all things considered.

    I also once had the “checked in a place you only reached through being checked” experience in a UK airport.

  • Alisa

    The problem reflected in these varying experiences is their randomness. I think we could do quite nicely without the TSA altogether – but we are to have it, at least let its staff quality and procedures be consistent throughout the country, so that travelers can at least know what to expect. It is too much to ask, I know.

  • bobby b

    Like I said, the TSA was started in a post-9/11 panic, as a very expensive way to nail the barn door shut while the horse watched from outside, but I doubt more than half of the airline industry could have survived had they not added that appearance of security, and our economy would have taken a larger hit as cross-country business traffic slumped in fear.

    Truth is, they do a poor job of interdicting bad things and bad people, but their value lies more in the reassuring theater they provide. They’re not really there to make us safer. They’re there to keep us flying.

    If we wanted to do it right, we’d review the pay levels for TSA agents. Most of them make McDonalds-level wages – not McDonalds shift manager wages, but fry-boy wages – and you don’t give such low-level, low-capability employees discretion, or decision-making power, and you ought not give them access to valuable luggage. So, encounters with them tend to leave you thinking that your nine-year-old son could have handled things better.

  • Alisa

    If the airlines were worried about people not flying (which they probably were), they could implement their own measures by using existing security companies. It would have provided some actual security, as well as the appearance of it. Instead, we have the TSA adding no security, and the theater part is a farce.

  • bobby b

    That’s silly. Government does things so much better than private entities.

    🙄

    (The most common comment I hear in the TSA line – I’ve heard it at least 100 times in various forms – is “this is a royal pain, but I’m glad they’re doing it”, which makes me think the theater does actually work for many people.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    the other rob, February 24, 2018 at 2:17 am, notes “the congruity problem”: Countries are ranked according to such criteria as:

    Murder rate
    Incarceration rate
    Rate of violent crime
    Rape rate
    Rate of apprehension of rapists who really are rapists (unlike Duke LaCrosse team), and conviction of same
    Rate of infant mortality
    Some variant of “rate of successful medical outcome or treatment”

    But each of these rates is determined by the laws defining the crime, if crime is involved, or by some “oversight” body, or by the press, according to criteria which differ widely from country to country.

    .

    There was a recent discussion here of the incidence of rape vs. rape conviction in Sweden. But how does Sweden go about investigating rape, and deciding what suspects to try?

    samizdata.net/2018/01/samizdata-quote-of-the-day-996/

    .

    Fairly famously, we see statements that the rate of infant or perinatal mortality in the U.S. is high in comparison with the rates of other “first-world” countries; less often, someone points out that the U.S. figures include deaths of children that occurred distinctly after birth, while many others do not. E.g., per the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in 2015:

    Infant mortality is the death of an infant before his or her first birthday.

    https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/infantmortality.htm

    Even the WaPo, in a 2014 story entitled “Our Infant Mortality Rate is a National Embarrassment,” includes this comment:

    “Extremely preterm births recorded in some places may be considered a miscarriage or still birth in other countries. Since survival before 22 weeks or under 500 grams is very rare, categorizing these births as live births will inflate reported infant mortality rates (which are reported as a share of live births).”

    Oster and her colleagues found that this reporting difference accounts for up to 40 percent of the U.S. infant mortality disadvantage relative to Austria and Finland.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/29/our-infant-mortality-rate-is-a-national-embarrassment/?utm_term=.246c3e9e92eb

    (The piece goes on to discuss the U.S. rate as a function of the financial status of the baby’s family, as well as some medical factors.)

    Using DuckDuckGo, I searched on the two strings (including the quotation marks)

    “infant mortality” U.S. and “infant mortality” Cuba.

    The first got lots of results from such “mainstream” sources as NBC, the WaPo (as above), the NYT, etc., etc. I certainly didn’t read (nor even skim) all of them, but they seemed to be focussed on the medical/financial/cultural reasons for our poor showing.

    The similar search for Cuba turned up lots of Yay Cuba! results, most of them from sources which by their URLs looked leftish-librul to me. There is one paper cited, “Infant Mortality in Cuba: Myth and Reality,” by a Robert Gonzalez, published in the journal Cuban Studies under the auspices of Project Muse (hence not available except through various institutions), the abstract of which says that

    Because of its low infant mortality rate (IMR), Cuba is often portrayed as a poor country that has reached social development levels of rich nations. In this article, however, I show that Cuba’s reported IMR seems very misleading. By exploring a sharp discrepancy between late fetal and early neonatal deaths, I develop a method for adjusting Cuba’s reported IMR. The results indicate that the adjusted IMR might be twice the reported one. Furthermore, Cuba’s adjusted IMR, although lower than those of Latin American and middle-income countries, is not at par with those of developed countries, as previously believed.

    There’s also a piece in Politifact that includes this:

    “Cuba does have a very low infant mortality rate, but pregnant women are treated with very authoritarian tactics to maintain these favorable statistics,” said Tassie Katherine Hirschfeld, the chair of the department of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma who spent nine months living in Cuba to study the nation’s health system. “They are pressured to undergo abortions that they may not want if prenatal screening detects fetal abnormalities. … There is pressure to falsify statistics.”

    The piece is not long, but it does mention other reasons for skepticism as to the reliability either of the statistics themselves — as reported by the Cuban government — or of their interpretation.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/jan/31/tom-harkin/sen-tom-harkin-says-cuba-has-lower-child-mortality/

  • Alisa

    My bad, Bobby.

  • the other rob

    One of several reasons I stopped visiting the USA was the TSA.

    The first time that I encountered the TSA, I called them “re-purposed gangbangers in uniform”. Their retaliation was surprisingly mild, all things considered, but it was early days and I suppose that they were still getting into their stride.

  • Paul Marks

    To “zinet” and other collectivist ladies and gentlemen…..

    How do you explain that towns on the border of the United States and Mexico have a much HIGHER murder rate on the Mexican Gun Control side of town? And if you resort to “its the Third World” style arguments – then there is the case of Switzerland, when the Swiss government (without any vote of the people) imposed “Gun Control” in 1999 (no longer could people just go into shops and buy any weapon they liked, including automatic weapons, and no longer could people walk the streets and public places armed – as they could in half the Csntons before 1999) the murder rate, including murder by FIREARMS, went UP.

    Yes – UP.

    Of course culture matters – that is why London had a vastly lower murder rate than New York when there was no Gun Control (none) in London. But someone who claims that Gun Control regulations are going to cause the number of murders to fall is making a false claim.

    As for Asset Theft “laws” – for the government (local, State and Federal) to take money or property without PROVING BEYOND ALL REASONABLE DOUBT that the money or property is the result of crime is DESPOTISM. It should not be for the ordinary citizen to prove that he or she came by money or goods honestly – it must be for the government to prove that the citizen came by them dishonesty, and to NOT take money or property till they have proved that.

    “But Paul the government does not do this very often”.

    That sounds like the old defenders of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.

    “Of course the Sultan can take anything from anyone – but they very rarely do this in practice, there are many very wealthy families in the Ottoman Empire, it is not as bad as you think……”.

    Please forgive me for thinking that the government must NOT have despotic powers – even if the government (at least in your own part of the country bobby b) is too lazy to use their despotic powers very often.

    In a great city such as Philadelphia (and this was the cradle of American independence – and once the greatest manufacturing city in the world) asset theft (and THEFT is what it is) is actually quite common now – by local, State and Federal government.

    Even in North Dakota (where asset theft, without the government proving-its-case, is banned) the Federal government still engages in asset theft. “But not often” – that does not make it O.K.

    I repeat – the government should only take assets if it can prove (beyond all reasonable doubt in a court of law) that these assets are the proceeds of crime. The burden of proof must be on the government – otherwise there is DESPOTISM.

    Hat tip to the late Enoch Powell on this matter.

  • Thailover

    Zenit, See the War on Drugs to see how destroying legal markets creates a monopoly for criminals.

  • Thailover

    “Anders Breivik with over $300k tried 2 years to find a gun runner who will sell him guns, and failed. Will some 19 years old loner with some pocket money succeed?”

    Apparently, Anderson Brevik is incompetent. Are you suggesting that all criminal organizations go buy their guns legally and register them?

    Are you f****** kidding me?

  • Thailover

    Z-nut wrote,

    “Where exactly is the freedom your guns give you?”

    It allows me to defend myself effectively against armed attackers. Two days ago, not more than three miles from my home, a man had his front door kicked in in broad daylight and was shot in the face in a home invasion. He did not own a gun. Please explain to me how a gun ban would have improvd his life and improve mine as well.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    bobby b,

    ” . . . the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, an insane war on drugs that puts in prison people who commit nonviolent crimes on a horrific scale . . .”

    The war on drugs is the most serious and real of your charges, and drives the incarceration rate. We’re working on it, democratically.

    You are “working on it democratically”. Ah okay.

    So the USA has the highest per capita incarceration rate ON THE PLANET but this isn’t such a big deal because, ya know, “we are working on it democratically”. Like is this even an argument? Lets say that what you say is true – that we are “working on it democratically” which I’m not convinced is even true – how this means that the per capita incarceration rate should not weigh heavily on any assertion that the USA is a “free country” makes no sense to me. I guess I don’t believe in the fairy dust called “working on it democratically” that makes ugly, disgusting, repulsive facts about America not a big deal.

    Legalization of marijuana is the first step

    The USA has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. Millions of boys and young men are losing out on the prime years of their lives in prison because in the land of the free we have made it illegal to put what ever you want in your own body.

    Too much of law enforcement is financially driven by this war, and so they remain an impediment

    Correct!

    but attitudes are changing.

    This looks like more magical fairy dust. As attitudes are changing – and it is unclear that they are changing on much more than pot – the land of the free has more people in jail per person than ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH. but that’s not something that weighs heavily on America’s “free nation” status in your opinion. Because “attitudes are changing”. Easy to say when you aren’t the one rotting away in jail.

    ” . . . the greatest welfare state the world has ever seen and upon which huge swaths of the population rely on not just for some money but for housing, healthcare, education, food, and more . . . “

    These are financial and social decisions we’ve made democratically

    They sure are but how is this relevant?

    Surely you are not saying that when huge swaths of the population of a country depend on the government for food, healthcare, education, housing and more that are confiscated from other citizens at the barrel of a gun through taxation that that country can still be a free country? That would be preposterous because it violates the very concept of liberty.

    So I guess you are saying that financial and social decisions that violate liberty are ok when they are supported by the majority of the citizens?

    Nazis put Jews into concentration camps and gas chambers by the millions. Nazis were supported by the majority of their citizens.

    and not an impediment to liberty

    This is such a preposterous statement.

    First of all, voting to confiscate the wealth of some citizens at the barrel of a gun through mandatory taxation and take that wealth and redistribute it on a massive scale to other citizens in the form of money, free housing, free food, subsidized/free education, subsidized transportation, free healthcare, etc etc is exactly what it looks like when liberty is violated on a big scale. Huge swaths of American populations’ entire LIVES are built around getting free stuff from the government. Not just a little bit of money here and there, but everything: food, housing, healthcare, education, etc etc. Their lives are directly and entirely dependent on the government taking money from me and you and giving it to them.

    You just don’t understand what the term “liberty” means so you should really stop using it.

    We can argue the wisdom of such choices, but I’m no less free because of them

    Again, you simply don’t understand what the term “free” means. We are not talking about “free” like when something $0.00; we are talking about free like when nobody gets shit from the government that was stolen from other people at the barrel of a gun through coercive taxation.

    Most of these systems put together pale before the combined weight of our public pension program and our medical care program

    I’m trying to figure out how you are even seeking to contradict my point…to no avail.

    We will need to do something to lessen their cost, but the overall philosophy is entirely acceptable to most citizens.

    Is this supposed to make it ok?

    The Nazis putting Jews in concentration camps and gas chambers by the millions was acceptable to most German citizens.

    So for you liberty is the second-highest value, and the highest value is “what is accepted by the majority of citizens”. So when liberty is violated in a small or big way it’s not a problem unless it is NOT “accepted by the majority of citizens”. Thank God Hitler’s actions were acceptable to most Germans at the time, otherwise we might consider his actions to be, ya know, immoral or something.

    ” . . . $20 trillion in debt dooming generations of unborn children to lives of hardship, misery and possibly bloodshed . . . “

    We’ve been wringing our hands over public debt since the Hartford Convention, with many predicting imminent doom.

    Ah, okay. So because some people have made predictions in the past that did not come true, therefore, it follows, that predictions that I make and that you disagree with can possibly come to fruition in the future. Makes sense – or at least as much sense as your other arguments above, though I hesitate to really call them arguments.

    We’re still here, and still hand-wringing. We’ll figure out various temporary fixes for the next couple of centuries, I imagine

    This is what some people like to rely on when debating policies: their imagination.

    We’ll repudiate debt before we get to the starvation and bloodshed stages.

    And you think that trillions of dollars of debt substantiated by real balance sheet items around the world can just be, ya know, repudiated when we feel like it?

    You are an oracle in your spare time because not only do you know that we can repudiate $20 trillion (and growing!) of public debt when we feel like it, you also know that we will do so before bloodshed and that doing so will not lead to bloodshed.

    You should put the horoscopes book down and read more history books to learn what happens when countries print massive amounts of money out of thin air.

    ” . . . TSA molesting young children by the thousands every fucking day at airports . . . “

    Please. For fifteen years, ending maybe six years ago, (meaning, during the worst of TSA times) I traveled once or twice per month via airport. I took my family with me on many trips thanks to frequent flier miles. TSA is a poorly conceived security scheme enacted in a panic, but at worst it slows us down. My kids were never bothered, I’ve never known any kids who were bothered, and it’s rare to hear such stories, which are mostly one-offs pushed by people with agendas and about as common as lightening deaths. I just wish TSA was better at what they do.

    I am genuinely disgusted that this statement has come out of the mouth of someone who claims to value individual liberty. Repulsed.

    Vast vast majority of people who are hassled, manhandled and abused by the TSA aren’t going on CNN to whine about their feelings. Millions of hours of people’s time are wasted in lines every week. And yes, millions of people are abused, manhandled, groped, and unnecessarily harassed by the TSA. Their property is confiscated on a routine basis for no good reason. You should not ever claim to value liberty in my opinion.

    ” . . . federal bureaucrats writing laws which they enforce when and on whom they wish with no accountability . . . “

    Administrative law is world-wide.

    Ah yes, so liberty is a good thing but among the values that are higher are “well everyone is doing it, so whatever”.

    and is generally a reasonable solution in a huge country with limited legislative capacity

    Ah, yes. “reasonable”

    It’s reasonable to you that the government writes insane quantities of regulations which they enforce when and on whom they want. It’s reasonable to you that these regulations evolve, change on a routine and unpredictable basis. It’s reasonable to you that there is no direct oversight over these bureaucrats who write these laws and cannot be fired. it’s reasonable that these laws are in place and regulate out of business companies every single fucking day. And it’s reasonable that these regulations, which are often written by lobbyists on behalf of major established mega corporations, serve as not only an obstacle for entrepreneurs but as a PRIMARY barrier to entry for someone with a good idea actually getting his business off the ground. All of this is “reasonable”.

    So we have another value that is higher for you than that whole “liberty” thing. It’s called “reasonableness”.

    Congress gives direction, agencies take that direction and craft rules, which cannot be put in place until after set periods of public response and input.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

    I personally know people who are lobbyists and bureaucrats (none of these people – the ones who actually rule you – can you ever vote out of their positions or fire) and they are the ones who get shit done and abuse entrepreneurs in America like it’s their job. Because it is their job. I can assure you that by crafting rules what you mean to say, if you had any idea what you were talking about, is “make shit up and enforce it on who they want, when they want”. And public response can sometimes make some minor temporary modifications but 99% of regulations 99% of the people don’t even know about. They are unseen except to those unlucky entrepreneurs who get regulated out of business in the land of the free.

    If they get out of hand, the legislators suffer the voters’ wrath eventually.

    More fantasy land bullshit. I know this is what your history teachers told you happens in a democracy, but this is not what happens in reality. The Tea Party is the latest right wing rebellion to get absolutely nothing significant and of LASTING consequence achieved. They couldn’t even balance the damn budget for one damn year. The Tea Party is pathetic and is only the latest in a long line of “voters wrath” to get nothing done. Because unseating a few legislators does not end the careers of the bureaucrats who are the ones really doing most of the liberty-violating “reasonableness” you justify with democracy fairy dust.

    We go through cycles where the agencies overreach and then we bat them down.

    Right. Think of the time since WWII that we had less regulation than we had before FDR? Oh, wait, never happened and, more importantly, never will.

    We’ve just started a bat-down cycle.

    I personally know bureaucrats and lobbyists – ya know, the ones that neither you nor your representatives in Congress and the White House cannot fire or vote of office and it is they who terrorize entrepreneurs in this country and make business impossible for whole swaths of private industry like coal. Yes, sometimes things temporarily stop getting worse for a little while like right now, but hardly anything significant can be permanently rolled back by Trump & GOP.

    The CFPB is currently the worst of it, lacking in oversight as it is, but that was Obama, and he’s gone, so I’m thinking it dies too.

    Your thinking, as we have seen, is not a good indication of what happens in reality. But who knows, a broken clock is correct twice a day so maybe you are right about this. Even if that ends up happening, guess what? It’ll re-emerge in 2/4/6/8 years even more liberty-violating than it is now.

    ” . . . extraordinarily oppressive tax rates . . . .”

    Have you seen the new tax bill? The rates are nicely low. Spending is a problem, but we’re not over-taxed.

    By American standards, you are right, tax rates are about to be pretty reasonable. But by historical standards, I assure you, it is a very different story. And most importantly, by liberty standards, well, taxation is theft.

    ” . . . widespread use of eminent domain . . . “

    Where? To build roads? Honestly, eminent domain is rarely seen, but the instances where it is get a lot of press. By people like me, who would like to see it limited to true “public purpose.” But Kelo is dead or dying, depending on who you ask.

    Okay so you would like to see more limited use of eminent domain so you presumably admit that eminent domain abuse violates liberty. And this is not a problem for you because “Kelo is dead or dying, depending on who you ask”. Here’s the thing, though. What people say is irrelevant. Kelo, eminent domain abuse happens in reality. So you fairy dust bullshit is fairy dust bullshit. Eminent domain abuse happens in America on a fairly routine basis.

    ” . . . a regulatory regime that serves as the primary barrier of entry for new businesses . . . “

    See Admin Law, above.

    See my demolition of your defense of “admin law”, above.

    ” . . . Plea bargaining and 95% conviction rate in US courts . . . “

    As an ex-defense attorney, let me dissent. The problem is sentencing guidelines, primarily in drug cases (about which, see above.) Legislatures set guideline sentences for crimes, and they’ve set them too high. Prosecutors can only try so many cases, and need to settle 95% of their caseload. So, they offer deals that are so good they are almost coercive, compared to the guideline sentence a judge must impose if a defendant is tried and found guilty. We need to get guideline sentences to a more reasonable place, but plea bargaining will always be with us, and it’s not the fault of the prosecutors. As to conviction rates, frankly, they come very close to mirroring the actual guilt rates of my former clients. Our court system is so overbooked, charges aren’t leveled unless there is a very strong case for conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Let me repeat a fact about the real world that you have failed to contradict: ~95% conviction rate in US courts. You seem to be okay with this because it’s not the fault of prosecutors? But I never said its prosecutors fault. I didn’t blame anyone. I just said it is true. And you have failed to dispute the fact of the matter. I rest my case.

    ” . . . asset forfeiture laws . . . “

    Horrible. Unfair. Less common than lightening strikes. Overblown danger that does need to be fixed.

    This may be the first time that you admit that something needs to be fixed.

    ” . . . the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex . . . “

    Don’t forget fattening foods and bad TV movies.

    The American military industrial complex is organized war-profiteering on an absolutely massive scale. I’m not surprised that you aren’t concerned about it, but I am surprised that you consider yourself to be someone who values liberty. Then again, as we have seen, you don’t really understand what liberty is.

    ” . . . the ability of the President to start wars without Congressional authorization of war . . . “

    So we get attacked and we need to wait for Congress to defend ourselves? We see imminent danger and have to wait for Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell to draft an acceptable bill?

    That’s how it is supposed to work, yes.

    Presently, the Executive can take that first big step, but then Congress must be brought in quickly to approve and fund it all. That’s not been happening correctly, but we’re working on it, and this affects my liberty not at all.

    Ah yes, that “we’re working on it” democratic fairy dust. Makes all ugly disgusting liberty-violating Constitution-violating fact patterns of the world fade away like magic.

    ” . . . the most intrusive surveillance state in the history of the world . . . “

    Agaiin, lightening strike levels of danger.

    You know nothing.

    ” . . . and a federal budget that not only cannot be balanced but whose growth cannot even be slowed.”

    Stupid financial decisions do not equal a loss of liberty.

    When government spending powered by printing out of thin air, stealing from unborn generations, and confiscated wealth stolen from law-abiding individuals at the barrel of a gun, eclipses one-third of GDP that country can no longer be said to be a free country. Again, you don’t understand what it means to live in a free country.

    “Like what is the ACTUAL THING THAT YOU CAN POINT TO IN REALITY THAT FOR YOU MEANS THE USA IS A FREE COUNTRY in your book. Seriously.”

    I do what I want. I go where I want. I say what I want. Government intrudes on my life almost never. I have a written Constitution which, while nibbled on around the edges, retains the bulk of its influence and power. Sure, free speech doesn’t include libel. Sure, the right to arms doesn’t include a Shrike. Sure, at times “public purpose” gets pimped out. The day someone tells me the Constitution is suspended is the day I know the union is over.

    You think that for the Constitution to be suspended someone has to say it is suspended?

    You should get yourself an edumacation sometime.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    So because some people have made predictions in the past that did not come true, therefore, it follows, that predictions that I make and that you disagree with can possibly come to fruition in the future.

    So because some people have made predictions in the past that did not come true, therefore, it follows, that predictions that I make and that you disagree with can’t* possibly come to fruition in the future.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    How do you explain that towns on the border of the United States and Mexico have a much HIGHER murder rate on the Mexican Gun Control side of town? And if you resort to “its the Third World” style arguments – then there is the case of Switzerland, when the Swiss government (without any vote of the people) imposed “Gun Control” in 1999 (no longer could people just go into shops and buy any weapon they liked, including automatic weapons, and no longer could people walk the streets and public places armed – as they could in half the Csntons before 1999) the murder rate, including murder by FIREARMS, went UP.

    I actually tend to think that – all else equal – more gun control leads to more crime.

    I also think that it is good from a moral perspective (regardless of the practical consequences) that Americans are able to legally purchase firearms and that is one of the very few things that weigh in favor of America’s “free country” status.

    However, America is not a free country. It takes more than being able to say anything and not go to jail and being able to purchase a firearm legally for a country to be free, in my humble opinion.

    So, conservatives are right about the gun control issue in my opinion from both a practical perspective (what will lower crime) and from a moral perspective (is it good or bad in and of itself not citizens to be able to purchase firearms legally). However, they are going to lose. Why are they going to lose? Because they live in a democracy or “constitutional republic”. Conservatives have eventually lost every major policy disagreement for generations.

    4 examples:

    1. The then-mainstream right warned that if women are allowed to vote then government spending would rise. Government spending rose after women were given the right to vote, with women voting disproportionately for stronger social safety nets, Democrats, and Progressive policies.

    2. The then-mainstream right warned that substantial immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe would lead to the growth of the welfare state. The welfare state grew after substantial immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, with those voters supporting FDRs dramatic expansions of the federal bureaucracies.

    3. The then-mainstream right warned that removing homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders and considering it a personal choice would lead to the legitimization of homosexuality and to social acceptance of it. Homosexuality has been legitimized and has been largely accepted culturally after removing it from the APA’s list of disorders and viewing it as a personal choice instead.

    4. The then-mainstream right warned that no-fault divorce laws would lead to lower rates of marriage, higher rates of divorce, and lower birth rates. Generally birth rates have fallen, marriage rates have fallen, and divorce rates have risen following introduction of no-fault divorce laws.

    My point is NOT that the right ought to be arguing now as they were back then on these 4 topics. My point is NOT even that the right was necessarily correct on these 4 issues.

    My point is that those who argue now on those matters as the right did then on those matters is considered by polite, mainstream society now to be, well, bonkers, insane, racist, homophobic, or some combination thereof. But that if you argue now on those matters as the left did then on those matters you will be taking a moderate, even sometimes right-of-center position on those matters in today’s environment.

    Consider women’s suffrage. Some of left-wingers back in the very early 20th century argued in favor of women’s suffrage as a matter of democratic rights, personal liberty while also arguing that giving women the right to vote would not lead to women to enter the workforce en masse. In saying this, my point is NOT that women’s suffrage caused women to enter the workforce en masse. My point is NOT even that women entering the workforce en masse is necessarily a bad thing. My point is that SOME left-wingers who argued for women’s suffrage did so ON THE ASSUMPTION that women entering the workforce en masse would be a bad thing. And that assumption is today, well, not only NOT an assumption but even voicing that there may be a bit of merit to such a thought can easily lead one to lose one’s job and/or friends. It’s considered bonkers if not outright insane; certainly not a view to be considered in a serious way by mainstream, polite society. And this was an ASSUMPTION of some on the LEFT about a century ago.

    Evidently, we have moved so far Left over the past century on this (and so many other) issues that voicing today what was an assumption of the Left wing on women’s rights one century ago will get you labelled a misogynist by most people, almost all powerful people, and all of polite society. You can easily lose your job by voicing such a view. James Damore lost his job at Google for voicing a far more moderate opinion.

    In democracy things move Leftwards overtime. Inevitably.

    Buy your ammo now!

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Please forgive me for thinking that the government must NOT have despotic powers – even if the government (at least in your own part of the country bobby b) is too lazy to use their despotic powers very often.

    What you mean to say, of course, is that the government SHOULD* not have despotic powers.

    And yes, if we lived in Libertarian Fantasy Land then I would certainly agree with you.

    Over here in reality, though, I notice that what exists in reality and what should exist in reality are two very different matters… almost always. Almost like a pattern!

    Also I notice that by ignoring any possibility that there is, ya know, an actual reason as to why it is that what should exist in reality and what does exist in reality are two so very different things throughout all time and across all places so consistently as to appear to an unbiased observer to be an a nearly-universal law of the world, then we run the risk of not understanding an important aspect of reality: that what exists in the mortal world cannot be perfected, that there are repulsive, disgusting powers inherent to government by definition, that reality abhors a power vacuum so powers not possessed by official government will be exercised by unofficial government, and that believing that any particular government can be anything but an oppressive master is liable to ironically and unintentionally lead to more oppression than would otherwise be experienced at the hands of said government.

  • bobby b

    “You should get yourself an edumacation sometime.”

    Didn’t help.

    Sorry, I was under the misapprehension that we were discussing “freedom” in the sense that it exists anywhere on earth today. In that sense, I will say that the USA is among the most free nations in the world.

    You apparently confine your definition of “freedom” to a state that has not existed on earth since the first human was joined by the second human – in your definition, the residents of Galt’s Gulch failed the freedom test because they had to breath in the air already used by some other resident, and probably had to reply to polite greetings without using weaponry.

    Certainly, by your definition, I will agree that I am not free, and that I can never be free so long as others have an ability to influence or affect my life. I will still say that I am relatively free in comparison to others, but do not meet the purist’s definition of the word.

    Curious about one thing, though. You espouse hereditary monarchy. That’s our system, essentially, minus the power – the freedom – of our citizens to have a voice in the selection of leadership. For someone so rabid about the purity of his freedom, how do you end up on the side that represents a loss of freedom?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Sorry, I was under the misapprehension that we were discussing “freedom” in the sense that it exists anywhere on earth today. In that sense, I will say that the USA is among the most free nations in the world.

    Yeah, the country with the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, the biggest public debt in the world, one of the most extravagant welfare state apparatuses in the world upon which many many millions of millions of people rely for their entire WAY OF LIFE by getting their healthcare, education, food, housing etc etc provided via coerced taxation at the barrel of a gun, the most intrusive surveillance state on earth, one of the most complex, confusing, and abstruse tax codes on planet earth, and a military industrial complex that really brings established war profiteering to a level of corruption and sheer scale not seen for a long, long, long time historically and arguably ever is “among the most free nations in the world”.

    You apparently confine your definition of “freedom” to a state that has not existed on earth since the first human was joined by the second human

    You apparently don’t know much about history because many governments throughout history didn’t oppress their citizens at nearly the same level as the US government does today. I know, I know. They didn’t have iPhones or high speed rail so they could not have possibly been “free” right? Oh and also they believed in silly things like the Creator so they were clearly terribly brainwashed religious nut jobs unlike us what with our enlightened and sophisticated understanding of the world.

    Certainly, by your definition, I will agree that I am not free, and that I can never be free so long as others have an ability to influence or affect my life.

    That is not my definition of freedom. In very free societies people are able to impact each others’ lives very easily and often quite significantly.

    Curious about one thing, though. You espouse hereditary monarchy.

    Correct! See, you can be correct sometimes!

    That’s our system, essentially, minus the power – the freedom – of our citizens to have a voice in the selection of leadership

    Nope. That’s not an accurate statement.. at all.

    For someone so rabid about the purity of his freedom, how do you end up on the side that represents a loss of freedom?

    Among the many many things you don’t understand and probably will never understand is that freedom, individual liberty are consequences of stable and secure government not democracy.

    Democracy is controlled civil war through the ballot box. Democracy erodes the bonds of society, degrades civility, deteriorates social order and, most importantly of all, rewards factions, groups, movements, and interests insofar as those factions, groups, movements, and interests advance political policies that undermine freedom, violate individual liberty, disincentive productive work and private industry, and rip apart the bonds of a harmonious society. This is why you and libertarians and conservatives always eventually lose every major policy debate in democracy or “constitutional republics”.

    My side is the side of the Sith, Lord Sauron, the Grand Inquisitor (per Dostoevsky) and, of course, Prince Rupert of the Rhine. Mine is the side of law, order, security, and stability. It is from stable, centralized, and secure rule that individual liberty is most durably and substantially achieved for people in a society; actually it’s the only way. Insofar as Americans currently enjoy their modicum of individual liberty, it is a consequence of the stability and security of the US government: see how much individual liberty you can vote yourself when the US dollar is no longer the reserve currency of the world and Americans are thus no longer able to borrow massive sums of money from unborn generations of Americans. US cities like NYC Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, LA, Seattle, Philadelphia (the cradle of democracy) will look a bit like the Congo.

    Didn’t help.

    Yeah you’re right. But it’s true and, I assure you, it does not only apply to him.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I just realized that bobby b was the person whose original message I ripped to shreds.

    So thats why I said “it does not only apply to him”.

    Anyway, bobby b, I notice you did not address any of my points except the last about the education I recommended you acquire.

    I’ll count that as conceding the point. The US is not a free country according to any reasonable definition, but as we saw before, you value liberty highly but you value “reasonableness” and whether “most people support the policies” more highly than mere individual liberty.

    One day you’ll realize that the only values that ought to be held in higher esteem than liberty are security and order. Maybe you’ll realize that when SHTF (when the dollar is no longer the reserve currency of the world).

    If you could let me know where you find such impressive belief in democratic fairy dust you referenced so often in your comment above that would be great, as I’d like to believe in good things that have no basis in reality too.

  • John K

    If I might draw attention to a few experiences from Britain.

    In 1987 a man carried out an armed massacre in Hungerford. He was armed with a semi-automatic pistol and a semi-automatic rifle. Amongst his victims were two unarmed policemen. He shot himself. The government of the day held no inquiry, but banned semi-automatic rifles.

    In 1996 a man carried out a massacre in Dunblane. He was armed with a semi-automatic pistol and a revolver. He shot himself. The government did hold an inquiry, which did not recommend a total handgun ban, but between the pathetic Major government and the mendacious Blair government, by 1997 handguns were banned anyway.

    In 2010 a man carried out a massacre in Cumbria. He was armed with a twelve bore shotgun and a .22 rifle. Unarmed police followed him at a safe distance, but could do nothing to stop him. He shot himself. The government decided not to ban shotguns and .22 rifles.

    So we see that in the three major armed massacres to affect Britain, the government of the time either decided to hold no inquiry, or to ignore its recommendations if it did. Rather than face the fact that unarmed police are completely useless in the face of an armed threat, it was easier to ban the type of firearm used by the criminal, as if the type of gun used was the root cause of the problem.

    By this method, by 2010 just about the only guns which could legally be owned in Britain were shotguns and manually operated rifles, most of which were .22s. And so these guns were used by the deranged man in Cumbria. It was at this point that the government’s “thinking” hit the wall. Pistols and semi-automatic rifles had been owned by around 50,000 people, who were convenient scapegoats in the face of a media frenzy of hatred towards a non-existent “gun lobby”. Shotguns and .22 rifles, on the other hand, were owned by hundreds of thousands of people, farmers, clay pigeon shooters, and the sort of people such as Mr David Cameron himself, who can afford driven game shooting. So the government decided the existing laws were sufficient, and there was no need the ban the sort of guns that they and their friends owned.

    That’s it in a nutshell. At present in the USA, the liberal media is in a frenzy of hate towards the NRA, causing its gutless commercial partners to cancel their business dealings with it. The AR type rifle is demonized, no-one needs to own it, let’s just ban them and everything will be all right. This is clearly nonsense.

    As we saw in Cumbria, a man armed with a twelve bore and a .22 rifle can kill as many people as a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle or a semi-automatic pistol. The only way they can be stopped is by armed force. In Britain, unarmed police obviously could not do this. In Florida, it seems that several armed policemen chose not to try.

    A few years ago in the USA, the gun banners wanted handguns banned. Rifles were not a problem. Now they want semi-automatic rifles banned. Once they are banned, they will go back to getting pistols banned. The “logic” of the gun banners must inevitably lead to all guns being banned, because all guns, even a normal, double barrelled shotgun or a .22 rifle, can be used to kill large numbers of unarmed people.

    The only other line of thought seems to be the one President Trump is advocating. Guns cannot be uninvented. Soon, we will be able to print them out at home. It can only make sense to allow decent people, such as teachers, the right to carry concealed guns, so as to defend their pupils in the event of an attack. The liberal policy of “gun free schools” means that, in the event of an attack, only one person has a gun, and it’s the attacker.

    I think the British experience shows that a policy of blaming a certain gun for the actions of its owner, and banning it, eventually leads to a situation where we cannot ban any more types of gun without banning gun ownership entirely, and even in Britain, that is not politically viable.

    The President’s ideas about hardening school security, employing armed guards (hopefully not cowards) and allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, allied to increased background checks on gun buyers, do at least seek to address the problem and do something which might be useful. The hysteria of the liberal media and establishment about banning a certain type of rifle because they don’t like the look of it merely shows the vapidity of their ideas, and the lack of any honesty in their argument.

  • Shlomo Maistre (February 26, 2018 at 6:06 am), the wisdom of Edmund Burke is relevant to many aspects of this. (I’m guessing you are rather a follower of de Maistre.) One of the most basic is Burke’s echoing of the remark of a man he otherwise mostly despised (Bolingbroke): that you can graft aspects of republicanism onto a monarchy much more easily than you can graft aspects of monarchy onto a republic. The history of the UK is an example of the first. The history of the bastard monarchy of the Roman empire – where every general of any origin could hope to become emperor – is an example of the second.

    It is quite pointless to argue that monarchy, absolute or otherwise, would be a good idea in the USA. The political judgement that could be trusted to assess that idea accurately would know that it could only occur after a disaster of huge proportions and as part of an accidental uncontrolled “science-fiction” kind of scenario. I have far, far more rational hope of the UK’s resuming the 2nd-amendment-like state it was in a century ago.

    It is also worth noticing that the industrial revolution occurred in one of the very much less-absolute, more-republican monarchies of its day, not the reverse. (And that the USA, with all its problems, has had much success as a country.) Law and order requires law (not arbitrariness) which, historically, has been better maintained by separation of powers than by

    Holy State or Holy King –
    Or Holy People’s Will –
    Have no truck with the senseless thing.
    Order the guns and kill!

    Now that kind of law and order I can get behind! 🙂

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Perry DH writes: One of several reasons I stopped visiting the USA was the TSA. Twice I had TSA compliant padlocks simply snipped off my luggage, with a little note left inside telling me to get TSA compliant locks. Twice. That’s just taking the piss.

    The same happened to me coming back from Malta a few years ago, so alas, it is not just a US thing. I have too many good reasons to visit the US for the antics of its security to put me off.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    “Itellyounothing” wrote: But Iraq was not an awful place to live at times during his reign

    Well, for a few seconds for some people, I guess. But it was a hellhole for much of the time.

  • Alisa

    it is not just a US thing

    I got the impression that the US government forces airlines that offer flights to the US to adhere to US flight-security regulations. This results in these airlines applying these regulations everywhere they fly just because it is simpler than to maintain different procedures in different countries – which in turn pushes the local airports to follow suit. But I could well be wrong.

  • Michael Jennings

    Pretty much that, yes. There are still some inconsistencies – one does not generally have to put one’s shoes though an X-Ray machine in foreign airports, even if flying to the US – but most foreign countries impose regulations similar to US regulations in order to remain consistent.

    There are a few exceptions. For historical reasons most airports in Australia operate domestic flights from completely different terminals than international flights, and therefore Australia imposes much laxer security regulations for domestic flights than for international flights. You can, for instance, carry any amount of liquids in your hand luggage on an Australian domestic flight. This does lead to an odd situation where you often have to go through security twice (once when entering the departure lounge and again when approaching the gate, the first time to domestic standards and the second time to US standards), at airports where there is only one terminal.

    All that said, the regulations are only part of it. It’s also about the enforcement of the regulations and the attitude of the people enforcing the regulations. In the UK and the rest of Europe, security is sometimes provided by the owner of the airport, sometimes outsourced to private companies, and sometimes provided by the government. You get variation between levels of competence, efficiency, and politeness depending on where you are. British airports – and particularly those in London- have actually raised their game and security is not that unpleasant any more. It used to be awful. London’s largest three airports used to be owned by a single company, but things have got much more pleasant at every London airport since ownership was split. Fancy that. I have repeatedly had bad experiences in Germany (including yesterday), where security procedures are usually slow, officious, and rude.

    If it makes you feel better, procedures at Chinese airports and the people enforcing them are even worse than in the US, in my experience.

  • I got the impression that the US government forces airlines that offer flights to the US to adhere to US flight-security regulations.

    Flying to Far East and Central Europe I’ve never encountered that requirement for TSA locks. Central Europe is a joy, they give about half a flying fuck about airport security 😉

  • I just realized that bobby b was the person whose original message I ripped to shreds.

    Yup, you truly are a legend in your own mind 😎

  • Mr Ed

    Central Europe is a joy, they give about half a flying fuck about airport security 😉

    Flying internally in Algeria, I figured that the response to a hijacking would be for them to shoot first and hose out the aircraft later. No checks at all, on anyone.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    that you can graft aspects of republicanism onto a monarchy much more easily than you can graft aspects of monarchy onto a republic

    Yes in much the same way as you can make orange juice taste like sewage by adding sewage to the orange juice much more easily than you can make sewage taste like orange juice by adding orange juice to the sewage.

    “It is also worth noticing that the industrial revolution occurred in one of the very much less-absolute, more-republican monarchies of its day”

    I like it when people say correlation is not causation shortly before implying that correlation is causation.

    Burke has some decent thoughts for a high school history course. Joseph de Maistre was a thinker of a much higher calibre. He makes Burke look juvenile

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Yup, you truly are a legend in your own mind

    True

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Shlomo, I think you need to dial down the Mussolini complex, mate.

  • Alisa

    Flying to Far East and Central Europe I’ve never encountered that requirement for TSA locks. Central Europe is a joy, they give about half a flying fuck about airport security

    Israel gives much more than a flying fuck about it, but it gives even less than that to the theater. It does maintain some of that though for reasons I mentioned, and this is what you’ll see if you travel here. You don’t see the real stuff though. Just a small detail to give you an idea: when you leave Israel, you can take your liquids with you through the security check (I know, the horror).