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You Used to be Able to Expect Better from Reason

Articles like this are why I haven’t been a Reason subscriber or regular reader since Virginia Postrel left as Editor-in-Chief. As it says in the comments of this article, “Did this guy sleep through Sandy Hook?”

Not that NRA doesn’t sensationalize and scaremonger in its fundraising: it certainly does. So does every other advocacy group. What effect a Trump Administration will have on NRA’s ability to maintain membership at high levels and keep enough money coming in is something I wonder about too. But …

But under President Barack Obama, the NRA has occupied itself sowing groundless panic and fighting imaginary villains.

So Obama didn’t spend his second term promoting gun control? Justice Scalia didn’t die? Hillary Clinton didn’t run a campaign where the centerpiece was gun control and defiance of the NRA? Did I imagine all that?

The NRA insisted he planned to ban all handguns, ban “use of firearms for home defense,” increase federal taxes on guns and ammunition by 500 percent, and require a federal license to buy a gun.

That’s because as a Illinois Senator, he voted for these things, and was an outspoken supporter of Chicago’s handgun ban. This wasn’t a figment of Wayne LaPierre’s imagination, and it wasn’t just lip service. He voted this way.

DOJ Smart Gun Specs are Telling

John Richardson notes that we need to be vigilant about last minute gun control from the Obama Administration, and he’s right. But this DOJ spec for what a smart gun would need to look like in order to be acceptable to law enforcement is telling, in that it rejects much of the gun control groups sacred cows about what citizens do and don’t need for self-defense. Let us look deeper:

Pistols shall be semi-automatic, recoil-operated, magazine-fed, and striker-fired.

I thought semi-automatic weapons only belonged on the battle field?

Class I magazines shall hold a minimum of 14 cartridges.
Class II magazines shall hold a minimum of 16 cartridges.

But I thought these dangerous high-capacity magazines were weapons of war only suitable for mowing down school children, and are thoroughly unnecessary for self-defense? Law enforcement isn’t just demanding a maximum of 10, it’s saying their minimum is 14.

The pistol shall fire with the magazine removed and a live round in the chamber.

Pistols shall not have a magazine disconnect which prevents the firearm from firing when the magazine is removed from the pistol.

Why do law enforcement and military leaders hate their own children?

Pistols shall not have a manual external thumb, finger, or grip-actuated safety device.

But I thought this was good and necessary? Several states laws say this is an unsafe design! But here we get to the “smart” part:

4.18 Security devices

4.18.1 Pistols shall have an integrated “lock-out” security device as a permanent part of the pistol that disables the firing mechanism except when in the control of authorized individuals.

4.18.2 The security device shall be understood to include any externally worn items, such as rings, wristbands, or tokens that perform functions associated with the security device

4.18.3 The security device shall include a programmable authorization system that can be set to allow one or more operators to fire the pistol.

4.18.4 The security device shall not inhibit the operator from firing in either hand, one-handed or two-handed, with and without gloves, in any orientation.

4.18.5 The security device shall not alter the normal operation of grasping and firing the pistol as a pistol of the same design that is not equipped with the security device.

4.18.6 The security device shall not increase the time required by the operator to grasp, draw from a holster, and fire the pistol as a pistol of the same design that is not equipped with the security device.

4.18.7 The security device shall not emit audible sounds or visible signals.

4.18.8 If the security device may be susceptible to electromagnetic interference, either intentional or unintentional, the device shall be equipped with countermeasure detection technology that permits the operator to fire the gun when an attempt to block the authorization process is detected.

4.18.9 The security device shall covertly indicate when the pistol is ready to fire.

4.18.10 If the security device uses batteries, the batteries can be rechargeble but shall
be replaceable.

4.18.11 Low power to the security device shall be indicated covertly with sufficient time to safely take action.

4.18.12 If the security device malfunctions, it shall default to a state to allow the pistol to fire.

4.18.13 The security device should be easy for an operator to quickly reset or disengage if there is a malfunction.

They also demand the following in terms of reliability:

5.2 Reliability and durability

5.2.1 Pistols shall exhibit a mean overall malfunction or failure rate of no greater than 1 in 2,000, or shall exhibit a mean rounds between failure of no less than 2,000.

5.2.2 Pistols shall be durable and exhibit no failures due to wear or damage for a total of 10,000 rounds. Parts may be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s specification for regular preventative maintenance. The replacement of parts per the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule does not constitute a parts failure. This durability specification also applies to the security device on the pistol as well as any periphery devices that may be required to be used with the security device.

Basically, if it’s not very Glock-like, in terms of design, operation and reliability, law enforcement doesn’t want it. Keep this in mind, folks, when the gun control crowd insists that civilians accept far far less than this. The reason they will insist that we accept less is because this specification is not possible to meet with any existing technology.

Indictment in Philando Castile Shooting

Something smelled fishy about this since day one, and it looks like a Grand Jury agreed. These days I’m always reluctant to jump on bandwagons, because it’s harder and harder to discern what really happened, and what the motivations are of people driving the bandwagon. So to some degree you have to fall back to having faith in the justice system to do the right thing. The problem is I had a hard time typing that with a straight face.

In this case, it may be that the officer made a horrible mistake, and he will have to explain himself before a jury, just like any of us would under the same circumstances. Remember Prof. Joe Olson’s report about his encounter with this department. I will hope that all the facts come out at trial, that the jury is wise and objective, and that justice will be done. Mr. Castile deserves no less.

Impact of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

Appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (what this has to do with medicine is dubious, unless you subscribe to guns as a public health menace, which I don’t), a study looking at the effect of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law.” Given the AMA’s anti-gun position, it should not surprise you that they found it increases homicide. But the study does admit to a number of limitations, and makes some further admissions that tell me this was cooked up. Take this statement, for instance:

 

A potential limitation of interrupted time series designs is the possibility that other factors that occur simultaneously may distort estimates of intervention effects. Such factors might include national changes in social or economic variables (eg, a recession) or events that have a profound and lasting impact on society (eg, natural disasters). Additional design elements can be added to interrupted time series designs to assess whether such factors are influencing statistical estimates. We employed 2 such design features: analysis of homicide rates in 4 comparison states (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia), and analysis of control outcomes (suicide and suicide by firearm).

Why pick those states as controls? The demographics of Ohio and Virginia are nothing like Florida. Virginia and New York also follow the common law that when faced with someone committing a forcible felony, you may employ deadly force to stop the commission of said felony, and you have no duty to retreat. This covers the vast majority of circumstances a citizen is going to be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense. New York and Virginia are already, via common law, Stand Your Ground states, so they make a very poor comparison to Florida. Also, why study just Florida? Maybe this is why, as the study admits: “Evaluations of Arizona’s and Texas’ stand your ground laws found no statistically significant impact on homicide.”

So keep studying the issue until you get the result you’re looking for? Pick the control states poorly to drive your desired result? Looks like it to me. The studies themselves usually do admit to their limitations, but the media never covers that. Therefore, these studies help drive a certain narrative, which is why Bloomberg spends big money to get them.

Crying Wolf

I think this blog post deserves a share. I tend to agree:

This, I think, is the first level of crying wolf. What if, one day, there is a candidate who hates black people so much that he doesn’t go on a campaign stop to a traditionally black church in Detroit, talk about all of the contributions black people have made to America, promise to fight for black people, and say that his campaign is about opposing racism in all its forms? What if there’s a candidate who does something more like, say, go to a KKK meeting and say that black people are inferior and only whites are real Americans?

We might want to use words like “openly racist” or “openly white supremacist” to describe him. And at that point, nobody will listen, because we wasted “openly white supremacist” on the guy who tweets pictures of himself eating a taco on Cinco de Mayo while saying “I love Hispanics!”

When you spend years saying nearly everything is racist or sexist, then nothing is racist or sexist. Jonah Goldberg, a card carrying Never Trumper, also think this accusation is being taken too far. Charles C.W. Cooke, another NRO Never Trumper also speaks badly of all this hyperbole.

Take Trump giving Steve Bannon a place in his Administration as Chief Strategist, something I think people should rightly be concerned about. But from everything I hear from the left, he sounds like the reincarnation of Joseph Goebbels. I respect Ian Tuttle’s take on this. Also read Ben Shapiro’s take on Bannon, since he worked for him and quit under unfriendly circumstances. This should legitimately be very worrisome. But it’s hard to convince people. In a world where everyone who disagrees is Hitler, then no one is Hitler. I don’t think Trump is going to bring Nazism or Fascism to America. I think such claims are overwrought. But there are warning signs that things need to change in our rhetoric. Trump might not be Hitler, but continuing down the current path risks the rise of a real one, and if that day comes, the people warning about it will be ignored.

Don’t Bring an Airsoft Gun to a Real Gun Fight

Looks like our local armed robbers showed up with Airsoft pistols. Fortunately, the customer showed up with a real one. The customer will not be charged, despite having an expired License to Carry. There is a six month grace period in Pennsylvania if your license is expired. No word on whether he fell into that period. Sheriffs are supposed to notify licensees of impending expiration, but not all do.

Carry Your Guns, Folks: Robbery in My ‘Hood

I live about six miles north of Philadelphia, in a quiet suburban community made up of a mix of tradesmen, business owners, and professionals (i.e. pretty much the demographic that tends to have a relatively high level of gun ownership and who tend also tend to get LTCs). Crime is relatively rare around here. Last night Bitter  heard helicopters hovering loudly around the house. I started falling asleep in my chair around 9:30 last night, so I headed up to bed and missed all the fun. Helicopter noise isn’t that unusual to us, because we’re right near I-95. A good pileup on the highway will bring them out. But this time it was not a pileup:

A customer inside Porfirio’s II Pizza in the Skyline Shopping Center in Levittown shot two alleged robbers Tuesday night.

I’ve gotten pizza from that place! And the gas station across the street is my preferred fill-up. The Wawa behind that shop is my Wawa! All this went down in walking distance from my front doorstep:

“The two male robbers apparently told the employees and the customer to get on the ground. They began pistol-whipping the customer. At that point, the customer produced a handgun and shot both of the robbers,” Bartorilla told reporters just before midnight Tuesday.

Good on him. He didn’t let them take control of his person.

The deceased robber was shot in the chest and the seriously injured robber was shot in the shoulder and the neck, the chief said.

Not bad shooting. He landed a clean center-of-mass hit on one and did hit the other. I’m wondering if he was aiming for the other guy’s gourd and the shot went a little low.

This is not the first time we’ve had an armed robbery around these parts. This robbery was right up the street from me and happened right after I moved here. Only a few months ago, two New Jersey residents found out the hard way that robbing mom and pop pharmacies on this side of the Delaware entails a bit more risk than they are used to on their side.

I’m not kidding, this really is a quiet suburb, but shit can go down anywhere, so carry your guns, folks. I’m glad this guy, whoever he is, did. I’d much rather hear about the meat wagon getting called out to cart off a dead robber than dead customers and employees.

Weekly Gun News – Edition 50

I skipped last week because of our election results, and there’s no shortage of fun stuff out there. But a lot of it is not directly gun related. Here goes:

$65 million is a lot of money to spend for a nail biter in one state and a loss in another. I’ll have to kick a couple of hundred bucks to ILA and PVF during a month when I have some breathing room. They had to spend big this year.

Not surprised to find out Shannon Watts has scared children. Clearly she hasn’t listened to The Liberty Zone. This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve witnessed this election. If your kids are scared because your candidate lost, you’re a shitty parent. Time to teach the kids a civics lesson.

Ammo serialization in Illinois is making waves again, and it looks like the makers of the technology are part of the coalition backing it. We’ve seen crony capitalists jump on the gun control bandwagon to commit regulatory capture before.

Nigel Farage wants to do away with the UK’s handgun ban.

Vuurwapen Blog is raising money for legal defense again. Seems the Fire Clean people are not done with them yet.

Seattle won’t release how much tax money it’s collected via it’s “gun violence” tax on guns. That’s because it was never about raising revenue.

What Trump is saying about guns.

This was my thought too: the everybody gets a trophy generation has finally learned what it’s like to lose an election. Boo hoo. Other thoughts from Scott Adams: it’s their first fake Hitler scare.

Reason: Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash.

John Richardson finds some big last minute news on Question 1 in Nevada. Bloomberg lost one his board members, Steve Wynn, after he realized he’d been hoodwinked. Sadly, too late in the game. If this had come a few weeks before I think we would have beat him in Nevada too.

Also, John Richardson has been searching the Wikileaks. It’s a top-down movement of elites.

New Jersey’s Attorney General has conceded that the state’s stun gun ban is unconstitutional.

Mike Dillon of Dillon Precision has died. Heaven just got a lot bluer.

Written by a Bernie supporter: Dear Democrats, Read This If You Do Not Understand Why Trump Won.

Armslist won its case against a Brady Campaign funded suit. They won it under the CDA. Good news.

The Federalist: How Jon Stewart and The Daily Show Elected Donald Trump. Yeah, the smug was strong with that one. I stopped watching years ago, though I thought he was more even handed in his early years at TDS.

Revenge of the Bitter Clingers?

The 2016 election has done nothing to assuage my concerns that gun control supporting Democrats are still winning all the state wide state offices. I suspect the truth may be that Rafferty ran a terrible campaign.

Science: I’m still skeptical of the EM drive, but it would be wonderful if this is true.

The Ant Farm Election

Long before emojis hit the Internet, I used to help run a MUD where we had what were called emotes, and one of them was called “Ant Farm” which went something like:

You point out that the MUD is just like a giant ant farm, and that the most entertainment can be derived from taking the whole thing and shaking the hell out of it every once in a while, watching as the various creatures struggle to preserve their fragile, pointless existence.

That is this election in a nutshell! I’ve been watching memes going around both left and right, but mostly left. The right people have mostly gone back to their normal lives. The big thing I’m seeing from lefties is all the walk backs Trump has been taking.

OK…. so what’s the problem here? He’s moving center after winning the election. This is what I’d hoped he’d do. I’m not completely happy with the transition team, but it’s mostly people who know how to get things done in Washington. It’s a signal Trump’s not necessarily going to be the whack job President myself and a lot of people feared. Sure, he’s still got 4 years to prove me wrong, and I’m sure he’s going to do things I don’t like, but every President has done things I don’t like. I’ll argue against those when he does them. A lot of lefties are asking conservatives to speak out against Trump’s hate now, presumably so they can feel a smug sense of self-satisfaction when they hear crickets. Screw them. I never saw any of them object when Obama trolled and gas lighted half the people in this country. You are part of what helped make this shit pile, so as far as I’m concerned you can sit there and smell it the next four years like the rest of us will.

It’s almost like they really believed that nonsense about Republicans never being able to win the White House again. I can believe that because I had people seriously argue that with me. It’s almost like they didn’t recognize that every once in a while, every party will float a dog turd of a candidate for President.

If there’s one thing I wish people on the left would recognize, and actually a lot of the old-school liberals and more honest lefties do: Hillary Clinton was a terrible candidate. She is the worst candidate for President I’ve ever seen in my lifetime (and I lived through Dukakis). She is so bad, she lost to Donald Trump. That’s how bad she was. She has all of the faults of her husband with none of his charms. As Megan McArdle put it:

She had two cadences: “fifth grader reading their essay about the water cycle to the whole class”; and “I’m coming in there in thirty seconds and I’d better see all of you cleaning that room!” This despite what we must assume was heroic and patient work by the best speech coaches in the business. The only tool she had for emphasis was sounding outraged; her resting speech face wavered between “bored” and “peeved”.

In politics, it doesn’t do a bit of good to put a candidate up for a seat who validates all your best hopes, aspirations, and ideas for the country, if that candidate is constitutionally incapable of winning.

 

Trump in Historical Context

The Trump phenomena isn’t anything this country hasn’t seen before:

The election of Donald Trump was a surprise and an upset, but the movement that he rode to the presidency has deep roots in American history. Mr. Trump’s strongest supporters are the 21st-century heirs of a political tendency that coalesced in the early 1820s around Andrew Jackson.

Old Hickory has been the despair of well-bred and well-educated Americans ever since he defeated the supremely gifted John Quincy Adams in the 1828 presidential election. Jackson’s brand of populism—nationalist, egalitarian, individualistic—remains one of the most powerful forces in American politics. The Republican Party’s extraordinary dominance in this election demonstrates just how costly the Democrats’ scornful rejection of “hillbilly populism” has been.

Read the whole thing. I’m pretty sure I would have been an Adams supporter in the election of 1828 had I lived at the time. But I don’t think Trump is anything new or scary. I don’t think he’s Hitler, and I don’t think he’s a fascist. To the extent he’s an authoritarian, it’s not a version of authoritarianism that’s foreign to the American character. I don’t like it, but I don’t think it’ll be the end of the country either. Some fast Trump facts, unrelated to above, but that I think are interesting:

  • He is the only person to ever win the presidency with no prior government service or having held no elected office. We’ve elected a lot of generals with no political experience, like Ike and Grant, but it could be argued that leading the Allied Forces and Army of the Potomac was a harder job than being president.
  • He is the oldest person to ever take office. Reagan previously held that record. However his father lived into his 90s, and his mother nearly made it to 90, so he’s got that going for him.
  • He is the most immigrant president we’ve ever had. Seriously, it’s true. Most members of the President’s Club are cousins to each other, because their families have all been here forever. People threw a lot of birther nonsense at Obama, with accusations of being less than American, but while Obama’s father was Kenyan, his mother’s line has deep roots in the USA. He is a distant cousin to Bitter, and several other US Presidents. Trump is the grandson of German immigrants, and the son of a Scottish immigrant. He has the most immigrant background of any US President. Let the irony of that sink in a bit.
  • He is the first President to have a First Lady who is an immigrant. The only other President that comes close is John Quincy Adams, whose wife Louisa was born in London, but to American (colonial at the time) parents. He is the first President who has a First Lady who speaks English as a second language.
  • He’s the first President who’s been married three times. Three others have been married twice.
  • He is our first President whose alma mater is the University of Pennsylvania. I’m sure they are so proud down there!
  • The state that has produced the most Presidents is New York, and Donald Trump will take the number of Presidents whose home state is New York from 6 to 7, topping out Ohio. He joins Martin Van Buren, Millard Filmore, Grover Cleveland (elected twice), Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt. However, only Donald Trump and Theodore Roosevelt were born in and raised in New York City.
  • He is the first Republican to take Pennsylvania in a Presidential race since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

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