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Unexamined Premises

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Two Views of Gun Control…

December 30th, 2012 - 10:42 pm

… or, do as I say, not as I do, Hollywood division:

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Okay, it’s easy to say that they’re just actors. Jamie Foxx is not really killing all those white people in Tarantino’s Django Unchainedvia the magic of movie-making, he’s just pretending to kill them. And Jennifer Garner isn’t really shooting those Arabs in The Kingdom, she’s just playing a role. And Jeremy Renner — a splendid action hero, even if the last Bourne installment was a plotless dud — would never in a million years think of gunning down Boston cops while robbing Fenway Park (as he did in The Town), unless his pal Ben Affleck (on his way to becoming a great director) asked him to for his art.

And good for them for doing so.

But with President Obama promising to put “gun control” in the legislative crosshairs in 2013, it’s instructive to watch various actors both miming heroism and then denouncing the very tools with which they perform those heroic acts. For years, Hollywood has been forced to assert that films have no influence on the larger culture — unless, of course, it’s advancing various pet lefty causes under the “tolerance” rubric — and that therefore they cannot “inspire” various psychotic punks to acts of horrific violence.

And I agree. As John Milton writes in the Areopagitica:

TO THE PURE, ALL THINGS ARE PURE; not only meats and drinks, but all kind of knowledge whether of good or evil; the knowledge cannot defile, nor consequently the books, if the will and conscience be not defiled. For books are as meats and viands are; some of good, some of evil substance; and yet God, in that unapocryphal vision, said without exception, RISE, PETER, KILL AND EAT, leaving the choice to each man’s discretion. Wholesome meats to a vitiated stomach differ little or nothing from unwholesome; and best books to a naughty mind are not unappliable to occasions of evil. Bad meats will scarce breed good nourishment in the healthiest concoction; but herein the difference is of bad books, that they to a discreet and judicious reader serve in many respects to discover, to confute, to forewarn, and to illustrate…

Good and evil we know in the field of this world grow up together almost inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labour to cull out, and sort asunder, were not more intermixed. It was from out the rind of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evil, as two twins cleaving together, leaped forth into the world. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say of knowing good by evil.

In other words, to a soul predisposed to evil, everything can be an occasion of sin. To the feeble-minded losers who fancy themselves Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, everything looks like a black trench coat:

You talkin’ to me?

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We Have Met the Enemy

December 24th, 2012 - 1:02 pm

 

…and he is the Gannett newspaper chain (for which I once worked, decades ago), which offers this helpful example of “service journalism” for its readers in Westchester and Rockland counties, New York — the names and home addresses of pistol permit holders in the circulation area:

The map indicates the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.

What possible use can such a map serve? You can start by asking this woman, who’s already getting quite a backlash from her readers. Discuss among yourselves, and have a Merry Christmas.

UPDATE: Where are the Journal News employees in your neighborhood? Find out here.

For unbridled bias, ignorance and animus, this Reuters story on firearms has to be read to believed. Let’s start with the headline: 

Gun enthusiasts pack shows to buy assault weapons

In case you’re slow on the uptake, the story contains no fewer than thirteen uses of the word “assault,” all of them used incorrectly. The idea is to get the reader to think that enraged gun nuts all across America are lining up to buy machine guns in order to “assault” a particular target of their ire. And just how does Reuters define an “assault” rifle?

Reuters reporters went to gun shows in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas, and found long lines to get in the door, crowds around the dealer booths, a rush to buy assault weapons even at higher prices and some dealers selling out.

The busiest table at the R.K. Gun & Knife show at an exposition center near the Kansas City, Missouri airport was offering assault weap near the entrance.

West Plains, Missouri dealer Keith’s Guns sold out of about 20 AR-15 style assault rifles in a little over an hour, owner Keith Gray sa.

That would be this type of gun, one of the most popular civilian rifles in America.

Reuters continues:

An AR-15 type assault weapon was among the guns authorities believe suspect Adam Lanza stole from his mother to use in the massacre of 20 school children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school on December 14.

The killing of innocent children at the school shocked the nation and prompted a number of politicians including President Barack Obama to call for a ban on assault weapons and ammunition clips that allow the rapid firing of multiple bullets.

“Rapid firing of multiples bullets” sounds pretty scary until you realize that rapid fire is, along with accuracy, one of the points of shooting and no gun I know fires more than one bullet at a time.  But such drivel is par for the course for American journalists writing about firearms.

The story now reveals its true agenda:

The killing of innocent children at the school shocked the nation and prompted a number of politicians including President Barack Obama to call for a ban on assault weapons and ammunition clips that allow the rapid firing of multiple bullets.

Rather than tighten gun ownership restrictions, the powerful lobby for gun rights, the National Rifle Association, on Friday called for armed guards at every school…

Assault weapon is a broad term commonly used to refer to semi-automatic or automatic weapons that can fire multiple bullets rapidly. From 1994 to 2004 certain assault weapons and ammunition clips of more than 10 bullets were illegal.

The ban was allowed to expire when Republican George W. Bush was in the White House.

That darn Bush and those damn Republicans want school children to die. But then, what do you expect from a bunch of sexists and racists?

More than 200 people lined up at each of three entrances on Saturday morning to pay the $8 entrance fee to the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, which has an exhibit hall spanning 25 acres. They crowded the aisles of the show and stood two-deep at booths for assault weapons and ammunition clips.

At all three shows the attendees were overwhelmingly white men, with some women and very few ethnic minorities.

The story closes with a sideswipe at the so-called “gun show loophole” (private citizens engaging in private commerce) and then, for the sake of “balance,” finds a fellow who thinks guns aren’t regulated enough:

Bruce Abernathy walked away with an assault rifle after sitting through a 30-minute background check at the Texas show.

“There should be more strict background checks,” said Abernathy, a Dallas resident. He said there should be a 30-day waiting period to buy weapons and a thorough background check that includes five references.

So now you know how the discussion is going to be framed going forward: all rifles are “assault” rifles, and the term will quickly expand to include pistols — because, after all, what duck hunter uses a .357 Magnum? No defensive use of a firearm will be considered legitimate. As Rahm Emanuel famously said, “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” No wonder the lines at gun shows and in gun stores across the country last week were so long: folks can see where this movie is going.

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Gun Crazy II

December 19th, 2012 - 11:26 am

Ask any cop or serviceman and he’ll tell you that gunfights at close range are nasty, brutish and short.  They are not the multi-magazined battles of Hollywood’s full-auto imagination, in which two parties duck, dodge, weave, take cover and trade shots for minutes on end.  In reality — and aside from spectacular gun battles like the North Hollywood bank robbery (which inspired the heart-pounding robbery sequence in Michael Mann’s Heat, above) — most combat ends after one or two shots. As the old saying goes: “If you need to reload — you lost.”

And yet, the anti-gun Left, which has happily seized upon the Newtown, Conn., tragedy to further its stealth disarmament agenda, continues to believe that resistance to a crazed, evil gunman is, essentially, futile; that any confrontation by an armed, responsible citizen will necessarily result in a prolonged hail of bullets that will take more lives than it will save; and that the best course of action is to let the gunman continue to fire uninterrupted until the SWAT team, the EMTs, and the coroner finally show up.

Nearly half a century after a young woman was stabbed to death in Queens, her dying screams falling upon the deaf ears of her Kew Gardens neighbors, to their everlasting shame, the Left would now make us all into Kitty Genovese.

There are many problems with this attitude but since “progressives” consider passivity  the “moral” course of action, let’s start with the morality: fighting back, if only with contempt, is always preferable to supine submission to those who would kill you — even if you die in the process. If you have a problem with that, then don’t pretend to want a national “conversation” about firearms. Instead, why not adopt the sneering ad-hominem attitude of Adam Gopnik, writing in The New Yorkerwhich under David Remnick has become a parody of  neurotic “progressive” thought:

After the Aurora killings, I did a few debates with advocates for the child-killing lobby—sorry, the gun lobby—and, without exception and with a mad vehemence, they told the same old lies: it doesn’t happen here more often than elsewhere (yes, it does); more people are protected by guns than killed by them (no, they aren’t—that’s a flat-out fabrication); guns don’t kill people, people do; and all the other perverted lies that people who can only be called knowing accessories to murder continue to repeat, people who are in their own way every bit as twisted and crazy as the killers whom they defend. (That they are often the same people who pretend outrage at the loss of a single embryo only makes the craziness still crazier.)

Well, pace Mr. Gopnik, guns really don’t kill people — people kill people. With guns, knives, clubs, poison, explosives, pillows and their bare hands, among other things. And yet what George Orwell first dubbed the “pansy left” continues to insist that not only are guns the cause of crime, but that they have no use in the prevention of crime, unless wielded by the police. And so the Left has come full circle since the ’60s, when every right-thinking hippie loathed the pigs — even wanted to “off” them — and was always looking for ways of sticking it to The Man.

But waiting for the Man is not an option. “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away” — in Newtown, they were twenty minutes away. The obscene horror of mass-shooting sites is often compounded by how long the killers have to go about their deadly work in “gun-free zones” (which should be re-dubbed “free-fire zones”) before being interrupted — at which point they typically kill themselves. In the recent Oregon mall shootings, the killer decided to turn his gun on himself when he caught sight of an armed civilian, and the Connecticut monster shot himself once the “first responders” started to arrive.

What would have happened had some civilian at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown or in that movie theater in Aurora, Colo., been armed and had shot back?

The assaults on the helpless and the unarmed would have ceased at that moment.

Nobody, even the craziest of shooters, can ignore gunfire coming in his direction; the instinct  toward immediate self-preservation, however temporary, is too strong. The shooter would have turned to assess the threat, perhaps fired back, been fired upon again and possibly hit, retreated to cover  – or, more likely, taken his own life — thus giving his victims life-saving moments out of the kill zone, in which to try and escape. But the kids of Newtown didn’t have that chance, nor did the Norwegian youth on that island in 2011, nor the students at Virginia Tech four years earlier. Because nobody was able to fight back.

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The Next Secretary of State?

December 13th, 2012 - 2:08 pm

And here’s the man who may soon succeed Hillary Clinton, on the Firing Line with WFB:

One more for those who can’t get enough of the senior senator from Massachusetts:

And, finally, Mr. Sixteen Weeks vs. fellow vet and future Swiftboater, John O’Neill on the Dick Cavett Show:

Maybe Susan Rice should reconsider, for the sake of the nation.

Gun Crazy

December 3rd, 2012 - 5:14 pm

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By now we’ve all seen NBC’s Bob Costas (not to be confused with my friend and NRO colleague, Bob Costa) pontificating in his smug lefty way in reaction to the murder/suicide of a Kansas City Chiefs football player and his girlfriend. Costas used as the basis of his remarks this column from Jason Whitlock, which included this passage:

Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.

In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.

That is the message I wish Chiefs players, professional athletes and all of us would focus on Sunday and moving forward. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.

It’s easy to spot the flaw in this logic. Whitlock is confusing firearm availability with increased violence (when in fact the exact opposite is true), and if he needs to consult someone on domestic double murder without a gun, he need to look no farther than this guy:

If the glove don’t fit… you still might be guilty

He also makes the common liberal mistake of ascribing temptation to an inanimate object; my lefty friends are always telling me they would never have a gun in their homes because they couldn’t trust themselves around it. That surely says more about them than about a Colt M1911, and if that’s the way they feel, I wouldn’t want them to have easy access to firearms, either.

Whitlock’s larger point — which I agree with completely — is that football occupies entirely too much of the American landscape. Personally, I think spending even a minute watching pro football on television is a complete waste of time and I sincerely wish I had back all those misspent hours watching — and, worse, caring about — football. Among other things, I might have been spared this agony:

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So it’s too bad Whitlock had to double down on dumb in this conversation with CNN’s Roland Martin:

You know, I did not go as far as I’d like to go because my thoughts on the NRA and America’s gun culture — I believe the NRA is the new KKK. And that the arming of so many black youths, uh, and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don’t have our best interests [at heart].

I think it’s obvious if you’ve traveled abroad, and traveled to countries where they have legitimate gun laws, that we don’t have to have what we have in America, where people somehow think a gun enhances their liberty, and that people somehow think a gun makes them safer. It just doesn’t. A gun turns some kids listening to music into a murder scene. And uh, you know, if you don’t have a gun, you drive home. You know, kids listening to some loud music, you don’t like it, you go home and complain to your wife. But when you have a gun, you open fire, potentially, and take the life of a child.

The NRA is hardly “arming black youths” or pushing drugs in the black community, and Whitlock needs to distinguish between the pathologies of the underclass — white and black — in which arguments over trivial things all too often turn deadly, and the morality of the vast majority of citizens , whose first instinct is not to reach for a gun, even if they’re carrying one. (Link is to the Democratic Underground website, so be sure to enjoy the krazy komments after the chart.)

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