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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Quick Review of the Liberal Point of View

I generally follow the classical liberal news over the progressive "liberal" news. But occasionally, I want to see what the neo-fascists are thinking about. Here are some articles from today's Huffington Post.

First, Bill Moyers has penned an anti-gun screed, entitled "Gunpowder and Blood on Their Cold Dead Hands" that is appallingly inaccurate and, as typical of the liberal mindset, unconcerned with remedying the problem. Moyers writes:
This grim anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., killings, with 28 dead, reminded us of that moment back in 2000 when Charlton Heston made his defiant boast at the NRA convention that gun control advocates would have to pry his rifle from his "cold, dead hands." ...
Source

For sure, Heston wasn't channeling his most famous role, as Moses in The Ten Commandments, striding down from Mount Sinai with a stone tablet on which had been chiseled God's blueprint for a civilized society, including, "Thou Shalt Not Kill!"


But the Good Lord seems not to have anticipated the National Rifle Association, its delegates lustily cheering Heston as his demagoguery brought them to their feet. Started after the Civil War by two former officers of the Union army who were disconsolate that their troops had shown such poor marksmanship in battle, its purpose was to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis." Now, its conscience as cold and dead as Charlton Heston's grip on his gun, the NRA has become the armed bully of American politics, the enabler of the "gunfighter nation," as cultural historian Richard Slotkin calls it, whose exceptionalism of which so many patriots fervently boast, includes a high tolerance for the slaughter of the innocent.
There has been a lot of killing in America since Newtown a year ago, perhaps more than 30,000 gun deaths since that fatal day. And gun purchases are way up. The biggest publicly traded firearms manufacture in the United States, Sturm Ruger, had more than half a billion dollars in sales for the first nine months of this year, 45 percent higher than two years ago, with a 67 percent profit rise over the same period. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that for the first eleven months of 2013, FBI background checks for gun purchases rose to more than 19 million, up from less than 9 million in 2005: "Not every background check leads to a firearms sale, but the direction of the statistics is compellingly clear."
Where to start? The stupidity of blaming gun owners generally, and the NRA particularly, for the actions of a crazed mad man. The NRA didn't cause the Newton shooting anymore than AAA caused the 10.5 million auto accidents, and 35,900 automobile related deaths in 2009.

The phrase "thou shalt not kill" has long been recognized as prohibiting "murder," not killing in self-defense.

The Slate article that Moyers cites actually states that only 11,605 deaths are gun related--and that 60% of all gun deaths are suicides. The 33,000 figure is just a guess based on an assumption that most gun deaths (because they are suicide) are not reported as such. (As Australia has proven, suicide rates are not impacted by gun control--people merely turn to another way to kill themselves). This article from Breitbart states that the United States had 13,636 homicides in 2009, but, according to this article from the Guardian, only 9,199 were committed with a firearm. Moreover, according to Mother Jones, 2013 will see the U.S. have its lowest murder rate in over a century. Notwithstanding (or more likely, because of) record gun sales.

There is no correlation between firearm ownership and homicides. As even the highly biased Guardian notes:
From an international perspective, the US clearly has a problem - despite having less than 5% of the world's population, it has roughly 35-50% of the world's civilian-owned guns. [ed. And that's bad how?].

The United States has 88 firearms per 100 people. Yemen, the second highest gun ownership country in the world has 54.8. The third and fourth biggest countries may also come as a surprise - Switzerland (45.7) and Finland (45.3).

As a percentage of all murders, firearms are the most deadly in places like Puerto Rico and Sierra Leone where they account for 95% and 88% of homicides. The US also slides down the global rankings when homicide by firearm victims are looked at per 100,000 of the population - the figure is 2.97 for the United States, in stark contrast to Jamaica's 39.4 per 100,000 or Honduras's 68.43.
 Moreover, as Daniel Greenfield discusses in this December 2012 article at Front Page magazine, most of the murders in the U.S. occur in the large, Democratically controlled cities--that have strict gun control. That is, the U.S. has a gang problem, not a gun problem.

Chicago’s murder numbers have hit that magic 500. Baltimore’s murder toll has passed 200. In Philly, it’s up to 324, the highest since 2007. In Detroit, it’s approaching 400, another record. In New Orleans, it’s almost at 200. New York City is down to 414 from 508. In Los Angeles, it’s over 500. In St. Louis it’s 113 and 130 in Oakland. It’s 121 in Memphis and 76 in Birmingham.

Washington, D.C., home of the boys and girls who can solve it all, is nearing its own big 100.

Those 12 cities alone account for nearly 3,200 dead and nearly a quarter of all murders in the United States. And we haven’t even visited sunny Atlanta or chilly Cleveland.
 He also explains:
A breakdown of the Chicago killing fields shows that 83% of those murdered in Chicago last year had criminal records. In Philly, it’s 75%. In Milwaukee it’s 77% percent. In New Orleans, it’s 64%. In Baltimore, it’s 91%. Many were felons who had served time. And as many as 80% of the homicides were gang related.

Chicago’s problem isn’t guns; it’s gangs. Gun control efforts in Chicago or any other major city are doomed because gangs represent organized crime networks which stretch down to Mexico, and trying to cut off their gun supply will be as effective as trying to cut off their drug supply.

America’s murder rate isn’t the work of the suburban and rural homeowners who shop for guns at sporting goods stores and at gun shows, and whom news shows profile after every shooting, but by the gangs embedded in the urban areas controlled by the Democratic machine. The gangs who drive up America’s murder rate look nothing like the occasional mentally ill suburban white kid who goes off his medication and decides to shoot up a school. Lanza, like most serial killers, is a media aberration, not the norm.

National murder statistics show that blacks are far more likely to be killers than whites and they are also far more likely to be killed. The single largest cause of homicides is the argument. 4th on the list is juvenile gang activity with 676 murders, which combined with various flavors of gangland killings takes us nearly to the 1,000 mark. America has more gangland murders than Sierra Leone, Eritrea and Puerto Rico have murders.

Our national murder rate is not some incomprehensible mystery that can only be attributed to the inanimate tools, the steel, brass and wood that do the work. It is largely the work of adult males from age 18 to 39 with criminal records killing other males of that same age and criminal past.
 (See also here). I've also noted before that UK murder rates are questionable, because of the way they count (or rather, don't count) homicides. So basically, even with gang related deaths, the U.S. has a low murder rate; and without them, the U.S. is comparable to Western Europe. (See also this article at U.S. Conservatives).

Moyers' reasoning reminds me of the well known poem of the Ambulance Down in the Valley:

'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed, 
though to walk near its crest was so pleasant; 
but over its terrible edge there had slipped
a duke and full many a peasant.

So the people said something would have to be done, 
but their projects did not at all tally; 
some said, 'Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff, '
some, 'An ambulance down in the valley.'

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day, 
for it spread through the neighboring city; 
a fence may be useful or not, it is true, 
but each heart became full of pity
for those who slipped over the dangerous cliff; 

And the dwellers in highway and alley
gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence, 
but an ambulance down in the valley.

'For the cliff is all right, if your careful, ' they said, 
'and if folks even slip and are dropping, 
it isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
as the shock down below when they're stopping.'

So day after day, as these mishaps occurred, 
quick forth would those rescuers sally
to pick up the victims who fell off the cliff, 
with their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: 'It's a marvel to me
that people give far more attention
to repairing results than to stopping the cause, 
when they'd much better aim at prevention.

Let us stop at its source all this mischief, ' cried he, 
'come, neighbors and friends, let us rally; 
if the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
with the ambulance down in the valley.'

Moyers would rather deal with more dramatic, but ultimately useless path, of prohibiting guns than attempt to address the root cause of the violence--the very policies inflicted on blacks by liberals.

And, finally, lets get past the hysterics. If the much higher number of deaths from motor vehicles is not an emergency requiring us to forego constitutional rights, the much lower gun homicide rate is not either. And don't even get me started on the estimated 210,000 to 444,000 that die each year due to medical error. If there are killing fields in America, it is in our hospitals, doctor's offices, and pharmacies.

Next up, Reddit has decided to ban anyone from its science forum that doesn't ascribe to the global warming creed. This follows the long-held liberal rule that if you can't beat them with facts, just censor them.

On a related note, although the global cooling deniers constantly tell us that we can't rely on a single data point to contradict the global warming meme, this warming fanatic does exactly that as he waxes nostalgic over the lack of snow on Mount Rainier in Washington State. Fortunately, he has chosen not to reproduce. Notwithstanding that CO2 levels were much higher until a couple million years ago, the author seems to believe that we face the extinction of life.

Finally, prima donna Valerie Alexander whines about how expensive weddings are (sort of a given if you are paying $15,000 for a dress!), and says we need to do even more to make girls think they are special. The archetype of the Ibsen woman.


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