Category Archives: Shining light on BS

Louisville’s Tim Faulkner Gallery shooting and a complete lack of outrage.

If a “mass shooting” occurs, and no talking heads are angry about it, will people make a sound?  The answer is: no.

This weekend, there was a concert event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, located in Louisville’s West End – specifically in Portland.  For those who aren’t familiar with the venue, Tim Faulkner’s is a 26,000 square foot mixed-use facility near the Ohio River, that is home to both artist space, McQuixote Books & Coffee, and a 10,000 square foot performance area that hosts various events.  It is surrounded by warehouses, manufacturing, and a lower income homes that are slowly being gentrified by hipsters, trendy restaurants & businesses encroaching into the area.  Kentucky Kustom Cycles is across the street, Louisville & Indiana Railroad is two buildings east, and Habitat for Humanity’s Louisville office is two streets south.

When 5 people are shot at 1AM, you’d think that people would be upset by this.  One woman, a student at University of Louisville, died. 5 were wounded and expected to recover.  After the outrage of the Orlando Nightclub shooting, all of the usual suspects were up in arms.  They quickly blamed everyone from the NRA, to the firearms industry, to the GOP for enabling the killer to murder all of those innocent people.

Imagine my surprise when I saw absolutely zero mention of this weekend’s horror in my social media feeds.  The same people who would wail and rend their clothes in a morbid kabuki display of virtue signaling; the social justice warriors who proudly declare that anyone who opposes gun control is a psychopath, and that the NRA is evil… why, they were silent.

24 hours later, there are no calls for gun control.  No screaming about the easy availability of firearms.   No talk about innocent lives lost or the societal cost of gun ownership, or how Something. Must. Be. Done.

Why on earth would that be?  Simple.  Here’s the event where the shooting occured:

xihvtot

The victims? No elementary school children.  No casualties from the LGBTQ community. A distinct lack of media friendly corpses to be used as macabre props, because this is the wrong demographic. No possible hate crime, and if the shooter is caught, he will probably already have a long criminal record.   It’s not as easy for the gun control movement to dance in the blood of the victims when this sort of thing happens.

It’s difficult to manufacture outrage when it’s a people being shot at a rap concert. Because of this, the personalities that generate talking points have nothing to say because their audience is just going to shrug their shoulders and go “what did you expect” when they see the event & the victims.

You see, this type of “mass shooting” doesn’t fit the narrative.  Louisville’s West End is known as the bad part of town, with the city’s poverty, crime rates, shootings & drug issues all congregate to become that area middle-class mothers warn their kids to avoid.

No Facebook profile pictures will be changed to say “We stand with Portland.” The people shot will only be mentioned again as a statistic: they will be lumped in with other similar “mass shootings” to paint firearms ownership as a stain upon society.

Thus, the truth is laid bare: those who scream the loudest about gun control aren’t really invested in it.  It’s not a cause they actually care about, because if it was they would be marching for the victims of Saturday’s shooting.  No, gun control is merely a tool in the arsenal; a facet of tribal politics & a way for them to lash out against their political opponents.  It’s something that is only mentioned when they can puff themselves up in righteous anger, and preen in their cloaks of moral righteousness; because their opinions are right and those who disagree are clearly evil.  If something cannot be used as a weapon against your enemies, it is ignored.

Their silence makes it all too obvious how this is not a battle for what’s right, or to reduce “gun violence” whatsoever, but to score points off their opponents.  Because, let’s face it: If these people were truly passionate about their beliefs, if they truly felt that Black Lives Matter, or that every life is precious, then they would be screaming about this sort of thing happening. Instead, we hear crickets.

The political winds do not favor gun control, thus the faithful do not need to be rallied.  Better to save their outrage for whatever other convenient controversy can be manipulated.

Rational people can change their minds

James Wright’s article about how he was wrong about gun control and why it is doomed to failure, from the 90’s.  The years change, but the song remains the same:

http://www.nationalaffairs.com/doclib/20080708_1988912secondthoughtsaboutguncontroljamesdwright.pdf

Old, but good: If the First Amendment was treated like the Second

If the first amendment was treated like the second amendment…

Any speech using 10 or more foreign words would be a felony.
(Firearm law 922(r) restricting 10 or more foreign gun parts from the 1989 import ban)

Anyone convicted of a felony or convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse or assault is not allowed freedom of speech or religion and must rely on the government to provide speech and religion for them.
(1968 gun control act)

Any speech or religions that are done in a scary tone or feel are banned.  Any assembly that looks scary is banned.
(1994 Federal Assault Weapon Ban that went after mostly cosmetic features)

Before engaging in new free speech you must pass an instant background check by a government authorized free speech dealer.  Sorry, if your name is like someone else prohibited from speech and religion, it is up to you to prove you’re not that person.
(NICS instant background check and Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993)

Any speech or work with more than 10 sentences per page is forbidden, any peaceable assembly with more than 10 people is also banned.
(Hi-Capacity Magazine bans in the Assault Weapon Ban and in many states to this day)

‘Freedom of Speech’ was only meant to be applicable to movable type presses.  The founding fathers didn’t foresee television, radio, photographs, telephones, film, or the internet.
(The idea that the 2nd amendment only applies to muskets)

You cannot exercise free speech or religion on federal property or at a school.
(Section 930. Title 18, United States Code and the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990)

Any religions, peaceable assemblies, camera, computer, telephone or free speech enabling device made before 1986 is available to use by the general public.  Any made after 1986 is only available to law enforcement.
(Closing of the NFA machine gun registry in 1986 by Regan with the Firearms Owner’s Protection Act)

A legal Polaroid camera from 1972 is now worth over $10,000 because you can’t get any new ones after 1986.  Sure you can get an illegal one, but you risk a 10-20 year felony conviction if caught.
(Market effects of the 1986 registry closure)

You can follow any religion, read any book, talk about whatever you like AFTER you pay a $200 tax to the government and pass a background check.  If you decide to buy more books, try another religion, or talk about something else, you must pay another $200 and go through another lengthy background check.
(National Firearm Act of 1934)

You CANNOT have free speech no matter what in Washington DC, it has been this way since 1977.
(Washington DC handgun ban)

Concealing free speech/religion is only permissible in some states and only after you have spent $100 and attended a state mandated course on how to speak/worship properly.  Though in some states you can’t conceal or display your speech or religion at all outside of your home.
(Conceal Carry Legislation and open carry laws)

You cannot have free speech if you are under 18 and you can’t worship anything until you are 21.
(Age restrictions on buying long guns and handguns)

If you wish to exchange free speech with a citizen in another state you must involve a government sanctioned free speech dealer to ensure they are allowed that type of free speech in their state.
(1968 Gun Control Act which mandates a FFL be needed for interstate gun purchases and transfers)

If the first amendment was treated like the second

Pro-click: “The Political Philosophy Of Guns – Would America Really Be A Better Society Without Them?”

Came across this last night:

America’s decades long national argument about gun control is not a normal political debate about addressing policy to problems but about what kind of politics to have. It is fundamentally about how citizens should relate to each other and the state, and that makes it a matter of political philosophy, Politics with a capital P. That in turn explains why the debate has gone on so long without resolution and the division and frustration it inspires.

Of course it is up to Americans to decide what kind of society they should have, not philosophers, and certainly not foreign ones like me. Indeed, part of my argument is that even this most fundamental question must be decided politically, by the people, and not by appeal to the special authority of sacred constitutional principles or social science or even philosophy. Philosophers’ pronouncements of truth and rightness have no special authority over politics, nor should they. What philosophical analysis can do is offer new perspective and argumentative resources by which a political debate such as this one might be improved from its toxic stalemate.

I know what you are thinking.  This is going to be a long winded argument about how guns are bad.  WRONG!

So what does my philosophical perspective come down to? First a diagnosis. Both sides of the gun control debate know they are right. But only one side recognises it as a fundamentally philosophical dispute. The other has systematically evaded the real debate about values in favour of the faux objectivity of a statistical public health argument [See Hunt for a discussion of what the gun control debate is actually about]. Second some positive advice. The advocates of gun control need to take the political philosophy of the gun rights movement seriously and show that a society without guns is a better society not that it is a safer one.

It only gets better from there:

I’m going to have to be blunt. Gun control advocates rely excessively on a public health case that is not only much weaker than they believe it to be but also crowds out the kind of arguments that might actually win over their opponents. Their confidence that they are on the right side of history has blinded them to the fact that they have chosen to fight on the wrong ground. They keep harping on about guns killing people. As if guns were like cigarettes, and as if the numbers were big enough to matter

Guns are an excellent killing technology. They are extremely good at transforming an intention to kill into its achievement. However, that doesn’t mean that they are a particularly significant cause of death; only a particularly exciting one.The idea that forcibly removing guns from citizens would reduce death rates in any appreciable degree is a triumph of moral indignation over statistics. America is not 43rd in the world for life-expectancy because it kills so many people with guns, but, principally, because of the social gradient in health that follows from its shameful levels of socio-economic inequality [1].

Let’s go into this a little more.

We hear a lot about the large number of deaths caused by guns in America, around 33,000 per year. This sounds like a big number. But understanding whether a number is big enough to matter requires considering it in context. 2.6 million Americans die every year [CDC] [2]. Gun deaths represent just over 1% of deaths, and two thirds of those are suicides. From a public health perspective, many other causes of death seem much more deserving of our worry, and also more likely to yield to government intervention.

So happy to see someone else making the same arguments I’ve been using for years.  This one addresses a plethora of typical arguments: Guns vs Cars, Suicide, Mass Shootings, etc.  I have to disagree with the author’s “Your gun isn’t going to stop the military” argument for reasons outlined in previous posts, but you can’t have everything.

Long, but good read: “The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights”

The next time your left leaning friends decide to lecture you about how you are a terrible gun fetishist, feel free to refer to this well written piece:

http://www.thepolemicist.net/2013/01/the-rifle-on-wall-left-argument-for-gun.html

Thomas Sowell’s take on the President’s speech: “On Gun Control, Obama Is Showman In Chief”

Those of you who read this blog should be familiar with my use of the term “security theater” and how most gun control proposals are little more than soundbites.   Thomas Sowell, noted economist, wrote an article covering yesterday’s Presidential address and reminded me of the flip side; political theater.

Those who have been marveling at Donald Trump’s political showmanship were given a reminder of who is the top showman of them all, when President Obama went on television to make a pitch for his unilateral actions to restrict gun sales and make a more general case for tighter gun-control laws.

It was beautifully choreographed, like a great ballet, and performed with consummate skill and understated eloquence.

First of all, the scene was set with a room full of people who have lost loved ones to gun violence. A father whose son had been gunned down made a long introduction before the president showed up, walked down the aisle and up onto the stage to growing applause.

As political theater, it put Donald Trump’s rantings in the shade.

As for the substance of what Obama said, there was very little substance, and much of it false, but one of the signs of great artistry was that the presentation overshadowed the substance.

None of the things proposed by the president is likely to reduce gun violence. Like other restrictions on people’s ability to defend themselves, or to deter attacks by showing that they are armed, these new restrictions can cost more lives on net balance.

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-on-the-right/010516-788259-thomas-sowell-donald-trump-has-nothing-on-barack-obama-when-it-comes-to-showmanship.htm?fromcampaign=1&p=full

I’m always glad to read when my point of view is the same as others that I respect.

People who are prepared to defy the laws against murder are not very likely to be stopped by laws against guns. Only law-abiding citizens are likely to be stopped by gun-control laws, and to become sitting ducks.

As for facts and statistics, the only ones likely to be mentioned by gun-control zealots, including the media, are those on how many people were killed by guns. How many lives were saved by guns will never make it through the ideological filters of the media, the political establishment or our educational institutions.

Yet factual data on how many threats or attacks were deterred in a given year by displaying a firearm have long been available. Seldom is it necessary to actually pull the trigger to get some thug or criminal to back off and go elsewhere, often in some haste.

Are the only lives that matter those that are lost, usually because there is no gun immediately available to protect them, but not the lives saved because they did have a gun at hand to protect them?

Gun-control zealots seem especially opposed to people being allowed to carry their guns concealed. But concealed weapons protect not only those who carry them, but also to some extent those who do not, because criminals have no way of knowing in advance who does and does not have a gun.

Muggings and rapes become much more dangerous activities for criminals where many law-abiding people are allowed to carry concealed guns. It can take a lot of the fun out of being a thug.

Obama said that we are the only “advanced” nation with so much gun violence. But there are a number of countries with higher murder rates than ours and stronger gun-control laws. But that leaves the definition of “advanced” to Obama — and makes for clever political theater.

Damn straight.  Thank you Dr. Sowell, for seeing through the bullshit.

The “US vs Developed World” fallacy

Gun control argument #102937: “The US has the highest gun death rate in the developed world!!!!”

Before someone even finishes the opening sentence of this argument, you know this is dubious science because they’ve already admitted they’ve cherry picked the data.

Much of the political thinking about violence in the United States comes from unfavorable comparisons between the United States and a series of cherry-picked countries with lower murder rates and with fewer guns per capita. We’ve all seen it many times. The United States, with a murder rate of approximately 5 per 100,000 is compared to a variety of Western and Central European countries (also sometimes Japan) with murder rates often below 1 per 100,000. This is, in turn, supposed to fill Americans with a sense of shame and illustrate that the United States should be regarded as some sort of pariah nation because of its murder rate.

Note, however, that these comparisons always employ a carefully selected list of countries, most of which are very unlike the United States. They are  countries that were settled long ago by the dominant ethnic group, they are ethnically non-diverse today, they are frequently very small countries (such as Norway, with a population of 5 million) with very locally based democracies (again, unlike the US with an immense population and far fewer representatives in government per voter). Politically, historically, and demographically, the US has little in common with Europe or Japan.

https://mises.org/blog/mistake-only-comparing-us-murder-rates-developed-countries

What I find particularly interesting about this article is that it mentions the issues with GDP comparisons:

Few people who repeat this mantra have any standard in their heads of what exactly is the “developed” world. They just repeat the phrase because they have learned to do so. They never acknowledge that when factors beyond per capita GDP are considered, it makes little sense to claim Sweden should be compared to the US, but not Argentina.  Such assertions ignore immense differences in culture, size, politics, history, demographics, or ethnic diversity. Comparisons with mono-ethnic Asian countries like Japan and Korea make even less sense.

And some blatantly dishonest nonsense from antigun editors with axes to grind who use OECD:

[M]any who use the “developed country” moniker often use the OECD members countries as a de facto list of the “true” developed countries. Of course, membership in the OECD is highly political and hardly based on any objective economic or cultural criteria.

But if you’re familiar with the OECD, you’ll immediately notice a problem with the list Fisher uses. Mexico is an OECD country. So why is Mexico not in this graph? Well, it’s pretty apparent that Mexico was left off the list because to do so would interfere with the point Fisher is trying to make. After all, Mexico — in spite of much more restrictive gun laws — has a murder rate many times larger than the US.

But Fisher has what he thinks is a good excuse for his manipulation here.  According to Fisher, the omission is because Mexico “has about triple the U.S. rate due in large part to the ongoing drug war.”

Oh, so every country that has drug war deaths is exempt? Well, then I guess we have to remove the US from the list.