Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"For The Sake Of The Children" ...or other such prattle.

J.R Salzman is an Iraq War Veteran who wears a prosthetic right arm as a daily reminder of his commitment to his Nation. His arm was blown off in the line of duty, but his spirit and his commitment remain wholly intact. In addition to being a freelance writer he is, to this day as he was before his service and injury, a “Timber Sports” Athlete and holds multiple world titles in the sport of log rolling.

You might be asking why I bring up Mr. Salzman. Good question. I’ve been searching for a theme to use to tie together a number of thoughts into a single piece for about a week and Mr. Salzman provided the inspiration with a comment in his Twitter feed today:

It's easier to say "it's about the children" in the gun control debate than "stats and majority don’t support it, but let’s ban guns anyway." ~ J.R. Salzman

….and there you have it.

It has become commonplace for deceitful journalists, opportunistic politicians dancing on the graves of children and their uneducated, group-think prone supporters to parrot the specious claim that we must increase gun control ….”to protect the children”, or that we must restrict magazine capacity or ban certain types of firearms to increase public safety. In support of their crocodile-tear infused prattle they like to foist upon us “examples” such as the UK. A claim so easily debunked as to baffle anyone with two brain cells to rub together as to why it continues to be trotted out.

First note, that over the last 100yrs the UK murder rate has increased 50% despite multiple increasingly stringent gun restrictions while the US murder rate has dropped 40% over that same time despite relatively static gun regulations and a more than 2x increase in the number of guns owned in the US in just the last 20 of those years alone.....(Read that last bit again, it's important)....that said, the simple - and it really is simple - reason that the death rates in the UK are lower has nothing whatsoever to do with differences in firearms legislation. It has everything to do with the number of those who are impoverished and live in inner cites. Violent crime disproportionately occurs in small pockets of metropolitan areas in excess of 250k in population.  The United States has 186 such metropolitan areas and the UK has a mere 32. Though a fairly equal percentage of Americans & Brittans,  ~79 % live in such areas, the telling demographic element is that the US has over double the number of cities in excess of 1M citizens (11 vs 5) and 3 times the number of cites over 500k (34 vs 11). As the size of the city increases so does the size of the "bad pockets" and so to does the crime rate. But, the increase in crime is non-linear and exceeds the rate of increase in population. In simplest terms, crime occurs in big cities, we have bigger cites and far more of them. Our “hood” density is higher and this is a challenge that cannot be met with something so trite as a gun ban.

One needs only to look at any number of online crime reporting sites to see the above illustrated in very graphic terms. Look at the maps for any metropolitan area and you see where the violent crime occurs and where it doesn’t. Drape your knowledge of where highly restrictive gun laws exist or not over that map and you come away with an irrefutable conclusion. First that crime occurs predominately in bad neighborhoods irrespective of restrictive gun laws....but more importantly, more crime happens in places where the gun laws are more restrictive as potential victims are unable to lawfully protect themselves from criminals….who don’t tend to follow laws. Criminals use weapons irrespective of their "legality" because it maximizes their odds of success, particularly if they can be reasonably certain that their potential victim lacks the equalizing force of a firearm.

“BUT”, the protectionist will cry, “If we make it tougher to get guns, the criminals will have fewer of them and something-something-something…” When asked to provide evidence to support such an assertion the protectionist can only reply, “Well, it’s just common sense!”

Voltaire taught us to “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” which is especially fitting in this case because Voltaire also said, “Common sense is not so common.” The reason why the protectionist employs the false logic of “common sense” is that there is no evidence to support the claim that increased gun laws will decrease crime. In fact the opposite IS true and there is a raft of evidence to support that. Rather than quote and annotate each of the studies I’ll simply supply links to them and urge you to read them yourself. Please do so before you comment. There are many others but these are the most common and most accessible.

1978 – University of Massachusetts, Amherst – Under the Gun: Crime and Violence in America – (Commissioned by the USCDC under the Carter Administration)

1997 – Florida State University Dept of Criminology – Dr. Gary Kleck, Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control -  Summary paper -

2004 – National Academy of Sciences, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review. -

2010 – John Lott, More Guns – Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws -

2007, Republished 2012 – Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, “Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder & Suicide?” -

It’s important to note a few things about the above studies.
  • The Carter Administration and CDC sought the UoM study in hopes that its outcome would support their gun control agenda. It didn’t.
  • Dr. Kleck, an avowed liberal & Democrat, expected his study to affirm his beliefs in support of increased gun control. It didn’t.
  • Published in 2004, The National Academy of Sciences study was commissioned by the Clinton Era DOJ seeking support for their efforts to increase gun control. The study when completed failed to support the effort. However the 1994 AWB had already passed into law despite every indication that it would not curb gun violence.....And - You guessed it - It didn't.

So it appears that there is a demonstrable case that increasing general gun restrictions does not decrease violent crime and deaths by way of gunshots. Knowing that, one still might think they could pinpoint specific TYPES of firearms that are responsible for the most crime and seek to restrict just those. But that isn’t what the protectionists are seeking to do. Handguns are responsible the overwhelming majority of deaths by firearms in the US yet they seek instead to ban semi-automatic rifles. Rifles, according the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report are responsible for 323 deaths. Included in that figure are justified homicides such as legitimate defensive shootings and cases where Law Enforcement shot and killed a suspect. The figure includes all rifles including semi-automatic of the type the protectionists seek to ban, but also common hunting rifles of the bolt action, lever action and semi-automatic variety. So the “military style” semi-automatic rifle is responsible for a tiny fraction of all firearm deaths and THAT is the weapon they seek to ban? What sense does that make?

Again we channel the common response of those who support such lunacy; “BUT”, they exclaim, “That kind of weapon isn’t needed for self-defense.”

The Constitutional argument of "need" vs Rights aside, the first problem with that statement is that the Department of Homeland Security disagrees in their early 2013 contract publication stating the following:

DHS and its components have a requirement for a 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters ….. The action shall be capable of accepting all standard NATO STANAG 20 and 30 round M16 magazines (NSN 1005-00-921-5004) and Magpul 30 round PMAG (NSN 1005-01-576-5159). The magazine well shall be designed to allow easy insertion of a magazine …. The magazine shall have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.

So it seems, according to the very Government that seeks to restrict the ownership of semi-automatic rifles partially on the grounds that nobody needs them for self-defense, that the weapon in question, along with 30 round magazines are rather uniquely suited to that very task.

The protectionist further contradicts him/herself in the use of this “logic”..... If the goal REALLY is the protection of “the children” why are they seeking to ban a weapon that represents a statistical irrelevance in the total number of US deaths attributed to firearms? Far more minors are killed every year by medical errors and malpractice, in motor vehicle accidents, by blunt force trauma and by drowning yet there is no outcry for increased Physician oversight, auto-disabling cellphones in moving vehicles, installation of breathalyzer enabled engine start mechanisms, for bans on hammers, pipes and baseball bats or for bans on swimming pools and local swimming holes is there?

So we have a group including “Journalists”, Politicians & uneducated or willfully ignorant members of the populace who openly contradict their own logic, intentionally ignore all evidence that contradicts their unsupported claims and in brazen conflict with the Bill of Rights seek to restrict the rights of millions of fellow citizens with zero demonstrable benefit. There may be as many different answers as there are people like me who are asking the question but the question remains the same.

It clearly isn’t “for the children” and it clearly won’t reduce crime, violence or deaths. 
So why?

Feel free to discuss, but if you cannot do so in a polite, adult manner your comment will be deleted…especially if you lack the stones to put your name to your comment.

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