Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Comforting Myths of Gun Control

Comforting Myths of Gun Control

"Give the robber what he wants, and he probably won't hurt you." While this is probably statistically true--and that's the reason that 7-11 has a policy that prohibits employees from being armed on duty--it is often enough not true that being armed is a darn good idea.

This news story from May 8, 2009 WSB radio in Atlanta is valuable for a number of reasons:
(WSB Radio) -- A 17 year old Atlanta teen has been arrested and charged with the January 7, 2009 murder of John Henderson, a bartender at the Standard Restaurant and Spirits in Grant Park.

Atlanta Police say Johnathan Redding was already in police custody Thursday night when he was charged with Henderson's Killing.

Detective Keith Meadows told reporters that it was Redding's Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun that led to his being charged with 22 crimes including felony murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery.

Two days after Henderson's murder on January 9th, police say Redding and three other teens were involved in a home invasion. Police say during that break-in, the homeowner, armed with an semi-automatic rifle fired at Redding striking him in the shoulder.

Police say Redding dropped his weapon as he fled the home. Because police were conducting ballistic tests on weapons in crimes committed after Henderson was killed, they were able to connect Redding to the murder at the Standard and also to an armed robbery in the parking lot of the Standard two and a half weeks before.

Police Chief Richard Pennington told reporters in an afternoon news briefing that Redding sough medical attention for his shoulder injury and was hospitalized for some time. During the three months after Henderson's murder, detectives went about the work of building a case against Redding.

Since Redding's discharge from Grady, he's been in the Atlanta City Jail on charges stemming from the alleged home invasion on January 9th. Police charged Redding in the home invasion on April 10th and charged him with the Standard shooting Thursday night.

Pennington says Redding is not cooperating with authorities. He's believed to be a member of a gang known as "30 Deep."

Police are looking for three additional suspects all about 17 years old in connection with John Henderson's death.

Henderson was shot during a robbery at the Grant Park area bar where he worked, Standard Food & Spirits. He was shot multiple times despite complying with robbers' demands, according to investigators.

The killing took place as Henderson and another bartender were getting ready to close the bar, on Memorial Drive, when four to five armed men broke through the bar's glass door. [emphasis added]
The lessons:

1. Comply with robbers' demands--get shot multiple times.

2. All of those being held in these two tremendously serious crimes are under 18. I've never been terribly enthused about trying minors as adults, but there seems to be a pattern here that is quite dangerous.

3. I've pointed out in the past that gun registration isn't a terribly useful method of crime solution, because criminals seldom leave guns at the scene of a crime, and they don't register their guns. Here's one of the rare cases where a criminal left a gun at the scene of a crime--without being hauled away on a gurney. But guess what? None of the suspects could legally purchase a handgun from a dealer, because they are four years too young. I rather doubt that they registered these illegally purchased handguns. The absolute best possible outcome of mandatory gun registration might have been to find the last person who legally possessed this gun. The chances that this was whoever sold the guns to these suspects is, shall we say, tiny. Most likely, registration would only tell you whose gun was stolen in a burglary.

4. We don't know if the "semi-automatic rifle" used by the homeowner was one of those dreaded "assault weapons" or not, but here's exactly the sort of case where a high capacity rifle is really useful: multiple armed criminals forcing entry into your home.

5. We try to log every news story that we find of civilian gun self-defense in the U.S. at the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog--but it appears that this foiled home invasion either didn't get news coverage, or we didn't see it--and this sounds like exactly the sort of "if it bleeds, it leads" news story that you would expect to get media attention. This shows that our best efforts are still missing civilian gun defense incidents of some importance.

6. In spite of not having the useless gun registration information that gun control advocates insist are necessary to solve crimes--Atlanta police are clearly doing a fine job of correlating information about very different crimes, and using it to find bad guys.

More Signs of Economic Revival

More Signs of Economic Revival

In one sector. From the Sturm, Ruger first quarter report:
The first quarter of 2009 was a significant improvement over the first quarter of last year and continues the progress made in 2008:
• The level of demand for our products during the first quarter of 2009 has been unusually high, with more than 500,000 units ordered.
• Our firearms sales grew 55.5% from the first quarter of 2008 and 8.7% from the fourth quarter of 2008.
• Our firearms unit production grew 69.3% from the first quarter of 2008 and 25.6% from the fourth quarter of 2008.
• Our backlog grew to 458,900 units and $136.3 million at the end of the first quarter of 2009, from 175,900 units and $47.8 million at the end of 2008.
A backlog of almost half a million guns for one maker? And just in case there's any question who is the greatest gun salesman of all time:
The level of demand for our products started to rise in October 2008 and has been extremely strong through the first quarter of 2009. Demand has substantially exceeded our production capacity and our backlog has grown dramatically.
Some New Agers imagine Obamas as "a Lightworker." See this June 6, 2008 San Francisco Chronicle column:
Here's where it gets gooey. Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.
Oh yeah, I'm sure that the "gooey... spiritually advanced people" were expecting this! The Lightworker is not just selling guns to existing gun owners:
There is an additional beneficial note from this high level of demand – we hear anecdotally from retailers that a significant portion of their customers are new and often buying their very first firearm. We are hopeful that those new firearms owners will return to buy more Ruger products in the future.
If even 5% of those new gun owners fill in the card that comes with Ruger guns, Obama may be on the way to creating a five million member NRA.

Thanks to Arms and the Law for bringing this to my attention. Some of the comments over there (one by a first time gun owner) are quite interesting.

Too Stupid To Stay Out of Jail?

Too Stupid To Stay Out of Jail?

It's like a smorgasbord of trouble! From the January 19, 2010 Idaho Statesman:
Zachary W. Robinson is being held in the Ada County Jail on felony counts of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine and prescription drugs), delivery of a controlled substance (meth), manufacture of a dangerous weapon (a sawed-off shotgun), and misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, marijuana, a concealed weapon, and fake controlled substance after police arrested the 23-year-old Boise man following traffic stop just after midnight Monday.

The car Robinson was in was pulled over for an illegal lane change, and Robinson, in the passenger seat, tells police that he has a handgun in his lap and a sawed-off shotgun in the beat seat.  Then it gets bad:
Police say when Robinson got out of the car, an open can of beer he was holding in his lap spilled on the seat.
Police then searched the car and found the sawed-off shotgun and drugs in the the back seat, including: seven grams of methamphetamine, one gram of a substance the looked like meth but wasn’t, 3.5 grams of marijuana, a small amount of pharmaceutical medication he did not have a valid prescription for, and scales and packaging materials, according to police reports.
At that point, police arrested Robinson and booked him into the jail.
Ya think?

Bilingual Education

Bilingual Education

I have been skeptical of bilingual education for many years. The fact is that language learning is best done by total immersion. Generations of immigrants to America went into English only classrooms, and did well. One of my wife's English professors spoke only Yiddish until he was ten years old--and then went into an English only classroom in New York City. Somehow, in spite of the supposed damage done to his self-esteem and language skills, he ended up with a Ph.D. in English.

Heather McDonald has an article in the Autumn, 2009
City Journal that points out what many of us have long suspected: the goal of bilingual education was never to benefit Hispanic immigrants:

The counterintuitive linguistic claims behind bilingual education were always a fig leaf covering a political agenda. The 1960s Chicano rights movement (“Chicano” refers to Mexican-Americans) asserted that the American tradition of assimilation was destroying not just Mexican-American identity but also Mexican-American students’ capacity to learn. Teaching these students in English rather than in Spanish hurt their self-esteem and pride in their culture, Chicano activists alleged: hence the high drop-out rates, poor academic performance, and gang involvement that characterized so many Mexican-American students in the Southwest. Manuel Ramirez III, currently a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, argued that bilingual education was necessary to ensure “the academic survival of Chicano children and the political and economic strength of the Chicano community.” The role of American schools, according to this nascent ideology, became the preservation of the Spanish language and Mexican culture for Mexican-origin U.S. residents.

Most importantly, however, are the results:

The bureaucratic resistance wasn’t able to suppress the good news, however. In Los Angeles, young Hispanic pupils placed in immersion were absorbing spoken English far more quickly than expected and were starting to read and write in English as well, their teachers told the Los Angeles Times. The Oceanside school district, on the Pacific coast north of San Diego, became the emblem for the new English immersion. Superintendent Kenneth Noonan, a former bilingual teacher himself and cofounder of the California Association of Bilingual Education, had opposed Prop. 227, but once it passed, he determined that Oceanside would follow the law to the letter. He applied the criteria for granting bilingual waivers strictly and ended up creating no Spanish-taught classes. He then sat back with considerable trepidation and waited. “Trained bilingual teachers started calling me,” he says. “‘You’ve got to see what’s happening down here,’ they said. I thought: ‘I guess it’s true, the sky has fallen.’ ” But when Noonan visited their classrooms, he found that these new converts to immersion were “glowing with a sense of success.”

I'm always impressed how much support remains among leftwing teachers that I know for bilingual systems--and I get the impression that it is as much about showing their disapproval of America as concern for the kids that they teach.

Corruptocrats At Copenhagen

Corruptocrats At Copenhagen

The December 8, 2009 Guardian (a leftwing British newspaper) has a disturbing report of what is going to disrupt Copenhagen--and it isn't necessarily the Climategate scandal:
The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.
The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

Obama and friends talk progressive leftist; but they do corrupt fatcat politics in a way that Republicans find outrageous or embarrassing.