Monday, December 14, 2015

The Folly of Gun Control and Gun Controllers

Editor's note: I wrote this piece in response to a column by Michael Fitzgerald, of the Record, late in Oct. I responded with a long letter to the Editor, which, to their credit, they published almost in its entirety. (Like I said, it was long!) Afterwards, there were a spate of shootings which made the national news, and I felt it might be inappropriate to respond, in the light of unfolding events. For those of you who just read The Ghouls of Gun Control, this is the columnist and the column that I was referring to. This last draft contained a lot of material I felt wouldn't fit in the letter.

Michael Fitzgerald, a columnist for my local dead tree paper, decided that my fair city has too many guns. In reality, what he wants to eliminate is too many shootings. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to know the difference.

You can't hardly blame him. Well, yes you can. He's regurgitating statistics that he got from the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence. Getting reliable and accurate statistics from them is like getting information from our Commander-in-Chief on keeping your doctor if you liked your doctor. He quotes the "reality" that
"A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting, than to be used in self-defense..."
So I read that and immediately I asked myself, where did they get that number from? A curiosity apparently not shared by our columnist, so I Googled it, and the top two entries were one from the Brady organization and the second was from the NRA-ILA, Institute for Legislative Action.

It listed the source of the study, "Injuries and Deaths Due to Firearms in the Home," Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection and Critical Care, Aug. 1998, and then proceeded to list the flaws of that study. This analysis was in 2001. For upwards to seventeen years, Brady has been repeating the results of this extremely flawed study, because it knows that columnists like Fitzgerald will accept it without question and then spread the lies even farther. Perhaps the greatest flaw in the study which "proves" 'A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used...yada yada yada", except in all but 14.2% of the subject of the study, they were shot with some other gun!

"only 14.2% of criminal gun-related homicides and assaults he surveyed involved guns kept in the homes where the crimes occurred."

Let me break that down for you. Let's say you are a drug dealing gang banger and you keep a gun in your house for protection. Which is probably pretty smart, since all your other drug dealing, gang banger associates have guns and would shoot you in a New York minute if there was a buck in it for them. So, if you leave your house and get killed by someone else's gun, outside your house, the study says, See? He kept a gun in the house and he got shot! Mind you, the gun you kept in the house didn't kill you, but it counts in our study!

And what's a good anti-gun diatribe without a little something to tug the heart strings? Fitzgerald recounts the 1989 Cleveland schoolyard "massacre". Because nothing like that has happened here in the last quarter century or so,! A little background on the Cleveland school shooting, in case you don't remember back that far. A loser named Patrick Purdy, whom the New York Times described as having an "extensive criminal history", killed five children between the ages of six and nine, and wounded thirty others.

He had a record of at least five arrests in California, dating to 1980.

A psych evaluation for his probation report after his last arrest and incarceration in 1987 "described him as a danger to himself and others". Arrested numerous times, attempted suicide twice, one might suggest that the criminal justice and public health system failed this man. One other lesser known detail of his attack, he prepared a Molotov cocktail, a gasoline bomb, and blew up his car before he started his shooting spree. Which not only does not sound like the mark of a sane man to me, but it also points out his disregard of laws restricting the use of explosive devices. Imagine for a brief moment, you have a person this crazy, without a firearm in sight, who creates not one but a half a dozen firebombs and uses them to assault an elementary school.

Purdy was a mentally ill criminal. His last handgun purchase was subject to a 15 day "cooling off" period, which ended three days before the shooting. Guess that didn't work, either.

Fitzgerald gratuitously tells the tragic story of a young man who accidentally shoots himself fatally, cleaning his gun while his mother watched. Although this is both heart breaking and avoidable, this death would not have been eliminated by any of the proposed gun control laws being pushed today, so why bring it up? Because most gun control advocated today cannot be sold logically, it must tug the heart strings.

For example, who among us is untouched by the death of a child? So young, with their entire lives before them! So a few years back, there was a study compiled of the deaths of "children" killed by guns. Because when we hear about things like that, we tend to think "Sandy Hook" or "Cleveland school". Only this study was of "children" up to the age of twenty three! The highest percentage of deaths was among inner city gangs, 17-23, who were involved in all sorts of criminal activity and not the sort to abide by the law just for the sake of it. But the dishonesty of the anti-gun crowd can be seen in the way they pad their statistics, because if the numbers are not high enough, it will not affect you as emotionally.

Everyone who is killed by a gun in America is fair game for their statistics. People who use a gun in self defense, police officers in the line of duty, every justified use of deadly force is considered a "victim" of gun violence. Dana Loesch points out in her book, one group reciting the names of "victims" of gun violence, named Tamerlan Tsarnaev. You remember him? After he and his brother set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing men, women, and children and tearing their bodies limb from limb, he got into a shootout with police. Most of America didn't lose any sleep over it. Brady and their brethren drew another chalk outline around another victim, and if we only have "common sense gun laws" we could eliminate these senseless deaths. Don't worry. I'm sure Michael Brown of Ferguson MO is on one of their lists, too!

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a gun control measure for the 2016 ballot. Newsom’s politically courageous measure would ban clips (sic) that hold more than 10 rounds.

I'm sure he meant "magazines". There is a difference, though I suspect much of Mr. Fitzgerald's knowledge of guns comes from Hollywood rather than hands on experience. There may be one slight hitch in this part of Newsom's "politically courageous measure" here in California. It's already been law since January of 2000. We affectionately call it California Penal Code Section 32310:

32310. (a) Except as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 32400) of this chapter and in Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17700) of Division 2 of Title 2, commencing January 1, 2000, any person in this state who manufactures or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale, or offers or exposes for sale, or who gives, lends, buys, or receives any large-capacity magazine is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(b) For purposes of this section, "manufacturing" includes both fabricating a magazine and assembling a magazine from a combination of parts, including, but not limited to, the body, spring, follower, and floor plate or end plate, to be a fully functioning large-capacity magazine.

So, we have a journalist quoting studies that have been debunked for fourteen years impressed with someone who apparently hasn't got a clue to what current law actually states, and these guys are going to fix it for us? Please!

Patrick Purdy, the Aurora theater shooter and the Boston Marathon bombers all broke multiple laws in constructing, placing and detonating bombs aside from their gun crimes. Yet if anyone were to come up to you and say, "All we need are 'common sense' bomb laws", you might look at them as if they were insane. We already have "common sense bomb laws" on the books which need to be enforced when violated by evil or mentally ill individuals. BTW, that's the way that some Second Amendment advocates and those who actually know the issues, look at you when you propose something yet again that will not work, will not deter crime or criminals or the mentally ill, but you feel you "have to do something" about these horrific crimes. Or at least, that's what the politicians say.

Despite the media coverage, school shootings are actually decreasing. Homicides are decreasing. Accidental shootings are decreasing. The sensational coverage is increasing.

For liberal politicians, gun control is the gift that keeps on giving. They can pass legislation that they know will not decrease crime or violence one whit, in fact may even make the problem worse by disarming the law abiding, take credit for "doing something" and still have an issue they can run on year after year. 

Bottom line, whenever someone tells you they want "common sense" gun laws, ask them specifically what the law would ban and how specifically that law would have prevented the latest in a long line of tragedies exploited by the Ghouls of Gun Control?

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