Are Anti-Gunners Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans?

A couple of months ago I was looking at the Facebook pages of the best known pro and anti 2nd amendment  groups and wondered how their growth trends compare. This is a meaningful measure, because FB is so ubiquitous that it can meaningfully reflect culture in general. And while it’s immediately apparent the NRA owns a 10:1 “like” advantage over the largest anti group, Bloomberg’s “Every Town”( and  considerably more over the rest, which are not really worthy of mention — only Moms Demand Action is over 100k), are the anti groups really gaining popular momentum?  As the Bloomberg financed “Moms” (the under 100k group) would have us believe? Not finding any public resources with the answer I did my own study, and the short answer is “No.” The longer answer is “Hell No.”

And to sum up:

1. Anti 2nd amendment FB groups are much smaller than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 10x)
2. Anti 2nd amdment FB groups are growing much slower than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 4x)
3. Anti 2nd amendment FB groups have an older following than pro 2nd amendment groups (like 25-44 for the NRA and 55+ for Bloomberg’s Everytown)

My data collection ended when FB changed how they report on groups and “likes” a couple days ago, but the new stats they provided proved to be very interesting. As you can tell by looking at the info below for the NRA, The Brady Campaign, and Bloomberg’s “Everytown Against Gun Violence” (formerly Demand Action):

It appears that anti-gun activism really is an "old white liberal" thing

It appears that anti-gun activism really is an "old white liberal" thing

So besides being 10:1 larger than the heavily promoted Bloomberg group the NRA has a younger following (25-44)  while the Bloomberg group is identified by AARP members (55+). The Brady Campaign also has an older demographic (35-54).

So the NRA, often described as a dying group of all old white males, has by far the youngest following. And this (admittedly pre-Newtown, though I don’t think anything has changed)  survey shows that a majority of High School and College Age kids intend to own guns, EVEN if they came from a non-gun owning family.

I’m not surprised by any of the above. While I can only observe the people around me, this matches up with what I see. The majority of the 20 somethings I know personally are the sons/daughters of friends, and while many grew up in non-gun households most of them own guns (in one case to the serious chagrin of their parents, who though my close friends are anti-gun liberals). More young women I know also embrace guns for self defense, including the two daughters of the aforementioned anti-gunner friends (and both are looking to get their CCW license soon).

Here are a few more graphs I created from my data collection (data collection period 3/30/14 – 5/30/14).

This first one shows the members added per hour over the ~24 hour periods I collected. As you can see NRA has a better trend line than Bloomberg’s Everytown and about a 4:1 advantage in adds per hour. You might think this could be a function of size of the group, but there doesn’t seem to be a correlation there; there are only so many people who want to join each group, and while both are growing slower now than they did initially Bloomberg’s group has hit a harder/lower plateau then the NRA:

Members (likes) added per hour over term of study

With the exception of the day EGS merged two groups, NRA continues to grow at about 4x the rate of EGS

This Graph shows the average members added per hour over the entire 2 month course of study. I also tracked Gun Owners of America and the National Association for Gun rights (which is actually the largest pro-2nd amendment group, though not with the same growth numbers as the NRA, which will probably soon overtake it):

Average members (likes) added per hour over study period

Average members (likes) added per hour over study period

This graph shows the growth of the groups I followed (not all groups were collected for the entire period). I didn’t decide to start tracking NAGR until well underway, so I don’t have numbers for them for the entire period. As you can see the largest group is the NAGR, the fastest growing is the NRA. The smallest and slowest growing is EGS:

Growth of tracked groups over period of study

Growth of tracked groups over period of study

Below are the total “likes” of each group as of 5/30/14. NAGR is the largest, NRA is almost as large and consistently growing at a faster rate:

Total Likes as of 5/30/14

Total Likes as of 5/30/14

So to sum up … on average the NRA grows at about 4x the rate of EGS and all of the pro-2nd amendment groups grow faster than EGS (no other anti-gun group I found can even compare). And not only that, but the only thing that really seems to affect Bloomberg’s group is his promotion of it, as even major events have little affect. The major events played upon by the anti-2nd amendment groups in this period included (and if you check the dates you’ll no real impact):

4/2/14 — Fort Hood Shooting
4/13/14 — KS Synagogue Shooting
4/16/14 — Blooomberg Announced “Everytown to Prevent Gun Violence” (EGS)
4/26/14 — Opening of NRA annual meeting and Bloomberg Mom’s protest
5/20/14 — Chipotle victory for Bloomberg Mom’s (reaction to Texas open carry event)
5/24/14 — Santa Barbara Shooting

None of those had a significant effect. The biggest effect was when Bloomberg changed the group from Demand Action to Every Town, with the “adds” plummeting and one day even having a negative growth (more left than added).

Some notes on my collection:

I collected at varying intervals, but I used all automated time calculations and formulas so everything evens out in the end. I did change time zones a couple of times during the study, but this equally affected all parties and evens out in the end because I began and ended my collection in Denver (MST).  If I’d planned ahead I would have been more consistent, but I did this just to satisfy my own curiosity and didn’t consider sharing it until near the end. My collection consisted of:

1. Using MS Excel to create dates for each entry (Excel dates are based on hours).
2. Immediately cutting and pasting “like” numbers from FB pages.
3. Using MS Excel formulas to generate all data based on the Excel date.

I will be glad to send the .csv file of my collection anyone interested via email. Just let me know.

Two Colorado Jack Asses get shown the door — it’s a good day for the 2nd amendment!

If nothing changes, it appears that Colorado State Senators Morse (Senate President) and Giron have both been successfully recalled for their anti-gun vote. I couldn’t be happier, but why am I inspired to blog again for the first time in nearly a year? Because Morse (at least) has taken his Jack-Assery to a whole new level. Just take a look at his statement about losing (admittedly by a small percentage):

“It has been an honor to represent the 11th Senate District,” said Morse, who is the first Colorado lawmaker to be recalled and thrown out of office. “It’s been hugely rewarding.”

Except … if you’d represented the 11th Senate District, rather than a diminutive but rich New York mayor and a very successful but inexperienced Chicago politician, you’d still be the representative of the 11th Senate District. You were recalled because you did NOT represent your constituents.

He added: “The highest rank in a democracy is citizen, not Senate President, so soon along with many of you, I will hold that rank and there’s nothing citizens can’t accomplish when they put their minds to accomplishing it.”

This is true, we CAN do anything. Including launching a successful grass roots effort to oust a State Senator who has quit representing his constituents even though that Senator has all the power of a Presidential political machine and the money of a billionaire solidly behind him.

“I think there are an awful lot of Republicans who do think this recall is ridiculous and will vote against it,” said Morse of a recall election that is a litmus test of sorts in the national debate over gun-control legislation.

This is absolutely true, and I’m sure it happened quite a bit. Of course, there were also an awful lot of Democrats who appreciate the 2nd amendment and thought his backstabbing us was also ridiculous. And did something about it.

What amazes me is the arrogance of these people. Perhaps they forget that we elect them to represent us, not rule us. It reminds me of when President Obama said that he would “Rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” What is it he wanted to do (besides gun control) that the American people would vote him down for? Does he really despise the American people so much that he thinks he has to do things so offensive he won’t get voted back in in order to be a “really great President?” Which means the American people are idiots who just can’t understand what is good for them but he can?

Atually … that’s exactly what Democrats think, and more than a few Republicans. But … a good President or Senator or Representative is, by definition, ALWAYS voted back in. If you do what the majority of people want you to get get elected and reelected. Duh.

All politicians need to get back into the realization that they represent us. And in Colorado, at least in most areas, it means you don’t try to take away our guns. Period.

Now with these two idiots down, we need to keep up the enthusiasm in 2014 to hold these seats, get one more Senate seat, 5 house seats, and – the biggest hurdle of all – defeat Governor Hickenlooper. We do that, and we can rid ourselves of these ridiculous anti-gun laws that Bloomberg and Obama forced on us. And if we can punish the Democrats nationwide in 2014, like we did in 1994, gun control will be dead for another generation.

Here’s hoping …

Why is the President exploiting the murder of children for a political goal that won’t protect children?

I’ve watched the President’s position “evolve” from “I’m going to  do something on gun control” to “Biden’s going to lead a blue ribbon commission on gun control” to (today) “it’s up to congress to act.” What this means is it is highly unlikely (but not impossible) there’s going to be an assault weapons ban.

But in any case … isn’t it kind of despicable the President and anti-gun groups are using this tragedy to try and ban a single class of weapons, which is not a solution to mass murder, but just one stop on their political goal of destroying the 2nd amendment? Will it make him feel better if the next shooter uses pistols like Cho at VT? Or a shotgun (and other guns) like the columbine killers? Or for that matter a bolt action rifle like Charles Whitman on a Texas tower?

If you want to argue gun control as a way to stop mass shootings you need to have the courage to fight for something that would actually make a difference, like a total ban on guns and a turn in of all existing guns. Which absolutely won’t happen without a change in the constitution and a major change in culture (and I’m against it) — but it is the only gun-control related cure.  And of course criminals with underworld connections will still get whatever guns they want, but the total ban/turn in would affect mass shooters since they’re generally not criminals (and force them to use explosives or arson or whatever else their deranged minds can come up with). And the other effect would be that while this would force mass murders to use something besides guns for the dozen or so people they kill every year, it would 100% eliminate the tens of thousands of defensive uses of firearms per year, and actually increase the net body count of innocent murder victims. Of all ages.

So why keep exploiting an unthinkable tragedy for political points and expending political energy on an issue which will accomplish nothing? Our kids deserve better. We can do better!

If someone out there honestly thinks that banning a specific type of rifle, when there are many other choices (some more deadly), will stop people so evil they can murder children from actually murdering children, I’d be glad to talk a few facts with you. Just reply in the comments or send me an email. The most deadly school massacre at a US Elementary school by far, BTW, was in 1927 (when you could buy a Thompson sub machine gun at a hardware store with no background check) and no guns were used.

This blog may be going back to sleep soon, but I’d be glad to have this conversation.

Let’s cut the crap and talk about real solutions to keeping children safe — not just anti-gun laws

I keep seeing politicians and liberal media pundits pointing at the horrifying pictures from the Sandy Hook school massacre and calling for more gun control. But are they using the images of 20 murdered children to promote laws that would have affected that tragedy, or any recent mass murder? Hell no! They’re fighting for the standard pillars of gun control:

  • An assault weapons ban  (worthless, given that Cho at VT used a pistol)
  • Background checks for all purchases (worthless, given that most of the recent shooting were either with stolen guns or the guy passed a background check)
  • A ban on “large capacity” magazines (pretty much worthless — *click* *click* — as long as it takes to say that is as long as it takes to change out a lower capacity magazine).

Is this offensive to anyone else?

I listened to the President’s address on his Biden led “Gun Violence Panel” expecting an anti-gun diatribe, but what I got on the gun issue was a carefully worded (to lock him into as few positions as possible) speech basically saying  “an Assault Weapons Ban would be nice, but let’s just agree we all want to keep military style weapons out of the hands of deranged people” because even if you disagree with the first part, how can you disagree with the second? Even I don’t, the question being is what measures would do that without taking them away from the rest of us.

The rest of the speech was actually quite good, talking about violence and mental health and so forth. And NOT painting all gun owners with a broad brush as evil. I do think mental health should be as easy to get as a gun. I would also say it already is, though it can’t hurt to pursue this further.

But if you’re going to fight gun violence through limited gun bans while holding up the bodies of the murdered children of Newtown, which MAY disarm some crazy mass murderers but WILL disarm 100% of non-crazy people, have the guts to fight for a solution that will actually matter. And as I’ve talked about several time, the only thing that will matter is a complete gun ban. Just about everything, with perhaps the exception of some single shot rifles/shotguns.  I will still oppose it, because I’m not ready to give up a basic American liberty because of the actions of a murderous madman, but at least I’ll understand that you’re actually trying to take action in the names of the slaughtered innocents that would matter to them. Even if it does cause an even higher body count in times to come, as I believe it would.

But a complete gun ban ain’t going to happen. The President knows that. Even the  Brady Campaign knows that. So let’s talk about things that can happen.

There’s one thing no one’s really  brought up yet that I’ve been thinking more and more about, and I hope will get a push: parents.  As a parent I take my turn wearing a reflective vest and holding a stop sign to keep kids safe from 2 ton SUV’s while they cross the street, couldn’t I also take turns making sure my kids aren’t left helpless to any passing madman? A cop would be better, but at a cost of better than $100k a year we simply can’t afford one at every school — that $100k is better spent on teachers and the educational experience. And parents already pay for the school with their taxes, and help manage them through PTAs and PTOs, and volunteer in classrooms regularly. So why not go back to that willing well of volunteers one more time?

Parents are free.  Parents know the school and the kids. Parents have already proven themselves trustworthy with a kid or two. And there is nothing more fierce than a parent defending his or her child — a parent will charge into any danger and fight anyone if a child is endangered. Male or female. It’s how we’re wired.

This is what we need the courage to do. One or two parents at their kid’s school on a regular basis.  Wandering the hallways with a plan to maintain security and look for strangers. With a phone ready to call for help. In states where it’s legal, less lethal (pepper spray, tasers) and even lethal weapons.

Think on it. Propose it to your school or PTO/PTA. Fight for it. This could work, and it requires not one penny of expenditure or a changing of laws. And it could be started tomorrow.

We are better than leaving our kids helpless. We are better than passing a lot of gun laws that won’t help. Or at least I hope we are.

A Gun Guy Does Some Soul Searching After the Sandy Hook School Massacre

It’s funny how a single image can affect you more profoundly than a thousand others. When I see the collage of the faces of all those beautiful children murdered in the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre it’s just too much; it’s like trying to drink pain from a firehose. That picture could be of my first grader’s class, children whom I know by name and see regularly. My brain can’t conceive of all of them gone from something so … terrible? Horrible? Unthinkable? My thesaurus fails me. There’s no adequate word in the English language for so many children savagely murdered.

But then I see a picture of a father walking along the sidewalk, head low, to attend his child’s funeral. And suddenly that’s me. Crushed and dazed and about to see the body of my six year old lying in a casket. Whom just days before I had kissed on the cheek and dropped off at school. And I find myself with tears in my eyes. And my heart so full of pain I can barely stand it.

With 300 million people what can we do to keep the insane and hateful from murdering innocents? Should we make the particular guns used harder or impossible to get? Start putting more people in insane asylums, as we did back in the 1960’s? Give guns to teachers? Organize parent vigilance committees to wander the halls of our schools?

With this much pain experienced by every parent in the country who – like me – has seen pictures that profoundly affected them, it seems inevitable we’ll take action of some kind. It was inconceivable that this could happen once, and we’re all desperate to keep it from happening again. But what to do?

I am, as you can tell from this blog, generally a pro-gun guy. But I’m also a father, and pro-child first. So I think we have to look at every option honestly. And the first one I’ll cast aside is the extreme gun-guy concept of resolving the whole thing by “arming the teachers.”  Though this actually COULD work in theory, as it has in Israel, and I do know that with common sense precautions any teacher could handle a firearm  … as a father involved in his elementary school I know it has zero chance of happening.  At my kid’s elementary, and I think at a majority of Elementarys,  some  teachers may come from gun owning households and can handle a firearm but are a long, long way from being willingly armed guards. And the teaching culture is too far separated from that idea to think about bridging the gap even when children are at risk. So that leaves us with more Gun laws, involuntarily committing more insane people to mental institutions, or taking other actions to lock down schools.

Let’s take an honest look at commonly suggested gun laws first: A background check on all guns, an Assault Weapons Ban, a ban on Handgun Ownership, or A total Gun ban (some of those last would be unconstitutional based on the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions, but the Constitution can be changed and we are talking here about solutions regardless of the steps necessary to accomplish them).

And to make things clear I am talking only about mass shooters, who normally start out as non-criminals until the act is undertaken; this is much different than talking about gun laws and how they would affect the daily violence in our nation that is committed by criminals. As another note, some details of the Sandy Hook attack are still in dispute as of this writing. But the following is relevant analysis whatever the facts turn out to be.

Background Check on All firearms.

The shooter in this case apparently failed a background check to buy a firearm himself. So he simply stole one. Since most mass shooters show few legal signs of having issues, I don’t see how 100% background checks would make a difference.

Getting background checks as part of a larger strategy of de facto gun registration has long been a goal of anti-gun groups, but I don’t think any of the circumstances of recent mass attacks support it as a solution. A gun is no less lethal if its purchase is background checked and/or it is registered than if neither of those have happened. Some weapons obtained by the Columbine shooters were bought at a gun show without a background check, but other weapons they had were background checked. The bottom line is … none of these shooters had any problem getting all the weapons they needed.

Assault Weapons Ban/large capacity magazine ban

It’s still not completely clear what weapons the Sandy Creek shooter used, but he apparently had both an AR-15 and handguns available. Since we know that The VT shooter used only pistols and the Aurora Theater shooter used mainly an AR-15, either type of weapon is inarguably capable of mass murder of unarmed people.  Since banning one without banning the other will accomplish nothing, let’s talk about banning both.

Ban on Handgun Ownership and an Assault Weapon/large capacity magazine ban

I will not claim there is no difference between a steel and wood bolt action rifle and an AR-15 with a pistol grip, high capacity magazine, and a fore end covered with lasers and lights and whatever.

But honestly, it is NOT the difference between having a deadly weapon and not having a deadly weapon. To use a car metaphor, it’s more like the difference between having a beautifully appointed diesel truck with an automatic transmission, large capacity fuel tank, power windows,  and etc. and having an old gas powered pick-up with limited range,  no air conditioning or power windows, and a standard shift.

Can both of the above vehicles accomplish the same tasks? Of course. You just have to plan a little bit more with the less well featured truck, and it is less comfortable. But it has the capability.  And most of the features of the fancy truck (or the fancy rifle) are nice, but make no real difference in terms of functionality.

i.e. the “Pistol Grip” on an AR-15, oft cited by the anti-gun groups as making a gun somehow more lethal. Does a pistol grip allow you to handle a gun more easily? Yes. Does it make it more capable of shooting unarmed people or firing faster? Hell no. You can fire just as fast from an old-fashioned stock with no pistol grip, and since a mass shooter isn’t diving for cover or moving between cover like a soldier he gets no benefit from the greater maneuverability; he doesn’t need to. As soon as the police show up, or any real resistance, he’s either going down or he’s going to kill himself.  The pistol grip doesn’t matter and shouldn’t be a feature anybody cares about. As can be seen a sport shooter doesn’t actually “need” it either, as it makes little difference for anything but general comfort; but since it does make no difference, why would we want to arrest people for having it?

The large capacity magazine DOES make a difference, but not because of the capacity; it makes a difference because it can be changed quickly. In less than 2 seconds for someone with decent coordination.

With a bolt action rifle, commonly utilizaing an internal magazine, it is relatively slow to insert rounds and reload. So advantage AR-15. But to be honest and fair we also have to throw a standard pump style shotgun into the mix, commonly available and owned by most hunters and sport shooters, and used by both the theater shooter and the killers at Columbine.

While such shotguns normally only hold 5 to 8 rounds, they can be constantly reloaded while shooting (just jam rounds into a feeding port on the bottom) and once again if you are facing unarmed civilians you have more than enough capacity/speed to accomplish a mass murder at point blank range. So if we eliminate semi-auto rifles and pistols, we simply push future shooters to equally devastating and deadly shotguns. Not really worthwhile, but nobody is talking about banning such shotguns yet because they are ubiquitous to the 100 million or so American gun owners.

And while being limited to a bolt action gun or even a pump shotgun would make it slightly harder to charge brazenly into a theater or school and start shooting rapidly, would a man that crazy who couldn’t get an AR just give up and become a good citizen? Or with that much hate and rage and evil in his heart would he have adopted a plan based on what is available? i.e. Charles Whitman, who killed 16, most from a Texas Tower with a bolt action hunting rifle.

And while we shouldn’t necessarily limit ourselves to solutions based on current constitutional decisions, banning all handguns would definitely be unconstitutional and banning semi-automatic rifles probably would be as well.

AR-15 style weapons, because of their low price and flexiblity to accomplish about any shooting requirement, are reportedly the most popular style of rifle currently sold. Whether that’s true or not, I can definitely say that if you go to any shooting range around where I live nearly every window will have an AR-15 in it. Since the AWB of 1995 ended millions of American’s have bought one, including me.

Total Gun Ban/gun confiscation

This actually would have a profound effect on the ability of mass murderers to get guns. While its effect on the daily violent crime in this country, that contributes to many thousands of deaths each year, would be little, (when someone has money and a need and doesn’t care about the law, they get what they need – i.e. all the heroin addicts in this country) mass shooters generally are law abiding and don’t have connections with the criminal underworld. And are likely to be identified when they start clumsily looking for a gun. Ban all guns and there probably won’t be many more mass shootings (some will always happen, of course, but they will be more rare).

But once again … banning guns doesn’t get rid of the people with the hatred and rage in their hearts who commit mass shootings. And where there is hatred and evil and a will, there is a way.  The worst school massacre in this country also involved an elementary school and children, but no guns. The worst domestic massacre involved a Ryder truck and fertilizer, and the worst international terrorist massacre involved airline tickets and box cutters.

Why I’m not quite ready to give up on the 2nd amendment

I am horrified at the thought I may someday be that father making the lonely walk to his child’s funeral, and I want no other father to make that walk either. But I can’t get past the fact that knee jerk reactions to anything, however horrible, are often wrong. And sometimes the unintended consequences of such actions can be worse in the long term than the thing being legislated against. In this country guns empower tens of thousands of “average” citizens to defend themselves every year, and while my daughters will only be children in school a few years they’ll be grown women the rest of their lives. And I would like them to be empowered by gun ownership to face a dangerous world, because the vast majority of murders are still done by criminals who will not give up their guns and will always find a supply.

I’ll have a list of links below that explain why I think it’s not yet time to completely give up on gun ownership even after what happened, but to sum up at a high level:

  1. If it’s possible, I want my children to grow up with the same freedoms that I did. And the same traditions.
  2. I want my daughters to be empowered to defend themselves, as so many do in this country, with the best weapons possible.
  3. Recent history has shown that the 2nd amdment and civilian firearms ownership is as important in this world of laser guided bombs and Abrams tanks as ever (i.e. the Iraq war, where the strength of the US Army was mired in a low intensity quagmire of a war they were losing, until the Arab Awakening when fathers and “regular” men took charge of the situation with their small arms).
  4. Anyone who thinks a minority cannot be persecuted in the US should read Condoleeza Rice’s story of her father and other African American Males and their guns during the civil rights movement. The only question is when it will happen again and what group will be persecuted  (Christians? Gays? Some other group you belong to?).

So should we do nothing?

We will do something. We’ll have to as a nation or we’ll feel we’re just empowering the next such murderer. If the media is correct that may be gun laws of some kind or an “Assault Weapons Ban.”  I tend to think the hard push in this direction is from the usual suspects, as most American’s support the 2nd amendment, but in the weeks to come we’ll find how many people have shifted to an anti-gun position. And how many others, like myself, while greatly affected by this massacre, still don’t believe gun restrictions will stop the next one.

But if we do pass a new law … I just hope and pray it actually has a positive effect rather than just limiting the rights of all of us gun owners who had nothing to do with the massacre.

I do think we could get better at dealing with the insane. As has been noted elsewhere … back in the 60’s we tended to warehouse disturbed individuals because we had no real cures. These days we leave them to be homeless or imprisoned, but the reality is … we actually do have medicines to treat them now. We could not just warehouse them, we could help them, with a properly empowered mental health system.

But of course we’re a free society, and nobody should be committed against their will with any less due process than they are imprisoned. And then, like with prison, it should only be done when absolutely necessary.

More police or security in schools? I like the thought of this, but it’s danged expensive. While mass shootings are extremely rare, overcrowded class rooms are very common. One police officer is cost equivalent to 1.5 teachers. And which – overall – will protect our children more? Better education for the problems they definitely will face in the world or more police officers in schools for a problem they will most likely never face?

More guns in school? This is what most pro-gun guys argue for, and while I’m comfortable around guns I know it won’t make much of a difference. But suppose we did at least allow license concealed carry holders in schools? While most teachers wouldn’t embrace this empowerment, however much they love their students, there are a few that would and many parents that would. If I heard of some threat at my school I would like to race there and just hang out in the hallway with maybe some other like-minded parents — with the firearm I’ve been trained to carry on my person and wouldn’t hesitate to use to defend my children or others. But the laws won’t allow it. Of course a police officer at school in these situations would be best, but in most jurisdictions there are more schools than cops on duty at any time, and if something is happening not every cop can be at a school

How about a real solution?

I think we need to approach this issue holistically, as is discussed in this fantastic article about how well fire marshalls and rules have dealt with school fires. Though every school is well equipped with alarms and sprinkler systems and teachers drill several times a year to get out of a burning building, there has not been ONE STUDENT lost to a fire in 50 years. That, my friends, is success! And the success wasn’t gained by banning some types of matches or fire accelerants.

We’re going to have a discussion on new laws on firearms, but they are doubtful to work even if passed and will be contentious, drawing energy away from finding real solutions. But what could work is a plan on designing/redesigning buildings and training teachers on how to handle these situations. And maybe even getting parents like me involved. Because it’s not just insane kids we have to worry about, it can be terrorists as well.

For something many times more horrifying than the recent school shootings, which seems impossible but is not, recall what happened in Beslan, North Ossetia.  Terrorists killed hundreds at a school, and Terrorists could not care less about gun laws. If they can’t get guns locally, they’ll smuggle them in, as part of the plan.

Some Helpful Links and Background:

ABC’s 20/20 tries to prove armed citizens are useless in mass attacks, but proves the opposite

Assault weapons: Myth Produced Mayhem

Non-gun mass murders – The Butcher’s Bill

REAL common sense gun laws

Should Christians own guns? WWJD?

Why YOU should oppose gun registration

My manifesto on self righteous anti-gun people

High Capacity Magazines — Will banning them end mass murders?

I pretty much ended this blog some time ago, but since I still have some “followers” and I still see people reading it, here’s my post for 2012 … ;-)

So I’ve been watching Facebook people arguing back and forth for awhile about the Auroroa Theater Massacre and what enabled the monster (who’s name I won’t repeat) to accomplish what he did.  But many seem to think that some kind of gun law would have stopped him (though the law against murder did not), or that limiting him to 10 round magazines would have stopped him. And of course they call upon the Clinton error Assault Weapons Ban, which ran from 1994 – 2004, and was punctuated by the Columbine mass murder which happened RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF IT in 1999. But it doesn’t keep people from self righteously proclaiming something like:

Yes guys, every time I envision of the empty 100 round magazine lying on the floor of that Aurora theatre, among the blood and bodies, I can think of only one thing. FREEDOM!!

OR, most common, the “I’m in favor of the second Amednemdment but”:

I’m not against the sale of guns. It’s our Constitutional right to bear arms. But assault rifles. Seriously? I mean, who needs an assault rifle except someone who wants to conduct an assault? I know if the sale of such is banned, people who want them will still find a way to get them; however, that’s no excuse for selling them on the open market. To be able to walk into a store or go shopping on the Internet for a weapon that’s meant to kill a mass number of people is ludicrous!

First off, semi-automatic rifles were never built for killing a “mass number of people.” That’s what bombs, grenades, flame throwers and machine guns are for. A rifle is a personal weapon, and having a semiautomatic simply saves you the effort of throwing back a lever or a bolt before firing another round – which is not as significant of a time saver for an experienced shooter as people who don’t know guns seem to think.

But in any case, here is my response that I have posted in various ways in various places. Feel free to use it if you want:

Perhaps, sir, it would make you feel better to see a blood soaked theater and a pile of empty 30 or 10 round mags? (Cho at VTI killed more with no high capacity mags and no rifles — and in Aurora the 100 round mag jammed and wasn’t emptied anyway). Or if you ban guns and this guy couldn’t find one on the black market (where he can currently buy any kind of banned drug), then perhaps you’d prefer he rammed the building with a gas tanker and sprayed the people with fuel while throwing flares? It is because such murderous people exist, particularly when they become powerful figures in the government (Hitler, Stalin, etc.) that the constitution protects our right to bear arms. And why we still NEED the right to keep and bear arms today.

If a person has the insanity, time, intelligence and money to plan something like Aurora, there are plenty of ways to kill people. If you don’t believe this is true, consider that the worst school massacre in the US was accomplished with dynamite (Bath, MI), the worst domestic terrorism attack with fertilizer and a rental truck, and the worst international terror attack with box cutters and airplane tickets. Evil finds a way. Duh.

But for those of us who would like to be empowered to defend ourselves … we can’t carry around a gas tanker … or a cop. But we can carry and use a small firearm. The fact is a firearm is more of a boon to the innocent taken by surprise than to the attacker who can plan his carnage in advance.

And just as the constitutional framers said “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” in the first amendment, but we understand that to mean freedom of expression in general and thus includes new mediums such as the internet, we also understand that the 2nd amendment may reference militias but is a right of THE PEOPLE (just like the words say). That’s all of us. If you want to take away that right, then just change the constitution. But until you do in America we would rather err on the side of liberty and rights and not on the side of restrictions and laws (and that the right of the people thing is pretty darn clear).

Having a gun didn’t create this mass murderer (or any other); he did that to himself. And then he grabbed the easiest tool at hand. But if a gun wasn’t at hand he had plenty of cunning and money to find a different, possibly even more effective and deadly, tool. And looking at history … murderers always find a way.

Sorry, sir … but the world isn’t as simple as you would make it. And the net effect of banning firearms would be more dead, not less. And banning some particular kind of firearm or some capacity of magazine would accomplish nothing, as a man armed with any gun can kill as long as he has the desire and an unarmed group to prey upon. i.e. Charles Whitman with a hunting rifle on top of a Texas tower – he killed many more than this theater shooter.

For more proof that mass murderers aren’t limited by availability of guns, look here. Or at any of my “favorite posts” on the right side of this page.

Trayvon Martin’s Death and the Stand Your Ground Law vs. the Duty to Reatreat

There are few things more sad than an avoidable death. And I guess few things more unavoidable than using that death to push for a political position, as we see in the death of Trayvon Martin. Young Mr. Martin was a 17 year old walking home from the store when he was confronted by neighborhood watch “captain” George Zimmerman, who apparently (hopefully) thought he was protecting the neighborhood. But when the situation ended the teenage Martin hadn’t just been confronted or even picked up by the police, he was dead. But did Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law have anything to do with it? And if so, for whom?

It was a death that didn’t have to happen, for sure, and should have all of us questioning ourselves and what we would do in a similar situation whichever side we are on. But the political focus of those using young Mr. Martin’s tragic death has been on a Florida law, commonly called the “Stand Your Ground” law, that removes the duty to retreat for someone under assault and allows them to use force to defend themselves if they feel threatened. But the ironic thing is the person who chose not to retreat was not the shooter, Mr. Zimmerman … it was the young Mr. Martin.

I don’t know what the real facts are, and to what extent Mr. Zimmerman was threatening when he got out of his truck in the vicinity of Mr. Martin. But Mr. Martin definitely did feel threatened, per his phone call to his girlfriend, and it would appear that he felt sufficiently threatened that he took defense of his life in his own hands and attacked Mr. Zimmerman. In other words … Zimmerman was confronting someone in his neighborhood, and so whether he was doing it legally (just talking/asking questions) or illegally and threatening (brandishing his weapon/trying to restrain Mr. Martin) stand your ground has nothing to do with it. In the former he had no need to stand his ground or retreat as there was no violence underway, and in the latter he wasn’t standing his ground against an attack, he was initiating a violent conflict; which is never legal.

But in any case … no matter how you look at it … Mr. Martin did NOT choose to retreat. Had this fight gone differently and Mr. Martin prevailed, as the shooter claims he was about to, it would only be the “Stand Your Ground” law the would keep young Mr. Martin out of jail. Because “Stand Your Ground” isn’t a gun law; it’s a self defense law. And it mirrors how most American’s think about self defense.

If someone is following me, harassing me, trying to intimidate me … I don’t want to be limited to curling up in a fetal position or running away like the High School nerd. I’d like to be able to take reasonable action to defend myself, and not go to jail for it (at least until the police have investigated enough to figure if I’d done something out of line). And that’s all Stand Your Ground allows.

I’m reminded of a late night walk I took a couple of years ago in my neighborhood. To set the scene, it was around midnight (I often work late, and enjoy a late night walk — and why not?) and I was about four blocks from my house. The subdivision I live in was designed in the 1970′s when designers thought a cluster of roads that resembled a plate of spaghetti made sense, so there are a number of very short elliptical blocks and roads that end and then start up again.

Anyway … while walking around one of these short blocks I noticed a car pass by and slow down, then continue. No problem. A few minutes later it again passed and slowed down before continuing on. As I continued around the block to my house — in a nice neighborhood but at a time that I might as well have been standing in an abandoned field because all the house lights were off and nobody was outside — the car repeated this about 3 times. Clearly checking me out.

I was slightly nervous, but my assumption was it was a Zimmerman type who was just looking out for the neighborhood and checking on the big guy out walking so late at night. The situation ended anticlimactically and after about 5 passes the car moved on and I went home.

So if the story of how we are hearing the assault ENDED is close to being true, and Mr. Zimmerman fired the shot while on the ground being beaten, Stand Your Ground doesn’t come in to it. But Mr. Martin’s very understandable, very American reaction to someone following him a threatening manner — going on offense and trying to protect himself — is exactly the situation the Stand Your Ground law was written for. And it’s why this one tragic occurrence doesn’t invalidate it as a good law.

I respect people who are willing to look after their neighborhoods. If I were walking through a predominately black neighborhood and someone began questioning me aggressively, I would either acknowledge that they’re just trying to look out for their neighborhood or ignore them completely and let them call the cops if they want. If I felt they were going to assault me (and it is just feelings — there’s no law against asking someone why they are where they are, though it sometimes feels threatening) and my best bet was to fight, I’d do that. With whatever I had available.

Mr. Zimmerman will have his day(s) in court. And I hope justice is done and enough facts are found out to actually do justice. In the meantime, the Stand Your Ground law is still a common sense self defense law, and we need it in more states, not less. And while we don’t need someone in any neighborhood that will walk up to a stranger brandishing a firearm or being threatening, I’d love to have more people in my neighborhood willing to ask strangers walking through what their up to. Just a pleasant … “Hi. You looking for somebody? Something I can help you with?” is all that’s required. And that shouldn’t be enough to warrant a violent response from anyone. But if a person does respond violently to that, they are now the assailant and the person who first asked them a question has every right to defend themselves. However they have to.

My prayers go out to the Martin Family. And the Zimmerman family. For discussion of the legal matter of the Stand Your Ground law, you can look here here here.


Off Road

Off Road

The best book ever written!

By me, anyway.

Set against the background of the American civil war of “progressives” vs. patriotic American traditionalists and a family caught in the middle, Off Road is a journey into the uniquely American world of God, guns, big trucks … and family.

More information here. Buy it at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle (only .99 for Kindle, which can also be read on a PC with a free reader). Or at Barnes and Noble in paperback or Nook (only .99 in Nook format). Or from the iBooks book store for Apple products. Or in any Ebook format, even .html or .pdf, for .99 from smashwords.com.

CU students interviewed about concealed weapons on campus

Frankly, I was shocked at how accepting the majority of these students interviewed were about the Colorado State Supreme Court ruling the prohibits CU from having its own rules about guns on campus (i.e. not allowing them0. The young lady isn’t crazy about the idea but accepts it as a right, and only one of those interviewed was actively against it.

This video is from a Boulder Daily newspaper which is definitely not known as being conservative, so it’s interesting these were the opinions they found. I’m guessing they would have preferred a lot more strictly negative responses, like the one at the end.



Off Road

Off Road

The best book ever written!

By me, anyway.

Set against the background of the American civil war of “progressives” vs. patriotic American traditionalists and a family caught in the middle, Off Road is a journey into the uniquely American world of God, guns, big trucks … and family.

More information here. Buy it at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle (only .99 for Kindle, which can also be read on a PC with a free reader). Or at Barnes and Noble in paperback or Nook (only .99 in Nook format). Or from the iBooks book store for Apple products. Or in any Ebook format, even .html or .pdf, for .99 from smashwords.com.

Colorado Supreme Court overrules CU ban on guns on campus

Which means that licensed CCW will be legal (possibly open carry as well — I’ve not reviewed the actual ruling) on all state college campuses in Colorado. I’m sure there are more details to come, but what a victory this is. And finally the Brady Campaign will have to give Colorado a better (lower) score for 2012 as they’ve been incorrectly claiming we ban campus carry and punishing us with 2 extra Brady points.

I always hate to see courts making these big decisions, as they can be so darn biased and come up with crazy rulings (like they did on open carry in Colorado), but given how the law was written this should always have been a gimme. Regardless of what current Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said as Colorado Attorney General – that CU was somehow exempt from laws passed for the entire state.

This is great news. Although I’ve never carried a firearm while walking on campus, I”ve always been worried that on a trip to Boulder I’d inadvertently turn onto one of the roads that crosses the CU and get pulled over by a campus cop. It’s not clear what criminal charges I would have faced for carrying, possibly nothing more than being banned from the university, but it wasn’t a situation I wanted to deal with.

Great news for Colorado! We’ve always been a state that allowed CCW on campus by law, and now it’s been confirmed by the court. It’s just too bad that there’s been a 9 year gap from when the law was enacted until it was deemed the law.

I may not have put anything on this blog for about 3 months now, but this was a story I had to say something about. Hopefully I’ve still got a few people on RSS feed/email to see this!

UPDATE: So I just finished an online debate about this issue.

The question posted by my debater (paraphrased): “With what’s happened at Virginia Tech and other schools how can you support this? What good can come of this?”

My Answer: “Look … state laws against arms carry didn’t stop the shooters at Virginia Tech or NIU, and even Federal Laws didn’t stop the shooter(s) at Columbine or Chardon.  If you’ve decided to shoot a bunch of random people laws against carry don’t do much. Now … I don’t think this law will realistically affect mass shootings either way, though it’s possible someone will be empowered to stop a shooting, but what it does do is take away a law that only affects the law abiding. i.e. since the law provably won’t stop school shootings all it will accomplish is get someone like me arrested for turning on the wrong road or taking a short cut on the wrong sidewalk. Like it or not, the voters of Colorado via our elected representatives have said it’s legal for me to carry a firearm, and also made it clear it’s legal on universities”

To me the logic is simple … if you want to stop drunk driving you can argue that all alcohol should be banned — it didn’t work in the past, and I disagree with it, but it is a reasonable argument to make — but passing law after law that hurts people who drink but DON’T drive is worthless. All you accomplish is to get otherwise innocent people arrested and get a felony conviction against them that accomplishes nothing but to destroy their life.

Same with guns — although I believe in the empowerment of an armed citizenry, there are intelligent (though I believe failing) arguments to be made for disarmed society. But if you have an armed citizenry, and we do, then making sure that law abiding people can’t carry guns anywhere but criminals can (because they don’t care about the law) is a deadly mix. And makes no common sense.  Commongunsense (aka Japete’s commongunNONsense) or otherwise.

If it really is just violence the anti-gun groups are fighting, and not legal gun ownership, they should stop fighting laws that only affect people who are NOT violent criminals and focus on the violent criminals.  And more on how to make less violent criminals rather than focusing on the particular tools they choose, as it is still what is in the heart that makes a murderer — not what is in the hand. Murder exists back to the earlies days of mankind (Cain and Abel for most of us) and far predates firearms.


Off Road

Off Road

The best book ever written!

By me, anyway.

Set against the background of the American civil war of “progressives” vs. patriotic American traditionalists and a family caught in the middle, Off Road is a journey into the uniquely American world of God, guns, big trucks … and family.

More information here. Buy it at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle (only .99 for Kindle, which can also be read on a PC with a free reader). Or at Barnes and Noble in paperback or Nook (only .99 in Nook format). Or from the iBooks book store for Apple products. Or in any Ebook format, even .html or .pdf, for .99 from smashwords.com.

So a person killed with a sword is better than a standoff with a gun?

As gun control has ceased to be a mainstream issue, gun control proponents have gotten more extreme to the point of becoming silly — not surprising for a movement who’s leadership has become people victimized by gunfire and know nothing about guns/the gun culture and don’t want to. And the fact that they just plain hate guns, hate them so much they don’t care if people die so long as no one can buy or carry a gun, becomes more clear. Here is an exchange on the Wisconsin Anti-Violent Effort Facebook page about a confrontation between a sword wielder and a (possible) CCW holder that ended peacefully, i.e. with no one getting hurt. And yet to anti-gunners it’s proof that horrible and violent people are getting their CCW’s.

Now … there are obviously some bizarre sides to this — brother’s fighting over cigarettes, etc. — but I’ve got to say that brandishing a firearm at someone brandishing a 5 foot long sword is not unreasonable. Whether or not you should be able to use deadly force against someone about to kill your dog just to be mean is more arguable, but jeez … he was going to kill the guy’s pet AND he had a deadly weapon. No shots were fired and I don’t think that brandishing a firearm is out of line.

If someone were threatening to kill my dog just because they were angry at me I would damned sure get in their way and they would have to go through me to get to her. If they brandished a deadly weapon they would be brandishing it at me, not the dog.

Yeah — great intelligent discourse.

And I don’t want to copy the picture, but follow this link to a cartoon I still don’t understand, but which may be proof of the whole concept that an armed society is a polite society. Basically it shows the MSM stereotype of a TEA partier holding a sign and a scary black rifle of some kind (a rifle by someone who doesn’t know/care what rifles look like), while a fat bellied police officer sprays a hippy-chick OWS protester with mace. The cop is saying “Well, you can’t expect me to pepper spray the Tea Party protesters — those people carry guns!”

Of course … there was never a need to pepper spray TEA party rallies, because they didn’t camp out overnight, got proper permits for their rallies, didn’t block traffic or “occupy” private property, respected police, etc.  But apparently WAVE just hates guns so much they think this is proof that guns are bad? If you were truly such an idiot you believed that the TEA party and OWS were completely comparable and equally legitimate and one was getting pepper sprayed and the other left alone … wouldn’t that make a strong argument that the 2nd amendment really is an important protection to the 1st amendment?


Off Road

Off Road

The best book ever written!

By me, anyway.

Set against the background of the American civil war of “progressives” vs. patriotic American traditionalists and a family caught in the middle, Off Road is a journey into the uniquely American world of God, guns, big trucks … and family.

More information here. Buy it at amazon.com in paperback or Kindle (only .99 for Kindle, which can also be read on a PC with a free reader). Or at Barnes and Noble in paperback or Nook (only .99 in Nook format). Or from the iBooks book store for Apple products. Or in any Ebook format, even .html or .pdf, for .99 from smashwords.com.