Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We do NOT have a gun problem

While it is true that people have used guns to kill thousands of people every year, one thing that is not talked about often enough is how many lives are SAVED because of guns. This is the video description for a new video I am putting together. Due to the character limit on YouTube video descriptions I have created this blog.  Every claim that I make is independently verified and I encourage you to do the research for yourself.  Every time there is a shooting the gun control crowd presses for more laws in which they attempt to disarm law abiding citizens for the actions of others.

Let me also state why comments are always disabled in my blogs.  This was done at the suggestion of AdSense.  As a publisher I am responsible for the content I post and allow to be posted on my blog.  Those who wish to discuss can either go to my YouTube video, or they can simply write their own blog.  As long as AdSense holds me responsible for the comments posted, I simply will disable comments.

Recently we had yet another school shooting.  The shooting took place despite the school being a gun free zone.  It was against the law to bring a gun to school.  This is punishable both by fine and jail time.  In addition to these punishments the offender is prohibited from legally owning a gun in the future.  This law had to be re-written because it failed to pass a constitutional test.  In Washington v Lopez someone brought a gun to school and was arrested.  It was found that the 1990 law violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  Since the court threw it out, the law was changed slightly and has been upheld in the courts.

Let's establish the facts.  Since 1990 there were 9 mass shootings.  Read the list HERE.  The FBI defines mass shootings as 4 or more.  Of those 9 shootings only 2, allowed handguns.  Even the mass shooting at Fort Hood Army Base was a gun free zone.  That is correct, the freaking Army Base was a gun free zone.  That was a rule enacted in the 90's.  HERE is why.  Mass shootings, although common in 2012 are in fact quite rare.  Almost all of them have taken place where people could not defend themselves.  In fact in the Batman Movie shooting, the killer had 7 movie theaters to choose from.  He did NOT chose the one closest to him, he did not chose the largest movie theater, he chose the only movie theater that was a gun free zone.  How many more people have to die before we repeal the gun free zone laws?

Another fact to consider is the mental health of these shooters.  Ours is not an issue of crazy people having access to guns, ours is an issue of crazy people NOT having access to good mental health screenings.  Let's not forget that Adam Lanza tried to buy guns and was turned down.  The system worked.  Instead he went home and killed his own mother to get her guns.  His mother had tried in vain to get her son the mental help he needed.  James Holmes of Colorado and Jared Lee Loughner of Arizona also had mental health history.

Let me make this clear.  People with certain types of mental health history should not have access to guns, just like we don't allow people with epilepsy to drive cars.  Furthermore, just like we as a society place reasonable restrictions on people's right to travel by ensuring they are competent to drive, we should place reasonable restrictions on gun ownership ensuring that they are properly trained.

Banning assault weapons will not stop mass shootings.  This is for several reasons.  First mass shootings are not really a problem.  They are statistically non-existent as being struck by lightning is more likely.  The high price of these weapons make them cost prohibitive for most criminals.  Second of all, in a breakdown of the rule of law such as the LA riots you are going to need such a gun to protect your lives and property.

Guns are simply not the cause of the high number of gun related deaths we have in this country.  One, we lack Universal Healthcare where we allow those who are mentally unstable to go untreated unless they were lucky enough to have health insurance before they became ill.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness only a third of adults who are mentally ill are treated in this country.  HERE is the report.  Second, our population is very dense in our cities where most of the gun crime and gun control exists.  Third, our war on drugs has made criminals out of ordinary civilians.

According to a 2010 report from the Department of Justice half of those in state and federal prisons are there for drugs and that 82 percent of all drug arrests in 2009 were for possession alone.  You can read the report and the sources HERE.  With drugs being illegal then only criminals will have drugs, by simple definition.  Places like Europe for example don't have the drug problem we do because the focus more on treatment than simply locking people up.  HERE is a 2007 article from the LA Times.  We even have THIS article from FORBES (hardly a liberal rag) that champions the decline in drug use when drugs were legalized in Portugal.

Arresting people and locking them up does nothing but lock people up and take them away from their families.  When you do that you cause more single parent homes and when you have a country such as the United States where far too many children already live in single parent homes you have a recipe for disaster.

Mother Jones recently put out THIS article which discusses mental illness and the profiles of the mass shooters.  While I certainly do agree with the findings in that report, it should be noted that I am not calling for the mentally ill to be rounded up and locked in cages.  The majority of the mentally ill are not a threat to society.  Rather this very small group of people is simply a statistical anomoly.  I have met people who are bi-polar, schizofrenic, depressed, anti-social, and have no problem living next door to them.  I would have no problem with most of them being responsible gun owners.

In fact it could be argued that some of the shooters had too much mental health care when you consider the medication that they were on.  Michael Moore speculated a similar conclusion in this interview.

It should be noted that I have watched Bowling For Columbine, and while there were a few exagerations such as the opening scene with the bank, or the out right lie about Charleston Heston scheduling NRA rallies after school shootings, it drives home a very good point.  Michael Moore in his movie went through each of the points made in an attempt to explain America's high gun murder rate and debunked each and every one.

He pointed out that it is not violent movies or video games or music that causes shootings, it is not even access to guns as Canada has plenty of guns.  (On a fact checking hunt I talked to several Canadians and discovered that while there are plenty of hunting rifles they must be stored and locked and handguns are rare up there.  Also the claim that Canadian's don't lock their doors was true or false depending on what part of the country you lived in.)

The simple fact is bad people do bad things.  Why should I lose my right to self defense just because someone else wasn't responsible.  Why should I lose my right against unreasonable search just because someone else down the street blew themselves up making meth?  Why should I lose my freedom of religion because someone else used their religion to justify animal sacrifice?  The assault weapons ban didn't stop columbine, and a new ban won't stop school shootings.  Gun Free Zones are the problem not the guns.

So when I announced two weeks ago that I was going to become a responsible gun owner and buy a handgun for self defense and get the proper training on how to use it, a large portion of my subscriber base responded back with essentially I will shoot my eye out.  Others theorized that me owning a gun for self defense will only cause more confusion in the event of someone shooting.  Nobody could cite any facts for this, and in fact were completely willing to ignore the actual facts of the situation that guns are used defensively more than a million times a year and a majority of the time of the time the attacker is not shot.

From Journal of Criminal Law which you can read HERE I bring you this chart.  The majority of the time merely mentioning the gun or showing it is the most common defense.

They ignored the fact that in the event of a civilian using a gun to defend themselves an innocent person is only hurt 2 percent of the time, whereas the police trying to take out a bad guy wind up hurting an innocent 11 percent of the time.  There is no shootout at the O.K. Coral when it comes to civilians defending themselves.  In the majority of cases simply presenting the weapon is enough to stop the attacker.  Guns are used for self defense about 1.5 million times a year according to THIS report from the CATO institute.

In THIS report from the CATO institute we find this

Gun control advocates like to cite a recent article in the New Enqland Journal of Medicine that argues that for every intruder killed by a gun, 43 other people die as a result of gunshot wounds incurred in the home. (Again, most of them are suicides; many of the rest are assaultive family members killed in legitimate self-defense.) However, counting the number of criminal deaths is a bizarre method of measuring anticrime utility; no one evaluates police efficacy by tallying the number of criminals killed. Defensive use of a gun is far more likely to involve scaring away an attacker by brandishing the gun, or by firing it without causing death. Even if the numbers of criminal deaths were the proper measure of anticrime efficacy, citizens acting with full legal justification kill at least 30 percent more criminals than do the police.
On the whole, citizens are more successful gun users than are the police. When police shoot, they are 5.5 times more likely to hit an innocent person than are civilian shooters. Moreover, civilians use guns effectively against criminals. If a robbery victim does not defend himself, the robbery will succeed 88 percent of the time, and the victim will be injured 25 percent of the time. If the victim resists with a gun, the robbery "success" rate falls to 30 percent, and the victim injury rate falls to 17 percent. No other response to a robbery--from using a knife, to shouting for help, to fleeing--produces such a low rate of victim injury and robbery success. In short, virtually all Americans who use guns do so responsibly and effectively, notwithstanding the anxieties of gun control advocates.

Now the report does not mean to imply that the police are trigger happy John Wayne's and I am not making this claim either.  In THIS article written by George Will he cites a statistic that shows civilians kill an innocent whereas the police kill an innocent 11% of the time.  (Or 5.5 times more likely when you work out the number of people killed by police using guns vs the number killed by civilians using guns in self defense.)  Rather the police by the time they get there, very often the crime is well underway whereas in civilians using self defense they can often scare away the criminal before the police get there.

Essentially what I want is the same right to protect myself that Senator Dianne Feinstein used.

Now when I first saw this clip I was skeptical.  First there was an obvious edit as she was cut off mid-sentence.  Second this was a Senate hearing about Terrorism right after the Oklahoma City Bombing, why was she talking about concealed carry permits?  There was no way that she just up and changes the subject right in the middle of the hearing.  Well it turns out she did.  It took me a while to find it but HERE is the full hearing all 4.5 hours of it.  You will have to forward the video to about 2 hours and 26 minutes and you will find just as they were discussing the FBI's authority to seize assets of terrorists groups she jumps in and talks about how she used to carry a gun, and then says that she is prepared to vote for whatever the FBI says they need.  It should also be noted that according to Mayor Willie Brown as of the year 2000 when he was asked about this that Senator Feinstein had surrendered her gun and her permit.  Read about it HERE.  It is unknown at the time of this blog when Senator Feinstein turned in her gun only that as of the year 2000 she no longer carried one.

So we know how Senator Feinstein feels about guns, what about law enforcement?

In fact in THIS poll from an online Police magazine (where 89 percent of the respondents were current for former law enforcement) 94 % supported the right of citizens to be armed.  It should be noted that there are polls out there to counter the one I put forth.  It should also be noted that according to the National Association of Chiefs of Police, 17th Annual National Survey of Police Chiefs & Sheriffs, that 66% of police chiefs and sheriffs support and armed citizenry.  These of course are nationwide numbers.  No doubt that with the recent shootings of 2012 the poll would be closer towards 50/50 if held today.  Conservative publication National Review put forth THIS article that discusses that many of the leaders of these police groups speaking out now are in fact political appointees and that the more removed from the local beat a police officer becomes the more pro-control they tend to be.

Now what about domestic violence, doesn't that account for a lot of homicides?  According to THIS report titled GUNS AND PUBLIC HEALTH: EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE OR PANDEMIC OF PROPAGANDA? 90 percent of the time the police had been called at least once within the past 2 years.  In fact in cases of domestic violence women are far more likely to be killed.  However according to THIS fact sheet women kill with guns and knives as strangulation is virtually unheard of.  The majority of domestic violence is against women and as the weaker sex, the only equalizer is a gun.

Who exactly is getting killed with these guns.  First a majority of gun homicide happens in the cities, places that typically have more restrictions on firearms.  You can read the report from the Centers for Disease Control on where gun violence happens HERE.  Secondly, in a recent report for New York City that you can read HERE 74 percent of victims had prior arrests.  One fifth of them were on parole, probation, or had a warrant out for their arrest.  Milwaukee put out a similar study that you can read HERE.  Another study is from 2008 for Chicago, read it HERE.  While each shooting is tragic, the majority of times it is criminals shooting other criminals.

Another interesting chart I would like everyone to read is THIS report from Civitas.  It lists by country the stats for things such as robbery, rape, burglary, and other violent crime.  While we are in the top three for murder (or as they call it intentional homicide) we are way down the list for other violent crimes where the citizens are not armed.  We have already demonstrated that in cases where the victims can defend themselves the success rate for the criminal goes way down and the survival rate of the victim goes way up.

Yes these mass shootings are tragic but in reality they are a statistical anomaly just as the majority of the mentally ill are no threat to society and we should not demonize them or violate their civil rights by creating a national registry of the mentally ill.  My concern is who gets to define who goes on that list.  Let's not forget that just recently back in the 70's homosexuality was considered a mental illness.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness one in four Americans will have a mental problem in a given year and one in 17 will have a serious mental problem.  Read the report for yourself HERE.  Do we really have a issue where one in 17 people go nuts and start killing people?  Let us also not forget that the recent mass shooters WERE on medication.

There are several factors to consider when you address the gun violence in America.  First and foremost you have to address the war on drugs and our open border with Mexico.  Mexico bans guns yet they have a homicide rate higher than ours, they get their guns from the US.  Likewise we get a lot of our drugs from south of the border.  Just as we did when we ended the prohibition on booze, we can do it again with drugs. When we made alcohol illegal we saw a drastic rise in crime.  That crime went down when alcohol was legal again.  So many of our shootings are gang related and drug related.  Make the drugs legal and crime will go down, it worked in Portugal.

Another thing to consider is our incarceration rate.  Per capita we pretty much lock more people up than anyone else.  See the Civatas link again HERE.  Look at the reports for the cites of New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee and you will see that in each study it says the same thing, the perpetrators of gun violence had prior felony records.  Locking them up doesn't solve the issue.

Drugs, poverty, and demographics play a much bigger role.  The majority of killings is criminal to criminal in large cities.  Hate to say this but in the US Department of Statistics the majority of victims and perpetrators were black.  Read the report HERE.  You simply can not have a discussion on guns without discussing drugs, poverty, and demographics.

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