Thursday, October 8, 2015
By David French
Common sense apparently does strange things to some progressive minds. Yesterday morning, speaking on Fox and Friends, Ben Carson said of a mass-shooting situation, “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”
The New York Times declared that his statement was “drawing widespread rebuke from his critics and reviving questions about his candidacy.” ABC News asked him to “clarify” his statement, leading to this rather amusing exchange:
ABC: Dr. Carson can you clarify your statements on the Oregon shooting?
Carson: What needs clarification?
ABC: I guess there’s an implication that you’re saying that the students didn’t do enough to save themselves.
Carson: No, I said nothing about them. I said what I would do.
ABC: And can you say what you would do?
Carson: I would ask everybody to attack the gunman because he can only shoot one of us at a time. That way we don’t all wind up dead.
He then laughed and walked away. Later, on Megyn Kelly’s show, he said that he wasn’t laughing at the shooting but rather the “silliness” of the people asking the question. He said that he wanted to “plant the seed in people’s minds so that if this happens again they don’t all get killed.”
There was a time when the guidance for passengers in airplane hijackings could be summed up in one word: Cooperate. And on September 11, 2001, hijackers used that guidance to guarantee their control of three airplanes — the planes that later flew straight into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. But on one aircraft, the passengers learned that cooperation meant certain death, and they unilaterally changed the protocols. As a result, it’s now virtually unthinkable that American passengers will simply stand by and allow a hijacker to seize an airliner’s controls.
To hail the passengers of Flight 93 is not to condemn the passengers of Flight 11, Flight 175, and Flight 77. In a terrifying situation, they were doing what they were taught to do.
#share#The current guidance for victims in mass-shooting situations is just as passive as the original guidance for hijacking victims. “Shelter in place,” they’re told. In other words, hide and wait for rescue. Carson is urging a change in the paradigm, to immediate group resistance.
The key word here is “group.” The sad stories of mass shootings are replete with tales of individual heroism, of the one man who charged the attacker only to be shot down. In Oregon, Chris Mintz resisted and was shot multiple times. At Fort Hood, Captain John Gaffney reportedly died charging Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan. But where one man fails, two or three can succeed — just ask Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler, the three American men who foiled an August terrorist attack on a French train.
Should the defining characteristic of Americans under fire — whether from terrorists or from depraved gunmen — be their eagerness to shelter or their courage to resist? And should a presidential candidate prioritize “sensitivity” over all other virtues? Carson is urging Americans to change their thinking, to take responsibility for their own defense. In a previous era, this would be called leadership. Now, all too many people just call it mean.
As I’ve said before, none of us can truly know how we’ll respond to a crisis until we face that ultimate test, but aspiration is the first step to action, and we can and should urge our fellow Americans to fight — together, immediately, and viciously — when confronted by a mortal threat. “Shelter in place” is supposed to mean “wait for help.” All too often it means “wait to die.” Those are not American words. They are not in keeping with American culture. On Flight 93, the battle cry was “Let’s roll.” On a train in Belgium, it was “Let’s go.” Those are the right words — the American words — for defeating evil.
—David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.http://www.nationalreview.com/article/425211/ben-carson-charge-attackers-shelter-in-place
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
By Rich Lowry
Carly Fiorina is a no-nonsense former business executive who is showing she can play — and throw elbows — with the big boys in the Republican presidential nomination battle.
Feminists have noticed, but their admiration is tinged with dread — and it should be. An eloquent, fearless critic of abortion, the latest outsider to climb into the Republican race is a clear and present danger to what feminists hold most dear.
Even if she had said nothing else at the CNN debate, Fiorina would have stood out for her gut-punch of a statement about the horror of the guerrilla Planned Parenthood videos capturing the ghoulish organ harvesting that is an important side business of the organization (the main business, of course, is aborting babies).
The novelist Jennifer Weiner told the New York Times for a story about the conflicted feelings of feminists, “It’s so weird — she looks like one of us, but she’s not.” Another feminist writer said that “there’s an excitement and a horror.” The managing editor of the feminist website Jezebel tweeted the night of the debate, “I’m in love with and terrified of her.”
Yes, be afraid, very afraid. Fiorina already may be the most effective, high-profile woman that the pro-life movement has. At the debate, she captured the enormity of the Planned Parenthood scandal, for which there are almost no words, speaking of it in the harshly indignant terms that it deserves.
No sooner had she made her statement than the media fact-checkers got to work. Fiorina had described a video of a living fetus and a technician working to harvest its brain. This was wrong. The video was stock footage of a briefly living victim of an abortion that played while a former technician described — in a different case — her horrifying experience cutting an aborted baby’s face open to preserve its brain for sale.
#share#Fiorina should have been more precise, but what she had misdescribed was a detail in the broader Planned Parenthood abattoir. It has been established that the organization kills babies and cuts out their organs to sell them off. How much of a defense is it that the brain harvesting is not itself on video?
Fiorina’s electric condemnation of Planned Parenthood has inevitably gotten the attention of the pro-abortion sisterhood. This past weekend in Iowa, protesters chanted and threw condoms at her — condoms evidently being the go-to projectile to demonstrate outrage, even though Fiorina had said nothing about birth control.
At the same event, a woman accosted Fiorina to ask, “How can you as a woman not support our health care?” In a firm and frank exchange, Fiorina probably left the woman determined never to try that again. “Oh, I support your health care,” the candidate shot back. “I don’t support butchering babies.”
Fiorina is so formidable because she has a tough-as-nails public persona, together with an ear for the music of public speech. As Noah Rothman ofCommentary magazine put it, she campaigns in poetry, not in prose. There is a reason that she completed an improbable escape from the undercard debate in August to the main stage in September for an often-dominating performance.
At their best, her riffs are pungent, memorable — and persuasive. “Liberals and progressives will spend inordinate amounts of time and money protecting fish, frogs, and flies,” she said last week after a visit to a pro-life pregnancy center. “They do not think a 17-week-old, a 20-week-old, a 24-week-old is worth saving.”
Hillary Clinton’s fans can be forgiven for wishing their candidate had some of Fiorina’s flair as a communicator. A writer at Cosmopolitan lamented, “Carly Fiorina Is the Candidate I Wanted Hillary Clinton to Be.” She and others ought to get used to feeling envious and chagrined. Even if she flames out as a candidate, in Carly Fiorina conservatives and pro-lifers have discovered a formidable champion.
— Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: email@example.com. © 2015 King Features Syndicatehttp://www.nationalreview.com/node/424758/print
By Mike Lee & Mark Walker — September 30, 2015
Patient costs are up. Access to doctors is down. Co-ops are going bankrupt, and insurance companies have already asked Uncle Sam for a taxpayer-funded bailout.
Five years have passed since former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) infamously admitted, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” Americans now know what was hiding in Obamacare. And they don’t like it.
That’s why it is more important than ever for Republicans in Congress to honor the promises we have made to the American people and finally send an Obamacare-repeal bill to the president’s desk. We can do this, before the end of the year, through a procedure known as “budget reconciliation.”
Normally it takes 60 votes to move legislation in the Senate. But a reconciliation bill is considered “privileged,” so it can pass the Senate by a simple majority vote as long as it contains “policies affecting mainly permanent spending and revenue programs.”
Congressional Democrats used this very mechanism to force Obamacare through Congress on a party-line vote, to the president’s desk, and onto the backs of hard-working American families and businesses.
Now that the effects of Obamacare have begun to sink in, we’ve seen rapid consolidation among health-care providers and insurance companies. Out-of-pocket health-care costs have skyrocketed. Medicaid patients are having much more trouble finding doctors. And millions have been kicked off their health-insurance plans or had their health care disrupted.
Given the disastrous consequences of this deeply flawed law, we believe the American people deserve to have Congress employ budget reconciliation yet again, this time to repeal Obamacare.
RELATED: The Simple Way to Repeal Obamacare
President Obama has vowed to veto this legislation, which would put the preservation of his legislative namesake above the needs of hard-working families. But Obama needs to own up and explain to the American people why he insists that rising costs and dwindling access are good for them.
Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress must prove to the American people that repealing Obamacare is one of their top priorities.
#share#As we head into the presidential election, the American people deserve a national debate on this issue. Voters need to know whether or not those who are in elected office — and those running for elected office — are either committed to full repeal or satisfied with the dysfunctional, unaffordable, and unfair status quo.
Earlier this year both of us, along with many of our colleagues, committed to using budget reconciliation to fully repeal Obamacare. Indeed, many Republican representatives and senators supported the budget resolution that Congress passed this spring only because it initiated the process of repealing Obamacare through reconciliation.
But Republican leaders in the House and Senate are now contemplating a reconciliation bill that fails to fully repeal Obamacare. In fact, it repeals onlyseven of Obamacare’s 419 sections. They also claim that the bill will defund Planned Parenthood — a worthy goal — but it’s not yet clear whether Senate rules will allow the defund–Planned Parenthood provision to be included in a reconciliation bill.
We support the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the strengthening of other measures to protect the dignity of human life at all stages of development, but we must not let this keep us from fulfilling our promise to fully repeal Obamacare.
It’s possible that some Obamacare provisions might not be subject to repeal in the reconciliation process. But Republicans promised the American people — and Republican leaders promised rank-and-file lawmakers — that they would use every tool at their disposal to repeal as much of Obamacare as possible, and the simple-majority process of reconciliation furthers this goal.
In the end, President Obama might veto the repeal. But forcing him to do so would be an important part of the ongoing debate about reforming a health-care system that Obamacare has only made worse.
Next year, the Republican presidential nominee will run on a platform of repealing Obamacare and starting over with patient-centered, market-based reform. And whoever is the Democratic nominee will have a harder time than ever defending the dysfunctional law. In the meantime, though, Congress can’t take the easy road by appeasing a few special interests and leaving the hard choices to someone else. We ran — and we were elected — to help the American people by rescuing them from Obamacare.
It’s time that Republicans in the House and Senate honor this promise we all made to the American people. It’s time to pass a reconciliation bill that fully repeals Obamacare.
— Mike Lee represents Utah in the U.S. Senate. Mark Walker represents North Carolina’s sixth district in the U.S. House of Representatives.http://www.nationalreview.com/article/424853/repeal-obamacare-reconciliation
By David French
The reports are true. The Left’s favorite pope met with the Left’s most-hated county clerk. The world’s most powerful and influential religious leader met with Rowan County clerk Kim Davis, reportedly thanking her for her courage and telling her to “stay strong.” In so doing he rebuked two narratives that have sadly taken hold amongst many orthodox Christians. First, that Kim Davis was fundamentally out of line when she defied a lawless judiciary and refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. And second, that Davis herself — a rural Kentuckian with a checkered past — is the wrong messenger at the wrong time.
It’s been quite remarkable to see so many even on the right tell Davis to resign or comply with the utterly fabricated, extra-constitutional dictates of the Supreme Court. Yet does anyone actually believe that “resign or comply” is a public servant’s only option in the face of lawless behavior from a higher authority? Or did too many on the right reflexively adopt the Left’s talking points — the same Left that is only too eager to see Christians either salute and follow orders or get out of the path of the sexual revolution? Are there not circumstances where the “lesser magistrate” should instead choose to resist the lawless acts of his superiors?
Protestant Christian tradition certainly says yes. Catholic tradition certainly says yes. American tradition says yes. Just ask the public officials who ignored the Supreme Court’s odious Dred Scott decision. Resign or comply with Japanese internment? Resign or comply with abortion-on-demand? Even in the marriage debate itself, the Left celebrated numerous public officials who disregarded their legal duties and resisted what they believed to be lawless bans on same-sex marriage.
Since “resign or comply” is unsustainable as an absolutist moral framework, the more meaningful debate is whether the principles at stake in Davis’s case are important enough to resist to the point of civil disobedience. Let’s have that argument instead of simply declaring, “Do your job.” But if protesting judicial supremacy and defending rights of conscience aren’t worth a small act of defiance that didn’t actually deprive a single American of a marriage license, then we hold those values cheaply indeed. Pope Francis, however, has sent a powerful message — religious freedom is worth going to prison to defend.
#share#Further, by meeting with Davis, the pope implicitly rejects the argument that she is the wrong woman for this fight. As a pastor, the pope understands redemption, and he knows that our past sins can’t and shouldn’t cripple our present moral resolve. Christian history is full of examples of men and women who were lost in their own sin and depravity yet emerged — by the grace of God — to offer a powerful witness. Just ask the Apostle Paul. He was an accessory to murder. Just ask Augustine, whose Confessions is littered with examples of his own egregious sins.
All too many Christians immediately find fault with their brothers and sisters who are caught up in the culture wars. For 21 years I’ve litigated to protect religious liberty. I’ve heard Christians offer excuse after excuse to justify remaining on the sidelines, and most of those excuses have revolved around the real or imagined faults of my clients. There is never a perfect client. There is never a perfect case. And in those rare cases where clients seemed close to perfect, conservative critics have often attacked them using false information supplied by the Left. In Christian conservatism, the circular firing squad is alive and well, and it’s remarkable how often the criticism serves the interests of the critics — keeping them outside the Left’s crosshairs.
After the pope’s meeting with Davis, it’s time to move past this immediate dispute — past “resign, comply, or resist” — and to the solution that makes the most sense: accommodate. It is a simple matter to fashion state and federal laws that respect religious freedom without depriving any American of a marriage or any other meaningful legally protected interest. Perhaps that will be the true legacy of the pope’s meeting. In a few short minutes, he sent a powerful message. Kim Davis is not an extremist. Her requests are not unreasonable. And rights of conscience are vital enough to go to jail to protect.
— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
No television appearance elicits more angry comments from viewers than one in which the simple point is made that the "common sense gun control measures" (advocated petulantly by a president without so much as a day's space — or even a few hours — between killings and performance) would do exactly nothing to prevent any of the recent massacres that litter the American landscape with blood and tears.
Add in an observation that simply notes that the monthly death toll from handguns in gun-control friendly Chicago is always a few dozen, and pro-gun control advocates come undone with online rage. The accusations — of being owned by the NRA, of insensitivity to human suffering, of indifference to truth — fly with abandon and not a little profanity.
The fact is that any reasonable gun control measure that could be argued persuasively to be effective in stopping a particular attack would have an immediate, indeed unstoppable, appeal to a public that weeps in grief at a seemingly endless line of atrocities. If President Obama or former Secretary of State Clinton could appear in public and state that X measure would have stopped Y shooting, then that X measure would soar in public support.
But they can't. So they don't. Instead they politicize these awful moments, speaking about straw men and magic, imaginary legislative solutions and now at least the president is willing to explicitly concede that he is doing exactly that. The New York Times editorialists lapse into a theater-style review of Republican "bromides" and the president's "understated fury," but devotes no space to detailing exactly what specific measure would have stopped exactly what specific murder spree.
Because there aren't any such measures save actual confiscation of weapons, which the president, candidate Clinton and even The New York Times lacks the courage to demand much less the ability to deliver via the constitutional amendment necessary to effect such a confiscation.
Everyone knows it is crazy to allow troubled losers to accumulate a dozen weapons while their family members say and do nothing as insanity brings them closer and closer to unleashing hell on hundreds of people. Everyone agrees that hate-filled extremists ought not to be able to buy weapons.
But no one has a plan on how to stop those specific purchases and prevent those specific massacres.The good news is that news organizations have figured out that publicity for the killers is a reward that has to be denied them. Manifestos cannot be published. Videotaped rants have to be consigned to the vertical file and the possession of the FBI's profilers.
But if a maniac can count on a command performance from the president within hours of his shooting spree, well then, that is quite the incentive, isn't it? Even this president, whose cluelessness on Syria is an indictment of any prescription he offers on any issue, should have figured out the worst thing he could do was dignify an anti-Christian psycho with a lecture scolding political opponents who include among their number millions and millions of Christians.
The president is himself a Christian, of course, but Thursday's tirade was anything but a display of righteous anger. It was just more political theater from a spent president with no more arguments to make, only slanders to hurl.
Hugh Hewitt is a nationally syndicated talk radio host, law professor at Chapman University's Fowler School of Law and author, most recently of The Queen: The Epic Ambition of Hillary and the Coming of a Second "Clinton Era." He posts daily at HughHewitt.com and is on Twitter @hughhewitt.
By The Editors
The story coming from Umpqua Community College is by now a familiar one: the socially and romantically frustrated young man, almost certainly mentally disturbed; the channeling of that mental perturbation into various political and ideological enthusiasms, in this case ranging from admiration for Irish Republican Army terrorists to what turned out to be a homicidal antipathy toward Christians; the disorganized family; people familiar with the young man and his family being not entirely surprised by the rampage.
None of this would be complete without politicians rushing to the microphones before the blood has cooled, and here President Barack Obama has obliged, using the event to make another pitch for stricter gun-control policies that would have little or no effect on such events.
The president complained that these episodes, and our national reaction to them, have become “routine.” They are, and they long have been: The worst school massacre in American history was committed at Bath, Mich., in 1927 and involved no firearms; a frustrated politician bombed the school. Go back for decades and you’ll find one or two of these dramatic episodes a year: A junior-high teacher shoots eleven in 1982, a man shoots 41 in a McDonald’s in 1984, a postal worker shoots 21 in 1986, a retired librarian shoots up a supermarket in 1987, etc. (See this timeline for all the cases the media have forgotten.)
#share#There is a national myth that this began with Columbine High School, but that simply is not the case. Nor is this an American phenomenon: In the past several decades there were 18 public mass shootings in the Philippines, 15 in Russia, ten in France, etc. There has been, by some estimates, an upturn in public mass shootings; at the same time, shooting deaths have declined by half in the past 20 years. This is a much safer country than it was in 1994.
Those who share Barack Obama’s worldview and his crassness will take this opportunity to demand closure of the so-called gun-show loophole, which does not, strictly speaking, exist. (People who are not gun dealers are not regulated like gun dealers for the same reason that your uncle who likes to share his hunches about hot stocks is not subject to SEC regulation.) Background-check legislation mainly inconveniences the sort of people who are inclined to comply with background-check legislation. Street criminals have other resources. A CNN analysis of recent mass shootings suggested that in one case — Virginia Tech — a proper background check might have prevented the killer from acquiring a gun. In that case, as in the Charleston shooting (which came after the CNN analysis), the shooters passed background checks because state authorities had defective reporting procedures.
In the vast majority of mass shootings, the firearms were legally acquired; in a very large share of ordinary murders — the much more significant problem — the crimes were committed by people who would not legally be entitled to own guns under current law: In one study of New York City, 90 percent of the murderers had prior criminal records. In neither case is there any evidence that unscreened sales at gun shows are a significant factor.
The theatrical shooters who capture the nation’s attention represent a tiny share of those who use firearms to commit violent crimes, and they are unusual in that most of them who were of legal age would have passed a background check. The people who do most of the nation’s criminal killing are a different story: In most American cities, the great majority of murders are committed by people with prior police backgrounds, often by those who already have been convicted of a criminal offense. It is maddeningly common for murders to be committed by killers with violent gun crimes on their criminal résumés. The streets of American cities are plagued by armed violent criminals because police, prosecutors, and parole officers refuse to do their jobs, or are unable to do their jobs.
It is telling that Barack Obama insists that he wants only “commonsense” gun reform and then cites Australia — where the government confiscated privately owned firearms — as a shining example.
The more complicated question of mental health bears some consideration. In the Umpqua case, the shooter’s mother is said to have told neighbors that her son was dealing with “mental issues,” and in many similar cases the shooters either already were in consultation with mental-health professionals or failed to be so only because of failure by their families and school authorities to take the proper steps. The United States effectively dissolved its public mental-health system in the 1960s and 1970s as the interaction of liberationist radicalism in the psychiatric profession with the narrow self-interest of municipal politicians — who calculate that mental-health patients cast few votes — led to “deinstitutionalization.” The effects of our national unwillingness to act credibly on mental illness can be seen in the occasional dramatic shooting episode, and in the much more quotidian though no less lamentable situation of the mentally ill homeless in our city streets.
The crusade against private gun ownership is, for the Left, a kulturkampf. The sort of people who are likely to own or enjoy firearms are the sort of people who are most intensely detested by the social tendency that produced Barack Obama et al. — atavistic throwbacks and “bitter clingers,” as somebody once put it. The Left’s jihad against hunters, rural people, shooting enthusiasts, and Second Amendment partisans will do effectively nothing to prevent lunatics from shooting up schools or shopping malls. That they would exploit the victims of these awful crimes in the service of what amounts to a very focused form of snobbery is remarkable. Also remarkable is the unwillingness of President Obama and his allies to seriously address the public-policy questions relevant to the case, those being mental health and criminal recidivism of the most violent kind. The rest is simply an unserious cultural self-indulgence.
By Mark Antonio Wright
Within hours of the gunfire falling silent on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon Thursday, President Obama stepped up to a podium and declared that America should follow the path of our Anglosphere cousins to reduce gun violence.
“We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings,” the president said. “Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.”
“Australia” is Obama’s preferred euphemism for that most cherished of gun-control ideals: mass confiscation of the citizenry’s weapons.
You will notice that the president doesn’t exactly spell out what following Australia’s model would entail. He speaks instead of “commonsense gun-control legislation,” “closing the gun-show loophole,” and “universal background checks.”
In the last 24 hours, New York magazine, CNN, and NBC have also sung the virtues of the Australian model.
But the Australian 1996 National Agreement on Firearms was not a benign set of commonsense gun-control rules: It was a gun-confiscation program rushed through the Australian parliament just twelve days after a 28-year-old man killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle in the Tasmanian city of Port Arthur. The Council of Foreign relations summarizes the Aussie measure nicely:
The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a “genuine need” for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course.
The council’s laudatory section on Australian gun-control policy concludes that “many [read: gun-control activists] suggest the policy response in the wake of Port Arthur could serve as a model for the United States.”
Two questions should be asked and answered: (1) Did the post–Port Arthur laws lead to a clear reduction of gun violence, and (2) What would an American version of the “Australian model” look like?
Gun-control activists claim that the Australian model directly resulted in a pronounced fall in the gun-suicide rate and the gun-homicide rate. But these claims are disputable.
In August, Vox’s German Lopez wrote a piece that included a chart attempting to show a causal relationship between the Australian gun-confiscation regime and a reduction in the Australian suicide rate. “When countries reduced access to guns, they saw a drop in the number of firearm suicides,” Lopez wrote.
I noted at the time that:
While the chart does show a steady decline in gun-related suicides, the reduction occurred at the same time as an overall reduction in the Australian suicide rate. What’s more, firearm-related suicides had been declining in Australia for nearly ten years before the 1996 restrictions on gun ownership.
Vox’s own chart does not appear to show a causal link between gun control and a reduction in suicide rates in Australia.
Moreover, a look at other developed countries with very strict gun-control laws (such as Japan and South Korea) shows that the lack of guns does notlead to a reduced suicide rate. Unfortunately, people who want to kill themselves often find a way to do so — guns or no guns.
Did the Australian model at least reduce gun-related homicides?
That is hotly disputed.
University of Melbourne researchers Wang-Sheng Lee and Sandy Suardi concluded their 2008 report on the matter with the statement, “There is little evidence to suggest that [the Australian mandatory gun-buyback program] had any significant effects on firearm homicides.”
“Although gun buybacks appear to be a logical and sensible policy that helps to placate the public’s fears,” the reported continued, “the evidence so far suggests that in the Australian context, the high expenditure incurred to fund the 1996 gun buyback has not translated into any tangible reductions in terms of firearm deaths.”
A 2007 report, “Gun Laws and Sudden Death: Did the Australian Firearms Legislation of 1996 Make a Difference?” by Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran similarly concluded that the buyback program did not have a significant long-term effect on the Australian homicide rate.
The Australian gun-homicide rate had already been quite low and had been steadily falling in the 15 years prior to the Port Arthur massacre. And while the mandatory buyback program did appear to reduce the rate of accidental firearm deaths, Baker and McPhedran found that “the gun buy-back and restrictive legislative changes had no influence on firearm homicide in Australia.”
Would an American version of the “Australian model” perform any better?
In all likelihood it would fare worse. The Federalist’s Varad Mheta set down the facts in June:
Gun confiscation is not happening in the United States any time soon. But let’s suppose it did. How would it work? Australia’s program netted, at the low end, 650,000 guns, and at the high end, a million. That was approximately a fifth to a third of Australian firearms. There are about as many guns in America as there are people: 310 million of both in 2009. A fifth to a third would be between 60 and 105 million guns. To achieve in America what was done in Australia, in other words, the government would have to confiscate as many as 105 million firearms.
And an American mandatory gun-confiscation program — in addition to being unconstitutional — would be extraordinarily coercive, and perhaps even violent.
There is no other way around it: The mandatory confiscation of the American citizenry’s guns would involve tens of thousands of heavily armed federal agents going door-to-door to demand of millions of Americans that they surrender their guns.
That. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.
If the president and gun-control activists want to keep saying “Australia” in response to every shooting in America, they should at least be honest about what exactly they are proposing.
—Mark Antonio Wright is an assistant editor at National Review.http://www.nationalreview.com/article/425021/australia-gun-control-obama-america
By Thomas Sowell
Nowhere has there been so much hand-wringing over a lack of “affordable housing” as among politicians and others in coastal California. And nobody has done more to make housing unaffordable than those same politicians and their supporters.
A recent survey showed that the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco was just over $3,500. Some people are paying $1,800 a month just to rent a bunk bed in a San Francisco apartment.
It is not just in San Francisco that putting a roof over your head can take a big chunk out of your paycheck. The whole Bay Area is like that. Thirty miles away, Palo Alto home prices are similarly unbelievable.
One house in Palo Alto, built more than 70 years ago, and just over 1,000 square feet in size, was offered for sale at $1.5 million. And most asking prices are bid up further in such places.
Another city in the Bay Area with astronomical housing prices, San Mateo, recently held a public meeting and appointed a task force to look into the issue of “affordable housing.”
Public meetings, task forces, and political hand-wringing about a need for “affordable housing” occur all up and down the San Francisco peninsula, because this is supposed to be such a “complex” issue.
Someone once told President Ronald Reagan that a solution to some controversial issue was “complex.” President Reagan replied that the issue was in fact simple, “but it is not easy.”
Is the solution to unaffordable housing prices in parts of California simple? Yes. It is as simple as supply and demand. What gets complicated is evading the obvious, because it is politically painful.
One of the first things taught in an introductory economics course is supply and demand. When a growing population creates a growing demand for housing, and the government blocks housing from being built, the price of existing housing goes up.
This is not a breakthrough on the frontiers of knowledge. Economists have understood supply and demand for centuries — and so have many other people who never studied economics.
#share#Housing prices in San Francisco, and in many other communities for miles around, were once no higher than in the rest of the United States. But, beginning in the 1970s, housing prices in these communities skyrocketed to three or four times the national average.
Why? Because local-government laws and policies severely restricted, or banned outright, the building of anything on vast areas of land. This is called preserving “open space,” and “open space” has become almost a cult obsession among self-righteous environmental activists, many of whom are sufficiently affluent that they don’t have to worry about housing prices.
Some others have bought the argument that there is just very little land left in coastal California on which to build homes. But anyone who drives down Highway 280 for 30 miles or so from San Francisco to Palo Alto will see mile after mile of vast areas of land with not a building or a house in sight.
How “complex” is it to figure out that letting people build homes in some of that vast expanse of “open space” would keep housing from becoming “unaffordable”?
Was it just a big coincidence that housing prices in coastal California began skyrocketing in the 1970s, when building bans spread like wildfire under the banner of “open space,” “saving farmland,” or whatever other slogans would impress the gullible?
When more than half the land in San Mateo County is legally off-limits to building, how surprised should we be that housing prices in the city of San Mateo are now so high that politically appointed task forces have to be formed to solve the “complex” question of how things got to be the way they are and what to do about it?
However simple the answer, it will not be easy to go against the organized, self-righteous activists for whom “open space” is a sacred cause, automatically overriding the interests of everybody else.
Was it just a coincidence that some other parts of the country saw skyrocketing housing prices when similar severe restrictions on building went into effect? Or that similar policies in other countries have had the same effect? How “complex” is that?
— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His website is www.tsowell.com. © 2015 Creators Syndicate Inc.
THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 10/06/2015
Gun sense, nonsense, lying liars
Well, our hectoring lecturer-in-chief, Emperor Obama, couldn’t wait for the bodies to cool or the blood to dry before politicizing the latest mass-murdering rampage in Roseburg, Oregon last Friday. The murderer had a black mother and had never been victimized for his mixed race background. Without racist, white cops—“acting stupidly”—or a “white Hispanic” neighborhood watchman, Obama was left with…guns.
It must be emphasized that the most proximate, relevant contributing factor to the carnage was the lunacy of “gun free zones.” Muslim haters-of-American-military chose a “gun free” strip mall recruiting storefront in Tennessee, and unarmed Army soldiers at Fort Hood. Theater shooters seek out “gun free” venues for their massacres.
This truism bears repeating: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away (6 minutes, in the Umpqua Community College, UCC, case on Friday). Among recent changes in gun laws tabulated in an article I saw, Texas was the only state to pass state-level legislation prohibiting any educational facility from denying law abiding gun owners their rights on school property. That’s very relevant to school shootings when you consider that, among the teachers, administrators, employees and (at colleges and universities) adult students, there will normally be former military, off-duty law enforcement or ordinary citizens possessed of CCW (concealed carry) permits—and trained in the use of their weapons.
We already know that heroes dwell, walk and—in the case of learning facilities—sit in classrooms and walk the campuses among us. As a teacher, who had survived the Nazis, proved back east, some will selflessly throw their bodies at such murderous nuts; in Roseburg, a former soldier took a number of bullets as he threw his body at the gunman. That teacher died; the former soldier lived. There would surely be dozens among UCC’s 20,000 full and part time students who could reliably and responsibly carry their own weapons for safety.
Oregon, rather than following Texas’ example, was the only state to pass a law further restricting law abiding, gun-owning citizens. They now impose one of the liberals’ favorite knee-jerk cure-alls for gun violence: “universal background checks” applying to all exchanges, even among family members and gun shows. Remember, the Roseburg murderer acquired his short and long guns legally, not having a criminal record or an adjudicated mental condition. Even the guns he acquired from a family member would not have been prohibited under that Oregon law for the same reasons.
However, one girl is possibly alive because of her premonition, her sense of dread prompting her to not attend class at UCC last Friday. There simply is no constitutional, common sense rationale for law-abiding citizens to be denied their God-given right to self-defense in any public space.
Suppose a young law-abiding person, with gun training, had a premonition of trouble on campus that day. A relative who legally owned a hand gun could not, under the new Oregon law, loan them a gun for the purpose of self-protection—not at Umpqua Community College, nor at their workplace, nor in their travels should a former boy or girl friend be stalking them with malintent. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with an armed good guy.
Given the now-verified targeting of self-professed Christians by the killer, “Will Roseburg Prompt a ‘National Conversation’ on Anti-Christian Bigotry?” by David French, raises essential issues. At the drop of a hat, the usual ideological buffoons, including Obama, decry racially motivated attacks (meaning, of course, black victims of white cops, not of other black gunmen). Media and political leftists are cocked and loaded (so to speak) to cry “Islamophobia” when Muslims are questioned; the Democrats’ phony “war on women” lives on.
Regarding our hypocrite-and-liar-in-chief, Obama misrepresented polls on gun control; he lied about the positions of 2nd Amendment/gun rights supporters; he endlessly conflates gun laws complied with by lawful citizens with those same laws flouted and ignored by criminals.
He completely misstated the results of gun-confiscation in Australia (the same leftist mouths that tell us we can’t deport 11 million illegal aliens now shamelessly want 300 million guns confiscated). For insight, read “Australia’s 1996 Gun Confiscation Didn’t Work—And it Wouldn’t Work in America,” by Mark Antonio Wright. Neither “firearm suicides,” “non-firearm suicides,” nor “firearm homicide” rates have reflected the gun-seizing tactic of Australia’s law.
Obama’s despicable phoniness is revealed in “Obama: Never Let a Mass Shooting go to Waste!” “Obama and Guns: Then and Now,” and “Politicize This” (searchable by title and posted at DonPolson.blogspot.com under “gun rights”). We are apparently supposed to forget Obama’s 2008 insistence that he “will not take your shotgun…rifle…or handgun away.” We were liars to say “He wants to take your guns away.” Well, my lying eyes and ears witnessed Obama praising confiscation in “Great Britain and Australia” which have “been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings.” Yes, Obama, you want—by your own words—to take our guns away!
“So when he says it’s okay to ‘politicize’ these tragedies, he means it in full. When Obama engages in politics, he distorts the truth, demonizes his opponents, and seeks any other weapon that may be near to hand. He does this because he sees politics not as a realm for compromise, but the means by which he achieves what he wants, because what he wants is the only right and just thing.” (NationalReview.com)