Advertisements

Category Archives: gun control

BBC’s Harry Law: Pushing political agenda and displaying cultural ignorance

second-amendmentAs I said previously, I do consider BBC’s straight journalism considerably superior to almost any American “news” outlet. Someone pointed out that BBC does lean considerably left, but it is easy to discern their reporting efforts from their features/editorials, so while I respect their journalism, their other work leaves a lot of be desired.

A few days ago, a writer named Harry Low decided it was time to add some spittle-flecked ignorance to the already-vast library of anti-gun loonery that the “journalists” of the world dutifully created in order to advance a global anti-freedom agenda. He penned a piece for BBC Magazine entitled “How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime.” This is hardly a news piece in any way, shape, or form, nor does it explore any new ideas. The author’s only goal with this dull-witted screed was to emphasize one message: GUNZ BAD!

Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world. In 2014 there were just six gun deaths, compared to 33,599 in the US. What is the secret?

suicidesNow, let’s start with the fact that the gun rate cited in the United States also includes cases of legal self defense as well as suicides. As a matter of fact, two-thirds of the 33,599 deaths via firearms in 2014 – or 21,334 were suicides, according to the CDC.

Do you want to know how many people committed suicide in Japan in 2014? According to the BBC itself, in 2014 on average 70 Japanese people committed suicide every day.

Every. Day.

That’s 25,550 people per year, which may be a function of another problem, which I will discuss below.

So comparing deaths by firearm in 2014 and including suicides in the United States, which comprise 63 percent of the deaths being compared is abject inability to analyze data at best, and outright disingenuous manipulation of data at worst.

A country that banned handguns and has incredibly tight controls on all other types of firearms in 2014 saw a higher suicide rate than the United States.

So point one: Harry Law is either a liar or an idiot.

But let’s remove the suicides from the picture. Out of the remaining 12,265 deaths by firearm, 464 were listed as legal intervention. That means a thug got ventilated by a would-be victim, which leaves 11,801 firearm deaths. Now, remember, these are legal interventions which resulted in the death of the violent vermin in question. This does not include incidents in which the gun was merely brandished, or the vermin was only injured. We have no idea how many lives were saved by those acts of bravery, but let’s leave those alone for a bit.

There were also 586 unintentional deaths – or accidents – which leaves 11,215, and there were 270 firearm deaths in which the intent could not be determined. This brings the gun homicide level to 10,945.

Still, Harry Law might say, nearly 11,000 firearm deaths compared to six is a big difference! While Japan in 2014 had a 0.3 gun homicide rate, the United States came in at a whopping 3.43 percent! And of course, Harry Law’s answer to the disparity is the lack of guns.

If you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.

There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too – and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.

That’s not all. Handguns are banned outright. Only shotguns and air rifles are allowed.

The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan’s 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit.

And this is where point two comes in: Harry Law is ignorant on Japanese culture writ large.

The people are comfortable, he says.

There’s no clamor for a relaxation of firearms laws, he says.

And Japanese police officers rarely use guys, he says.

Japanese police officers rarely use guns and put much greater emphasis on martial arts – all are expected to become a black belt in judo. They spend more time practising kendo (fighting with bamboo swords) than learning how to use firearms.

“The response to violence is never violence, it’s always to de-escalate it. Only six shots were fired by Japanese police nationwide [in 2015],” says journalist Anthony Berteaux. “What most Japanese police will do is get huge futons and essentially roll up a person who is being violent or drunk into a little burrito and carry them back to the station to calm them down.”

Now, my juvenile giggling at a perp being turned into a burrito aside, I’m also not a fan of the militarization of police. I’m much more a proponent of effective training, whether with firearms, a baton, or hand-to-hand combat.

japan-homicides

That said, what Harry Law wrote demonstrates a remarkable lack of cultural awareness.

First, despite the lack of guns in Japan, the homicide rate actually increased by 6.76 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the World Data Atlas.

But more than that what Harry Law is missing is the fact that the homicide rate writ large in Japan has always been significantly lower than in the United States. Japan saw 697 homicides in 2003 overall, compared with 11,920 firearm deaths in the United States. But while gun ownership has been on the rise since 2003, the gun homicide rates have generally declined.

Gee, maybe there’s something else at play that Harry Law, in his ridiculous zeal to advance a “GUNZ BAD!” message is missing?

In 1988 Dave Kopel wrote an article about Japanese culture that might clear up Harry Law’s confusion a bit.

The Japanese criminal justice system bears more heavily on a suspect than any other system in an industrial democratic nation. One American found this out when he was arrested in Okinawa for possessing marijuana: he was interrogated for days without an attorney, and signed a confession written in Japanese that he could not read. He met his lawyer for the first time at his trial, which took 30 minutes.

Unlike in the United States, where the Miranda rule limits coercive police interrogation techniques, Japanese police and prosecutors may detain a suspect indefinitely until he confesses. (Technically, detentions are only allowed for three days, followed by ten day extensions approved by a judge, but defense attorneys rarely oppose the extension request, for fear of offending the prosecutor.) Bail is denied if it would interfere with interrogation.

Even after interrogation is completed, pretrial detention may continue on a variety of pretexts, such as preventing the defendant from destroying evidence. Criminal defense lawyers are the only people allowed to visit a detained suspect, and those meetings are strictly limited.

Partly as a result of these coercive practices, and partly as a result of the Japanese sense of shame, the confession rate is 95%.

For those few defendants who dare to go to trial, there is no jury. Since judges almost always defer to the prosecutors’ judgment, the trial conviction rate for violent crime is 99.5%.
Of those convicted, 98% receive jail time.

In short, once a Japanese suspect is apprehended, the power of the prosecutor makes it very likely the suspect will go to jail. And the power of the policeman makes it quite likely that a criminal will be apprehended.

The police routinely ask “suspicious” characters to show what is in their purse or sack. In effect, the police can search almost anyone, almost anytime, because courts only rarely exclude evidence seized by the police — even if the police acted illegally.

The most important element of police power, though, is not authority to search, but authority in the community.

Bottom line: The Japanese public has had a historically very different relationship with law enforcement, police have broad powers, including the power to stop, search, and coerce confessions during interrogations. The Japanese culturally respect police officers as much as they respect teachers, and have willingly ceded their rights. I don’t know a whole lot of people in the West, and especially not in the United States, who are willing to scrap their constitutional rights in the way the Japanese have. Additionally, crime rates are generally low because culturally, to commit a crime is to bring shame to one’s family.

And in Japan, culturally, the sense of shame is significant. Shame, honor, and duty are a historic part of Japanese culture. Going to jail carries with it an extraordinary social stigma, which compared to other countries, where prison time gives you street cred, would make more sense in explaining the low crime rates than the presence or absence of firearms. And at the same time, there is a focus on keeping crime statistics low, and violent crimes such as rape go underreported in a society that is apparently still male-dominated and so intent on keeping its image clean, that no autopsies are performed, on even most obvious cases of foul play, and no crime is reported.

The existence of chikan (“perverts”, meaning men groping women in public) is a massive problem and has led to the creation of “women-only” carriages in most major cities. Japanese police are also criticized for failing to take victims of sexual crimes seriously time and again as a result of either chauvinist bias or an inability to investigate such crimes.

What are most disturbing are however arguments that the low crime is partially a result of a police culture that are obsessed with keeping crime statistics low. Former detectives claim that police is unwilling to investigate homicides unless there is a clear suspects and frequently labels unnatural deaths as suicides without performing autopsies. Coincidentally, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

This brings me to point three: Harry Law apparently knows fuckall about Japanese culture, and uses that ignorance to his advantage when pushing a political agenda.

Point four: Harry Law shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Advertisements

“OK, Done!” My Response to an Open Letter to Levi’s Customers by its CEO

Dear Chip –

As an Army veteran, a mother, and a Second Amendment rights advocate I feel a “tremendous responsibility” to address your November 30th letter to your customers in which you “respectfully ask people not to bring firearms into our stores.”

My husband and I will, of course, respect your wishes and never enter any of your stores again. If you don’t value our business (nor our safety concerns about having to leave our defensive tools at home, or worse – in our cars without positive control) enough to keep your politics away from your company, we will certainly oblige by keeping our business away from you and your products.

To be sure, you have every right to make this request. The stores are Levi’s property. I fully understand that, and I accept your choice to only do business with disarmed potential victims. That’s fine. Your property rights are as important as my right to defend myself, so I will abide by your request and never take my gun into your stores again.

But I do want to address some of your claims, so bear with me.

Panelist: 
Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014

Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss
Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014

You claim to be a former Army officer and a father. I’m sure, if you have ever deployed to a war zone (probably not, judging by your dates of service), you remember that your firearm has kept you safe in some pretty hazardous situations. That’s why it is interesting to me that as someone who has served his country, you have so little understanding about the safety and security carrying an effective tool of self defense can provide. Actually, maybe it’s not interesting… given that you even fail to  capitalize the word, “Army” in your open letter (out of respect, if nothing else), tells me a lot about what you thought of your military service. Four and a half years in the military from 1979 to 1983 should have given you some perspective, but I guess not.

I’m also puzzled that as a father, you prefer to see customers cowering and parents trying desperately to shield their children from those who will undoubtedly ignore your respectful request, rather than armed citizens who are accountable for their own safety and the safety of those around them and are willing to take responsibility for said safety.

You describe how impacted you were by the attacks in Nice, Paris, and Orlando, and yet, you fail to mention that France has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the world, which somehow failed to stop the attacks there, and that the Orlando shooting took place despite the Florida state law that prohibits carrying concealed firearms into an establishment that serves alcohol. This tells me you’re either acting from a place of emotional hysteria, or you intentionally ignore the facts in your effort to genuflect in front of unhinged cowards, whose petty little feelings of dread at seeing a regular citizen carrying a self defense tool are more important to you than the actual safety of your customers.

“It boils down to this,” you claim, “you shouldn’t have to be concerned about your safety while shopping for clothes or trying on a pair of jeans. Simply put, firearms don’t belong in either of those settings. In the end, I believe we have an obligation to our employees and customers to ensure a safe environment and keeping firearms out of our stores and offices will get us one step closer to achieving that reality.”

I agree with you, Chip. You shouldn’t have to be concerned about your safety while shopping, which is why neither my family nor I will ever shop in a Levi Strauss & Company store again. Rather, we will spend our hard-earned money in an establishment that respects our right to defend ourselves, rather than bowing to cowards who soil themselves at the sight of a tool.

Nicki

Ohio State Stabbing (UPDATED – Aaaaaaaand its terrorism)

As I was scanning my news feed this morning, I read that there was an active shooter incident at Ohio State University. Knowing that initial reports are nearly always wrong, I waited to find out what really happened on the sprawling campus. I was right to do so. The only person who was shot was a “Somali refugee” who plowed his vehicle into a crowd of  Ohio State Students, and proceeded to go on a stabbing rampage, injuring at least nine before a police officer ventilated the bastard.

A police officer was on the scene within a minute and killed the assailant. “He engaged the suspect and eliminated the threat,” OSU Police Chief Craig Stone said.

[…]

The motive was unknown, but officials said the attack was clearly deliberate and may have been planned in advance.

“This was done on purpose,” Stone said.

grabbersWhile I and a number of news outlets that actually try to be responsible journalists waited for the details to come out, gun grabbing, sniveling fucktards such as Shannon Watts and Sheila Jackson Lee wasted no time calling for more gun control.

Oops!

The school forbids guns on its campus, so the only recourse for students was to cower and barricade their classrooms.

But that didn’t stop these overly-excited, froth-flecked opponents of your rights from signalling their “concern” for the safety of all involved by screeching about our “lax” gun laws. I suppose if you call completely banning guns on campus “lax,” Shannon the Idiot Bloomberg Fellator Watts™ is right. Most of us with half a functioning brain, however, understand there’s nothing “lax” about a total ban on effective tools of self defense on campus.

It certainly didn’t stop the stabber, identified as 20-year-old Abdul Razak Ali Artan, from using a vehicle and a knife to attack his fellow students.

Note: Unlike other news clickbait sites, I will refrain from calling this a terrorist attack quite yet until I get more facts, although it does bear the marks. After all, both ISIS and al-Qaida have publicly called for supporters to use vehicles as weapons. (See: Terrorist attack in Nice, France)

The initial reports about the dead slime bag have already been shown to have been wrong. Initially, he was identified as Ali Muhammad. Gateway Pundit immediately jumped in with a helpful photo of the alleged perp, gotten from some guy on Twitter, who ostensibly got the profile picture from Facebook. There are still Internet rumors out there that the car is registered to Muhammad, which would mean Artan either stole it, or Muhammad was an accomplice, which makes me think “terrorist plot” rather than “odd crime of passion” or “mental illness.”

We do know he was in the country legally and lived in Pakistan for a while before coming to the United States. We know he was a student at OSU, that he was in his third year there studying logistics management, and that he was pretty religious, per his own words.

artan

And reports vary as to the type of blade used to slash the victims. One media outlet said Artan wielded a machete.

However, if you want to see world’s stupidest headline, I’ve got the screen cap from the link above, which has since been changed to reflect less stupid.

No, seriously. WAT?

No, seriously. WAT?

Are we seriously so desperate to blame guns, that we are willing to publish this fuckery?

To their credit, they did remove the idiot headline shortly after I captured it, but really… What the hell?

In any case, the investigation is ongoing, and updates are rolling in, as more and more details emerge.

How much longer before we hear rumblings of “He was traumatized by Trump’s election and thought he would be deported, prompting him to attack his fellow students”?

But for now, my thoughts are with the victims. Here’s hoping everyone recovers.

UPDATE: It’s interesting to note my prediction of Trump Derangement Syndrome above. I was close. The Daily Beast didn’t disappoint with its “poor, scared Muslim” narrative.

Artan described himself as a pious and scared Muslim in an interview with the Ohio State student newspaper in August.

“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media,” he told The Lantern after transfering from Columbus State Community College. “I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But, I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re going to just have it and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. I was kind of scared right now. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.”

NBC News’s Pete Williams reported on-air that Artan made a Facebook post lamenting the treatment of Muslims worldwide just before the attack on Monday morning.

Poor, scared, sad, cupcake! He was scared to be a Muslim! It wasn’t his fault, you see. He was just all traumatized because RACISM!

Stand by. The Trump Derangement Syndrome may be coming as a defense yet!

UPDATE 2: Welp… it sure smells like terrorism.

Authorities are investigating an anti-U.S. rant posted on Facebook just minutes before the Ohio State University attack today that is believed to be linked to suspect Abdul Razak Ali Artan, sources told ABC News.

Appearing three minutes before the beginning of the rampage that left 11 people injured, the post reads: “I can’t take it anymore. America! Stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah. We are not weak. We are not weak, remember that.”

The post also invokes the name Anwar Al-Awlaki, a radical American-born al-Qaeda cleric, describing him as a “hero.” Al-Awlaki was killed in 2011 but his propaganda has been linked to several domestic terrorist attacks in the years after his death.

“If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace,” the post reads. “We will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims.”

Never Forget

As you all know, I’m not particularly religious. OK, I’m pretty much an atheist. Not that I would reject the notion of a deity if actual scientific proof was presented, but I don’t do faith.

My parents are a bit different. They were never allowed to practice their religion in the USSR, so when they came to the United States, my dad, especially, absorbed all the faith. He wrote about it a while back in a Russian essay. I don’t remember where it was published – probably some Russian publication in Philly – but it was beautifully written. It was a heartfelt description of a journey from someone not allowed to worship anything but the all-powerful state to someone who genuinely took his God into his heart.

Me? It never took. I did go to synagogue as a kid (read: my parents dragged me there). I was bored out of my mind. I didn’t understand the language, and the singing struck me as so much wailing.

My dad always refers to me as Jewish. He calls on Jewish holidays to wish me well, and no matter how much I protest that I’m an atheist, he reminds me that I was born Jewish.

Jewish is not just faith, my dad patiently explains. It’s history. It’s culture. It’s heredity.

I sigh and quit arguing, because ultimately, it’s not worth fighting about. He has his views, and I have mine.

This past weekend, Sarah and I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This wasn’t our first time. I’ve taken the kids there before – the last time was in 2010, when Danny was 13 and Sarah was 15.  It was about time we went again.

shoesOne of the things I really love about the museum is that it doesn’t just focus on the plight of the Jews. Sure, the extermination of Jews is the museum’s primary focus, but it does not forget the millions of homosexuals, Roma, political opponents, Poles, freemasons, disabled people, and Jehovah’s Witnesses murdered by the Nazis. The museum is dark and quiet. It is understated. It’s filled with history and tragedy. Photographs, films, names, artifacts, history… The exhibit of hundreds and hundreds of shoes confiscated from prisoners at Majdanek in Poland is particularly powerful.

I have always loved the story of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. As Jews were getting deported to the Treblinka death camp in 1942 and 1943, the Jews formed an armed resistance and stood up to the thousands of armed German soldiers an police. There were maybe 750 of them, armed with only a few dozen pistols and hand grenades, and yet they stood up and refused to die on their knees. They decided that if they were going to die, they would go down fighting.

“The Germans had planned to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto in three days,” says the plaque in at the Holocaust Museum, “but the fighters held out for more than a month.”

I read an article in the Huffington Post a few years ago that debated the numerous contentions that had Jews not been deprived of their right to keep and bear arms and defend themselves during the Holocaust, they would not have been systematically exterminated.

Guns could not have made the difference, columnist Michael Moynihan wrote in the Tablet, an online magazine of Jewish culture. The Holocaust was a state-sanctioned outpouring of violence from the German public, so the idea that gun control stood in the way of Jewish survival “vastly overstates the effectiveness of a tiny minority resisting a genocidal machine,” he wrote.

Antony Polonsky, a professor of Holocaust studies at Brandeis University, takes issue with a common corollary: that the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising — in which about 750 Jews took up arms, killed about 25 Nazis and briefly slowed the deportation of Jews to concentration camps — shows that an armed minority can resist its genocidal oppressors.

The uprising was the largest single Jewish revolt against the Nazis. But the Nazis killed thousands of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, and the 50,000 who survived were sent to concentration camps. “The people who participated in it were killed,” said Polonsky.

The record also shows that the Nazis accelerated the liquidation of remaining Jewish ghettos after the uprising.

The answer, to me, is a bit more complex than just “If Jews had guns during the Holocaust…”

Timing, cultural psychology, the Jews insistence on abiding by the appalling laws passed by the Nazis in the 1930s, barring them from government service, boycotts against Jewish businesses, etc. all contributed to the plight of the Jewish people. Jews subsequently were prevented from participating in the political process. Despite all this, there was little actual resistance. The Jews cowered. They left Germany. Despite mounting abuses, the Central Organizations of Jews in Germany, formed to help Jews during the Nazi era, focused on charitable activities and providing legal defense… in a country where no justice was possible.

I think by the time the Jewish people in Germany realized their very lives were at stake, it was too late to take up arms. They were good little citizens, gave up their rights, and tried to work within the system – a system that aimed to destroy them. Had the Jews not allowed that degradation of their rights from the start, perhaps the Holocaust could have been avoided. Who knows?

But what the Huffington Post misses is the point of an armed resistance. It’s the resistance part that’s critical. The arms are the tool. Resistance is the goal.

Dying on your feet.

Drawing your last breath knowing that you did everything possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Perishing as a proud human being, rather than a cowering animal, herded into a cattle car and carted to your death.

The Germans expected to empty the Warsaw ghetto in days. It took them more than a month.

Would the Huffington Post and the cadre of scholars it quoted have preferred that the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto merely boarded the trains to Treblinka like good little lambs?

Would they have preferred that the Jews simply gave up? Died like law-abiding citizens at the hands of an abusive state?

Would they have preferred the Jews surrendered their lives and dignity because, fighting is a lost cause?

Probably.

It’s not like their general narrative respects freedom, life, or self-worth. It doesn’t.

These are the same people who flog the tired, false narrative that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect the people’s right to take up arms against an oppressive government as the last bulwark against tyranny, but rather exists to protect the rights of a “militia.”

The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto ultimately died when the Germans burned the ghetto block by block, and because they died in the end, the Huffington Post apparently thinks the rebellion wasn’t worth it.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto finally stood up and resisted.

They took up arms and killed several hundred of their oppressors.

They didn’t go gentle into that good night. They went down fighting for their very lives. They didn’t win, but they died like men.

And perhaps had they had more than just a few guns and grenades between them, they would have succeeded and lived.

Now we’ll never know, will we?

Dial 9-1-1 and Die

How many times have we heard the gun grabber “If you’re in trouble, just call 9-1-1” screed?

How many times have you been told “You don’t need a gun. The police are there to protect you” from the anti-rights crowd?

So what if you call 9-1-1 and get this fetid bag of cunt drippings?

A 911 operator is accused of hanging up on people calling for help.

Investigators say that Crenshanda Williams had thousands of “short calls”, lasting less than 20 seconds.

In one call, a security guard reported drivers drag racing. Moments later, investigators say that Williams hung up. The recording captures her saying “aint’ nobody got time for this. For real.”

Williams reportedly told investigators she often hangs up on callers because she didn’t feel like talking with anyone at the time.

According to this report, at least one of the emergency calls she hung up on resulted in the shooting of an innocent woman during a convenience store robbery.

911-secondsMost of the 9-1-1 failures are not that egregious, but the problem is they do exist. I would submit that most 9-1-1 dispatchers are not disgusting pieces of detritus like this one, but dedicated professionals. But no one can deny there is a wait time for police action, and in that time, a violent criminal can fire multiple shots or fatally stab their victim, even if the police get there in minutes! These stories are heartbreaking.

Lives are forever changed or snuffed out, while victims wait for help that at best can arrive within several minutes and at worst in hours. What is it that gun grabbers always say? “If it helps save one life…”

So if it helps save one life, why should anyone be forced to rely on others to defend them?

I also realize that there are cretinous ass drippings who do call 9-1-1 because they can’t reach their pizza, or their boyfriend failed to give them oral, and while any system can be abused, there’s no excuse – NONE – for hanging up on an emergency call, because you don’t feel like talking or think it’s not worth your precious time – for which taxpayers pay you, bitch!

But back to my original point.

Next time some gun grabber tells you to just call 9-1-1 and wait for the police to arrive, just remember: You don’t have to rely on others – be it corrupt 9-1-1 dispatchers or slow police responders – for your life.  You have the right to defend yourself with the most effective tools available.

Act like your life depends on it, because it does. Because it really does.

%d bloggers like this: