Blog Archives

CATO Institute Report – Cost and Consequences of Gun Control

I’ve excerpted some of the highlights of the paper.

“This paper will scrutinize the three most common gun-control ideas that have been put forward in recent years: universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a ban on assault weapons. These proposals are misguided and will not prevent the crimes that typically prompt officials to make pleas for more gun control.

More Background Checks

In 2013, the FBI conducted more than 21 million background checks for firearm purchases. Dylann Roof, the racist who attacked the churchgoers in Charleston, had previously been arrested, and he had admitted to law enforcement officers that he was a user of methamphetamine. That was sufficient, under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, to prohibit him from owning guns, because the statute bans gun ownership by illegal drug users. However, as the FBI later admitted, the bureau failed to properly enter into its database the prohibiting information that had been provided by local law enforcement.

Professor James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who studies mass shootings, explains that “mass killers are determined, deliberate and dead-set on murder. They plan methodically to execute their victims, finding the means no matter what laws or other impediments the state attempts to place in their way. To them, the will to kill cannot be denied.”

Gun-control advocates often claim that 40 percent of annual firearms sales take place today without background checks. The Washington Post “fact-checker” has debunked that claim, giving it “Three Pinocchios.” The Post noted that the survey data used for the study on which the 40 percent claim is based are more than two decades old, which means they were collected prior to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System becoming operational in 1998, and the survey only polled 251 people

High Capacity Magazines

Why might someone need a factory-standard 17-round magazine for a common 9mm handgun? As noted, standard-capacity magazines can be very useful for self-defense. This is especially true if a defender faces multiple attackers, an attacker is wearing heavy clothing or body armor, an attacker who is turbo-charged by methamphetamine or cocaine, or an attacker who poses an active threat from behind cover. In stressful circumstances, police as well as civilians often miss when firing a handgun even at close range, so having the extra rounds can be crucial.

Although one can quickly change magazines, persons being attacked by criminals will typically prefer not to spend even a few seconds for a magazine change. The stress of being attacked usually impedes fine motor skills, making it much more difficult to insert the magazine. The criminal has the element of surprise, and can bring several guns, or lots of magazines, whereas the victim will usually have on hand, at most, a single defensive gun with only as much ammunition as is in that gun. This gives the advantage to the criminal.

Advocates of a ban on standard-capacity magazines assert that while the attacker is changing the magazine, an intended victim might be able to subdue him — yet they cannot point to a single instance where this actually happened. At Newtown, the criminal changed magazines seven times and no one escaped, but when his rifle jammed, people did escape. Similarly, in the Luby’s cafeteria murders (24 dead), the perpetrator replaced magazines multiple times. In the Virginia Tech murders (32 dead), the perpetrator changed magazines 17 times.

Assault Weapons

(What the heck even is that?)

– The UK homicide rate tends to fluctuate between one and two per 100,000 population. The U.S. homicide rate is 4.7 (as of 2011). The difference is not entirely due to guns, since the non-gun U.S. homicide rate is consistently higher than the UK total homicide rate.

– In other categories of major violent crime, the UK is generally worse than the United States. In 2010, the assault rate per 100,000 population was 250.9 in the United States; 664.4 in England and Wales; 1449.7 in Scotland; and 80.6 in Northern Ireland.

– Burglary rates were: United States 695.9; England and Wales, 946.1; Northern Ireland, 658.7; and Scotland, 479.1. So the overall UK burglary rate is significantly worse

– In the United States, only a fairly small percentage of home burglaries take place when the occupants are home, but in Great Britain, about 59 percent do.94 In surveys, American burglars say that they avoid occupied homes because of the risk of getting shot.

http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/costs-consequences-gun-control#full

Have a Great Day!

Lubimur

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GETTING AHEAD OF THE CURVE – MAKING PROGRESS: LAUNDRY

As I stated in “The Challenges of Getting Ahead of the Curve”, there are just too many moving parts to keep up with for the paltry two days you get for doing everything that needs attention. Not to mention how much more so if you are actually trying to make some kind of significant change to your lifestyle. Nevertheless, there is no excuse to give up. You must keep chipping away, like Andy with his rock hammer in “Shawshank Redemption”. Eventually some progress can be realized, although it is often after changing the way we look at things. I think a critical change that must take place to accomplish this is to stop caring what other people think. The Bible would say do not fear the opinions of man.

Along that line of thinking I have implemented a way of doing things that my grandfather (pop) brought to my attention when I was like 12. I was looking at my new pair of Levis 501 (they are worth the money because they really last) and something printed on one of the tags caught my eye. It said “ Wash Less, wash cold”, which was similar to the message my pop had tried to convey to me so long ago. Every day when he got home from work he would immediately change out of his clothes and hang them up to be re-worn another time.

I’ve been doing that for a couple of months now, but rather than rotating out my slacks, I merely re-wear the same pair each day and wash on the weekend if I have enough for a load, or leave them in the hamper and start the week with a new pair of slacks. I’ve also started doing it with my work shirts. It is always freezing at work so I never ever break a sweat, plus I wear a short sleeved t-shirt underneath my shirt so it is basically clean. I currently wear each one 3 times before washing. After a little more research I have discovered that denim should be rarely washed at all. Just freeze for 24 hours to kill any germs or bacteria. This won’t work with the jeans I wear when working in the yard, but other than that…

This practice is going to be even more important now that I am in full stride toward minimalism. I won’t have enough slacks or dress shirts to wear a new one each and every day. So now I have just freed up more time on the weekend, reduced the amount of electricity and water used (and money spent) for doing laundry by doing laundry less frequently, and my clothes should last longer stretching thereby my clothing budget some. More free time, less money spent, and smaller carbon footprint.

As a side note, I also found a work shirt (which is actually a sweater) that I like so much I have bought two more – a charcoal, navy, and plum. Now I don’t need to spend as much time in the morning deciding what to wear. I also threw away an older pair of slacks that I wore all of last week that are too big, and I’ve kept around “just in case”. I did not wash them first. I feel like I am making progress; I feel good.

Our System of Credit

"A great industrial nation is controlled by it’s system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world–no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men." — President Woodrow Wilson

The Hamster Wheel

Man it’s been a long time since my last post. As the song says: time keeps on slippin slippin slippin, into the future. I’ve really had no choice though. I have had to reduce my expectations and re-evaluate the reality of what I am able to accomplish with the time I have vs. the necessary obligations I have. It’s not just me though, it’s our entire working class / disappearing middle class caught in the avalanche of downward class migration.

Point in case, here is the sign of the times: I’m getting emails coming in begging parents to volunteer their time for various yearly events for the kids. These aren’t events that are new, but that take place every single year around the same time. For instance just this week (and it’s only Wednesday) there are requests for field day at the elementary school, a youth event at church (which surprised me as I thought there are many stay at home moms and many of the kids are home schooled), the high school after prom party which – according to the email – needs 100 parents to open the doors and 27 have volunteered so far. These events take place every year at the same time every year. Why is it that in years past the pleas weren’t as desperate?

The answer can be summed up with a single declaration: more bricks less straw! This is the sign of the times. “But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” “ – Exodus 5:4. What was his motivation for doing this? The people wanted a few days off to deal with something non-work related, and Pharaoh didn’t see any value in it for himself. He knew he needed to do something to keep his slaves under his thumb, so he decided to work them so hard they could think of nothing else and had no strength or time to do anything personally meaningful. These days it isn’t so blatant, but a book by the title More Bricks Less Straw: Ancient Keys to Unlocking Potential and Increasing Productivity within Your Organization by David Farrington rather sums it up. From the description of the book it sounds as if this is considered a successful approach to management, something to be emulated. “In today’s cutthroat business environment, leaders are expected to do more with less. Bottom lines are on the increase; available resources on the decrease.” “…And really, it’s nothing new. In ancient Egypt, the Israelite slaves were forced to make more bricks with less straw. With fewer and fewer resources, the Israelites had to find ways to meet higher and higher demands. David Farrington transports this and other familiar Bible stories into the modern workplace, demonstrating time tested solutions…” (emphasis mine). Really?

I find it offensive that expecting more productivity with fewer resources is considered a model for success. It is destroying families and communities. Public school has become a factory for producing interchangeable cogs rather than a place for kids to develop critical thinking skills or to learn to become innovators. Parents no longer have the necessary one on one time with their kids to teach them morals and family values. The stress of being overworked and having no time to do anything is wreaking havoc on our society and the consequences are obvious in our imploding economy and run-away inflation and taxes. Oh sure, people say inflation is not that bad, but these same people are getting their information from a 30 second sound bite called a news story. If they actually ran the numbers for themselves they would come to a far different conclusion. But who in the world has time to do that? And so we’ve come full circle.

Last year I planted my first veggies in an attempt to start gardening. It was not a total failure, but it was not even close to a success. I’m trying again this year. Between work, the house, the yard, parenting, and now the garden, I am overwhelmed. The need for high quality food in my family’s diet is paramount, but I can’t do it on my own. It takes a village, and I don’t even have a partner in this endeavor. I think the only hope an individual has of succeeding in becoming more resilient in these times is to have far more money/income than I do, far more free time or flexibility job-wise, or maybe even both. I am coming to fear that in this battle of man vs. suburb, – as far as the common man is concerned – suburb is winning.

Emotional Resiliency

Emotional Resiliency.  This is an outstanding link to what is probably the most important aspect of resiliency: mindset.  I alluded to this in my previous post about the necessity of starting to garden now so that I can start to gain experience in how to pull it off successfully.  Waiting until I need to be able to utilize a skill is a good way to fail.  If you wait until you have to, you will be starting out behind the curve.  If you are going to sail to the Bahamas on your own catamaran, you need to learn how to swim before you are out in the middle of the ocean.  Same thing applies to prepping tools.  Jack Spirko mentioned on his interview today that he has encountered folks that have a winch on their truck that they have owned for 11 years but didn’t know how to use it, because they never have used it.  It was still wound the way it came from the factory.  If you take two people and drop them in a crisis situation, one with all the gadgets and gear but no practical experience using any of them, and another with practically nothing but a practical application knowledge of said tools and a mindset of improvisation, my money is on the guy with the right mindset every time.