I Clicked to Joe the Plumber’s Website

I had to visit Joe the Plumber’s website because despite the write ups in Raw Story, Huffington Post, Salon, and others, I still had trouble believing that he actually wrote, in an “open letter” to families of Elliot Rogers’s murder victims:

I’m sorry you lost your child. […] But: As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.

Joe the Plumber's Website

Joe’s words go nicely with these gems from Todd Kincannon:

No idea how my son will die, but I know it won’t be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back.

It’s too bad that the gun rights arguments are so dominated by chimp-brained Right Wing thugs like Joe Wurzelbacher and Todd Kincannon because not every argument for gun rights is wrong.

Technically, what Wurzelbacher wrote is true, but the fact that he doesn’t have enough normal brain cells in his head to realize how wrong it is to publicly berate a crying man less than a week after his son was murdered makes him and others like him an embarrassment to the people and the arguments he should be supporting. In fact, they’re an embarrassment to the nation.

I wouldn’t want the Left to win every gun control argument. Some of my fellow Liberals want to go a lot farther with gun control then I feel comfortable with. The Second Amendment must be interpreted by people who can read at an adult’s level of comprehension (who don’t think “shall not be infringed” means any weapon carried by any person in any location”) but it can’t be interpreted away as if it didn’t exist. If it were, we would effectively nullify the Bill of Rights and perhaps be in more danger than we are now with our heavily armed criminals.

We should have intelligent conversations about gun control, with Lefties admitting that the 2nd Amendment, like it or not, dictates that their will be more guns, more gun violence, and more gun accidents than they’ll comfortably accept and Righties accepting that even in the early days there were gun control laws so the 2nd Amendment doesn’t necessarily mean what they think it means.

To give credit where credit is due, Open Carry Texas asked it’s members and supporters to stop carrying long guns into business where they’re not invited to do so. We Liberals, justifiably, had a field day laughing at their failure, but we should acknowledge that at least somebody in the group had enough sense to eventually realize that acting like stupid, violent thugs isn’t the right way to win support.

I guess Todd and Joe didn’t get the memo.

Proof that Illegal Guns don’t Come From Gun Shows – As Long as You Don’t Think to Hard.

I came across a recent NRA-ILA article about a Bureau of Justice Statistics crime report. The first two paragraphs, a quarter of the article, contain nothing about the crime report and are, instead, a list of insults about President Obama on topics ranging from the economy to golf.

The subject of the article is introduced in the third paraghraph with,

Adding to the bad news for the Obama agenda, a report issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS-a component of the Justice Department) shows that firearm homicides in general, and violence at schools, have decreased substantially during the last two decades

This seems odd to me because the statistics the NRA is citing show a precipitous drop in violent crime since 1993, which is when the Brady bill was passed. To me, that seems like good news for the “Obama agenda”.

A lot of people argue that the Brady bill had no effect. They argue that a) The Brady bill only effected 32 states, and b) Crime started dropping before the Brady bill, in 1991. But the states that the Brady bill didn’t effect already had strict gun control laws. Before the Brady bill, people who lived in those states wouldn’t find it difficult to get guns elsewhere.

Also, from at least 1970 until 1990, peaks were often followed by dips lasting a couple of years, followed by continuations of the rise. That means that by 1994 when the Brady bill went into effect, the crime rate should have started rising again as it did in 1976, 1983 and 1987.

Bureau of Justice Statistics Violent Offenses per 100,000
http://www.bjs.gov/ucrdata/Search/Crime/State/RunCrimeTrendsInOneVar.cfm%5B/caption%5D

I’m not calling this proof that the Brady bill worked or that it worked by itself. There are a lot of theories about the drop in crime since the ’90s and I personally like the lead abatement theory. I just don’t see how a drop in crime rate since an important piece of gun control legislation was put into place looks bad for gun control.

But another point that the NRA and other anti-background-check organizations are cheering about is the small percentage of guns obtained at gun shows by criminals who were arrested while possessing those guns.

40 percent of criminals get their guns from friends and family members, and another 37 percent get theirs from theft or other illegal sources

. Rolling “theft or other illegal sources” together glosses over the fact that direct theft is a relatively rare means of obtaining a gun. Must guns held by criminals during their arrest came from family or friends. The next biggest block came from illegal purchases.

What the report doesn’t say is where the guns came from before they fell into the hands of illegal dealers or others willing to provide guns to people about to commit crimes.

A guy who wants a gun but can’t get one because of his criminal record probably isn’t going to steal one and he’s probably not going to wait for the next gun show to roll through town. He’s probably going to go to someone who buys and sells guns and is willing to put them in the hands of people who can’t pass background checks. That person, if he also has a criminal record ( which seems likely for someone who sells guns to criminals ), probably gets his guns from gun shows, the internet, or trade with other dealers, etc. Closing loopholes won’t stop all of these sales, but will stop a lot of them. It will certainly stop a lot more than the less than 1% that gun control opponents would have you believe based on the BJS report.

Just because a prisoner responding to a survey says, “I got my gun from a friend”, doesn’t mean that universal background checks wouldn’t have prevented that gun from getting into the hands of a criminal.

My Gun Control Listicle (mine goes to 11!)

Perhaps I’m not as internet savvy as I think I am, because I didn’t know what a “Listicle” was when my wife asked me. She saw it in a Mother Jones article. Apparently listicles are all the rage.

Here’s my top 11 gun control misconceptions and lies, which even includes a couple from the Left.

1: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Here’s one example of why this zombie lie should be dead, dead, dead: Loughner, the monster that shot Gabby Giffords and killed a nine year old girl and others wasn’t stopped by a good guy with a gun even though there was a good guy with a gun in the area. He was stopped by unarmed people. While he was reloading. There are other examples. The biggest problem with this silly meme is the word “only”.

2: You can’t fight tyranny because governments have tanks and airplanes.

relief drawings of advanced military machinery on one side and a few rifles and handguns on the other

A spirited population can fight tyranny with sticks and stones. But the better armed they are, the better their chances. The goal isn’t necessarily to destroy the tyrant, but rather to be too much trouble to oppress.

3: Collective rights.

To review,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

“The People” is used several times in the Constitution, as in “the right of the people peaceably to assemble”, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons”, and “chosen every second Year by the People of the several States”, and it always means a bunch of individuals. It doesn’t always mean every single individual with no exceptions, but it certainly doesn’t mean a representative authority

4: What part of “Shall Not Be Infringed” Don’t You Understand?

It’s not “Shall Not Be Infringed” that’s so complicated. It’s everything else. First of all, “Bearing arms” might be a phrase that means something other than the sum of its words, like “breaking bread”. Even “bearing gifts” doesn’t simply mean “carrying presents”. “Bearing arms” probably means “soldiering”. But even if that’s true it doesn’t answer all of our questions. Hand to hand combat could be considered soldiering but probably not bearing arms. So the meaning of the Second Amendment isn’t necessarily as easily understood as someone with a third grade reading level might think.

And don’t sell the Founders short on possibilities of what they could have meant by “arms”. They saw advances in firearms and probably could have imagined that guns would get more accurate and easier to fire. But they also knew something about biological warfare, and I doubt that the Framers meant we can carry around body parts infected with black death (though that might be a very literal interpretation of “bearing arms”). So at the very least, unless you disagree with my black death conclusion, the right to keep and bear arms doesn’t mean you can have any weapon you can get your hands on. So does it mean any gun? Well that’s what we’re arguing about, isn’t it.

5:a) I need a large magazine because it can take a lot of bullets to put down an attacker.
5:b) Limiting magazines won’t do anything because an attacker can change clips in a split second.

Pick one.

6: We don’t need the 2nd Amendment because we don’t have tyrannical leaders.

My son is a bodybuilder. He’s as big and strong as an ox. He was once talking to a guy about going to the gym and the guy said, “You don’t have to go to the gym. You’re so big!”
William, from the back, at the gym
Cause and Effect. Get it?

7a: Guns don’t kill people.
7b: Guns save lives.

Pick one

8: Criminals don’t obey laws

Well call me a “special kind of stupid” but the more I think about this one the more I realize that criminals actually do obey laws. Not all of the time, of course, but most obey laws when they think they’ll get caught if they don’t. That’s why you slow down when you see a police car in the bushes. It’s why most of us don’t drive as fast as we’d like to even when we don’t see the the police car. And it’s why gang bangers usually don’t have fully automatic weapons.

9: Gun Control Increases Crime

That lie about Australia’s crime rate was debunked a long time ago by Snopes, Yanks. But like a good zombie lie, it’s still not quite dead. Similar examples, like Britain’s crime rates, are harder to prove or disprove.

In many cases, gun control is a reaction to a rising crime rate which continues to rise after gun control is enacted. But that doesn’t mean gun control isn’t helping. And it’s hard to enforce gun control in a city when the surrounding areas have lax gun laws. Right wingers often point to Chicago and Washington DC as failed attempts at gun control, but if you live in either of those places, you can easily get a gun outside of the city.

If everyone else has a gun then it’s understandable why you might want to have one yourself. Ill-conceived and improperly enforced gun control certainly gives advantage to the criminals, and lax gun laws provide an incentive for law abiding citizens to arm themselves. But fair, properly enforced, and strict gun control would make us all safer. But if they’re too strict then they violate our rights.

If you want to be honest about your reasons for opposing gun control, stop citing misleading statistics and bullshit propaganda, and stick to arguments other than crime rates.

10: Obama is a Black Hitler

*sigh*. Hitler took a majority race army, with the support of the majority race population, and oppressed and murdered ethnic minorities. Obama is half Black. (People keep forgetting how White he is). Who’s he going to oppress, White people? Black people? And with what army? (sadly, there are fools dumb enough to answer that question)

And the line about “the first thing Hitler did was grab the guns” is not true. With the support of his ethnic majority, Hitler took guns away from “enemies of the state”, but relaxed gun control for everyone else.

11: The NRA

There are wingnuts who feel the NRA has sold out to the left. Leftists see the NRA as a pack of cold-hearted right-wing loonies. The NRA is really an organization that once promoted safe gun sporting but now promotes gun sales, represented by a flip-flopping chicken-hawk liar with a nervous disorder.