“Under the Gun”: Allowing Discrimination vs. Liking Discrimination

This week on “Under the Gun” we talk about the difference between what a libertarian society would allow, and what a libertarian person would like. I can hear something I disagree with, and still support a person’s right to say it. If a store wants to discriminate against me and say I can’t carry a gun in their store, they have the right to do it! I simply will not give them my business. In a free market, this would not be a problem.

Gun owners are already discriminated against by the government. So why are people okay with discrimination when the government prescribes it? Since the government can use force without consequences, there is no alternative if they discriminate against you. Yet any store that discriminates will simply lose their customers who choose to shop elsewhere.

And that leads us into our discussion about victimless crimes.

Also mentioned:

“Operation Mockingbird”

Taxes and Regulations leading to worse effects.

Targeting specific groups with government agencies.

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take everything you have.

Miami-Dade Police: Arm Yourselves if You Want to be Safe

I’m not sure if this police officer was trying to use scare tactics to keep his budget in tact, but he ended up reminding citizens that the police will not protect you: that’s on you. Apparently $64 million is being cut from the Miami-Dade police budget, which will include closing 1 station out of 9, and downsizing the force by up to 600 officers. If the budget cut stays in place, the “Incident Management Team, Sport Unit, Tactical Narcotics Team, and one of the three Special Response Teams in the city would be disbanded.”

Maybe I’m a cynic, but 600 fewer cops sounds like people will be safer to me. Especially if they take the police officer’s advice, and arm themselves.

Rivera said, “If the mayor’s not going to provide security, then my recommendation, as an experienced law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, is either buy yourself an attack dog, put bars on your windows and doors and get yourself some firearms because you’re going to have to protect yourselves.”

Sound advice. But I think he forgot that we have always had to protect ourselves. How many murders are thwarted by cops? They come and they do an investigation, sometimes bring someone to justice, and this is supposed to deter future crime. You call 911 and the cops show up after the criminals are gone—again to the credit of the police, sometimes they catch the criminals. But the supreme court has specifically said it is not the duty of police to protect civilians, according to FreeRepublic.com.

“You, and only you, are responsible for your security and the security of your family and loved ones. That was the essence of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the early 1980’s when they ruled that the police do not have a duty to protect you as an individual, but to protect society as a whole.”

The idea is that they protect society as a whole by providing deterrence to crime, because there is someone to come and find you. Of course, if we weren’t compelled to pay for guvment “security” most people would use that same amount of money to buy their own, who would still probably not be on site when you are victimized, but would almost certainly have a better track record in bringing real criminals to justice (because right now we are paying for pot smokers to be arrested, and jay-walkers harassed).

But still, when someone breaks into your house, or when someone assaults you on the street, the chances are overwhelmingly that there will be no one there to save you… unless you’ve got your good friends with you, Smith and Wesson.

Why Japan Quickly Adopted, then Abandoned Guns for 200 Years

While reading Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond I came across an interesting few paragraphs on guns. Actually, the theme was not even about guns so much as the diffusion of inventions geographically and across societies. Diamond argues that geography can have a great effect on how readily a society adopts new technologies, and even sometimes lead to the abandonment of those powerful new technologies. He says that since today societies are so connected, even if a fad made one society turn against a useful technology, the people would still see that technology used by a neighboring society, leading them to eventually re-adopt it, or risk being conquered or outcompeted. But certain factors have in the past made entire countries reject an initially revered new technology.

A famous example involves Japan’s abandonment of guns. Firearms reached Japan in A.D. 1543, when two Portuguese adventurers armed with harquebuses (primitive guns) arrived on a Chinese cargo ship. The Japanese were so impressed by the new weapon, that they commenced indigenous gun production, greatly improved gun technology, and by A.D. 1600 owned more and better guns than any other country in the world.

But there were also factors working against the acceptance of firearms in Japan. The country had a numerous warrior class, the samurai, for whom swords rated as class symbols and works of art (and as a means for subjugating the lower classes). Japanese warfare had previously involved single combats between samurai swordsmen, who stood in the open, made ritual speeches, and then took pride in fighting gracefully. Such behavior became lethal in the presence of peasant soldiers ungracefully blasting away with guns. In addition, guns were a foreign invention and grew to be despised, as did other things foreign in Japan after 1600. The samurai controlled government began by restricting gun production to a few cities, then introduced a requirement of a government license for producing a gun, then issued licenses only for guns produced for the government, and finally reduced government orders for guns, until Japan was almost without functional guns again.

Contemporary European rulers also included some who despised guns and tried to restrict their availability. But such measures never got far in Europe, where any country that temporarily swore off firearms would be promptly overrun by gun-toting neighboring countries. Only because Japan was a populous, isolated island could it get away with its rejection of the powerful new military technology. Its safety in isolation came to an end in 1853, when the visit of Commodore Perry’s U.S. fleet bristling with cannons convinced Japan of its need to resume gun manufacture. (Diamond, 257-258)

So the Japanese saw an obvious advantage to military technology in guns, and quickly adopted them. But then the government, controlled by samurai warriors saw that the guns posed a threat to their power in the hands of the lower classes. Peasants could not compete with a sword wielding, highly trained warrior in one on one combat, but they could shoot at that highly trained swordsman from a safe distance. Tradition and the desire for glory in graceful combat, coupled with the desire to continue to subjugate the peasants made the samurai government reject guns, and move to suppress their manufacture.

Because Japan was an island, this tactic worked in maintaining government power over the peasants without putting the nation’s security at risk for hundreds of years. But as Diamond points out, this tactic of suppressing gun manufacture and diffusion did not work as well for Europeans, who would quickly be conquered by those with guns if they rejected the new technology, since they generally did not enjoy the relative geographic safety an island gave Japan.

The lessons still apply: rejecting powerful military technology will not lead to peace when your neighbors still have that equipment, whether we are talking about countries or individuals. Governments will still use the same tactics to subjugate peasants when technology threatens their power, whether it be guns or the internet. And the diffusion of inventions over easily traversed land mass cannot be stopped. Today we figuratively have no islands. Once something is invented, it cannot be uninvented. Even if a society were to temporally eradicate firearms, they would quickly be reintroduced as the fad wears off and neighbors are observed benefitting from the technology, if that society is not first “overrun by gun-toting neighbor[s]”.

If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Not Paying Attention

Gun control legislation comes up in Congress, and law abiding Americans practicing their Second Amendment right to protect themselves with a firearm are asked, “why do you need a semi-auto, a rifle, a big magazine” blah blah blah. But apparently the Department of Agriculture shouldn’t have to tell the American public why they need submachine guns with 30 round magazines.

You see, because it is my right to own a gun, and all of our rights as individuals living in this country to control our government. Yet somewhere along the way, government went rogue and decided it wanted to control the people. So now we have the government questioning individuals on why they need a gun, while the government doesn’t want to be questioned about why they need theirs. And further down the rabbit hole we go.

But seriously, why does the Department of agriculture need:

[S]emiautomatic or 2 round [bursts] trigger group, Tritium night sights front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore group) and scope (top rear), stock collapsible or folding,” and a “30 rd. capacity” magazine.

… a “sling,” be “lightweight,” and have an “oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.”

Oh my! It sounds like they want assault weapons?! Who will the Department of Agriculture be assaulting? Maybe we should ask the Cherokee’s, or the families at Waco, or the civilians from New Orleans, or Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexicans how responsible government agents with guns are.

And just in case you thought the government was responsible enough to have high capacity weapons, e-mails have been revealed that show the IRS targeting of conservative groups was directed by the DC headquarters, and encouraged by Democratic Senator Carl Levin. So remember that whole lie about it being “rogue” IRS agents at just one office? We can just add that to the tally of lies used to govern by the Obama administration.

 

Listen to “Under the Gun” here

Last week Harry from “Under the Gun” on WMRC radio had me on to discuss guns, politics, and government. We addressed the protests in Venezuela and the inability of the civilians to fight back against a murderous, torturous government. We discussed the violation by the Federal government of various rights, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and how ridiculous it would seem if we all needed to get a free speech permit. We talk about the centralization of power, and victimless crimes. Click below to listen to the half hour show!

Learn from Genocide, or be Doomed to Repeat it

crimsSoviet Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Communist North Korea, Communist China, Hutu Rwanda, Young Turks Ottoman Empire; this only begins the list of genocide and oppression by government entities which occurred in the last 100 years. Do you scoff and roll your eyes as you see where I am going with this? Why do people think that it could not happen here?

Cliche I suppose will be the accusation, as if the argument needs to be changed to remain relevant. But this argument that we cannot and should not trust our government is more relevant than ever. What exactly makes America different than any of those other countries? Sure, it is a different time (in only some cases, and only by a few years) with (mostly) different people, but are we that confident that humanity has matured to such a degree that atrocities would not be carried out on a large scale again? Currently in many parts of the world genocide and mass murder of political dissidents occur daily: in North Korea, many parts of Africa, and many countries in the middle east. Those are the easy ones to recognize. Still Russia oppresses their people, as well as China, Cuba, and some South American countries.

What makes America so different? Are we so full of ourselves to think that we are more mature, more caring, more humane than the rest of the world? Do we seriously believe that given the circumstances, people in power here would not act the same as those in power elsewhere? Given the chance would the sociopaths we regularly elect to government not behave the same as the despots and tyrants throughout the world and throughout history?

Do you know what the difference is? The great equalizer; the tool that has allowed an unprecedented amount of equality between the peasants and the rulers: the firearm. I hear the response: “You could never match the power of our military with the puny guns you have, you would be massacred even if you tried to resist a tyrannical government. They could obliterate you now if they wanted to, so accept the probability that they will not, and give up your gun, so that we will be safer as a society”.

Well in that case we should have been able to own military grade weapons all along—in fact private citizens provided much of the artillery when America fought for freedom against an oppressive monarchy in England. Oh and the whole thing about giving up our guns to make everyone more safe? Never has an argument been so thoroughly debunked. I won’t go into it now (See the CDC study on guns used in self defense, or the Harvard study on the ineffectiveness of gun control), but here is a must watch short video about the recent gun confiscation and subsequent crime wave in Australia.

When Great Britain faced the threat of invasion from Germany during WWII, America asked for a collection of private firearms to send to the people of England (who had already been mostly disarmed by their government) so that in the event of a full scale German invasion, there would be resistance around every corner, in every nook and cranny of the island.

How has the extreme superiority of weaponry worked out so far for the American military in Afghanistan? A new book by Steven Halbrook is being released about the confiscation of Jews’ guns in Nazi Germany—I know, so cliche, but stay with me. He says that the main parallel between pre-WWII Germany and the U.S. now in terms of gun laws, are the widespread registration of those with guns. He argues that the failure to prevent that list from falling into the Nazi’s hands is what allowed them to disarm Jews before rounding them up to be sent to concentration camps. (See the New York newspaper that published a list of firearm owners addresses).

“By contrast, numerous histories of resistance movements in the occupied countries reflect the desperate need for arms. First-hand accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are an inspiring tribute of how armed Jewish resisters fought the Nazis.”

Pressed on whether allowing Jews to keep firearms would have made much of a difference in the end, given how well-armed the Nazi regime was, Halbrook said it may have made a difference in individual cases.

“Had the Jews not been disarmed, they would have had a better chance to resist and survive, even if only in individual cases or in groups,” he argued. “The broader question is whether anything would have been different if Germany had constitutional traditions similar to the American Bill of Rights and the engagement of the population in exercising these rights, such as a free press and having arms. Even aside from the initial disarming of democratic elements before the general disarming of the Jews, the fanatical disarming of the Jews alone demonstrated that the Nazi regime considered them a threat. Armed Jews and political opponents may have been able to resist arrest and deportation in some cases.”

“…Of course, history can repeat itself, and while it does not always do so, the public needs to be aware of the worst case scenarios.”

And worst case scenarios are exactly what I am talking about. To individuals, having  a gun can be the difference between life or death, whether protecting against a home invasion, or defending against a genocidal government. And consider what these individual cases could have collectively meant in reducing the casualties of WWII, and the Holocaust. It’s silly not to plan for the worst case scenario, especially when it takes little effort, and has no detrimental effects, but  indeed a positive effect in reducing crime.

If you can think of a legitimate, substantial reason why America is different from other arenas of genocide, other than widespread firearm ownership, please let me know. But as far as I can tell, we need to drop the whole gun control push which makes us defenseless against criminals, and opens the door for radical elements of the government to oppress, and—in the most extreme cases—carry out a genocide. It has happened before, and it could happen again; don’t be one of the sheep who naively believe that our current or future government could never behave as so many other governments have behaved before.

Gun Control in the 5 Countries with Highest Murder Rates

ruger

Today I’d like to review the laws pertaining to gun ownership in the five countries on Earth with the highest overall murder rates.

5. Venezuela. This is probably the country I invoke the most to show America how not to handle… anything. From scary similarities between the language used by the President of Venezuela and the President of the United States, our economy is just a hop a skip and a jump from the death spiral that is the Venezuelan economy. This cautionary tale from Venezuela does not end with economics however, as America can learn from, and therefore avoid, other policy mistakes that have spelled disaster for the people of Venezuela.

Venezuela’s murder rate was 49 per 100,000 residents in 2009. That’s one in roughly 2,000 people in Venezuela that are murdered each year. My tiny town where I graduated with 74 other students in my class, would host 3 funerals a year for victims of murder, if this was Venezuela. Private ownership of guns was completely banned in Venezuela in 2012, when previously restrictive licensing and firearm registry was allowed to civilians who could prove they needed a gun for a specific reason, in which case they were allowed to own a .22 caliber rifle, or a shotgun. Concealed carry was already illegal. According to estimates in 2013 the Venezuelan murder rate rose to 79 per 100,000 residents. Despite these strict gun laws, 39 of the 49 homicides per 100,000 people in 2009 were carried out with firearms.

4. Jamaica. Jamaica’s overall murder rate in 2010 was 52.1 per 100,000 residents. “In Jamaica, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law”, though there is a permitting process and gun registry. Like Venezuela, applicants must prove their reason for needing a gun for hunting, personal protection, or sport. When it comes to ammunition, only 50 rounds per year are allowed to be possessed by legal permit holders.

In Jamaica, there are 8.1 guns per 100 people (legal and illegal). In America there are 101 guns per 100 people (legal and illegal). Despite there being 12.5 times as many guns per 100 people in America, the 2010 overall murder rate was 5.27 per 100,000 people, almost one tenth of the Jamaican murder rate.

3. Cote d’Ivoire has an even lower distribution of firearms than Jamaica, with only 2.4 guns per 100 people. But their murder rate per 100,000 residents edges out Jamaica, with 56.9 in 2008. Firearm ownership is carefully restricted and monitored by the government of Cote d’Ivoire, with registries of every gun sale, transfer and purchase. “In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Côte d’Ivoire ranked at No. 124″, America ranked No. 1.

2. El Salvador. With a 2010 murder rate of 66 overall murders per 100,000 people, El Salvador is ranked second for most murders per country worldwide. El Salvador requires background checks for gun permit applicants, and maintains a registry for every gun in civilian hands. El Salvador employed between 2006 and 2008 gun buyback schemes in a fruitless attempt to curb the murder rate; “the total number of firearms destroyed following recent amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be 28,036”.

There’s approximately 400,000 civilian firearms in El Salvador, both legal and illicit, making their rate per 100 residents 5.8 (remember America’s is 101). By contrast, American civilians are estimated to possess between 270 million, and 310 million firearms. Taking the lower number, that means by subtracting the number of American firearm homicides, at least (since multiple murders could have occurred with the same firearm) 269,988,899 American firearms were not used in a murder last year.

Some sources claim there are actually far more guns in El Salvador than reported. But even if this is the case, it means the number of illegal guns far outpaces the number of legally owned guns, despite their registry and permitting process. Yet again the laws limit the people who follow the rules, while letting criminals run rampant, heavily armed.

1. Honduras. The 2012 overall murder rate in Honduras was 82.1 murders per 100,000 people. Some studies estimate that humans can usually “put names to the faces of around 1500 individuals”.  This means that if you personally know 1,500 people in Honduras, on average every year someone you know will be murdered, and every 4 years, 5 people you know personally will be murdered. This is a sad reality, one that Americans, living in the country with the most guns and the most guns per capita on Earth, do not even come close to experiencing.

“In Honduras, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law”, the country maintains a database of firearms sold and purchased, permit holders must reapply every 4 years, and go through a background and mental health check. Despite the strict gun control, and with only 6.2 legal and illegal guns per 100 people, 83.3% of murders are carried out with a firearm.

What all this data clearly suggests is that legally restricting firearm ownership does not mean that guns will not be used in murder, and it does not mean overall murder rates, or even gun murder rates, will be lower. If it were easier for non-criminal law abiding citizens in these countries to acquire a gun, and use it for self defense, we would see these murder rates plummet. This evidence supports what common sense has always told us; the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.

“Under the Gun”: It’s All About Control

Here’s the latest episode in which I can be heard from the local radio show “Under the Gun” on WMRC. This broadcast was all about control, and the various ways our government keeps the people under their finger. Santa’s not the only one who see’s you when you’re sleeping, and knows if you’ve been bad or good. Merry Christmas! Come back Thursday for a fresh new post!

Learn From History, or Be Doomed to Repeat It

crimsSoviet Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Communist North Korea, Communist China, Hutu Rwanda, Young Turks Ottoman Empire; this only begins the list of genocide and oppression by government entities which occurred in the last 100 years. Do you scoff and roll your eyes as you see where I am going with this? Why do people think that it could not happen here?

Cliche I suppose will be the acquisition, as if the argument needs to be changed to remain relevant. But this argument that we cannot and should not trust our government is more relevant than ever. What exactly makes America different than any of those other countries? Sure, it is a different time (in only some cases, and only by a few years) with (mostly) different people, but are we that confident that humanity has matured to such a degree that atrocities would not be carried out on a large scale again? Currently in many parts of the world genocide and mass murder of political dissidents occur daily: in North Korea, many parts of Africa, and many countries in the middle east. Those are the easy ones to recognize. Still Russia oppresses their people, as well as China, Cuba, and some South American countries.

What makes America so different? Are we so full of ourselves to think that we are more mature, more caring, more humane than the rest of the world? Do we seriously believe that given the circumstances, people in power here would not act the same as those in power elsewhere? Given the chance would the sociopaths we regularly elect to government not behave the same as the despots and tyrants throughout the world and throughout history?

Do you know what the difference is? The great equalizer; the tool that has allowed an unprecedented amount of equality between the peasants and the rulers: the firearm. I hear the response: “You could never match the power of our military with the puny guns you have, you would be massacred even if you tried to resist a tyrannical government. They could obliterate you now if they wanted to, so accept the probability that they will not, and give up your gun, so that we will be safer as a society”. Well in that case we should have been able to own military grade weapons all along—in fact private citizens provided much of the artillery when America fought for freedom against an oppressive monarchy in England. Oh and the whole thing about giving up our guns to make everyone more safe? Never has an argument been so thoroughly debunked. I won’t go into it now (See the CDC study on guns used in self defense, or the Harvard study on the ineffectiveness of gun control), but here is a must watch short video about the recent gun confiscation and subsequent crime wave in Australia.

When Great Britain faced the threat of invasion from Germany during WWII, America asked for a collection of private firearms to send to the people of England (who had already been mostly disarmed by their government) so that in the event of a full scale German invasion, there would be resistance around every corner, in every nook and cranny of the island. How has the extreme superiority of weaponry worked out so far for the American military in Afghanistan? A new book by Steven Halbrook is being released about the confiscation of Jews’ guns in Hitler’s Germany—I know, so cliche, but stay with me. He says that the main parallel between pre-WWII Germany and the U.S. now in terms of gun laws, are the widespread registration of those with guns. He argues that the failure to prevent that list from falling into the Nazi’s hands is what allowed them to disarm Jews before rounding them up to be sent to concentration camps. (See the New York newspaper that published a list of firearm owners addresses).

“By contrast, numerous histories of resistance movements in the occupied countries reflect the desperate need for arms. First-hand accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are an inspiring tribute of how armed Jewish resisters fought the Nazis.”

Pressed on whether allowing Jews to keep firearms would have made much of a difference in the end, given how well-armed the Nazi regime was, Halbrook said it may have made a difference in individual cases.

“Had the Jews not been disarmed, they would have had a better chance to resist and survive, even if only in individual cases or in groups,” he argued. “The broader question is whether anything would have been different if Germany had constitutional traditions similar to the American Bill of Rights and the engagement of the population in exercising these rights, such as a free press and having arms. Even aside from the initial disarming of democratic elements before the general disarming of the Jews, the fanatical disarming of the Jews alone demonstrated that the Nazi regime considered them a threat. Armed Jews and political opponents may have been able to resist arrest and deportation in some cases.”

“…Of course, history can repeat itself, and while it does not always do so, the public needs to be aware of the worst case scenarios.”

And worst case scenarios are exactly what I am talking about. To individuals, having  a gun can be the difference between life or death, whether protecting against a home invasion, or defending against a genocidal government. And consider what these individual cases could have collectively meant in reducing the casualties of WWII, and the Holocaust. It’s silly not to plan for the worst case scenario, especially when it takes little effort, and has no detrimental effects, but  indeed a positive effect in reducing crime.

If you can think of a legitimate, substantial reason why America is different from other arenas of genocide, other then widespread firearm ownership, please let me know. But as far as I can tell, we need to drop the whole gun control push which makes us defenseless against criminals, and opens the door for radical elements of the government to oppress, and—in the most extreme cases—carry out a genocide. It has happened before, and it could happen again; don’t be one of the sheep who naively believe that our current or future government could never behave as so many other governments have behaved before.