Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.
Yesterday evening, a discussion of “universal” background checks appeared in my Twitter timeline in response to a tweet that had include an @ mention of me. After several hundred tweets went by, I hopped in to ask the person advocating for federal mandated background checks for private gun sales if he had any data to support that background checks on private sales were actually beneficial in reducing crime. I noted that Maryland had not seen any benefit.
He cited the improvement in crime statistics in New York from 2013 to 2016. I asked what other states, and he said something about it not being possible to sort out the effect of background checks from all the “improved” gun control over that period. I spent a few minutes with the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2013 and 2016 and found that crime got worse in the most states with “universal” background checks during that period. Of course, crime got worse all across the country (this was the era of Ferguson and Baltimore), but, on average, the states with “universal” background checks began the period with crime rates worse than the national average and ended the period with crime rates worse than the national average. The repeatable results from running the experiments in those laboratories of democracy show that “universal” background checks are ineffective at best and probably a failed policy.
The Gentle Reader will probably not be surprised to learn that such a reasoned argument did not impress my interlocutor. At least, he didn’t go on about high-capacity magazines, perhaps because it has come out that the recent shooter used 10-round mags.
Which leads me to another point: The recent school shooter supposedly said that he wanted to be a “professional school shooter.” How did he learn that there was such a thing? Surely, he learned through press coverage of previous shootings.
<sarc>It may be that the time has come to rein in such coverage in order to protect our children. As part of that, we need to seriously consider a ban on high-capacity magazines. After all, no one has a legitimate need for a copy of Time, Mother Jones, or Marie Claire with more than 10 pages. I can already hear the complaints saying that such publications are protected by the First Amendment. Piffle. Even if we grant the writers’ the right to have such dangerous publications in their own homes, they don’t belong in public spaces. The Founding Fathers—including Benjamin Franklin, a printer and inventor—could never have imagined such publications. If it saves just one child, …</sarc>
Beto O’Rourke is a Texas Democrat running for Senate against Ted Cruz.
While drinking my second cup of coffee this morning, I read three posts that touch in one way or another on the way political discourse is being conducted in America.
Katherine Mangu-Ward (who is editor-in-chief at Reason) has a piece at the NYT called When Smug Liberals Met Conservative Trolls.
Modern American political discourse can seem disjointed to the point of absurdism. But the problem isn’t just filter bubbles, echo chambers or alternative facts. It’s tone: When the loudest voices on the left talk about people on the right as either beyond the pale or dupes of their betters, it is with an air of barely concealed smugness. Right-wingers, for their part, increasingly respond with a churlish “Oh, yeah? Hold my beer,” and then double down on whatever politically incorrect sentiment brought on the disdain in the first place.
David French has a post at NRO titled Civility Isn’t Surrender.
Consider how often our political discourse is wildly out of proportion to the actual stakes of any given controversy. Tax cuts kill. Conservatism is fascism. There’s a “war on women.” Every single election is “the most important in the nation’s history.” There’s so much hysteria and nonsense in public debate that it can be difficult to discern actual emergencies when they genuinely arise.
When you combine humility, conviction, and a sense of proportion, civility is the typical result. And that form of civility is anything but surrender. In fact, I’d argue that in the long run it’s the path to ideological expansion, not retreat. It’s the path to becoming a reliable, trustworthy communicator. It’s the best way to get a hearing outside your tribe, and it still leaves room for righteous, necessary anger — while choosing its targets carefully.
Sarah Hoyt has a post at According to Hoyt called Come the Revolution.
But then the revolution came, and it wasn’t what the left expected.
It’s going to get very very bad. The people who spend their lives in the beatific hope that “come the revolution” they’d be on top, are getting old, and they haven’t got their shiny red wagon. In fact, it’s becoming obvious they never will.
They’re going to try to grab for the silver
ringrattle as hard as they can. It might even mean the cold civil war goes hot.
Read all three.
It would be interesting to find an effective balance between these three points of view. The comment section is open for discussion.
Over at PowerLine, John Hinderacker has a piece up examining the
Democratic Party’s New York Times‘ coverage of Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels. After noting that the NYT has not shown any previous interest in the pre-public-life dalliances of such presidents as John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama, he notes
And for the Times to accuse our president of “sexual perversion,” on the basis of absolutely zero evidence, is a low blow even by the standards of the Democratic Party press. (On a positive note, it is good to see that the Times thinks there still is such a thing as sexual perversion. That seems like an old-fashioned notion in today’s era of “let a thousand gender identities bloom.”)
The left-wing press is working overtime today to make the 12-year-old Stormy Daniels story into news. Why? … The Democratic Party is trying to distract voters from [Trump’s] accomplishments with irrelevant stories about a former porn star.
Read the whole thing.
So this Democrat candidate wanted to make a statement favoring gun control, and she made this video—
After questions were asked as to whether she had committed a felony by manufacturing a short-barreled rifle (SBR) without the proper paperwork and without paying the required tax, she took the video down. Someone has reposted it.
While she did cut the barrel and the gas tube on the AR-15, she left the lower receiver intact. As far as the ATF is concerned, the lower receiver is the firearm. The weapon should still be functional as a bolt action SBR, and replacing or repairing the damaged upper receiver should return the rifle to “fully” semiautomatic operation.
Five years and $100,000.
UPDATE—A bit of “gunsplaining”: It would have been legal to have cut the barrel and gas tube on the upper receiver if the upper had been detached from the lower when the cuts were made and if the upper were not reattached.
There’s a post over at Bloomberg floating a proposal for a voluntary “No Gun” registry. The idea is that someone could register with a state, and as long as he stayed on that list, he would be unable to buy a gun. Anytime the person wanted to buy a gun, he could remove himself from the list. The catch is that it would take three weeks to drop off the list and that the state would tattle to persons and entities who the no-gun registrant had designated when registering.
Umm, when I don’t want to buy a gun, I simply don’t buy one.
When I’ve needed a weapon because I was being stalked, I would not have wanted to wait three weeks to obtain one.
I agree with Glenn Reynolds:
But the problem here is, who, in this toxic political environment, would trust this sort of list not to be abused?
When your institutions are politicized and untrustworthy, it takes options off the table. I’m pretty sure this is one of those.