guns

American cops murder another black man: Philando Castile

It's going to be a long summer.

Remember, the police are not here to protect you. The police are here to enforce the status quo.

Minnesota Police Shooting’s Aftermath Is Captured in Gruesome Video (www.nytimes.com)

The woman began by calmly narrating what was happening as she trained the camera on Mr. Castile, whom she described as her boyfriend, and on at least one officer who was pointing a gun through the driver’s side window.

“Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him,” she said. “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”
Continue reading the main story

The woman’s daughter, who was in the back seat, appears several times in the video. Near the end of the 10-minute clip, as the two are sitting in the back of a police car, she comforts her mother, saying, “It’s O.K., Mommy. It’s O.K. I’m right here with you.”

...

Family members demanded justice for Mr. Castile during an interview on CNN early Thursday. Mr. Castile’s uncle, Clarence Castile, said police officers who were meant to protect Americans had instead become “our executioners and judges and murderers.”

New video dispels any doubt Alton Sterling was murdered by Baton Rouge cops

These cops need to be in jail, now. The cops who invaded Muflahi's store and stole the surveillance footage need to be in jail, now. Any actual human beings who might happen to be in the Baton Rouge PD need to go on strike until that happens.

But it won't. They'll get away with it. And the problem will build until we have a for-real honest-to-goodness violent revolution on out hands. I'm not advocating, I'm predicting the obvious

Also, I want everyone who's calling for more and stronger gun laws to think really hard about the consequences of that. Sterling got a gun to protect himself after a friend was mugged, but he wasn't legally permitted to have one because of prior convictions. It was an illegal gun. When you tell cops, "Go get illegal guns off the streets! Make that a top priority!" -- well, friends, this is how that happens. Is that really what you want? Or do you want cops to leave people who aren't bothering anyone, alone?

New Video Emerges of Alton Sterling Being Killed by Baton Rouge Police (The Daily Beast)

Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was standing in the parking lot selling CDs as he had for years when two white cops arrived on Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning he was dead and protesters were in the city’s streets. Calls erupted from Congress and the NAACP for an independent investigation into the shooting, which the Justice Department announced within hours.

Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake were reportedly responding to a 911 call about a man threatening someone with a gun before they arrived, but Muflahti said no one was waving a gun, certainly not Sterling.

Crime is not a disease

80s action movie taglines notwithstanding, crime is not a disease. So why is there a push by prohibitionists to have the CDC researching it and to treat violent crime as a "public health crisis"? (And never mind the fact that the homicide rate is about one-half what it was 20 years ago, which makes for an interesting notion of "crisis".)

It's because criminologists keep getting the "wrong" answer about gun control, while in the 1970s the American public health community explicitly adopted a gun control objective, and has been spinning the science ever sense. It's denialism at its finest: the relevant science hasn't given you the findings you want so you apply the methods of an irrelevant science that give you the answer you want.

This 1994 piece from the Tennessee Law Review lays it out well. Two decades later it's the same old song all over again.

GUNS AND PUBLIC HEALTH: EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE OR PANDEMIC OF PROPAGANDA? (www.guncite.com)

Since the 1960s, health advocate sages have written a vast and ever-increasing amount of anti-gun advocacy literature. But the view thus promulgated is strikingly different from the view concurrently emerging from criminological research and scholarship. The divergence was not as clear twenty-five to thirty years ago as it is today. In the 1960s, criminological opinion was dominated by writers who felt more or less as the anti-gun health advocacy writers do today. As two of the most influential of those 1960s writers subsequently admitted: "In the 1960s, there was literally no scholarship on the relationship between guns and violence and the incidence or consequences of interpersonal violence, and no work in progress."

Serious criminological research began in the 1970s and has been pursued more intensively and extensively ever since. The results of that research may surprise lay persons, given the exposure which the popular press has accorded the anti-gun health advocacy literature....

Disabled man on oxygen shoots home invader

Two bad guys attack an ill old man on oxygen in his home to steal his medication. He defends himself with a gun. If you are opposed to citizens being armed, what's your alternative here? Fight them hand-to-hand? The guy's on oxygen full time. Give up his meds and pray they don't beat him to the point of serious injury or death? (And that he can afford to replace them and won't need them until he can?) Relying on the mercy of someone who's in the middle of a violent act is not a sound strategy. Call the cops? You can be dead several times over before the cops show up -- if they do at all, several court cases have found that they have no legal responsibility to do so.

What would you do? What would you have someone physically weaker do? Your feeling that "guns are icky" is not a reason to let this man be beaten or killed, is it?

Actor faces 10 years sentence for prop gun

And the hoplophobia continues. (When I was acting in the zero-budget amateur film Mega-Rat, I carried an (unloaded) shotgun, so this hits a little close.)

An Actor Used a Prop Gun Without a Permit. Now He's Facing 10 Years in Prison (Newser)

An actor who played a bit part in an independent gangster film is facing 10 years in state prison because he used a prop pellet gun without a state gun permit, the AP reports. Carlo Goias was charged under New Jersey's strict gun law, which requires permits for firearms, including the airsoft gun Goias used while filming a car chase scene.... He faces up to a decade behind bars because of prior felony convictions that prosecutors say include theft and burglary. "I was shooting a movie—I wasn't committing a crime intentionally," Goias says. "Robert De Niro doesn't ask Marty Scorsese if he has gun permits. We're actors. That's for the production company to worry about."

Calling out the militia in Maryland in 1942

At the always interesting blog "The Volokh Conspiracy", David Kopel has dug up a 1942 decree by Maryland governor Herbert O’Conor calling on armed citizens to serve in a reserve militia to defend the state against Axis "parachute troops, saboteurs, or organized raiding parties" or the actions of "enemy sympathizers within our State". It's notable for its plain statement that volunteers would be expected to provide their own weapons and would be expected to have basic competence with them -- even at this relatively recent date when the standing army was well-established as a tool of American imperialism and the foundations of the military-industrial complex had been laid.

This is what the "well-regulated militia" in Amendment II means -- a citizen body familiar with the use of arms is necessary for the security of the nation. ("Well-regulated" here does not have the meaning of "subject to extenisve regulatory law" but rather "effective and precise" -- in the same way that a mechanical timepiece is "regulated". In order to have people familiar with arms, it is necessary for the people to have them. Therefore, the Second Amendment tells us, the new nation shall not interfere with the vitally important -- not just for individual liberty but for the security of the nation -- natural right of the people to arm themselves.

Cory Doctorow: The no-fly list really is a no-brainer

I've been trying to make this point to friends who are firearm prohibitionists. The "terrorist watch list" is a thing that should not even exist; if you have evidence then arrest and charge the person, otherwise leave them alone. That's due process 101. It's sad that so many on both the so-called "left" and "right" are so willing to throw that basic value under the bus.

Indeed, the whole concept of background checks is based on a list of bad guys. But if you have a list of people you can' t trust with access to firearms, you have a list of people who need to be under supervision -- prison, parole, probation, or mandatory psychiatric care. It's the responsibility of those supervisors to keep those people away from guns, not the responsibility of someone selling Grandpa's old hunting rifle at an estate sale.

The no-fly list really is a no-brainer (Boing Boing)

Whatever you think of gun control, Obama's assertion that "Closing the No-Fly List loophole is a no-brainer" is pretty brainless.

The no-fly list, a notorious, secretive, evidence-free zone in which Americans and foreigners alike are denied the freedom of movement based on secret, sloppy evidence that no is allowed to see or refute, is a terrible proxy for "people who should be treated as suspicious."

Rural America faces rising suicide rates; lower incomes and social disconnection cited.

Small Towns Face Rising Suicide Rates (www.nytimes.com)

Rural adolescents commit suicide at roughly twice the rate of their urban peers, according to a study published in the May issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Although imbalances between city and country have long persisted, “we weren’t expecting that the disparities would be increasing over time,” said the study’s lead author, Cynthia Fontanella, a psychologist at Ohio State University.

“The rates are higher, and the gap is getting wider.”

Suicide is a threat not just to the young. Rates over all rose 7 percent in metropolitan counties from 2004 to 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In rural counties, the increase was 20 percent.

The problem reaches across demographic boundaries, encompassing such groups as older men, Native Americans and veterans. The sons and daughters of small towns are more likely to serve in the military, and nearly half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans live in rural communities.

Why gun owners may legitimately have lots of ammunition

Besides calling semi-automatic rifles "assault rifles" and failing to report that "assault weapon" is a bullshit term made up by politicians to describe guns that look a certain way, the mainstream media's second biggest sin in reporting about firearms is breathless tales of "thousands of rounds of ammunition". This AP piece at least explains the facts about that.

Q&A on ammunition found at the home of California shooters (Yahoo News)

Keane said the volume of bullets found in the San Bernardino shooters' possession shouldn't raise any eyebrows.

"Those are not substantial quantities if you're a target shooter," he said. "You can go through several hundred rounds on a weekend at a shooting range."

...

"As a gun owner myself, I myself probably have four or five thousand rounds of bullets that I keep at home," Attorney David Chesley said at a news conference Friday. "And the reason why you buy them in bulk is because they're cheaper that way.

"And the government keeps on outlawing different types of bullets and different types of guns at different times. And then there'll be shortages of bullets that occur very commonly where Homeland Security will order 2 million of a certain kind of bullet and you can't get that bullet, it's not available for many months.

"So especially if you are target shooting it's not at all uncommon to own 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 rounds to have with you — when you can get them at a cheap price you stock up."

No, there have not been hundreds of "mass shootings" -- unless you redefine the term

Mother Jones's reporting on guns and violence is often inaccurate. Even here MJ editor Mark Follman repeats the invalid complaint that Congress has prevented the CDC from researching gun violence -- criminal violence is the domain of criminologists, not disease experts. (The problem is that criminologists keep saying gun prohibition laws don't prevent violence, and so prohibitionists try to misapply methods from other domains to get the answer they want.) But he is spot on in this analysis of the problematic redefinition of "mass shooting".

How Many Mass Shootings Are There, Really? (www.nytimes.com)

On Wednesday, a Washington Post article announced that “The San Bernardino shooting is the second mass shooting today and the 35Or that a late-night shooting on a street in Savannah, Ga., yesterday that injured three and killed one is in the same category as the madness that just played out in Southern California.5th this year.” Vox, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, this newspaper and others reported similar statistics...[Y]ou could be forgiven for wondering how you missed more than 300 other such attacks in 2015.

At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth, open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino, and at least 73 such attacks since 1982.

What explains the vastly different count? The answer is that there is no official definition for “mass shooting.” Almost all of the gun crimes behind the much larger statistic are less lethal and bear little relevance to the type of public mass murder we have just witnessed again. Including them in the same breath suggests that a 1 a.m. gang fight in a Sacramento restaurant, in which two were killed and two injured, is the same kind of event as a deranged man walking into a community college classroom and massacring nine and injuring nine others....

While all the victims are important, conflating those many other crimes with indiscriminate slaughter in public venues obscures our understanding of this complicated and growing problem. Everyone is desperate to know why these attacks happen and how we might stop them — and we can’t know, unless we collect and focus on useful data that filter out the noise.

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