October, 2015

All The News That’s Fit For Prevarication

October 28th, 2015 16 Comments

Pinocchio

 

Really, sometimes the Grey Lady just makes it all too easy. No, no. Hillary is the Shady Lady; the Grey Lady is The New York Times.

Jameson’s Law of Convincing Argument states that if I wish to convince you of the absolute and infallible correctness of my point of view, I would be well-served not to cite sources that are known for agreeing with me or being on my side of a particular argument.

For example: I recently wrote an article for a magazine about a gun control initiative being launched in the state where that magazine is published. In the article, I quoted President Obama repeating a lie he has told frequently. He stated that, “The law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks, and over the past [twenty] years that’s kept millions of the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. But it’s hard to enforce that law when as many as forty percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check.” [Emphasis mine.]

If I had then refuted that lie, which has been repeatedly refuted and debunked, with facts and figures from the NRA, you would have been wise to suspect me of being biased, lazy in my research, and even perhaps dishonest myself. Instead, I quoted the “Fact-Checker” column in the notoriously anti-gun Washington Post, which gave Mr. Obama three Pinocchios out of a possible four for dishonesty.

So, enter the Grey Lady, stage left, ranting wildly about the “myth” of defensive gun use, specifically as it pertains to concealed carry. The Editorial Board of the Times (wisely, no individual wished to attach his or her name to the piece) proceeded to trot out “statistics” purporting to show the relatively few (according to the Times) occasions firearms were used throughout the country for legally justifiable purposes of defense. Then the Grey Lady solemnly informed its readers, most of whom are sheltered and pampered urban and suburban dwellers unlikely to question any dishonest garbage the editorial board dishes as out, that their source for these “statistics” was The Violence Policy Center.

Oh dear, oh dear, Grey Lady, that’s just embarrassing. Anyone with an I.Q. larger than his hat size will hear alarm bells going off. Actually, the editorial board must have realized how embarrassing it was, because a disclaimer was immediately added to the effect that the Violence Policy Center’s figures were, “…necessarily incomplete, because the gun lobby has been so successful in persuading gullible state and national legislators that concealed carry is essential to public safety, thus blocking the extensive data collection that should be mandatory for an obvious and severe public health problem.”

(That, by the way, is an old trick, cynically summed up by the lawyer, Billy Flynn, in the musical Chicago, when he tap dances and sings the song Razzle Dazzle:

“Give ‘em the old flim flam flummox,

Fool and fracture ‘em,

How can they hear the truth above the roar?…

…Long as you keep ‘em way off balance,

How can they spot you’ve got no talents?”

In other words, if your argument is completely bogus, blame it in an outraged tone of voice on your opponent.)

The problem, dear Grey Lady, is that “the extensive data collection that should be mandatory” is in fact carried out and is available to anyone willing to look at an unbiased source. The United States Bureau of Justice, hardly a rabid pro-gun institution, estimates that firearms are used defensively in America 235,700 each year. Other sources, some pro-gun and some neutral, estimate legal defensive firearm use from an approximate low of one million, to a high of two-and-a-half million times a year.

You do see where this is going, right? If the Grey Lady can convince its naïve and uneducated (about guns) readers that the number of legal and justifiable defensive uses of a firearm is a tiny, insignificant amount, then no one can refute the old, emotional “if it saves just one life” gun control argument. Because the reverse of that argument is that if having a gun saves just one life, than there is no reason to ban firearms. And, in fact, as the very low Bureau of Justice figures show, many, many lives are saved by defensive use each year, a great many times more than are taken by criminals.

Then the Grey Lady went on to say, “Clearly, concealed carry does not transform ordinary citizens into superheroes.” That is possibly the only honest thing The Times Editorial Board was able to write in the entire article. Concealed carry does not transform anyone, but it does at least give him a fighting chance not to become another lamentable statistic.

Police Lives Matter

October 27th, 2015 17 Comments

Quentin Tarantino

Many decades ago, when I was first starting to have some success in Hollywood, I met a young man named Quentin Tarantino in an acting class. I never knew him long enough or intimately enough to get a sense of who he was, though I will say I was very surprised when about ten years later he began to take Hollywood by storm as a director. I will also say that because I have no interest in movies that are action-driven or special-effects driven, I have never seen any of his films. My understanding is that they are long on violence and mayhem, short on character development and the common humanity, comic or tragic, that we all share. But when my bride came into my office yesterday evening to tell me that Quentin Tarantino had given a speech at an anti-police rally denouncing the police and calling them “murderers,” I felt sure she must have misheard or gotten the story wrong.

She hadn’t and she didn’t.

In the brief clip I saw, Tarantino called the police murderers indirectly, by stating his support for the “murdered,” primarily for Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Unfortunately, Tarantino picked a poor example, but for the sake of argument, let’s put aside the findings of the Ferguson Police Department, the FBI, the Department of Justice, and a grand jury, and assume that Michael Brown was an innocent gentle giant as the media initially, gleefully portrayed him. To extrapolate from that incident and portray all police officers in America as murderers is as hateful and biased as it would be to extrapolate from the truth of Michael Brown’s assault of a police officer to portray all young black men as murderous thugs. Or, to put it another way, it’s a little like extrapolating from Quentin Tarantino’s comments and portraying all Hollywood directors as attention-hungry idiots.

I’m back in physical therapy again, trying to overcome? undo? compensate for? some of the lingering spinal damage done by my horse accident, and one afternoon I happened to be at the therapist’s clinic at the same time as the SWAT officer who was shot by the lunatic who murdered my friend, David Markiewitz. This young man took a .44 magnum bullet through both arms, severely damaging one and catastrophically damaging the other. He had only recently been released from the hospital when he attended David’s funeral service along with the lead detective on the case, and the Kern County Sheriff, all of whom took time out of their busy, exhausting lives to pay their respects to a wonderful man none of them had ever even been lucky enough to know, save in death.

Murderers, Quentin? I think of them as heroes. And if the day comes, Quentin, when your luck runs out and you become the victim of a home invasion or car-jacking or street robbery, you will dial 911 and scream for the murderers. If my luck runs out, I will dial 911 and call for heroes.

 

Safe and Happy

October 26th, 2015 2 Comments

Ireland

 

One of the good things about writing a blog is that sometimes someone asks a question or makes a statement that challenges one of my pearls of wisdom, causing me to have to re-think my assumptions. It’s good because it keeps me on my toes.

One of the bad things about writing a blog is that sometimes someone asks a question or makes a statement that challenges one of my pearls of wisdom, causing me to have to re-think my assumptions. It’s bad because it can cause me to go off on diversionary excursions when I should be writing articles to put beans and rice on the Parker kitchen table, though I could also make an equal argument that such diversions and excursions are necessary for keeping one’s sanity in an insane world.

In response to the most recent blog, Ideology, Ignorance, or Fear?, someone asked, “Which countries have the lowest violent crime rates? And what factors are assumed to contribute?” and that caused a case of nearly terminal curiosity in this mangy literary tomcat. Here, for what it’s worth, is what I found.

According to a United Nations Subcommittee, the happiest ten nations on earth are (in order from top to bottom): Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia.

According to the same subcommittee, people in the happiest nations on earth all share: longer life expectancy; have social support; experience more generosity; have freedom to make life choices; have lower perceptions of corruption (in their respective governments); and have higher gross domestic product per capita. Some other sources of happiness (from other sources) are: the ability to trust people in your own neighborhood; ability to trust those in the government (part and parcel of having a low perception of corruption); and being surrounded by people who show empathy for others.

The ten safest nations on earth (and I’m compiling here, based on different reports by varying entities that range from semi-professional to apparently amateur tourism promoters) are: Sweden, Finland, Austria (which also made on it some of the “happiest” lists), Australia, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Tuvalu (I’d never heard of it either; it consists of a bunch of islands in the Pacific), New Zealand, and Iceland. Other lists include: Singapore; Japan; Canada; Slovenia (presumably included by someone who is unfamiliar both with history and its tendency to repeat itself); Belgium; the Czech Republic; Switzerland; Bhutan (a tiny country in the Himalayan mountains; I had to look it up); and Portugal.

Reasons for safety include: financial prosperity of the nation as a whole; intelligence of the people; a clearly defined national culture that includes both discipline and strict laws; personal freedom and human rights; a stable economy; a good (i.e. both trusted and competent) political system; gender equality; high per capita income.

What is interesting is that with the exception of the Pacific nations (New Zealand, Australia, and Tuvalu) and Portugal, all the other nations are northern, with some of them (the Scandinavian countries, Iceland, and Canada) qualifying as being in the frozen north. The other common factor I found interesting is that with the exception of Bhutan, which is a kingdom, all the others have some form of capitalistic democratic government, ranging from a democratic monarchy to a parliamentary system. (America was included on some of the “happiest” lists, but I chose not to include it lest someone think I was being partisan.)

Ideology, Ignorance, or Fear?

October 23rd, 2015 17 Comments

007 (Small)

 

The LA Times ran an editorial the day before yesterday calling for more stringent gun control and citing Los Angeles’ high homicide rate as a good example of why more controls are needed.

Two days earlier, the Chicago Tribune ran a similar editorial, citing that city’s out of control crime problem, specifically its homicide rate, as an example of why tougher gun laws are required.

What makes this risible is that both of those cities have some of the toughest, most draconian gun-control laws in America, and California is regularly praised, by no less an authority than the Brady Campaign, as the state with the toughest guns laws in the nation. If gun control worked, both of those cities would be paragons of safety and low crime, so clearly there is some other factor besides the existence of firearms that causes criminal behavior.

If you doubt that, take a quick peek at three countries with some of the most restrictive gun laws anywhere in the world. Actually, make that two countries: Venezuela used to have incredibly restrictive gun laws, but now, as of 2012, private gun ownership is totally banned. In Honduras, citizens have no legal right to own a firearm of any kind. Gun ownership is considered extremely restricted, with background checks, licensing, registration, and a five gun limit. In El Salvador, citizens have no legal right to own a firearm of any kind. Gun ownership is considered extremely restricted, with licensing and registration for both firearms and ammunition, background checks, and mandatory safety training. I cite those three countries because they also happen to have the highest rates of homicide anywhere in the world. So much for gun control.

Going back to the two cities with some of the most restrictive gun laws in America, it’s no coincidence that the two cities regularly listed as being the most gang-infested metropolitan areas in America are—drum role, please—Chicago and Los Angeles (most recently in that order; the positions used to be reversed).

Countless studies over the years by sociologists, psychiatrists, and various other experts all show identical factors that encourage gang participation: poverty, lack of job opportunities, family breakdown (including both domestic violence and lack of adult supervision), academic failure, and peer pressure. By the same token, countless studies over the years by sociologists, psychiatrists, and other experts all show identical factors that discourage gang activity: parental and family involvement, education, and training for adults (parents and teachers) who have to deal with disruptive or violent at-risk teenagers.

It is also hardly breaking news that the vast bulk of violent crimes are committed by a relatively small number of repeat offenders. It’s hard to get specific about the numbers here, because there are so many studies done by so many experts in so many different states, using so many different methodologies, and focusing on different aspects of violent crime (sex crimes, homicide, armed robbery, sometimes all three lumped together), and with numbers that vary by age group, but here is a random sampling: a Florida study showed 70% of all violent crimes were committed by 30% of the criminal population; a Philadelphia study showed 40% committed by 5%; a Chicago news agency did a study of police records and found the “overwhelming majority” of men arrested for homicide had committed previous homicides; while a study done in Sweden showed that 63% of all violent crimes were committed by 1% of the population. Looking at it from another perspective, from the recidivism perspective, the Bureau of Justice’s figures show that slightly over 60% of all violent criminals who are released from prison are re-arrested for a similar offense within three years.

So explain to me again how restricting my second amendment rights will prevent career criminals and gang members from committing murder.

None of this is new. None of this is revolutionary. None of this is unknown by the progressive politicians and media outlets that regularly push instead for gun control. So the question then becomes: why do progressive news outlets and politicians routinely and consistently ignore the very real science and sociological data that are known, while blaming guns as being, somehow, the causative factor. To quote the LA Times: “Our national crisis is the guns themselves and a political attitude that finds it completely sane to let this daily carnage continue.”

There is a frighteningly shamanistic totemism to that statement. To be less charitable, that is one of the stupidest statements I have ever read in any newspaper. Ever. Using that editor’s logic, because I own a hammer, I am a carpenter. (In the background, my wife claps her hands together in prayer and cries, “If only it were so!”)

But is this willful ignorance of progressives the result of an equally willful deception to promote an extremist ideology? (To paraphrase a popular liberal politician, “It’s a vast left-wing conspiracy…”) Or is it ignorance resulting from a limited and impoverished education? (Just take a look at the required courses in any ivy-league college curriculum today and you’ll understand why ignorance is the norm in young professionals.) Or is it fear?

A lot of people really do believe it is the ideological repetition of a lie for specific political and social purposes. Think of Joseph Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” And: “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly: it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” That kind of cynical and deliberate dishonesty may be true of certain anti-gun groups (think Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown [sic] for Gun Safety), but I doubt it is the case with most politicians or the even most liberal news organizations. I hope it isn’t.

It might simply be ignorance. When a young man or woman can get a bachelor’s degree from an Ivy-league college without ever having to take a single history course of any kind, it does make you wonder what they are learning. Certainly not history, and it is only by knowing the past that we can anticipate the future.

So perhaps it is simply fear. We fear the unknown, and we only hate what we fear, and in an increasingly urbanized society, exposure to firearms is more and more limited. Listen to the litany of ludicrous statements about firearms that you hear on the news or read in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, or any other progressive, anti-gun news source and you will recognize a firearms education that comes from television shows and bad movies. If you are truly ignorant about guns, you might be simple enough to believe they can discharge by themselves, or that warning shots fired in the air are a safe and sensible thing to do, or that is possible to shoot the gun out of the hand of an armed criminal who is shooting at you. I have heard or read all those things.

More to the point, I have heard and read too many lies like, “Our national crisis is the guns themselves and a political attitude that finds it completely sane to let this daily carnage continue.”

Meteorological Update

October 16th, 2015 10 Comments

Bedazzled two

 

Be careful what you wish for.

Have you ever seen Bedazzled? It’s a marvelous, wacky, 1967 movie starring and written by the brilliant British comedy team of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. (There is also a 2000 remake, starring Brendan Frazer, with Elizabeth Hurley as the devil in a red bikini, a sight that is alone worth the price of admission, though the remake is not as charming as the original.) The premise of the movie is that a little nebbish (Dudley Moore), who is in love with an unattainable girl, sells his soul to the devil (Peter Cook) for seven wishes (corresponding to the seven deadly sins), which he uses in an attempt to win the girl.

Of course the devil grants each wish, but never exactly as it was intended, with the entirely predictable result that Dudley Moore never gets the girl, while the devil always does. It’s a masterpiece of the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore team, a team that produced many classic and lunatic comic gems (a routine about a one-legged man auditioning for the role of Tarzan; another that has survived as a recording about a man opening a restaurant in the middle of nowhere—“Parking isn’t a problem.”— called The Frog and Peach, where the only dishes offered are frog à la pêche, or pêche à la frog), as well as appearing together in another delicious movie, The Wrong Box.

Bedazzled

 

But the point is to be careful what you wish for. All of California has been praying for rain, and God—who evidently has a very wry, very British, and rather distorted sense of humor Himself—responded last night.

Darleen and I were at a dog training class last night, a class that got cut short after urgent calls started coming in on various cell-phones. Thunderstorms were producing flooding all over southern California, including in our little corner of the golden state. This morning, we saw some of the results on the news.

Interstate 5, the primary north-south artery in California was completely shut down by mud-and-rock slides, with hundreds of people needing to be rescued. The alternate artery over the mountains, Highway 58, the road the Joad family took on their search for a paradise that did not exist in The Grapes of Wrath, has also been closed by mud-and-rock slides, with scores of people needing to be rescued. The California Highway Patrol, interviewed on a local television station this morning, recommended no one drive anywhere, but that people who simply must get to Los Angeles or points south, take the 46 over to the coastal route, 101, and take that road south. I happen to know these routes quite well, and that little detour turns a two-and-a-half hour drive into about a six or seven hour drive, not allowing for traffic which, if everyone is doing the same thing, will become like a nightmare right out of Bedazzled, minus the charm and the humor, but with the dubious addition of frayed tempers.

The storms actually began night before last, with a display of pyrotechnics that made any fireworks created by the hand of man look pretty lame: bolts of lightening hammering the ground all around us with such violence it shook the house. Darleen and I were scurrying around, closing windows, when suddenly the whole world went black. Not just our house, but not a light to be seen anywhere, not even any ambient light bouncing off the clouds from distant towns, a blackness as complete and absolute as our Paleolithic ancestors must have known. We began groping our way to the stored flashlights when, just as suddenly, the lights came back on again, revealing each of us with our arms held cautiously out in front of us like Neanderthals in a cave playing “pin the tail on the donkey” or “blind man’s bluff.”

This went on most of the night, power on, power off, brilliant flashes of God-made light splitting open stygian darkness, and thunder like the final trump; if there is no time interval between the flash and the sound, and the house trembles, you know the strike was close.

At one point, before the serious rain began, I stepped outside to see if I could smell smoke, fire being very much on our minds. It was one of the most dramatic nights I have ever had the pleasure of living through. I was tempted to do a little King Lear:

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow,

          You cataracts and hurricanoes…

But it occurred to me that reciting Lear outside in the middle of an epic thunder storm might not be the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I could see the headline in Variety: Former Actor Killed by His Own Performance. It seemed a poor way to make my final exit, so I opted instead for sitting by a window and watching the show from the safety of home and hearth.

Good show, God! Good show.

Rainy Night Redux

October 12th, 2015 19 Comments

Nevada 2

 

I know this is going to sound really dorky (What kind of a senile old fool is Jameson anyway?) but it only recently hit me how completely and universally pervasive the internet is. I know I am lucky enough to have readers all over America and Canada, as well as in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, Italy, India, South Africa, Namibia, and possibly other countries whose readers don’t identify their location. I wish they would; I find it fascinating to know the states and countries where people live. I used to have a young lady in Kuwait who would respond to blog posts that caught her attention, but she wrote me that, for unexplained reasons, she would have to give up internet use. I hope it wasn’t for any ominous reasons and that she is doing well. So I realized the internet reaches its tentacles out to billions—literally billions—of people around the world, but…

But I recently received a response, to the Rainy Night posting, from Malaysia and for some reason that has stuck with me and made me think about the ramifications of the internet in ways I hadn’t before.

When I was a very young child, back when television sets were still items only possessed by people of a certain economic level, the Parker family not included, the moment someone spoke I could tell what part of the country that person came from. As a southern child, I could even tell what portion of a particular southern state someone came from, the tidewater accent being different from a Piedmont Plateau accent or an Appalachian accent, with Gullah (sometimes called Geechee) being completely incomprehensible.

Those days have obviously vanished and regional accents have gone the way of the one-horse shay and the four-up hitch. In America today practically everyone sounds like a game show host.

But if an old man in a dry season in California can write something that resonates, however lightly, with someone in Malaysia, where the average annual rainfall is greater than the average total for fifteen years in my high-desert part of California, think of the implications of that.

If radical Islam, notably ISIS, can use the internet and social media to recruit young men and women to their evil cause, surely the rest of us can use the same tools to emphasize our shared humanity on this tired old planet. I’m not so naïve as to believe in some kind of Kumbaya world where we all become happy vegans and hold hands and speak Esperanto and run 5-K races for charity and never criticize anyone for anything. In fact, such a 1984 collective world reminds me of North Korea, where I would go mad and start biting myself. For one thing, I love the differences that make the world such a fascinating place. I lament the passing of regional accents in America, I hate holding hands with anyone other than my bride, and if you try to take my steak away I’ll stab you with my fork.

But how wonderful that such a simple pleasure as a sweet-smelling world freshly washed by rain should evoke such a universal response.

Rainy Night

October 4th, 2015 27 Comments

Tehachapi rainbow 002 (Small)

 

It rained last night. I know that’s small potatoes to most people, and certainly not welcome news to the poor devils in South Carolina right now, but after so long a dry spell and such a long, hot, dusty summer, the rain came as a welcome relief.

So many people in wetter parts of the world complain about too much rain, or too long a rainy season and I would almost certainly be among them. We have a friend in Portland, Oregon, where it has been known to be a trifle grey and rainy in the winter, who has to do light therapy and take meds to help her through the winter, and I suspect I too would be affected by the absence of sunlight. It’s one of the great joys of living in California: the vast preponderance of sunny days and the ability to spend more time outside here than almost anywhere else in the world. Even in the winter, when it’s cold—and that’s a relative term; the thermometer in the low forties qualifies as a cold winter day for us—it is usually sunny and you can do just about anything outside your heart desires.

But this past year has been so dry that, apart from all the negative aspects of drought, with many more negative aspects (higher food prices, primarily) yet to come, I had sort of forgotten how wonderful and refreshing rain can be. It wasn’t much of a rain—basically just enough to clean the dust off the roof and out of the air—but the wonderful freshness of it when I walked outside was intoxicating, that magical “mud-luscious and puddle wonderful” smell that makes the world and the smeller both feel vibrantly alive.

We need more, a lot more, desperately, and when we get it I’ll probably bitch and moan and whine, but this morning was magical.

 

Disclaimer

October 1st, 2015 29 Comments

question mark

 

I’ve been a little preoccupied the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working on the kinds of articles that actually put beans and rice on the Parker table, and in my spare seconds being wildly self-indulgent on the side, working on a short story to provide spiritual beans and rice for the Parker soul. So I was little nonplussed to get an angry email from a man taking me to task for saying false and derogatory things about Ben Carson.

I admit that sometimes I go off on a riff when I’m writing: I start on a certain tack, but something seems to take over and I indulge myself with wild flights of fun and fancy. I also admit I sometimes forget what I’ve written, or when, or why, or even when or if I posted it, but I had no memory of ever having written anything about Ben Carson, laudatory or derogatory. I was so nonplussed that I actually went back through some recent blog-posts to see if maybe I had written something and then had a brain fart and forgotten all about it.

Then I remembered that I have an evil doppelgänger. He is a doppelgänger because the name he writes under (and which I assume is the name he was given at birth) is Jameson Parker, spelled correctly, just like that, like the Irish whiskey on the front end and America’s greatest shotgun on the back end. He is evil because he is my complete opposite, a sort of one-hundred and eighty-degree mirror image of me, the good and deserving Jameson Parker, and since I am good and deserving he must, by definition, be evil. (Think of the Good Goofy and Bad Goofy in one of the Mickey Mouse cartoons. Or maybe it was the good Pluto and bad Pluto.)

Anyway, I wasted time I really don’t have to do a little research on this evil doppelgänger, and I was able to track down the on-line magazine he writes for. It would be easy to dismiss him as just another humorless, wild-eyed liberal with fuzzy-minded ideas about social justice and equality and zero knowledge of history to guide him: where I write only occasionally about political issues and current events that catch my attention, he writes exclusively about those issues; where I would approach them from a conservative point of view, he is an unabashed liberal; and like too many liberal pundits, he seems to delight in categorizing everyone on the right as racist Neanderthals, but too many of us on the right like to categorize all liberals as wild-eyed and fuzzy-minded.

But I read a few of his articles and one (an anti-gun, anti-Republican rant, natch) compelled me to take pity on him, and in the spirit of spreading goodwill and perhaps elevating the level of discourse in the public internet forum, I will offer him some very rudimentary advice.

Dear Evil Doppelgänger:

It is always a good and instructive thing to read alternate points of view and I found some of your articles interesting and better written than much of the tripe that passes for information in our polarized, post-literate, internet world. I mean that sincerely.

However, if you wish to persuade someone that your particular point of view is the correct one, the direct pipeline to the infinite, as it were, you might want to consider carefully which sources you quote. If I wish to convince you of the infallible integrity and correctness of my point of view about a particular topic, I would be well-advised not to cite, as a source in support of my point of view, any group or organization or news source which is well-known to believe precisely and only what I believe.

For instance, consider your August 26th, 2015 column, “Pro-Gun Republicans Offering “Prayers” for Victims of Mass Shootings Should Shut the Hell Up.” The headline happens to express a sentiment with which I heartily concur, just as I also wish anti-gun politicians and Michael Bloomberg- or George Soros-funded anti-gun groups would also keep their yaps shut and not use every tragic and bloody occasion to call for gun laws that they themselves admit would and will do nothing, instead of advocating the societal reforms that might actually accomplish something. In the article you make reference to a “…study which took place over thirty years…” and since you highlighted it, I decided to check your source. It turned out to be Mother Jones magazine. Mother Jones, forsooth! Please, dear Evil Doppelgänger, that’s just embarrassing. That would be the equivalent of me citing Soldier of Fortune magazine or Guns and Ammo as objective and unbiased sources of scientific pro-second amendment information; both are excellent magazines for what they offer, but objectivity about gun control is not their forte.

Working on the blind-pig-finding-an-acorn theory, I read the Mother Jones article you cited. Of the ten arguments against gun ownership that Mother Jones makes, only three cite any source beyond their own opinion. For the argument that you referenced (“more guns means more gun deaths”) Mother Jones in turn cited Pediatrics magazine and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

My goodness. From embarrassment to embarrassment. Ain’t no bias there, by golly.

Pediatrics has repeatedly come out with virulently anti-gun articles and is very candid about its negative views of firearms, so apart from wondering what expertise a magazine devoted to “…the needs of the whole child in his physiologic, mental, emotional, and social structure…” might have about the realities of firearm use and ownership, one has to question the validity of that magazine’s conclusions on the topic.

(For the record, the specific Pediatrics article cited by Mother Jones has been removed from the internet, so I was unable to track that one down.)

As for the CDC, a bureaucratic organization that categorizes “gun violence” (as opposed to knife violence or blunt object violence?) as a “disease” can hardly be expected to have an objective point of view. There is a reason, after all, why the NRA and other gun organizations do not wish their tax dollars being used to fund negative CDC studies about firearms. Other organizations, entities, and individuals have conducted equally valid studies that prove the exact opposite conclusion to the one you referenced, i.e “more guns means a safer society,” so which study you choose to believe depends on what your personal bias is.

I understand the negative attitudes many people have about firearms; we all tend to fear those things about which we know nothing, and we only hate those things we fear. But citing only those sources that you know will bolster your personal prejudices doesn’t win you followers and admirers. The only totally objective source for statistics about firearms, firearm use, crime, and crime involving firearms is the FBI (https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats) so instead of jumping to a conclusion and then trying to sell it as a fact, research the facts and then reach a conclusion.

You owe nothing less to the fine and dignified old name which you are privileged to bear.

Sincerely.

The Original, Good and Deserving

Jameson Parker

Often Imitated but Never Duplicated

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