Why Did it Have to be … Guns?, by L. Neil Smith

Over the past 30 years, I’ve been paid to write almost two million words, every one of which, sooner or later, came back to the issue of guns and gun-ownership. Naturally, I’ve thought about the issue a lot, and it has always determined the way I vote.

People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single- issue thinker, and a single- issue voter, but it isn’t true. What I’ve chosen, in a world where there’s never enough time and energy, is to focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician — or political philosophy — is made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.

Make no mistake: all politicians — even those ostensibly on the side of guns and gun ownership — hate the issue and anyone, like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because it’s an X-ray machine. It’s a Vulcan mind-meld. It’s the ultimate test to which any politician — or political philosophy — can be put.

If a politician isn’t perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash — for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything — without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn’t your friend no matter what he tells you.

If he isn’t genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybody’s permission, he’s a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.

What his attitude — toward your ownership and use of weapons — conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesn’t trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?

If he doesn’t want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?

If he makes excuses about obeying a law he’s sworn to uphold and defend — the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights — do you want to entrust him with anything?

If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil — like “Constitutionalist” — when you insist that he account for himself, hasn’t he betrayed his oath, isn’t he unfit to hold office, and doesn’t he really belong in jail?

Sure, these are all leading questions. They’re the questions that led me to the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician — or political philosophy — is really made of.

He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who shouldn’t have a gun — but what does that have to do with you? Why in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for the misdeeds of others? Didn’t you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school — or the military? Isn’t it an essentially European notion, anyway — Prussian, maybe — and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?

And if there are dangerous weirdos out there, does it make sense to deprive you of the means of protecting yourself from them? Forget about those other people, those dangerous weirdos, this is about you, and it has been, all along.

Try it yourself: if a politician won’t trust you, why should you trust him? If he’s a man — and you’re not — what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If “he” happens to be a woman, what makes her so perverse that she’s eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesn’t want you to have?

On the other hand — or the other party — should you believe anything politicians say who claim they stand for freedom, but drag their feet and make excuses about repealing limits on your right to own and carry weapons? What does this tell you about their real motives for ignoring voters and ramming through one infantile group trade agreement after another with other countries?

Makes voting simpler, doesn’t it? You don’t have to study every issue — health care, international trade — all you have to do is use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you. And that, of course, is why they hate it.

And that’s why I’m accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.

But it isn’t true, is it?

‘It’s Not That We Love Donald Trump So Much. It’s That We Can’t Stand You.’

Dear confused liberal,

If you are a liberal who can’t stand Trump, and cannot possibly fathom why conservatives would ever vote for him let me finally fill you in.

It’s not that we love Donald Trump so much. It’s that we can’t stand you. And we will do whatever it takes — even if that means electing a rude obnoxious unpredictable narcissist (your words not ours) to the office of President of the United States — because the only thing we find more dangerous to this nation than Donald Trump is you.

How is that possible you might ask? Well, you have done everything in your power to destroy our country. From tearing down the police, to tearing down our history, to tearing down our borders. From systematically destroying our schools and brainwashing our kids into believing socialism is the answer to anything (despite being an unmitigated failure everywhere), while demonizing religion and faith, and glorifying abortion, violence, and thug culture.

From calling us racists every time we expect everyone of any skin color to follow our laws equally, to telling us that our “tolerance” of lifestyles we don’t agree with isn’t nearly enough — no we must “celebrate” any lifestyle choice or gender option (forget science) you throw our direction or you think it’s fine to calls us homophobic or some other degrading slur you decide is okay to call us — ironically all while lecturing us on hate speech. While you gaslight us about 52 genders, polyamory, grown men in dresses sharing public locker rooms with little girls, and normalize the sexualization of young children, you simultaneously ridicule us for having the audacity to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or hang a flag on the 4th of July, stand for the national anthem, or (horror or horrors) don a MAGA hat in public. So much for your “tolerance.” (See why we think you are just hypocrites??) Continue reading “”

This election will determine future of private gun ownership in US
JOHN LOTT

This past week, President Trump claimed the election will determine the future of private gun ownership in the United States.

He’s right. And Montana voters’ choice for the U.S. Senate looks set to determine its balance of power. If they gain control, Joe Biden and Senate Democrats promise to eliminate the filibuster, allowing them to pass any legislation they want with a simple majority vote.

But the Senate won’t just determine what gun control legislation gets passed — it will also determine what judges get confirmed.

There are few issues that divide Democrat- and Republican-appointed judges more consistently and completely than gun control. President Trump’s 200 federal judicial confirmations have only just brought the courts into balance, with Democrat-appointees still controlling circuit courts for 24 states plus D.C.

The states Democrats control judicially are ones that they also tend to control legislatively. These circuit courts approve any and all of the regulations they get passed, no matter how flagrantly they infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.

Don’t expect the Supreme Court to restrain these courts. All four Democrat appointments claim people don’t have a right to self-defense. Indeed, they have already noted they will vote to overturn the court’s 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald decisions. Those rulings merely ensured the government could not completely ban guns.

Four Republican-appointed justices clearly care about the right to self-defense. But they won’t take up gun control cases for fear Justice John Roberts will side with the liberal justices. He has already done so on religious freedom cases, DACA and Obamacare.

Montana’s two current senators are sharply divided who should be on the courts. Sen. Jon Tester voted for Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, who do not believe there is an individual right to self-defense. He opposed Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who support that right.

Sen. Steve Daines has voted the opposite way.

If Gov. Steve Bullock replaces Daines this November and gives Democrats control of the Senate, that means more judges in the vein of Sotomayor and Kagan.

California shows us what the future of gun ownership can look like. For example, no one has figured out how to meet the state’s requirement for micro-stamping — a technology by which firing pins will supposedly imprint a unique identifying code on each shell casing. Even if someone could implement this expensive technology, a criminal could circumvent it by simply filing down the pin or replacing it. But handguns that don’t meet these impossible regulations will soon be banned. Given the 9th Circuit Court’s liberal bent, unless Trump fills another Supreme Court vacancy, California’s restrictions will likely be upheld.

This year, the Democrat’s convention platform is focused on a radical gun control agenda. It advocates licensing for gun owners, allowing gun makers to be held liable whenever someone uses a gun to commit a crime or cause an accident, and banning some types of semi-automatic guns based on appearance rather than on function. Neither Tester or Bullock have made any public comments opposing this platform.

Bullock attacks “Dark Money groups like the NRA, who are spending millions to try to divide this nation and thwart progress.” but he never criticizes the vastly greater amounts that New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg spends. While the NRA spent $18.9 million on all campaigns in 2018, Michael Bloomberg put up $110 million just for congressional campaigns, even more than that on state legislative races across the country.

Montanans cherish their freedoms. It would be ironic if Montanans provide the deciding votes that kill the Second Amendment and Americans’ right to defend themselves and their families.

BLUF:
According to its founders, NATO was created for three reasons: to keep the always aggressive Russians “out” of Europe, to keep the often isolationist Americans “in” to help protect it, and to keep the supposedly restless Germans “down” in order to avoid a replay of their invasions that ignited both world wars…….
That third mission seems ossified and silly now. But it is not entirely forgotten, and it may explain why many in Europe — and some in Germany itself — are worried when any American soldiers leave Germany.


A sort-of goodbye to Germany?

Victor Davis Hanson

President Trump recently ordered a 12,000-troop reduction in American military personnel stationed in Germany. That leaves about 24,000 American soldiers still in the country.

A little more than half of the troops being withdrawn will return home. The rest will be redeployed to other NATO member nations such as Belgium, Italy, and perhaps Baltic and Eastern European countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to be furious. She claims the redeployments will “weaken the (NATO) alliance.” German commercial interests chimed in that the troop withdrawals will hurt their decades-old businesses serving U.S. bases.

Perhaps, but Merkel surely cannot be surprised. Six years ago, all NATO members pledged to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. Yet only eight of 29 so far have kept their word.

Germany spends only about 1.4 percent of its GDP on defense. As NATO’s largest, wealthiest and most powerful European member, it sets the example for the rest of the alliance. Continue reading “”

Biden clears a low bar, but now he can’t go back into hiding

HE did it, he really did it. Joe Biden got through the biggest speech of his life cleanly and coherently, without stumbling or mumbling or getting that faraway dazed look in his eyes.

That sounds like an incredibly low bar because it is, but it reflects the honest and serious debate about Biden’s fitness. His age, 77, past health problems and the obvious signs that his faculties have been diminished raised the unprecedented possibility that he would not be able to carry out one of the routine performances of a major party nominee — give an acceptance speech.

Coming into his party’s virtual coronation, the test was not whether he would give a good speech or a bad speech. It was whether he could give a speech at all.

So congratulations to Biden for clearing a fundamental hurdle. Now the bar is raised and he should be treated as any other candidate. He can start by releasing his health and medical reports, which he has so far refused to do.

Most important, there is no excuse for him to hide any longer in his basement. Hidin’ Biden must be a thing of history. Continue reading “”

Whew. When you’ve lost the Washington Post…………


The NRA is a cesspool. That doesn’t mean it should be dissolved.

Opinion by Ruth Marcus
⇒ Deputy editorial page editor⇐

I loathe the National Rifle Association. With its reflexive opposition to even the mildest gun regulation, it is complicit in the deaths of thousands.

And yet, I worry that New York Attorney General Letitia James has gone too far in her bid to dissolve the organization. Even assuming that the facts laid out in the state’s lawsuit against the NRA are true — and I believe every word about chief executive Wayne LaPierre’s jaw-dropping greed — the right remedy is fixing the NRA, not dismantling it.

The NRA has a First Amendment right to its misguided understanding of the Second. Forcing its dissolution has disturbing implications — made even more disturbing by the fact that the attorney general seeking that step is a Democrat who vowed during her campaign to “take on the NRA” and labeled it a “terrorist organization.” In this country, we don’t go after entities because of what they advocate.

James’s lawsuit against the NRA does not mention ideology, even if it strains credulity to think that James would have gone after the ACLU or Planned Parenthood with equal zeal if there were similar facts. Still, the facts as alleged are jaw-dropping — and, if you were a donor who dug deep in defense of gun rights, should be enraging. Continue reading “”

QOTD:
“Anyone with a brain and a bit of historical knowledge could have seen this coming, which is no doubt why it eluded so much of our political class.”


BLUF:
The thing to remember is, ultimately, police aren’t there to protect the public from criminals, but to protect criminals from the public. Before the invention of modern police by Robert Peel in London in the early 19th Century, the public dealt with criminals mostly on its own, and usually harshly. Arrest by the police and trial before a court was a big improvement over mob justice.

Now some want to go the other direction. I predict it will end badly.

Back to the future in policing? Civilian militias in American cities
Police being pulled back in blue urban areas has led to neighborhood patrols which lead to chaos, violence, gangs and prejudice.

“When the dawn patrol’s got to tell you twice, they’re gonna do it with a shotgun.” That’s a lyric from Steely Dan, but it also reflects what seems to be a new trend in two of America’s bluest cities: The replacement of police with civilian militias. (The press prefers to call them “neighborhood patrols” since they’re in Democratic cities).

There are some people who might favor this as a step forward for civil rights and racial justice, but the facts to date don’t support such a reading. In two cities where the police have pulled back from urban areas, they’ve been replaced by armed gangs demanding protection money, increased violence and, yes, prejudice against people who “don’t belong.” Anyone with a brain and a bit of historical knowledge could have seen this coming, which is no doubt why it eluded so much of our political class. Continue reading “”

Blowback due in charges vs. Missouri couple

By now all America knows Mark and Patricia McCloskey from the video showing the St. Louis couple holding legal firearms as they defended themselves and their home from a crowd of protesters trespassing on their property. A politically motivated prosecutor has charged the couple with unlawful use of a weapon.

The felony count is because they pointed their weapons at protesters. McCloskey said he did so because he was “scared for my life,” and that of his wife. No shots were fired. Yet now prosecutor Kim Gardner is charging them on grounds they made the trespassers fear for their safety.

The good news is that there’s been plenty of official blowback. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tweeted that “We will not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights.” He has promised a pardon if they’re convicted.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt is working to get the case dismissed, noting that, in addition to the U.S. and Missouri constitutions, Missouri law recognizes the “castle doctrine.” This allows residents to use force against intruders, including deadly force, based on self-defense and the notion that your home is your castle.

Gardner contends that those who surrounded the McCloskeys were “peaceful, unarmed protesters,” and the couple were therefore interfering in the crowd’s First Amendment rights. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Gardner that the guns they carried may be a reason events didn’t turn violent.

“I really thought it was Storming the Bastille, that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it,” McCloskey told KSDK in an interview.

Even if the charges are dismissed, or the McCloskeys are pardoned after being convicted, again we have a public official responsible for upholding law and order wink at a mob while treating law-abiding citizens as criminals. If police cannot be counted on to deal with mobs, it’s even more vital that law-abiding Americans are free to exercise their Second Amendment right to protect themselves.

The Four Horsemen of America’s Apocalypse

It takes a lot to build a civilization, and though it is much easier to destroy a civilization, it takes a lot to do that, too.

But now we have four roots of evil that are guaranteed to do so.

No. 1: Victimhood.

The first is victimhood. The more people who regard themselves as victims — as individuals or as a group — the more likely they are to commit evil. People who think of themselves as victims feel that, having been victimized, they are no longer bound by normal moral conventions — especially the moral conventions of their alleged or real oppressors.

Everyone knows this is true. But few confront this truth. Every parent, for example, knows that the child who thinks of him or herself as a perpetual victim is the child most likely to cause and get into trouble. And criminologists report that nearly every murderer in prison thinks of himself as a victim.

On a societal scale, the same holds true — and being on such a larger scale, the chances of real evil ensuing are exponentially increased. One of the most obvious examples is Germany after World War I. Most Germans regarded themselves as victims — of the Treaty of Versailles; of a “stab in the back” German government; of the British, Americans and French; and, of course, of the Jews. This sense of victimhood was one of the most important factors in the popularity of the Nazis, who promised to restore German dignity.

That millions of black Americans regard themselves as victims — probably more so today than at any time in the past 50 years — can only lead to disaster for America generally and for blacks specifically. While victims generally feel free to lash out at others, they also go through life angry and unhappy.

No. 2: Demonization.

The second of the four ingredients of this civilization-destroying witches’ brew is demonization — demonizing a group as inherently evil.

That is being done now with regard to the white people of America. All — again, all — whites are declared racist. The only difference among them is that some admit it and some deny it. The notion that whites are inherently evil has long been associated with Louis Farrakhan. But it has apparently migrated out from his relatively small following to many blacks, even those who might consider Farrakhan a kook. Former President Barack Obama, hardly a Farrakhan follower, described America as having racism in its DNA. That is as close to inherently and irredeemably evil as it gets; you cannot change your DNA.

In that sense, not only are whites demonized, but America is, too. Unlike traditional liberals, the left regards America as a moral cesspool — not only racist but, according to The New York Times, founded to be so. The New York Times has created a history of America that declares its founding not in 1776 but in 1619, when the first black slaves arrived. The American Revolution was fought, according to this malign narrative, not merely for American independence but in order to preserve slavery, a practice the British would have interfered with. This “history” will now be taught in thousands of American schools.

The combination of victimhood and demonization alone is dangerous enough. But there are still two more horsemen galloping toward the looming apocalypse.

No. 3: A Cause To Believe In.

Most Americans throughout American history found great meaning in being American and in being religious — usually Christian. Since World War II, we have lived in a post-Christian, post-nationalist age. Until very recently, Americans would have found the expression “for God and country” deeply meaningful; that term today, on the left, is risible and execrable.

But people need something to believe in. The need for meaning is the greatest human need after the need for food. Leftism, with all its offshoots — feminism, environmentalism, Black Lives Matter, antifa — has filled that vacuum. In Europe, communism, fascism and Nazism filled the hole left by the demise of nationalism and Christianity. Here it is leftism and its offshoots.

No. 4: Lies.

The fourth and most important ingredient necessary for evil is lies. Lies are the root of evil. Ironically, slavery itself was made possible only because of the lie that the black was inferior to the white. Nazism was made possible thanks to the lie that Jews were not fully human. And communism was built on lies. Lenin, the father of Soviet Communism, named the Soviet communist newspaper “Truth” (“Pravda”) because truth was what the Communist Party said it was.

The New York Times, CNN and the rest of the mainstream “news” media are becoming our version of Pravda.

Objective truth doesn’t exist on the left. The universities have already declared “objective truth” as essentially an expression of “white privilege.” See what happens to a student who says in class, for example, that “men cannot give birth.”

The public self-debasement demanded of anyone who differs with the left — like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees just did when he said not standing for the national anthem desecrated the flag and those who have died for it — happens almost daily. The only difference between this and what dissidents underwent during Mao’s Cultural Revolution is that the self-debasement here is voluntary — thus far.

Last week, when this Jew saw a store in Santa Monica with a sign reading “black-owned business” so as to avoid being destroyed, it evoked chilling memories.

That’s how bad it is in America today.

Liberal politicians who order police to stand down are the same people who want to ban guns

Minneapolis and other major cities have finally re-opened, at least to looters and arsonists. For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. In New York City and Washington, D.C., on Monday night, police stood by as looters destroyed parts of those cities.

The same politicians who ordered police to stand down and released prison inmates are the same people who want to ban guns. These politicians prevent citizens from protecting themselves, at a time when police protection cannot be depended on.

For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. Sadly, so many of the victims of this violence have been blacks. Black store owners have lost their businesses. In these heavily black areas, blacks will lose their jobs. Black shoppers worry they “have nowhere to go now.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said it’d be “ridiculous” to break up demonstrators who violate crowd-size rules for the coronavirus. The president of the NAACP is asking police nationwide to stand down to preserve the peace.

In Minnesota, you face a $25,000 fine if you open your business during the current COVID-19 lockdown, but criminals effectively have immunity. The few who were arrested for violent acts in Minneapolis were quickly bailed out of jail with financial help from Joe Biden’s presidential campaign staffers.

As of Sunday morning, more than 255 businesses had been destroyed in the Twin Cities. The looting was extensive. Many large companies have reported that they are “temporarily or indefinitely closed.” Officers even abandoned their own police station, which was then set on fire by protesters.

Across the country, police have had orders to stand down.

“Tonight, I watched Seattle burn. Seattle is dying, by fire, looting, weakness of the political leadership,” wrote Seattle KVI radio talk-show host Kirby Wilbur. “We watched on TV as our law enforcement stood by while vandalism, looting, assaults, pure chaos reigned in the streets of our downtown business district.”

But the violence in Minneapolis would have been much worse if people hadn’t been able to defend themselves and their businesses with guns. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “African-American owners of GM Tobacco told me they were armed and ready to protect their business — and that they stand in solidarity with those who seek justice for [George] Floyd.” Visible from the front of the store was Minneapolis’ Third Police Precinct, which rioters set on fire.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. People may remember the Korean store owners who successfully used semi-automatic rifles to protect their businesses during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

One searches in vain for Democratic politicians who have reprimanded the rioters. On Saturday, after several nights of riots, Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat, egged on demonstrators by calling for a continuation of the “righteous protests” and necessary routing out of the “racism” that she said is endemic in Minnesota.

Twitter didn’t seem to mind incitement to violence by liberals such as Colin Kaepernick. He tweeted that “revolting is the only logical reaction. … We have the right to fight back!” Others on Twitter are calling for “a violent rebellion against an entire system.”

Democrats in Minnesota have been forceful advocates for gun control. Mr. Walz and Mrs. Smith have been strongly endorsed by Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control organization, Moms Demand Action. They have supported banning some semi-automatic guns based solely on superficial appearance. They also support limits on magazine sizes.

Especially in a riot, semi-automatic firearms that reload automatically are much more useful for self-defense than are single-shot weapons. Hopefully, the presence of a gun by itself will deter an attack, but if you have to open fire it will be a big help to not have to constantly manually reload.

My research shows that police are the single most important factor in deterring violent crime. But the riots have shown yet again that politicians frequently won’t let the police do their jobs when they are most needed.

The riots have shown several things that liberal politicians don’t seem to understand. The police themselves know that they normally arrive on the scene after the crime has occurred, and that having a gun is by far the safest course of action when you are confronted by a criminal. It is also the most vulnerable in our society — namely blacks who live in high-crime cities — who benefit the most from having the option to be able to defend themselves.

Since the M16 selective fire version is pretty much out of the reach of the average person these days, the AR-15 is what I call the current place holder of ‘The American Rifle’.
Yes, I’ve got other rifles, including an M16, but my consideration is that the current iteration of the standard issue rifle/carbine is what everyone should have one (1) example of in their inventory, and if you can’t figure out why, please look up the word – logistics – and think a bit.


Last Night We Saw Why Americans Own 16+ Million AR-15s

As televisions and computers showed a fourth day of protesters turned rioters Saturday, looting and destroying property, it was readily apparent why Americans own 16+ million AR-15s.

When Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke was still vying for the Democrat nomination–and pledging to come take away your AR-15–Breitbart News spoke with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) about what a Herculean task that would be. After all, the AR-15 is the most popular rifle platform in America.

NSSF shared their calculations with Breitbart, showing an estimated 16= million privately owned AR-15s in the U.S.

You cannot be blamed if you thought the number was closer to 250 or 300. Moreover, you cannot be blamed if you thought the 300 AR-15 owners were toothless, old, white, racists living on some isolated, off-the-grid piece of property deep in the heart of the South.

But as it turns out, AR-15s are owned by black people and white people, and by all skin colors in between. And there are WAY MORE than a couple hundred in circulation.

On August 31, 2018, Breitbart News reported more than nine million AR-15s were manufactured for sale in the U.S. under Barack Obama alone.

And on May 30, 2020–at the height of the Minneapolis rioting–Breitbart News reported on black business owners standing guard with AR-15s outside their properties.

And AR-15s are not just for men. On November 4, 2019, Breitbart News reported on a pregnant Florida woman who used an AR-15 to kill an alleged home intruder while her husband was under attack.

So when Joe Biden and other Democrats demonize AR-15s as “assault weapons” and campaign on taking them from the American people or at least ending their sales, remember the feelings you have right now; the feelings of wanting a tool you can keep in your house to protect your family in times of civil violence and unrest. And also remember those black business owners and that pregnant Florida woman, who saved her husband’s life.

Again, there are over 16 million privately-owned AR-15s in this country and after last night–after watching the wanton destruction and violence in city after city–perhaps you better understand why Americans own them.

Dierenbach: Is it time for a new approach to coronavirus?

In New York City, an antibody survey found that 21% of the city’s population had been infected with the coronavirus. This indicates that over one and a half million of New York City’s 7.2 million residents under the age of 65 had been infected. Furthermore, approximately 78% of them had no underlying medical condition that puts them at risk from coronavirus. Around the time of the antibody survey, New York City had recorded only 58 deaths of people under 65 with no underlying condition.

In the U.S., 79% of coronavirus deaths are people 65 and older. In the 23 states releasing long-term care facilities data, 27% of deaths have occurred in such places. The Washington Post reports the share of fatalities in nursing homes may be 50%. In Colorado, the share is 50%.

Yet our reaction isn’t to protect the elderly and those with underlying conditions. No, instead we decide to force over 214 million people under 65 with no underlying condition who are under virtually no threat from coronavirus to restrict their activities, socially distance from each other, and go into lockdown.

Instead of targeting the vulnerable population for assistance and infection avoidance, we shut down our economy. Many of the vulnerable are elderly and out of the workforce, yet we target the workforce and push 33 million people out of their jobs. We destroy countless small businesses, risk food shortages due to the supply disruption, drive oil prices so low that it could devastate thousands of Coloradans and cause political instability and international conflicts to rise, scare people who need medical attention away from emergency room visits, and cause domestic violence to rise.

What we’re doing is unsustainable.

Protests against the lockdowns are erupting across the country. Lockdown supporters call the protesters self-centered murderers who only care about getting haircuts or going to bars. Arbitrary orders create confusion and social unrest. In Michigan, you couldn’t sell seeds, while in Colorado, you can have a gathering of 10 people, but they aren’t allowed to play a game of basketball. The mayor of Los Angeles has threatened longer lockdowns as punishment for disobedience.

In the beginning, the logic behind locking down was sound. Coronavirus is a highly transmissible disease with a significant number of carriers who are asymptomatic and contagious at the same time. The experts said if the virus remained unchecked, it would produce a surge of victims that would overwhelm our healthcare system and result in excess deaths due to lack of care for both coronavirus sufferers and others needing medical attention. News from China and Italy confirmed this possibility.

But “flatten the curve” morphed into “hide until solution;” the solution being a possible vaccine or effective treatment at some undeterminable point in the future. States that never saw a surge went into lockdown and remain there today. New York City, which is well past their peak medical usage, remains on lockdown. Many states that are ostensibly opening up are doing so at an extremely slow pace. Colorado, which is supposedly opening up (but not really), is attempting to keep the coronavirus cases at a level that is so low, herd immunity might not be reached for years.

To combat the virus, every state is pulling the social distancing lever trying to figure out what level of distancing can slow the spread of coronavirus such that they are able to reach their goal of managed herd immunity, or slowing the spread while waiting for a medical solution. Some states pull hard and lockdown tight, while other states try to move forward with a lighter touch. But even the lighter touch states are acting in a way that kills jobs and restricts freedom to an unsustainable degree. For example, Texas has announced it is opening up again, but mandates restaurants only operate at 25% capacity.

A new approach is needed.

This difference in effects of coronavirus between people under 65 with no underlying conditions and those with underlying conditions and/or over 65 should be the primary driver of policy.

Extrapolating the New York City data, if the 214 million plus healthy U.S. citizens under 65 all contracted coronavirus, they would suffer around 10,000 deaths. Two thirds of our population would have immunity and we would be well on our way to herd immunity. By contrast, if 214 million randomly selected Americans were infected at New York State’s estimated infection fatality rate of 0.5%, over 1,000,000 people would die. The actual rate is likely closer to 0.36%, but even at that rate, there could be 770,000 fatalities.

This begs the question: What if the people who won’t die from coronavirus abandon social distancing? And totally abandon it: no masks, have social get-togethers, attend basketball games, start shaking hands again, etc. Is that possible and what would it look like?

The program would look like this: if you are not elderly or vulnerable, you would not practice social distancing among the non-vulnerable. If you get the disease, you get over it and move on.

If you are vulnerable, for at least the next several weeks as we push toward herd immunity, when in public wear a mask, self-quarantine as much as possible, and practice social distancing. A mask would be the sign to everybody that you wish to avoid the disease. The non-vulnerable population would respect your wishes and practice social distancing in your presence. At work, non-vulnerable employees could wear masks when they know they will be close to vulnerable co-workers. In parks and other public situations, the unmasked could be asked to respect those with masks and maintain their distance. Subways or buses could have special cars or sections where people with masks could maintain safe distances.

What this plan would do is speed up the process of achieving herd immunity while protecting the vulnerable to a degree comparable to what we are doing now. We have learned how to do social distancing over the past several weeks; we all understand the methods and reasoning. We can now take that skill and apply it in a targeted fashion to protect the vulnerable, potentially lowering fatalities significantly, perhaps by hundreds of thousands. Instead of waiting a year or more to achieve herd immunity, we could do so in weeks or months.

A first reaction may be that “targeted” social distancing is not social distancing at all since it is not being performed by everybody in society and therefore will not be as effective at protecting the vulnerable. However, that isn’t accurate: targeted social distancing still requires everybody, vulnerable and non-vulnerable, to participate.

Shops and other businesses could have special hours where extreme care would be taken to observe social distancing rules and provide an environment that is as clean as possible. For example, a grocery store could have early morning shopping where carts and commonly touched surfaces are vigorously disinfected and social distancing and mask wearing is strictly enforced, but could operate normally for the remainder of the day. Having the special time in the morning would allow for disinfection, both through active efforts and through the passage of time since the previous day’s crowds.

If the lockdowns ended for most of the population, government assistance could be targeted at the at-risk individuals. For example, a teacher with hypertension who wishes to isolate could be allowed to work from home teaching vulnerable students that are also staying at home. An at-risk store clerk could be given unemployment benefits.  Such targeted assistance would be far less costly and more efficient than the current policy of mass disbursements.

Why delay the inevitable?

Most all of us are going to get coronavirus eventually, so why destroy our economy to delay the inevitable when the delay itself means higher risk for the vulnerable people? The risk for healthy people is miniscule and almost entirely non-existent for children. Healthy people are hiding from a phantom threat at the real cost of prolonging the very real threat to the vulnerable. Every day that goes by with coronavirus prevalent in our society is another day it has an opportunity to rip through a nursing home.

Finally, this isn’t ignoring the danger to others or claiming coronavirus is a hoax. The virus is absolutely deadly to the elderly and those with underlying conditions. This also is not trading lives for jobs. By accelerating the attainment of herd immunity via healthy, younger people, this path saves lives and jobs. It allows the economy to start up again and results in less loss of life than any other approach out there.

This is the healthy acting together and taking on risk to protect the most vulnerable among us in the most efficient and effective way possible. I understand doing nothing to protect yourself from a known virus is frightening, but if you are not part of the vulnerable population, the odds of being killed by coronavirus are incredibly low. This is the best possible solution to a horrific problem. We the healthy should accept the slight risk associated with a possible coronavirus infection, both to protect the vulnerable like our parents and to preserve our quality of life for our children.

Governor Polis relies on the COVID-19 Modeling Group to provide to him estimates of outcomes for various responses to the pandemic. The Group is comprised of public health experts, mathematicians and others. So far, it appears if they have presented various options where everyone in Colorado practices the same level of social distancing. The Group should model a bifurcated social distancing regimen where the vulnerable self-quarantine and remain in lockdown, the non-vulnerable practice social distancing when in the presence of the vulnerable, and the non-vulnerable abandon social distancing among themselves.

As described above, this plan could potentially reduce overall fatalities and economic hardships so please urge the Group and the Governor to at least explore the possibility.

The Duration: Things of Which I Am Mightily Tired

Snippy self-satisfied pundits who tweet out news stories with prissy little swipes referencing something said three weeks ago by someone they hold in superior contempt. Just post the gad-dang story without preening your feathers.

Masks.

People who don’t wear masks.

People who wear masks walking the dog, making you feel stupid for not wearing a mask, but c’mon, man

People who were tweeting three weeks ago about how this was basically Ebola-TB-HIV-Norovirus that would turn every hospital into a stinking morgue because we had six, maybe seven ventilators in the country, and are still striking the same apocalyptic tone on a day when this happens:

The inexplicable disappearance of my favorite TP brand. It just ceased to exist. Same with Purell. Did they reset the Matrix and someone forgot to load certain brands?

Plastic shields at store checkouts. We all wonder if those are up for keeps now.

Busybody news stories about the things we shouldn’t be doing, as if we should all be riding stationary bikes for an hour every day while watching self-improvement documentaries about “self-care strategies.”

Morose news stories about how we shouldn’t feel positive, because everything sucks, which would be more compelling if the author hadn’t been preaching the gospel of Miserabilism before this struck.

Broad assertion of powers over everyday life in the name of Science, because we all know Isaac Newton was one of the authors of the Constitution and slipped the “Trust the Models” clause in somewhere in invisible ink, and it has absolute authority.

Anything having to do with Joe Biden, which seems like a review of a play that has been running on the East End since 1967.

TV shows full of people living ordinary lives as we knew them, because they seem like documentaries of Jazz-Age Flappers doing the Charleston a week before the crash of ’29.

And so forth. In short:

Nor from what I’ve seen.


Will COVID-19 kill the Constitution

Jacob Sullum
The great American jurist St. George Tucker, writing at the beginning of the 19th century, called the right to armed self-defense “the true palladium of liberty” and “the first law of nature.” But California Gov. Gavin Newsom thinks that right, guaranteed by the Second Amendment, is optional.

After Newsom ordered “nonessential” businesses to close in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, he let local sheriffs decide whether that category included gun dealers. Newsom’s decision, which allowed Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to unilaterally ban the sale of firearms and ammunition, illustrates how readily politicians ignore constitutional rights in the very circumstances where they matter most.

Villanueva’s ban, which several gun rights groups challenged in a federal lawsuit last Friday, was inconsistent with recent guidance from the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Second Amendment. In an advisory published on Saturday, the department added firearm retailers to its definition of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce,” which Newsom explicitly exempted from his order.

On Monday, Villanueva, who describes himself as “a supporter of the Second Amendment” but also suggests that keeping guns for self-protection is irresponsible, rescinded his ban, citing the new federal guidelines. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, whose business closure order initially covered gun stores, likewise recognized them as “essential” after seeing the federal advisory.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also deigned to allow firearm sales, but only after three members of the state Supreme Court said that “it is incumbent upon the Governor to make some manner of allowance for our citizens to continue to exercise this constitutional right.” Notably, that rebuke came in a dissent from a March 22 decision summarily denying a challenge to Wolf’s violation of the Second Amendment.

The reversals by Murphy and Wolf, who are now allowing firearm sales by appointment and in compliance with social distancing rules, show that shutting down gun stores was never necessary to curtail transmission of COVID-19. But their reluctance to respect the Second Amendment and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s unwillingness to intervene do not bode well for civil liberties at a time when many people seem to think that fighting the pandemic trumps all other concerns.

To “save the nation” from COVID-19, Cornell law professor Michael Dorf argued two weeks ago, Congress should suspend the writ of habeas corpus, an ancient common-law right that allows people detained by the government to demand a justification. Yet the Constitution says that “the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Although neither of those circumstances applies, Dorf suggested that the spread of the COVID-19 virus from other countries to the United States could be construed as an invasion. While “no one knows” whether the courts would accept that interpretation, since “Congress has only ever suspended habeas in wartime,” Dorf said, “there is reason to think that the courts would dismiss a habeas case following nearly any congressional suspension.”

In a recent survey of 3,000 Americans, the University of Chicago’s Adam Chilton and three other law professors found bipartisan agreement that “now is the time to violate the Constitution,” as they put it. The survey asked whether the respondents would support various constitutionally dubious policy responses to the epidemic.

Sizable majorities of both Democrats and Republicans favored confining people to their homes, detaining sick people in government facilities, banning U.S. citizens from entering the country, government takeovers of businesses, conscription of health care workers, suspension of religious services and even criminalizing the spread of “misinformation” about the virus. “Even when we explicitly told half of our sample that the policies may violate the Constitution,” Chilton et al. report, “the majority supported all eight of them,” including the speech restrictions.

“After the threat has subsided,” the law professors conclude, “Americans must recognize any constitutional violations for what they were, lest they become the new normal.” By then, it may be too late.

Iowa State Senator Celsi is a demoncrap. Need I explain more?


Research on firearms contradicts senator; guns used in defense are a deterrent

State Sen. Claire Celsi’s anti-gun column, published in the Register’s community editions on March 17, is filled with distortion.

Her biggest whopper is that “the rate of suicides in the United States is 10 times higher than any other country on Earth.” In fact, the United States annual suicide rate typically ranks in the 30s.

She claims that the proposition that good guys with guns stop crime is a fantasy. In fact, successful defensive use of guns is more common than their use in crime. The National Academies of Science found: “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence …. Almost all national survey estimates … of annual uses range from about 500,000 to more than 3 million …in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008. … Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used” by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

Celsi misleads by lumping together all firearms deaths, as if accidents, homicides and suicides were the same thing, to write that “rates of death from firearms among ages 14 to 17 are now 22.5% higher than motor vehicle-related death rates.”

In fact, an apples-to-apples comparison shows that the 2018 accidental death rate from firearms among ages 14 to 17 is 0.23 per 100,000, while the accidental death rate for motor vehicles for that group is 6.48 per 100,000. The rate of death for firearms accidents among ages 14 to 17 is actually 96% lower than motor vehicle-related accidental deaths rates.

The unintentional firearms fatality rate, now 0.15 per 100,000, has declined over 94% since records began to be kept in 1903. Fatal gun accidents rank as one of the lowest causes of injury.

While the number of privately owned guns increased 92%, from 185 million guns in 1993 to 357 million in 2013, the firearms homicide rate decreased by 49%. Firearms homicides increased from 2015 to 2017, but decreased in 2018, a trend expected to continue for 2019.

There is an increase in suicides, but the problem is far more complex than the presence of firearms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that, while the number of suicides increased from 1999 to 2014, the percentage of suicides committed with firearms decreased during the same period. Assuming that each of the 24,432 firearm suicides in 2018 involved one firearm per suicide, those 24,332 guns represented less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of the 357 million firearms in America.

As for Celsi’s proposition that “good laws will keep us safer,”  economist John Lott found “stricter gun laws are associated with more total deaths from homicides and suicides.”

All the yammering about calling this bug the Chinese Virus, Wuhan Flu & Kung Flu are nothing but ‘we’re against anything Trump’ yammering of those who still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Hillary lost.


This virus should be forever linked to the regime that facilitated its spread

Want to know why the U.S. economy is in free fall? Why restaurants and bars are closing, putting millions out of work, and why the airline industry is facing possible bankruptcy? Why schools across the nation are shutting down, leaving students to fall behind and parents without safe places to send their children everyday? Why the stock market is plummeting, wiping out the retirement and college savings of millions of Americans? Why the elderly are isolated in nursing homes and tens of millions who don’t have the option of teleworking have no idea how they will pay their bills?

Answer: Because China is a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.

More coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

We are in the midst of a pandemic lockdown today because the Chinese Communist regime cared more about suppressing information than suppressing a virus. Doctors in Wuhan knew in December that the coronavirus was capable of human-to-human transmission because medical workers were getting sick. But as late as Jan. 15, the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared on state television that “the risk of human-to-human transmission is low.” On Jan. 18, weeks after President Xi Jinping had taken charge of the response, authorities allowed a Lunar New Year banquet to go forward in Wuhan where tens of thousands of families shared food — and then let millions travel out of Wuhan, allowing the disease to spread across the world. It was not until Jan. 23 that the Chinese government enacted a quarantine in Wuhan.

If the regime had taken action as soon as human-to-human transmission was detected, it might have contained the virus and prevented a global pandemic. Instead, Chinese officials punished doctors for trying to warn the public and suppressed information that might have saved lives. According to the Times of London, Chinese doctors who had identified the pathogen in early December received a gag order from China’s National Health Commission with instructions to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news.

This is what totalitarian regimes do. First, they lie to themselves, and then, they lie to the world. The system creates such fear that people are terrified to report bad news up the chain, causing “authoritarian blindness.” Then, when those at the top finally discover the truth, they try to cover it up — because leaders who abuse their people are less concerned with saving lives than making sure the world does not discover the deadly inefficiency of their system.

The ongoing pandemic should serve as a reminder of the lesson that President George W. Bush tried to teach us after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: What happens thousands of miles away in a foreign land can affect us here at home. Both viruses and virulent ideologies fester in the fever swamps of totalitarianism and then emerge to kill us in our cities and our streets. Two decades ago, it was a terrorist attack; today, it is a once-in-a-generation pathogen. But in both cases, the lack of freedom in a distant land created conditions that allowed an unprecedented threat to grow, bringing death and destruction to our country.

What Bush called the “freedom agenda” is out of vogue today. But we can now see that caring about freedom is putting America first, because how China treats its people affects the health and security of the American people. The same totalitarian system that lied about putting 1 million Uighurs in concentration camps lied about the outbreak of this virus, creating a global pandemic. If China were an open and transparent society, with an accountable government, Americans might not be on lockdown today.

The Opinions section is looking for stories of how the coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life. Write to us.

What can we do about it? We obviously can’t turn China into a democracy. But we can hold China accountable for its behavior and put a price on its lies and oppression. We can reaffirm that the advance of freedom, transparency and rule of law are central objectives of U.S. foreign policy, because the lives and safety of our citizens depend on it. And we can lay the blame for this crisis where it belongs: at the feet of the Chinese Communist Party. Once the crisis has passed, President Trump should calculate the damage and demand that Beijing pay for the death and destruction it unleashed on the United States and the world.

Some have suggested that calling this pathogen the “Wuhan virus” — or as President Trump recently called it, the “Chinese virus” — is racist. That is absurd. MERS is called the “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome” because that is where it originated. Moreover, the Chinese regime continues to lie, spreading a conspiracy theory that the source of the virus is really the U.S. Army.

It is important this virus be forever linked to the brutal regime that facilitated its spread. The virus grew in the cesspool of Chinese Communist tyranny. It’s time to drain the swamp.

Too Much Freedom & My Ability to Say, “NO,” & Instantly Enforce It

How do I explain it?

Contrary to leftist dogma, I don’t carry a concealed pistol in public because I secretly harbor some surreptitious desire to shoot criminals, any more than I keep a fire extinguisher in my home and vehicle because I harbor some consuming desire to put out fires.

I consider these practices, both involving sensible emergency/safety equipment, to represent reasonable and prudent precautions. Ones we all sincerely hope never become necessary.

Anyone even vaguely familiar with what we all laughingly call our “Justice System” knows and understands the legal, financial, and emotional trauma that invariably attends any shooting incident, regardless of participants, circumstances, nor outcome. It is the last thing any rational person, including me, ever wants to become involved in!

Yet, I carry a concealed pistol, so that I can place absolute limits on what people can do to me and those in my charge.

So that I can say “No,” and have that single syllable represent more than just platitudinous rhetoric, more than just a “feel-good” cliche.

As a sovereign American Citizen, I can say, “No,” and be in a position to personally, instantly enforce it, with lethal finality, upon my own summary command and judgment.

Few other civilizations trust citizens with such personal authority.

That is because, in most nations, even most Western nations, the term “citizen” is little more than a cynical euphemism! Most “citizens,” even in the West, are actually “subjects.” Subjects who have no rights, and who may enjoy only those precious few “privileges” casually bestowed upon them by the ruling elite, privileges that can be granted, or withdrawn, at a whim.

Not surprisingly, such “subjects” are routinely, arbitrarily crushed to earth and trampled upon by criminals, criminals from both the public and private sectors.

Not here in the United States!

In this Republic, a “Bill of Privileges” is found nowhere in our Constitution.

Here, we sovereign citizens have rights, and our rights are not benightedly dribbled-out to us by arrogant politicians. We are endowed with them by our Creator! Our Founding Documents say so, in unmistakable terms.

So here, self-defense is the right of every citizen. And, not just with fences, locks, alarms, warning signs, and clever rhetoric.

Our personal right of self-defense extends to lethal force.

This right has teeth, and without it, the rest are illusory.

Accordingly, this right must ever be protected from sleazy neo-Marxists who, occasionally peering-out from behind their ecumenical cadre of heavily-armed bodyguards, profess to worry about us mere citizens having “too much freedom!”

Bloomberg Tries To Control Others Because He Can’t Control Himself

He’s an arrogant snob, but we already knew that.

There used to be a social stigma against believing and behaving as if one is entitled to tell perfect strangers how to speak, what to do, or how to live.

Sadly, that stigma is all but gone today. More people than ever are willing to use the force of government to compel their fellow citizens to comply with their own changing set of mandates.

I am fascinated by the causes that have compelled so many Americans to lose perspective on this fundamental principle of freedom.

Take Michael Bloomberg, please! What drives this man with the freedom to enjoy his wealth in 65 billion different ways, to spend his time trying to curtail the freedoms and choices of others, even down to the size soda they drink and the amount of salt they ought to be allowed to sprinkle on their spinach?

Coloradans know all too well that the former New York Mayor and Democratic Presidential Candidate spent boatloads of cash pushing state legislators to clamp down on their God-given right to defend themselves and their families. He has pushed freedom-sucking and blatantly biased “Red Flag” bills in numerous other states around the country.

Mayor Busybody simply can’t stop telling others what to do. It seems to be an obsession with him—or maybe, a compulsion too. I gained insight into this when I returned to a New York Times article from 2009 that described Bloomberg’s eating habits.

“He dumps salt on almost everything, even saltine crackers. He devours burnt bacon and peanut butter sandwiches. He has a weakness for hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and fried chicken, washing them down with a glass of merlot. And his snack of choice? Cheez-Its.”

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is about control. Controlling one’s out-of-control thoughts, feelings and behavior by attempting to control his external environment. Consciously or unconsciously, those afflicted do this in vain, to the point where they feel unable to control the compulsion as well (as in excessive hand-washing).

Most sufferers aren’t dangerous unless they have 65 billion dollars and a God-complex.

The Times went on to report this delicious insight:

“…he (Bloomberg) is known to grab food off the plates of aides and, occasionally, even strangers. (“Delicious,” he declared recently, after swiping a piece of fried calamari from an unsuspecting diner in Staten Island.)”

Behavior like this exhibits a staggering and extreme lack of boundaries. The Times seems to only snicker at this, but it’s painfully clear that Bloomberg has great difficulty respecting the basic boundaries of civil society. No wonder it’s so easy for him to help himself to your freedoms and your choices, when he can’t stop helping himself to your calamari.

As a rule of thumb, the most flawed and arrogant people are most likely to believe they know what’s best for everyone else and should be allowed to trample on our freedoms. Those who are secure and comfortable in their own skin do not have a need to control others. They have the basic self-confidence to tolerate and even enjoy the uncertainty of others’ choices and behavior. They reserve more extreme action for times in which there has been the actual commission of a crime.

These cultural underpinnings of freedom have been essential to what is America. Socialists have been systematically unraveling these norms in a big way. They have not only been more open about their ideology, they have been working feverishly to put it into practice and prepare more Americans to accept it.

How can we put an end to the presumptuousness of these troubled, would-be tyrants? First, we can return the stigma attached to telling other adults what to do and how to live.
 We can once again elevate the notion that the right to think one’s own thoughts, make one’s own choices, and live one’s own life is sacrosanct, regardless of how flawed, unpopular or even offensive those choices might be.

The imperative of Liberty requires that the individual take responsibility for his own successes and failures so he can learn from his mistakes. In protecting others’ freedoms, he protects his own. We used to know this but it has been unlearned.

As for Michael Bloomberg, he has begun to help our side more than he could have imagined. His off-the-scale ignorance and arrogance was hilariously exposed in his first Democrat primary debate.

If we play our cards right, Bloomberg could help us take a “Big Gulp” toward returning a sensible social stigma of proclaiming oneself as lord and master over the rest of us.

It’s a reasonable strategy, and it shouldn’t cost 65 billion dollars.