Sunday assorted links


#2. Pretty classic straw man. Claim liberals want to take away everyone's guns and then talk about how hard it will be.

The 'claim' makes perfect sense. Pols like Obama exploit these ugly incidents to clamor for MOAR gun control, even though the perpetrators in question had no obtrusive features that would have prevented them from purchasing a pistol. Nancy Lanza owned four guns, all of them purchased and stored in compliance with Connecticut law. You're either talking about mass confiscation and a default state which prohibits private ownership going forward or you're all just gassing away.

So, the conservatives, Republicans, NRA are all stating clearly that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop the killings of multiple people in the USA for any reason?

As a liberal, I will state clearly that the political logic of the US is that everyone has the liberty right to kill as many people as you can before the government of We the People kill you with guns or gets We the People to lock you up and possibly eventually kill you. And the NRA is committed to ensuring every American can arm themselves to commit mass murder to exercise their liberty right to kill.

What gets interesting is the many people who think 99.999% innocent segments of Americans should be locked up for life to stop at best one or two of the hundreds of mass murders that are a unrestricted liberty right of everyone outside those segments.

So, the conservatives, Republicans, NRA are all stating clearly that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop the killings of multiple people in the USA for any reason?

We have very effective law enforcement when we want to spend the money and make the effort. Doesn't do much to deter someone like Adam Lanza or Syed Rizwan Farouk, because they do not care whether or not they live or die.

Not rocket science.

Everyone has the liberty to leave their homes, and if that right were taken away, then mass murders would surely go down. Same "political logic".

mulp December 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm

So, the conservatives, Republicans, NRA are all stating clearly that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to stop the killings of multiple people in the USA for any reason?

Paul Ryan is calling for a clean bill that would not solve all problems, but would at least do something about the mentally ill. This seems to be an obvious example of "low hanging fruit". We should make it harder to dump the mentally ill on the streets.

Naturally the Democrats are refusing to support it without an assault rifle ban or one of their other obsessions.

We should make it harder to dump the mentally ill on the streets.

That's a project for the state legislatures, not Congress. That aside, even the advocacy organizations will admit that only a single-digit share of the schizophrenics in this country are vagrants.

I'm highly skeptical that there is anything resembling a consensus among Republicans that more needs to do be done about the mentally ill.

If Paul Ryan wants to pass a bill out of the House on this or any subject, he does not need the support of a single Democrat to do so.

I'm not sure how the Lanza case is not an argument for stricter laws. Adam Lanza shot his mother and then used her guns, apparently stored in compliance with the law, to shoot up an elementary school. Adam was an obvious candidate for a school shooter, checking almost all of the mental health and demographic boxes of previous culprits. The gun storage laws were clearly trivially overcome in his case. Perhaps gun safes need to work on a fingerprint/key code basis, or maybe we need stricter rules on where the keys are allowed to be stored or on the strength of the gun safe. Maybe people who live with mass shooting risks (mostly talking about mental health here) need to store their guns offsite. Nancy Lanza stored her guns according to law, but the law clearly did not work, and there are obvious, reasonable (to me) ways to tighten the law on this issue without impacting responsible gunowners whose storage is already secure. One way to enforce is mandatory inspections; perhaps a more palatable enforcement is introducing criminal liability for school shootings and toddler playdate deaths (also, encouraging the use of already-existing civil liability), as the current incentives for proper storage are clearly not working.

"One way to enforce is mandatory inspections;"

That seems like an enormous privacy violation. I could see maybe a one time initial permit check, but not any kind of ongoing inspection. And I'm not sure even a one time initial check would actually pass Constitutional muster.

Hence the semi-colon and alternative incentive design... Even enacting the law would go a long way from an education standpoint.

"That fury, though, needs a little more cool reasoning behind it." "... liberals need to count the cost."

As conservatives have done for the past 15 years.

Douthat misses another stunning point.

Passable guns are realtively easy to make, there are already widely available materials on how, and for purposes of simple intimidation and murder, a good-enough weapon can be made from things found at the hardware store. The media rages on about 14 people murdered in one day, but talks very little about the 1300 plus murdered in Chicago this year. Apparently murders only matter when they happen in clumps.

Disarming all the law-abiding/rules-following citizens so the less tow-the-line part the population can prey on them is not a winning strategy.

"Apparently murders only matter when they happen in clumps"

...or happen to nice white people

Bullshit. Conservatives are constantly wanting to talk about the tragedy of blacks being killed by blacks - the biggest objective source of violent black male death - but are called racist for drawing attention to it, as opposed to cop-on-black crimes.

This is so wrong, look at the SanBernardino deaths, that was mostly latinos, at least one black, etc. Not at all all white

"1300 plus murdered in Chicago this yea"

uh, off by a factor of almost 3

I'm always amused by people who accuse someone else of committing a fallacy and then support their accusation with the very same fallacy.

From the article: "Does that make “getting to Australia” a compelling long-term goal for liberalism? Maybe, but liberals need to count the cost. "

That's hardly a claim that "liberals want to take away everyone’s guns".

Indeed, Douthat doesn't make a straw man argument, but Pasha does.

Douthat is very generous and fair to the opposing side in this piece. This is what civil debate looks like. Your take on it is absurd.

The normally logical Douthat offers no logic whatsoever.

No, he just divines the logic of what cretins like Obama really want.

President of the U.S. > unemployed loser living in upstate shithole and filling his days trolling blogs

The argument seems logical to me. Can you explain how it is not logical? Or do you just disagree with the conclusion?

Gallup says we are currently at 55% favoring more strict gun controls, 33% keep as is, and 11% for more freedom.

I think Douthat implicitly recognizes that, but tries to drag our eye from the majority, reframing it. If the majority want innovation at the margin, I say why not? Surely state by state data show which incremental changes work and which do not. And surely new, especially low impact, ideas can be tried.

What does majority opinion have to do with his argument? He is arguing that there will be costs to effective gun control. Whether this cost is put on a majority or minority of the populace is irrelevant.

40% of citizens own guns BTW.

Exactly, anon. What does his argument really do to address majority opinion?

I saw an attempt to say small changes don't work, but that is a bit too absolute for my tastes. Of the universe of possibilities, none work?

Have the universe of possibilities been tried?

Then persuade Americans to vote for legislators who will try things. The majority doesn't vote on this issue, or so it seems. And the 40% who are very much against stricter gun control REALLY care about that. Why don't we have stricter gun control now if Americans have been so for it for such a long time?

And please don't say the NRA...if people really want gun control, they would get it.

"Do you have a source for that 40% number?"

Why Gochujang, the very Gallup historical polling data you cited. Put your hand on your mouse, turn the wheel in the middle, and scroll down.

No, and you interestingly do something I was just reading about yesterday, in Tetlock's Superforcasting.

You substitute a hard question (how many "are very much against stricter gun control [and] REALLY care about that?") for an easy one (how many own guns?).

As my moderate owners link shows, the two questions are not substitutable.

Why did you assume I was referring to "how many people own guns"? I was referencing the 33% who think gun laws are fine now and the 11% who think they should be less strict.

My claim that those "40% really care about NOT strengthening gun control laws" is supported by the failure of the pro-gun control lobby to make legislative gains.

Do you have reading comprehension issues?

You have not responded to any of the substance of any of these posts I have written. For example:

I write "What does majority opinion have to do with his argument? He is arguing that there will be costs to effective gun control. Whether this cost is put on a majority or minority of the populace is irrelevant"

And you write: "Exactly, anon. What does his argument really do to address majority opinion?"

Let me break that down for you: I say majority opinion is irrelevant to Douthat's argument because he is just saying there will be costs. You then respond back that he doesn't consider majority opinion. What the hell does that have to do with what I wrote?

Are you autistic?

Sorry, that substitution doesn't work either. It is even dishonest.

To find out how many no-change types are "very much against stricter gun control REALLY care about that," you would have to ask them.

You can't just make it up. Maybe some would admit to being merely ambivalent. We don't know. All we can do is take them at the question asked. 33% of those polled prefer things as they are.

I prefer honest reference to available data.

more strict gun controls

Get down to brass tacks and see how much of that 55% you have left.

Particularly since the number was 47% in the poll from last year, and the number has been trending downward since the early 1990's. Which would be logical, since overall gun crime has been trending downward.

It's pretty clear that there isn't sufficient political desire to drastically change the nations gun laws. I think this tends to drive the Left to distraction.

More control has had a majority for 19 of the last 26 years. Or 73% percent of that time.

Very weird to choose one year in the past, and then complain about "the Left."

"More control" means just what in practice?

"Very weird to choose one year in the past, and then complain about “the Left.” "

I pointed out that the number was less than 50% last year. It was also, less than 50% in 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009 & 2008. If the Left thinks they can pass a Constitutional Amendment, then go for it. But there hasn't been a solid 60% in favor of more gun control in 15 years. Otherwise, you are just whining.

#1. Utopia of Rules book.
People like/love rules/bureaucracy since it allows them to avoid personal responsibility.

The gun control thing always reaches a crescendo after a mass killing. It seems like it is louder because there's been 3 in a short period. I wouldn't worry about it.

The thing is, more and more weapons are sold to fewer people. The average gun owner now owns about 8 weapons. So the fact that the SB couple had 4 is not a big deal. Just look at that NV legislator and her family on the Xmas card.

Just give it a couple weeks it will due down.

Gallup says "more control" has been the majority position for most of the last 25 years.

"The gun control thing always reaches a crescendo after a mass killing. It seems like it is louder because there’s been 3 in a short period."

I think it seems louder for political reasons:

1. We are approaching the elections so Hillary is trying to rally the Dem base for money and support by speaking out in favor of more gun control.
2. If the California shooting is framed as an ISIS terrorist attack, the Prez looks worse than if the shooting is framed as a gun control issue. Thus, Obama speaks loudly on guns, and Hillary is riding in part on Obama's record so she has the same incentive.

"If the California shooting is framed as an ISIS terrorist attack, the Prez looks worse than if the shooting is framed as a gun control issue."

Exactly. The same framing game as with the Benghazi attack. The NYT was desperate not to frame this as a terrorism issue. First, it was a workplace dispute and then it was a combination workplace/terrorism issue. When that didn't fly, it became a gun issue. And, tonight's speech will be more about guns than terrorism. In contrast, in France after the Paris attacks, the discussion wasn't about gun control, even though they used guns.


I don't recall gun control being the takeaway from Dylan Roof's crime. Media discussion was overwhelmingly about ideology.

President Obama's prime time damage control speech is scheduled for tonight Sunday 12/6/15. I will be interested to see how much the speech focuses on terrorism and how much it focuses on gun control.

I can't imagine the White House could not focus on terrorism in a case like that. They're not that tone deaf.

"They’re not that tone deaf." No, more like make belief land.

Note that there is a big difference in the left and right arguments.

The left argument is minor limits to the liberty of everyone.

The right argument is major loss of liberty to minorities.

And given the second amendment never mentions guns, I find it odd that the right has no problem with severe restrictions on explosives which are "dual use" as arms and purely constructive tools of capitalism.

Here in New Hampshire, we recently had a conclusion of sorts to the Brown armed anti-government stand in the sale of their real estate which was done with the warning that the Federal government can not be sure that all the landmines and other booby traps have been found and removed by Federal bomb disposal units. The Browns were anti-government, were armed, had landmines, pipe bombs, and lots of supporters, and they or backers threatened government official with death, and at a point or two, could have ended in a gun fight with a lot of deaths. But they were not charged with terrorism, investigated for terrorism, or called terrorists.

But then, they're part of the Tea Party movement before the Tea Party was invented.

"The left argument is minor limits to the liberty of everyone."

FTA: "In areas where gun ownership is high but crime rates low, like Bernie Sanders’ Vermont, authorities would mostly turn a blind eye to illegal guns, while poor and minority communities bore the brunt of raids and fines and jail terms."

Unforeseen restrictions to liberty are still restrictions to liberty.

The right argument is major loss of liberty to minorities.

People who commit crimes should be apprehended and punished. To the 'left', this is a 'major loss of liberty'.

2. Douthat directs his criticism at "liberals", but his real target is the Pope - Douthat is using "liberal" as a euphemism for the Pope. As the Pope has pointed out, the owners of guns didn't try to stop the Holocaust, the owners of guns perpetrated the Holocaust. The claim that widespread gun ownership will protect freedom is contrary to history and is ludicrous.

"the owners of guns perpetrated the Holocaust."

This encourages a right-wing view as well, seeing as what this is referring to is the big bad state. I think the right figures that "demilitarizing police" is more hopeless than preserving the 2nd Amendment, but both paths could in theory achieve some kind of parity between gov't and demos.

"the owners of guns didn’t try to stop the Holocaust, the owners of guns perpetrated the Holocaust. The claim that widespread gun ownership will protect freedom is contrary to history and is ludicrous."

That's seems to be an illogical statement. The Jews were pretty much unarmed (lacking arms) throughout Europe at that time. And for the most part, they meekly accepted their fate. Surely the lesson of history is that being disarmed leaves you no defenses to those who are armed. I suspect an astute observer of history could find some other examples.

Socialists with monopoly rights of gun possession perpetrated the Holocaust.

Great bumper sticker: Impose gun control, just like Hitler!

3 is a pretty good read, with an interesting factoid:

According to Stevenson’s Innocence Project, out of the hundreds of prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence after its introduction in the 1980s, one in four made a false confession.

Oh yes, due process in America has issues -- which can be and are being addressed.

If you're not seriously concerned, you're not paying attention.

Nice article, but it was a defense attorney type parade of horribles. Also the paper failed to cite the famous FBI "DNA fingerprint" standard, that has since been changed, that showed several inmates in Arizona with the same DNA fingerprint though they were of different races. Generally speaking the guys on trial are guilty of something. It's unfortunate however when a small minority get convicted over nothing.

Ray, are you referring to the book written by a law professor who has helped defense efforts, or the article written by a Federal judge?

Either way, the parades of horribles are parades of actual horrible events that could have been prevented. And both the professor/activist and the judge offer practical reforms.

From G*d's point of view, we're all sinners who have done something. From humans' point of view, running due process as best we can, Defendant X either committed Crime Y (as proven beyond a reasonable doubt), or he did not.

I'm sure you're right that many if not most criminal defendants have done something against the law*, but it's beside the point. Not least because if Defendant X committed Crimes A, B and C but not Crime Y, but he's convicted of Crime Y, Person Z who really committed Crime Y gets off scot-free.

[*] Lie detector tests back in the day tested people's honesty with questions like "Have you ever stolen anything?" -- figuring that anyone who answered "No" was being dishonest.

As you probably know, more than a few innocents were finally exonerated after the actual perpetrators confessed.

Can you tell me more about the DNA advances that you allude to?

That's interesting. You never know if story 3 was a strawman, but it's chilling to know 10 out of 12 jurors will convict a man for murder just on the strength of a confession (if indeed that was the only evidence, which somehow I hope to think it was not, just a good story told by the author).

It is interesting, but it does not follow that the rate of false confessions is very high overall. It means that in the very small percentage of convictions that get overturned, false confessions are common.

#2. Despite being fairly liberal, I've been on the same page as Douthat here for a while. Fighting this never-ending gun control fight just seems like way too much trouble for too little payoff -- I doubt the number of legally-sold guns really affects the crime rate one way or the other. Plus, the debate distracts us from the more important issues (climate change, etc.). I say just try try to make sure that new classes of weapons don't get legalized (rocket launchers, etc.).

Fighting this never-ending gun control fight just seems like way too much trouble for too little payoff

You're relating ends and means. The President and various and sundry others take no interest in that. They are playing status games and engaging in PR diversions.

4. I look forward to a day when I can see what mail is coming, identify junk mail I don't even want to receive, and this information goes back to the sender so they can stop sending it to me.

A large amount of my paper recycling is junk mail I don't even look at. This is inefficient for the system.

I've used one of those websites that send "stop" requests to catalog publishers with some success, but it's incomplete. Religious organizations are the worst at ignoring requests to take me off their mailing lists, possibly because they are relying on hope rather than economics.

Maybe USPS can join forces with PaperKarma.

"Steinle was shot in the back as she walked along the San Francisco Embarcadero waterfront near Pier 14 with her family July 1.
Lopez-Sanchez was released from San Francisco jail in April after a 20-year-old charge of marijuana possession was dropped. He is a five-time deportee with seven prior felony convictions, according to ABC 7 News."

If you want an illustration of the cynicism of the Obama regime, consider the unwillingness to deport felons, and the shrug after Kate Steinle's death, with the clamor for gun control after Muslim terrorists shoot up a Christmas party.

"He is a five-time deportee..."

"...consider the unwillingness to deport felons..."

Did you actually read what you copied and pasted?

#3 very good read and pretty typical of reality in my experience. The paths by which juries reach their decisions are very different from those that the law assumes that they do.

#4 The USPO has been taking pictures of every piece of mail on the outside for national security and criminal investigation purposes for a long time. It is the snail mail equivalent of collecting metadata. It appears that this service is an effort to make a buck out of all that effort and to reduce the expectation of privacy (however legally inaccurate) that people perceived that they had.

Yep, mail covers in particular (taking down the To: address of all mail with the target's name and address in the return address, and the return name and address of all mail addressed to the target). The phone equivalent is the pen register.

Way back before going to graduate school (and a major discussion topic at graduate school back then was the USSR circling the drain), I worked for a USPS contractor* -- seeing envelope images on my screen and immediately typing in part of the name, house number, street name, city, state or zip code as requested. When the database got all those pieces of information for the address, it set up a zebra code to be sprayed at the bottom of the envelope -- along the way, that code would be scanned, making sorting easier and getting the letter there quicker.

[*] Strictly speaking, I actually worked for its subcontractor; TempForce.

I have a story that's kind of strange. When I applied for my second passport, and it was mailed to me overseas, a US Postal worker left a little 'note' (not in their handwriting, but a symbolic gesture) inside the envelope, which had been opened, implying I was unpatriotic. I didn't bother reporting it, as I thought anybody who wants to risk their job expressing their opinion is entitled to be cut some slack, but it was weird. In Greece, the postal workers routinely open mail and search for valuables. So remember the human element when sending mail. It's not so professional at times.

Standard of privacy about opening mail for international mail are different than those for domestic mail. It is still unprofessional, but the opening of the mail itself may not have been illegal in that context.

Seems like guns should be insured for liability. You can buy as many as you can afford to insure.

Pretty much can only use one at a time. What's the difference between 1 - 100?

The guns themselves have to be insured since they can be stolen, given away, etc.

#4. I noticed they also seem to be delivering packages on Sunday. Which is interesting, considering they were considering stopping regular mail service two days a week, just a couple of years ago. I wonder if there was a management change.

That looked to me like a quid pro quo for at least seriously considering stopping regular mail delivery one day a week (the most likely candidates are Tuesday and Saturday).

I think they make money on the package deliveries, even on Sundays. E.g. where I live, often UPS doesn't deliver their own packages, instead they hand it off somewhere to the USPS, and the mailman is the person who physically brings the UPS package to my residence.

#3 "The remaining six jurors are white." So half not white, and this is unfair.

Most of this is how he is constantly thinking about what color he and everyone else is. And I'm in favor of jury nullification.

3 out of 11 jurors were African American, 27%. That sounds more than their share of the population, no? It sounds like African Americans were over represented on the jury as opposed to what this ... Person was saying.

Duh 3 out of 12, what a glitch. 25%, still sounds over represented,

Lots of central U.S. cities, which is also where a disproportionate share of murders take place are majority non-white.

I read the whole story. I absolutely do not buy his summation of the evidence and I do agree with Molly, that juror #5 should not have been selected for the jury and that he lied during the voir dire.

Thus begins the sabotage of our judicial process.

These people's entire understanding of juries and justice comes from watching movies...

# 2 is very strange. Why do French style gun laws have to be packaged with French style other laws?

“I can’t vote against my conscience just to reach a consensus,” I say. “I took an oath.” lol he violates that oth how many times?

maybe it's title this because from the psceire moment she was attacked it will be forever Inevitable that she will question her every move, look over her shoulder at every sound, fear every stranger who comes near her, it will be Inevitable that she will live her entire life in fear of the unknown.

I'm impressed. You've really raised the bar with that.

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