Patterico's Pontifications


Ted Cruz Questions Clueless President of Sierra Club

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:44 pm

If time is short, start at 2:50 and watch for a good solid 30 seconds or so. The look on this guy’s face is priceless.

He doesn’t even know about the satellite data. All he knows is 97% of scientists, 97% of scientists, 97% of scientists . . .

Which, by the way, the study he is citing is nonsense. But you knew that.

Volokh on Mass Shootings Stopped by . . . You’ll Never Guess!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:51 am

Eugene Volokh has a giant list of would-be mass shooters stopped in their tracks by (you’ll never guess) . . . people with guns. Number seven blew my mind. (Not really; I’m just practicing my BuzzFeed-style clickbait phrases. This one weird trick prevented a mass shooting!) In all seriousness, though, here is number seven:

7. In Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2007, Matthew Murray killed four people at a church. He was then shot several times by Jeanne Assam, a church member, volunteer security guard and former police officer (she had been dismissed by a police department 10 years before, and to my knowledge hadn’t worked as a police officer since). Murray, knocked down and badly wounded, killed himself; it is again not clear whether he would have killed more people had he not been wounded, but my guess is that he would have (UPDATE: he apparently went to the church with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition).

That’s a lot of rounds of ammunition. Volokh also notes:

Many mass shootings happen in supposedly “gun-free” zones (such as schools, universities or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn’t allowed.

Indeed. As I have noted, the Oregon community college was a de facto gun-free zone — and any argument that the student code of conduct allowed guns ignores several facts:

1. Even the hacks at Raw Story admitted: “Beyond the veterans’ community, however, other students said they were convinced the campus was in fact gun-free, citing the school’s code of conduct and the broader culture among the roughly 3,000 full-time students.”

2. The university president thought it was a gun-free campus (watch the video at 3:07). Why wouldn’t the students?

3. The folks who point to the language in the student code of conduct stating “except as expressly authorized by law or college regulations” as a loophole ignore the fact that there is nothing in state law that expressly authorized guns on campus — particularly in buildings. That court decision we heard so much about — the one that invalidated one regulation on narrow grounds of pre-emption — “didn’t directly address community colleges like UCC” even according to the plaintiff. What’s more, the decision itself says that a concealed carry permit does not constitute authorization to carry a firearm on campus — in particular in campus buildings — saying: “We reject the contention that a statutory exception to criminal sanctions for the possession of a handgun in public buildings indicates an intention to require public educational institutions to permit concealed handguns.” (This has confused many people who have read news stories but not the court’s decision.) And the Guardian has written that: “The following year [after the court decision], the Oregon state board of higher education approved a policy that banned guns from being brought inside campus buildings.” You’d have to look pretty hard to find anything “express” in the court decision. Simplistic citations to the concealed carry law cause people to say wrong things that are at odds with the language of the court decision itself.

So you’re left with the following:

  • A bevy of anecdotes from Volokh in which people stopped mass shootings with guns;
  • A clear policy at Umpqua that guns were prohibited on campus.

It’s a shame. And it will keep happening as long as the leftists respond to every such shooting with a call to confiscate firearms outright.

It’s the ultimate in leftist thought: policy based on FEEEELZ, and the facts be damned.

P.S. As for Vox (see last link) saying we need to confiscate guns to bring us to European levels of mass gun violence: I don’t think we want European levels of mass gun violence. Adjusted for population, they are worse.


Yes, That Oregon Campus Was a Gun-Free Zone

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

As I noted the other day, the recent Oregon shooting was in a gun-free zone — a fact omitted by Barack Obama in his admittedly “policitized” remarks on the subject:

Notably, the fact that the shooting happened in a “gun-free zone” — as these mass shootings almost always do — was not mentioned.

Leftists now claim that the campus was not actually a gun-free zone. What they ignore is that virtually everyone who might have been carrying a gun thought it was. And if everyone believes a campus is a “gun-free zone,” then guess what? It is.

Details in the extended entry.


The Tactics Of The Liberal Anti-Life On Display

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:44 am

[guest post by Dana]

This week, the tactics of the anti-life Planned Parenthood crowd were on display to further the “women’s health care” line and keep the taxpayer dollars flowing to the organization.

One tactic used is to never give the baby a “face”. Do not allow any humanization to take place and do not say “baby” when talking about the subject. Another tactic used is to push a false narrative. As we have learned, relentlessly push a falsehood long enough, and eventually it becomes an accepted “truth”.

Two examples of these tactics recently occurred.

First, when asked by a reporter about whether an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver is a human being, Nancy Pelosi, clearly irked at being confronted by real journalist unafraid to do their job, played the gender card and shamefully hid behind her uterus to avoid answering. Weaker sex, indeed. Thanks, Nancy: asked Pelosi: “In reference to funding for Planned Parenthood: Is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?”

Pelosi responded: “Why don’t you take your ideological questions–I don’t, I don’t have—” asked: “If it’s not a human being, what species is it?”

Pelosi said: “No, listen, I want to say something to you. I don’t know who you are and you’re welcome to be here, freedom of this press. I am a devout practicing Catholic, a mother of five children. When my baby was born, my fifth child, my oldest child was six years old. I think I know more about this subject than you, with all due respect.” asked: “So it’s not a human being, then?”

Pelosi said: “And I do not intend to respond to your questions, which have no basis in what public policy is that we do here.”

Had Pelosi not wimped out and actually watched the Planned Parenthood videos, she could have learned that even Planned Parenthood personnel understand that it is human hearts, human livers, human brains and other human organs they are extracting to sell. They’re not cutting open those babies looking for armadillo parts, Nancy. Too bad she didn’t heed her own admonition: you’ve got to watch the videos to know what’s in the videos, but we understand that in spite of her I’m the mother of five babies, how dare you question me! line, she really doesn’t care about who is being butchered – all the way up through the ninth month.

And given our liberal pro-abortion media, instead of compelling Pelosi to answer the reasonable question, the MSM came to Pelosi’s aid and attacked the reporter, referring to him as an anti-abortion protester .

An example of pushing a falsehood tactic was once again demonstrated by Cecile Richards this weekend in an interview with Chuck Todd. In spite of Planned Parenthood (and the MSM’s) talking points about the videos being completely debunked, Richards continued the narrative lies as she, ironically, called Carly Fiorina a liar:

“Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses, alive, to harvest their brains and other body parts. That is a fact,” said Fiorina in the clip.

“Ms. Richards, how do you respond to Ms. Fiorina?” asked Todd.

“It is extraordinary that someone running for president would lie in that way,” Richards told Todd. “That has been completely discredited by every reputable news source, and yet Carly Fiorina seems to continue to repeat the same lie.”

“I think it also shows how using distortive and deceptive videos, as the ones that have been used against Planned Parenthood, they’re not credible,” said Richards. “And it’s not a basis upon which to make decisions about an organization or a public policy.”

Richards continually asserted that the videos were “highly edited,” distorted and “deceptive,” a claim that went unrebutted by Todd, who never brought up the forensic evidence of the tapes.



Obama, Silent on Christians Being Targeted for Their Religion, Was Not Silent When Muslims Were Targeted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:29 pm

Barack Obama, February 13, 2015, after the slaying of three Muslims in North Carolina:

President Barack Obama said Friday that no one should be targeted for what they look like or how they worship as he and First Lady Michelle Obama offered condolences to the families of three Muslim American students killed in Chapel Hill, N.C. this week.

In a statement, Obama called the slayings “brutal and outrageous” and said “no one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.”

We have now heard accounts from three eyewitnesses, reported through relatives, that the Oregon shooter targeted Christians for being Christians. The Washington Post cited the statements of Anastasia Boylan and J.J. Vicari:

In one classroom, he appeared to single out Christian students for killing, according to witness Anastasia Boylan.

“He said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second,’” Boylan’s father, Stacy, told CNN, relaying his daughter’s account while she underwent surgery to treat a gunshot to her spine.

“And then he shot and killed them.”

Another account came from Autumn Vicari, who described to NBC News what her brother J.J. witnessed in the room where the shootings occurred. According to NBC: “Vicari said at one point the shooter told people to stand up before asking whether they were Christian or not. Vicari’s brother told her that anyone who responded ‘yes’ was shot in the head. If they said ‘other’ or didn’t answer, they were shot elsewhere in the body, usually the leg.”

The Los Angeles Times today adds a third eyewitness account, that of Lacey Scroggins:

Lacey looked to her left and saw Harper-Mercer shoot someone. “’And his body dropped to the ground, and I realized this is not a drill any longer,’“ Scroggins recalled his daughter saying.

She lay on the floor with her arms in front of her and heard the shooter say: “You, in the orange shirt. Stand up. What religion are you? Are you a Christian?”

When the student answered, Lacy told her father, “I heard, Daddy, I heard a pop, and then the thud of a body that just hit the ground.” The gunman asked the same question of another student and shot them, too, she said.

So far, not a word from Obama about these students being targeted for being Christian.

I’m sure Big Media could get drag a reluctant statement from Obama about how targeting Christians is wrong — if they put the question to him directly (but of course Big Media mainstream publications would never think to do so). But he’s not going to say anything without being prodded. If the shooter had been targeting Muslims, the news cycle would be dominated for days by stories about religious bigotry and how it caused the shooting. And Barack Obama would be at the forefront of it.

But targeting Christians? Yawn.

Thanks to Kevin Gutzman on Facebook for pointing this out.


On Political Symmetry

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:25 pm

[guest post by JVW]

A word to all of our friends who think that the recent shooting tragedy in Oregon needs to be immediately addressed by federal legislation.

So you are angry that yet again senseless deaths have taken place. You look back on the past several years and wonder how many more mass killings it will take before we wake up to the disgusting slaughter that is going on. You’re worried because in your lifetime you have seen us grow callous and immune to the effects of all this death and destruction, and you know that this sort of thing simply doesn’t go on to nearly this extent in other civilized nations. You are frustrated that local jurisdictions who have attempted to apply common-sense restrictions have been thwarted by courts, including the hyper-partisan and unaccountable Supreme Court. You think that the very clear-cut language in the Constitution has been willfully distorted and stretched to encompass so-called “freedoms” that our Founding Fathers would rightly have rejected.

You know that there is a very wealthy and powerful lobby whose endorsements and fund-raising help sway elections and ensure that candidates with moderate and accommodating views on the subject are defeated. You are sure that they have paid academics and lobbyists to help them come up with phony justifications for why the laws can’t and shouldn’t be changed. And you lament that your friends who are otherwise so grounded and well-meaning seem to be completely out-of-touch with the realities of horrors of this situation based upon their reactionary Facebook posts and their close-mindedness to seeing your side of the argument.

Did it ever occur to you, my gun control friends, that you are going through exactly the same thing that pro-lifers have been going through the past month?


The “Modern Man” vs. A Real Modern Man

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:01 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This week there was a silly bit of absurdity in the Men’s Style Section of the New York Times. Tagged as Self-Help, the piece describes the “Modern Man” in all of his feminized glory:

Being a modern man today is no different than it was a century ago. It’s all about adhering to principle. Sure, fashion, technology and architecture change over time, as do standards of etiquette, not to mention ways of carrying oneself in the public sphere. But the modern man will take the bits from the past that strike him as relevant and blend them with the stuff of today.

Here are a few of the 27 examples of the unattractive and unappealing “modern man”:

When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small.

*The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.

The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.

On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield.

Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?

**The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.

The modern man cries. He cries often.

Oh dear God. Does anyone doubt that the modern man’s melon balls are kept in his wife’s purse, only to be let out when she deems it necessary?

Now, while I realize this is in the fluff section of the NYT and should not to be taken seriously-under any circumstance-it nonetheless speaks to the efforts made by women to remake men into their own idealized image of manliness: softer, less formidable, less aggressive, less of a risk taker, more pliable, more emotional (hence, all that endless crying…) and certainly, a strong sense of guilt and shame for their basic hard-wiring. As we can see by the list, women are winning, especially when considering how closely the modern man resembles a woman… with a penis.

Anyway, it’s pretty hard not to contrast the NYT divorced-from-reality version of the “modern man” with this real-life modern man:

An Army veteran who bravely blocked the door as the Oregon gunman barged into a community college classroom Thursday, then took at least five bullets while pleading that it was his young son’s birthday, is recovering – and being hailed as a hero, according to his family.

Chris Mintz, 30, a North Carolina native who had moved to the Roseburg, Ore., area and is studying at Umpqua Community College to become a fitness trainer, hurled himself against the door in an effort to stop the gunman, identified as Christopher Harper Mercer, from entering. When Mercer, who killed at least nine people and injured at least seven before being killed by police, shot his way inside, hitting Mintz at least three time, the former soldier called out that it was his son Tyrek’s sixth birthday, according to Mintz’s aunt. His plea was rewarded with two more shots, Wanda Mintz told The Daily Beast.

None of the five shots that hit Mintz struck any vital organs, and he is expected to recover. “His vital signs are OK. He’s going to have to learn to walk again,” cousin Ariana Earnhardt told Q13Fox, “but he walked away with his life and that’s more than so many other people did.”

This modern man appears to have remained defiant in the face of our current cultural norms for males. I’m talking about that which is more deeply embedded in men, or at least used to be: the belief in duty to protect fellow-citizens, and the drive to run toward danger rather than run from it. As David French emphatically states: Men have a duty to defend the weak and the vulnerable. Mintz did his duty under the worst possible circumstances. We should all salute him — and pray that we could show similar courage if the worst happens in our own lives. Just recently, we witnessed the heroic acts of other men like Mintz. At one time in our culture, this reaction was a given. However, along with the re-definition of modern men, this once-given inclination also seems to be going by the wayside and in its place, a less risky, more self-serving approved of behavior.

And while it’s quite possible that the courageous Mintz owns a melon-baller and may use it with artistic flair and precision, I’m sure we can all agree that his melon balls have not been confiscated by a woman, nor would they fit in her purse anyway.

On the upside, thanks to the New York Times’ highly informative look at what constitutes the modern man, I was able to learn that I am the proud parent of a “gauche simpleton” who clearly fails the NYT modern man litmus test: Last night, my son who is a Marine, stopped by after having been away at sea for several weeks in preparation for a long deployment. I cringed as he referred to helicopters as “birds” and described the difficulty of squeezing his 6’4″ gear-laden frame into his seat while holding his machine gun between his legs.

Oh, God. *Using an improper term and having a **gun!!!

It’s true, parenting is not for the fainthearted.

I shared the NYT list with him so that he could courageously strive to become a modern man. He grinned, then apologized for being such a disappointment to me. I just hope I can move past it.



Another Foreign Leader Swims Against the Current

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:33 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Dana had a great post yesterday about Benjamin Netanyahu’s magnificent speech at the United Nations. I wanted to draw everyone’s attention to another tour de force from an overseas leader who is not content to happily follow along conventional wisdom from the political/academic/journalistic elite. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered a speech to the Hungarian Parliament in which he lacerated the arrogance of the demands of the EU (led in this case by Germany) for its member-states to accept emigres from throughout the Middle East all the way to South Asia. This speech is 17 minutes long (and it is subtitled in English; click on the Subtitles/CC icon if you don’t see them) but it is a masterpiece of rational thought, careful argument, and assertion of national sovereignty.

If you can’t find time for the full 17 minutes, I want to share with you some highlights:

4:45: “We take the view that it is the most natural thing in the world to want to protect one’s own family. . . . Hungary has been a valued member of the larger European family for a thousand years. It is its historic and moral duty to protect Europe, as Hungary also thereby protects itself.”

5:20: “Thanks to the mass media and the Internet, it is now clear to everyone that Europe is rich, but weak. This is the most dangerous combination possible.”

7:29: “A Europe which requires its half billion citizens to respect its laws is unable to persuade migrants to undergo a simple registration process.”

12:00: “The Hungarian people have decided: the country must be protected.”

14:40: “All 28 member-states should take a share in the protection of the southern borders of Europe. . . . We should not set up refugee campus — or whatever they may be called — within the European Union, but outside of it.”

I want to mention too that throughout his entire speech, Orbán was interrupted exactly once with applause, when he thanked the Hungarian police and military for their efforts 45 seconds into his speech. Contrast that with the awful Presidential addresses to Congress which are scripted so that “spontaneous” applause lines appear approximately every 30 seconds. It’s almost as if these Hungarian legislators are interested in solving problems, not grandstanding for their favored interest groups.

Hat tip to Powerline.


New Podcast Refutes Paul Krugman Every Week

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:48 am

Last night marked the debut of the long-awaited Contra Krugman podcast. The podcast is hosted by Tom Woods and Robert P. Murphy. Tom Woods is a well-known libertarian and best-selling author with a daily podcast I listen to regularly. Murphy is the author of Choice, a summary of Mises’s Human Action which I have been summarizing in a series of posts you can read here. (12 down, just 5 to go. I will finish!)

The idea of the podcast is that they take on Paul Krugman, every single week, and refute his columns and blog posts in an entertaining way. I have already begun listening and have already learned things. More importantly, I have really enjoyed it.

There are three episodes up so far, all of which you can listen to at the Web site for the podcast, Go there, listen, and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.

Murphy has been reading Krugman for a long time. He describes reading Krugman as being like playing with a canker sore — it’s annoying, but you can’t stop. And he has been trying to debate Krugman forever. To whet your appetite, I am going to link a video that Murphy did years ago, when he was trying to get Krugman to agree to debate him. Murphy is a very funny guy (he says on podcast #1 that he has been told he is “pretty funny for an economist”) and this video shows the lengths to which Murphy was going to prepare for that debate, which never happened. I laughed out loud at this one.

How many economists do you know who would be willing to put out a video like this?

Obama: This Mass Shooting Is “Something We Should Politicize”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am

President Obama politicized the Oregon mass shooting yesterday. He made it difficult for his hackish supporters to deny he was doing so, telling assembled reporters that gun violence is “something we should politicize.”

Obama did not explain how any particular law would have prevented the shooting yesterday, since basic facts were not known when he spoke — such as whether the gun had been obtained legally, or whether it had been a so-called “assault weapon.” No matter. His was a simplistic argument for a simple-minded audience: it was a shooting, so we need more gun laws. The details of whether any new laws would have actually mattered were irrelevant details, as they always are.

Notably, the fact that the shooting happened in a “gun-free zone” — as these mass shootings almost always do — was not mentioned.

The closest Obama came to making an argument about the efficacy of gun control was to refer to the case of Britain. But as economist Thomas Sowell has noted, gun control laws have never made America safer — even when New York had them and London didn’t:

The few counter-examples offered by gun control zealots do not stand up under scrutiny. Perhaps their strongest talking point is that Britain has stronger gun control laws than the United States and lower murder rates.

But, if you look back through history, you will find that Britain has had a lower murder rate than the United States for more than two centuries – and, for most of that time, the British had no more stringent gun control laws than the United States. Indeed, neither country had stringent gun control for most of that time.

In the middle of the 20th century, you could buy a shotgun in London with no questions asked. New York, which at that time had had the stringent Sullivan Law restricting gun ownership since 1911, still had several times the gun murder rate of London, as well as several times the London murder rate with other weapons.

Neither guns nor gun control was not the reason for the difference in murder rates. People were the difference.

Sometimes it helps to look at trend lines. Truths emerge that you might otherwise have missed.

Meanwhile, early reports said the shooter was singling out Christians:

“[He started] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian, stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,” Stacy Boylen, whose daughter was wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., told CNN.

Does that sound like a guy who was going to be stopped by a law? Or only by a bullet?

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