96 Tears

We’ll be together
for just a little while.
And then I’m gonna put you
way down here.

-? and the Mysterians

The reasons anyone would prefer Joe Biden for president range from habitual ignorance, to Trump Derangement Syndrome, to race hustling therapeutic totalitarianism*. Unlike what we’re told is the only proper way to regard gender, however, this is not a spectrum. That is, there are only the three camps. They are not mutually exclusive.

The most numerous is the first; those the Democrat leadership regard as “Deplorables… but they’re OUR deplorables.”

Then there is the cabal of elite academicians, main stream media, deep state bureaucrats, social media crony capitalists, and Uniparty apparatchiks. They form the single nationwide Progressive ruling class – who are upset that Beltway corruption as usual is being revealed and threatened.

Finally, there are the anarchist foot-soldiers rioting, looting, and committing murder and arson.

The central point of agreement seems to be that the United States is a malignant society that merits punishment.

I started to list more specific policy reasons not to vote for Joe Biden, but sickened of it. I want to pass along, however, something I received from a friend that prompted the attempt.
Why Did it Have to be … Guns? by L. Neil Smith

And here’s a related piece on the same topic I reread every few months.
Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun

The masks have dropped on much of the collectivist agenda. Perhaps none more so than Biden’s promise to put Beto “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” O’Rourke in charge of banning guns.

*Credit Rod Dreher

Rounding up

I think you have probably heard that St. Louis lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey became a viral sensation when they displayed firearms to fend off a large, violent crowd of trespassers. No shots fired.

I immediately thought of Joe Biden’s advice on home defense:

“[If] you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.

It’s only my opinion, but I don’t think you should get too fixated on shooting through a door at something you can’t see. Maybe that’s how Corn Pop did it, but “C’mon Man!

Two rounds of 00 would open up your field of view (so you can see who you’ve shot) a bit more than would a .223 or 9mm round, but there’s no chance you’ll be able to patch that door.

In this case, the Biden surprise-your-neighbor method of home defense was inapplicable, since Mark & Patricia were not behind a door. They were already outside on their porch when the mob smashed down an iron gate.

The former Vice President had that covered, too:

“[I]f there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.

He made these suggestions in support of his contention that semi-automatic rifles with standard magazine capacity should be banned from civilian ownership. They aren’t needed for self defense because we have 2 round shotguns.

I thought adding “outside the house” was a nice touch. It was the only sensible thing he said.

The McCloskeys, fortunately, ignored Joe’s preferred weapon, blasted no entryways, and didn’t inflict random collateral damage on the neighborhood. Nor were they forced to perform a reload under the mob’s gimlet eye.

Mark McCloskey had an AR-15. Which he didn’t have to fire.

Had he followed Joe’s advice, I’m thinking he might have died. Two rounds from the shotgun and you’re obviously dry. The crowd either completely panics and runs, or they come for you. They have to run 40 feet. You have to get 2 rounds loaded with your fine motor control in shambles. Even if you make that reload, you won’t make the next.

So, in one sense Joe’s right, you don’t need 30 rounds. Or even 2. But you’ll appreciate the deterrent effect of larger capacity when several dozen Biden supporters show up and threaten to burn down your house with you and your dog in it.

In the snippets of the confrontation I watched, I thought Patricia was, let’s just say, inadequately trained. She stood by her husband in a desperate time, even though he was in nearly as much danger from her handgun as the mob.

She must have been very frightened. Needs must, training or no. She shouldn’t be criticized for ignorance of something she never thought she’d have to know. I would criticize her if she doesn’t now get some training. She knows now.

Reflecting on that, I wonder if her ignorance of muzzle control and trigger discipline actually helped disperse the crowd. Some of them discovered prudence.

A simile is like a metaphor

Massachusetts Ban on Most Self-Defense Firearms Violates Second Amendment | Cato @ Liberty

The trial judge followed the lead of the Maryland case of Kolbe v. Hogan (in which Cato filed a brief supporting a petition to the Supreme Court), misconstruing from a shred of the landmark 2008 Supreme Court opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller that the test for whether a class of weapons could be banned was whether it was “like an M-16.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (in which Cato also filed a brief), conjured up a complex interest-balancing test that boiled down to a much simpler question: is it like a handgun? If not, the weapon is not sufficiently “well-suited” to self-defense in the home and can be banned. Both tests contravene the core holding of Heller that all weapons in common civilian use are constitutionally protected…

Although the courts have uniformly looked to statistical data of some form in establishing common use, they have been unable to agree on what the relevant statistic is. The total number of the banned weapons owned, the percentage the banned weapons constitute of the total national arms stock, and the number of jurisdictions in which the banned weapons are lawful have all been used to determine the breadth of constitutional protection. By any metric, however, the weapons banned by the Massachusetts law are clearly in “common use.”

We all need to do our part for “common use” by buying a variety of firearms, making it easier for the leftwing legal clerisy to recognize “common use.”* Creating gun bans by simile is overtaxing their imaginations and stamina.

SCOTUS’ District of Columbia v. Heller decision opened the simile door a bit more in this infelicitous bit:

[T]he sorts of weapons protected are the sorts of small arms that were lawfully possessed at home at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification, not those most useful in military service today, so “M-16 rifles and the like” may be banned.

Ratification of the Second Amendment was in 1791. The small arms possessed at home in 1791 were identical to those “most useful in military service.” In fact, a large proportion of those small arms possessed at home were in military service. The term ‘militia’ comes to mind.

The “lawfully possessed at home” in 1791 interpretation doesn’t plausibly cover the mechanism of the vast majority of firearms in use today. Percussion caps were just being prototyped by 1807. And, if that’s how a judge chooses to interpret District of Columbia v. Heller, you can grab your flintlock.

The left has argued exactly this: “The Second Amendment only applies to flintlocks.” That they are disingenuous in this is shown by the fact they won’t accept the corollary argument that “The Press” means hand operated printing presses based on moving bits of lead around, and that the internet should be shut down despite the First Amendment. Well, OK, they are arguing speech on the internet can be banned. But not because it’s technology invented since 1791.

Still, potential for banning modern firearm technology is not the most egregious part of that snippet. That distinction belongs to the phrase “and the like.” We’ll look at why that is momentarily. First we need to note some characteristics of an M-16.

An M-16 is a magazine fed automatic weapon (of which civilian possession has been severely restricted since 1934). It is rifled, breech loading, and uses brass cased ammunition with a primer ignited by a firing pin. Those are characteristics you could use for saying it’s ‘like’ something else. Just about any semi-automatic firearm, if we’re honest about it.

If the Progressives knew anything about how guns work they could have a field day banning technologies invented after 1800. Rifling (1498) and breech loading (16th century) are safe. Not much else is.

Under “common use”-1791, firearms capable of holding more than one cartridge (Magazine – 1860) could be banned. Firing pins (1840) could be banned. Primer fired brass cased ammo (18xx) could be banned. Oh, revolvers (1836) could be eliminated entirely. Forget your 1911.

There’s more, but we don’t need it to make the point: “And the like” bans based on 1791 technology would eliminate 95% of guns commonly in civilian use today. That’s actually how they approach it. I know it’s said that gun bans are often based on cosmetics, like adjustable stocks, pistol grips, and flash hiders. Mostly true, but the cosmetics would be much different without, for example, that scary normal capacity detachable magazine. This is a way to attack the technology using appearance.

Yet even that’s less nonsensical than California’s attempt to specify nonexistent technology as a means of banning firearms – microstamping casings.

The state argued that a law should not be struck down simply because it is impossible to implement.

“Like, impossible Dude.”

Consider the word ‘like.’ It doesn’t mean ‘identical,’ and it depends on what you select to compare. An apple is like an orange; if you focus on shape, size, nutritional profile, and even which end of the spectrum skin color tends toward. A whale is biologically more like a dog than it is a frog. ‘Like,’ lets you cherry pick the comparators fitting your desired outcome.

A frog is like a Granny Smith if you consider internal temperature, skin color, and dependence on insects.

The differences between a handgun and a rifle have nothing to do with the irrelevant criteria the Massachusetts court must necessarily have applied. Which outside of those various cosmetic features and size (having excluded automatic weapons – 1883), boils down to the capability of using a detachable magazine and/or with a capacity higher than 10 rounds. Modern firearms are all like each other.

And tell that bit about “is it like a handgun” to the pregnant woman who used an AR-15 to defend her family last week – that it wasn’t “well suited” to self defense. An AR is more accurate, easier to use than a handgun, and can hold more rounds – rounds you might need in a one on many firefight. The only question is, “Can it be used for self defense?” Not relevant is, “The court would like you not to have a gun for home defense, but if you do, use a handgun we won’t let you carry outside the home.”

Looks ‘like’ an M-16 does not compute. ‘Like’ a handgun includes machine pistols.

The Progressives have been struggling to define “assault weapon” for decades. The fact they focus on cosmetics is reason enough for the jurisprudent to discard this ‘like’ business.

*”Common use” is ‘like’ everyone else has, so it’s a collectivist standard for an individual civil liberty. And I think it might prohibit rail guns, as one example. Not that we have any man-portable rail guns yet, but we will.

Check your privilege Chelsea

My armed guards aren’t killing children and don’t have semi automatic weapons.
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) March 28, 2018

I’m not sure who she is, but she obviously thinks she has a right to physical protection. I agree with that bit. Unfortunately, I can’t afford armed guards.

My armed guard (me) sometimes carries a semi-automatic handgun and sometimes a revolver. In both cases, one squeeze of the trigger produces one discharge. The main difference is that my usual semi-auto carry holds 7 rounds and my usual revolver carry holds only 5.

If I were hired to defend someone else, I’d be less concerned about comfortable carry. I’d be much less concerned that someone could tell I had a firearm: Maybe it’s a deterrent if you realize someone has a professional armed guard you have to shoot first?

Since I’d be more concerned about multiple assailants, I’d definitely carry something that held 10 or more rounds: I.e., a larger semi-auto. If Ms. Handler’s guards aren’t doing so, then she should fire them.

I’m not shooting any children, either.

So. She thinks she should be allowed to pay someone else to defend her, and that I should not be allowed to defend myself.

No. If I can’t defend myself with a gun, Ms. Handler can’t be allowed to let someone else defend her with one.

And, you know what? If I thought I needed armed guards, I’d still carry my own. Especially then.

So much winning

What if you could simultaneously:

1. Reduce gun deaths,
2. Institute major sentencing reform,
3. Meaningfully make black lives matter,
4. And reduce the rapid increase in deaths from opioids?

The best single policy to advance all these causes would be to end the War on Drugs.

Drug related homicides in Progressive strongholds such as Washington D.C., Chicago and Philadelphia would decline, so a major cause for the deaths of black men involving firearms (nearly 6,000 gun deaths annually, or 31.7 homicides per 100,000 black men) would be eliminated. The need for drug related police intervention, and the friction between blacks and police because of it, would be decreased.

The disproportionate sentencing of blacks for the sale and use of drugs would be reduced. Inner-city neighborhoods would be safer and other crimes would decline.

On black lives and firearms, from the Brookings Institution:

“The vast majority (77 percent) of white gun deaths are suicides; less than one in five (19 percent) is a homicide.

These figures are nearly opposite in the black population, where only 14 percent of gun deaths are suicides but 82 percent are homicides:”

Without the War on Drugs, older white men might still commit suicide at high rates (nearly 16,000 annual gun deaths, or 16.3 suicides per 100,000 white men), but to some of the SJWs out there, this is a benefit.

Annual gun death data from here, a good place to interactively apply demographics to gun death stats.

Another benefit of ending the War on Drugs would be that doctors who prescribe, and patients who truly need the pain relief provided by, opioids would be be better off.

“the overdose death rate from opioids hit a record high of 33,000 in 2015 — but the majority of deaths were from heroin, and deaths from fentanyl doubled over the previous year. Overdoses from prescription opioids, however, are stabilizing or even receding.”

There is also evidence that where marijuana is legally available, Jeff Sessions notwithstanding, the use of more dangerous drugs declines:
State Medical Marijuana Laws Linked to Lower Prescription Overdose Deaths
-Johns Hopkins

“In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests.”

Do Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Addictions and Deaths Related to Pain Killers?
-RAND Corporation

“We study the impact of medical marijuana laws on problematic opioid use. Based on standard differences-in-differences models, event study analyses, and synthetic control models, we find that states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths. The mitigating effect of medical marijuana laws is specific to states that permit dispensaries.”

Medical marijuana reduces use of opioid pain meds, decreases risk for some with chronic pain
-University of Michigan

“Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications known as opioids, a University of Michigan study finds.”

So, the expansion of marijuana dispensaries looks like it might drive down the social and monetary costs for emergency medical intervention. Ending the War on Drugs can start there. And we get the bonus titillation of thwarting Jeff Sessions.

Quality control applied to the most dangerous drugs, such as heroin and Fentanyl, would make self administration safer through accurate dosage of unadulterated drugs.

Finally, over a relatively short time, the number of overdose deaths would decline because most of those prone to overdose would have succumbed.

This last may seem cynical and cruel, but those are the people who will overdose, or die from hepatitis, etc. in any case. At least they will not have been shot.