Bans On "Assault" Weapons Do Not Reduce Crime

Bans On "Assault" Weapons Do Not Reduce Crime Authored by Benjamin Williams via The Mises Institute, Prominent Democrats, including President Joe Biden, have repeatedly expressed interest in reinstating a federal assault weapons ban. Biden himself included an assault weapon ban in his 1994 crime bill, which lasted ten years until its expiration in 2004.  Biden has claimed that the ban did its job and reduced mass shootings: “When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled.” But a detailed review of the data demonstrates that the ban had no real benefits whatsoever, and neither did it lessen the frequency of major shootings. What Is an Assault Weapon? Contrary to popular belief, an assault weapons ban does not ban AR- or AK-style rifles. Assault weapons bans focus primarily on the specific functions of these rifles. The 1994 ban described assault weapons as semiautomatic rifles that had the ability to accept a detachable magazine and possessed two of the following five features: (1) a folding or telescopic stock; (2) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; (3) a bayonet mount; (4) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; or (5) a grenade launcher. This definition permits some adjustments to be made to rifles, such as an AR-15, that would make them completely legal (or “compliant”). Rifles that comply must have a fixed stock. Stocks cannot be telescopic or folding. A pistol grip is incompatible with a compliant rifle. Compliant rifles typically have a stock that has additional material added to it, so the pistol grip is attached to the stock or is extended far enough to prevent the shooter from wrapping around it with their thumb. The maximum number of rounds the rifle’s magazine can hold is 10. Any more than that is regarded as a high-capacity magazine. The rifle may not have a flash suppressor. Many creative minds have discovered countless ways to transform basic AR-style rifles into completely compliant weapons. Today, several states have their own assault weapons bans with similar or identical provisions as the 1994 federal ban. In these states, the ownership of AR-15s and such is not at all uncommon. The same went for gun owners during the federal ban from 1994–2004. The reality of compliant assault weapons is a strong indicator that the assault weapons ban did not work, outside of some inconveniences for gun owners. Any owner could easily convert a compliant rifle into a fully functional (and illegal) one using minimal tools and labor. And many, including mass shooters, take advantage of this. The 1994 ban led to a sharp increase in the demand for assault weapons, which initially increased prices. But after an increase in production, prices began to fall to their previous state. A 2002 study showed: In the short-term, the federal AW ban reduced the availability of AWs to criminal users by increasing the cost of these weapons in primary and, presumably, secondary markets. However, the ban also stimulated production increases for AWs and legal substitute models, resulting in a post-ban decline in prices. Proponents of a renewed ban completely overlook the rise in the ownership of assault weapons both before and after the 1994 ban. Any positive benefits cited by Biden and other politicians and talking heads are seriously called into question in light of this fact. Did the Ban Decrease Mass Shootings? When we closely examine the facts, Biden’s assertion that the ban will reduce the number of mass shootings is shown to be, to put it mildly, an excessive exaggeration. It is safe to assume that Biden derived this claim from a 2019 study that references the Mother Jones mass shootings database, or possibly he obtained it directly from Mother Jones. Either way, there are numerous flaws in citing this data as evidence. The methodology Mother Jones utilized to create their dataset on mass shootings and the conclusions that were made using this data have garnered criticism from criminologists such as Grant Duwe, who points to underreporting problems and says that “the Mother Jones list relied exclusively on news reports as a source of data, and news coverage tends to be less accessible for the older cases.” He anchored the hunt for more in-depth news reporting on mass homicides in his own study of homicide using the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR) data. The SHR data has several shortcomings, but it is the most complete homicide dataset currently accessible that sheds light on, among other things, when and where the majority of mass shootings have occurred in the United States. Duwe’s research revealed that mass shootings are “roughly as common now as they were in the 1980s and ’90s.” But what about the frequency of assault weapons used in mass shootings? Did that change? Economist John R. Lott says: “There was no drop in the number of attacks with assault weapons during the 1994 to 2004 ban. There was an increase after the ban sunset, but the change is not statistically significant.” Did the Ban Decrease Gun Homicides? Assault rifles (and rifles in general) are very rarely used in gun crimes, so we would not expect to see any significant decrease in gun homicides or gun crimes due to the 1994 ban. Multiple studies have been done examining the effects of the ban on gun homicides and the results are generally inconclusive. A 2016 review published in JAMA found that four different studies, “do not provide evidence that the ban was associated with a significant decrease in firearm homicides.” Between 1991, when violent crime reached an all-time high, and 2017, the country’s overall violent crime rate decreased by 47 percent, with a murder rate decline of 34 percent. Meanwhile, it appears foolish to attempt to count the almost two hundred million new firearms purchased by Americans, including the more than twenty million AR-15s and the hundreds of millions of “large” pistol and rifle magazines. Conclusion The assumption that the 1994 assault weapons prohibition was successful in lowering gun homicides, mass shootings, or even the possession of assault weapons is not backed by strong evidence. Most likely, those who advocate for the ban’s reintroduction are unaware of the compelling evidence against the prohibition, whether on purpose or accidentally. When the police and ATF start enforcing a new ban, there may even be an uptick in violence. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/27/2022 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 27th, 2022

Pennsylvania Has A Youth-Crime Crisis

Pennsylvania Has A Youth-Crime Crisis Authored by Michael Torres via RealClear Pennsylvania, A group of seven young Philadelphia teens were caught on surveillance camera beating a 73-year-old man named James Lambert Jr. to death with a traffic cone in June. The footage shows the teens giggling and recording the slow, brutal assault as if it were casual entertainment. “I just don’t know what’s going on in our city,” Lambert’s niece told Fox 29 Philadelphia. “Where were the parents?” (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Pennsylvania, like many states nationwide, is experiencing a youth-crime crisis. Data from the state’s Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission suggest that a major factor in crime among youth is family structure. More than 80 percent of every juvenile court disposition in 2021 involved a young person who lives in a broken home, without two married parents. Nearly 48 percent live with a single mother, while a mere 15.5 percent live with both parents. Similar trends hold up year after year after year. “That’s consistent with what I’d expect, but it’s a striking number,” said Brad Wilcox, a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. “The strongest predictor for incarceration is the share of two-parent families in a neighborhood.” Wilcox pointed to research by Raj Chetty of Harvard University and the IFS that confirms that criminal behavior drops dramatically for youths who live with both parents and in neighborhoods with a high proportion of married adults. “America’s young man problem is disproportionately concentrated among the millions of males who grew up without the benefit of a present biological father,” a recent IFS brief concluded. “The bottom line: both these men and the nation are paying a heavy price for the breakdown of the family.” Given these data, the research, and daily headlines of teenagers sacking convenience stores, pushing people onto train tracks, and committing armed robberies, carjackings, or worse, one would assume that lawmakers would be asking the same question as Lambert’s niece: Where are the parents? But state and local political leaders rarely do ask. Instead, they react in familiar ways. Republicans in Harrisburg consistently call for more policing and are trying to impeach Philadelphia’s progressive district attorney Larry Krasner. Democrats like state representative Darisha Parker of Northwest Philadelphia, meantime, repeatedly propose bans on so-called assault weapons and call for more mental-health administrators in schools, higher public school funding, and more funds for “boots-on-the-ground” organizations. Reverend Eileen Smith is the executive director of one of those organizations—the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace. She says that, while the city needs more police and desperately needs to get guns, especially illegally obtained ones, out of the hands of teenagers, a more fundamental problem is going unaddressed. “We are seeing fearless perpetrators in these young people,” she said in an interview. “We’re seeing young kids who have cold hearts and are not concerned with consequences of any kind.” When asked what could cause young people to be this way, Smith replied that “a lot of it is a spiritual problem, along with a lack of home life and a lack of love. They’re looking for love in all the wrong places, through gangs and online. This has caused a murderous trend among young people, and it’s got to be stopped.” But how? In a state in which approximately 33 percent of households with children are run by a single parent (in Philadelphia, the number surpasses 50 percent), stopping the spread of such maliciousness among young people is a daunting task. No amount of funding for school psychiatrists can make up for tens of thousands of absent parents. Christopher Winters, CEO of Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Berks County, Pennsylvania, believes there is a way. In March, a group of teenagers from various school districts in Berks County used social media to organize a massive fight in a rarely used playground in the city of Reading. According to police, the resulting brawl, which included dozens of teenagers, turned deadly when multiple individuals began firing guns, killing a high school student at the scene and injuring three others. “Not a single one of those kids . . . thought to pick up a phone and talk to somebody,” Winters said at a subsequent Reading City Council meeting. At that meeting, local leaders called for bolstering a community-wide response dubbed “hubs of hope” that now connects 75 community partners, including local businesses and nonprofits such as United Way and the Hispanic Center of Reading and Berks County. The hubs help organize events such as low-cost shoe sales and provide services like after-school activities and mentorship to young people. “There’s a lot of people throughout the community saying ‘we can’t stay in our silos anymore,’” Winters said in an interview. “We established hubs of hope so that our brick-and-mortar sites become cooperative places for kids to go and our family liaison officer can coordinate with other sites if we don’t have space.” Winters wants to see the state pass legislation providing more grants for after-school activities. Some government officials cite evidence that after-school programs and street-level intervention programs like South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace reduce negative behaviors and bolster parents’ ability to work, among other benefits. But programs can only do much, as a report on the consequences of father absence by criminologist Jennifer Schwartz and published by the Department of Justice makes clear. “The direct effect of male capital on female and male violence suggests that a surplus of older males can mitigate, somewhat, the deleterious effects of father absence on violent offending,” Schwartz writes. But “father absence continues to exert significant, destructive effects on gender disaggregated violence rates.” Wilcox insists that public officials must first address the family crisis. “When you hear the phrase from folks like Hillary Clinton that it takes a village to raise a child, she’s certainly right,” Wilcox said. “But I’d amend that to: it takes a village of married people.” The importance of children having two married parents at home became a matter of national conversation after assistant secretary of labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1963 report on black family structure and poverty. In recent years, however, America’s political leaders have increasingly lost interest in bolstering family structure. “Our elites tend to minimize in their public pronouncements the need for dads, but when you look at their own lives, their dads are almost always very present,” Wilcox said. “The irony here is that our elites propose progressive public policies while at home living in traditional lifestyles, which includes having a married father at the house.” To be sure, bolstering community organizations that keep teenagers active after school, supporting street-level mentorship organizations, and providing adequate resources to police are worthy policy goals. But neither a well-funded after-school program nor a fully manned and effective police force could have kept those kids’ hearts from growing cold that June night in Philadelphia. Two-parent homes are the answer to this crisis. Politicians in both parties can no longer afford to ignore it. *  *  * Michael Torres is the deputy editor at RealClearPennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter @MindofTorres. A version of this piece was originally published at City Journal. Tyler Durden Tue, 07/26/2022 - 21:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJul 26th, 2022

Colorado To Consider Its Own Gun Ban

Colorado To Consider Its Own Gun Ban Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Colorado appears ready to join other states in clamping down on Second Amendment rights. A draft of the “Mass Shooting Prevention Act,” expected to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session, was made public and Second Amendment Advocates are concerned. “This bill uses the most insane parts of the laws from California and New York,” Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), told The Epoch Times. “This doesn’t just ban many commonly owned pistols and shotguns; this will ban almost 70 percent of all firearms overnight.” Guns are displayed for sale at Dragonman's shooting range and gun store east of Colorado Springs, Colo., on July 20, 2014. (Brennan Linsley/AP Photo) Rhodes was made aware of the bill draft almost three weeks ago. He said the proposed legislation is designed to greatly diminish Second Amendment rights in Colorado. “You might as well call this the ‘Gun Owners Get Out of Town Bill,’” Rhodes said. The proposed law expands the definition of “assault weapons” to cover a wide array of commonly owned rifles, pistols, and shotguns. In addition, parts that could be used to convert a semiautomatic weapon into a so-called “assault weapon” would also be outlawed. The only exceptions would be guns owned before the law was enacted, which would be grandfathered. However, that too comes with a catch. Second Amendment supporters gather across the street from the Colorado State Capitol to voice support for gun ownership in Denver, Colo., on Jan. 9, 2013. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images) Guns owned before the law’s enactment can only be kept if the owner has proof of ownership before that date. The law doesn’t say what constitutes proof, but it does outline what will happen if the gun owner doesn’t have proof. Without adequate proof of ownership, the gun owner would be required to surrender the gun to law enforcement, who would hold it for up to three business days. The gun would be confiscated and destroyed if the owner could not provide proof on the fourth business day. The gun owner could face criminal prosecution, including fines of up to $1,000 for violations between July 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2024. The penalties increase to $5,000 after Jan. 1, 2025. Rhodes said a gun owner would have to carry proof of ownership whenever they had a gun since a police officer could demand to see proof at any time. This could be a problem for people who did not buy the gun they are holding. “What if you inherited your grandfather’s shotgun 30 years ago?” Rhodes asked. The fines for Federal Firearms License holders who sell a banned gun are even steeper. A licensed gun dealer who sells or attempts to sell a banned gun after July 1, 2023, faces a fine of $250,000. Subsequent violations will result in a fine of $500,000. Rhodes said RMGO lawyers are already drafting a lawsuit because the law is almost guaranteed to pass the General Assembly and be signed by Gov. Jared Polis. According to Rhodes, the “Bloomberg lobby” has invested heavily in Colorado state elections and is reaping the benefits. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg started “Everytown for Gun Safety.” The nationwide organization raises volunteers to push for gun control in their communities and provides backing for political candidates who support the group’s gun control agenda. “These politicians are nothing more than elected activists,” Rhodes said. “We know the realities in Colorado right now, and we are ready to sue.” Travis Couture-Lovelady is the Colorado state director for the National Rifle Association. Like Rhodes, he sees the proposed law as nothing more than an effort to control law-abiding citizens by denying their Constitutional right to self-defense. “A ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’ will do nothing to reduce violent crime or enhance public safety, but it will stop law-abiding Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights,” Lovelady wrote in a statement released on Jan. 23. Laws Counterintuitive to Rulings Rhodes said the proposed legislation makes little sense in light of recent Supreme Court decisions that affirmed the individual’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the Constitution. In the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, the court ruled that the Second Amendment was describing an individual right. More recently, in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, the high court justices struck down New York state’s overly restrictive requirements for individuals carrying weapons outside their homes. The Century 16 movie theater where a gunmen attacked moviegoers during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado. (Thomas Cooper/Getty Images) Since then, lawmakers in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, and Oregon, among other states, have adopted gun control laws that appear to be opposed to the court’s rulings. Many of those laws are now the subject of lawsuits. One lawsuit filed in Illinois has more than 800 plaintiffs from 87 of the state’s 102 counties suing to overturn the state’s newly enacted gun ban. More than 90 Illinois sheriffs stated they would not enforce the law because they consider it unconstitutional. Rhodes believes gun control advocates are pushing back just as hard, hoping for success on at least one or two legal points. He said most gun control organizations, like Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, are well-funded and feel they have little to lose. What They Can Get Away With “They want to see what they can get away with. For them it’s not that big of an issue because they’ve got more money than Kellogg’s got cornflakes,” Rhodes said. Larry Correia is a novelist and Second Amendment advocate based in Utah. While he mainly writes in the fantasy/science fiction genre, his non-fiction work centers on the Second Amendment. His latest book, “In Defense of the Second Amendment,” was set for release on Jan. 24 by Regnery Press. Correia wrote the book to provide Second Amendment supporters with facts to show people the truth about firearms. “We’ve got the facts on our side. I want to provide those facts for the people who need them. I want to move the dial for the ‘fence sitters,’” Correia told The Epoch Times. While the move toward stricter gun laws may seem counterintuitive given the court’s recent actions, Correia said the laws are likely elements in more comprehensive strategies. The fact that the courts have been ruling against them may have gun control advocates in “fight-or-flight” mode. It could be as Rhodes proffered that they “are throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.” Or, Correia said, the court battles may be the objective. Well Funded Groups Rhodes pointed out that many gun control movements are well-funded. Correia agreed, saying it might be to wear Constitutionalists down and deplete their resources. “The process is the punishment,” said Correia. Read more here... Tyler Durden Thu, 01/26/2023 - 20:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 26th, 2023

California Billboards Don"t Tell The Whole Story

California Billboards Don't Tell The Whole Story Authored by John R. Lott Jr. via RealClear Politics, A lot of people are moving out of California. Over the last two years, California has lost about 300,000 people. Major companies, including Telsa, Oracle Corp, and HP have abandoned California for Texas. With high taxes, lots of regulations, high crime, poor schools, mishandling of the pandemic, and “woke” policies, it isn’t surprising that many people have been willing to give up the beautiful state and fantastic weather. Understandably, some are upset with that turn of events, but the billboards put up in Los Angeles and San Francisco are a cheap shot. They warn Californians about mass public shootings in Texas, specifically pointing to the recent Uvalde school shooting. The billboards warn, “The Texas Miracle died in Uvalde.” They replace Texas’ slogan, “Don’t Mess With Texas,” with “Don’t Move to Texas.”  The billboards have received extensive national and international news coverage. But California, despite all its gun control laws, has more mass public shootings than Texas. A mass public shooting is an attack where four or more people are murdered. It must occur in a public place and cannot involve some other crime such as a robbery or a gang fight over drug turf. Since 2000, when California enacted its major assault weapons ban, the state has experienced 10 such attacks. In Texas, over that time, there were six.  Since 2010, California has had eight attacks and Texas, five. Even when you adjust for California’s larger population, California has more mass public shootings per capita than Texas does. On a per capita basis, California has had 18% more since 2010. By the way, Texas’ violent crime rate has also been lower than California’s in five of the last six years. The Houston Chronicle speculates that the billboards may be paid for by “right-leaning Texans eager to keep liberal Californians away from their voting booths.” That’s ridiculous. More likely, liberal Californians are trying to stem the flow of California ex-pats, or are simply playing partisan politics. This summer, Gov. Gavin Newsom has already launched attacks on Texas gun control laws. On July 22, 2022, Newsom took out full-page ads in three Texas newspapers, attacking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on guns and abortion. Newsom claimed that, unlike Texas, “California can ban deadly weapons for war and save lives.” Just nine days before Newsom’s ads, the Associated Press’ highly influential Stylebook opposed the use of the term “assault weapon.” It acknowledges that semi-automatic guns aren’t actually weapons of war. “The preferred term for a rifle that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled, and automatically reloads for a subsequent shot, is a semi-automatic rifle,” the AP accurately summarizes. “An automatic rifle continuously fires rounds if the trigger is depressed and until its ammunition is exhausted. Avoid assault rifle and assault weapon, which are highly politicized terms that generally refer to AR- or AK-style rifles designed for the civilian market, but convey little meaning about the actual functions of the weapon.” Eighty-four handguns and a similar number of rifles are semi-automatics for a reason. Semi-automatic weapons are needed to protect people and save lives. Single-shot rifles that require manual reloading after every round may not do people a lot of good. The first shot may miss, or there may be multiple attackers. At a May press conference addressing the Uvalde murders, Gov. Abbott said that stricter gun control laws, such as those in California, are “not a real solution” to ending mass shootings. Assault weapons bans do nothing to prohibit the vast majority of semi-automatic guns, so it is little wonder that banning “assault” rifles does nothing to stop crime. Under the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban, there was no drop in the number of attacks with “assault weapons,” and virtually no change in total mass shootings. The misinformation persists. First lady Jill Biden still called AR-15s “machine guns” at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Massachusetts after the AP’s statement. Texans aren’t running around with machine guns. Many Californians who want safety would be well advised to leave their state. John R. Lott Jr. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of “More Guns, Less Crime.” Tyler Durden Thu, 09/01/2022 - 22:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 2nd, 2022

Biden calls out his "MAGA Republican friends" for refusing to condemn Jan. 6 riot while saying they support law enforcement: "Whose side are you on?"

During a visit to Pennsylvania on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said "defunding the police" is not the answer. President Joe Biden delivered remarks from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on Tuesday promoting his Safer America Plan.AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Joe Biden visited Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Tuesday to promote his Safer America Plan. Biden spoke angrily about his frustrations with gun violence in America. He called out "MAGA Republicans" for saying they support police, while refusing to condemn the Jan. 6 attack. President Joe Biden condemned his "MAGA Republican friends" for refusing to condemn the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, while saying they support law enforcement during remarks in Pennsylvania on Tuesday."Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress: Don't tell me you support law enforcement, if you won't condemn what happened on the 6th," Biden said in Wilkes-Barre. "Don't tell me. You can't do it. For God's sake. Whose side are you on?"While many Republican lawmakers have condemned the violence during the Capitol riot, many have opposed the House select committee investigating the riot and minimized the violence. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Republican from Georgia, has repeatedly insisted that the rioters are being "persecuted" by law enforcement as part of a "political witch hunt." In February, the Republican National Committee labeled the January 6 riot "legitimate political discourse" and condemned two Republicans, Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, who are investigating the events. Recent polling has found that more Republican voters believe the insurrection was a "legitimate protest," rather than a "riot." At the same time, the GOP has broadly claimed to "back the blue," and slammed efforts to reduce funding for police. Biden's speech was filled with passion and anger as he discussed the state of crime and gun violence in America. The president was promoting his Safer America Plan, which involves a number of initiatives to support law enforcement and reduce gun violence and crime. The plan includes funding for 100,000 additional police officers, $20 billion in services that address the root causes of crime, and takes "commonsense steps" to encourage Congress to pass legislation requiring background checks for all gun sales and banning assault weapons.Speaking at the Marts Center at Wilkes University, just outside of Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the president said the answer to creating safer communities is not "defunding the police," but boosting funding for them.The president continued: "I've not met a cop who likes a bad cop. There's bad in everything. There's lousy senators, there's lousy presidents, there's lousy doctors, there's lousy lawyers ... But I don't know any police officer that feels good about the fact that there may be a lousy cop."Biden emphasized his frustrations with the number of mass shootings in the US, speaking about his trip to Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in May. He told Americans to ask the people running for office if they support "banning assault weapons" and if the answer is no, "don't vote for them."Reminiscing on his time running for president, Biden said a lot of the criticism he got was that he was "too bipartisan.""Biden has too many Republican friends," the president said, referring to progressive criticism of him. "It was a lot of Republicans. I've worked with for years the Senate I got a lot done. We respected each other. We disagreed, we disagreed on principle. We then went had lunch together, not a joke. What in God's name has happened to that United States of America?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 30th, 2022

Biden And Pelosi Give Wrong "Facts" About "Assault Weapon" Ban

Biden And Pelosi Give Wrong 'Facts' About 'Assault Weapon' Ban Authored by Emily Miller via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at an event in Washington on July 11, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are trying to reinstate the federal assault weapon ban that was in effect for 10 years because—they claim—it reduced gun crime. The bill, which just passed the House, will soon get a vote in the Senate. In the effort to get it passed, Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made some grand claims, which they called “facts,” about the previous ban on rifles leading to decreasing crime. But those facts don’t appear to be backed up by evidence. “Supporters of the bans are calling their assertions ‘facts,’ in an effort to mislead the public,” Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) told The Epoch Times. “Many of the Democratic Members of Congress were purposefully misleading in their assertions that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban reduced crime. This level of willful ignorance would be comical if the effects of what they are trying to do wasn’t so blatantly unconstitutional.” The ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004. Pelosi During that time, “we witnessed gun crime with assault weapons drop by up to 40 percent,” Pelosi said on the House floor during the recent debate. “The number of murders with rifles actually increased slightly when the ban went into effect,” John R Lott Jr., the president of Crime Research, told The Epoch Times, referring to data from the FBI’s annual release of reports from law enforcement agencies on homicides by weapon type. Lott also pointed out that no one collects data on all crimes committed with so-called assault weapons. The term “assault weapon” is a political phrase referring to semi-automatic rifles with various cosmetic features. The House bill calls an “assault weapon” a rifle that has one feature such as a pistol grip, folding stock, or grenade launcher. While Pelosi makes it sound like there’s a grave risk of being killed by a rifle, it’s actually a rare crime. Lott has reported that the percentage of firearm murders with any type of rifles was 4.8 percent prior to the ban starting in September 1994. During the 10-year ban, homicide by rifle was 4.9 percent of all murders. Then rifle homicides dropped to 3.6 percent after the ban expired in 2004. The speaker did not cite the source of her statistics. She could be referring to how all violent crime went down since the spike in the 1980s, which would include the small number of murders by rifles. You can see this in this graphic of the FBI data. The decrease was dramatic. There were 15,463 homicides by gun in 1994 when the ban went into effect and 724 were by rifles. When the ban expired in 2004, there were 9,385 homicides and 403 of them were by rifle. “The falling crime rates are more likely due to many other factors than firearm ownership, including a concerted effort and focus on prosecuting criminals,” explained Keane. Pelosi’s press office did not respond to a request for information on the source of her data. Studies Furthermore, there is no study that has proven that the gun control law had a direct effect on crime reduction. Quite the opposite, Rand’s “Study of Gun Policy” in 2018 (pdf) looked at various studies on the impact of the law on violent crime and concluded that “available evidence is inconclusive for the effect of assault weapon bans on total homicides and firearm homicides.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also published a report in 2003 on evaluating the effectiveness of firearms laws and studied the assault weapon ban. It said that studies were “inconsistent” and thus concluded that, “evidence was insufficient to determine the effectiveness” of the law. Ownership of these so-called assault weapons increased during the ban. Keane, the powerful gun lobbyist, pointed out that during the ban, what his organization calls Modern Sporting Rifles continued to be legally manufactured and sold if they did not have two of the cosmetic features necessary for the rifle to be banned. Biden has been pushing incessantly for it to be reinstated since he took office on the basis that it decreased mass shootings. He said in July: “Assault weapons need to be banned. They were banned. I led the fight in 1994. And then, under pressure from the NRA and the gun manufacturers and others, that ban was lifted in 2004.” NRA stands for National Rifle Association. Biden also said on June 2, “In the 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down. But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled. Those are the facts.” But an Epoch Times investigation into mass shootings showed that they are extremely rare and went up and down during the time period in question. As you can see in this graphic, there was no pattern of mass shootings in that 10-year period. The White House press office did not respond to a request for the source of the president’s data. Pelosi echoed Biden with her own statistic, saying in a speech that “since the ban expired, the number of mass shooting deaths has grown by nearly 500 percent.” That’s not true. Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 08/08/2022 - 20:10.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 8th, 2022

So little has changed on gun control in 25 years that top Democrats could restate exactly what they said in 1997 and almost no one would notice

President Joe Biden and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer addressed the media a quarter-century ago on gun control. Rhetorically, little has changed since then. Then-Sen. Joe Biden appears at the White House to discuss gun control measures in 1997.Courtesy: C-SPAN President Joe Biden and current Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer's comments on guns in 1997 still apply today. There have been more than 300 mass shootings in America so far this year. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act failed to revive the federal assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004.  When then-Sens. Joe Biden and Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Chuck Schumer in 1997 addressed media about the dangers of assault weapons, they had little idea their comments would almost entirely hold up a quarter-century later. "It's harder to get something passed than it is to prevent something good from repealed," said Biden, then a senator from Delaware, to reporters gathered on the White House lawn."So I think if you take away these big clips, then you reduce the firepower and if you have a big clip and a high velocity weapon, you have a real, real problem," said Feinstein in 1997, now the longest-serving senator in California history, over 25 years before the Uvalde shooting.Schumer, then a congressman from New York, echoed the sentiment, telling reporters: "Until we do something real on guns, the tragedies, whether it be at the Empire State Building in New York, or in Los Angeles, or wherever, as long as criminals can get guns more easily than they can get a car, there are gonna be lots of killings."Schumer then added: "Here we are in Washington, DC, tough gun laws. But as we're speaking, there's someone who's driving in a car up from Florida, or North Carolina, or South Carolina, and in the trunk of that car are 50 guns and they're gonna sell them on a street corner on Washington, DC."There have been 112 homicides in Washington, DC, during 2022 through July 13 — more than all the homicides the city recorded for the entire year of 2014, according to DC Metropolitan Police Department crime statistic. Most are gun-related.New York City leads other metro areas with 87% of all gun and 92% of handgun recoveries originating out-of-state, according to a 2016 report by the New York Office of the Attorney General that analyzed the city's aggregate crime gun trace information from 2010 to 2015. This year, gruesome killings this year in Highland Park, Illinois; Buffalo, New York; and Uvalde, Texas; have received considerable international attention. The 18-year-old gunman responsible for the mass shooting in Uvalde that killed 19 elementary school children and two teachers carried two AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles, at least one of which he is reported to have bought soon after his birthday.But across the nation, there have been an average of more than 10 mass shootings each week this year — the Gun Violence Archive has counted more than 300 in the US so far in 2022.Furthermore, a February poll by the Pew Research Center found that the total gun deaths in 2020 represent a 43% increase from a decade prior.Since 1994, Congress had been unable to advance major gun safety legislation, until last month. Then, Congress passed, and Biden signed, a bipartisan, but limited gun-safety bill. To the disappointment of Democrats, the bipartisan gun control bill Biden signed last month did not revive the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, enacted in 1994, that included a sunset clause that automatically repealed the ban in 2004. The bill also does not include more sweeping measures to restrict high-capacity ammunition magazines. Republicans said they refused to consider any mandatory waiting period for gun sales or a license requirement to purchase an assault weapon, as reported in the New York Times. "Until you have a national law, you can't accomplish anything," Schumer, now the Senate majority leader, said in 1997.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 13th, 2022

DeSantis Aims To Target Gun "Lunatics", Not Guns

DeSantis Aims To Target Gun "Lunatics", Not Guns Authored by Jannis Falkenstern via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Gov. Ron DeSantis said he wants to focus on gun “lunatics” rather than targeting Second Amendment rights when it comes to preventing mass shootings. “When you’re dealing with [gun-related crime] … you focus on the criminal,” he said at a June 8 press conference. “You focus on the lunatic—you don’t kneecap the rights of law-abiding citizens.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at the University of Miami Health System Don Soffer Clinical Research Center in Miami on May 17, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Mental health issues notwithstanding, some shooters are just “really bad people … who are doing things, targeting kids, targeting innocent people,” the governor said. During the question-and-answer session, DeSantis was asked about the closing in 2002 of a large mental hospital that held people who were deemed a threat to society. Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) demonstrates assembling his handgun as he speaks remotely during a House Judiciary Committee mark up hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, on June 2, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) While DeSantis did not call for a return of that type of institution, he seemed to question the decision of then Gov. Jeb Bush to close G. Pierce Wood (GPW), a mental health facility located in Southwest Florida. “I mean, honestly, they used to have people [who] would go to these insane asylums—these are folks that couldn’t function in society,” he said. “They were a danger to the community, and they were basically committed. We’ve kind of deinstitutionalized that now, so you really need to have a concerted effort to be able to have interventions to identify some of the people who are not safe to be around the community.” In 1947 the Florida legislature recognized a need for mental health facilities and voted to build a large complex in DeSoto County that would accommodate long-term mental health patients. It was named after a legislator who advocated for the mentally ill, G. Pierce Wood, Sr. It was a 500-acre property that accepted patients from 17 counties across the state. The property included staff housing, a patient ward, and buildings for occupational training and recreation. In 2014, then Gov. Rick Scott, along with members of the Florida Cabinet, voted to sell the property to Power Auto Corporation for $2.5 million with plans to use it for car-racing training. That plan was put on hold and the facility remains empty except for a small helicopter repair business. The governor went on to say that mental health “spans a variety of things,” and that traditional mental health is “people going through normal things in life.” “Most people who need mental health services [are] not a danger to the community,” DeSantis said. “But you do have some people that are just really just off their rocker and you need an intervention when you have that.” Shannon Waedell-Collins pays her respects at the scene of Saturday’s shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 18, 2022. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo) Some, however, are just bad people, he said. “They are not dumb, because they pick their targets and they know. The Buffalo guy said he wanted to go where he knew there wouldn’t be blow-back from people being armed, and so he tried to find a gun-free zone,” he said referring to the gunman who murdered 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., in May. The governor issued a warning to would-be shooters: “If you’re one of these nut jobs, just know: If you try that … it’s not going to end up being pretty, and you’re not going to walk out of there alive.” In recognition of the importance of mental health issues, DeSantis has allotted a significant amount in the 2022-2023 budget to address them, Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary, told the Epoch Times in an email. “The need for behavioral health services is increasing across the state. The Freedom First Budget provides nearly $294 million in funding for community-based behavioral health services, forensic bed capacity, and operations of the state mental health treatment facilities,” Pushaw wrote. “Additionally, this funding will provide a comprehensive array of behavioral health treatment services that seek to reduce overdoses, suicides, and unemployment and help break the cycle of hospitalization and homelessness.” During the press conference, the U.S. House voted to raise the age of purchasing a semiautomatic rifle from the age of 18 to the age of 21, which Florida has already passed. The House version of the gun law sought a number of measures, including closing a loophole allowing bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic weapons to simulate a fully automatic weapon. Senate negotiations were already underway when Congress voted on the bill. Florida Democratic legislators are working to call a special session to address guns but say they are not attempting to ban the AR-15-assault-type weapon that was used in the Uvalde school shooting and elsewhere but instead want to restrict high-capacity rifle magazines, universal criminal background checks for all firearms and expand Red Flag laws used to seize firearms from people who pose a serious threat to themselves or others. People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school left 17 people dead on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) he current Red Flag laws, or the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act of 2018, included a measure allowing law enforcement to seize firearms from people who the court deems “pose a serious threat” to themselves or others. According to a legislative analysis, the bill intended to temporarily prevent those experiencing a significant mental health crisis from obtaining firearms until that person can “reasonably prove” they are no longer a threat. The analysis went on to say that the law attempts to balance “the rights of the person (respondent) including due process of law, and reducing death or injury as a result of his or her use of firearms during a mental health crisis.” According to the Florida Department of State, the Florida constitution requires three-fifths of lawmakers in each of the chambers, the House and the Senate must agree to such a session. The Secretary of State, Cord Byrd, launched a poll to all legislators on June 7 that ends at 3 p.m. on June 10. The poll question asked: “Should a special session of the Florida Legislature be convened for the purpose of considering proposals to address gun violence?” On June 7, DeSantis signed HB 1421, which made small changes to the 2018 law, such as requiring law enforcement to be present on school campuses during an active shooter drill, school resource officers to complete mental health crisis intervention training and school districts as well as public charter school to create family reunification plans when schools are closed or unexpectedly evacuated. The governor said he recognized after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school, failures were made by both law enforcement and the school as there were signs that the shooter was dangerous. “The failures of both law enforcement and the school system I think were really, really difficult,” he said of the 2018 shooting. “When something could have been prevented by holding this guy accountable when you had all these different opportunities to do it and you don’t … that’s a problem.” “So, they do analyze it like that, but they have something that’s wrong with them that would cause them to do it; and most of the time, there will be signals…” Tyler Durden Sat, 06/11/2022 - 14:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 11th, 2022

19 children and 2 teachers were killed in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday: Here are 5 countries that have taken radical steps to eliminate firearm deaths

While no country is exactly like America, other nations have taken steps to reduce firearm violence, like buying back and destroying guns in bulk. Mick Roelandts, firearms reform project manager for the New South Wales Police, looks at a pile of 4,500 firearms handed in under Australia's gun buyback plan in July, 1997.David Gray/Reuters Two teachers and 19 children were killed on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Some countries have figured out how to curb gun violence through targeted strategies. Efforts in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom may all offer insight. On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman killed 21 people — 19 children and two teachers — at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.The Texas shooting happened just 10 days after a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 in what authorities are calling "a racially motivated hate crime."The US has had 214 mass shootings so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings in the US.As shootings like these continue in the US, so do questions about gun control. Americans who fear their town or city could be the site of the next attack wonder what strategies the US could take to reduce gun violence.No country has the same political structure or history with firearms as the US, but several have taken steps that have worked for them. Here are some insights from other nations into how gun violence could be reduced:Australia paid citizens to sell their guns to the government.David Gray/ReutersA spate of violence in the 1980s and '90s that culminated in a 1996 shooting that left 35 dead led Australian Prime Minister John Howard to convene an assembly to devise gun-control strategies.The group landed on a massive buyback program, costing hundreds of millions of dollars offset by a one-time tax increase, that bought and destroyed more than 600,000 automatic and semiautomatic weapons and pump-action shotguns.Over the next few years, gun-death totals were cut nearly in half. Firearm suicides dropped to 0.8 per 100,000 people in 2006 from 2.2 in 1995, while firearm homicides dropped to 0.15 per 100,000 people in 2006 from 0.37 in 1995.A US buyback would mean destroying more than 40 million guns — but at the state level, the undertaking might not be so massive.Japan puts citizens through a rigorous set of tests before they can own a gun.Eric Talmadge/AP ImagesJapan, which has strict laws for obtaining firearms, seldom has more than 10 shooting deaths a year in a population of 127 million people.If Japanese people want to own a gun, they must attend an all-day class, pass a written test, and achieve at least 95% accuracy during a shooting-range test.Then they have to pass a mental-health evaluation at a hospital, as well as a background check, in which the government digs into any criminal records or ties and interviews friends and family members.Finally, they can buy only shotguns and air rifles — no handguns — and must retake the class and the initial exam every three years.Norway exemplifies the power of social cohesion and trust.Wolfgang Rattay/ReutersCompared with the US, Norway has about one-third of the number of guns per 100 civilians — and about one-tenth of the rate of gun deaths per 100,000 people.Sociologists who study the Nordic model have found that social cohesion between citizens and the government goes a long way toward ensuring a (mostly) peaceful society.For example, an analysis in 2015 found that the number of fatal shootings by police in Norway in the past nine years was less than the number of fatal shootings by US police officers in one day.Gummi Oddsson, a cross-cultural sociologist from Northern Michigan University, has found that Nordic governments go to great lengths to build trust in local communities.He told Business Insider that US states could look to strengthen a sense of trust through measures like community policing, a tactic that emphasizes partnership between law enforcement and communities.The thinking goes that people will begin to feel safer around the police, who will then have a better understanding of the neighborhood and be able to address problems before they happen.The United Kingdom took a multipronged approach.Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable, John O'Hare, poses with guns from a previously held firearms surrender, at the launch of the new North West firearms surrender initiative, at Police Headquarters in Manchester, Britain April 4, 2016.Reuters/Andrew YatesThe UK's approach combines elements from Norway, Australia, and Japan's policies.Around when Australia adopted its gun regulations, UK Parliament passed legislation banning private ownership of handguns in Britain and banned semiautomatic and pump-action firearms throughout the UK. It also required shotgun owners to register their weapons.A $200 million buyback program led to the government's purchase of 162,000 guns and 700 tons of ammunition from estimates that in 2010 there were 3.78 guns per 100 people in the UK, while the US is estimated to have 101 guns per 100 people.The result has been roughly 50 to 60 gun deaths a year in England and Wales, which have a population of 56 million. Compare that to the US, a country about six times as large that has more than 160 times as many gun-related homicides.New Zealand is instituting a policy similar to Australia's.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds a press conference after the Christchurch shootings, March 2019.Hagen Hopkins/Getty ImagesMost recently, New Zealand has instituted a ban on semi-automatic rifles after a mass shooting in Christchurch left 51 people dead and dozens more injured in March 2019. The gunman, a self-professed white supremacist, targeted two mosques during a Friday prayer with semi-automatic weapons."On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a press conference. "We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place."Six days after the attack, Prime Minister Ardern announced the ban. Around 10% of guns had been collected as of September 12, according to the the The New Zealand Herald; over 12,000 people handed in almost 20,000 firearms and 75,000 parts, with the equivalent of about $23 million US dollars paid out. As of November 10, 36,000 weapons and 132,000 parts had been collected, according to the Associated Press.Experts say a nationwide ban on assault weapons wouldn't work in the US due to the influential gun lobby, which has helped to strike down other gun control legislation."They don't have an NRA," Gregory Koger, a University of Miami political science professor, told Insider. "There's no organization of gun owners and gun companies that systematically and persistently opposes regulations of guns."On November 11, New Zealand proposed a ban on criminals being in even the proximity of guns, for example at home, at work, or in a vehicle. According to the Associated Press, this ban would permit warrantless searches by police and has potential human rights conflicts.The proposed ban "raises questions about other human rights enshrined in New Zealand law, including the freedom to associate with other people and the right to be presumed innocent,"  Nick Perry reported for the Associated Press.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 26th, 2022

Gun control really works. Science has shown time and again that it can prevent mass shootings and save lives.

Mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas in recent days have once again put America's gun violence problem in the spotlight. Mourners take part in a vigil at El Paso High School after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, August 3, 2019.Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters On Tuesday, a gunman killed 21 people, including 19 children at a school in Uvalde, Texas. Data from the CDC shows that 39,773 people in the US die from firearms every year. Despite restrictions on gun control research, scientists evaluated how policies affect gun deaths. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. On Tuesday, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 21 people, including 19 children.Earlier this month, a different 18-year-old man dressed in tactical gear and livestreaming on Twitch, fatally shot 10 people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities described as a racially motivated mass shooting.Already in 2022, the US has seen 27 school shootings and more than 200 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a Wednesday press conference suggested that mental health concerns are in part, responsible for the rise in mass shootings over the past few decades, but scientific research doesn't support those claims. Experts have repeatedly shown that mental health issues are not predictive of violence.What science has demonstrated, however, is that the number of gun deaths in the US is much higher than in other nations with similar rates of gun ownership – like Switzerland – and that certain policies can help prevent these fatalities. Studies have linked stricter background checks, rules prohibiting domestic abusers from owning weapons, and secure locks on firearms in the home with decreased rates of gun-related deaths.Read More: Switzerland has a stunningly high rate of gun ownership — here's why it doesn't have mass shootingsHere's what the data shows.In 2017, 39,773 people in the US died from firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Flowers and mementos are seen at a makeshift memorial outside Walmart, near the scene of a mass shooting that left at least 22 people dead, on August 4, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.Mario Tama/Getty ImagesMost of these firearm deaths are not from mass shootings, but from suicides and homicides, according to the CDC.There are close to as many guns in the US as there are people. There may be more, or there may be less, depending on which study you look at — there's no exact count, since there isn't a national database of gun purchases or firearm owners. Federal law does not require gun owners to get a license or permit.That's one of the many obstacles researchers face when trying to evaluate why so many people die from guns in the US and what might prevent those deaths.Gun violence is one the most poorly researched causes of death in America, according to a 2017 study.More than 80 family members and friends of people who were killed by gun violence gather for a news conference with Congressional Democrats to call for action on gun violence prevention, December 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images"In relation to mortality rates, gun-violence research was the least-researched cause of death and the second-least-funded cause of death," the authors of that study wrote.The study ascribed this paucity of research to a 1996 congressional appropriations bill called the Dickey Amendment, which stipulated that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control."Former President Donald Trump signed a bill in 2018 that weakened the Dickey Amendment — the new legal provision gives the CDC permission to research the causes of gun violence. But the amendment still maintains a ban on "using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control."Researchers do know, however, that the annual number of people who died from firearm injuries worldwide rose from 209,000 to 251,000 between 1990 and 2016.People gather in Juarez, Mexico on August 3, 2019 in a vigil for the three Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shooting.Christian Chavez/Associated PressAccording to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, six countries — Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, and the US — accounted for 50.5% of the 251,000 global firearm deaths in 2016.More than 60% of worldwide firearm deaths that year were homicides, while 27% were firearm suicide deaths, and 9% were unintentional firearm deaths.The chart below shows an American's odds of dying in a gun assault or a mass shooting as of 2018, as compared to other causes of death.Accidental gun deaths and suicides using guns are not included in these numbers.Shayanne Gal/Business InsiderAn American's chance of dying from gun violence overall is more than 22 times greater than the lifetime risk of dying while riding inside a car, truck, or van (though that category excludes pedestrian, cyclist, and other deaths outside of a motor vehicle). It's also more than 10 times as high as dying from any force of nature, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or flood. In remarks following the El Paso and Dayton shootings, President Trump blamed "gruesome video games" and "mentally ill monsters" for the violence. A wealth of research contradicts both claims.President Trump departs after speaking about the shootings in El Paso and Dayton in the White House on August 5, 2019.Leah Millis/ReutersIn his comments after shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Trump said "mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun." He called for improvements to mental health treatment and, "when necessary, involuntary confinement" of mentally ill people.Decades of research, however, have shown that mental illness is not a cause of violence; in fact, a person with mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator. A 2016 study from the American Psychiatric Association found that "mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides," and that "the overall contribution of people with serious mental illness to violent crimes is only about 3%."A study published in 2019 supports those findings: Having a mental illness does not make a person more likely to commit gun violence. A better indicator was their access to firearms.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesThe authors of the study, which published in the journal Preventative Medicine, found that individuals who had access to guns were over 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun compared to people without such gun access."What we found is that the link between mental illness and gun violence is not there," one of the authors, Yu Lu, said in a press release. There is a link between reduced access to guns and lower rates of suicide.Gun safety and suicide prevention brochures on display next to guns for sale at a local retail gun store in Montrose, Colorado, February 23, 2016.Associated Press/Brennan LinsleyMore than 60% of the nearly 40,000 annual gun deaths in the US are suicides, according to the CDC; that's almost double the number of homicides. Data from other countries suggests there's a link between reduced availability of guns and fewer suicides. One study found that after the Israel Defense Forces stopped letting soldiers bring weapons home on the weekends, suicide rates dropped by 40%.Barring people convicted of domestic abuse from owning guns also decreases the number of gun deaths.A woman who has been beaten by her husband, holds her child in a shelter for women who suffered from domestic violence.Pavel Golovkin/APThe Lautenberg Amendment to the 1968 Gun Control Act disqualifies people with a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence from buying or owning weapons.According to a 2017 study, gun murders of female intimate partners decreased by 17% as a result of that amendment. A 2018 report published by Everytown, a non-profit dedicated to reducing gun violence in the US, indicates that in at least 54% of mass shootings, the perpetrator also shot a current or former intimate partner or family member. After Congress let a 1994 ban on assault weapons expire in 2004, gun massacre deaths skyrocketed.A potential buyer looks at a gun at the Heckler & Koch booth at the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 19, 2016.John Locher/APWhen people in the US were allowed to start buying military-style firearms with high-capacity magazines (which enable shooters to discharge many rounds of ammunition in a short amount of time), the number of people killed in gun massacres — defined as shootings in which at least six people die — shot up 239%.By contrast, after the 1994 ban on assault weapons went into effect, the number of gun massacre deaths decreased by 43%, as researcher Louis Klarevas reported in his book "Rampage Nation."There's still debate about whether assault-rifle regulation is effective at reducing overall firearm deaths, since most gun deaths in the US are suicides. But most of the deadliest mass shootings in recent US history involved a military-style weapon with a high-capacity magazine.If US law makers do make policy changes, banning high-capacity magazines and renewing the assault weapons ban should be at the top of their lists, one researcher said.A custom-made semi-automatic hunting rifle with a high-capacity detachable magazine is displayed at a gun store in Rockin, California, October 3, 2013.Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli"Nearly every mass shooting illustrates that large-capacity magazines can increase the death toll and that forcing a shooter to reload more frequently can provide opportunities for counter-attack by those around," John Donohue, who researches mass shootings at Stanford University, previously told Business Insider.He added: "Accordingly, a ban on high-capacity magazines is absolutely essential if one wants to reduce the loss of life from active-shooter scenarios."There's a widening gap between the number of gun deaths in states with relaxed gun-control laws and states with more restrictive policies, according to a study published in 2019.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesFor the study, researchers assigned each of the 50 US states an aggregate "firearm laws score," ranging from 0 (completely restrictive) to 100 (completely permissive). These scores accounted for 13 factors, including gun permit requirements, if and where guns are allowed to be carried and kept, and whether state laws ensure a right to self-defense.The results suggested that a 10-unit increase in the permissiveness of state gun laws (according to the scoring system) was associated with an 11.5% higher rate of mass shootings.What's more, every state's score shifted towards greater permissiveness from 1998 to 2014.States that have stricter background-check laws for gun purchases have fewer school shootings.Mourners pray around a memorial in front of Santa Fe High School on May 21, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas.Getty Images/Scott OlsonA 2018 study found that states with stricter background checks for weapon and ammunition purchases had fewer school shootings.States that spent more money on education and mental health care also had lower rates of school shootings.Though not the most common form of gun violence, school shootings have spiked in the US: There was an average of one per year from 1966 to 2008, but an average of one per week from 2013 to 2015, the same study found.In 2018, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma called for gun policies that they say will make Americans safer, including removing firearms from domestic-violence perpetrators and regulating the sale of semi-automatic weapons.Dr. Faran Bokhari, head of the trauma department at Stroger Hospital in Chicago (second from right), and Dr. Jared Bernard, a lieutenant commander and trauma surgeon in the US Navy (third from left), work together during surgery of a gunshot victim, August 6, 2014.AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhIn a statement published in the journal Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open on August 7, 2018, the Board of Managers for the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma issued 14 recommendations "in an attempt to stem the tide of deaths from firearm violence and support safe firearm ownership."The list also includes regulating the sale of high volume ammunition, bump stocks, and trigger actuators. The surgeons want mandatory reporting of all firearm sales as well.Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in 2019 pinpointed 10 policies that could reduce gun violence in the state of Illinois. Their recommendations are similar to the surgeons' list.Nortasha Stingiey (second from left) hold hands in a group prayer during a news conference by "Purpose over Pain," a group of mothers who lost children to gun violence in Chicago, Illinois, May 6, 2016.REUTERS/Jim YoungThe suggested policies include banning the sale of new assault weapons, denying concealed-carry licenses to some individuals, and prohibiting firearm sales to people convicted of multiple alcohol-related offenses. The most significant change the researchers recommended, however, would be to require gun purchasers to apply for a license in person with law enforcement and undergo safety training, rather than applying online or by mail without training.  These recommendations mirror some of Switzerland's gun policies. In that country, nearly one in four people legally owns a gun, but there hasn't been a mass shooting in almost two decades.Nina Christen of Switzerland shoots in a training session prior to the start of the 2016 Olympic Games, August 4, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesSwiss authorities keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region.They can also decide on a local level whether to give people gun permits, and police don't take that duty lightly. They might vet the person by consulting a psychiatrist or talking with authorities in other areas in which a prospective gun buyer has lived. People who've been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren't allowed to buy guns in Switzerland. The law also states that anyone who "expresses a violent or dangerous attitude" won't be allowed to buy a gun.Most Swiss citizens aren't allowed to carry their guns in public — getting a concealed-carry permit is difficult for people who don't work as security officers or police.A concealed carry holster is displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2017.Joshua Roberts/ReutersIn the US, states that have right-to-carry (RTC) gun laws allow anyone who can own a gun and meet necessary conditions to get a concealed-carry permit. Four decades ago, only five states allowed the concealed carry of firearms. By 2014, all but eight states had reinstated RTC laws.One 2017 study found that concealed-carry laws increased the rate of firearm homicides by 9% when homicide rates were compared state by state. Research shows that states that require background checks on all gun sales had 35% fewer gun deaths per capita between 2009 and 2012.Bodies are removed from the scene of a mass shooting, August 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.John Minchillo / Associated PressCurrently, US law only requires background checks when people buy guns from licensed firearms dealers. However, research from the nonpartisan Rand Corporation estimates that universal background checks could prevent 1,100 homicides per year.Seventeen US states and the District of Columbia also have "red-flag laws," which allow family members and law enforcement to file Extreme Risk Protection Orders that restrict or temporarily remove a person's access to firearms if their behavior suggests they pose a violent threat. Former President Trump endorsed those laws, saying, "we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process." Rates of accidental shootings are also higher when people — especially children — are around more guns.Police lead children away from Sandy Hook Elementary following a mass shooting on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people died in the attack.AP Photo/Newton Bee/Shannon HicksIn December 2012, a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy gave rise to calls for gun-control regulation, and that resulted in what's now a predictable phenomenon: People bought more guns.With more guns around in the months after the Sandy Hook shooting, the rate of accidental deaths related to firearms rose sharply, especially among children, according to a study published in the journal Science. The calculations showed that 40 adults and 20 children died as a result of those additional gun purchases.Many accidental gun deaths can be avoided, though, if gun owners lock up their firearms.Students from Centreville, Virginia wear targets on their chests at the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC.Win McNamee/GettyIn 2015, 13 million US households with children contained firearms. Fewer than one in three of those households, however, followed the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations to store all household firearms locked and unloaded.A study published this year found that up to 32% of youth suicides and accidental firearm deaths (with youth defined as any person 19 years old or younger) could be prevented if the remainder of these households were to lock up their guns.Specifically, the researchers found that if 20% of households that keep at least one gun unlocked started locking up all their guns within a year, between 72 and 135 youth firearm fatalities could be prevented.Longer prison sentences for crimes involving a gun — like armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon — have also been shown to help reduce violent firearm use.AP/Gerry BroomeGun-robbery rates have gone down in states that approved longer sentences for assault or robbery with a gun. In the 1970s and 1980s, legislators passed 30 laws calling for additional prison time for people convicted of robbery or assault with a gun.A 40-year-analysis published in the journal Science found that gun-robbery rates dropped by  5% in the years after these longer sentencing laws were enacted.Replacing medium- and large-caliber weapons with small-caliber guns would dramatically reduce gun deaths as well, according to data from the Boston Police Department.A Boston Police car is seen before game six of the 2013 World Series on October 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.Photo by Rob Carr/Getty ImagesIn a July 2018 study, researchers examined data from files of 511 gunshot victims kept by the Boston Police Department.They found that weapon caliber — which refers to the diameter of the firearm barrel and is an indication of the diameter of the bullet — played a big role in how fatal shootings were.People shot with medium-caliber weapons (.38, .380, and 9 mm) were more than twice as likely to die as those shot with small-caliber guns (.22, .25, and .32 mm). And victims shot with large caliber weapons (.357 magnum, .40, .44 magnum, .45, 10 mm, and 7.62 × 39 mm) were more than 4.5 times as likely to die as those shot with small-caliber firearms.Replacing all large- and medium-caliber guns with small ones would have reduced the homicide rate by 39.5%, the researchers found.Weapons buy-back programs have been successful in reducing mass shootings.David Gray/ReutersAfter at 1996 mass shooting left 35 people dead in Australia, the country's leaders enacted stricter gun-control legislation and set up a program for citizens to sell their weapons back to the government so they could be destroyed.The initiative appears to have been successful: Firearm suicides dropped by 65% and homicides by 59% over the decade following the 1996 legislation.While Australia saw 13 mass shootings (defined as five or more deaths) in the 18 years before the 1996 massacre, there have only been two in the 23 years since.The US has a higher rate of gun violence than any other similarly wealthy country.Mourners take part in a vigil near the border fence between Mexico and the U.S after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, August 3, 2019.Carlos Sanchez/ReutersThe US has far more mass shootings than just about any country in the world. Of countries with at least 10 million people, there are more mass shootings per capita in only Yemen, which has the second-highest per-capita rate of gun ownership (the US has the highest).The US is not inherently a more violent society, but its policies make guns easy to get. The data that we have indicates that some gun-control measures — like banning some types of weapons, improving background checks, and putting more restrictions on weapon access — could save lives.At the very least, gathering and analyzing data could help leaders determine what sort of changes might help prevent another Parkland, Sandy Hook, or Uvalde.Kevin Loria contributed to an earlier version of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2022

Biden Announces New "Ghost Gun" Rule, Names New ATF Nominee

Biden Announces New "Ghost Gun" Rule, Names New ATF Nominee Update (1910 ET): Hours after President Biden held up a Polymer80 80% lower pistol kit in the White House Rose Garden for the world to see while announcing new regulations on so-called "ghost guns" (unserialized lower receivers), Americans panic bought ghost guns.  Every pistol and AR-platform 80% lower kit was sold out on Polymer80's website as of Monday evening.  Sold Out: 80% Lowers For Pistol  Sold Out: 80% Lowers For AR-Platforms  Biden appears to be one heck of a ghost gun salesman today.  * * *  Update (1550ET): Summarizing this afternoon's press conference in the Rose Garden, President Biden and the Justice Department announced new steps at regulating unserialized 80% lower kits. The new rule, published by the Justice Department, requires manufacturers of 80% lower kits to include serial numbers. Gun shops will be forced to conduct background checks for anyone wanting to purchase these kits.  "It's going to help save lives, reduce crime and get more criminals off the streets," Biden said. "If you commit a crime with a ghost gun, expect federal prosecution." The president picked up an 80% lower of a pistol and said: "This is the gun ... It's not hard to put together ... Doesn't take very long. Anyone could order it." Biden also asked Congress to do more to combat gun violence, including passing universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines.  Also, Steve Dettelbach was introduced as the new nominee for the ATF head.  * * *  Update (1503ET): President Biden announces Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, as the next nominee to head ATF.  * * *  Update (1452ET): President Biden said it would be illegal for non-licensed gun manufacturers to make 80% lower kits. He also said gun shops would need to require background checks for anyone wanting to purchase these kits. Each kit will need to include a serial number (like a regular gun).    * * *  Update (1447ET): Here's the full text of the new ATF firearm regulation.  * * *  Update (1440ET): Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced that new 80% lower kits will be serialized.  * * *  Update (1434ET): Vice President Kamala Harris addresses an audience on "ghost guns." Next to Harris on a table are several Polymer80 lower 80% kits. * * * Update (1410ET): President Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will formally unveil new federal regulations targeting 80% lower kits, otherwise known as "ghost guns," in the Rose Garden at 2:15 PM.  Under the new rules, 80% lower kits must be produced by licensed gun manufacturers and include serial numbers, which means background checks will be needed.  The rule will update the regulatory definitions of "frame" and "receiver."  Not everyone is thrilled about Biden's new rules. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY.) tweeted Sunday night:  "The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm. This a fact that has been recognized for 200+ years. Also, Article 1, Section 1 (literally the first operative sentence in the Constitution) says Congress makes law, not POTUS!" Biden is also expected to announce that Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will be his nominee to head the ATF.  Watch Live: Biden Announces New Action On Ghost Guns  * * * Today will be a big day for the Biden administration as the long-awaited rule on "ghost guns" will be formally revealed by the president. There's also word a new nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will be announced.  USA Today reports President Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco will unveil new rules targeting do-it-yourself kits, otherwise known as 80% lowers. The lower receivers come unserialized and take a few hours of drilling and assembling an upper receiver to produce a fully functional firearm. The weapons contain no serial number, making it challenging for the government to track and trace.  USA Today said the announcement would be made "during a Rose Garden ceremony," suggesting Biden's anti-gun coalition groups would be in attendance. Ahead of Biden's announcement, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) published a press release with new details of how it "will submit to the Federal Register the "Frame or Receiver" Final Rule, which modernizes the definition of a firearm."  The DoJ said once the new rule is implemented, "parts kits that are readily convertible to firearms are subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms." This means that 80% lower kits and other parts kits will require background checks.  "One year ago, the Department committed to address the proliferation of ghost guns used in violent crimes," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "This rule will make it harder for criminals and other prohibited persons to obtain untraceable guns, will help ensure that law enforcement officers can retrieve the information they need to solve crimes, and will help reduce the number of untraceable firearms flooding our communities. "I commend all our colleagues at the ATF who have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to get this important rule finalized, and to do it in a way that respects the rights of law-abiding Americans," Garland said.  The new rule goes into effect 120 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. In a short bullet point list, the DoJ explains how their new rule will stop the proliferation of ghost guns: *To help keep guns from being sold to convicted felons and other prohibited purchasers, the rule makes clear that retailers must run background checks before selling kits that contain the parts necessary for someone to readily make a gun. *To help law enforcement trace guns used in a crime, the rule modernizes the definition of frame or receiver, clarifying what must be marked with a serial number – including in easy to-build firearm kits. *To help reduce the number of unmarked and hard-to-trace "ghost guns," the rule establishes requirements for federally licensed firearms dealers and gunsmiths to have a serial number added to 3D printed guns or other un-serialized firearms they take into inventory *To better support tracing efforts, the rule requires federal firearms licensees, including gun retailers, to retain records for the length of time they are licensed, thereby expanding records retention beyond the prior requirement of 20 years. Over the past decade, ATF has been unable to trace thousands of firearms – many reportedly used in homicides or other violent crimes – because the records had already been destroyed. These records will continue to belong to, and be maintained by, federal firearms licensees while they are in business. Axios reports Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will be announced by Biden as his nominee to head the ATF. We noted this would happen last week.  The new ghost gun rule is one of the most significant executive actions pushed forward by the Biden administration to tackle gun violence.  Tyler Durden Tue, 04/12/2022 - 04:44.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 12th, 2022

Why Crime Is Out Of Control In San Francisco

Why Crime Is Out Of Control In San Francisco Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, San Franciscans get what they voted for with Chesa Boudin... When Chesa Boudin ran for San Francisco district attorney in 2019, he said crime was caused by poverty, wealth inequality and inadequate government spending on social programs. He called prostitution, open drug use and drug dealing “victimless crimes” and promised not to prosecute them. The result has been an increase in crime so sharp that San Francisco’s liberal residents are now paying for private security guards, taking self-defense classes, and supporting a recall of Mr. Boudin, with a vote set for June 2022. Retailers like Walgreens and Target are closing stores in the city, citing rampant shoplifting. Last week, a shockingly organized mob of looters ransacked a downtown Louis Vuitton store. Mr. Boudin and his defenders say crime in San Francisco has actually declined under his watch. The store closings had little to do with shoplifting, they insist; Walgreens announced in 2019 it would close stores as a cost-saving measure. And after the Louis Vuitton looting, Mr. Boudin talked tough on Twitter : “Standby for felony charges. Indeed, some crimes did decline, but for Covid-related reasons, while many other offenses increased. The pandemic crimped tourism, which meant fewer car break-ins and less shoplifting, but both are now on the rise. Car break-ins were 75% higher in May 2021 than in 2019, before the pandemic. While it’s true that official incidents of shoplifting haven’t increased under Mr. Boudin, the punishment has changed—and the bad guys appear to have gotten the message. In 2019, 40% of all shoplifting reports resulted in arrest; in 2021, under Mr. Boudin, only 19% did. Walgreens says shoplifting is five times as high, and security costs 50 times as high, in its San Francisco stores as the chainwide average. Why Crime Is Rising in San Francisco: A Video — Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) November 28, 2021 Meantime, the charging rate for theft by Mr. Boudin’s office declined from 62% in 2019 to 46% in 2021; for petty theft it fell from 58% to 35%. San Francisco’s jail population has plummeted to 766 in 2021 from 2,850 in 2019. More than half of all offenders, and three-quarters of the most violent ones, who are released from jail before trial commit new crimes. Like other progressive prosecutors around the country, Mr. Boudin has expressed great antipathy toward the police. At his election-night party, a supporter led the crowd in a chant against the Police Officers’ Association: “F— the POA! F— the POA!” The San Francisco Police Department is short 400 officers and demoralized. A security video obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle last week appeared to show officers allowing a robbery of a marijuana dispensary. Total narcotics arrests declined by half from 2019 to 2021. Mr. Boudin has increased charges for some crimes. The charging rate for rape rose from 43% to 53%, and for narcotics dealing from 47% to 60%, even as it declined for theft, illegal weapons and assault. He appears to be following through on his promise to ignore quality-of-life crimes, but it’s also the case that the state has ordered local prosecutors to reduce prosecution of such crimes because of Covid. The solution to San Francisco’s problems is relatively straightforward. The city needs to shut down the drug scene by working with the federal government to deport dealers who are here illegally, most of whom are from Honduras; arrest addicts who camp and use drugs publicly and offer them rehab as an alternative to jail; and redevelop the squalid Tenderloin neighborhood, which, because of the influx of out-of-town addicts, fosters depravity and criminality affecting the entire city. The situation has degenerated to the point that an opportunity exists for moderates to wrest power away from progressives like Mr. Boudin and implement a sweeping, common-sense political agenda. What’s not clear is whether most San Franciscans want to do this, or could do it alone, without the involvement of California’s state government, which is sitting on a $31 billion budget surplus. San Francisco is an uberliberal place, and Mr. Boudin is only the latest in a long line of progressive prosecutors. In the mid-1990s voters elected Terence Hallinan, who had a history of illegal drug use and promised to stop arrests of street addicts and prostitutes. When Mr. Boudin blamed crime on inequality in 2019, his message landed on sympathetic ears. When he said he wouldn’t prosecute victimless crimes, he was singing a familiar hymn. It may be that Mr. Boudin went too far, even for San Francisco’s progressive voters, with his statements justifying crime and demonizing the police. But if history is any guide, they won’t have learned anything more from the experiment in lawlessness than they did from the one in the mid-1990s, and will almost certainly repeat it. *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 21:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 28th, 2021

The timeline of Tyre Nichols" death, from being stopped by Memphis cops to officers being charged with his murder

Tyre Nichols died after a confrontation with Memphis police, sparking multiple investigations. Body cam video is due to be released on Friday. A portrait of Tyre Nichols on displayed at a memorial service for him on January 17, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.Adrian Sainz/AP Photo Tyre Nichols died after being brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers, city officials have said. The five police officers involved in the beating have been charged with second-degree murder. Here is a timeline of events as they unfolded. Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died three days after he was stopped at a traffic stop and beaten by Memphis police officers.The Memphis Police Department have so far released few details about the incident, but were expected to release video footage of the arrest on Friday evening. Multiple officials warned that the footage is shocking and disturbing, and will likely lead to public protests.Five officers have been charged with Nichols' murder, and have since been released from jail on bond.Here's a timeline of the events, and what we know so far:January 7, around 8:30 p.m: Nichols is stopped, arrested, and beatenMemphis police officers tried to stop Nichols for "reckless driving" near the intersection between Raines Road and Ross Road, according to the department.A confrontation occurred as officers approached his vehicle and Nichols ran away, police said.There was another confrontation when officer tried to arrest him, according to the police.Nichols then said he was experiencing shortness of breath, and an ambulance was called, with Nichols brought to a hospital in "critical condition," according to the police statement.January 10: Nichols diesThe Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that Nichols had "succumbed to his injuries." It gave no official cause of death.Tyre Nichols, who died in a hospital on January 10, three days after sustaining injuries during his arrest by Memphis police officers, is seen in this undated picture obtained from social media.Facebook/Deandre Nichols/via REUTERSJanuary 15: Police announce first investigationsThe Memphis Police Department announced that it was starting its own administrative investigation, and said that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and the Shelby County District Attorney's Office were also starting an independent investigation into the use of force by Memphis police officers.January 18: DOJ and FBI announce another investigationKevin G. Ritz, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced that the the United States Attorney's Office, working with the FBI and Department of Justice, has opened a civil rights investigation.January 20: Memphis Police says five officers firedMemphis police officers Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Dean, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, and Desmond Mills Jr. are facing murder charges.Memphis Police DepartmentMemphis police said in a statement that five officers were fired, and that its investigation found the five men "violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid."It named the officers as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith.January 23: Attorneys say beating lasted three minutes, with bodycam footage showing Nichols being used as a "human pinata"After Nichols' family and their lawyers viewed the body cam footage from his arrest, attorney Antonio Romanucci said that officers beat Nichols for three minutes.Rodney Wells, Nichols' stepfather, said that "no father, mother should have to witness what I saw today."Wells added that the footage showed Nichols repeatedly calling out for his mother, according to The Washington Post.Romanucci also said that Nichols was "defenseless the entire time.""He was a human pinata for those police officers," he said. "It was unadulterated, unabashed, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes."Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said the footage would be made public at an "appropriate time," when it would not interfere with investigations. Jan. 24: Family autopsy shows he suffered "extensive bleeding"Family attorneys Crump and Romanucci told Insider that their legal team had conducted an independent autopsy of Nichols' body."We can state that preliminary findings indicate Tyre suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating, and that his observed injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on the video of his fatal encounter with police on January 7, 2023," they said.RowVaughn Wells, the mother of Tyre Nichols, cries as she is comforted by Tyre's stepfather Rodney Wells.Gerald Herbert/AP PhotoJanuary 25: Police chief calls the incident "heinous, reckless, and inhumane"Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis condemned the incident, while pledging that her department would cooperate with all investigations.She said that she expects the release of the body cam footage to spark outrage and protests."This incident was heinous, reckless, and inhumane, and in the vein of transparency when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves," she said in a statement released late on Wednesday."I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels, I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police offers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video."January 26: Fired Memphis police officers charged with murderThe Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that the five officers would be charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated kidnapping in possession of a deadly weapon, official misconduct, and official oppression. All five were booked into jail, then quickly released after posting bond, according to Fox13Memphis.January 26: Biden says Nichols' death shows the justice system needs workPresident Joe Biden posted a message on Twitter saying he and First Lady Jill Biden "extend our hearts to the family of Tyre Nichols – they deserve a swift, full, and transparent investigation.""Tyre's death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our justice system lives up to the promise of fairness and dignity for all," Biden said.January 27: Police say they can't substantiate reckless driving claimDavis, the police chief, told CNN her department has not been able to substantiate allegations from the five officers that Nichols was driving recklessly, which was the purported cause of the traffic stop. Davis said investigators have pored over cameras at the scene of the traffic stop, as well as officers' body-worn cameras, and haven't found anything proving reckless driving."We've taken a pretty extensive look to determine what the probable cause was, and we have not been able to substantiate that," Davis said. "It doesn't mean that something didn't happen, but there's no proof."January 27: US cities brace for protests ahead of footage releaseMemphis and other major cities across the US were bracing for protests ahead of the scheduled release of the footage on Friday evening.Authorities in New York City; Washington, DC; San Francisco; and Atlanta all confirmed they had been anticipating protests and preparing their police departments.At a press conference on Friday, members of Nichols' family urged protesters to remain peaceful. Nichols' stepfather, Rodney Wells, told reporters he was "very satisfied" with the swift consequences for the five officers involved, which included second-degree murder charges."More importantly, we want peace, we do not want an uproar," he said. January 27: Memphis officials announce an investigation into the SCORPION Unit the 5 officers were serving onPolice Chief Cerelyn Davis announced a review of the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods unit, which was first launched in late 2021. All five officers involved in Nichols' beating were assigned to the unit.The SCORPION unit is a specialized force comprising roughly 50 officers patrolling known hotspots for crime throughout the city, often focusing on seizing weapons and investigating gangs. In its first three months, the unit made over 300 arrests and seized 95 weapons, according to local NBC affiliate WMC.Attorneys representing Nichols' family criticized the SCORPION Unit on Friday, calling for its dissolution. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said he has since learned of several excessive force allegations against SCORPION Unit officers, including a man who said one of the officers threatened him at gunpoint just days before the Nichols beating."We are asking chief Davis to disband the SCORPION Unit, effective immediately," Nicholas family attorney Antonio Romanucci said Friday. "The intent of the SCORPION Unit has now been corrupted. It cannot be brought back to center with any sense of morality and dignity."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt7 hr. 35 min. ago

Where "Military-Style" Weapons Are Banned In The US

Where 'Military-Style' Weapons Are Banned In The US An so-called assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban has come into effect in Illinois after the state legislature voted for the law and governor J.B. Pritzker signed it this week. During the signing ceremony, Pritzker mentioned the mass shooting the state saw last year at a July 4 parade in Highland Park near Chicago as a reason to pass concrete legislation instead of paying lip service to improvements and sending "thoughts and prayers". 2022 saw a slew of mass shootings that rocked the United States, also including those at a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y., at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., and a Cheasapeake, Va., Walmart, among others. Semiautomatic rifles, often of the AR-15 style, were used in the majority of 2022 mass shootings. As Statista's Katharina Buchholz details below, Illinois joins eight states and the District of Columbia in implementing such a ban on 'military-style' weapons. You will find more infographics at Statista The vast majority of U.S. states do not restrict the sale of assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, according to Giffords Law Center. Seven more states currently have restrictions in place that fall short of an assault weapons ban, including bans on high-capacity magazines in five states. Large capacity magazines are capable of holding up to 100 rounds, while states that restrict these magazine usually only allow ten to 15 rounds per magazine. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/13/2023 - 22:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 14th, 2023

The Dystopian Roots Of California"s COVID-19 Misinformation Law

The Dystopian Roots Of California's COVID-19 Misinformation Law Authored by Douglas Eckenrood via The Epoch Times, It is late 2024, and the special agent in charge of the COVID Misinformation Compliance Task Force begins her daily brief by disseminating a list of the days’ five targets to her team of ten sworn peace officers on special assignment from local law enforcement agencies. The team reviews the targets’ criminal histories and firearm ownership records, takes note of logistical concerns, and employs a host of social media and “not to be mentioned” electronic data gathering tools. Warrants are confirmed and onsite surveillance is initiated, providing real-time information to the incoming arrest team. The law enforcement team exits their vehicles at a safe distance and approaches the suspect’s location with caution. As the team makes its approach, verbal commands are given to the women and children entering and exiting the pediatric clinic to clear a path in front of the office door and vacate the area immediately. After the team enters, clerical and medical staff are ordered to take seats and provide their doctor’s location. The doctor is located in the hallway between patient rooms, placed in restraints, searched for weapons, and immediately taken to the transport vehicle idling outside. Witnesses state they could hear the doctor protesting loudly, “My license appeal is still under review!” Could This Happen? Of course you’re asking, “What the heck is this guy talking about?” Please, allow me to explain. Using the same perfect pitch that George Orwell used to author “1984,” the California State Senate authored another piece of legislation that summoned the intertwined spirits of Josef Mengele and Joseph Goebbels. As you may already know, the current Sacramento political lineup is the gift that keeps on giving. Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2098 on Sept. 30, 2022, and it became state law effective Jan. 1. The bill, titled “Physicians and surgeons: unprofessional conduct,” adds the following section to California’s Business and Professions Code: 2270. (a) It shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to disseminate misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, including false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. It defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.” In a nutshell, if you are a doctor who deviates from the established CDC talking points or even attempts to assess and advise their patient as an individual, you may be guilty of COVID misinformation and thus be guilty of unprofessional conduct. What are the potential penalties? Well, let’s just say that the student loan forgiveness plan won’t be helping you, as the $10,000 forgiveness limit won’t even cover the lab fees you incurred with your now worthless medical degree. The Medical Board of California has been imbued with expanded authority to investigate, review, and refer for disposition to the State Attorney General’s Health Quality Enforcement Section’s office, complaints against “COVID misinformation.” The outcome of this completely vaporous virtue-signaling trope may include having your medical license pulled by the state, as well as exposure to fees and other sanctions. Don’t forget that this assault on the pursuit of the truth came out of a change in business code! I hear you saying, “What’s this have to do with the dystopian scene above?” Ah, good reader! Yes, what happens if you don’t comply and continue to practice medicine anyway? Business and Professions Code 2052 nicely dovetails into the above by making this an arrestable offense with with the potential of a year in county jail. I cannot possibly know the percentage of doctors who will either submit to a CCP-style tyranny or adopt skillful wordplay like 15th century astronomers wrestling with heliocentric revelations that the dominant church of their day forbid. But I can predict the number will not be zero. What Consensus? Obviously I am not a doctor, but I do have a memory and do archive the articles I read, especially when I’m making medical decisions. I generally review the same sources that AB 2098 references when regarding consensus, for example the American Medical Association. The only consistencies I’ve seen surrounding COVID-19 and the “vaccine” are the consistent inconsistencies. Wait a week and it will change. Remember the “protect grandma and get the jab” mantras? Or “do your part for herd immunity?” Now we learn that mRNA vaccination doesn’t accomplish either, and the new goal is “reduce severe illness and hospitalization.” I won’t mention some of the latest data regarding that claim, but it doesn’t look good. And I won’t speak more on the issue of defining the undefinable, because I run the risk of losing focus on the real problem. Sacramento power-hungry politicians have pulled off the ultimate gaslighting. We have been debating the way government is going to intercede in our lives rather than focusing on the fact that they don’t have the authority to do so. The inherent desire for government to give itself additional authority is one of the reasons our Constitution and Bill of Rights were constructed the way they were. The founders made individual liberty the underpinning of much of their writing and have warned future generations to protect it at all costs. Public Health Overreach Unfortunately, the California Legislatures’ penchant to rely on questionable medical “consensus” is nothing new. During the 1920s, California adopted “model laws,” in which law enforcement conducted the proactive arrest of women suspected to have sexually transmitted diseases—all in the name of public health. Literal law enforcement sweeps, arrests, and forced gynecological exams would happen with no probable cause needed. California relied on the U.S. Attorney General’s published opinion that these proactive public health efforts were constitutional and that the public’s interest trumped individual liberty. One of the reasons that this unbelievable and sick overreach is even known is that during a particular morality sweep, of the 22 women arrested and inspected that day, two of the arrestees were sisters, one of whom was Margaret Hennessy. The wife of a Standard Oil manager, she was recovering from influenza and was out for some fresh air with her sister, which was a common practice in that day. Mrs. Hennessy had the courage to go to the news media and let her outrage be known, which should be an example to all of us. California’s “morality policy” using public heath concerns to expand the power to investigate, detain, and arrest individuals was illegal then and is still illegal now. The first step in combating authoritarian overreach is not debating what or why they are doing something. It’s making the government identify where their authority to impose a mandate or new law comes from and then impose the constitutional test. You already know the answer, don’t you? They don’t have the authority to do what they are doing. Since 1850, California has suffered through innumerable attempts to exceed its own constitutional authority, not to mention the Constitution of the United States. Historically, we seem to work things out and get as close to what’s right as possible. However, I’m afraid that much of today’s public has forgotten what freedom looks like and is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/13/2023 - 17:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 13th, 2023

Illinois Sheriffs Say They Won"t Enforce Ban On "Assault Weapons"

Illinois Sheriffs Say They Won't Enforce Ban On "Assault Weapons" Authored by Caden Pearson via The Epoch Times, Sheriffs from numerous Illinois counties on Wednesday said they won’t enforce a new ban on so-called “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than 12 rounds, signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday. Iroquois County Sheriff Clinton J. Perzee was among a number of Illinois law enforcement officials who took to social media following the passage of the bill, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment. “The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people,” Perzee wrote in a letter. “I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” On Dec. 13, 2022, the Iroquois County Board passed Resolution R2022-102 in opposition to the bill being enacted and further resolved at the time not to enforce or support the law through the “use of county funds, appropriation, personnel, or property.” As the Iroquois County Jail’s custodian and chief law enforcement official, Perzee said that neither he nor his office would check to ensure that “lawful gun owners register their weapons with the State, nor will we be arresting or housing law abiding individuals that have been arrested solely with non-compliance of this Act.” Other gun-related crimes would continue to be investigated and enforced, he said. A California-legal AR-15 style rifle is displayed for sale at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif., on June 5, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images) ‘Right to Keep and Bear Arms’ Edwards County Sheriff Darby Boewe also took to social media with a nearly identical message, saying that he swore to protect the constitutional rights of Americans when he took office. “Part of my duties that I accepted upon being sworn into office was to protect the rights provided to all of us, in the Constitution,” Boewe wrote in a letter. “One of those rights enumerated is the right of the people to KEEP and BEAR ARMS provided under the 2nd Amendment. The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people.” Nearly identical letters were shared by sheriffs from Logan County, Kankakee County, Piatt County, LaSalle County, Knox County, Pike County, Putnam County, St. Clair County, Union County, Wabash County, Woodford County, Williamson County, Wayne County, Shelby County, Ogle County, Jo Daviess, and more. The messages by law enforcement officials are “political grandstanding at its worst,” Pritzker’s office said in a statement obtained by local media. The governor’s office reportedly claimed that sheriffs and departments that refuse to enforce the ban are “in violation of their oath of office.” Bill’s Passage The Democrat-controlled state legislature imposed a ban on a variety of semiautomatic guns, magazines, and devices that allow a weapon to fire more quickly on Monday. The Protecting Illinois Communities Act passed the Illinois Senate on Monday night by a vote margin of 34–20. The bill makes it illegal for Illinois residents to purchase, transfer, or manufacture “assault weapons” and extended magazines. According to the bill’s language, an “assault weapon” is a semiautomatic rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has a pistol grip or thumbhole stock, a flash suppressor, a grenade launcher, a barrel shroud, or other characteristics. A semiautomatic handgun with a threaded barrel, second pistol grip, flash suppressor, barrel shroud, and other features that can accept a detachable magazine or be easily adapted to accept a detachable magazine is also deemed an “assault weapon” under the law. The rules classify a variety of AK-style rifles, such as the AR-10 and AR-15, as assault weapons. Firearms of .50-caliber are also prohibited. The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association (ISA) said in a statement it was “extremely disappointed” the bill was enacted, further regulating and restricting lawful gun owners from purchasing a variety of weapons. “The ISA has opposed this legislation throughout its development and remains opposed to the bill as passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor,” ISA’s statement reads. “We, as a representative of chief law enforcement officials throughout Illinois, are very concerned and disturbed by the ongoing and escalating violence throughout our State and Country.” “We are always supportive of new tools, techniques and laws that assist us in preventing and holding accountable those that wage efforts of harm and violence on others,” it continued. “However, this new law does not do that. We will continue to advocate on behalf Sheriffs and the law-abiding citizens throughout Illinois.” A customer shops for a pistol in Tinley Park, Illinois, on Dec. 17, 2012. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) Commonly Owned Guns The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America said the law banned many commonly owned rifles. Before the Senate voted on Monday, the Virginia-based Gun Owners of America (GOA) said the bill seeks to ban many commonly owned firearms, and decried the requirement to register them within the state as unconstitutional. “Not only does this tyrannical proposition infringe on the rights of all Illinois citizens, but it is also extremely dangerous,” GOA said in a statement. “These commonly owned semi-automatic firearms are used countless times every year to save lives and deter crime. Banning them will only prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing the best firearm to defend themselves,” the statement continued. “Not to mention, the requirement to register currently owned firearms is vehemently unconstitutional.” Ahead of Pritzker’s signing of the bill, the NRA said that “many semi-automatic firearms that law-abiding citizens commonly own” for hunting and self-defense are now banned. From 1994 until 2004, the United States had a federal “assault weapons” ban, which barred the sale and production of certain semiautomatic weapons and higher-capacity magazines. The Department of Justice previously produced a report, which has been often referenced by the NRA and other groups, concluding that the federal ban enacted in 1994 did not result in a substantial decrease in shootings and killings. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/12/2023 - 13:26.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 12th, 2023

California Law Allowing Private Residents To Sue Gunmakers Takes Effect

California Law Allowing Private Residents To Sue Gunmakers Takes Effect Authored by Jill McLaughlin via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A new California gun law allowing private citizens to sue manufacturers and retailers for selling banned firearms went into effect this year. California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters at Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, Calif., on Feb. 18, 2022. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP) California’s new regulations give private citizens the ability to sue anyone who imports, distributes, manufactures, or sells assault firearms, homemade weapons, ghost guns, or .50 BMP rifles. The law, Senate Bill (SB) 1327, also restricts the sale of firearms to anyone under 21 years old. These restrictions are already enforced by California; however, this new law allows citizens to sue violators for at least $10,000. This is modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act which allows private citizens to sue anyone involved in providing abortions after a doctor has detected a fetal heartbeat. In that law, citizens can file lawsuits against doctors, clinics, or anyone involved in the abortion. “California explicitly passed this bill, SB 1327, as sort of a response to Texas’s policy decision,” Attorney Jim Manley, with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, told The Epoch Times. “This is sort of a weird way of restricting certain rights by not involving the state in the process.” The law creates another layer of restrictions for firearms dealers by doubling down on existing California gun bans. However, firearms deals are not able to challenge SB 1327 because the state has been removed from imposing the restrictions, and instead, individual citizens would be enforcing them, Manley said. “Assault weapons, .50 BMGs, and firearms being sold to people under 21 were already illegal in California,” Manley said. “And the [law] is explicit in saying this does not change that. This just creates another avenue to enforce those restrictions.” When California lawmakers first wrote SB 1327, the state did not have restrictions on homemade firearms or ghost guns. But within a month of passing the bill, the state included them. It’s rare for a state to institute “double enforcement”—with private cause of action laws and criminal penalties—for the same restrictions, Manley said. The additional layer of restrictions means that even if a judge overturned the state’s criminal restrictions on gun laws, private citizens would still be able to enforce them. “It’s kind of a weird, convoluted situation,” Manley said. The new law was first passed by legislators who included a “fee-shifting” provision allowing the state to collect attorney’s fees from anyone who sued over the law. But a federal judge in San Diego blocked this provision in December. The Gun Owners of California organization was against the legislation, saying the law would create “a legal mess and is designed to bankrupt gun businesses.” “The judge found [the law] was unconstitutional and he called it tyrannical,” Gun Owners of California Executive Director Sam Paredes told The Epoch Times. The group doesn’t anticipate the law to be enforced until the legal resolution is completed. “We’re waiting to see what the state’s going to do,” Paredes said. The Texas abortion rights law was passed before the Supreme Court issued the historic June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 precedent that legalized abortion in the United States. The ruling essentially made Texas’s law moot, said Manley, of the Pacific Legal Foundation. The California law would be automatically repealed if the Texas abortion rights law is totally invalidated by the United States or Texas supreme courts. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/06/2023 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 6th, 2023

Gun Owners Of America Labels 18 Republican Senators "Turncoats"

Gun Owners Of America Labels 18 Republican Senators "Turncoats" Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times, Gun Owners of America (GOA), the Virginia-based Second Amendment rights advocacy group, issued a scathing rebuke of the 18 Republican senators who voted for the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Act. In a Dec. 22 press release, GOA accused the group of advancing the Biden administration’s anti-gun agenda. “Unfortunately, 12 gun-control items just passed the Senate with the help of these 18 Republican turncoats,” the press release states. The Republicans who voted for the bill are Sen. Roy Blount, Missouri; Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia; Sen. Susan Collins, Maine; Sen. John Cornyn, Texas; Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas; Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina; Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma; Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky; Sen. Jerry Moran, Kansas; Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio; Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah; Sen. Mike Rounds, South Dakota; Sen, Richard Shelby, Alabama; Sen. John Thune, South Dakota; Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi; and Sen. Todd Young, Indiana. The GOA was already unhappy with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for his support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Attempts by The Epoch Times to contact the senators were unsuccessful due mainly to their offices being closed for the Christmas holidays. All 18 listed expressed support for the Second Amendment on their websites. All but Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds mentioned their Omnibus votes. The vast majority said military spending, national security issues, and funding were part of their decision. One example is Sen. Jim Inhofe who represents Oklahoma, considered the reddest of red states. His Omnibus press release lists defense as one of his top priorities. Inhofe touts spending on computer technology, weapons systems, and construction projects at military installations around the world. He also includes a list of infrastructure projects in at least 17 counties and municipalities in Oklahoma. Not to mention grants for research at various Oklahoma institutions. One Oklahoma project that might draw GOA’s attention is a $10 million Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) to train law enforcement officers to respond to mentally ill or disabled persons. GOA flagged such spending as a way for federal officials to promote Extreme Risk Protection orders—so-called Red Flag laws—in the states. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) touted defense spending, homeland security, and infrastructure projects as reasons he supported the Omnibus bill. (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images) Red Flag Laws allow local officials to confiscate firearms owned by a person who has been ruled to be a danger to himself or the community. This can be done regardless of whether the person has broken the law. Inhofe wrote that, overall, he is happy with the Omnibus deal. “While this is not the package Republicans would have written on our own, the $45 billion increase for our troops will make our country more secure,” his statement reads. But, a review of the 18 senators’ reveals a mixed bag regarding Second Amendment fervor. All the senators criticized by GOA portray themselves as Second Amendment advocates. Some, however, do call for limits or increased regulation. Senator John Cornyn, from the generally gun-friendly state of Texas, draws GOA’s ire in particular. Like Inhofe, Cornyn touts defense, homeland security, and infrastructure spending as big wins. However, his press release highlights school safety grants and laws supporting crime victims. Much of this is covered by the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which Cornyn helped pass. The GOA opposed the law and school safety grants as the foot-in-the-door for Red Flag Laws. During his fight to pass the Act, Cornyn denied that it called for such laws. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote on her website that she believes Extreme Risk Protection orders can be balanced with due process rights. She also listed defense spending and infrastructure as reasons she supported the Omnibus spending bill. (Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images) However, Senator Susan Collins, who worked on the Act with Cornyn, pointed to Maine’s “Yellow Flag” law as an example of what could be done to reduce gun violence and protect individual rights. Collins’ website doesn’t have one press release specific to the Omnibus bill, but she does list several projects funded by the plan. These include new ships for the U.S. Navy and funding for colleges and medical facilities. She is also a strong supporter of Red Flag laws. On her website, Collins says these laws can be implemented while respecting the due process rights of individual citizens. Utah’s Sen. Mitt Romney also supported the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. His press release on the Omnibus bill doesn’t mention the Second Amendment, but he does agree with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. They complain that the current process makes it difficult to take firm stands on specific issues. “The process for government funding must change in the next Congress and allow for individual appropriations bills to be voted on in regular order instead of being combined into large catchall bills which force us to vote for the bad to get the good,” Romney wrote. Graham agrees. “This legislation is far from perfect, and the process that led us to this point needs to change,” Graham wrote on his website. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/29/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 29th, 2022

Students Speak Out On Anti-White, Anti-Christian, Anti-American Culture At Florida University

Students Speak Out On Anti-White, Anti-Christian, Anti-American Culture At Florida University Authored by Darlene McCormick Sanchez via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Florida may be “where woke goes to die,” according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has repeated the line in many speeches. A journalism student at a Florida university, who asked to be identified only as Mia, said professors on her campus openly disparage Christians, America's founders, and whites. (Courtesy of Mia) But talk of its demise is greatly exaggerated, according to some university students in the state and an organization that tracks progressive policies on college campuses. Six conservative students attending a major Florida university told The Epoch Times, on condition of anonymity, about their frustration with the anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-American environment on campus and in classrooms that make them feel uncomfortable at best and threatened at worst. Across the country, parents have pushed back against their community school boards for allowing radical race and gender theories in grades K-12. But experts told The Epoch Times that the same pushback hasn’t happened at the college level—the birthplace of Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT, the experts said, is rampant across the nation, not just in Florida. And that means conservative students nationwide are struggling to navigate college systems, where they face disdain for their beliefs and encouragement to reject their core values. On a campaign stop in rural North Florida on Nov. 3, 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, scorns left-wing ideology, saying “Florida is where ‘woke’ goes to die.” (Nanette Holt/The Epoch Times) Carol Swain, a retired political science and law professor at Vanderbilt University and a frequent television analyst on race relations, sympathizes with the struggle conservatives face at colleges. But she urges students to think strategically before outing themselves as holding conservative views, which are often unpopular among or even demonized by fellow students and professors. Conservative students should pick their battles carefully, Swain told The Epoch Times, to successfully finish college—because the country needs young conservative voices in the professional world. “There are key players that you want in position—you want [conservatives] to become university professors, or whatever profession they’re trying to go into,” Swain said. ‘Extremist’ views A Christian law student, who supports the National Rifle Association (NRA), told The Epoch Times he didn’t know he’d been reported as “an extremist” for expressing conservative views until FBI agents knocked on his apartment door. They questioned him about his political views for more than an hour. A journalism student said she felt bullied by a professor who forced students to parrot her scorn for America’s “systemic racism” and affirm “progressive talking points” on immigration, gender-identity issues, “queer theory,” intersectionality, transgenderism, religious faith, and the ideas of Karl Marx, author of “The Communist Manifesto.” “I can’t write what I truly believe” about these issues, Mia said. “When I did that, I got an F. In order to pass a class, I have to affirm leftist ideas I don’t believe in. When I repeat all the talking points and present them as ideas I believe wholeheartedly, I get As.” “It feels like being brainwashed when they reward you for repeating their ideas and punish you for saying things that go against their beliefs.” A Florida university student, who asked to be identified only as Mia, sits with her Bible at home on Christmas break on Dec. 22, 2022. Expressing Christian views on campus draws scorn from professors, who openly talk about their “hate” for Christians, she told The Epoch Times. (Courtesy of Mia) At the core of the students’ struggle is the university’s apparent glorification of CRT, a Marxist-derived ideology that substitutes race or gender for class struggle. The theory divides people into two groups—oppressors and the oppressed—based on factors such as skin color or sexual orientation. One of the leading architects of modern CRT is Ibram X. Kendi, who attended Florida A&M University, and later taught at the University of Florida. Kendi’s book, “How to be an Antiracist,” promotes fighting racism by discriminating against groups that, according to Kendi, are “oppressors,” such as white males. Antiracism practices often are taught in classes and employer trainings that promote “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). Students said CRT, gender theory, and other topics considered “woke” are flourishing at their Florida university. That’s despite attempts by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to stop racial activism in education and workplaces in his state by formally banning CRT training and discrimination. CRT controversy In April, DeSantis signed the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, also known as the Stop WOKE Act. The law prohibits discriminatory classroom instruction, such as CRT. And it prohibits employers from forcing workers to attend antiracism and CRT training. The law bans instruction that implies someone is responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin. The measure also allows Floridians to sue if they believe their school or workplace has violated the law. The Stop WOKE Act originated as a response to the spread of CRT and other social justice concepts widely promoted by works such as The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which paints America as a country founded on slavery and characterizes the nation’s Founding Fathers as racists. While the 1619 Project has been rejected by many academics, historians, and politicians, its teachings have been embraced just as vigorously by many liberals and progressives. Many have held it up as a model of how history should be taught to children and college students. New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The 1619 Project, speaks as colleagues hold a rally outside The New York Times headquarters in New York City, on Dec. 8, 2022. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) Under the Stop WOKE Act, Florida university faculty members who teach CRT could be fired as part of post-tenure reviews. A violation of the Stop WOKE Act would make schools ineligible for what is known as performance funding. That’s extra money awarded by the state for measurable successes, such as high graduation rates and impressive median earnings of alumni.The threat of facing those repercussions for teaching CRT has sparked legal challenges. Several Florida college professors and students filed a lawsuit challenging the Stop WOKE Act. They claim the law chills free speech in the classroom, confuses professors, and violates their First Amendment rights. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued a preliminary injunction against the law in November. The DeSantis administration is appealing the decision. Hostile Environment Florida college students who spoke with The Epoch Times described a campus culture focused on race and social justice and hostile to conservative or Christian views. They asked to use pseudonyms to protect their identity, fearing retaliation for speaking publicly. Jeff, a pre-law freshman, told The Epoch Times he felt pressure in an economics course to write about globalization as a “good thing,” even though he disagrees with it. Globalization is a movement to reduce trade barriers and build closer political, social, and economic ties between countries. It has been criticized by conservatives, who warn it’s moving countries toward a one-world government that would strip away the sovereignty of nations. Ellen, a Florida college freshman, said her classes have elements of gender theory, climate change, and race woven into teachings on business. One class defined professional attire by showing what would be appropriate for men, women, and people who identified as both genders, or neither. Sam Brinton, shown at an event in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Nov. 17, 2019, was the first “gender fluid” person in federal government leadership. Brinton served under President Joe Biden as a deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Nuclear Energy until being charged with luggage theft twice. (Tasia Wells/Getty Images for The Trevor Project) In a required philosophy course, Ellen’s classmates seemed convinced they were doomed to die from what they were taught were human-caused climate changes, she said. The view that fluctuations in weather patterns might be a normal, natural occurrence that’s happened throughout history was not presented by the professor, she said. And when the professor announced that President Joe Biden had recommitted the United States to the Paris Climate Accords, the room erupted in applause, she recalled. Unwilling to cheer, the moment made her feel alienated, she said. In an introductory business course that focused on DEI, another student, Luis, said he was told to list all his “identities,” including being a white, heterosexual, Catholic male. The point of the assignment seemed to be to make white students feel ashamed, he said. He ignored the risk of stigma and wrote that he would like to perpetuate his Irish-American bloodline. Demonstrators denouncing “systemic racism” in law enforcement and calling for the defunding of police departments kneel in Maria Hernandez Park in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City on June 5, 2020. (Scott Heins/Getty Images) Journalism major Mia spoke of a required class in which the professor emphatically spoke about “white privilege” and “systemic racism” as fact. If students wrote about views contrary to the professor’s anti-white, anti-establishment positions, their grades suffered, she said. Speaking among themselves, classmates indicated they were afraid to ask questions or assert their true beliefs, she said. One professor, who lauded the teachings of Marx, warned students on the first day of class that “hate speech,” which the professor didn’t define, would be reported to the dean, Mia said. It had a chilling effect. The professor also warned students not to get “too comfortable” in writing about their beliefs in a journaling assignment, Mia said. That could lead to students being reported and punished, the professor promised, indicating she’d lodged formal complaints against students for such violations. The professor praised students who acknowledged, with apparent regret, that their parents had not raised them to hold views similar to the professor’s but were thankful to finally be learning about progressive beliefs, Mia said. Writing Satire for an ‘A’ The traditional belief that journalists should question authority and think for themselves was not taught in the required journalism class, Mia said. All assignments in the class would be “viewed through a lens of social justice,” students were told on the first day. White people were described as “privileged” in readings assigned by the black professor, Mia said. Students were told by the professor that it’s a “myth” that journalists must report both sides of a story. For example, if a journalist covers a story involving members of the Ku Klux Klan, the public doesn’t have to hear from them, the professor told the class, Mia said. “Our government and social institutions have created advantages that disproportionately channel wealth, power, and resources to white people,” a slide from the professor proclaimed. “This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.” In a required journalism class at a major Florida university, the professor spends most of the time teaching about race, class, gender-identity, and sexual orientation, rather than principles of journalism, according to a student who asked to be identified only as Mia. (Courtesy of Mia) Students faced the ethical dilemma of choosing between turning in writings that affirmed the professor’s views, with which they disagreed, or failing the class, Mia said. When she turned in a paper with views that opposed her professor’s, but were attributed to others, Mia received a failing grade. In that assignment, she defended Christianity as an institution that helped end slavery. That position was attacked by a teaching assistant, who penned scathing comments. Desperate to pull up her grade, Mia came up with a plan. She’d pretend to agree, pursuing assignments as if writing for the satirical, social-media powerhouse, The Babylon Bee. “It’s horrible. I feel so fake,” Mia told The Epoch Times. “I’m not learning anything, except to write things I don’t believe.” Conservative on Campus A Christian now studying law, Robert was only an undergraduate when he discovered the risk of being known as a conservative on campus. That revelation quickly became clear when two FBI agents knocked on his apartment door at 9 a.m. They told him they’d received an anonymous tip that he was “an extremist.” “They did ask me if I was an extremist or was a member of extremist groups,” he told The Epoch Times. “I asked them to define it. When they hesitated, I asked if being a Christian or a member of the NRA qualified. They said, ‘No.'” To their credit, Robert said, the two agents seemed to be “reasonable people.” They told him that, after speaking with him, they had no idea why someone would report him. He was told the case against him would be closed, he said. Environmental activists rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 25, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) Robert, now a second-year law student, says Florida’s new Stop Woke Act is “toothless.” Teachings that applaud principles of CRT, such as the need for “social justice,” are ubiquitous on campus, he said. In law courses, students are taught to consider skin color with regard to crime and punishment. Robert said that because blacks have suffered racism at the hands of whites, students debated if “systemic racism” should be considered when sentencing people of color. Discussions centered on whether black people should be punished less severely than white people for similar crimes to compensate for historical oppression of blacks by whites, and because whites, on average, live longer, Robert said. “The new trend is to see the difference and discriminate,” he said. ‘Tear up the Constitution’ Robert, who focuses on constitutional law, recalled students arguing that the U.S. Constitution was illegitimate from the start, and was written by racist, old, white men. The professor didn’t express that he condoned that point of view, but he didn’t offer a rebuttal, either, Robert said. Law students, he added, “talk about how we should tear up the Constitution.” A slide showing part of a quiz on bankruptcy law describes a scenario involving divorced lesbians, though gender and sexual orientation have nothing to do with the concept. (Courtesy of Chris) Chris, a third-year law student, objects to the pervasive LGBT ideology woven into classes. “What does homosexuality have to do with bankruptcy, right?” he asked. “They were literally just pushing this same-sex, homosexual agenda.” When answering questions on timed exams, students often lose precious moments trying to determine if gender is pertinent to the legal concept, or if it’s just an attempt to “virtue-signal,” Chris said. Legal textbooks routinely use “she” when describing situations in which gender is not specified, Chris said. That causes confusion. “I had to get used to reading these textbooks constantly referring to a lawyer as she.” Traditionally, it’s been considered correct to use “he” and “him” as gender-neutral pronouns. Progressives have insisted on using other pronouns such as “she” and “they” when gender is not specifically designated. And failing to use a person’s “preferred pronouns” has meant harsh punishments, such as expulsion for students and termination for instructors around the country. Conchy Vasquez (R) and Jony Rozon, both engineers at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport, discuss the importance of using correct pronouns in a training video for the U.S. Navy. (Courtesy of the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service) “The left preaches tolerance…until they become strong,” and then tolerance for opposing views ends, Chris said. “That’s what we saw with the communist revolutions.” ‘Our Policy is Not to Comment’ Ray Rodrigues, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, assumed the post to oversee the state’s universities in November. He was asked by The Epoch Times about students’ claims that professors teach CRT and radical gender theory as irrefutable truth, and how students say they fear speaking out against such class material. “As you know, the legislature passed legislation regarding this issue, and we have prepared a regulation to implement that legislation,” spokeswoman Renee Fargason, an assistant vice chancellor for public affairs, wrote in an emailed response. “It has been enjoined by the Court, and our policy is to not comment on pending litigation.” She directed The Epoch Times to the Board’s Statement of Free Expression. The iconic Century Tower on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla. on July 30, 2022. (Nanette Holt/The Epoch Times) Florida universities actively promote CRT, according to the Critical Race Training in Education database maintained by the Legal Insurrection Foundation. Florida colleges follow CRT principles by renaming campus spaces after progressive icons, and they present race-based workshops and resources for students and staff, the organization says. The Sunshine State’s universities also have encouraged students to report each other for “biased” speech or beliefs, according to the database. For example, the University of Florida in Gainesville made headlines for naming a study room on campus in honor of Karl Marx. The school removed the name after media attention in March. At Florida State University in Tallahassee, the College of Education offers antiracism training resources, including a list of children’s books to “combat racism” in children as young as 3. The college’s website cites Harvard research asserting that by age 5, “white children are strongly biased towards whiteness. To counter this bias, experts recommend acknowledging and naming race and racism with children as early and as often as possible.” The University of Central Florida in Orlando was sued by Speech First in 2021 for creating rules and regulations that “suppress and punish speech about the political and social issues of the day.” The lawsuit described a campus atmosphere where students reported each other for “biased” views, triggering investigations by the university. Students were forced to sit through lectures on university-approved speech that Speech First compared to a “reeducation camp.”  The result was students became afraid to voice their views, the lawsuit stated. Toeing the Line Cornell law professor William Jacobson, founder of the Legal Insurrection Foundation, said the experiences of the Florida students are typical throughout the states. Conservative students at Cornell and at institutions around the country have complained to him about the same issues, he told The Epoch Times. The increasing popularity of CRT prompted him to launch in 2020. Students are being conditioned to go along with a professor’s political views and say whatever is necessary in order to survive their courses, even going against their own deeply held beliefs, he said. “It’s a massive problem because one bad grade in a course can keep you out of graduate school. Students are mostly terrified of going against the professor. That’s something I hear all the time.” As the reach of CRT has expanded, so has the scope of, Jacobson said. The database now includes private medical, military, and K-12 schools. It has examined hundreds of U.S. higher education institutions and documented critical race training courses. The problem is that universities have developed what Jacobson calls “systemic repression.” By hiring politically progressive professors and mandating progressive policies, administrators create a culture that allows little room for dissent. “That’s the complete opposite of what higher education is supposed to be about,” Jacobson said. Students parrot materials and professors’ views to survive their courses, he said. Meanwhile, administrators pretend the students aren’t being pressured. And when students complain, administrators may demand proof that students were penalized for speaking against a professor’s beliefs. “How are you going to prove it without putting yourself at risk?” Jacobson asked. Pervasive Problem Swain, who wrote “Black Eye For America: How Critical Race Theory is Burning Down the House,” agrees that student fear is a pervasive problem. “I have often told conservative students that they have rights. They should be protected against discrimination,” Swain said. Going along with racial and gender ideology to get through college is more common than people realize, Swain said. The political left has persuaded many students to jettison whatever values and principles they’d held for most of their early lives, she added. It starts with freshman orientation, the first day on campus, she said. That’s when established students and administrators let new students know that their past beliefs—based on their religion or family values—are unsophisticated. To understand the opposition, conservative students should become familiar with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” a guide of progressive beliefs, Swain said. The book advocates for deception, infiltration, and manipulation to win political power. Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 12/27/2022 - 18:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 27th, 2022

Growing Number Of CEOs Issue Warnings About Retail Theft "Epidemic" Across US

Growing Number Of CEOs Issue Warnings About Retail Theft 'Epidemic' Across US Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), An increasing number of current and former CEOs have issued warnings about an increase in retail thefts across the United States, which could trigger higher prices and cause locations to close. “Today, this thing is an epidemic. It’s spreading faster than COVID,” former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli told Fox News on Dec. 8.  “The degree of severity now, it’s not just theft, it’s smash and grab. There’s an entitlement out there that if you have it, you’ve worked hard to earn it, I want it. I’m just going to take it.” A looter robs a Target store in Oakland, California, in a file photograph. (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images) Last week, an 83-year-old Home Depot worker was killed after being shoved by a thief at a North Carolina location, officials said. Gary Rasor, the worker, attempted to confront a suspect who was making off with three power washers before he was pushed to the ground; he later died because of complications from his injuries. While appearing on CNBC on Dec. 6, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said retail theft is “higher than what it has historically been” and suggested that it will create widespread problems in some areas. “If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close,” McMillon said. “I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s normally how we approach it.” He didn’t indicate what locations could be closed due to theft incidents. Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO, speaks at the company’s annual meeting on May 30, 2018. (Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images) In September, the National Retail Federation reported that retail theft and other inventory loss—known as shrink—reached $94.5 billion in 2021, while reports indicate that retail theft incidents increased by about 26 percent last year. “Violence is an increasingly important concern among retailers,” including shootings and assault, the report reads. “As has been detailed throughout this report, external theft and [organized retail crime] in particular, is a significant and growing area of concern for retailers.” ‘Industry-Wide’ In an investor call, Target Chief Financial Officer Michael Fiddelke said, “This is an industry-wide problem that is often driven by criminal networks, and we are collaborating with multiple stakeholders to find industry-wide solutions.” The amount Target has shrunk over the past year, “has already reduced our gross margin by more than $400 million versus last year, and we expect to reduce our gross margin by more than $600 million for the full year,” he said. In the call, Fiddelke said shoplifting has increased by about 50 percent year-over-year. Most of those shoplifting incidents are due to organized retail theft, not individual shoplifters, he said. Organized looting and retail theft gangs have caused shortfalls for the retail industry amid supply chain problems and years of COVID-19-related disturbances, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Retail theft is becoming a national crisis, hurting businesses in every state and the communities they serve. We call on policymakers to tackle this problem head-on before it gets further out of control. No store should have to close because of theft,” the organization stated. “These crimes are not victimless. “In addition to the growing number of thefts that turn violent, innocent consumers, employees, local communities, and business owners and shareholders bear the costs of rising retail theft. Twenty-five percent of small businesses report raising prices as a result of shoplifting. Some retailers have been forced to shutter locations in response to rampant theft.” Notably, drugstore Walgreens has closed several locations in San Francisco amid a rise of thefts and shoplifting that had been blamed on policies implemented under District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who was recalled earlier this year. Incidents 18 people were arrested in Los Angeles when police busted an organized crime ring that targeted clothing and shoe stores, authorities said. Read more here... Tyler Durden Sat, 12/10/2022 - 12:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 10th, 2022

The Goldilocks War

The Goldilocks War Authored by Dmitry Orlov, Are you happy with the way the war in the former Ukraine is going? Most people aren’t - for one reason or another. Some people hate the fact that there is a war there at all, while others love it but hate the fact that it hasn’t been won yet, by one side or the other. Bounteous quantities of both of these kinds of haters are found on both sides of the new Iron Curtain that is hastily being built across Eurasia between the collective West and the collective East. This seems reasonable; after all, hating war is standard procedure for most people (war is hell, don’t you know!) and by extension a small war is better than a big one and a short war is better than a long one. And also such reasoning is banal, trite, platitudinous, vapid, predictable, unimaginative and… bromidic (according to the English Thesaurus). Seldom is to be found a war-watcher who is happy with the progress and the duration of the war. Luckily, Russian state television shows a very significant one these almost daily. It is Russia’s president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Having paid attention to him for over twenty years now, I can confidently state that never has he been so imbued with calm, self-assured serenity leavened with droll humor. This is not the demeanor of someone who feels at any risk of losing a war. The brass at the Ministry of Defense appear dour and glum on camera—a demeanor befitting men who send other men to fight and possibly to be wounded or to die; but off-camera they flash each other quick Mona Lisa smiles. (Russian men don’t give stupid American-style fish-eyed toothy grins, rarely show their teeth when smiling, and never in the presence of wolves or bears). Given that Putin’s approval rating stands firm at around 80% (a number beyond reach of any Western politician), it is reasonable to assume that he is just the visible tip of a gigantic, 100-million-strong iceberg of Russians who calmly await the successful conclusion of the special military operation to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (so please don’t even call it a war). These 100 million Russians are seldom heard from, and when they do make noise, it is to protest against bureaucratic dawdling and foot-dragging or to raise private funds with which to remedy a shortage of some specialty equipment requested by the troops: night vision goggles, quadrocopters, optical sights, and all sorts of fancy tactical gear. A great deal more noise is being made by the one or two percent whose entire business plan has been wrecked by the sudden appearance of the New Iron Curtain. The silliest of these thought that fleeing west, or south (to Turkey, Kazakhstan or Georgia) would somehow magically fix their problem; it hasn’t, and it won’t. The people we would expect to scream the loudest are the LGBTQ+ activists, who thought that they were going to use Western grant money to build East Sodom and East Gomorrah. They’ve been hobbled and muzzled by new Russian laws that label them as foreign agents and prohibit their sort of propaganda. In fact, the very term LGBTQ+ is now illegal, and so, I suppose, they will have to use PPPPP+ instead (“P” is for “pídor”, which is the generic Russian term for any sort of sexual pervert, degenerate or deviant). But I digress. It can be observed rather readily that those who are the least happy with the course of the Russian campaign are also the least likely to be Russian. Least happy of all are the good folks at the Center for Informational and Political Operations of the Ukrainian Security Service who are charged with creating and maintaining the Phantom of Ukrainian Victory. These are followed by people in and around Washington, who are quite infuriated by Russian dawdling and foot-dragging. They have also been hard-pressed to show that the Ukrainians are winning while the Russians are losing; to this end, they have portrayed every Russian tactical repositioning or tactical withdrawal as a huge, humiliating defeat personally for Putin and every relentless, suicidal Ukrainian attack on Russian positions as a great heroic victory. But this PR tactic has lost effectiveness over time and now the Ukraine has become a toxic topic in the US that most American politicians would prefer to forget about, or at least keep out of the news. To be fair, the Russian tactical cat-and-mouse games in this conflict has been nothing short of infuriating. The Russians spent some time rolling around Kiev to draw Ukrainian troops away from the Donbass and prevent a Ukrainian attack on it; once that was done, they withdrew. Great Ukrainian victory! They also spent some time tooling around the Black Sea coastline near Odessa, threatening a sea invasion, to draw off Ukrainian forces in that direction, but never invaded. Another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied a large chunk of Kharkov region that the Ukrainians left largely undefended, then, when the Ukrainians finally paid attention to it, partially withdrew behind a river to conserve resources. Yet another Ukrainian victory! The Russians occupied/liberated the regional capital of Kherson, evacuated all the people who wanted to be evacuated, then withdrew to a defensible position behind a river. Victory again! With all these Ukrainian victories, it is truly a wonder that the Russians have managed to gain around 100km2 of the former Ukraine’s most valuable real estate, over 6 million in population, secured a land route to Crimea and opened up a vital canal that supplies irrigation water to it and which the Ukrainians had blocked some years ago. That doesn’t seem like s defeat at all; that looks like an excellent result from a single, limited summer campaign. Russia has achieved several of its strategic objectives already; the rest can wait. How long should they wait? To answer this question, we need to look outside the limited scope of Russia’s special operation in the Ukraine. Russia has bigger fish to fry, and frying fish takes time because eating undercooked fish can give you nasty parasites such as tapeworm and liver fluke. And so, I would like to invite you to Mother Russia’s secret kitchen, to see what’s on the cutting board and to estimate how much thermal processing will be required to turn it all into a safe and nutritious meal. Mixing our food metaphors, allow me to introduce Goldilocks with her three bears and her porridge not to hot and not too cold. What Russia seems to be doing is keeping their special military operation moving along at a steady pace - not to fast and not too slow. Going too fast would not allow enough time to cook the various fish; going too fast would also increase the cost of the campaign in casualties and resources. Going too slow would give the Ukrainians and NATO time to regroup and rearm and prevent the proper thermal processing of the various fish. In an effort to find the optimal pace for the conflict, Russia initially committed only a tenth of its professional active-duty soldiers, then worked hard to minimize the casualty rate. It opted to start turning off the lights all over the former Ukraine only after the Kiev regime tried to blow up the Kerch Strait bridge that linked Crimea with the Russian mainland. Finally, it called up just 1% of reservists to relieve the pressure from the frontline troops and potentially prepare for the next stage, which is a winter campaign—for which the Russians are famous. With this background information laid out, we can now enumerate and describe the various ancillary objectives which Russia plans to achieve over the course of this Goldilocks War. The first and perhaps most important set of problems that Russia has to solve in the course of the Goldilocks War is internal. The goal is to rearrange Russian society, economy and financial system so as to prepare it for a de-Westernized future. Since the collapse of the USSR, various Western agents, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, various Soros-owned foundations and a wide assortment of Western grants and exchange programs have made serious inroads into Russia. The overall goal was to weaken and eventually dismember and destroy Russia, turning it into a compliant servant of Western governments and transnational corporations that would supply them with cheap labor and raw materials. To help this process along, these Western organizations did whatever they could to drive the Russian people toward eventual biological extinction and replace them with a more docile and less adventurous race. Starting well over 30 years ago, Western NGOs set to corrupting the minds of Russia’s young. No effort was spared to denigrate the value of Russian culture, to falsify Russian history and to replace them both with Western pop culture and propaganda narratives. These initiatives achieved limited success, and the USSR, and Soviet-era culture, has remained ever-popular even among those who were too young to have experienced life in the USSR firsthand. Where the damage has been most severe is in education. Excellent Soviet-era textbooks that taught students how to think independently were destroyed and replaced with imports. These were at best useful for training experts in narrowly defined fields who can follow previously defined procedures and recipes but can’t explain how these procedures and recipes were arrived at or to create new ones. Russian teachers, who saw their job not just in educating but in bringing up their students to be good Russians who love and cherish their country, were replaced by Western-trained educationalists who saw their mission as providing a competitive, market-based service in bringing up qualified, competent… consumers! Who are these people? Well, luckily, the Internet remembers everything, and there are plenty of other jobs for these people such as shoveling snow and stoking furnaces. But identifying and replacing them takes time, as does finding, updating and reproducing the older, excellent textbooks. But what of the young people left behind by this wave of destruction? Luckily, not all is lost. The special military operation is providing them with some very valuable lessons that their ignorant educationalists left out: that Russia—a unique, miraculous agglomeration of many different nations, languages and religions—has been preserved and expanded over the centuries through the efforts of heroes whose names are not just remembered but venerated. What’s more, some of them are alive today, fighting and working in the Donbass. It is one thing to visit museums, read old books and hear stories about the great deeds of one’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers during the Great Patriotic War; it is quite another to watch history unfold through the eyes of your own father or brother. Give it another year or two, and Russia’s young people will learn to look with disdain on the products of Russia’s Western-oriented culture-mongers. Their elders do already: opinion polls show that a large majority of Russians see Western cultural influence as a negative. And what of these Russian culture-mongers who have been worshiping all things Western for as long as they can remember? Here, a most curious thing happened. When the special military operation was first announced, they spoke out against it and in favor of the Ukrainian Nazis—a stupid thing to do, but they thought it good and proper to keep their political opinions harmonized with those of their Western patrons and idols so as to stay in their good graces. Some of them protested against the war (ignoring the fact that it had been going on for eight long years already). And then quite a few of them fled the country in unseemly haste. Keep in mind that these are neither brain surgeons nor rocket scientists: these are people who prance around on stage while making noises with their hands and mouths; or they are people who sit there while makeup artists do things to their faces and hair, then endlessly repeat lines written for them by someone else. These are not people who have the capacity to analyze a tricky political situation and make the right choice. In an earlier, saner age their opinions would be steadfastly ignored, but such is the effect of the Internet, social media and all the rest, that any hysterical nincompoop can shoot a little video and millions of people, having nothing better to do with their time, will watch it on their phones and make comments. The fact that these people are voluntarily cleansing the Russian media space of their presence is a positive development, but it takes time. If the special military operation were to end tomorrow, there is no doubt that they would attempt to come back and pretend that none of this ever happened. And then Russian popular culture would remain a Western-styled cesspool full of vacuous personae who seek to glorify every single deadly sin for the sake of personal notoriety and gain. Russia has plenty of talented people eager to take their place—if only they would keep out long enough for everyone to forget about them! Particularly damaging to Russia’s future has been the emergence and preeminence of pro-Western economic and financial elites. Ever since the haphazard and in many cases criminal privatization of state resources in the 1990s, there was brought up an entire cohort of powerful economic agents who does not have Russia’s interests in mind. Instead, these are purely selfish economic actors who until quite recently thought that their ill-gotten gains would allow them to enter into posh Western society. These people usually have more than one passport, they try to keep their families in some wealthy enclave outside of Russia, they send their children to schools and universities in the West, and their only use for Russia is as a territory they can exploit in creating their wealth extraction schemes. When in response to the start of Russia’s special military operation the West mounted a speculative attack on the ruble, forcing Russia’s central bank to impose strict currency controls, these members of the Russian elite were forced to start thinking about making a momentous choice. They could stay in Russia, but then they would have to cut their ties to the West; or they could move to the West and live off their savings, but then they would be cut off from the source of their wealth. Their choice was made easier by Western governments which worked hard to confiscate the property of rich Russian nationals, freeze their bank accounts and subject them to various other indignities and inconveniences. Still, it’s a hard choice for them to make—realizing that, in spite of their sometimes fabulous wealth, for the collective West they are just some Russians that can be robbed. Many of them are mentally unprepared to throw in their lot with their own people, whom they have been taught to despise and to exploit for personal gain. A quick victory in Russia’s special military operation would allow them to think that their troubles were temporary in nature. Given enough time some of them will run away for good while others will decide to stay and work for the common good in Russia. Next in line are various members of the Russian government who, having been schooled in Western economics, are incapable of understanding the economic transformation that is occurring in Russia, never mind helping it along. Most of what passes for economic thought in the West is just an elaborate smokescreen over this fundamental dictum: “The rich must be allowed to get richer, the poor must be kept poor and the government shouldn’t try to help them (much).” This worked while the West had colonies to exploit, be it through good old-fashioned imperial conquest, plunder and rapine, or through financial neocolonialism of Perkins’s “economic hit men,” or, as has recently been grudgingly admitted by several top EU officials, by taking advantage of cheap Russian energy. That doesn’t work any more—not in the West, not in Russia or any place else, and mindsets have to adjust. There is a great deal of inertia in appointments to government positions, where there are many vested interests vying for power and influence. It takes time for such basic ideas to percolate through the system as the fact that the US Federal Reserve no longer has a planet-wide monopoly on printing money. Therefore, it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to have dollars in reserve to cover their ruble emissions to defend it against speculative attack since it is no longer necessary for Russia’s central bank to allow foreign currency speculators to run rampant and stage speculative attacks. But some results have already been achieved, and they are nothing short of spectacular: over the past few months, just a few well-chosen departures from Western economic orthodoxy have made the ruble the world’s strongest currency, have allowed Russia to earn more export revenue by exporting less oil, gas and coal, and have allowed it to drive inflation down to almost zero. Since the start of the special military operation, Russia has been able to reduce its national debt by a large amount and increase government revenues. A swift end to Russia’s special military operation may spell the end of such miracles and a most unwelcome return to the untenable status quo ante. Beyond the intangible world of finance, equally significant changes have been occurring throughout the physical Russian economy. Previously, many economic sectors, including car sales, construction and home improvement, software development and many others, were foreign-owned and the profits from these activities left the country. And then a decision was made to block the expatriation of dividends. In response, foreign companies sold off their Russian assets, taking a huge loss and depriving themselves of access to the Russian market. The change has been quite stunning. For example, at the beginning of 2022, Western car companies owned a large share of the Russian auto market. Many of the cars that were sold had been assembled within Russia at foreign-owned plants and the profits from these sales were expatriated. Now, less than a year later, European and American automakers are pretty much gone from Russia, replaced by a swiftly reborn domestic auto industry. Chinese automakers have immediately grabbed a large market share for themselves, while South Korea continued to trade with Russia and has held on to its market share. Equally stunning have been changes in the aircraft industry. Previously, Russian airlines were flying Airbuses and Boeings, most of them leased. After the start of the special operation Western politicians demanded that these leases be rescinded and the aircraft returned to their owners, neglecting to take into account the fact that this would be ruinous financially (glutting the market for used aircraft for years to come and destroying demand for new aircraft) and, furthermore, physically impossible, given that there was no way to effect the transfer of the aircraft. In response, the Russian airlines nationalized the aircraft registry, stopped flying to hostile destinations where their aircraft might be arrested, and started making lease payments in rubles to special accounts at the Russian central bank. Then came the news that Aeroflot is panning to buy over 300 new passenger jets, all Russian МС-21s, SSJ-100s and Tu-214s, all before 2030, with the first deliveries slated for 2023. There has been a scramble to replace almost all Western-sourced components, such as composites for the carbon fiber wing of the MC-21 and jet engines, avionics and much else for all of the above. Over this period many of the previously leased Boeings and Airbuses will be phased out, but these companies’ market share in the largest country on Earth will be gone forever. Damage to Western aircraft manufacturers will be matched by the damage to Western airlines. At the outset of hostilities, the collective West closed its airspace to Russia, and Russia reciprocated. The problem is that Europe is small and easy to fly around while Russia is huge and flying around it takes a whole day. European airlines suddenly found that theу can’t compete on routes to Japan, China or Korea. Following the closing of the airspace came other sanctions, from both the European Union and from the United States, all of them illegal, since the UN Security Council is the only body empowered to impose sanctions. Right now the European Union is working on the ninth packet of sanctions, all of which have been dubbed “sanctions from hell”. Speaking of hell, Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” there are nine circles of hell, so perhaps the sanctions juggernaut is about to run its course. These sanctions were supposed to have swiftly destroyed the Russian economy and have caused so much social upheaval and suffering that the people would gather on Red Square and overthrow the dread dictator Putin (or so thought Western foreign policy experts). Clearly, nothing of the sort has happened and Putin’s approval rating is as high as ever. On the other hand, the good people of the European Union are indeed starting to suffer. They can no longer afford to heat their homes or to take regular hot showers, food has become outrageously expensive for them, and so much else is going wrong that huge crowds of protestors have been gathering all across Europe and demanding, among other things, an end to anti-Russian sanctions, normalization of relations with Russia and a return to business as usual. Their demands are unlikely to be met, since this would mean a major loss of face for the European leaders. But there is a more important reason why the sanctions will stay: a return to business as usual would mean that Russia would once again provide energy and raw materials to Europe cheaply while allowing European companies to profit from the labor of Russians. This is quite unappealing and is therefore unlikely to happen. Russia is using the sanctions as an opportunity to rebuild its domestic industry and reorient its trade away from hostile nations and toward friendly nations that are fair and sympathetic in their dealings with Russia. It is also working hard to phase out the use of currencies that Dmitry Medvedev called “toxic”; namely, the US dollar and the euro. Add to this list a wonderful new Russian innovation called “parallel import.” If some company, in complying with anti-Russian sanctions, refuses to sell its products to Russia or to service or upgrade its products in Russia, then Russia will buy these products and upgrades from a third or fourth or fifth party without permission from the US, the EU or the manufacturer. If a certain brand-name product becomes unavailable, the Russians simply rename the brand and make the same product themselves, or have the Chinese or another trade partner do it for them. And if the West refuses to license its intellectual property to Russia, then that intellectual property becomes free in Russia. This works particularly well with software: free copies of brand-name software are just as good as the paid-for copies, and if tech support, training or other associated services become unavailable from the West, the Russians simply organize their own. Intellectual property of various sorts makes up a large portion Western notional wealth, and Western sanctions are having the effect of letting Russia make use of it free of charge. Thanks to modern digital technology, it works rather well with hardware too. Instead of painstakingly reverse-engineering products, now the same effect can be achieved by buying the 3D models on a thumb drive and 3D-printing them or automatically generating the mill and drill paths to create them on an NC mill. Putin likes to use the expression “tsap-tsarap” to describe this process. It is hard to translate directly but pertains to the act of a cat snatching its prey with its claws. The short of it is, what Russia previously had to pay for is now, thanks to sanctions, free to it. Since the Goldilocks War is, after all, a sort of war, we need to briefly discuss its military aspects. Here, too, a steady-as-she-goes approach seems to be the most copacetic. The stated goal is to demilitarize and denazify the former Ukraine, and to some extent this has already been achieved: most of the armor and artillery that the Ukraine had inherited from the USSR has already been destroyed; most of the diehard Nazi battalions are either dead or a shadow of their former selves. Gone too are most of the volunteers that once fought on the Ukrainian side. After over 100000 Ukrainian soldiers “have been killed” since February 2022 (as forthrightly stated, then sheepishly denied, by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen), and after perhaps as many as half a million casualties, scores of service-age men bribing their way out of the country and several rounds of the draft, it is slim pickings. With well over a hundred Ukrainian casualties a day the pickings are bound to get even slimmer over time. Foreign mercenaries have been used to fill the gap—Anglos, Poles, Romanians—but there is a major problem with them: as Julius Caesar pointed out, lots of people are willing to kill for money but nobody wants to die for money—except an idiot, I would add. And on NATO’s Russian front an idiot and his life are soon parted. Up-to-date information on Russian casualties is a state secret and the only number divulged by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in late September 2022 was 5937 killed since the start of the campaign. Casualty rates are said to have been significantly lower since then. At present, there is still no shortage of idiots on the Ukrainian side—yet—and neither is there a shortage of donated Western weaponry. First came used Soviet-era tanks and other weapons systems donated from all over Eastern Europe; then came actual Western weapons systems. And now throughout NATO one hears plaintive cries that they have nothing left that they can give to the Ukrainians: the cupboard is empty. Nor can they manufacture more weapons in a hurry. To start churning out weapons at the same rate as Russia is doing, these NATO members would first need to reindustrialize, and there are neither the human resources, nor the money to do so. And so the Russian army grinds away, demilitarizing the Ukraine, and the rest of NATO with it. In the process, it is perfecting the art of fighting a land war against NATO—not that a single NATO country would even entertain such an idea. Perhaps this is mission creep, or perhaps this has been the plan all along, but what Russia is doing at this point is destroying NATO. You may recall that a year ago Russia demanded that the US honor certain security guarantees it made as a condition for allowing the peaceful reunification of Germany; namely, that NATO would not expand eastward. “Not an inch to the east” was how the official record of the meeting reads. Gorbachev and Shevardnadze failed to get this deal on paper and signed, but a verbal deal is a deal. A year ago Russia’s offer was quite moderate: that NATO withdraw to its pre-1997 borders, when it expanded to Eastern Europe. But, as usually happens when negotiating with the Russians, their initial offer is usually the best. For all we know, based on how things are going in the Ukraine, Russia’s best and final offer may require NATO to disband altogether. After all, the Warsaw Pact disbanded 31 years ago but NATO is still around and bigger than ever; what for? To fight Russia? Well, then, what are they waiting for? Come and get it! This may not even take the form of a negotiation. For example, Russia could say, take a quick whack at Latvia (it richly deserves a whack or two for abusing its large native Russian population Nazi-style) and then stand back and say, “Come on, NATO, come and die heroically on our doorstep for poor little Latvia!” At this, NATO officials will stand united but very quiet, thoughtfully examining their own and each others’ shoes. Once it becomes clear that there will be no offers to launch World War III to avenge Latvia, NATO will quietly dry up and blow away. Finally, we come to what is perhaps the least important reason for the Goldilocks War: the former Ukraine itself. In view of Russia’s other strategic goals, it seems more of the nature of a sacrificial piece in a chess gambit. Given what Russia has already achieved over the past nine months—four new Russian regions, six million new Russian citizens, a land bridge to Crimea, irrigation water supply to Crimea—there isn’t much left for Russia to achieve militarily before its military campaign reaches the stage of diminishing returns. The addition of Nikolaev and Odessa regions and full control of the Black Sea coastline would, of course, be most valuable; control of Kharkov and Kiev somewhat less so. Control of the entire Dniepr hydroelectric cascade is a definite nice-to-have. As for the rest, it could be left to languish for ages as a deindustrialized, depopulated wasteland, labeled “Mostly harmless.” Let me divulge a personal detail or two. Two of my grandparents were from Zhitomir, my father was born in Kiev, my first romantic interest was a girl from Odessa, and over the years I’ve had as many friends from Odessa, Kharkov, Lvov, Kiev, Donetsk, Vinnitsa and elsewhere as anywhere else in Russia. Russia? You read that right: there is no way to convince me that so-called “Ukrainian territory” somehow isn’t Russia or that the people who live there somehow aren’t Russian—regardless of what some of them have been recently brainwashed to think. What’s more, none of these people I have known over the years ever thought of themselves as the least bit Ukrainian and they would probably view the very idea of a Ukrainian nationalist identity as symptomatic of a mental condition. The label “Ukrainian” was to them some Bolshevik nonse; since then, Ukrainianness has been turned into a Western method for exploiting minor ethnic variations in order to make one group of Russians fight another group of Russians. In case you are doubtful, let’s apply the good old duck test: Do the people there walk, quack and look like Russians? All of that territory, with one minor exception in the far west, was part of Russia for anywhere between ten and three centuries; most of the people there, and virtually the entire urban population, speaks Russian as their native language; their religion is predominantly Russian Orthodox; they are genetically indistinguishable from the rest of the Russian population. So, what happened to them? Unfortunately, a small piece of this Russian land spent three centuries in captivity to the Austro-Hungarian Empire or as part of Greater Poland, and this poisoned their minds with foreign ideas such as Catholicism and ethnic nationalism. Unlike Russia, which is a multinational, multi-ethnic, religiously diverse monolith, the West is a mosaic of ethnic nationalisms, and where there are nationalists there may be Nazis, ethnic cleansing and genocide. As one drop of poison infects the whole tun of wine, these Western Ukrainians, with lots of help and funds from the German Nazis, then the Americans and the Canadians, managed to infect a large part of the formerly Ukrainian territory with a fake nationalism based on a forged history and a haphazardly concocted culture. Official bans on the teaching and, eventually, the use of Russian have brought up a generation of young people who are essentially illiterate in their native Russian. They are taught in Ukrainian, but Ukrainian literacy is close to an oxymoron, since nothing of any great consequence has ever been written or published in that language and the vast majority of Ukrainian literary works are, you guessed it, in Russian. The Russian special military operation that’s been ongoing since February 2022 has polarized the entire population. Those who had decided to be with Russia back in 2014 were, obviously, overjoyed to finally get some help from Russia. The now Russian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson gladly voted to join Russia. But as far as the rest of the former Ukrainian territory, the polarization is mostly in the opposite direction. Those who wanted to be with Russia mostly voted with their feet and are now living somewhere in Russia. This is something that time alone can fix. Eventually the population of the former Ukraine will be forced to make a choice: they can be Russian, or they can be refugees somewhere in Europe, or they can die fighting Russians at the front. Note that even Donetsk and Lugansk didn’t make this choice right away, the way Crimea did. At that time, only some 70% of their population was in favor of leaving the Ukraine and rejoining Russia. It took eight years of relentless Ukrainian bombing to convince them to make this choice. Over these intervening years, the diehard “Ukrainians” filtered out, leaving behind a population that was close to 100% pro-Russian. It was only then that the Kremlin granted them official recognition, sent in troops to defend them from imminent invasion and, soon after, accepted them into the Russian Federation. And now the same sort of sorting operation has to take place throughout the rest of the former Ukraine. How long will it take? Only time will tell, but it is already clear that, as far as Russia is concerned, there is no compelling reason to rush. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/07/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 7th, 2022