Governance by Fad and Dr. Floyd Ferris of the State Science Institute

An issue (one of many) that contributes to my lack of confidence in government and the general animosity toward politicians is the tendency to govern by fad.

I think that this unserious and superficial approach, especially at the national level, is very dangerous and is clearly responsible for the “pinball wizard” feeling we get as America bounces from crisis to crisis.

I think a perfect example of this is the current “gun control” debate. Undoubtedly this became a hot item due to the Sandy Hook school shootings. The reason that I call it a “fad” is not to show disrespect or to be callous, I just note that it was an opportunity to channel liberal anti-gun/anti-Second Amendment bias, combine it with the horrific visuals of dead children and direct it all toward the achievement of a long term liberal/progressive political goal – the banning of private ownership of guns.

As Awr Hawkins at Breitbart pointed out, this “push” has nothing to do with facts:

However, it appears the zeal of Sens. like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) is misdirected. For in looking at the FBI numbers from 2005 to 2011, the number of murders by hammers and clubs consistently exceeds the number of murders committed with a rifle.

Think about it: In 2005, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 445, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 605. In 2006, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 438, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 618.
And so the list goes, with the actual numbers changing somewhat from year to year, yet the fact that more people are killed with blunt objects each year remains constant.

For example, in 2011, there were 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs.

The statistics to back this up can be found at the FBI’s own website here.

They are going after “assault weapons”, specifically the AR-15 type rifles when these are used in fewer deaths than blunt objects or even hands or feet.

None of Obama’s proposals will do one damn thing to make people safer and they know it:

The memo, under the name of one of the Justice Department’s leading crime researchers, critiques the effectiveness of gun control proposals, including some of President Barack Obama’s. A Justice Department official called the memo an unfinished review of gun violence research and said it does not represent administration policy.

The memo says requiring background checks for more gun purchases could help, but also could lead to more illicit weapons sales. It says banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines produced in the future but exempting those already owned by the public, as Obama has proposed, would have limited impact because people now own so many of those items.

It also says that even total elimination of assault weapons would have little overall effect on gun killings because assault weapons account for a limited proportion of those crimes.

The nine-page document says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on “requiring gun registration,” and says gun buybacks would not be effective “unless massive and coupled with a ban.”

This sleight of hand attack should not be unexpected as it has been in the Democrat’s playbook for over 20 years. My first memory of it was in 1991 when the Democrat Congressional leadership announced a probe into the mythical “October Surprise” of 11 years earlier – this being the charge that Reagan traded arms for the Iran hostages and orchestrated the release to assure his victory over Carter in 1980.

In announcing the probe, House Speaker Thomas Foley, D-Wash., and Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell of Maine said that committees from each house will review the case based on `persistent and disturbing’ reports.

`We have no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, but the seriousness of these allegations, and the weight of circumstantial information, compel an effort to establish the facts,’ read a joint statement from Foley and Mitchell.

As Rush Limbaugh stated in 2003, this amounts to this philosophy:

The nature of the evidence is irrelevant; it’s the seriousness of the charge that matters.

So it is with “gun control” – the actual facts don’t matter, but we MUST. DO. SOMETHINGtm. Never mind that we already have a myriad of laws on the books to restrict gun ownership – but as this CBS News report reveals, we simply don’t enforce them:

It notes that federal weapons prosecutions have fallen to the lowest levels in over a decade and points to statistics that suggest they should be higher. For instance, the letter points out that in 2010 there were 76,142 denials following instant background checks for guns, and of those, 4,732 were referred to field offices for investigation. However, only 62 prosecutions resulted from those referrals.

“A prosecution rate this low is not indicative of a Department of Justice that takes the act of illegally attempting to acquire a firearm seriously,” the letter says.

The argument that the administration should focus on enforcing existing laws before creating new ones was employed by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre when he testified before the Senate earlier this year. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years,” LaPierre said in his testimony. “Overall in 2011, federal weapons prosecutions per capita were down 35 percent from their peak in the previous administration. That means violent felons, gang members and the mentally ill who possess firearms are not being prosecuted. And that’s unacceptable.”

So what do we do?

We try to layer even more laws on top of existing laws to create a situation so complex and confused that any given citizen has little assurance of what is legal and what is not (think of our Byzantine tax code or the 80,000 page plus Federal Register). I know that it has been quoted before but I just watched parts 1 and 2 of the Atlas Shrugged this weekend and remembered this exchange between Hank Rearden and Dr. Floyd Ferris, Ph.D., the Associate Director of the State Science Institute:

“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against—then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it.

You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

Our government (under both Republican and Democrat control) has proven that it selectively enforces laws to influence behaviors in ways that support the flavor of the month. It is devastating for the individuals who run afoul of these selectively enforced laws but in reality, all citizens must live in fear of the unequal application of law based on which way the political winds are blowing at the time. This kind of legal uncertainty is what was prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment and is the very definition of tyranny.

As Joe has already noted, it isn’t about gun control, it is about people control.

Wake up folks. Cut through the BS. Stop falling for the fads.

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28 thoughts on “Governance by Fad and Dr. Floyd Ferris of the State Science Institute

  1. According to the FBI (at the site Breitbart strip quotes from), murders committed with firearms in 2011 were 8,583 — a great downward trend from four years ago.

    Murders committed with all blunt objects, including hammers, were 496.

    So deaths from firearms outnumber deaths from beating with blunt objects by 8,087. Deaths from hammers, clubs, and blunt objects is less than 6% the deaths from firearms.

    Oh, you’re concerned only with rifles? Cherry picking, a lot?

    You say, “they’re going after assault rifles.” Who?

    Which proposed regulations go after assault weapons only? Why shouldn’t we go after assault weapons? What do you propose, instead, to stop assaults at schools?

    Here’s the president’s plan, which includes several actions designed to restrict access to hand guns by people who shouldn’t have them, and limitations on the size of magazines used in the assault pistols used in the Sandy Hook School murders, and in the theater in Aurora: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/wh_now_is_the_time_full.pdf

    In short, you’re answering a straw man argument. Obama, the “guy who knows nothing about guns,” is way ahead of you. He’s already answered your objection. So you support his plan, now?

  2. And yet, we have already pointed out how fruitless any of that is to restrict a mag to 10 rounds when it takes less than 2 seconds to change one out – http://therionorteline.com/2013/01/16/video-evidence-from-2009-as-to-why-a-limitation-on-magazine-capacity-is-meaningless/

    We shouldn’t go after “assault weapons” because as they are defined, the ban covers nothing but things that are cosmetic – something else we have pointed out here: http://therionorteline.com/2013/01/17/the-level-of-liberal-ignorance-about-guns-is-astounding/

    What I pointed out – something that you evidently missed – is that there are laws already on the books that are not being enforced. More laws that won’t get enforced do not equal any increase in protection. What I also pointed out in the statistics is how small a percentage of weapons the restrictions covered and used that as a gauge to measure how stupid the changes are – it does not mean I support the changes because I don’t. Restricting guns won’t change anything the Dunblane and Cumbria shootings in the UK proved that.

    As far as how to stop school shootings, you can find something that will do it here: http://therionorteline.com/2012/12/23/guns-schools-and-common-sense/

    • And yet, we have already pointed out how fruitless any of that is to restrict a mag to 10 rounds when it takes less than 2 seconds to change one out – http://therionorteline.com/2013/01/16/video-evidence-from-2009-as-to-why-a-limitation-on-magazine-capacity-is-meaningless/

      But apparently the mass shooters don’t know that. They tend to stop shooting when the clip runs out. Reloading time tends to be the end of the shooting. Not in every case, but in enough of the cases. Plus, that’s when a lot of these guns jam. One of the Oregon shooters was knocked down when his gun jammed.

      There’s no reason on God’s Earth for anyone not in the Mafia, a Mexican Cartel or the U.S. military to have a clip that big. Two of those groups have reasons, but they’re illegal reasons. You’re not military. Got a confession you need to make?

      We shouldn’t go after “assault weapons” because as they are defined, the ban covers nothing but things that are cosmetic – something else we have pointed out here: http://therionorteline.com/2013/01/17/the-level-of-liberal-ignorance-about-guns-is-astounding/

      By the way, the “AR” in AR-15 stands for “assault rifle.” Again, there is no reason on God’s Earth for anyone outside the military to have an assault rifle. Let’s change the definition to make it make sense, and to deprive mentally-ill people and others bent on destruction from having the things. A bad definition is not a block to making good laws — change the definition.

      What I pointed out – something that you evidently missed – is that there are laws already on the books that are not being enforced. More laws that won’t get enforced do not equal any increase in protection. What I also pointed out in the statistics is how small a percentage of weapons the restrictions covered and used that as a gauge to measure how stupid the changes are – it does not mean I support the changes because I don’t. Restricting guns won’t change anything the Dunblane and Cumbria shootings in the UK proved that.

      Yeah, that was what the NRA told Biden. What I pointed out that I can’t believe you missed is that most of the actions proposed take care of those problems. Obama’s stepped up enforcement of laws already on the books — and true to form, you’re screaming like a stuck pig. We see how you are. (NRA is screaming, too — they had spend several hundred thousand dollars in a propaganda campaign to complain Obama wasn’t doing that; and then he took their suggestion. A group of stuck pigs. A whole herd of ‘em.)

      What I pointed out that I can’t believe you missed again is that of about 25 things proposed by the adminisration, only one is any restriction on guns, and it’s a restriction that should significantly affect mass assaults (there are a lot more of those than there are “mass killings.” To qualify for a “mass killing” there must be at least four dead — there are lots of assaults where fewer than four die that would be affected.)

      The background check and other restrictions on who can buy any gun at all affects handguns more than rifles. So, if you’re complaint is what you really complain about, you support that, right?

      As far as how to stop school shootings, you can find something that will do it here: http://therionorteline.com/2012/12/23/guns-schools-and-common-sense/

      Arming kids and teachers is the wrong way to go. You list only successful shootings. For every successful massacre there have been about 20 stopped without guns. We need to do more of that.

      Schools are for education. If the gun nuts won’t allow that to happen, remove the gun nuts’ ability to assault schools. Putting more guns into circulation has worked not at all, nor has it slowed the gun nuts’ ability to assault schools.

      Obama’s beaten you to the punch.

      • The only punch he has beaten me to is the one that evidently landed to your head.

        Interesting that you speak of “gun nuts” when the only thing that these people have in common is the “nuts” part because every one of them was in possession of a gun illegally. Those gun laws are really having an impact on the lawless and the mentally challenged, aren’t they?

        Adam Lanza had multiple weapons – including a Glock and a Sig – even if these had the mandated 7 round mags, that’s 14 rounds – one more than a single standard .40 cal Glock 23 has now – so how would this have changed the leathality? According to a CNN report (based on the actual police report),Lanza did, in fact, use multiple mags in the AR-15:

        In the school shooting, police say Lanza’s rifle used numerous 30-round magazines.

        The point, Ed, is that none of the laws proposed short of a total ban on guns will have any effect at all, and then as the UK is an example, will only reduce guns used in crime, not eliminate them. School shootings are horrible but the statistical fact it is that, as you pointed out – a little over 8,000 deaths were caused by guns out of a total population of 310 million or so – a percentage of 0.0026%. While school shootings are devastating, those deaths are even a lower percentage and are selected by these monsters for the very reason that they are “soft targets”…the same with the Aurora theater (which was in a “gun free zone”).

        A total ban on guns will never happen because that is clearly unconstitutional and the majority of Americans understand the words “shall not be infringed” – only politicians and intellectually ungrounded people do not get the definitive nature of that phrase.

        You mention that many shootings are avoided without weapons, since you provided no data to back that up, I will assume that is true – but in order to accept that as a fact, you must also accept that there is anecdotal data that shows that something like 2.5 million crimes a year are averted through the private use of guns – even if you assume that this number is overstated by a factor of 2, that still means that 1.25 million crimes were prevented. Based on a percentage extrapolated from the FBI that murders using guns accounted for 0.66% of all violent crimes, that means that even using the 2.5 million adjusted for a 50% error, the math would seem to indicate that over 8,250 murders were prevented as a result of private ownership of guns.

        But I can’t point to that as an accurate statistic because these situations are not accurately recorded. In a reasoned, scientific decision, we would be interested in the pro-gun statistics but folks like you are not. You ignore the vast, vast majority of gun owners, many lifelong, multiple gun owners (like me) who have never committed a crime of any sort and focus on people who illegally posses guns and use them in crimes that are already against the law. The fact-challenged and emotional reaction of you and people like you will result in the infringement of a specific Constitutional right for the law-abiding millions in an effort to stop a small percentage of criminals to whom the law matters not.

        I would also point out that your assertion that the avoidance of shootings were achieved without a gun is illegitimate because in those cases having a gun was not an option. In almost every case I am aware of where a gun is an option for protection, it is used. Even in police stand-offs where the situation ends without injury, the presence of more guns on the police side has a direct effect on the negotiation process. The fact of the matter is that most shooters actually kill themselves when they are faced with overwhelming firepower in opposition.

        As far as guns in schools – as pointed out, we put fire extinguishers in schools and nobody fears them. It seems irrational to me that teachers and administrators would fear the presence of a tactical shotgun when they clearly express fear of a deranged shooter. I would fear being unable to mount even the smallest of defense in the face of danger far more than the mere presence of a defensive weapon. The presence of guns does not attract or invite crime – quite the opposite, statistics show that more guns equal less crime. There is a reason that these deranged people don’t walk into a police station, a military base or for that matter, any location where they know that there is a potential of an armed, opposing force – they prefer nice little, defenseless targets like movie theaters and schools.

        Nothing that Obama has proposed with reduce risk one iota – it is all feel-good Kabuki theater designed to please the intellectually shallow with the appearance of action.

        He’s got you hook, line and sinker.

        I prefer to trust my Beretta .40 calibre PX4.

  3. Interesting that you speak of “gun nuts” when the only thing that these people have in common is the “nuts” part because every one of them was in possession of a gun illegally. Those gun laws are really having an impact on the lawless and the mentally challenged, aren’t they?

    Most gun owners, users and enthusiasts favor the changes the President has proposed. They understand responsible gun use, and they don’t object to living up to high standards as American citizens should do, and love to do. These people love passing their love for riflery, hunting and sport shooting on to their children, more because they love their children and they enjoy all activities with them than they are fixated on guns.

    Then there are those who argue misuse of a gun is equal to misuse of a hammer, or screwdriver, and who say all other parts of the Constitution, of life, of civilization, must take a back seat to their gun-centric and people-diminishing views.

    Interesting that you assume you are a gun nut, and not normal.

    • Actually, they do – and the point of fact is that most are actually in effect now. Which was my point in the first place…but other liberal Democrats are taking it even further to a total ban.

      I don’t assume that I am a gun nut – I objected to your characterization of the shooters as “gun nuts” – a common term used by your side for anyone who opposes gun control.

      • Where is a gun ban proposed, especially one that requires anyone to give up a gun. Show us the language — I don’t trust you any farther than I trust your handgun, when it comes to legislation interpretation.

          • See the language of the bill:

            The prohibition in this subdivision relating to the possession of firearms other than pistols and semiautomatic military-style assault weapons does not apply retroactively to persons who are prohibited from possessing a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon under this subdivision before August 1, 1994.

            People adjudicated mentally unstable, and therefore unable to hold arms, would have to give up arms, same as now.

            So, no one is coming to take your guns away.

            • I never said they were confiscating guns – but it is a ban because new purchases would be banned and transfers of existing weapons would be illegal.

              There have been proposals by state politicians in Iowa and Oregon that include confiscation.

              No matter what you have written, it has been strawman after strawman because none of your comments address the central theme of the post that this is action based on a “crisis” that doesn’t exist. If the proposals do nothing to eliminate the issue then we must deduce that the real intent is elsewhere…

  4. As far as guns in schools – as pointed out, we put fire extinguishers in schools and nobody fears them.

    No one fears shooting extinguishers, either. We don’t build fires in schools to fight fire. We don’t need to add shooters to schools to reduce shooting. Advocacy of turning schools into free fire zones for safety is like raping to protect virginity — doesn’t work, and ultimately destructive of the intended and desirable ends.

    We’ve stopped hundreds of school shootings without guns; guns haven’t stopped even those where trained marksmen were on hand. These situations need to be prevented, not allowed to roll to the last minute on the hope that a Hail Mary hail of bullets might reduce a death toll that shouldn’t occur at all in the first place.

    Guns are a final stop when all else fails. I don’t know why anyone assumes we must allow all else to fail. Such nihilism is unbecoming of a civilized society, contrary to American tradition and mores, and unproductive.

        • Perhaps I misread this article from the Philadelphia papers:http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/school_files/In-Philly-coping-with-Sandy-Hook.html

          But the Sandy Hook entrances were secured, too.

          “There are metal detectors, scans, but it happened so quickly,” Dorsey said.

          But you admit that none of the security they had worked, right?

          Wonder what would have happened if Lanza knew he would have been met at the point of entry by a teacher a security guard that was trained in the use of a shotgun?

          • Sas Kwachee,

            You need to call Foul on this Ed character who is doing little more than repeating Democrat talking points from the anti-Gun sites. Anybody who uses a Tweet from a Twit as reference to anything isn’t credable.

            First He states “Most Americans agree with the Gun-Ban Legislation”….this is NOT so. And is an example of what Bongino said about Adopting their language.

            Second he uses the Tired old…Guns for Hunting argument….”..These people love passing their love for riflery, hunting and sport shooting on to their children, more because they love their children and they enjoy all activities with them than they are fixated on guns…” This has been debunked for two solid reasons (1) the Second Amendment IS NOT NOW NOR EVER HAS BEEN about hunting and Sport. (2) He assumes (as all Statists DO), that he has the right to determine what the proper purpose is for Guns and the proper Reason that people should have for owning them. But most importantly to my point is that with this he is Dividing the population of Gun-owners into two Camps….The GOOD gun-owners defined his way….and the “Gun Nuts”….. meaning anyone who knows they are for Self-defence and defence against Tyranny.

            Third he makes this absurd statement…”By the way, the “AR” in AR-15 stands for “assault rifle.” ….Which by now only the most Obtuse or Violently adicted to Leftist Propaganda would state. As I know you know….AR is short for Armalite the Comp. that first designed them….and it’s been shown that the Term “Assault Waeapon” etc is a Made up term by the Press.

            His arguments don’t have to be ardued point for point without first disavowing the LANGUAGE and DEFINITIONS he is imposing upon the dialogue.

            VERY GOOD set of links you’ve put together in this thread showing that the Left DOES have a Long-term plan to Ban ALL guns. Which by the way a rhetorical analysis of “Ed,s” posts would show as he answeers the Scottish shooting the way he does.
            .

    • The article states that the 17-year-old boy used a .22 pistol. Furthermore, the article does not say whether or not this gun was registered to this boy. The point is that banning guns will not bring about peace and goodwill to men. Do you recall the stories from the Prohibition era?

      Simply put, the war on drugs, guns, and obesity (to name a few) is just an hypocritical war on the American people’s freedoms.

      • Gunshows. Gun manufacturers. What irony, that al Quaeda urges bad guys to take advantage of U.S. laws designed to give bad guys an advantage?

        That’s treason, not irony,.

          • Was there any doubt? Al Quaeda is urging their people IN THE U.S. to go to gun shows thrown by U.S. gun advocates, collecters, and dealers, to buy their arms.

            Was that not obvious?

            Of course they come from the U.S.! They’re sold in the U.S., too. And because they are not controlled in any way, they are prime targets for al Quaeda to arm themselves.

            Exactly. Time to close that loophole, don’t you think?

            Arming al Quaeda is a bad idea.

            • It was the CIC’s decision, pal Joey, just as Fast and Furious was. I do not know what your state’s laws are as to buying guns at gunshows, but most states do have restrictions. In FL, you are required to get a background check. We also don’t allow felons to own weapons. Does that stop the nutter from obtaining one?

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