Saturday, February 02, 2013

Stewart takes on the gun maker lobbyists and lackeys...

Jon Stewart does a marvelous job of destroying the talking points of the gun maker lobbyists and lackeys that are just plain dumb. See here.

The woman from the Independent Women's Forum who recounted every detail of the story of the woman who defended herself with a gun, but didn't know the gun used is a rifle that is not banned under the 1994 Assault Weapon law that expired several years ago is, alas, a classic example of the cynical dumbness of right wing pundits. They know no shame and know they are playing to a particular demographic where they are rarely disturbed by subtlety or factual analysis.

Stewart's take down of that woman and especially La Pierre of the National Rifle Association reminded me of the time Stewart destroyed the odious Betsy McCaughey, who appeared on the show carrying the then entire proposed Obamacare law (nearly two feet thick) and plopped it down on Stewart's desk as if to say, "Isn't this all too complicated?" One of her main arguments against the proposed law at the time were the so-called "death panels," which she claimed would immediately lead to forced euthanasia of elderly people. Stewart showed the audience what the section of the proposed law actually said, and she said Stewart had it wrong. So he asked her to look it up in the law she brought...and she couldn't find it. She looked through the pile of paper as if she had hardly ever bothered to look at the law at all. It was a pathetic performance, but one realized watching it that she had probably brought that law around to more friendly venues and never had to once answer the question, "Can you show us exactly in the language of the law it states what you say it does?" I recall starting to feel sorry for her, and then had to remind myself that she had been spreading poison about "death panels" all around the nation. Then, I felt a sudden sense of vindictiveness that I realize is not pretty.

The day after Stewart's show aired, McCaughey resigned from a prestigious pharmaceutical company board of directors where she had served for good money. I don't think she's been anywhere but a rare appearance on FoxNews perhaps. But as James Fallows of The Atlantic noted at least twice, Ms. McCaughey was one for the books. Well, she was, until Ms. Trotter showed up a few days ago...


At February 2, 2013 at 3:31:00 PM PST, Anonymous hip703 said...

An AR-15, which is not a "assault rifle," is one of the most effective long guns for a woman to use for home defense, due to its light weight, low recoil, adjustable stock, and standard magazine capacity. It also has a valuable intimidation factor. Once a ruffian sees it, he's likely to start heading the other way. Simply brandishing it will be sufficient to thwart many attacks.

At February 2, 2013 at 4:13:00 PM PST, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...

Add up the times a gun in the house has saved a woman compared to the times she is killed with the gun....

At February 2, 2013 at 4:25:00 PM PST, Anonymous paulr said...

Guess what the US still exports to other countries for profit - weapons!
Fighters to handguns - we are #1! Join me in busting my buttons, while hanging my head in shame.

At February 2, 2013 at 5:35:00 PM PST, Anonymous hip703 said...

1. In your original post, you provide a link to Jon Stewart mocking the concept of why a woman "needs" an AR-15. In response, I provided several reasons why a woman is better served with an AR-15 as a long-gun for self-defense, as opposed to heavier recoil shotguns, or high-powered hunting rifles.

And I'll give you another example. A few weeks ago, during a home invasion in Georgia, a woman used gun to defend her two nine-year old twins against a man who broke into her home with a crowbar. She had a revolver chambered for the .38 special round. She most likely was using full metal jacket ammo. Not the best home defense weapon, and ammunition selection, but better than nothing. She had to shoot the attacker five times in the face before he gave up. Remarkably, the attacker survived.

Thank goodness there was only one attacker. This is why pistols with standard capacity magazines (11-19 rounds) are best for defensive use. In any event, the woman would have been better served with a standard AR-15, chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO and .223 Remington, carrying a standard capacity rifle magazine (20-30 rounds). She wouldn't have needed five rounds to incapacitate the guy.

In any event, I am certain the Georgia woman would be skeptical of your claim that she would have been safer in her home without a revolver to defend herself and her children.

2. My wife is petite. She does not care for revolvers because of the exceedingly heavy trigger pull in their double action mode. She would rather use an AR-15 in a home defense situation.

3. In any event, in you response to my comment, you do not challenge my point that an AR-15 is an effective home defense weapon. Instead, you suggest that the gun is more likely to be used against her, then to be used defensively. This is a different topic. I am not certain what statistics you are relying upon.

I would refer you to a recent article by Paul Barrett, a journalist for BusinessWeek.

Barrett's book on the history of Glock was surprisingly good, and something I recommend you read, although I do not agree with all of his points. He is generally fair-minded and balanced, much more than someone like Stewart who makes a living garnering cheap laughs from an audience that shares his political views and coastal elite cultural attitude.

In the article, Barrett points out that Gary Kleck, a respected criminologist at Florida State University, estimates that guns are used defensively more than 2 million times per year. Others believe that guns are used defensively 250,00 to 370,000 time per year. Barrett concludes that we do not know the precise number, but a conservative estimate is in the tens of thousands, and maybe more than 100,000.

The idea of "more guns, less crime is valid. " You need to merely contrast the crime rate in the UK, where there has been a blanket ban on handguns since passage of the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997. In the UK there are 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 people. That puts it ahead even of South Africa with a rate of 1,609 per 100,000.
The United States is not in the top ten. The U.S. has a violent crime rate of 466 crimes per 100,000. residents.

In other words, the United States has far more guns than the UK, but the UK has a violent crime rate more than four times higher.

At February 2, 2013 at 6:05:00 PM PST, Anonymous hip703 said...

paulr said: "Guess what the US still exports to other countries for profit - weapons!
Fighters to handguns - we are #1! Join me in busting my buttons, while hanging my head in shame."

You are correct. President Obama just shipped four F-16 fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. And he's also killed more children in drone attacks than perished at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, all to the cheers of his defenders at MSNBC and Time magazine.

At February 2, 2013 at 9:28:00 PM PST, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...

Wait a minute. "Violent crimes" may be a sleight of hand when talking about England and its handgun ban. What's the firearms' death rate since 1997 there?

As for the sourcing of why a woman is far less safe with a gun in the house, I guess we can start here:

At February 2, 2013 at 10:45:00 PM PST, Anonymous paulr said...

I quit my membership to the NRA because their magazine, the American Rifleman, kept printing stories of self defense while ignoring the far larger number of stories of suicide, accidental or intentional killings with guns. I like fine guns but hate military weapons - if you cannot defend yourself with a double-barrel shotgun you have no business owning a gun.

At February 2, 2013 at 11:11:00 PM PST, Anonymous hip703 said...

"Wait a minute. "Violent crimes" may be a sleight of hand when talking about England and its handgun ban. What's the firearms' death rate since 1997 there?"

It's far lower, since they have banned guns there. But that is not pertinent to the discussion, unless you are suggesting that we ban all handguns. This country, unlike the UK, believes in the natural right to self-defense. and has a Second Amendment, so banning handguns in not an option. See District of Columbia v. Heller 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 56 U.S. __ (2010).

But again, my point stands, we have more guns than the UK, and a lower violent crime rate. In addition, Mexico has, in effect, a complete gun ban; yet it's gun homicide rate is nearly three times that of the United States).

We also have more guns in the U.S. than 30 years ago, as well as a lower crime rate. The U.S. gun homicide rate is currently at its lowest point since 1981. More guns, less crime, and less gun crime.

Re: Hemenaway. I have not reviewed his study, and do not know what he counts as a defensive gun use. I do know that he is anti-gun. In one study, done in an attempt to undermine conceal carry laws, he claimed there was a correlation between "road rage" and the presence of guns in an automobile. But he manipulated the data. He did not ask survey participants whether they had ever used or observed a firearm in a road rage incident. Instead, he asked participants whether they had been involved in a road rage incident, and separately, whether they had at any time ridden in an automobile where a gun was present. The study, by its own criteria, thus did not determine whether guns were present in an automobile during any specific road rage incident. What is more, Hemenaway refused to turn over the data from the road rage study.

I do know that in about 90% of situations merely brandishing or displaying your firearm is sufficient to thwart an attack. This is exactly what happened on December 11, 2012, during the shooting at the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Oregon. Nick Meli, a 22 year old conceal carry permit holder threw down on the killer. The killer saw him, and then committed suicide.

The idea that a woman is "far less safe with a gun in the house" is palpably false in real word situations with rational people who are properly trained. Please tell the mother in Georgia that a Harvard professor believes she would have been ""far less safe with a gun in the house" when a dirtbag used a crowbar to break into her home.

I do not know of any rational person who believes they would not be safer in their home without a gun in the event of a home invasion.

Again, the original topic was AR-15s, and Jon Stewart's derision of the idea that a woman "needs" one. I already explained why a woman would prefer them for home defense. My wife does.

At February 2, 2013 at 11:22:00 PM PST, Anonymous hip703 said...

"I like fine guns but hate military weapons - if you cannot defend yourself with a double-barrel shotgun you have no business owning a gun."

An AR-15 is not a military weapon.

I have no problem with double-barrel shotguns. If it works for you it works for you. But many women may gave trouble handling the recoil, at least in the standard 12 gauge. (A 20 gauge may be a better option. See here:

Whatever, the case, in the long gun department, a recoil-sensitive woman may be better served by an AR-15 for home defense.

At February 3, 2013 at 6:39:00 AM PST, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...

The fact is what I thought: Violent crime was not the same as crime with firearms in the United Kingdom comparison with the USA. And crime with firearms are much lower in the UK than in the USA.

Also, see Wiki for another way in which your stat about "violent crime" is stating less than you may have implied. We have been at least impliedly talking about homicides, haven't we? And "violent crime" is more than homicides.

Wiki tells us the homicide rate per million in the USA is 4.8. United Kingdom? 1.2. Hmmm....

So your argument about laws banning guns is no longer really that they don't work. Your argument now depends upon a decidedly broad individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment. And yes, I am saying it might be constitutional to ban certain weapons. Could that be a handgun? After Heller, likely not. But Heller may prove to be one of those decisions the Supreme Court re-examines sooner than later, kind of like the time the Supreme Court was finding "welfare" was a right and then stepping back several years later from that pronouncement.

At February 3, 2013 at 1:58:00 PM PST, Anonymous hip703 said...

1. Simply looking at the U.S., we have more guns, and lower gun homicide rate than we did in 1981. And since them, 41 states have a "shall issue" conceal carry permit process. More guns, less crime, and less gun homicide. Period.

2. I am not arguing "either/or" regarding firearms. Yes, more guns means less crime. (The gun murder rate in 2010 was 3.6 per 100,000 people; it was as much as 7 per 100,000 in 1993).

But even if the statistics did not favor the pro gun rights side, that would not be a reason to disarm the populace. I am natural rights libertarian, not a utilitarian.

I am well aware that Heller and McDonald were decided by one vote. It's appalling that four members of the Court would abdicate their judicial responsibilities in such a fashion, and would allow a complete ban on firearms.

In that regard, modern judicial liberalism is a fraud. On the one hand, it vindicates the right to an abortion, which is found nowhere in the text of the Constitution; on the other hand, it denigrates and disregards a fundamental civil right, the right to Keep and Bear Arms, that appears in the text of the Bill of Rights. Whatever the case, fundamental civil rights do not depend for their existence on five judges in black robes.

And your proposal is what, to ban certain guns? Which ones? AR-15s? Why? Because they look scary? Even though it is underpowered in comparison to standard hunting riffles? And even though more murders are committed with hammers and clubs?

The Second Amendment protects a fundamental right; fundamental rights are entitled to heightened scrutiny of restrictions upon them. But a ban on AR-15s, or so-called "high capacity" magazines would not survive rational basis review.

Heller and McDonald employed the "common use" test. Under "common use' review, the Second Amendment is deemed to protect the weapons most commonly in use by the public. The AR-15 is the most popular and best-selling sporting rifle in the United States. It would be the kind of long gun that citizens would bring to muster in the event the militia was organized to repel an invasion, suppress an insurrection, or resist a usurpatious government,

And seriously, do you really think the government in this country is going to door to door collecting guns? And do you really think there is any chance that gun owners are going to "turn them in"? If it ever came to that point, the Constitution would be a complete dead letter.

At February 5, 2013 at 2:51:00 PM PST, Anonymous Maitland Alexander said...

I have beer carrying your phrase 'masters of the ingenuous statement' in my billfold since it appeared in the Nation years ago. I looked at it today thinking how it might apply to Glen Beck's 'shoot them in the head'. Now I have found your blog. Maitland Alexander blogging at

At February 5, 2013 at 8:46:00 PM PST, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...

Maitland, I wish I could recall where I used that phrase you cite. It does sound like something I might write, but I wonder if it is truly me...But thank you for finding the blog!

At February 7, 2013 at 4:36:00 PM PST, Anonymous Maitland Alexander said...

I only clipped this much: "masters of the disingenuous statement, of phrasing something in such a way that the honest, normal and unwary reader gets one impression---that he is supposed to get. And then three months later, when he discovers it's not true and he goes back to complain, they say, 'That isn't what se said. Look at it carefully. You look at it carefully, and sure enough, it was really double-talk, it didn't say exactly what you thought. Mitchell J. Freedman
I wished that John what's his name had used this in the VP debate, when Cheney said, "I didn't say that."

At February 8, 2013 at 5:18:00 AM PST, Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman said...

Yes, now I remember it. I think I was paraphrasing I.F. Stone and how government officials lie. Thank you for remembering that! I am deeply honored.

At February 9, 2013 at 6:55:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, this is the other clipping I have carried for years.
" I do not adhere to any Ideology, doctrine or ready-made worldview defined by someone else. I am simply on the side of truth, against lies / meaning, against nonsense / Justice, against injustice / and order, against disorder." Vaclev Havel


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