American Elephants


The March for Our Lives Was Not What It Was Cracked Up to Be by The Elephant's Child

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The Left is very fond of “marches”— it feels really good, I guess, to be out being an activist for a cause your really believe in, as much as you believe in much of anything. That’s what the few studies that have been done seem to indicate—that they promote activism, but don’t have much of any effect on legislation. Lots of fellow feeling.

The “March for Our Lives” was, as is usual, not what it was cracked up to be. It wasn’t the voice of a new generation, the voice of the future, but the same middle-aged women from the Women’s March with some photogenic teenagers out front for the cameras. The Women’s March was 85 percent women. The March for Our Lives was 70% women. Only about 10% of the crowd were under 18. The average age of the adults was just under age 49. Only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting said they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, though 60 percent of the experienced protesters were. The new protesters were motivated by peace (56 percent) and Trump (42 percent). Anti-War protesters are the most regular protesters. Lefty protests don’t really care about gun control, they hate Trump, the Right, and want the “U.S. Out of Everywhere” and the “Jews Out of Palestine.”

Daniel Greenfield did a marvelous job of digging out just who were the organizers and sponsors, and who directed the March. The kids who participated did not raid their piggy banks to get to the march. There were millions behind the funds.  The March for Our Lives Action Fund was overseen by six directors and incorporated in Delaware. Everytown for Gun Safety was formed out of two other groups: Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Both of which are front groups for Michael Bloomberg, the lefty billionaire, and the group is really New York City. Lots of long-time activist professionals to direct the events, from Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Florida was notably absent from the supporters. Lots of the usual Hollywood crowd.

Do read the whole thing to get an understanding of how these things work.  It has very little to do with Parkland. The mass shooting by Nikolas Cruz, which was badly fumbled and should have been prevented by the FBI. the Sheriff’s Office, the School District officials, or the school itself, who should be held responsible. Most of the participants have little idea of what actually went on. They shout about assault rifles, with no idea that there is no such thing, just ordinary rifles dressed up with some extra accessories to make them look sexier. The NRA is not some evil organization that sells guns. They support the second amendment and the shooting sports. Where I came from, people counted on hunting to fill the freezer for the winter. Others hunt ducks, or wild boar, or skeet.

 

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The Children of Parkland, Used Again by The Elephant's Child

The children of Parkland have been out demonstrating today for gun control. Not that they have any idea what that means or what if anything it would do for school safety. The people who are paying for the demonstrations and the transportation and the microphones have chosen to remain anonymous and invisible behind protective regulations.

Nikolas Cruz is variously called a monster, a nut-case and other expletives, but no one mentions his years of crying for help. He was adopted, and his adoptive father died early, his mother died more recently. He threatened kids at school, the girl he liked dumped him. He was said to have abused animals. He was sent to a program for mental health. He was expelled from school. The school said specifically that he was not to be allowed on the premises with a backpack. He mentioned wanting to do a school shooting. This is what I have gleaned from the reporting. It seems that the school was aware that they had reason to be suspicious and watchful, but chose for some reason not to do anything about it at all.

That reluctance has been blamed on the Obama administration’s regulations about not removing students who might fit the “school to prison pipeline” theme, and schools are afraid of being designated as racist, and Nikolas Cruz was designated as Hispanic. Kids don’t know enough to say “I need help”— so they act out. Most parents are aware of that, aren’t they?

The FBI was warned twice, and did not act on the warnings. The school knew, and did not act on the warnings. The Sheriff’s office was warned. The deputies remained outside while the school shooting went on.

Democrats are far more interested in promoting marches, and using the kids of Parkland for the emotional push of children. They want the NRA abolished, because they do a little lobbying on behalf of the Second Amendment, and donate a little to the Republican Party, far less than Planned Parenthood  gives to Democrats.

Lax gun laws are not the problem. The Miami Herald Sun-Sentinel, has been documenting how federal, state and local authorities simply failed to enforce the law, or simply kicked the can down the road. Police visited Cruz’s home over 30 times and were warned that he had threatened people with guns before. He bought the rifle  shortly after he was expelled in February of 2017.

I was curious, so I investigated briefly online to see if there have been any studies to determine the effectiveness of marches and demonstrations. Not much. What little there appears to be suggests that marches tend to make the participants more apt to be activists, but there is no influence on governmental actions or legislation.

Those who are so sure that banning guns is the answer have never made the slightest effort to see what is known  about that. The producers of this video put out a casting call, and asked the actors to cold read statistical truths about guns and crime in the United States.

Most people who are familiar with guns and the debate are familiar with these statistics. Most of those shrieking about “gun violence” are not. They might have asked what the NRA is, and what it does. Or perhaps what the AR in AR-15 stands for, to see how many think it stands for Assault Rifle. It doesn’t.



The Left Sometimes Just Goes Too Far by The Elephant's Child

John Hinderraker at Powerline had a good piece on “the  Despicable Misuse of Children.”

Today students were excused from classrooms all across America to participate in demonstrations in favor of firearms bans of one sort or another. These were anything but spontaneous actions organized by children. Rather, the anti-gun demonstrations were condoned, if not sponsored, by school administrations that are almost universally liberal. And the teachers’ unions played a part too. The National Education Association issued a statement that included this:

Since the horrific shootings in Parkland, Florida, students across the country have launched an inspired movement to demand long overdue action on school safety and gun control. NEA, its affiliates, and members throughout Florida and the nation, support these calls to prevent further school massacres.

Ironically, the demonstrations in favor of school safety featured, in some instances, attacks on non-conforming students. At one Minneapolis high school, two students stood apart from the throng calling for more gun control. One of them carried a sign that said “Blame the Culture, Not Guns.” The other carried a Donald Trump banner. He was cursed, pursued, knocked down and beaten up by “pro-school safety” demonstrators. School officials, who purport to be so concerned with the safety of their students, did nothing to intervene.

Kids are in school because they don’t know very much yet. I’m sure they feel badly about the horrific attack on Parkland, Florida. They may even be alarmed about their own safety. Their chances of an actual school shooting are something like one in 641,000,000. Unfamiliar with history, they are probably unaware that we have tried gun control before, both locally and nationally, and it accomplished nothing at all. In spite of the screeches of the Left,  gun control has not worked anywhere it has been tried, including in Australia, where they confiscated all the guns.

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Most of the deaths from guns nationally, are suicides. Fully automatic weapons have been banned for years. Violent crime has been declining steadily since the early 1990s. The 2011 rate was almost half of the rate in 1991, and the 2013 rate was half of the rate in 1993.

The well-meaning kids had signs to carry that they had proudly made themselves. This one,from Twitchy shows how clueless the kids are.

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Other notable ones were “The Second Amendment isn’t meant to protect our citizens” and “De-Militarize the Police,” along with “Give us Our Reparations.” Well, I’m sure it was an exciting time for the kids and they got to miss time in school. Wiser parents kept their kids at home.

The Left’s hijacking our children for their own political purposes is disgusting.



California’s Sanctuary Laws Are Unconstitutional by The Elephant's Child

California’s Governor Jerry Brown ran for the nearest microphone to shriek that the Trump administration “is basically going to war against the state of California.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California’s sanctuary state laws. There are three in particular: The Immigrant Worker Protection Act (HB 450); the Inspection and Review of Facilities Housing Federal Detainees law (AB 103); and the California Values Act (SB54). The Trump administration argues that the California laws are unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause, which states that federal law “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” The laws prevent corporations and prisons from cooperating with federal authorities.

Governor Jerry Brown tweeted, “At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they don’t work here. SAD!!!”

A Survey USA/KPIX poll conducted last week after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned illegal immigrants last week about potential ICE raids. ICE detained more than 200 illegals last week, but a potential 800 illegals, many of whom are criminals escaped. The poll found that 61% in the San Francisco Bay Area — including 65% of whites, 61% Blacks, 59% Hispanics and 53% of Asians — believe local police should help federal authorities detain illegal immigrants. This is not surprising.

Democrats are anxious to increase the numbers of immigrants, particularly Hispanics, because they are apt to vote Democrat as they usually choose a government that offers more services. The American people clearly want the numbers of illegal immigrants cut back sharply. The Democrats are still calling them “undocumented” rather than “illegal” which is telling. And trying to deny the crimes committed.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions flew to California this morning to meet with the California Peace Officers Association, a group that has opposed the State’s sanctuary stance consistently. They have to deal with the criminals. Sessions said:

There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is ‘the supreme law of the land.’  I invite any doubters to Gettysburg, and to the graves of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln.

California may top the list of badly managed states. The U-Haul measurement shows a steady outflow of people and businesses. Jerry Brown’s high-speed train to nowhere continues to bankrupt the state, the wildfires this last year that devastated the state were unnecessary because of failure to remove dry undergrowth, water problems led to the Oroville Dam disaster and also to the water needs of the great Central Valley which was the breadbasket of the country. San Francisco streets are filled with human feces and homeless. Los Angeles has tried to tackle the removal of a city of homeless camped along the Los Angeles river. But as long as Silicon Valley is happy, the rest of the state can go hang. The freeways are filled with potholes, I am told. I lived in California for too many years and loathe the state. But many like the weather and the beaches. Jerry Brown huffed:

This is really unprecedented for the chief law enforcement officer of the United States to come out to California and act more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer. This is a political stunt,” Brown said. “We know the Trump administration is full of liars. They’ve pled guilty already to the special counsel.”

“This is basically going to war against the state of California, the engine of the American economy. It’s not wise, it’s not right, and it will not stand,” Brown said.

Here’s the Supremacy Clause — Article VI, second clause:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.



Nikolas Cruz, School Discipline, and Misunderstood Statistics. by The Elephant's Child

Even though our legislators, we assume, are trying hard to make good law, they often fail miserably. Laws don’t just establish what one must do or not do, but laws create incentives. All too often the good intent of the legislation creates some very bad incentives that are poorly understood. What is your impression of the frequency and numbers of dead in school shootings? Increased or not? From a lot of the talk, one would think that we have a rash of school shootings, and more victims than ever, but that is not the case. Frequency and numbers are declining.

An article from the Broward County, Florida’s  Sun-Sentinel reported that Nikolas Cruz “kicked doors, cursed at teachers, fought with and threatened classmates and brought a backpack with bullets to school, in 2014 administrators transferred him to an alternate school for students with “emotional and behavioral disabilities” but in 2 years he was returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was banished for disciplinary violations but “never expelled from school.” Legally he couldn’t be.

Under federal law, the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Nikolas Cruz had a right to a “free and appropriate” education at a public school. As special education lawyer Stephanie Langer told the Sun-Sentinel, “You can’t just kick kids out of the public schools because you are afraid of them, or because they are hard to educate.” In Parkland, Florida, that notion overrode the right of other students to an education free from fear, and as it turned out, deprived them of their right to life as well. 

But it was apparently not, or not just, the 1973 law, but extensive meddling by the Obama administration in what they considered the “school to prison pipeline.”

This is a stunning example of the tendency of statistics to confuse and  mislead. The statistics pointed out that 61% of the incarcerated population were Black or Latino, while only 30% were white. Obviously this must be racism at work. A 2007 study by the Advancement Project and Power U Center for Social Change said of every 100 students who were suspended, 15 were black, 7.9 were American Indian, 6.8 were Latino and 4.8 were white. The article includes examples from around the country, and from different sources.

In October, 2015, Heather MacDonald testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing on proposed legislation to “reform” criminal sentencing by releasing large numbers of felons from federal prisons. The Obama administration was just getting going on their drive to end the disproportionate numbers of Blacks in prison.

The most dangerous misconception about our criminal justice system is that it is pervaded by racial bias. For decades, criminologists have tried to find evidence for that bias, and they have always come up short. In fact, racial differences in criminal offending account for all of the racial disproportionality of blacks in prison.  (my emphasis)

A year later, Heather MacDonald published an important article in City Journal: “Violence in the Halls, Disorder in the Malls” in which she explains that the pathology of the inner city, children without fathers in the home, single mothers with little time, gang culture, are the cause of violence in the schools and violence in malls, and the Obama administration’s destructive efforts to undermine school discipline were to blame. Nikolas Cruz, as a Latino, qualified to be treated with care, to avoid trouble with Education Department authorities.

Once again, we have the usual rush to judgment, and slowly, slowly, the facts begin to come out. Obama went to great lengths to seem the great leader of the Black Community, and increased the calls of racism, where there really wasn’t all that much of it. I guess that’s what he learned in community organizing school. Even if his efforts were well meant, the incentives were poorly understood and have had unfortunate consequences.



Please, Try to Learn Some Facts Before You Speak. by The Elephant's Child

People who know nothing about guns, have never held one in their hands nor fired one, should try to get slightly informed before they start lecturing the rest of the country about banning guns. Nobody needs guns, they will say. Tell that to Oprah, or George and Amal Clooney, the Katzenbergs, or Steven Spielberg who are collectively donating $2 million to the children’s crusade, the “March for Our Lives” — a disgusting politicization of Parkland students’ anguish. And ask if these wealthy folk have bodyguards, and do their bodyguards carry guns?

I grew up in the mountains of Idaho, on 400 acres adjoining National Forest. We had varmints. Coyotes, lynx, bobcats, porcupines, skunks, bears, cougar. Local ranchers had guns. When one of their herd broke a leg or was harmed by other wildlife, they had to be put down. There were no local vets. Coming home from a ride one day, I was blocked from the ford in the river by a coiled rattlesnake, and my horse was having fits. Having to dispatch a rattlesnake with large rocks was fairly scary.  I suppose I was firing a .22 by the time I was six. We usually took a gun along on our early spring picnic to fire at tin cans down on a beach on the Big Salmon River where blooms were out and lambs were newborn. At home we still had a couple of feet of snow. I was fairly deadly with woodrats, but most of the rest of the wildlife was safe from me.

The Left is anxious to ban guns and attack the NRA. I suspect that Lefties are sure that people who grow up in the mountains of Idaho live in compounds of crackpots who all have guns and explosives and may rise up to take their country back.  The statistics on guns are quite clear, banning guns does not solve anything. The scary accessories on a so called “assault weapon” are just to make an ordinary rifle sexier. They don’t do anything useful. Far more people are killed with handguns, blunt objects, knives, and fists. I would bet that Oprah and the others have no idea what the NRA does, or who they are. Virtue signalling.

The Parkland school shooting was a failure of the FBI, the local police, the Sheriff’s office and the school itself. CNN has compounded the reaction with their dishonest use of traumatized children in a scripted Townhall for their own purposes. At Ricochet, a woman from Kentucky writes about an earlier school shooting this year, and the contrasts.  And someone else suggested that people don’t do their homework — that is they don’t do even a small amount of research to see if they know what they are talking about, because they are afraid of having to read something long. A preference for very thin books. Really? Disturbing. Think about the other things they are trying to ban.

The picture at the top was about 5 or 6 miles down the road from our place, where the turnoff for the road up the mountain was. That’s the scary mountains of Idaho, but only one of the lesser peaks.



Politicize Everything. Act Without Understanding. by The Elephant's Child

You have  noticed, I am sure, that Democrats are out there in full cry, demanding that any businesses who have had possible dealings with the NRA be forced by the outcry to end any association with the National Rifle Association. Politicizing business is a very bad idea, as I noticed in an earlier post about “The Elephant in the Room.”  If a business decides to get political, half the country will take their business elsewhere.

Viewer interest in the Winter Olympics is down considerably as well, probably due to the young man who went to a foreign country to demonstrate his objection to Vice President Pence’s objection to changing the definition of marriage back when he was a governor, in an insulting display of his disrespect for the Vice President of his country. What is now being called “virtue-signaling” does not fool anyone, nor does it disguise bad manners and as members of our country’s national team, excuse such an embarrassing display.

The Left is very big on organization. That’s the reason for “community organizers.” Whenever opportunity arises, the Left will be there with a group of activists with pre-printed signs. No sloppy homemade signs, they want their organization and activism to be completely visible. The organized don’t really need to know much about the action, just that it’s time to be active with other activists in an action—exciting, and generates a feeling of power. Another example of the Left’s ultimate goal—power and control.

An article at the beginning of the NRA protests featured a photo of protesters with pre-printed signs from CREDO. Never heard of that bunch so I had to look them up. You can go to their website. Click on  “victories” in the header to see what they have been up to. The first signs simply said “Stop the NRA”. The second round said “Another”, then left a blank panel to be filled in with “Student, Mother, Grandmother, or Aunt. ” I would be surprised if any of the women holding signs had any idea of who the NRA is, what they do, or the extent of their membership. Their list of  “victories” is a startling exposé of where much of the fake “news” comes from. And CREDO is just one of their many activist groups.

It is particularly interesting because for the most part, conservatives, or people on the right are not much interested in organizing or being organized. Fiercely independent, conservatives are inclined to study up, be familiar with the Constitution, our history, and current issues. But marching around holding signs isn’t one of their favorite activities.

Interesting post today at American Thinker, attempting to understand the Left and their actions. Worth your time, and food for thought. The contrast with what the Lefties have to say could not be greater. When folks on the right do get together, they are apt to pick up after themselves. Demonstrations by the Left invariably leave a huge mess behind for someone else to clean up. Look up any big demonstration, Occupy Wall Street, the Women’s March (either one), the Standing Rock protests which left behind a $43 million mess to clean up with 240 rollout dumpsters. That’s fairly symbolic—they usually leave a mess behind in more ways than one.




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