American Elephants


Boycott, Ban, Confiscate, Report, Red Flags, … Just Do Something! by The Elephant's Child

Now it’s time to boycott the NRA, Ban Guns, Red Flags, all the usual fuss about “assault weapons” and go over all the same old, same old arguments once more.

The NRA is not an evil organization that favors killing people and white supremacy and all of the other current buzz words of this particularly ugly campaign season. It is an organization that defends our Constitutional right to bear arms. There are a lot of ordinary people out there who hunt deer, elk, pheasants and ducks and geese, and depend on filling their freezers with game for the winter. There are all sorts of apartment-living people who have never held a gun in their hands, think killing an animal or bird for food is deplorable, and that no one should be able to own a gun.

There is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” There are military weapons that are illegal for people not in the military. There are some ordinary rifles, jazzed up with fancy looking scopes to look more masculine, dangerous, and exciting, but they don’t really do anything different, they just look different. That’s what the people who get all excited about assault weapons have in mind. They go through a lot of pictures of current guns and pick out those that look “scary” and call them “assault weapons”.

It is quite clear that some mental aberration causes a shooter and a mass shooting. There is talk of “Red Flags” for someone who seems to be violent or disturbed. It is certainly true that in the aftermath of a mass shooting there often seems to be something that responsible people should have noticed, or should have acted upon. For example in the Parkland shooting, there were all sorts of Red Flags waving about the young man, about his behavior at school, about his homelife, but in every case they were ignored or excused, or just dismissed. That seems to be the case most times. There was something that should have been noticed, reported or acted upon— that wasn’t. Sometimes there have been real warnings, and the people in charge of safety just don’t take it seriously.

There’s always an outcry to ban all guns, more background checks, stop selling bullets, boycott anyone that sells guns, yet most guns used in crimes are purchased on the black market or stolen. What about all the Democrat-run cities where gun crime is rampant. The death toll from a weekend in Chicago can top the toll in a real mass shooting. But Gun bans don’t seem to work. Gun confiscation? I doubt most gun owners would turn in their guns. What about those rural folks who count on game to fill their freezers?

As always in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting, everybody wants answers right now. There are people and organizations studying the problems, and lots of bad answers. Video Games don’t cause mass homicides. Mass shooters are not male white supremacists. Hateful people are attracted to hateful ideologies. But most mass shooters don’t proclaim any ideology at all. Mental illness is very common. Lots of stereotypes, lots of misconceptions. Here’s a good article explaining a little of what we know and don’t know.

The wonderful Michael Ramirez cartoon at the top was so appropriate that I have saved it form another mass shooting at another time. We all wish we had solutions, but we don’t. Pay attention to warning signs. Try not to dismiss them casually. There are a lot of people searching the available evidence for clues to what to do. Remember that one of the biggest mass killings was accomplished not with a gun, but with a truck in Nice, France, on Bastille Day when 84 people were mowed down.



Mass Shootings, Phony Accusations, No Real Answers by The Elephant's Child

Democrat candidates for the presidential nomination seem to have decided that the way to win the competition is to come up with a nastier insult for the President of the United States. Which is almost funny, since that is the office they seek.

It might be helpful if they would identify some policy correctly, explain why they thought it unfortunate, unworkable or bad, and tell us what they would do instead, but no one has bothered, too troublesome.

The accusations center around “racism” and “white supremacy”which seem to be centered around illegal immigration and control of our border. The American people, according to polls, want the borders controlled, are opposed to illegal immigration, and opposed to open borders. But when Trump opposes illegal immigration, wants more control of the border, it’s different — he’s racist.

I’m convinced that Democrats are terrified that American blacks will notice that Trump’s actions have changed the job market for them completely. Even black youth are close to full employment. I think that’s why the “racist” claims, because Trump clearly is not racist, but if they repeat it frequently enough, people will start to believe it.

A few Democrat-run cities have such frequent shootings that they get mixed up in the mass-shooting list, although for cities like Chicago and Baltimore, it seems to be just an ordinary weekend. That was the case for Chicago last weekend.

Over the weekend we had two big mass shootings, 22 dead in El Paso, 9 dead in Dayton, Ohio, and many wounded. We don’t really know what sets the shooters off. The outcry was predictable. “Gun control”, and every variation of that that people could come up with. “Assault weapons” an undefined term that seems to refer to all guns that are “scary-looking” rather than those that are efficient. Of course all Democrats insisted that both shootings were Trump’s fault. Talk about “Red flag” people. as if we could correctly identify those who are slightly cracked and want to take it out on their fellow citizens.

The biggest mass murder was on Bastille Day, 84 people mowed down with a truck in Nice, France. Clayton Cramer wrote today that there is too much focus on the role of guns in mass murders.

I am currently creating an encyclopedia of mass murder in America and have catalogued 504 incidents so far. Common methods used throughout our history include axes, hatchets, blunt objects, knives, hanging, drowning, poison gas, poison, fire, and aircraft (and not just on 9/11). Some of the rarer weapons demonstrate that where there is an evil will, there is a way. Scythes. Blowtorches.

Human beings are a quarrelsome bunch. We have trouble getting along with our own families, let alone people who seem to be against everything we revere and have heads filled with strange nonsense. How anyone could reach adulthood without learning the value of freedom and the simple fact that socialism does not work remains a mystery. Enchanted with the idea of making everybody equal, I guess. Unfortunately those who most want to make everybody equal always seem to have in mind being in charge of all the rest.

There is a lot of talk about “Red Flags” – supposedly finding some way to identify the crackpots before they begin shooting. Clearly, they are disturbed in some way, but we don’t know in what way and what the impetus might be. There have been suggestions of childhood mistreatment of some sort. One schoolteacher came up with a brilliant way to look out for troubled kids, which you might recommend to any teachers of your acquaintance. Would help produce healthier kids for any reason., even if there was no relation to shootings.

Zero Hedge posted some of issues turned up by two criminologists who have been studying the life histories of mass shooters in the U.S. for a project funded by the Dept. of Justice, looking for some commonalities among the perpetrators of mass shootings. The article has a graph from Babylon Bee with a satirical take, which makes the whole piece somewhat confusing. Ignore the graph and scroll down to the results of the study of life histories. I’m not even sure that what they have found is actually useful, but there are clues. Gun laws and banning “assault weapons” will not help. There are important Second Amendment Issues that prevent the wild-eyed nonsense proposed.

When people are grieving, it’s not really the time for quick decisions.

Most of the reporting and much of the commentary is misguided, unhelpful, and unnecessarily partisan. Americans of all political persuasions would really like to avoid any more of these events.



“This Just Doesn’t Happen in Other Countries” by The Elephant's Child

leadBig-0b16e62c331a5b2030f4f0923a17994bAt a press conference today in Paris, President Obama responded to questions about the shooting in Colorado Springs this weekend:

“With respect to Planned Parenthood, obviously, my heart goes out to those families impacted. I mean, I say this every time we go one of these mass shootings, this just doesn’t happen in other countries,”

This was in Paris, a city which had just experienced a real, coordinated terrorist attack by ISIS, that left over 130 dead — but some disturbed person shooting 3 people in a Planned Parenthood establishment just doesn’t happen in other countries. Embarrassing.

The president criticized the lack of gun control in the United States and pledged to remain focused on using executive action to enact new controls where possible.

The Pew Research Center pointed out today that the gun homicide rate was down 49% since 1993, but the public is unaware of that fact. The president isn’t either, or else he is uninterested.

Is there any other head of state who goes to a big foreign meeting and pops off about his personal troubles with his opposing party? Was David Cameron expressing his concerns about the newly elected Labour leader? Was Vladimir Putin discussing his problems in Ukraine? It seems rather ill-mannered, to say the least.

I think there’s something going on here. Obama has made no bones about his intent to “fundamentally transform America” into something that he finds more agreeable. I think he was outraged, in his opposition to the Iraq War, by what he assumed was the negative opinion of the nations of the world towards George W. Bush and the fighting in Iraq. I think his rush to get out of Iraq, leaving a disastrous mess behind him — was because of the opinion of world lefties about Iraq.

I think his drive to get rid of all the detainees in the detention facility at  Guantanamo Bay was because he believed, and he thought the world believed, that it was an evil place where detainees were tortured and abused. I think his releasing thousands of drug dealers and “non-violent” criminals in American prisons, is because he thinks world opinion is appalled by the numbers of prisoners we have in Americas prisons.

He is a confirmed leftist, more attuned to world leftism and their opinions, which are more important than our own views of American exceptionalism which he finds repugnant, and he’s told us so. If you remember, when he first became a candidate, he was quite determined not to wear any little flag pin in his buttonhole as the rest of the candidates did, and he wasn’t going to do the hand over the heart thing for the Star Spangled Banner either, until someone told him to cool it.

That ‘s my take.



The Do Something Urge v. The Complications of Reality. by The Elephant's Child

In the saga of the prevention of the next mass shooting, there are many stories. One comes from the failed state of California. California authorities are empowered to seize weapons — owned by convicted felons and people with mental illness.  Unfortunately staff shortages and funding cuts have left a backlog of more than 19,700 people to disarm, according to a law enforcement official.

Those 19,700 convicted felons and people with mental illness (assuming that there is real reason to identify them as dangerous) typically acquired the firearms legally, before they were convicted of a felony or diagnosed with mental illness. There are many felonies that do not involve threatening anyone with firearms, nor indicate any difference between those who have no problem pointing guns at innocent people and those who do not. Sounds pretty inexact. Nevertheless, those 19,700 people have roughly 39,000 weapons.

Each year, the state investigates and seizes the guns of about 2.000 people on the Armed Prohibited Persons list, but each year about 3,000 names are added to the list. The bureau does not have the funding to keep up.

Testimony and theater. Anti-gun activists summoned dead children.  Law enforcement officials displayed weapons, retired legislators complained that they were intimidated by gun-rights advocates. Victims of gun crimes somberly recounted their stories. Proposals for a 5¢ tax on every bullet purchased. Legislation drafted to require ammunition buyers to provide a thumbprint and ID for background checks. A suggestion that cities and counties be able to enact their own, tougher gun laws. A proposal that gun owners be licensed and insured like motorists drew some opposition.”There is a big question of whether you can license a constitutional right.” Well, so there is.

In the saga of the prevention of the next mass shooting, there are many stories. Unfortunately the record of past mass shooters is one of unknown people with unrecognized problems borrowing or stealing weapons and carefully planning in secret to commit a dreadful act. There really isn’t anything much that government can do to prevent these dreadful one-off, Black Swan events which have actually been growing less frequent. Britain and Australia engaged in complete gun-banning, confiscation of all firearms, strong laws to prevent violence, and crime has increased drastically, violence increased. home invasions increased. The record is quite clear. But a dreadful event happened and everyone wants to do something.




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