Criminals being left off without even having to show up in court in England.

With England facing twice the violent crime rate as the US, the system is starting to fall apart. As Don Kates wrote to me: "To conserve scarce criminal justice resources England has now moved from not investigating burglary and assault to not prosecuting even the few thugs the police manage to identify and catch." He also noted that since handguns were banned in 1997 violent crime reported to police have gone up, not down as promised.

Burglars will be allowed to escape without punishment under new instructions sent to all police forces. Police have been told they can let them off the threat of a court appearance and instead allow them to go with a caution.
The same leniency will be shown to criminals responsible for more than 60 other different offences, ranging from arson through vandalism to sex with underage girls.

New rules sent to police chiefs by the Home Office set out how seriously various crimes should be regarded, and when offenders who admit to them should be sent home with a caution.

A caution counts as a criminal record but means the offender does not face a court appearance which would be likely to end in a fine, a community punishment or jail. . . .

Well, given the failure of the government to prosecute these criminals, this next article in the Daily Mail is not too surprising:

Six out of ten muggings are never reported because the public have lost faith in the police to do anything, it emerged last night.
The devastating verdict is delivered in a report by Demos, one of Tony Blair's favourite think-tanks. It reveals plummeting public confidence in the police means tens of thousands of offences go unreported.

If, as research cited by Demos suggests, police are not told of 58 per cent of muggings, the 80,780 offences recorded last year would in reality number 192,000.

The list of unreported crimes also includes 35 per cent of violent attacks by strangers, 38 per cent of burglaries and 42 per cent of thefts from vehicles.

Tory home affairs spokesman Nick Herbert said: "When such large numbers of people aren't even reporting offences, the true level of crime is far higher than official figures suggest. . . .

For a picture from the Economist magazine showing how robbery rates have changed over time follow this link (the commentary there is also useful).

Of interest: The results of an online poll of people reading this English newspaper can be found here. Last I looked 94 percent thought that the courts in England were too soft on criminals.

Trying to Keep New Orleans Democratic

Fox News has an interesting story on how far Louisiana is going to make sure that people who have moved out of New Orleans will vote in the upcoming election. The report doesn't mention how the election was already postponed, but they do mention that in order to make sure that people who have moved out of the city will be able to vote $4 million is being spent as compared to the normal $400,000 for an election. The state is spending millions of dollars advertising around the country to encourage people who have moved out of New Orleans (and indeed moved out of Louisiana) to vote.


Economist claims: "Strong economy equals more heart attacks"

If a high-fat cholesterol-laden snack doesn't trigger a heart attack, then a healthy economy just might.

The risk of a fatal heart attack rises when the U.S. economy strengthens and increases further if macroeconomic conditions remain robust over the next several years, according to a study published last month.

The death rate rises in the year the economy expands and grows further if the lower rate of joblessness is maintained, Christopher Ruhm wrote in his study.

A 1 percentage point drop in unemployment is estimated to raise mortality by 1.3 percent or 2,515 additional deaths per year from heart attacks, the study showed. The mortality rate is similar for males and females.

The 20-44 age group is at a relatively higher risk than older persons, especially if the economic upturn is sustained.

Ruhm, an economics professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, used the example of a six-month stint working in another city for what that individual sees as a great opportunity.

"During that period of time chances are you are working so much you are not exercising, haven't had a chance to join a gym, you're eating out a lot, maybe smoking more," Ruhm said by phone from North Carolina. . . . .

Is this possible? Sure. But after looking at the paper, it is primarily conjecture on what is occurring because there is just a simple regression relating unemployment and mortality rates (he tries to summarized a more mixed literature also). Income is not consistently related to mortality. This last result makes me wonder because everything else that I have seen indicates that higher income means that people live longer, and it is a better measure of growth. A measure of the distribution of income growth would also be useful.

Spanish government is scared of Police because they can carry guns

Defense minister Jose Bono said yesterday that he does not approve of the April 22 demonstration called by members of the Civil Guard, Spain's paramilitary police, against the Zapatero administration's failure to fulfill its promises. Bono, surprisingly, said, "I don't like the idea of a demonstration by people who can carry a pistol because they have a short-arm license."

The Civil Guard union that called the demo replied that Bono's statements were "unworthy of a minister."

The Unified Association of Civil Guards announced yesterday that it was considering possible legal action against Bono for his allusion to the officers' right to carry arms. "Bono must know that we Civil Guards and police officers are not gunmen, or criminals, or plotting a coup, but just the opposite," said a joint press release from the Association and the Unified Police Union, both of which represent the majority of officers in their bodies. . . .

Scientists say global warming due to sun

I know that for those who have been following the debate this isn't very surprising, but it is nice to see this information making it out into the media. Just in time for Al Gore's new horror movie, "An Inconvenient Truth":

Climate changes such as global warming may be due to changes in the sun rather than to the release of greenhouse gases on Earth.

Climatologists and astronomers speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Philadelphia say the present warming may be unusual - but a mini ice age could soon follow.

The sun provides all the energy that drives our climate, but it is not the constant star it might seem.

Careful studies over the last 20 years show that its overall brightness and energy output increases slightly as sunspot activity rises to the peak of its 11-year cycle.

And individual cycles can be more or less active.

The sun is currently at its most active for 300 years.

That, say scientists in Philadelphia, could be a more significant cause of global warming than the emissions of greenhouse gases that are most often blamed.

The researchers point out that much of the half-a-degree rise in global temperature over the last 120 years occurred before 1940 - earlier than the biggest rise in greenhouse gas emissions. . . .

So much for Al Gore's claim that time is running out.

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Question about Illegal Alien Bill in Senate

Apparently one of the provisions in the new bill would make it so that illegals could prove that they have been in the country for at least five years and thus be eligible for citizenship. To prove this residency, illegals can provide electric utility bills or other similar documentation. I am not sure who keeps their utility bills for five years plus, but there is another problem. Whatever one thinks about illegals becoming citizens, there is a side issue of possible forgery regarding these documents. An incredibly straightforward solution is that any such documentation would have to be checked by the screening agency with the company that issued the original document and that there would be a criminal penalty if the company altered documents. If there are additional concerns, possibly three types of documentation could be required. Pretty simple, and it would solve many concerns. For some reason though I don't think that the bill will contain this provision.


How to develop without Eminent Domain


Anna Benson on Guns

Anna Benson, the wife of Kris Benson of the Orioles and also well known model and former stripper, has an amazing open letter on her website. All I can say is that her statements here correspond to what my research shows people should do. This is one gutsy lady:

My dad was not a big believer in locking up guns (his valid argument is that if the guns are locked up, it will be too difficult to access them when needed... like when some deranged 200 pound man is busting through my front door). So, my dad kept guns hidden in easily accessible places, and knowing how my curiosity often got the best of me, he did not want to leave me ignorant about safe handling procedures. Thus, right or wrong, he taught me a healthy respect and fear for the firearm. He acknowledged my natural childhood curiosity and addressed it by educating me. These are some of the fondest memories that I hold from my childhood. My dad trusted my intellect and coached me during my shooting lessons. . . .

I am afraid of gun-control lobbyists. I am afraid that their skewed perceptions of safety are threatening my rights. I am an avid supporter of our Second Amendment and, consequently, my right to bear arms. My father has guns, my grandfather had guns, and even my great-grandmother had a pretty little pearl-handled .357 that she carried in her purse (and I guarantee that she would have used it to protect her ninety pound frame from threat). Even my mother carries a .38 special in her briefcase as she heads to work in downtown Atlanta due to an increased amount of carjacking and assaults in the city. And like my father, I share my enthusiasm and respect with my own children. My eight-year-old son frequently shoots with my husband at very safe and controlled ranges. I truly believe that if properly used, guns are a benefit to those who own them. . . .

Boy convicted of possessing handgun in Colorado: Could someone please explain this to me?

Could someone please explain this article to me? If the article is correct that "Colorado law prohibits possession of a handgun by a juvenile but permits parents to give them permission to possess guns in their homes - even without supervision," what is the problem here? The parents say that they gave permission. From the Rocky Mountain News:

An Evergreen High School student who posted Internet photos of himself posing with guns was convicted Tuesday on a charge of possession of a handgun by a juvenile.
The conviction came despite his parents' testimony that they gave him permission to handle guns in their home without their supervision.

Colorado law prohibits possession of a handgun by a juvenile but permits parents to give them permission to possess guns in their homes - even without supervision.

"This is a very difficult case," defense attorney Barrett Weisz said in his closing argument.

"We have pictures that raise images of the Columbine massacre. But if we set the specter of Columbine aside," he said, the boy should be acquitted and sent home.

The photos were posted on the popular teen Web site MySpace.com. The photos showed him posing with a number of rifles and three handguns - a .45-caliber pistol, a .22-caliber revolver and a .357-caliber revolver.

The 16-year-old boy, who has been held in detention since his arrest in February, will be sentenced June 1. He was acquitted on two additional charges of handgun possession.

The judge set a $5,000 bond, but ordered that the boy must be evaluated and a safety plan drawn up before he can be released.

The boy's parents testified they were upset and disappointed with their son when they discovered the photos, but said he had permission to handle the weapons.

"I was not pleased and told him to take (the photos) down," his father testified. "I told him, 'What were you thinking when you took these pictures?' I was upset."

The father, a gun collector and enthusiast who is an airline pilot and retired Air Force pilot, said he gave the boy and his brother extensive training in the safe handling of weapons. . . .

Tony Blair very low in opinion polls

Under the label don't feel too bad because someone else is likely to have it worse: Tony Blair's approval rating is at 30 percent and only 29 percent approve of his government's record to date. To put this in some perspective, in a three party system it has been much harder for Blair to break 50 perent than it has for Bush. Blair can win handsomely with only 40 percent of the vote. On the other hand, given how articulate Blair is, it is amazing that he can be this low in the polls.

Nebraska Officially Becomes a Right-to-carry State

The Nebraska Governor signed the legislation this morning.


Penn & Teller's Show on Gun Control

I have cited this before, but here is a better link. Penn & Teller's show on gun control can be found here. I still wish that the show had done more to question many of the numbers that they repeated on the show.

Thanks to Matt Wilson for this link.


Hillary Clinton comes out for more gun control

New Index on Supreme Court Gun Cases

Alan Korwin has put up his discussion of newly posted case index for the Supreme Court with summaries.