2/17/2007

Over a Million Page Hits! Thank you

Dear Everyone:

Sometime this past week my blog went over a million page hits. I just wanted to thank you all for taking the time for reading the material that I have put up here. I also want to thank my son, Maxim, who despite going to college, has continued to handle the various problems that have arisen with the blog site over time.

Thank you.

John

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2/16/2007

The risk of defending oneself in Chicago

Yesterday, that father and his son were victims of a deadly pair of armed robbers. Brian Neal, 19 and his unknown male companion tried to rob the victims at gunpoint. They shot the young father several times before he was able to retrieve a handgun from his apartment and return fire.

This violent crime happened in 500 block of East 82nd Street in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago where handguns have been banned.

The aftermath left one offender, Neal dead as the young father was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where he’s reportedly in stable condition suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. The second armed robber fled the scene.

Of course police have confiscated the only protection the victim had as evidence of both the justifiable homicide and potential ban related charges against the victim. . . .

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A weird ending to a crime

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. (AP) -- A man pleading guilty to stealing gas and a car radiator offered words of support for the retired farmer who was charged with threatening him with a shotgun.

Kenneth Englund, 74, confronted Christian Harris Smith and a woman on Oct. 15 at a vacant farm near Englund's home as Smith was taking gasoline from a vehicle, police said. Englund chased the pair while calling the sheriff's office on a cell phone.

After the vehicles stopped and a deputy sheriff arrived, Englund's shotgun was found to be unloaded, according to the criminal complaint. A felony assault charge against Englund on Monday was reduced to two misdemeanors: pointing a gun at another person and disorderly conduct. A judge sentenced Smith, 28, to 90 days in jail last week. As Smith entered his guilty plea, he defended Englund's actions.

"I don't think he should be held responsible for, you know, anything involving any of these issues," Smith said. "I committed a crime and, you know, he did what he probably thought was right to ... resolve the situation."

Smith said that in addition to paying restitution to the owner of the property, he would like to do "whatever I can" to help Englund, according to a court transcript. . . .

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What one British cop wants: re-arming of the British population

Here is a blog written by an anonymous British Police Officer.

My answer to anti-social behaviour (actually my answer to crime as a whole really) is the re-arming of the British population. Although I sometimes give the impression that I don't like the public much, they're generally quite reasonable except where their dogs are concerned. In my darker moments I think guns should be not just legal but compulsory for sane, law-abiding members of the public. I can’t see much point in petty legal distinctions between automatic, military, sniper, hunting, fully-automatic, large calibre or machine guns but I think the military should have the monopoly on heavy artillery. I would have a licensing system very similar to the system of driving licences we have, only simpler ("So, you pull the trigger here, now which end does the bullet come out of ?") People would be elected to positions of responsibility within local neighbourhood watches and senior police officers would be able to raise a posse, members of which would have to wear fluorescent vests for safety reasons.


Thanks very much to Dave Senger for sending this.

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2/15/2007

Problably the last place where it be legal to smoke in your office

Smoking has become the hot topic on Capitol Hill.
Who is, who isn't, and where the lawmakers puff -- closeted or not -- are among the whispers in the hallways and on the presidential campaign trail.
There have been at least 35 news reports about Sen. Barack Obama's long battle with a cigarette habit, and how the Illinois Democrat has been chewing Nicorette to kick that habit as he runs for president.
And in the latest installment, staffers for Rep. Keith Ellison tattled to Capitol Police that Rep. Tom Tancredo was smoking a cigar inside his congressional office. . . .
An officer investigating the report informed Mr. Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, that smoking is allowed in the private offices, the Hill newspaper first reported yesterday.


It is somewhat amusing that Tancredo and Ellison have offices right next to each other.

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Evidence that Trolley Square Mall in Utah occurred in a "gun free zone"

A photo of one of the signs at Trolley Square is available courtesy of W. Clark Aposhian of the Utah Shooting Sports Council. Click on the picture to get a larger copy of it and see point 10 for the mention that weapons are banned.

N.W. Clayton fills us in on additional information about this shooting. Off-duty police officer Hammond, who stopped the attack, "was at the opposite end and on a different floor of the convoluted Trolley Square complex when the shooting began. By the time he became aware of the shooting and managed to track down and confront Talovic, three minutes had elapsed." It is fortunate that the off-duty officer ignored the posted signs, but the point is that the killer was not stopped from taking his guns into the Mall just because guns were banned there. One wonders how many more lives could have been saved if law-abiding Utah citizens had been able to carry a gun into the Mall and gotten on the scene in less than 3 minutes. I understand that theoretically under state law permit holders could still carry their guns into the Mall despite the posted signs, but there appears to be some confusion and debate about this issue and courts have upheld gun bans in company parking lots.

I got a note from Janlee Tobias noting to me that: "You may also be interested to know that on Monday night's Channel 2 (KUTV) www.kutv.com broadcast, a witness said words to the effect, 'I saw the shooter. I looked for something to throw at him, but all I could find was a stool.' Then the witness saw the off-duty Ogden police officer and directed him to the shooter."

Utah has 79,353 permit holders, 4.6 percent of the adult population. (I don't know the breakdown for permit holders by whether they are in-state and out-of-state residents.

A detailed timeline of events is provided here. My earlier post is here.


Thanks to N.W. Clayton for sending me this.

UPDATE: CBS News: "Police: Off-Duty Cop Saved Lives In Mall"
An off-duty police officer having an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife was credited Tuesday with helping stop a rampage in a crowded shopping mall by an 18-year-old gunman who killed five people before he was cut down. 
A day after the shooting, investigators struggled to figure out why a trench-coated Sulejmen Talovic opened fire on shoppers with a supremely calm look on his face.
The teenager wanted to "to kill a large number of people" and probably would have killed many more if not for the off-duty officer, Police Chief Chris Burbank said. 
Ken Hammond, an off-duty officer from Ogden, north of Salt Lake City, jumped up from his seat at a restaurant after hearing gunfire and cornered the gunman, exchanging fire with him until other officers arrived, Burbank said. 
"There is no question that his quick actions saved the lives of numerous other people," the police chief said. 
"I feel like I was there and did what I had to do," Hammond told reporters. After spotting the gunman, he told his pregnant wife to take cover in the restaurant and went to confront the suspect. . . .

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Birmingham, Alabama with the highest rate of Issuing Permits in Urban Areas in the US

Here is a note that I received from a reporter: "Specifically, we've found that 64,000 people in the two most populous counties in the Birmingham metro area have permits. That's a little more than 10 percent of adults."

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2/14/2007

Hybrid Cars Pose New Danger: Proof Global Warming Does Kill

A useful interview on global warming

Off-duty Officer with Concealed Handgun stops Utah Mall Shooting

I have been arguing this point for years, but here is one reason why police officers should be allowed to carry concealed handguns when they are off-duty. Fortunately, the off-duty officer ignored the "no guns allowed" sign at the Mall. The killer apparently also ignored the sign.

It appears as though off-duty Ogden police Officer Kenneth Hammond, who carried a concealed weapon, stopped the killing spree, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council.
Aposhian noted that it is impossible to know whether a concealed-weapon holder could make a difference in every violent confrontation.
"But we do know what happens when there is no one with a concealed weapon in these situations - people die."
Aposhian spent Monday fielding telephone calls from individuals and groups seeking information on concealed-weapons permits. . . .


Of course, this argument applies to letting others as well defend themselves.

There is a real concern in my mind that this may be the beginning of more terrorist attacks. There was the attack last year in Seattle. At first glance, this is starting to look like a pattern.

Neighbors and friends back in his home country are shedding more light on the 18-year-old immigrant involved in Monday's shopping mall shooting rampage in Utah.

People close to the family of Sulejman Talovic say the Bosnian immigrant was only four when he and his mother fled their village on foot after it was overrun by Serbian forces. They say Talovic spent five years living as a refugee in Bosnia before his family moved to the U-S.

During his time as a refugee, they say he spent time in an enclave where up to eight-thousand Muslim men and boys would be slaughtered in 1995.

Talovic left before the massacre, but acquaintances say it may have left a mark on him.

A family friend says he's convinced "the war did this in Utah." . . .


This last story is one of many that fails to note that it was an off-duty officer who stopped the attack.

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2/13/2007

Warning, extraterrestrials causing global warming!

2/12/2007

Valentine Flowers are bad for the Planet?

Many of these flowers are grown in third world countries and the claim it is horrible that the flowers are shipped in the cargo holds of planes that travel to developed countries. By this notion, are we going to ban all foreign trade? This isn't serious. What do these environmentalists what these poor third world countries to do? Wealthier countries care more about the environment than do poorer ones. Just naturally cars and other things are more efficient in wealthier countries over time without any government intervention, so if we do something that makes these third world countries poorer, their environment will deteriorate.

The Valentine's Day bouquet — the gift that every woman in Britain will be waiting for next week — has become the latest bête noire among environmental campaigners.

Latest Government figures show that the flowers that make up the average bunch have flown 33,800 miles to reach Britain.

In the past three years, the amount of flowers imported from the Netherlands has fallen by 47 per cent to 94,000 tons, while those from Africa have risen 39 per cent to 17,000 tons.

Environmentalists warned that "flower miles" could have serious implications on climate change in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from aeroplanes. . . .

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Radio appearance today at 5:20 PM

For those interested, I will be on Jerry Doyle's national radio show today at 5:20 EST. We will be discussing gun ownership.

UPDATE: RESCHEDULED for tomorrow at the same time.

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New Harvard President former Director of Penn's Women's Studies Department

Drew Gilpin Faust was director of the Women's Studies Program. Despite the fact that women out number men by about 60 to 40 percent in college, it is not surprising that she had this exchange:

Asked Sunday whether her appointment signified the end of sex inequities at the university, Dr. Faust said: "Of course not. There is a lot of work still to be done, especially in the sciences."

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Does Giuliani have a tin ear on guns?

All he really had to say here is that he recognized people's right to defend themselves. His emphasis on hunting in the context of the second amendment will remind a lot of conservatives about Clinton. Of course, possibly it isn't a tin ear. Possibly he means it to get gun owners upset.

SACRAMENTO -- Rudy Giuliani addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters, saying his policies as mayor to get handguns off the street helped reduce crime in New York.

"I used gun control as mayor," he said at a news conference Saturday during a swing through California. But "I understand the Second Amendment. I understand the right to bear arms."

He said what he did as mayor would have no effect on hunting.


Thanks to Dan Gifford for sending me this link.

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2/11/2007

Will Liberals Continue to Control the Supreme Court?

For conservatives who are still one vote away from having five votes on the Supreme Court, this is not good news if it were true. Jan Crawford Greenburg, a reporter for ABC News and someone who has good contacts within the Supreme Court, claims that "Bush Will Not Get Another Supreme Court Appointment." Obviously her comment about knowing the date when John Paul Stevens would retire was a joke, but this comment on Bush not getting another appointment was not a joke.

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Lots of Problems with Wikipedia