Fred Thompson's campagin reportedly in good shape

South African Gun Control hasn't reduce Crime Rates

Here is an article from Friday's Christian Science Monitor:

It is now 13 years since South Africa turned its back on the oppressive era of apartheid and, in a remarkably peaceful transition, embraced democracy. Much has been accomplished as blacks and whites sculpt a new, multiracial nation. But the warning in the Sowetan's boardroom is a reminder that democracy must be nurtured to flourish. . . . . Thus the big cities such as Johannesburg have become seedbeds for robbery and violent hijacking, making crime South Africa's biggest problem. Sometimes it is the work of individuals; sometimes the work of organized gangs. One black editor, while in no way supporting the old apartheid regime, remarks wryly: "There was no city crime or unemployment in the old days. If you were a black without a [residence] pass and a letter from your boss saying you had a job, the police would run you out of town. Today, whether you are black or white, you take your life in your hands if you walk downtown at night." . . . .

South Africa gun control really started disarming many people after 2004.

The Firearms Control Act came into effect on 1 July 2004 after the Pretoria High Court dismissed an application by seven organisations to prevent the Act from being implemented. . . . .

Thanks to Rich Griffiths for sending me these links.

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Handgun crimes rise in Britain since ban

Despite a ban on handguns introduced in 1997 after 16 children and their teacher were shot dead in the Dunblane massacre the previous year, their use in crimes has almost doubled to reach 4,671 in 2005-06. Official figures show that although Britain has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the world, firearm use in crime has risen steadily. This year eight young people have been killed in gun attacks: six in London and one each in Manchester and Liverpool. . . . .

I don't think that the population of Britain has gone up much in the last decade (if it has gone up at all), but it would still have been better if they reported this in terms of crimes per capita. In any case, there are lots of reasons why gun crime is low or high in different countries, but the main point is how it changes when the regulations change. At the very least here, a gun ban doesn't appear to have lowered the crime rate.

Thanks to Richard of Newport for sending me this link.

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Is it a crime (or at least wrong) to sell lock-picks?: iPhone unlocked

No one ever doubted that the iPhone would be unlocked. It was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to crack the armor that heretofore has kept iPhone users from popping in a SIM card other than the iPhone-specific one that AT&T Wireless supplies with every new iPhone.

It seems that the team of someones at iPhoneSimFree.com are the first to successfully pull off this feat. The group says it has unlocked the phone, and will be releasing its software for sale starting next week.

Unlocking the iPhone dramatically widens the phone's appeal. . . . .

Unlocking the iPhone is on net bad for consumers. Those who already have an iPhone or who are going to get one are possibly better off. The question though is whether this theft will alter AT&T's investments in future capabilities for its network and service. If it does, the consumers will not have quality of service that they would have had and that will work to reduce the iPhone's appeal. One presumes that since Apple wants to maximize iPhone's attractiveness relative to its costs, this cheating will move them away from the right mix of quality. The bigger problem is that this type of cheating reduces the incentives to invent and invest in devices such as iPhone to begin with.

UPDATE: This is about what I expected. This seems like pretty strong evidence that Apple for one doesn't think that it is better off by the unlocking of the iPhone.

The man informed McLaughlin that if he posted the unlock code, he could be sued for copyright infringement and for dissemination of Apple’s intellectual property. . . . .

UPDATE2: AT&T is now in the act.

Until an assessment is made of the potential of legal action, Uniquephones is unable to release the unlocking software for sale. The company spokesperson also said that the company would also be evaluating what to eventually do with the software should they be legally denied the right to sell it. A substantial delay caused by any legal action would render the unlocking software a less valuable commodity as well as creating unforeseen security issues for the company.

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Rational Monkeys

It appears that even monkeys understand the notion of deterrence. At the very least, they at least respond in the way economics predicts: the more costly something is the less they do of something.

They say the monkeys are more afraid of young men than women and children, and the bolder ones throw stones and chase the women from their farms.

Nachu's women have tried wearing their husbands' clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

"When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men," resident Lucy Njeri told the BBC News website

"But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don't run away from us and point at our breasts. They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops."

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Minnesota State Fair Next Tuesday

I will be at the Minnesota state fair signing copies of Freedomnomics next Tuesday afternoon. Jason Lewis, who does the early evening afternoon talk show on KTLK FM, is being quite nice and having me out for his entire show while he broadcasts from the fair grounds. I have done this before with Jason, and it should be a lot of fun.


Women Voting: Second of two part interview about Freedomnomics

The second part of the interview with Fred Lucas at CNSnews.com is available here.



Pigeon Dung helped Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

He forgot that he voted twice the same day in two different places

First of two part interview about Freedomnomics

The first part of the interview with Fred Lucas at CNSnews.com is available here.


Update on if weather forecasting should be run by the government

A critical discussion on my op-ed on weather forecasting services can be found here.

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Video of part of talk at the Cato Institute

A video of part of my recent talk at the Cato Institute can be found here.

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An update on British crime rates

An update on British crime rates can be seen here.

Thanks to Brian O'Connor for sending me this link.

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Bill Murray is also a funny guy in real life

Michael Medved nails another myth: The Truth about Internet Hunting

Who says politicians can’t move swiftly and decisively to block an imminent threat to public decency?

Consider the courageous work of most of our state legislatures and, potentially, the Congress of the United States, to put an end to the shameful scourge of internet hunting.

Since 2005, 33 states have outlawed the cruel, unsportsmanlike practice, and when the governor signs an Illinois bill that’s already passed both houses that will make 34 states that have taken action to put an end to the slaughter. As the Humane Society of the United States declared in a mailing that went out in 2006 to 50,000 households: “Such horrific cruelty must stop and stop now!”

As recently as last week, sportswriter and novelist Frank Deford delivered a scathing commentary on NPR decrying the hordes of knuckle-dragging internet hunters and comparing their viciousness to the alleged dog-fighting abuses of football star Michael Vick. Even the United States House of Representatives has taken up the cause, with one of the senior Republicans in Congress, the usually level-headed Tom Davis of Virginia, introducing HR 2711, The Computer Assisted Remote Hunting Act. “You just wonder,” he declared, “who would do something like this?”

The answer is no one, actually.

Despite the nationwide hysteria (deliberately fanned by the Humane Society and other animal welfare groups) there’s no evidence anywhere, that anyone has blown away herds of unsuspecting wildlife through an internet connection. . . .

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President Signs Executive Order on Hunting

Washington, D.C. - An Executive Order issued by the President of the United States will spell more hunting opportunities and enhanced conservation efforts, according to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, the nation's premier sportsmen's rights advocacy organization.

Today, President George W. Bush released the order, entitled "Facilitation of Hunting and Wildlife Conservation." It directs all relevant federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities, wildlife management and habitat.

"The Executive Order is a great milestone for sportsmen and wildlife conservation," said Bud Pidgeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. "It clearly demonstrates that the President understands the unbreakable bond between successful wildlife conservation and hunting - that sportsmen are the key to abundant wildlife and habitat." . . .

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School suspends boy for drawing "doodles" of gun

MESA, Ariz. - School officials suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching what looked like a gun, saying the action posed a threat to his classmates.

The boy's parents said the drawing was a harmless doodle and school officials overreacted.

"The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good," said the boy's mother, Paula Mosteller.

The drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries or target any human, the parents said. And the East Valley Tribune reported that the boy said he didn't intend for the picture to be a threat.

Administrators of Payne Junior High in nearby Chandler suspended the boy on Monday for five days but later reduced it to three days.

The boy's father, Ben Mosteller, said that when he went to the school to discuss his son's punishment, school officials mentioned the seriousness of the issue and talked about the massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School, where two teenagers shot and killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves in 1999. Mosteller said he was offended by the reference.

Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the crude sketch was "absolutely considered a threat," and that threatening words or pictures are punishable. . . .


Another Endorsement for Freedomnomics

Will shooting in Missouri Church get Churches to reconsider Concealed Handgun Ban?

I found it interesting that the left-leaning Daily Kos seriously discussed the issue of gun free zones:

The fatal shooting of three people in a Missouri church on Sunday promises to renew the debate over concealed weapons laws.

Under the state's "conceal and carry" law enacted in 2003, Show Me State residents can bring firearms into places of worship (among other places), provided they get permission from their pastors. Whether the gunman or any of the assembled in the First Congregational Church in Neosho had received the blessing to pack heat in a house of God remains to be seen.

Among Missouri's Catholic churches, at least, such permission is unlikely. In the wake of the passage of the conceal and carry law, the Missouri Catholic Conference prescribed guidelines for churches in the state. Among its recommendations that each church should distribute a written policy to all employees and parishioners, as well as post a sign of at least 11 inches by 14 inches announcing that all weapons are prohibited within. . . .

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Fred Thompson and Giuliani Tangle on Gun Issue

Fred Thompson made a blog posting on the gun issue yesterday:

There are lots of things about [New York] I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category. Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights. . . .

The lawsuit has been a lesson in out-of-control government from the get-go. Mayor Bloomberg sent private investigators to make “straw” purchases – illegally buying guns for somebody else. According to the ATF, NY’s illegal “stings” interfered with ongoing investigations of real gun traffickers. . . .

Guliani, who has claimed in the past that gun control was an important reason for crime falling in New York City in the 1990s, responded:

In his comments, Mr. Thompson went on to suggest that high gun ownership rates may be related to the nation’s low violent crime rates.

The Giuliani campaign responded. “Those who live in New York in the real world — not on TV — know that Rudy Giuliani’s record of making the city safe for families speaks for itself,” said Katie Levinson, the Giuliani campaign’s communications director. “No amount of political theater will change that.” . . .

For those who want to see some of my past postings on Giuliania and guns see here, here, and here.

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Norway: Schooling and Guns

Schooling in Norway is apparently not a gun free zone:

Students on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard aren't allowed to leave their village without a shotgun and ammunition. That's because hungry polar bears can be behind every swing on the island.

Although no one wants to shoot a polar bear, and they're indeed protected by national law, the huge white animals can quickly outrun a human. And humans don't have a chance if confronted by an aggressive bear.

So everyone on Svalbard needs to be able defend him- or herself, and students undergo weapons training every year.

"We feel more secure and look forward to learn a lot more," said Helga Therese Tilley Tajet of Moelv. She's studying meteorology at the University of Oslo and will concentrate on the Arctic marine climate for the next six months at the university on Svalbard, UNIS. . . .

I wonder if there are any students who have been wounded with accidental gun shoots. For some reason despite all these students having guns I bet that there haven't been any problems.

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Another Review of Freedomnomics

“Why the Free Market Works and Other Half-Baked Theories Don’t,” reads the subtitle on the dust jacket.
So what? And what does that have to do with gun rights?

Like the saying goes, it’s not about guns, it’s about freedom. And Freedomnomics, by economist and author John Lott, Jr., does much to illustrate the relationship between free markets and liberty.

Sure, he builds on the groundbreaking work that established his name as a world-renowned commentator in More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns. But some of his conclusions go against what is intuitively accepted as common knowledge.

For instance, many believe legalized abortion has reduced violent crime by removing the most unwanted and therefore potentially crime-prone from the population. Lott has the numbers to show an increase in “the murder rate, on average, by about 7 percent.”

Likewise, affirmative action programs for police forces have the effect of lowering their effectiveness by lowering standards. “Ironically,” Lott writes, the people this hurts the most are those who live in “places already plagued by terrible crime.”

This is controversial stuff to some, hardly politically correct. But Lott proceeds unfazed, taking on capital punishment and demonstrating “the death penalty helps deter violent crime and save lives,” and when “there were no executions … between 1968 and 1976 … murder rates
skyrocketed.” . . .

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Some shows on gun crime

John Stossel has a nice show after the Virginia Tech shooting here.

The 1/2 hour News Hour has a more humorous take here.

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New Op-ed: Does Government Weather Forecasting Endanger Lives?

. . . . With all the blame still going around about Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, one fact has missed getting much attention: private weather forecasting companies predicted the threat to New Orleans well before the National Weather Service. In fact, AccuWeather issued a forecast that the hurricane would hit New Orleans 12 hours earlier than the government service.

This is hardly something new. Private companies with a lot at stake would often rather pay for private forecasts than rely on the “free” forecasts from the government. Hugh Connett, the president of Bridgeline, a gas pipeline company in Louisiana, claims that the government’s hurricane forecasts are too imprecise. He says that private companies such as AccuWeather do it better, because they give more accurate predictions and provide hour-by-hour forecasts of a storm’s path. . . .

UPDATE: For those interested, links for the sources have been imbedded in the article. Simply click on the link above.

UPDATE 2: Please note that a correction was made in the piece. The portion of a sentence in the second paragraph stating that there were 5 hurricanes predicted to hit the US has been cut.

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Debate on letting guns on college campuses

A C-SPAN Washington Journal debate between a student at George Mason University, Andrew Dysart, and Paul Helmke from the Brady Campaign can be seen here.

This morning during the 6 AM hour I debated Paul Helmke on WTOP radio.

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South African Health Minister Pushes new Cure for HIV AIDS