Risk of gun crime increasing in Britain

Well, banning handguns in 1997 doesn't seem to have made the job of being a police officer safer. If anything, the reverse is true. The last part of the article confirms what I have frequently argued about how gun ownership in the US deters criminals.

READING, England – Former Garland police Officer Ben Johnson, celebrated three years ago as the first foreigner to become a British police constable, provoked a national uproar this week after saying he would resign to protest a ban on officers carrying guns.

Mr. Johnson, 34, said the increasing risk of encountering a gunman who could render his 18-month-old daughter fatherless has caused the former Texas officer to reconsider his work. He is now the focus of a British media frenzy, having the unique perspective of having fought crimes on both sides of the Atlantic.

"I have to think of more than just myself now," he said in an interview. "Now that I'm a father, and I have a young daughter, it's even more important that I receive the proper training and equipment. I'm not afraid to be a police officer. I'm just more acutely aware of the fact" that training and arms should be integral to that job. . . .

British criminals seem far more bold and less fearful of confrontation, injury or punishment, Mr. Johnson said. He attributed it to the fact that Americans are permitted to guard their homes with guns – and would-be burglars know it.
"Here, it's quite common that burglars will break in while people are asleep in bed in the middle of the night," he said. "It is a common thing, which I think does reflect on the legal right to protect your home."
Without the deterrent effect of a homeowner's gun, he added, "there's not that threat to burglars, so we have a much higher rate of home break-ins [with the occupants present]."


Stuart Taylor on Alito nomination

This is definitely a must read. I don't have a link to the piece and I didn't think that it was proper for me to reprint the entire piece, but here is less than 20 percent of the article.

National Journal Group

Opening Argument --
Alito: A Sampling of Misleading Media Coverage
By Stuart Taylor Jr

A sometimes subtle but unmistakable pattern has emerged in major news organizations' coverage of Judge Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination.

Through various mixes of factual distortions, tendentious wording, and uncritical parroting of misleading attacks by liberal critics, some (but not all) reporters insinuate that Alito is a slippery character who will say whatever senators want to hear, especially by "distancing himself" from past statements that (these reporters imply) show him to be a conservative ideologue.

I focus here not on the consistently mindless liberal hysteria of the New York Times' editorial page. Nor on such egregious factual errors as the assertion on C-SPAN, by Stephen Henderson of Knight Ridder Newspapers, that in a study of Alito's more than 300 judicial opinions, "we didn't find a single case in which Judge Alito sided with African-Americans ... [who were] alleging racial bias." This, Henderson added, is "rather remarkable."

What is remarkable is that any reporter could have overlooked the at least seven cases in which Alito has sided with African-Americans alleging racial bias. Also remarkable is the illiterate statistical analysis and loaded language used by Henderson and Howard Mintz in a 2,652-word article published (in whole or in part) by some 18 newspapers. It makes the highly misleading claim that in 15 years as a judge, Alito has sought "to weave a conservative legal agenda into the fabric of the nation's laws," including "a standard higher than the Supreme Court requires" for proving job discrimination.

The systematic slanting -- conscious or unconscious -- of this and many other news reports has helped fuel a disingenuous campaign by liberal groups and senators to caricature Alito as a conservative ideologue. In fact, this is a judge who -- while surely too conservative for the taste of liberal ideologues -- is widely admired by liberals, moderates, and conservatives who know him well as fair-minded, committed to apolitical judging, and wedded to no ideological agenda other than restraint in the exercise of judicial power.

Here are some other examples of slanted reports about Alito, not including those noted in my November 5 and 19 columns:

* A December 3 Washington Post front-pager by Charles Babington stressed Alito's supposed effort to "distance himself" from two 1985 documents in which he had asserted that (among other things) "I am and always have been a conservative" and "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Babington added that this distancing "may expose him to accusations of insincerity or irresolution, advocates said."

Indeed. Articles such as Babington's have fueled a clamor about Alito's supposed "credibility gap" by liberal groups and attack-dog senators like Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Liberal editorialists and columnists have joined in.

Such suggestions of insincerity are not based on anything that Alito has said. They are based on misleading characterizations by reporters of what senators say Alito has said in private meetings with them. Needless to say, some of these senators are spinning their own agendas. . . . .

The Canadian National Post on the new Liberal Party Handgun Ban

First the Canadian Prime Minister simply made up numbers regarding where Canadian crime guns were coming from in a bold lie directly to Secretary of State Rice. Now that an election is at hand, he wants to ban handguns.

Something must be done about the gun violence that plagues this country's cities. But the something offered by Paul Martin and the Liberals yesterday represents, effectively, nothing.
The proposed handgun ban is a symbolic, politically motivated act -- and would be as ineffective here as similarly motivated bans have proven to be in other countries. As the Liberals surely understand, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with illegal weapons. According to one Statistics Canada study of gun murders, 84% of the firearms used were not registered. Criminals are surely no more likely to submit to a legislated gun ban than they were to register the guns in the first place.
Mr. Martin has made much of the fact that the Liberals' new plan would borrow heavily from the Australian model. But that nation's gun control experiment has been a failure. As John R. Lott pointed out in these pages in October, Australia saw its crime rates rise 32% and its armed robbery rates rise 74% in the six years following the nation's adoption of tougher gun controls in 1996. The U.K. fared little better after it banned handguns in 1997, as gun crimes almost doubled in England and Wales from 1998-99 to 2002-03.
It is hard to accept that Mr. Martin seriously believes that violent criminals, the same goons who do not think twice about committing a murder, will submit to the prohibition, or indeed that it will have any impact on the problem whatsoever. The idea, then, that he would campaign on it with his tongue in his cheek makes it all the worse.
Not only would such a prohibition be ineffectual, it would also unfairly target all the law-abiding handgun owners -- the target shooters and collectors -- who have dutifully (and, as it turns out, naively) registered their guns for decades, believing the government's assurances that, no, registration was not to be the first step toward confiscation. We now see that it was. . . .


Canadian Liberal Party Proposes to Ban Handguns

First the Canadian Prime Minister simply made up numbers regarding where Canadian crime guns were coming from in a bold lie directly to Secretary of State Rice. Now that an election is at hand, he wants to ban handguns.

Prime Minister Paul Martin will venture into a violence-plagued area of Toronto on Thursday to announce a sweeping ban on handguns, The Canadian Press has learned.

Martin was scheduled to visit Toronto’s troubled Jane-Finch area to make a “safer communities announcement.” Liberal sources have confirmed the announcement includes a ban on handguns. . . .

Thanks to Bruce Korol for sending this article to me.


Wisconsin State Senate Passes Right to Carry by 70 to 30%

"Men Warm Globe, Women Feel the Heat, Group Claims": This is just too funny

Here is where feminism and environmentalism meet:

The debate over climate change evolved into a battle of the sexes Monday at the 11th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal. The spokesman for a feminist-based environmental group accused men of being the biggest contributors to human-caused "global warming" and lamented that women are bearing the brunt of the negative climate consequences created by men.

"Women and men are differently affected by climate change and they contribute differently to climate change," said Ulrike Rohr, director of the German-based group called "Genanet-Focal point gender, Environment, Sustainability."

Rohr, who is demanding "climate gender justice," left no doubt as to which gender she believes was the chief culprit in emitting greenhouse gasses. . . .


San Francisco Chronicle article lamenting what people will do for protection without their guns

I wish that newspapers, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, had a few more of these articles before the vote.

For a long time, Margaret Hurst lived in fear.

Gangs control turf just a few blocks from her Mission District apartment in San Francisco, and she's sure a neighbor across the street deals drugs. Her building was broken into four times in one year. She saw teenagers on her street display a gun. And while she was stopped at a red light one day, a man tried to punch in her car window in a case of road rage.

So she bought a handgun. Now Hurst is no longer scared.

"I'll tell you one thing. If I'm going down, I'm taking them with me," said 49-year-old Hurst, who is about as un-Charlton Heston as any woman with a British accent, braided bun and long flowing skirt could be.

After a heated campaign brought the national debate over gun control to San Francisco, the city's famously liberal voters passed a law last month banning the sale, manufacture and distribution of firearms and ammunition within city limits. The measure, which takes effect Jan. 1, also makes it illegal for residents to possess handguns.

And as that date approaches, handgun owners like Hurst are becoming increasingly fearful of the consequences. . . .

Thanks to Ben Zycher for sending this article to me.

Trade-offs everywhere: civil liberties involve them also

This Assistant District Attorney for Kings County should be made an honorary economist. There are trade-offs everywhere and he provides some nice examples here.

. . . All of our rights can have dreadful consequences. Including those mandating jury trials, search warrants, probable cause for arrests, and face-to-face testimony —all sometimes allow dirtbags who belong in jail to walk the streets. Not to mention the rights of a significant number of "hip hop" artists — whose freedom of expression, attitudes and lifestyles do a lot more to create a cynical culture of violence among young people than the NRA or any gun company.

All civil liberties involve social cost. But the cost is lower than that of their absence, which would expose us all to organized oppression, both criminal and official, much worse than random street crime. And the costs of such liberties diminish appreciably in societies that demand personal responsibility and conformity to the rules of civilized behavior.

In recent years, 38 states have adopted "right to carry" laws, requiring police to issue full-carry pistol permits to all who meet simple criteria such as lack of a felony record. Despite the dire predictions of prominent Chicken Littles, most of these states actually saw drops in crime.

A society that wishes to remain democratic can never allow the behavior of the antisocial to determine the boundaries of its rights. Doing so can undermine the free society that Officer Stewart and others like him gave their lives to defend.

Police Chiefs oppose off-duty police using guns

I wonder whether this change in policy has anything to do with letting off duty police carry guns when they travel. Last year congress finally passed a law letting off police carry guns when they travel and police chiefs were opposed to it. They didn't mind their own police carrying guns, but it seemed to be a problem when others did so.

So now, the 20,000-member International Association of Chiefs of Police has called for off-duty officers who witness a crime to call for assistance rather than pulling a weapon.