Sledgehammer attacked stopped by defensive gun use

Intruder with sledgehammer is shot and killed
Cincinnati Enquirer
March 24, 2007

HAMILTON - Jamie Buck was asleep early Friday when a sledgehammer shattered his side door's window and a stranger burst into his rented home, demanding money or jewelry.

That was the last demand he would ever make.

Brandenburg, 31, was shot to death inside Buck's Bishop Avenue home early Friday, seven weeks after Brandenburg's latest release from jail. A preliminary investigation suggests the shooting was justified, authorities say.

Buck, who told police he was hit in the head with the sledgehammer, was treated at Fort Hamilton Hospital. He told police in a 911 call that he had shot the intruder.

Brandenburg suffered a fatal gunshot to the head, three shots in the chest and a fifth shot in the left side, Butler County Coroner Richard Burkhardt said. Brandenburg tested positive for alcohol use; tests showing his blood-alcohol level and any other drugs were being processed, the coroner said.

Buck, 33, who said he didn't know the intruder, appears to have been defending himself, said Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper.

But Piper said he is waiting for police to finish investigating before he decides what to do. If the investigation upholds Buck's account of self-defense, Piper could file no charges - or he could let a grand jury decide.

Buck, who works as a roofer, called 911 and calmly told police: "This guy broke into my house ... He tried to kill me with a sledgehammer, sir...He is lying dead in my kitchen." . . . .


How to convince a Mall to take down its "no gun" signs


"Gun ban in Nashville"?

Hurricane Katrina has long term effects on gun ownership in Lousiana

Sixty-four-year-old Vivian Westerman rode out Hurricane Katrina in her 19th-century house. So terrible was the experience that she wanted two things before the 2006 season arrived: a backup power source and a gun. "I got a 6,000-watt generator and the cutest little Smith & Wesson, snub-nose .38 you ever saw," she boasted. "I've never been more confident." People across New Orleans are arming themselves _ not only against the possibility of another storm bringing anarchy, but against the violence that has engulfed the metropolitan area in the 19 months since Katrina, making New Orleans the nation's murder capital.

The number of permits issued to carry concealed weapons is running twice as high as it was before Katrina _ this, in a city with only about half its pre-storm population of around 450,000. Attendance at firearms classes and hours logged at shooting ranges also are up, according to the gun industry. . . . .

Thanks very much to Robert Stevens for sending this.

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Some Europeans Seeing the Quran as Controlling Precedent for Muslims Living in Europe?

Bret Stephens has a disturbing post over at Opinion Journal's Political Diary:

A German woman's lawyer files a motion for an immediate divorce with a judge in Frankfurt on the hardship grounds that her husband has beaten her throughout their five-year marriage and now threatens to kill her. Three months pass; the judge rules: Motion denied.

In the opinion of Judge Christa Datz-Winter, the unnamed woman is not entitled to an immediate divorce under German law because the couple come from a "Moroccan cultural environment, in which it is not uncommon for a man to exert a right of corporal punishment over his wife." When the woman's lawyer objects, the judge cites a passage in the Quran stating that "men are in charge of women." The judge adds that the woman, who is German-born, should have known what she had coming "when she married the Moroccan-born" man.

At this point, the woman's lawyer goes public, and the case becomes a sensation in Germany. "Where Are We Living?" runs the headline of Bild, a mass-circulation tabloid. Politicians also take note: "When the Quran is put above the German Constitution, I can only say: 'Goodnight, Germany,'" complains Ronald Pofalla, general secretary of the conservative CDU party.

The judge has since been removed from the case. For the nameless plaintiff, all the publicity will probably secure her divorce, and her freedom. Other Muslim women in similar positions have not been as lucky: Agence-France Press reports that when 23-year-old Samira Bari, of Nimes, France, sought a divorce from husband Mohammed in July 2003, he gouged out her eyes. She is now blind. The case is in court.



Nice summary of evidence of cosmic ray flux on cloud formation

New Op-ed on Guns and the 2008 Campaign

Is Hillary in real trouble?

35 per cent of respondents would vote for the New York senator in a 2008 presidential primary.

Illinois senator Barack Obama is second with 30 per cent, followed by former North Carolina senator John Edwards with 11 per cent. . . .

I looked up on Tradesport and she is still at 47.2 and Obama is at 31. You would think that with these polls, especially given that everyone knows her, she is in trouble since there is no place for her to really go but down. 35 percent seems remarkably low for her. I wonder what these traders know that I don't know.


Well it is a good thing that these animal right's groups oppose hunting


Wondering what the Vietnamese think of Iraq

I saw the preview for this movie ("Journey from the Fall") and it made me wonder what the Vietnamese in the US must think about what is happening in Iraq. Surely, they more than almost anyone else must know what is at stake and how the media colors things.


An amusing note in the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case

In case you haven't been following the case, the issue is freedom of speach in a school and it does raise some difficult issues. On the (personally) amusing side, Ninth Circuit court Judge Andrew Kleinfeld wrote (p. 2473):
"All sorts of missions are undermined by legitimate and protected speech -- a school's anti-gun mission would be undermined by a student passing around copies of John R. Lott's book,'More Guns, Less Crime;' a school's anti-alcohol mission would be undermined by a student e-mailing links to a medical study showing less heart disease among moderate drinkers than teetotalers; and a school’s traffic safety mission would be undermined by a student circulating copies of articles showing that traffic cameras and automatic ticketing systems for cars that run red lights increase accidents.

UPDATE: A law professor friend of mine wrote me that: "cool! guess too late, but you should have filed an amicus brief--wrond decision could set precedent for banning your book (especially in schools w/ gun-free zones)!"



Environmentalists attack Indian Tribe for Building a Skywalk over a small Portion of Grand Canyon

Fox News has a nice discussion of the controversy here. This just seems bizarre to me. The structure looks beautiful, and it is extremely small. It extends out only 70 feet over the edge. You can't even begin to see the skywalk from the canyon floor. The canyon is 300 miles long. This isn't in the national park portion of the canyon that is owned by the Federal government. In any case, the design and color of the skywalk blends in well with its surroundings. By the way, the Indian tribe has a 50 percent unemployment rate and it is extremely poor. It is a case of rich environmentalists versus poor people how are responsibly trying to make a few dollars off the land that they live on.


Why are some Presidential candidates so intensely disliked?

I was wondering if anyone ever ran a regression to explain why certain politicians are disliked so intensely. One variable that I think would explain a lot is simply how long they have been on the national stage. For the Democrats, that variable would be positively correlated with their ratings. For Republicans, McCain is definitely an outlier. Possibly length of time and whether they take positions normally associated with the other political party. In any case, if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, the election battle will be fought over a very narrow group of voters.

Which of these prospective presidential candidates would you never vote for?

Newt Gingrich 53%

Hillary Rodham Clinton 46%

Al Gore 43%

Mitt Romney 39%

John Edwards 35%

Barack Obama 33%

John McCain 32%

Rudy Giuliani 31%

Source: Zogby International
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,028 likely American voters, conducted from Mar. 7 to Mar. 9, 2007. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent



What is the man-made share of greenhouse emission gases?

Man-made greenhouse gases account for about 3.2 percent of the total (see Table 1). Even if man-made greenhouse gases were cut by 50 percent (sending us back to pre-industrial revolution levels), that would be just 1.6 percent. On top of that, the sun's energy output is more important than greenhouse gases. If greenhouse gases make up 25 percent of the causes, man's share of the effect falls to 0.8 percent and a 50 percent cut in that reduces the impact to just 0.4 percent. Of course, there is also the issue of temperature changes driving changes in carbon dioxide and not the other way around, but the main point is already clear.

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John Fund: Al Gore Running for President

John Fund in OpinionJournal.com's Daily Diary:

. . . More and more Democrats are becoming convinced Mr. Gore is running for president -- by not running for president. "It makes perfect sense -- get credit for being a noble crusader on behalf of the environment, build up volunteer lists and wait to see if Hillary and Obama stalemate the race in the next few months," is how one Democratic consultant put it to me yesterday.

Indeed, Newsweek magazine concludes in its latest issue: "Gore isn't running, but he is." . . .

Mr. Gore's plans for the next few months indeed resemble a nascent campaign. He will mark Earth Day next month with a college tour that ends with a giant rally in Washington. That day he will also address by satellite the 1,000 "climate messengers" he has trained to take copies of his global-warming film to civic groups and add their own commentary. In May, Mr. Gore's new book, "The Assault on Reason," will be published accompanied by a major publicity splash.

If all this goes well, Mr. Gore is positioned to wait for the big event. This fall, many Gore aides are convinced he will win the Nobel Peace Prize for this global warming crusade. "If that happens, you can bet the roof will come off in terms of pressure from the Democratic base for him to run," predicts Rich Galen, a former GOP consultant who now writes Mullings.com. "He can then enter the race and say the people drafted him into it."

Pretty depressing: Al Gore getting the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to make mankind much poorer and lead to untold number of people dying as a result.

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Giuliani on guns

John Fund points to some interesting quotes by Rudy Giuliani here. Here are some of the statements that Giuliani has made on guns:

When Congress, at the request of many police officials, considered a broad ban on handgun bullets capable of piercing bulletproof vests, Mr. Giuliani – though personally supportive of the measure – pointed out flaws in the bill and laid out the [Reagan] Administration’s case for a weaker alternative more acceptable to gun lobbyists.

But he angered some [Reagan] Administrative officials when he added a single sentence to his testimony in which he urged Congress to pass the bill. A similar measure was passed several years later, after gun groups softened their opposition.

New York Times, October 11, 1989
(Emphasis Added)

In fact, the Mayor has been a strong proponent of gun control since his days as a Federal prosecutor, and early in his term, after the Brooklyn Bridge shootings in February of 1994, he proposed that guns be subject to the same licensing requirements as driving a car. He revived the issue last month after the Empire State Building shootings, effectively making a national policy issue out of a local incident.

Assuming that he eventually approves the use of hollow point bullets, as seems likely, he will have some insulation from charges that he is in any way gun-happy. With gun control overwhelmingly popular in the city as a whole, it is an issue that can’t miss, a political “no-brainer.”

“Whatever a New Yorker’s philosophical orientation, liberal, conservative, left or right, they have to share a small space,” said Raymond B. Harding, the Liberal Party leader and the Mayor’s top political adviser. “At that close proximity, guns are evil, and you don’t need a pollster to tell you that.”

The Mayor praised the proposals made Wednesday by President Clinton to keep guns out of the hands of non-citizens by imposing a residency requirement. But he said the idea doesn’t go far enough, and urged that owning a handgun be subject to the same scrutiny as operating a car: applicants should pass a written and a physical test, should be subject to a waiting period and a background check, and should be required to have liability insurance.

He acknowledged that this would require states to set up large bureaucracies – which he jokingly hoped would operate more efficiently than the Department of Motor Vehicles – but said the cost would be more than offset by the reductions in crime.

New York Times, March 7, 1997
(Emphasis Added)

In repeating his call for a national gun licensing law yesterday, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani introduced an unusual kind of “southern strategy” to his re-election platform: Blame five southern states if the city’s crime rate doesn’t continue its steep descent.

As he related it at a breakfast meeting of the Citizens Crime Commission yesterday, his thinking goes like this:

The city’s crime reductions cannot continue much further, he said, especially if guns continue to flow freely into New York from elsewhere in the country, where gun laws are more lax. The five southern states that account for 60 percent of the guns in the city are Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and North and South Carolina, he said, and if Congress would only impose handgun licensing on those states and the rest of the country, New York’s crime rate would plummet even further.

New York Times, March 7, 1997
(Emphasis Added)

Mr. Giuliani has long advocated national gun regulations, including background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases, and a ban on assault weapons. He has not changed, according to Ms. Mindel [a Giuliani spokesperson].

New York Times, November 14, 2005
(Emphasis Added)

Giuliani doesn't seem to realize it, but if he was really serious about making the licensing rules for guns the same as for cars, it would involve a DEREGULATION from what is currently in place. You don't need to license your car as long as you only drive it on your own property. Presumably guns that were only used on your own property would be handled the same way. If you license your car, you can drive it any place in the country. Presumably a gun license would allow you to carry your gun any place in the country so you would only need one permit instead of the current patch work of laws.

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Justice Clarence Thomas on the harm from affirmative action in schooling

I strongly recommend reading the entire interview. Given some recent research that I have been doing on peer effects in universities, this part caught my attention:

There's a lot of discomfort with learning from each other. What I learned by being the only black in my school was that it's hard but it's necessary. The rest of the world isn't going to accommodate you. You can't just go into a cocoon. At some point, you have to deal with it and the world has to deal with you. If others are comfortable with being over here, while you're comfortable with being over there, it makes it less likely that learning will occur. It's certainly comfortable because you don't have to put up with conflicts and the discomfort of being one of the few blacks on campus. But it's not as easy as the theorists think it is. They should try to be the only one in an environment. I had been the only black student in my high school. I knew what that was about.


The Brady Campaign Keeps Saying that It Only Wants "Reasonable" Regulations


Alexander Cockburn Deflates Fears of Another "Crime Wave"

Ominously timed for Campaign 2008 we've got a hike in certain stats for violent crime. So we can look forward to Steve Squarejaw-type commitments to being tough on crime, particularly from Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and -- it's surely safe to assume -- Hillary Clinton. The Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based law enforcement think tank whose board consists of seven police chiefs, including William Bratton of the LAPD and John Timoney of Miami, has just put out a report stridently titled "Violent Crime in America: 24 Months of Alarming Trends". This follows the alarums of the Forum's October 2006 bulletin, which featured Bratton predicting "a gathering storm" of violent crimes.

Of the fifty-six police departments voluntarily sending 2006 figures to the Forum-New York City was not among them-forty reported increases in homicide and robbery. The Forum says that between 2004 and 2006 homicide increased 10.2 percent, robbery 12.3 percent, aggravated assault 3.1 percent, aggravated assault with a firearm up 10 percent. . . .

The Forum's fearful trumpetings would diminish sharply if its statistics addressed crime rates rather than merely numbers of crimes. The population of the United States is rising by about 1 percent per year. As the columnist John Lott pointed out, if the police chiefs had measured the violent crime rate, "it would have been hard to argue that violent crime is increasing because while the rate did go up slightly in 2005, it had fallen every single previous year since 1991. How can they claim that violent crime is out of control when it had fallen for thirteen straight years before rising by 1.3 percent for just one year?"

There are wide divergences in the performance of the cities reporting to the forum. Murderers in Charleston worked away diligently and managed to hike their total from 11 victims in 2005 to 23 in 2006, a headline-making rise of 109 percent. By contrast the murderers of Atlanta could only manage 107 in 2006, up from a disappointing 89 in 2005, but down from 112 in 2004. In Chicago aggravated assaults fell two straight years, from 18,820 in 2004 to 17,438 in 2006, a drop of 7.3 percent. . . .

Cockburn is right on point here. As hard as it is for me to still be surprised by the New York Times, I was still amazed that they have tried creating this hysteria over rising crime. The NY Times is what seems to have given this report the main attention that it received. The quote that Cockburn uses from me is for a report that the Police Executive Research Forum had issued this past year, but it is still exactly on point for this re-release of this slightly updated report. The most recent report that was issued earlier this year appears to be even worse in that it is not even clear whether there was a bias in what city crime rates were reported. For those interested in seeing the PERF report please go here.

Just to give you an idea of how bizarre this report is, when you read this note that this is the number of crimes, not the crime rate. It is akin to comparing the number of crimes in a city 20 years ago with today even though the population of the city might have doubled over that time. See page 5:
Alexandria (VA) Homicides doubled from 2004 to 2005
Arlington (TX) 5-year high for aggravated assaults
Boston (MA) 10-year high for homicides
Cincinnati (OH) 20-year high for homicides
Fairfax Co. (VA) 16-year high for homicides
Kansas City (MO) 6-year high for homicides
Nashville (TN) 7-year high for homicides
Orlando (FL) All-time high for homicides
Prince George’s Co. (MD) All-time high for homicides
Richmond (CA) 10-year high for homicides
Springfield (MA) Nearing a 10-year high for homicides
Toronto (Canada) 10-year high for homicides
Trenton (NJ) All-time high for homicides
Virginia Beach (VA) 10-year high for robbery

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New Documentary by Michael Moore

A discussion on the new documentary on Michael Moore can be seeen here.

On Roger & Me -- Unbelievably, the central claim that Moore couldn't get an interview with Roger Smith was false.

Moore apparently did to these Canadian film makers what Moore accused GM of doing when he filmed Roger and Me. If anything what Moore Moore apparently has also avoided people trying to interview him before. For a movie by Larry Elder see here. Presumably this movie is getting a lot more attention than Larry's is because it was done by progressive Canadians, who have a lot more credibility with the media.


Is it in the Democrat Party's interest that the DC Circuit Court's Opinion on Guns be upheld?

Washington Post: Meet Bob Levy, the man behind the case to overturn DC's gun ban

Nice piece on Bob. He certainly deserves the coverage.

Meet the lawyer who conceived the lawsuit that gutted the District's tough gun-control statute this month. Meet the lawyer who recruited a group of strangers to sue the city and bankrolled their successful litigation out of his own pocket.

Meet Robert A. Levy, staunch defender of the Second Amendment, a wealthy former entrepreneur who said he has never owned a firearm and probably never will.

"I don't actually want a gun," Levy said by phone last week from his residence, a $1.7 million condominium in a Gulf Coast high-rise. "I mean, maybe I'd want a gun if I was living on Capitol Hill. Or in Anacostia somewhere. But I live in Naples, Florida, in a gated community. I don't feel real threatened down here." . . . .

Thanks to Dan Gifford for sending this to me.