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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fareed Zakaria's Plagerised Gun Control Arguments are Wrong

Timothy Birdnow Ir was inevitable; the murders in that movie theatre in Colorado and the Sikh temple in Wisconsin have yet again stimulated the demands of liberals for gun control. Like the sun rising every morning, any act of violence triggers the demand for surrendering our weapons. The latest is this piece by Fareed Zakaria, Zakaria me/magazine/article/0,9171,2121660-1,00.html < a piece which has landed it's author in hot water for plagerizing an anti-gun screed from the New Yorker magazine (hat tip: Thomas Lifson The plagerism issue obscures the central points, which in themselves should be analyzed; this essay will still give the arguments to anti-gun liberals to use in discussions on the topic. The reality is this is easily rebuttable, but the rebuttal will not come as our side will concentrate on the scandal. The fact is Zakaria is wrong - and so are his sources. Zekaria makes the following argument: "Gun violence in America is off the chart compared with every other country on the planet. The gun-homicide rate per capita in the U.S. is 30 times that of Britain and Australia, 10 times that of India and four times that of Switzerland. When confronted with such a large deviation, a scholar would ask, Does America have some potential cause for this that is also off the chart? I doubt that anyone seriously thinks we have 30 times as many crazy people as Britain or Australia. But we do have many, many more guns." End excerpt. But is this reasoning sound? No. Switzerland comes in as number four in per capita arms, with 45.7 guns per 100 people, Finland comes in 8th with 32, Sweden tenth with 31.6. While the number of firearms in the U.S. is far higher it fails to explain why gun violence should be so much lower in Switzerland, or Sweden, or Finland. It is interesting to note that Hait, Rwanda, and other extraordinarily violent places have some of the lowest rates of gun ownership in the world. But that does not fit the template advanced by the anti-gun forces, and so people like Zakaria ignore the bottom of the table. And wikipedia lists the U.S. as 12th in terms of gun violence, not first as Zakaria asserts. The U.S. has a homicide rate of 5.71 per 100,000 in the period of 2004-2006 according to the CDC. But what does that tell us? Switzerland actually has more per capita murders at 5.61, although it is lower in overall firearms-related deaths. France, the Mecca of Progressives, is hardly lower at 5.14. An actual look at the statistics shows that more guns do not equate with more gun crime. As Zekaria himself proves with this statement: "There are 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the U.S. In second place is Yemen, with 54.8, then Switzerland with 45.7 and Finland with 45.3. No other country has a rate above 40. The U.S. handgun-ownership rate is 70% higher than that of the country with the next highest rate." End excerpt If guns are the key to understanding gun violence, why is the U.S. not double the rate of it's nearest competitor? He goes on shoot more holes in his argument: "The effect of the increasing ease with which Americans can buy ever more deadly weapons is also obvious. Over the past few decades, crime has been declining, except in one category. In the decade since 2000, violent-crime rates have fallen by 20%, aggravated assault by 21%, motor-vehicle theft by 44.5% and nonfirearm homicides by 22%. But the number of firearm homicides is essentially unchanged. What can explain this anomaly except easier access to guns?" End excerpt. What is the common linkage? Crime is dropping overall but guns are still there. What does that tell us? Seems to me it suggests that those very guns are responsible for a decline in overall crime. That gun crime has not dropped is immaterial when looking at the overall trend; the criminals would have those guns regardless. What is happening is fewer criminals can committ crimes with impunity. Oh, and considering that the government of these United States has been engaged in giving criminals firearms via Fast and Furious it is no wonder the gun crimes have failed to drop. Zeke makes the following plagerized observation: "Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Guns were regulated in the U.S. from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed: Indiana in 1820, Tennessee and Virginia in 1838, Alabama in 1839 and Ohio in 1859. Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the "mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man." End excerpt. This is sneaky, because it confuses STATE laws against concealing weapons for criminal purposes and the right to carry firearms. The reality is it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon in every state of the union - unless one applies for a permit and is cleared by the state government. There is nothing new here, because it has always been illegal to conceal weapons to committ crimes. And those laws were always active at the State level, not the Federal. States are free to experiment with laws as they see fit provided they do not undermine basic Constitutional principles. I say we call Adam Winckler and Fareed Zakaria's bluff, and allow people everywhere to carry weapons of any sort in holsters as sidearms. This was the practice in the early days, yet I suspect the Progressives who demand gun control would howl at the notion. Would the Aurora or Sikh Temple massacres have happened had the patrons beein visibly packing heat? Somehow I suspect it would not. And if these people want to get into history, by all means let us. The purposes of the Second Amendment were two fold; guns were to act as a check on lawlessness by criminals, but also to act as a check on the power of the central government. The context of the Second Amendment (which was an amendment dedicated solely to the right to keep and bear arms, unlike the First which delineated several rights) was the Revolutionary War, in which the possession of firearms by the Colonists forced the British out of the country. There would have been no Revolution had there been no private ownership of firearms. The establishment of the Constitution posed a definite danger, as the central government was being strengthened, and nobody knew how powerful it may grow. The Second Amendment was put in AS A CHECK ON THE POWER OFTHE NEW UNITED sTATES not to defend the rights of hunters and target shooters. It was to act as a check on the power of the central government. As George Mason so eloquently put it; "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." Or as George Washington said: "Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." So the firearm was valued as both a restraint on the criminal and the statist (same difference) and was not to be restricted - despite what authors of gun control books or Time columnists believe. Zeke goes on with more drivel: "Congress passed the first set of federal laws regulating, licensing and taxing guns in 1934. The act was challenged and went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, said the Second Amendment grants people a right that "is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state." The court agreed unanimously." End excerpt. At the time of the rise of Fascism and Communism across the face of the globe, and with Roosevelt, a quasi-fascist himself who famously tried to pack the Supreme Court to get his way, is it any surprise that government instituted gun control? Roosevelt circumvented the Constitution in numerous ways, arrogating to himself the power to regulate all manner of things not within the scope of government as understood by the Founders. You may as well use Adolf Hitler as a source for important race-relational legislation. Zeke concludes with the following: "Things started to change in the 1970s as various right-wing groups coalesced to challenge gun control, overturning laws in state legislatures, Congress and the courts. But Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative appointed by Richard Nixon, described the new interpretation of the Second Amendment in an interview after his tenure as "one of the greatest pieces of fraud--I repeat the word fraud--on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime." So when people throw up their hands and say we can't do anything about guns, tell them they're being un-American--and unintelligent." end excerpt. So now Warren Burger is a Conservative! Funny; he struck down not only prayer in schools but even a moment of silence, kept the Miranda rulings and other legal protections imposed by the activist Warren court, and enshrined abortion into the Constitution (where it had never been found prior) via Roe V. Wade. For a conservative Burger seems to be awefully liberal. Is anyone surprised that Burger would think gun control could be found Constitutional even though it had never been discovered in the text prior? (By the way, Zeke, Nixon was a liberal Republican. He could only be seen as conservative because he pursued Alger Hiss as a Communist, which indeed Soviet records show he was. Nixon ended Vietnam, opened relations with communist China, supported the civil Rights movement even against property rights, and acted as Progressively as any Democrat prior to Lyndon Johnson. Who is the liar making false claims?) So Zakaria is as wrong as he is dishonest in his plagerism. Everyone should keep this in mind when discussing this issue, as this essay will no doubt be the uncited source of many a liberal call for gun control in the future.

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