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9/30/2005

TV propoganda?

John Fund on how a television program is being used to help Hillary Clinton be elected President:

Mr. Lurie [The creator of "Commander in Chief"]insists that red-state viewers need not shun the show. He admits that he "can't write to a belief system that I can't swallow myself," but he says that he has hired some conservative writers to make up for his deficit. Not that a balanced approach was evident at last week's series-celebrating parties, in Washington and New York, hosted by the feminist White House Project. . . .


After the Washington premiere, Steve Cohen, a writer for the series who was Mrs. Clinton's deputy White House communications director, was mobbed by the senator's fans. One of the few Republicans in attendance, Rep. Katherine Harris of Florida, noted that the show "is softening up the country for Hillary." In a postscreening panel discussion, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek agreed that "Commander in Chief" would help Sen. Clinton. "It's so idealistic, calling us to a higher purpose," she told the audience. . . .


Emphasis added.

A comment on liberal bias in a law school class

"HUD chief foresees a 'whiter' Big Easy"

A Bush Cabinet officer predicted this week that New Orleans likely will never again be a majority black city, and several black officials are outraged.
    Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, during a visit with hurricane victims in Houston, said New Orleans would not reach its pre-Katrina population of "500,000 people for a long time," and "it's not going to be as black as it was for a long time, if ever again." . . .
    Other members of the caucus said the comments by Mr. Jackson, who is black, could be misconstrued as a goal, particularly considering his position of responsibility in the administration. . . .


Mr. Jackson's statements seem completely correct to me, and indeed I have been making similar statements to people starting a week or so after the hurricane hit. The prediction is actually pretty simple given the areas of the city that were most harmed and that once people move away and make a life elsewhere it is unlikely that they will return. Other predictions include that families with children are less likely to return. There are no schools operating in New Orleans, and people will children will not be returning until schools are operating again. Since that group will stay away relatively longer, they will be less likely to return. However, the highlighted statement that the Jackson's prediction could be viewed as an administration goal seems amazing, and why the media doesn't make fun of this is equally puzzling.
Thanks to the Drudgereport for flagging this article.

Tidbits about Suit to stop gun confiscation in New Orleans

Note from Don Kates:

. . . [Steve] Halbrook and local [Louisiana] counsel brought an emergency suit to enjoin illegal gun confiscations in and around New Orleans. And the NRA suit won an immediate order from a federal court enjoining the confiscations. In fact the defendants� position actually was that the gun confiscation statements were a hoax. Their intention was not to confiscate guns but to terrify and fool people into leaving their guns at home. Of course an "unintended" side effect of all their "no guns" statements was that police officers, believing that they were being told to confiscate guns, did so.

Hopefully this initial success will terminate in a permanent injunction, and lead to civil damage suits against the officers and their departments. . . .


Last night I heard that one of the reasons that the New Orleans police chief was fired this week was because of the gun confiscations that had occurred. Whether Nagin really had nothing to do with it is debatable, but at least it may indicate concern over future fall out (possibly the civil damages that Kates notes).

States move quickly to ban hunting over the internet

Since March, lawmakers have rushed to outlaw online hunting, a pseudo-sport that sprung up mere months ago on a single Texas website, live-shot.com, which attracted only one customer.

This political recoil has both observers and the site's owner wondering: "Why?"

John Lockwood, who founded live-shot.com, said he still can't understand the reason state lawmakers banned online hunting. He said his site was intended for disabled hunters who can't stalk wildlife any other way but through his system, which rigs a rifle and camera to an Internet connection at his Texas ranch. . . .


Well, I could think of a few other laws that I wish legislatures would move as quickly on. I suppose that the positive thing is that 39 states have not banned the practice. It is not clear to me why this practice, even if it became more common, gets everyone so upset.

9/28/2005

Talk at Cornell University Law School

I will be giving a talk at the Cornell University Law School from noon to 1:30 tomorrow. The topic is my recent research on the judicial confirmation process. I believe that it is open to the public.

Senator Schumer has a permit for a concealed handgun?

Are Gun owners justifiably paranoid?

Eugene Volokh has a interesting post on the concerns that gun owners have that their guns will be taken away. Many may not be surprised by all the different calls for gun bans, but it is still a useful collection of quotes. He could have gone into how gun regulations such as licensing have been used in other countries to take away guns, but his focus on the US is quite useful. Eugene also has a useful collection of numbers on workplace shootings, something that I have written on many times.

9/27/2005

Supreme Court to review campaign spending limits

"Clerk at bookstore stopped robbery with gun"

9/26/2005

New Orleans Not so dangerous after Hurricane

A while ago I wrote about the murder rates in the New Orleans Superdome and the Convention Center, well since I wrote it up I thought that it was important that I posted that those claimed deaths were a hoax. The stroy here is an amazing one. The news media should cover this simply to shwo how wrong their coverage can be sometimes.

Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated
Widely reported attacks false or unsubstantiated

6 bodies found at Dome; 4 at Convention Center

By Brian Thevenot and Gordon Russell
Staff writers

After five days managing near-riots, medical horrors and unspeakable living conditions inside the Superdome, Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron prepared to hand over the dead to representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Following days of internationally reported killings, rapes and gang violence inside the Dome, the doctor from FEMA - Beron doesn't remember his name - came prepared for a grisly scene: He brought a refrigerated 18-wheeler and three doctors to process bodies.

"I've got a report of 200 bodies in the Dome," Beron recalls the doctor saying.

The real total was six, Beron said.

Of those, four died of natural causes, one overdosed and another jumped to his death in an apparent suicide, said Beron, who personally oversaw the turning over of bodies from a Dome freezer, where they lay atop melting bags of ice. State health department officials in charge of body recovery put the official death count at the Dome at 10, but Beron said the other four bodies were found in the street near the Dome, not inside it. Both sources said no one had been killed inside.

At the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, just four bodies were recovered, despites reports of corpses piled inside the building. Only one of the dead appeared to have been slain, said health and law enforcement officials. . . .

Gun Rights Policy Conference

I gave a couple of talks at the Gun Rights Policy Conference this weekend. Sonya Jones gives her take on the conference. The conference was a lot of fun. I had chance to go out to dinner with Larrry Elder and lunch with Andrew Breitbart, and it was really nice to see Sonya again. Larry also gave a great talk where he discussed his new DVD Michael & Me, which I highly recommend. You can also get the DVD at Amazon.com. Michael Reagan gave a very nice talk about his father. One interesting fact was that Ronald Reagan gave Michael a 22 caliber rifle on his 8th birthday. Other information on the conference can be found here.

Photo Voter IDs

My new op-ed on Photo IDs and the decision last week by the bipartisan Carter-Baker commission (the piece was run in the New York Post last Friday):

ON Monday, a bipartisan commission headed by former President Jimmy Carter and ex-Secretary of State James Baker surprised most observers and agreed that Americans should be required to have photo IDs to vote. In fact, though the American debate over this is vitriolic, photo IDs are commonly used to prevent voter fraud across the world.

Democrats often don't buy it. Howard Dean recently claimed that the Republican push for voter IDs is "a new Southern strategy and a new Jim Crow." Others have claimed that the requirement would victimize Hispanics, African-Americans and the poor. (Proponents answer that the IDs will actual prevent voters from being improperly challenged.) . . .

The concern about Hispanics being discouraged from voting seems misplaced. Most notably, you have to show photo ID to vote in Mexico. And while Georgia allows voters to use any of six different types of photo IDs, Mexico inists on an official voter ID with a photo and a thumbprint. . . .

Ending the Assault Weapons ban didn't cause the world to end

Armed Robbery rates plummet last year even though the so-called "assault weapons ban" expired. Armed robberies use guns, but it is that rate that fell despite increases in rapes and assault where guns are not usually used.

Crime in the United States

Here are the estimated numbers of crimes in the United States,

based on surveys done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Type of crime . . . . . . . . . 2003. . . . . . . . . . . 2004

Violent crimes . . . . . . . . . 5,401,720. . . . . . .5,182,670

Rape/sexual assault . . . . .198,850. . . . . . . . 209,880

Armed robbery . . . . . . . . 596,130. . . . . . . . . 501,820

Assault. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,606,740. . . . . . . 4,470,960


I can't do the comparison for the first and second halves of the year that I did before with the UCR data (the ban ended on September 13, 2004), but this is still interesting.

9/22/2005

Lawsuit filed to stop gun confiscations in New Orleans

9/21/2005

New Orleans: "U.S. marshals confiscated her weapons"

Bloomberg News: Frist says O'Connor's replacement could be confirmed "around Thanksgiving."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said he urged Bush to submit a name to the Senate promptly. ``I feel we should proceed with the nomination as anticipated,'' Frist said. If so, the confirmation process could be completed ``around Thanksgiving.''

9/20/2005

She hates guns, but now plans to purchase one: "It's better than being defenseless"

A Henderson man shot and wounded two men who allegedly broke into his home near College Drive and East Horizon Drive on Monday night, Henderson Police said.

The homeowner, whose name was withheld by police, shot 24-year-old Joey Bolden and his cousin, 25-year-old DelMarco Bolden, . . .

The cousins are being charged with felony home invasion, Rasmussen said.

Police believe the homeowner acted in self-defense, so he has not been charged with a crime, Rasmussen said. . . .

That neighbor, 20-year-old Carrie Metcalf, said she heard gunshots, then her dog began barking loudly. She went to investigate and spotted blood in her backyard near a jacuzzi. . . .

Metcalf said she had never heard of any home invasions occurring in the area in the two years she has lived there. She said she applauded her neighbor -- identified as Brad -- for shooting the suspects.

"Thank God he did," she said.

Although she hates guns, Metcalf plans to purchase one. It's better than being defenseless, she said.


Thanks very much to L.J. O'Neale for sending me this.

"Man shoots burglar coming through window"

"Which Democrats will vote 'yes' on Roberts?"

See this link for a somewhat vague discussion on how Biden, Bayh, Clinton, and Feingodl will vote on Roberts. I guess that it tells you something that few have a clue how these guys will vote even after the hearings.

9/19/2005

Changes in self defense rules move forward in Michigan

Gun control advocates failed earlier this year to stop a Florida law allowing people to use deadly force to defend themselves without fear of prosecution from being signed by Gov. Jeb Bush.

They don't want to let it happen again.

National and local groups that seek tighter restrictions on guns are taking early aim against similar legislation introduced this month in Michigan. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Million Mom March are sending out press releases criticizing the legislation and are calling lawmakers in an attempt to keep the bills from getting out of the House Judiciary Committee. . . . .


Just a clarification note for this article: Florida was not the first state to have the so-called castle rule that do not require people retreat before then act in self-defense.

Thanks to Al Lowe for sending me this.

Violent crime rates around the world

A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America.
England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.

The study, based on telephone interviews with victims of crime in 21 countries, found that more than 2,000 Scots were attacked every week, almost ten times the official police figures. They include non-sexual crimes of violence and serious assaults.

Violent crime has doubled in Scotland over the past 20 years and levels . . . .

The study, by the UN’s crime research institute, found that 3 per cent of Scots had been victims of assault compared with 1.2 per cent in America and just 0.1 per cent in Japan, 0.2 per cent in Italy and 0.8 per cent in Austria. In England and Wales the figure was 2.8 per cent. . . . .


Thanks to Sonya for sending me this.

9/18/2005

Defensive gun story on front page of Atlanta Journal Constitution

Fatal carjacking was a nightmare in broad daylight
Passer-by praised for quick thinking

By MICHAEL PEARSON, PAUL KAPLAN, DON PLUMMER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/18/05
Through her office window, Becky Porter watched as the white Toyota SUV swerved across Cobb Parkway and crashed into a concrete truck.

Porter remembers a blur of action as she ran outside.

The driver jumped out. Porter heard three shots, then witnessed a scene that brings tears to her eyes.

"The driver ... had a gun in his hand, and the guy who was chasing him shot him," Porter said. "Then he hit his knees and started crying, because he turned around and saw the lady in the car was dead. I heard him say, 'Oh God.' "

The crime was as random as one could imagine.

A stranger carjacks a woman in broad daylight. There's a crash. The woman dies. Her abductor is shot and killed — not by police but by an armed passer-by who gave chase in his truck.

That man, Shawn T. Roberts, has emerged as a hero for trying to help 30-year-old Kimberly Boyd and for saving other lives that police say might have been taken had the carjacker escaped.

"Scores of people were coming up to him and thanking him for what he did," said Scott Cannon, a friend of the Boyds who attended Kimberly's funeral Friday. . . .


Thanks to John Corry for sending me this piece.

9/17/2005

Very disappointed by Rush Limbaugh yesterday

I listen to Rush Limbaugh all the time, and I have written multiple op-eds defending him over the years. But I was very disappointed by his commentary on Friday. His defense of President Bush's massive spending plans to rebuild New Orleans was simply wrong.

1) "who can do this [rebuilding New Orleans] if not us, that is what the Federal government is for."

If rebuilding the city makes sense, there will be plenty of private investment available to redo it, just as there were private investments available to build the city to begin with. If anything, unless the system of subsidized government flood insurance is reformed, there will in fact be too much rebuilding. If people were required to get private insurance (no subsidized government insurance), people would build in dangerous areas only if the benefits of doing so exceeded the costs, including the private insurance costs. My concern is that the current rebuilding program is only going to make things worse because they are paying for rebuidling even when the residents didn't even have insurance. Rush counters that this rebuilding program is so large that only the government could redo it, but each house or office building is a separate building decision. The capital required to rebuild New Orleans is just a tiny fraction of what is available in the US capital markets, let alone the world market, which is really the relevant one.

2) That the victims of New Orleans were "essentially innocent in terms of the loss."

I guess that I simply don't understand this. People take risks. They should have the responsibility for those decisions. Do I feel sorry for them that they drew a bad hand? Sure I do, and I want to help and I have given money to charity to help them, but despite all that, they are not "essentially innocent." I will help them out, but I hope that they don't rebuild their homes in the same dangerous places a second time. Would Rush say that they were innocent if they moved into these low lying areas again and a hurricane actually hit just to the west of the city (instead of to the east so that the winds were actually pushing the water away from the city)? People knew that there were risks where they lived, just as they would know that there would be risks the next time.

Justice Dept investigates role of Environmental Groups in stopping levies from being fixed in New Orleans

9/16/2005

Guns used to stop crime in New Orleans 4

The Economist magazine writes:

AFTER boarding up their windows and just before they fled, many New Orleans shopkeepers paused to write "Looters will be shot" on their premises. Some felt more detail was required. Painted on the front of Oriental Rugs on St Charles Avenue are the words: "Don't try. I am sleeping inside with a big dog, an ugly woman, two shotguns and a claw hammer." To the right is an update, added a few days later in the same hand: "Still here. Woman left Fri. Cooking a pot of dog gumbo." . . .

That would include the French Quarter, where Finis Shelnutt has been guarding a building he owns since the hurricane hit. There's a restaurant on the ground floor, a piano bar above and caged doves watching Mr Shelnutt sip sparkling wine at a table on the sidewalk.

"Just got my phone charged, thank God," he says. His taps are running again, albeit at low pressure, and the looters left him alone because "I have a very large gun." He marvels at the senselessness of the plunder that followed the deluge. . . .


Thanks to Gregory Pejic for providing this to me.

For some earlier discussions see here, here, and here.

More on gun sales increasing after Hurricane Katrina

Mark Sherman with the Associated Press (September 16, 2005 Friday 2:32 PM) writes:

People in Louisiana rushed to purchase guns in the chaotic days of looting and lawlessness following Hurricane Katrina, according to law enforcement officials still trying to track down thousands of other weapons that were lost or stolen.

The increase was sharpest in the days immediately following the hurricane, according to FBI criminal history background checks on prospective gun buyers.

The 13,256 checks requested in the first 12 days of September were nearly as many as for the entire month a year ago. FBI officials, careful to avoid being drawn into the politically hot topic of gun ownership, would not speculate on the reason for the increase.

People seeking to arm themselves following a disaster is nothing new. More guns were bought nationwide, and more permits to carry concealed weapons were sought, after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"In this case, people realized that the police simply were overwhelmed. They had too much to do trying to rescue people and couldn't protect citizens. What should people do when they have to fend for themselves?" said John Lott, an American Enterprise Institute gun policy expert.


A copy of the article at CNN can be found here.

Montgomery, Alabama Mayor suggests a solution to crime: Buy a gun

SF Chronicle has piece opposing proposed city gun ban

Countless stories were told about unarmed citizens who were defenseless against the criminals who preyed upon them. Only those who were armed were able to fend off the encroaching violence. In such cases, self-defense is all that's left, which is perhaps why gun sales rose exponentially in Louisiana right after the disaster. The fact that police and military units in New Orleans later began confiscating those weapons does not bode well for the city's remaining residents.

If the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has its way, law-abiding residents could find themselves at the mercy of criminals in the event of a similar disaster. Given that the Bay Area is ground zero for earthquakes, it's not a very good idea to take away residents' capacity to fend for themselves. But Proposition H, a measure on the November ballot that seeks to ban handguns in San Francisco, would do just that. . . .

9/15/2005

Man uses gun to stop fleeing Car-Jacker

Kimberly D. Boyd took her son to preschool Monday morning, then dropped by a bank before heading to her office in north Cobb County.

Minutes later, her routine was shattered, and sometime before 9:30 a.m. she was struggling for her life with a carjacker as her Toyota Sequoia raced south on U.S. 41. The kidnapping ended with the 30-year-old Acworth woman dead and the carjacker fatally shot by a passer-by.

Boyd died instantly when her SUV was broadsided by a cement truck, police said. Within seconds, the man driving Boyd's car was also dead — shot by Shawn Roberts, 31, who had seen Boyd fighting the man and followed the car, police said.

"She was fighting for her life," Roberts, who lives in Acworth, told WAGA-TV.

Roberts told police he was driving north on U.S. 41 about 9:30 a.m. when he saw a man beating a woman outside the SUV, just south of the Lake Allatoona bridge. He stopped and turned around on the four-lane road to help the woman, said Cobb Police Cpl. Dana Pierce.

The carjacker pushed the woman back into the SUV and took off, with the doors still open. Roberts followed about two miles to Lake Acworth Drive, where the crash occurred, Pierce said.

As Boyd's car turned east on Lake Acworth Drive it was struck by the cement truck.

Witness Bobby Williams said the truck had just started away from a traffic light and was traveling no more than 10 mph when it hit the SUV.

Williams, owner of A2Z Auto Service at 4356 North Cobb Parkway, said he saw Roberts get out of his 2004 black Dodge Ram pickup and run toward the accident scene wearing a leather shoulder holster.

"He looked official," Williams said, explaining that he thought Roberts might be a plain-clothes police officer. "He hollered at [the carjacker], 'Stay where you are. Stay where you are.'"

The carjacker ran toward a Raceway gas station on the corner and Roberts chased him. He told police the man turned a gun toward him, and he had to do something.

"I shot and killed a man today," Roberts told WAGA-TV. "I don't feel good about it, but if I hadn't have done something somebody else would have died."

Williams said he heard at least four, perhaps five, gunshots.

"He [the carjacker] was five feet in front of me when he got hit," Williams said. "On TV, all that flailing around that goes on is not what happened. He dropped like a sack of potatoes."

Monday night Cobb police identified the dead man as Brian Clark, 25, who has family in Acworth. Police did not say whether Clark lived in the area.

No charges were filed against the cement truck driver, who was not identified.

Police questioned Roberts, who they said was not an off-duty officer, before releasing him without filing charges.


I want to thank David Moody for telling me about this piece.

9/14/2005

Talks tomorrow

I will be giving talks on gun control tomorrow at the law school at the University of Alabama (at 4PM) and the Cumberland Law School at Samford University (at noon).

Gun Confiscation in New Orleans

Few people objected when police began gathering firearms they found in abandoned New Orleans homes, to prevent them from falling into the hands of criminals. But one gun policy expert says confiscating guns from law abiding citizens who remain in the city is increasing the danger posed by criminals. . . .

Lott . . . told Cybercast News Service that he is "very disappointed" with the decision by New Orleans leaders.

"The question is, 'Are the police there able to protect people?' And I think he would have to be one of the first to acknowledge that the police simply aren't capable of protecting the people who are there," Lott said. "One thing that this hurricane has shown is that people are ultimately forced to protect themselves. It would be nice if the police were available to go and protect everybody, but they're not."

Police were forced, Lott said, to choose between rescuing hurricane survivors and enforcing the law. The necessary choice, he believes, left unarmed residents defenseless.

"They just weren't able to do both and many people were falling victim to criminals," Lott argued, "You had roving gangs going around and it's not really clear what else you would have advised someone to do other than having a gun for protection."

Lott said he is also disappointed that police appear to be engaging in "selective" gun confiscation. After Compass expanded the original order, the New York Times reported that it, "apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property."

Police officials would not respond to reporters' questions about allowing the guards, who are private citizens with firearms training similar to concealed weapons permit holders, to keep their guns.

"They seem selective in ways that are a little bit hard to fathom in terms of who they let have a gun," Lott said, adding that many wealthy individuals were also apparently being allowed to keep their firearms. "Lots of people who live in the poorest areas there probably needed the most protection."

Lott said the police are "running a real risk" by taking away the only protection some New Orleans residents have from criminals.

"There are obviously bad people there who have guns. But, to take away the guns from the law abiding citizens - so that they can't protect themselves from those same people that the police are worried about - I don't think makes much sense," Lott concluded. "You're going to end up creating more victims and easier targets for criminals to attack."

Private versus Public Relief After Hurricane Katrina

Craig Newmark has a nice posting here about how well private organizations did relative to the government in responding to the disaster after Hurricane Katrina.

9/13/2005

Remembering what was said about Rehnquist

My new op-ed at National Review Online is up: Supreme Rhetoric: Remember the past when watching the hearings

Hurricane Katrina Caused few Deaths, even fewer than reported

. . . The average yearly death-rate in the US is 8.25 people out of every 1,000, which translates to 3,300 people a year in this "hypothetical" city [of 400,000], making the estimate pretty accurate.

Now suppose we imagine that something happens - a hurricane for example - and all of those people who died of natural causes are left where they died for about two weeks.  At 11 people a day, that's 154 bodies.  At 8.25, that's 116.

Now suppose that something happens wherein life-saving treatment is unavailable to the infirm, and the death-rate shoots up to something like that of South Africa's (21.32/1,000) for that two weeks.  Now we've got 23 people dying of natural-causes (exacerbated by the unavailability of quality medical care) each day for a total of 327 bodies accumulating during that two weeks.

Last I heard, the official death toll in Louisiana (including more than just the city of New Orleans) was 279.  Not surprisingly, the vast majority of deaths seem to have occurred in hospitals and nursing homes - places where the elderly and infirm congregate. . . .

9/12/2005

Some commentary on the Roberts confirmation battle

Rehnquist and Hayek

"Ice Cream Man Pulls Gun On Would-Be Robber"

VANCOUVER, Wash
An ice cream man used a gun to scare off a potential robber in Vancouver, and police say he did the right thing.
He's a salesman who packs heat along with his ice cream.

"This is the third year I've been in business," Chris Sanders said.

Along with his ice cream, before heading out, Sanders also grabs his gun.

"It's a Keltek .380," Sanders said.

It may seem odd for an ice cream man to be armed, but Sanders says the gun came in handy last Saturday.

"Right up here at the top of this bridge is where the guy flagged me down," Sanders said.

He pulled over, but instead of ice cream the man wanted a ride. Sanders said no.

"As he was walking away he turned and ran towards my vehicle trying to go in through the sliding door which was locked. At that point I grabbed for my .380, chambered a round. Then he'd already come in the window. I pointed it at him and he said, 'Oh s***,' and he takes off running," Sanders told KOIN News 6. . . .


Thanks to a reader of this blog, though I apologize for misplacing your email with your name.

"Teen shot and killed in Gulf Breeze home invasion"

9/11/2005

"A gun owner is a liberal who has been mugged"

9/10/2005

What is left of Federalism?

I was just listening to a CSPAN radio presentation of the Senate hearing this last week on aid to Hurricane Katrina victims. What struck me was how on every issue from education to health care, it was automatically assumed that the job was the Federal government's in helping out the victims. One of the things that I am worried about is that with the current debate, local and state governments may view themselves as having no incentive to bearing the costs of preparing for any disasters. It is interesting how someplace that does such a bad job as New Orleans, rather than creating a call for them to fix things, has created a massive movement to have the Federal government take over all the operations (even while Democrats and Republicans are claiming that the Federal government botched it).

9/09/2005

Ultimate resource for Supreme Court Confirmations

For those judicial confirmation junkies interested in one of the ultimate resources for Supreme Court confirmations, try this: Supreme Court Nominations - Documents Collection

More on the increase in demand for guns after the hurricane

Gun dealers in Houston and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where thousands of evacuees were sent after Hurricane Katrina, say sales are rising amid concern about a spread of lawlessness from the storm-ravaged areas.

``People are concerned about not having much law and order in place, depending on where they are going,'' said Michael Clark, owner of Collectors Firearms in Houston.

Reports of looting, robberies, rapes and murders in New Orleans, where at least 200 police officers quit and two committed suicide since the Aug. 29 storm hit the Gulf Coast, have fed the demand. Thousands of evacuees were stranded in the flooded city for days after the storm. Others watched images of crime and desperation on television.

``You have a population who wants to go back to their houses -- you hear about looting -- and they want to get some sort of firearm to go back for their personal safety,'' said Jim McClain, president of Jim's Firearms Inc. in Baton Rouge.

New Orleans police are among the new customers at Jim's Firearms, where employees are working 16-hour days to keep up with demand, McClain said. Police have been authorized to use personal guns and ammunition and are buying whatever's available, he said. Mclain declined to give a specific increase in sales.

`Whatever He Needs'

``A New Orleans police officer came in, and he's looking for a shotgun to bring down there, and we're sold out of everything except the really expensive guns,'' McClain said. ``A lady looks at him and says `Whatever he needs, I'll take care of it,' They're wonderful people.'' . . .


Thanks to John WIlliamson and Jordan Bishop for alerting me to this piece.

Private Relief Agencies Banned from New Orleans: One reason why there was so much suffering in New Orleans

9/08/2005

"New Orleans Begins Confiscating Firearms"

Interview on NPR's Marketplace Radio to discuss Hurricane Relief

NPR's Marketplace interviewed me this morning for a segment that they ran on giving the victims of Hurricane Katrina a $2,000 debit card. The segment can be found here: "Refugees to get some plastic"

MARKETPLACE MORNING REPORT

SHOW: Marketplace Morning Report 7:50 AM EST SYND

September 8, 2005 Thursday

LENGTH: 274 words

HEADLINE: How to get aid money to hurricane victims

ANCHORS: SCOTT JAGOW

REPORTERS: STACEY VANEK-SMITH

BODY:

SCOTT JAGOW, anchor:

Getting the money to Katrina victims.

How to get aid money to hurricane victims MARKETPLACE MORNING REPORT Announcer: The MARKETPLACE MORNING REPORT is produced in association with theUniversity of Southern California.

JAGOW: From American Public Media in Los Angeles, I'm Scott Jagow.

Right now the emergency management agency FEMA is spending $2 billion a day on hurricane relief. That's well over a million dollars a minute. President Bush authorized another $52 billion yesterday to get through the coming month. The pace will slow down, but the government's already committed about the same amount of money it's spending in Iraq each year.

OK, so there's all this money. How will Katrina victims get their hands on some of it? One answer: Debit cards. Here's MARKETPLACE's Stacey Vanek-Smith.

STACEY VANEK-SMITH reporting:

After getting a lot of flak for what many called an inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA announced a novel plan: They will distribute ATM cards worth $2,000 in places like the Houston Astrodome. John Lott is with the American Enterprise Institute. He says the plan could work well because people know best what they need. But, he says, there is major potential for abuse, such as people pretending to be evacuees. Whatever happens, he says, it could be a valuable lesson in disaster response.

Mr. JOHN LOTT (American Enterprise Institute): We'll have a better idea of what people feel they need when they're in this situation or how poorly off people really are by seeing what they sign on.

VANEK-SMITH: Lott says the cards could allow the government to track how the money is spent. I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for MARKETPLACE

LOAD-DATE: September 8, 2005

A look at the human side of Justice William Rehnquist

Ted Cruz has a very nice op-ed on the personal side of Justice Rehnquist in today's Baltimore Sun. It is well worth a read.

After New Orleans, a liberal reconsiders guns for self protection

Time to get a gun?

Along with our powerlessness against nature and the fecklessness of the government's response to a crisis, a third frightening aspect to the tragedy of New Orleans has been the breakdown of civilization in the disaster zone that accompanied the snapping of the so-called thin blue line.

Among the questions it prompts in my mind is one that is old and unresolved: Should I own a firearm?

Thirteen years ago, when Los Angeles was up for grabs during the rioting that followed the acquittal of police officers charged in the Rodney King beating, the images of shopkeepers unprotected by police staving off looters with rifles knocked me off my comfortable anti-gun perch. Who wouldn't want a firearm under those circumstances? And who knows where such circumstances will occur next?

It's hard to bring this up again without sounding like one of those cackling vigilantes who would gladly shoot someone swiping a bicycle out of his carport, or one of those basement-bunker survivalists besotted by paranoia.

I resisted back in 1992 and still rely on 9-1-1 and a pitching wedge under the bed to protect my family. But the rapid descent from crisis to chaos to anarchy in New Orleans was another reminder that paranoia can come to look like prudence in hindsight.

9/07/2005

Sonya has a new webpage of her own

Witty as always, even the title of the website gives you a good a idea of what you can expect (Sonya's Gotta Scream!). I am sure that it will definitely worth a visit.

Gun Purchases Rising in Louisiana After Hurricane

The Financial Times (London) is not exactly comfortable with this, but they do report that people are depending on themselves for at least some of their protection:

The E-Z Pawn store on Airline Drive in northern Baton Rouge is doing a brisk trade in guns post-Hurricane Katrina.

“I’ve got people like you wouldn’t believe, lots of people, coming in and buying handguns,” said Briley Reed, 34, assistant manager. “I’ve even had soldiers coming in here buying guns.”

Before the hurricane, the store sold one or two guns on a typical day, according to Mr Reed. During the last week, they have sold 10 to 15 a day. The model of choice is a 9mm Highpoint that sells for $200 (£108.50).

The activity at E-Z Pawn is a testament to Louisiana’s liberal gun laws. More than that, it is a barometer of the anxiety coursing through Baton Rouge as the city copes with thousands of refugees – the vast majority poor and black – streaming in from New Orleans. . . .


I would like to thank John Williamson for sending this link to me.

Gun advice for New Orleans-type situations

A friend of mine, Don Kates, offers some advice on what is the best gun to own if you ever found yourself in a situation such as New Orleans:

GENERAL ANSWER: The answer to the questions you have posited may vary depending on specific circumstances (some discussed below), but there is a single general answer: the gun of choice is always a handgun because that is the one weapon you can keep w/ you at all times – and in doing so you are securing it from children and anyone else you do not deem trustworthy. The preference would be not to rely on only one variety; have a handgun w/ you and a shotgun and/or rifle as closely available as possible,

A shotgun or rifle in your bedroom (or anywhere else) is of limited utility if an attack comes when you are in some other part of your home. Likewise a shotgun or rifle may be difficult to bring into play in a car – especially if there is only you and you are driving your car. If you have multiple people in the vehicle a shotgun or rifle for each may be viable but even so may be much more difficult to bring into play. If you have a pick-up truck my off-hand recommendation would be for the driver and passenger to have handguns (w/ long guns stowed behind the seat or in a rack in the event you have time to deploy out of the vehicle) and long guns for anyone who is in the bed of the truck, though they all should also have a holstered handgun.

As to the species of handgun, I would recommend a high-capacity semi-auto in a caliber not less than .40 S&W or, at least 9mm. There are zillions of different brands on the market that are excellent and choosing between them is either a matter of personal taste or of expertise exceeding mine. My personal experience is most extensively with the Glock and Sig-Sauer 225 in 9mm. and Sigma in .40 S&W; all of which are fine.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: If you are attacked from 100 yards or more away (a highly unlikely scenario) you will need a rifle. I have much less experience w/ these but would recommend something like the Ruger Ranch Rifle or an H&K high cap semi-auto or other quality weapon in a caliber exceeding 223.

For stopping power at short range nothing beats a shotgun loaded w/ slugs or, at worst, large buckshot. But you would only select a shotgun in the very unusual situation in which you: (a) can predict the time you will be attacked so you can be sure to have the shotgun w/ you; and (b) can predict that the attack will come from a short enough range that a shotgun is effective.

9/06/2005

Guns used to stop crime in New Orleans 3

From the Foxnews.com:

When night falls, Charlie Hackett climbs the steps to his boarded-up window, takes down the plywood, grabs his 12-gauge shotgun and waits. He is waiting for looters and troublemakers, for anyone thinking his neighborhood has been abandoned like so many others across the city.

Two doors down, John Carolan is doing the same on his screened-in porch, pistol by his side. They are not about to give up their homes to the lawlessness that has engulfed New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"We kind of together decided we would defend what we have here and we would stay up and defend the neighborhood," says Hackett, an Army veteran with a snow-white beard and a business installing custom kitchens.

"I don't want to kill anybody," he says, "but I'd sure like to scare 'em." . . .

9/05/2005

Hurricane Katrina: The Disintegrating New Orleans Police Department

"The real issue, particularly in New Orleans, is that no one anticipated the disintegration or the erosion of the civilian police force in New Orleans. Once that assessment was made ... then the requirement became obvious. And that's when we started flowing military police into the theater. We were pulsing forces in in very degraded infrastructure -- airports had reduced capabilities ... in some cases we only had one road in because of lack of bridges, flooding, loss of infrastructure. So we couldn't rush to failure on this thing and we had to take a more measured approach on this thing than any of us wanted. Had we gone in with a lesser force we may have been challenged, innocents may have been caught in a fight between the guard and military police and those who did not want to be processed or apprehended."

Hurricane Katrina, a man made disaster?

The Intellectual Activist has a very interesting posting:

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency—indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans? . . . [READ ON]

Fear of Radiation Poison from Chernobyl nuclear power plant appears worse than the actual harm

9/03/2005

"How often do Americans use guns for defensive purposes?"

Guns used to stop crime in New Orleans 2

From the New York Times:

In a city shut down for business, the Rite Aid at Oak and South Carrollton was wide open on Wednesday. Someone had stolen a forklift, driven it four blocks, peeled up the security gate and smashed through the front door.

The young and the old walked in empty-handed and walked out with armfuls of candy, sunglasses, notebooks, soda and whatever else they could need or find. No one tried to stop them.

Across New Orleans, the rule of law, like the city's levees, could not hold out after Hurricane Katrina. The desperate and the opportunistic took advantage of an overwhelmed police force and helped themselves to anything that could be carried, wheeled or floated away, including food, water, shoes, television sets, sporting goods and firearms.

Many people with property brought out their own shotguns and sidearms. Many without brought out shopping carts. The two groups have moved warily in and out of each other's paths for the last three days, and the rising danger has kept even some rescue efforts from proceeding. . . .

"NBC sends armed guards to lawless Gulf Coast"

NBC News has sent private security personnel to the increasingly dicey Gulf Coast region to help keep its employees safe while covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The private security officers, usually former soldiers or police, are licensed to carry firearms and are trained to keep the situation under control so that journalists can do their jobs safely. That's becoming increasingly difficult in New Orleans and in Gulfport, Miss., where there aren't enough police or National Guardsmen to keep the streets safe. . . .

It's not unusual for networks to hire security forces. Armed personnel accompany news crews in Iraq and Afghanistan; they've been used domestically for situations like the Los Angeles riots in 1992, when dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured. But NBC News is the first to publicly acknowledge that it had taken such a step. . . .

Debate on piece defending price gouging

For a running debate on piece with Sonya Jones that defended price gouging: follow this link to FreeRepublic.com.

Labels:

Guns used to stop crime in New Orleans

9/02/2005

Hurricane Katrina Damage

It is almost inconceivable to image what people are going through in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I am sure that everyone's hearts go out to the people there. I have made a donation to the Red Cross and it seems that the least we can do.

Yet, whatever problems they are facing in New Orleans they have been compounded by the problems with violence they have experienced after the storm. I did a rough calculation of the murder rate in the Superdome in New Orleans, and it was amazingly high. It appears that at least 12 people were murdered there on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I keep on getting conflicting numbers on the number of people who were in the Superdome, but if there were 20,000, that is a two day murder rate of 60 per 100,000 people. If there were 10,000 people, that obviously raises it to 120 per 100,000. By comparison, the US murder rate for the year is 5 per 100,000. New Orleans in for the entire year 2003, it was 58 per 100,000 people (or about 2.3 murders for a three day period). In other words, the murder rate seems over 100 times higher than normal for the city.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair admits the obvious

Despite spending huge amount being spent by Canada on gun control, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair notes: "The problem with bad guys is they don't register their guns and it is unlikely they would turn in their gun." Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have stopped the the new regulations and all the money spent on enforcement.