Supreme Court on liability in police high speed chases

The Supreme Court today ruled that police officers are free from liability in speedy car chases. As David Hardy points out, what is even more interesting than the conclusion in this case is Scalia's opinion:

"Indeed, reading the lower court’s opinion, one gets the impression that respondent, rather than fleeing from police, was attempting to pass his driving test..."

"Justice Stevens hypothesizes that these cars “had already pulled to the side of the road or were driving along the shoulder because they heard the police sirens or saw the flashing lights,” so that “[a] jury could certainly conclude that those motorists were exposed to no greater risk than persons who take the same action in response to a speeding ambulance.” Post, at 3. It is not our experience that ambulances and fire engines careen down two-lane roads at 85-plus miles per hour, with an unmarked scout car out in front of them." . . .

David Hardy also points to what is a first, the Supreme Court providing a video tape link to the chase scene tape.

""Justice Stevens suggests that our reaction to the videotape is somehow idiosyncratic, and seems to believe we are misrepresenting its contents. See post, at 4 (dissenting opinion) (“In sum, the factual statements by the Court of Appeals quoted by the Court … were entirely accurate”). We are happy to allow the videotape to speak for itself. See Record 36, Exh. A, available at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/video/scott_v_harris.rmvb and in Clerk of Court’s case file."


Brreaking News: Kansas City, Missouri Mall Shooting in Gun Free Zone

I have had it confirmed for me that the Kansas City Mall Shooting at the Ward Parkway Center that occurred yesterday was in Gun Free Zone. Security at the mall confirms that guns are banned there.

Information on the previous mall shooting in Utah, which was also a gun free zone, can be found here. At some point, the rate of these shootings in gun free zones is going to become to overwhelming for anyone to ignore.

UPDATE: Kevin Jamison writes me that he was at the mall in the last day or so and that there were no signs that he could see at the time. Possibly the security office at the mall was mistaken. I will look into this more.

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An amusing dissent by Chief Justice Roberts

Two powerful op-eds on gun free zones

The problem with gun free zones is getting more and more attention. The first is by the very famous Michael Barone in today's National Review Online:

When Florida passed its concealed-weapons law, I thought it was a terrible idea. People would start shooting each other over traffic altercations; parking lots would turn into shooting galleries. Not so, it turned out. Only a very, very few concealed-weapons permits have been revoked. There are only rare incidents in which people with concealed-weapons permits have used them unlawfully. Ordinary law-abiding people, it turns out, are pretty trustworthy.

I’m not the only one to draw such a conclusion. When she was Michigan’s attorney general, Democrat Jennifer Granholm opposed the state’s concealed-weapons law, which took effect in 2001. But now, as governor, she’s not seeking its repeal. She says that her fears — like those I had about Florida’s law 20 years ago — proved to be unfounded.

So far as I know, there are no politically serious moves to repeal any state’s concealed-weapons laws. In most of the United States, as you go to work, shop at the mall, go to restaurants, and walk around your neighborhood, you do so knowing that some of the people you pass by may be carrying a gun. You may not even think about it. But that’s all right. Experience has shown that these people aren’t threats.

Virginia has a concealed-weapons law. But Virginia Tech was, by the decree of its administrators, a “gun-free zone.” Those with concealed-weapons permits were not allowed to take their guns on campus and were disciplined when they did. A bill was introduced in the state House of Delegates to allow permit-holders to carry guns on campus. When it was sidetracked, a Virginia Tech administrator hailed the action and said that students, professors and visitors would now “feel safe” on campus.

Tragically, they weren’t safe. Virginia Tech’s “gun-free zone” was not gun-free. In contrast, killers on other campuses were stopped by faculty or bystanders who had concealed-weapons permits and brandished their guns to stop the killing. . . .

The second is by a good friend of mine, Tracy Price, in today's Washington Times:

The above list is a tiny sampling of the growing number of multiple-victim shootings, including at least 39 school shootings in the United States. What do all of the above have in common? Each occurred in a "gun-free zone." The recent killing of 32 innocent students and teachers at Virginia Tech adds another tragic chapter to this horrible book of violence and death. I, like many fathers, consider this reality when I send my sons off to school each morning. . . .

Thanks to Jon Shell for sending me the first article.

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Endorsements adding up for Senator Fred Thompson


An unbelievably bad father

Is this man a candidate for the worst father?

I agree with one of the commentators that if I promise someone my kidney and don't deliver, I should be held liable.

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Man sues dry cleaner for $65 million for losing pants

An amazing story here.



Privatizing Law Enforcement in Southern Oregon

Replacing local law enforcement with private gun owners. It is completely unreasonable to completely eliminate police protection. That said, it has long been true in a large number of rural counties that there is not 24 hour police protection, and even when there is protection it can take very long periods of time before police are able to arrive at the crime scene. Still, citizens shouldn't be expected to have to provide their entire police services themselves.

Brian O'Connor wrote me that:

Interesting things happening here in Josephine County in lovely southern Oregon. It looks like the county budget's going to take a huge hit because federal funds are drying up. In particular, the Sheriff is saying he's going to have to eliminate all patrols for the county -- which is pretty big -- unless voters vote in favor of a levy to support law enforcement. It's highly unlikely that the levy will pass, and everyone knows it.

The upshot is that handguns are flying off the shelves of the local gun shops (I confirmed this with the people at Bradbury's Gun-N-Tackle Thursday) and the Sheriff has scheduled 4 seminars to teach people how to fend for themselves. (We have a fairly large Meth problem in the county.)

I've included a clipping from today's Grants Pass Courier, 4/28/07. (The paper is not available online.)

UPDATE: A lot of counties are apparently facing the same problems.

Other counties in Southern Oregon would fare even worse than Jackson County, which closed all of its 15 library branches April 6 and laid off the equivalent of 80 full-time workers. Curry County officials have spoken of declaring bankruptcy, and Josephine County, which also intends to close its libraries, plans to cut back on law enforcement, making arrests only for major crimes.

If a one-year extension is ultimately approved, Walker said it makes no sense to talk about reopening libraries, only to shut them down again.

“One year would not change anything,” he said.

Besides the library layoffs, Jackson County’s budget for next year calls for eliminating an additional 92 positions in public safety, roads, law enforcement and community justice. . . .

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Nice Article on Utah Letting People Protect themselves on University Property

KUTV article on letting people protect themselves.

SALT LAKE CITY Brent Tenney says he feels pretty safe when he goes to class at the University of Utah, but he takes no chances. He brings a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic with him every day.

“It’s not that I run around scared all day long, but if something happens to me, I do want to be prepared,” said the 24-year-old business major, who has a concealed-weapons permit and takes the handgun everywhere but church.

After the massacre at Virginia Tech that left 33 dead, some have suggested that the carnage might have been lower if a student or professor with a gun had stepped in.

As states and colleges across the country review their gun policies in light of the tragedy, many in Utah are proud to have the nation’s only state law that expressly allows the carrying of concealed weapons at public colleges.

“If government can’t protect you, you should have the right to protect yourself,” said Republican state Sen. Michael Waddoups.
. . .

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Stossel: Gun control isn't crime control

Please also watch the video in the upper righthand corner.

But be careful about how far the calls for gun control go, because the idea that gun control laws lower gun crime is a myth.

After the 1997 shooting of 16 kids in Dunblane, England, the United Kingdom passed one of the strictest gun-control laws in the world, banning its citizens from owning almost all types of handguns. Britain seemed to get safer by the minute, as 162,000 newly-illegal firearms were forked over to British officials by law-abiding citizens.

But this didn't decrease the amount of gun-related crime in the U.K. In fact, gun-related crime has nearly doubled in the U.K. since the ban was enacted.

Might stricter gun laws result in more gun crime? It seems counterintuitive but makes sense if we consider one simple fact: Criminals don't obey the law. Strict gun laws, like the ban in Britain, probably only affect the actions of people who wouldn't commit crimes in the first place. . . .

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Virginia Tech Students Felt that the Could have Stopped the Attack if the School Wasn't a Gun Free Zone


April 18, 2007 Wednesday

LENGTH: 526 words




BODY: . . .

(Voiceover) Students who are members of the Virginia Tech gun club say they could have stopped the shooter if they were allowed to have their guns.


It would have been comforting if I did have a concealed carry permit and I did have a, a kind of weapon on me that I, I would not have felt that I was justtotally just a helpless victim at the mercy of this lunatic.

. . .

LOAD-DATE: April 18, 2007


Kansas Veto Override Improves Right-to-Carry Law

I suppose that some thought that the Virginia Tech attack would make this expansion of Kansas' right-to-carry law much more difficult. If anything, the margins appear to have increased slightly. Possibly recognition of the gun free zone problems is having an impact.

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas lawmakers on Friday overrode the governor's veto of a bill preventing city governments from imposing additional restrictions on people carrying concealed guns.

It's the second veto by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, to be overridden by the Republican-controlled Legislature since she took office in 2003. Last year, lawmakers overrode her veto of a bill creating the concealed gun law.

The Senate voted 30-10 to override the veto, three more than the necessary two-thirds majority. On Thursday, the House voted 98-26.

The bill was a reaction to efforts by some cities to impose their own requirements.

Supporters said the state should set the requirements for concealed guns, avoiding the possibility of someone unknowingly violating a local ordinance that goes beyond state law. . . .



Five of Eight Democratic Presidential Candidates Admit to Having Owned Guns

Five of the eight - Gravel, Biden, Dodd, Kucinich and Richardson - raised their hands when moderator Brian Williams of NBC News asked whether they had ever had a gun in their home.

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Trolley Square Mall in Utah occurred is no longer a "gun free zone"

I have been told that the Trolley Square Mall in Utah has taken down its no guns allowed signs. For my earlier discussion on the Utah attack and a picture of the no gun signs see this post.

UPDATE: This is wrong. The person who emailed me this information was incorrect. The signs that say that guns are banned at the mall are still up. Thanks to N.W. Clayton.


Some multiple victim public shootings around the world

This is list not complete. It misses out on the attacks in France as well a s Switzerland. For example, September 27, 2001 — a lone gunman shot and killed 14 people in the Swiss cantonal parliament in Zug, near Zurich. Note that all of these are in gun free zones. I also wish that the listing had made it clear that the Tasmania attack had 35 deaths. The 20 deaths and then reference to 15 might be missed by casual readers as having a greater total.

Deadly Mass Shootings Around the World

Apr 26 02:23 PM US/Eastern
By The Associated Press
Some of world's worst mass shootings:

_ April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, kills 32 people and himself on Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va.

—Nov. 20, 2006: Sebastian Bosse, 18, opens fire at former school in Emsdetten, Germany, before killing self. Five people are wounded and dozens hospitalized for smoke inhalation after he sets off smoke bombs.

—Sept. 13, 2006: Kimveer Gill, 25, opens fire in cafeteria at Dawson College in Montreal, slaying one student and wounding 19 before killing self.

—April 26, 2002: Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who had been expelled from school in Erfurt, Germany, kills 13 teachers, two former classmates and policeman, before committing suicide.

—April 28, 1996: Martin Bryant, 29, bursts into cafeteria in seaside resort of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia, shooting 20 people to death. Driving away, he kills 15 others. He was captured and imprisoned.

—March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton, 43, kills 16 kindergarten children and their teacher in elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, and then kills himself.

—Dec. 6, 1989: Marc Lepine, 25, bursts into Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique college, shooting at women he encounters, killing nine and then himself.

—Aug. 19, 1987: Michael Ryan, 27, kills 16 people in small market town of Hungerford, England, and then shoots himself dead after being cornered by police.

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Washington State "Supreme Court says radio talk not a political donation"

This is a relief, but it also indicates how hopeless campaign reform is. You can't advertise a position, but you can own a radio station to take those positions.

The state Supreme Court said in an opinion released this morning that KVI talk show hosts did not need to report their advocacy for an anti-gas tax campaign as an in-kind political contribution. And the court has reinstated a countersuit filed by the No New Gas Tax (NNGT) campaign against local governments that initially sued. . . .

The opinion was unanimous. The majority opinion was written by Justice Barbara Madsen and signed by Chief Gerry Alexander and justices Tom Chambers, Charles Johnson, Susan Owens, Mary Fairhurst and Bobbe Bridge. Justices Jim Johnson wrote a concurrence, which Justice Richard Sanders also signed, saying: . . .


Defensive gun use in Ohio and a note on media biases

Some in Canada recognize problems with gun free zones


Get Your Gun Free Zone signs here

Get your gun and drug free school zone signs here! Admittedly they would be even better if they didn't have the word "school" in them, but possibly you could paint out the word "school."


Law enforcement official on Fox News Radio

I didn't catch the Law enforcement official's name, but he said something interesting if not surprising: "Law enforcement always receives these copycat cases after these events [Virginia Tech] get attention in the news."


Yet more editorials on "Gun Free Zones"

It may really be sinking in that any attack of any reasonable size is occurring in a gun free zone. For recent pieces see here, here, here, and here.


Online poll on whether students/faculty should be armed if they have permits & training

The poll can be found here.

Thanks to Jack Anderson for sending me this link. Jack apparently lives where this poll is being taken.


Finally a survey that asks people if they want less gun control

For those interested, I have a chapter in my book, The Bias Against Guns, on the bias in polling. One type of bias consistently took the form of the option given respondants. While I would still like to see a question that asks what would decrease crime that included all these options, this is surely a start.

As to the results, while 47% want more regulations, at least 49% either want things to stay the same or reduce the regulations. Hardly the typical claim that most Americans what more regulations.

Should gun laws be made more strict, less strict, or remain as they are?

More strict 47%

Less strict 11%

Remain as they are 38%

Not sure 4%

Source: Ipsos-Public Affairs / Associated Press
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 996 American adults, conducted from Apr. 17 to Apr. 19, 2007. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.


Can the government ban campaign ads 60 days before an election?

There is a big campaign finance case to be heard by the US Supreme Court today.

The disputed regulation barring corporate and labor TV and radio ads as much as 60 days before an election is part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, widely known for its Senate sponsors, Mr. McCain and Russ Feingold (D., Wis.).

The provision aims to keep corporations and unions from using their wealth to unfairly influence elections, says Scott Nelson, an attorney with advocacy group Public Citizen. If the FEC loses, Mr. Nelson says, corporations and, to a lesser degree, unions, could spend "hundreds of millions of dollars" in the run-up to the next election for negative ads. . . .

My own research has shown that these various regulations protect incumbents from competition. But I have a hard time believing that interest groups taking out ads within 60 days before an election is not protected political speech. If individuals can't speak out on issues before an election what else is left to free speech?



Students for Concealed Carry on Campus

Clayton Cramer has a link to a group calling itself Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. This sounds like a good group to help out.


The View on the Virginia Tech Attack from Australia

Professor Alex Robson teaches economics at the Australian National University:

FOLLOWING last week's tragic Virginia Tech shootings, how many times were we told that guns, and not people, kill people?

When the media allocates blame, everyone except the actual perpetrator makes a good candidate.

Pictures of actor Charlton Heston flashed across our screens, as if the former president of the National Rifle Association was responsible.

The pundits never explain why massacres don't occur at sporting shooters' clubs. Or why, just four days before the Virginia Tech shootings, thousands of gun nuts descended on St Louis, Missouri, and not a single gunshot was fired in anger.

Instead, we heard the same, monotonous message: A similar massacre could never happen in Australia because our culture and constitutional arrangements are different.

Never mind that Martin Bryant murdered a greater number of innocent people in the 1996 massacre in Port Arthur. And never mind that Huan Yun Xiang carried five guns in to Monash University in 2002, killing two fellow students.

Since we don't enjoy a constitutional right to bear arms and have no gun culture, who is to blame? Charlton Heston? The Australian gun lobby?

Laws for the concealed carrying of guns are present in some form or another in 48 US states, and serious research (most notably by Professor John Lott of the State University of New York) consistently demonstrates their deterrent effect. . . .

Thanks to Jack Anderson for sending this link to me.

Ashley Herzog also has a nice piece on the topic of gun free zones.

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Online discussion at the Washington Post Today

I just finished a long online discussion at the Washington Post. It was pretty draining to type up the answers to those 22 questions, but I hope that people find the discussion useful. Overall, I thought that the questions were very good. With almost 5,500 words of discussion (the equivalent of about 6 or so op-eds), there is a lot of material there. A link is also provided to an online discussion done by the Brady Campaign on the same issue.

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"Texas gun permit records could become private"

The Texas House is set to debate a bill that would make private the permit records of Texans with concealed handguns.

One of the benefits of concealed handguns is that criminals don't know who is going to be able to defend themselves, so even those who have no plans of carrying a concealed handgun benefit from the fact that others do so. With public records, if a criminal wants to attack someone all a criminal has to do is look up the name of a potential victim and see if they are able to defend themselves.


Ted Nugent on Gun Control at Virginia Tech


On CNN Tonight

I will be on Paula Zahn's show on CNN tonght sometime between 8 and 9 PM. The discussion will be on the school shootings.

UPDATE: The segment on CNN was canceled because none of the gun control groups that CNN contacted were willing to put someone on the show to debate me. CNN was only willing to put me on if they had someone from a gun control group to counter me. It was disappointing, but this is not something new. Gun control groups have done this before, and I assume it is just their attempt to keep me off the TV.

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Passive resistance doesn't work so well

"Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success" -- British self-defense expert Maj. Robin Browne, commenting on his company's work in a Texas school district teaching students how to rush and subdue an armed attacker, quoted in an Oct. 13, 2006 Associated Press story.

From Opinion Journal's Political Diary.


New Op-ed on Gun Free Zones in USA Today

Newt on Gun Free Zones

Newt Gingrich comes out swinging on gun free zones in the ABC News "This Week" interview here. I could have given most of this interview. One point: Australia doesn't have an absolute ban, but his point was still correct.

You can then vote on the gun control issue here, but the answers are typically biased. No chance to say that gun control causes problems.



YouTube Video of Giuliani talking about Federal Gun Licensing

A youtube video of Giuliani arguing for national gun licensing is here.

1) Giuliani many not understand it but if you had regulations for guns similar to those of the licensing necessary to drive a car it would represent deregulation. If you are just going to have your car at home, you don't need a license. It is only when you drive it around off your property that you need the license. You can tow you car around off your property even if it isn't licensed. You just can't use it. However, if you do have the car registered and licensed you can drive it anywhere in the US. If they would make right-to-carry national, so that my license in Virginia would be recognized anywhere in the US that would be a big improvement over the current situation.

2) I have no idea what Giuliani is talking about regarding mental testing to be able to drive or own a car. Possibly, New Yorkers are very dangerous on the road, but I doubt it requires mental testing even there. Besides eyesight, I don't know what he is referring to reguarding physical testing either.

I could live with the equivalent of car registration and car licensing for guns if they really did it the exact same way for both.

Thanks to Jason Megill for sending me this link and for putting this up on YouTube.

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Professor fired for advocating that concealed handguns be allowed on campus

This is pretty depressing.

An Emmanuel College professor has been fired after re-enacting the Virginia Tech massacre in his classroom in order to air a pro-gun viewpoint that offended students at the Catholic liberal arts school, the professor charged yesterday.
Nicholas Winset said he was terminated and permanently barred from campus following a Wednesday lecture in which he dramatized the massacre to show that deranged gunman Cho Seung-Hui could have been stopped if another student had been carrying a gun.
“If there were more guns in society, the response time to the (rampage) might have been much faster,” said Winset, an adjunct professor of financial accounting. “Someone might have been able to do something to stop it.” . . .

UPDATE: Paul Huebl send me an update on the story here. He includes the note that "Be sure to watch the clip parts in the right order."

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MP3 of my interview with Mark Levin last Tuesday

The audio of my interview this last week Mark Levine's can be found here. The interview is at the beginning of the second hour, in the middle of the program.



Student asks for class to be held off campus to be safer


82 year old woman stops intruder with her gun: "She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun."

WAYNESBURG, Ky. — Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder.

Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.

Ramey said the man told her he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said.

She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

"I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it," she said. "If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now."

Ramey then flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.

Curtis Parrish of Ohio was charged with misdemeanor trespassing, Deputy Dan Gilliam said. The man's hometown wasn't immediately available. Three other people were questioned but were not arrested. . . .


"Sheriff Asks State To Place Guns In Schools"

Fred Thompson on Guns

Research paper on Multiple Victim Public Shooting

I have been getting a lot of requests for a copy of my research on multiple victim public shootings. You can download the paper here.

UPDATE; A debate on that work can be found here. Thanks to John Fund and Cal Blalik for sending me this link.

Two comments and responses:

1) "Prof. Lott wrote in an email that he counted less-severe incidents to get enough data for statistically significant results. He justifies his exclusion of gang murders because gun usage by chronic criminals "would not be directly affected by the passage of right-to-carry laws."

That seems to be precisely the reason to include them for a full picture of the effect of these laws. Of course, the complete picture frequently goes missing in this debate."

-- The point is that we tried and reported it many different ways (including the measure used by the New York Times, two or more murders, three or more murders, four or more murders, various combinations of that with injuries as well as injuries separately, and the number of attacks). If someone had a reasonable suggestion for a measure, we would have used it. Out of all those ways, one way was not statistically significant and for what I think is a very obvious reason: the basic model had almost as many control variables as events. My question is: why is it better to try only one measure and find that is statistically insignificant as the other paper you cite does? Besides saying it is too much work, what is there reason for only trying one measure? They also include crimes that we provide a theoretical reason for why they will move the coefficient towards.

2) "Grant Duwe, a researcher on the later study, said the news-archive approach was likely incomplete, because the media don't always give publicity to multiple shootings."

-- Duwe and co-authors had a choice between doing the costly and time consuming media approach that we did or they could use the government data that includes cases that would include cases that shouldn't have been included. An important question to answer in evaluating Duwe's answer above is: Does one really believe that there are really many multiple victim public shootings involving non-gang members and where four or more people are killed that don't get any news coverage? These authors were sent our data before they did their paper and did not provide any evidence that our method missed the types of cases that we were concerned about. From having checked our data against the FBI reports (which we had done years before their work), I would argue that the only cases they picked up were gang shootings of other gangs. Something that can be interesting, but would not be particularly relevant for our estimates of the impact of right-to-carry laws.

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On stopping multiple victim public shootings

A couple days ago, I put up a long list of articles, op-eds and editorials on gun free zones. Here are some more pieces that are relevant.

Investor's Business Daily on stopping multiple victim public shootings

Gun Control: Five years ago, armed college students subdued a gunman embarking on a college killing spree. Last year, Virginia Tech applauded the fact that its students couldn't do the same.

On Jan. 16, 2002 , a killer stalked the campus of the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., not far from the site of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. A disgruntled former student killed Law Dean L. Anthony Sutin, associate professor Thomas Blackwell and a student.

Two of the three law students who overpowered Peter Odighizuwa before he could kill more innocent victims were armed. Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges, seeing the killing spree begin, went to their cars, retrieved their guns and used them to disarm the shooter.

As John Lott Jr. tells it in his book, "The Bias Against Guns" (Regnery, 2003), while most were fleeing the gunman, "Mikael and Tracy were prepared to do something quite different: Both immediately ran to their cars and got their guns. Mikael had to run about one hundred yards to get to his car."

Lott continues: "Along with Ted Besen (who was unarmed), they approached Peter from different sides. As Tracy explains it, "I stopped at my vehicle and got a handgun, a revolver. Ted went toward Peter, and I aimed the gun at (Peter), and Peter tossed his gun down." Then the three jumped on the gunman and the killing stopped.

Bernard Goldberg, in his book "Arrogance" (Warner, 2003), reports how the media reported the tragic events of that day. He notes that Lott did a LexisNexis search and found that only four of 208 news reports mentioned the rescuers had guns. James Eaves-Johnson did his own LexisNexis search for the Daily Iowan (University of Iowa) and found that only two of 88 stories mentioned that armed students subdued the killer and prevented more deaths. . . .

Here is a piece by Jack Kelly

What can we do to keep what happened at Virginia Tech from ever happening again?

Nothing. Understanding that is the key to reducing the frequency of such massacres, and the bloodshed when they, alas, inevitably occur.

Little more frightens or angers Americans than when a nutbar kills a lot of people at random, because the act is as senseless as it is evil.

"The effort to shoehorn an event as devastating as this one into a predetermined set of ideas...is an effort to make the unthinkable thinkable," said New York Post columnist John Podhoretz. "Does this massacre seem to be utterly without cause? Well, then, we'll find a cause in order to be able to wrap our minds around it, because when we have a cause we can determine a remedy."

Both supporters and opponents of gun control are shoe-horning the incident into their pre-established templates. Both have ammunition.

On the one hand, Mr. Cho was able to purchase the firearms he used in the murder spree -- Glock 19 and Walther P-22 handguns -- lawfully at a local gun shop.

On the other, the Virginia Tech campus is a "gun free zone," where students, faculty and staff are forbidden to have firearms, even if they have concealed carry permits. Mr. Cho lived in a dorm on campus, where he stored his weapons and ammunition. The school's policy banning guns wasn't very effective in Mr. Cho's case. . . .

Here is a piece by Ben J. Wattenberg

America is no longer a six-gun-toting, slap-leather society. Nor are we particularly violent. Since the civil war we have not afflicted great violence on other Americans. Nor is our crime rate particularly high as ranked among the countries of the world.

Most of our states now have "Right to Carry" laws that lower violent crime rather than raising it. As John Lott has pointed out in More Guns, Less Crime, criminals are afraid of their own injury by a not-so-helpless victim.

And so, perhaps counter-intuitively, after these horrific events, there is not much we can or should do. We are doing fine. . . .


Some of the wackiness behind environmental some regulations

Personally, I found this case pretty amusing. As I understand it, the question is whether you count only the wild salmon and ignore hatchery born salmon. Even if hatchery born salmon live to have offsprind at a lower rate than wild ones, why not still give them a weighting equal to the relative rate that they propogate? Anyway, fighting the good fight out there in Oregon, Sonya Jones does a better job than me of explaining everything at the link here.

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New op-ed on multiple victim public shootings

I have a new op-ed in The Australian here.

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Virus allows hackers access to State Department Computers worldwide

Coverage of Virginia Tech

"If anybody cares about the victims in Blacksburg and if anybody cares about their children, stop showing this video now. Take it off the Internet. Let it be relegated to YouTube. Showing the video is a social catastrophe... I promise you the disaffected will watch him the way they watched 'Natural Born Killers.' I know. I examine these people. I've examined mass shooters who have told me they've watched it 20 times. You cannot saturate the American public with this kind of message" -- forensic psychiatrist and ABC News consultant Michael Welner, discussing the consequences of the media airing the Seung-hui Cho video.

From Opinion Journal's Political Diary


The Dam Begins to Break: "TN moves to allow guns in public buildings"


Appearance on Sean Hannity's Show Today

I should be on Sean Hannity's show during the third hour today (between 5 and 6 PM). It is supposed to be short -- 10 minutes.

A copy of the interview is available here. Thanks to Jason Pye for sending this to me.



At least Eisner is the former chairman of Disney, though one worries that his views may be representative. However, that said, you already see a lot of bias on TV.

"I think that the solution to ending gun violence is to get the public emotionally upset through film and television drama to the point that it demands that the possession of handguns be outlawed. I couldn't suggest that, let alone do it, when I was the chairman of Disney. It's a public company and everybody is scared of taking on the NRA. But now that I'm a private person, nobody can tell me I can't do what I want."

Michael Eisner
Former Disney chairman
On "Power Lunch"
April 18, 2007

Thanks to Dan Gifford for sending me this. Dan adds: "This is my paraphrase of Eisner from the CNBC interview about fifteen minutes ago."

UPDATE: here is a video of Eisner's statement.


Comments on Gun Free Zones

Some useful editorials on the horrible Virginia attack can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. In 1998, only one or two people would have been making this argument.

Holman W. Jenkins Jr. at the WSJ makes the point pretty clear: "After all, some people are prepared, at their own expense, to obtain a gun, training and a concealed-carry permit. This is likely to include people who wouldn't have thought of arming themselves except when daily activity throws them unavoidably into proximity to somebody who makes them rationally afraid. If society can't process and react to warning signs given off by such people collectively, an alternative is to expand the opportunity for individuals to process and react to them personally."

UPI notes: "The Virginia Tech massacre is already igniting a new debate on whether the United States has too little gun control, or too much. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, a national movement dedicated to maintaining gun ownership rights, said Monday, "All the school shootings that have ended abruptly in the last 10 years were stopped because a law-abiding citizen -- a potential victim -- had a gun."

Ann Coulter's piece here is quite amusing:

From the attacks of 9/11 to Monday's school shooting, after every mass murder there is an overwhelming urge to "do something" to prevent a similar attack.

But since Adam ate the apple and let evil into the world, deranged individuals have existed.

Most of the time they can't be locked up until it's too late. It's not against the law to be crazy -- in some jurisdictions it actually makes you more viable as a candidate for public office.

It's certainly not against the law to be an unsociable loner. If it were, Ralph Nader would be behind bars right now, where he belongs. Mass murder is often the first serious crime unbalanced individuals are caught committing -- as appears to be in the case of the Virginia Tech shooter. . . .

Another interesting news article can be found here. See also this here.

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Global Warming Claims


Thoughts related to the VIrginia Tech Shooting

For those interested in commentary by me on the Virginia Tech shooting, please see a very related piece that I wrote just last week.



Another gun free zone: "1 Person Dead; Gunman on the Loose at Virginia Tech University"

All the public universities in Virginia have rules banning guns on campus.

BLACKSBURG, Va. — A gunman was loose on the Virginia Tech University campus in Blacksburg, Va., Monday, and officials were warning everyone to stay away from all building windows.

A state government official told The Associated Press said that at least one person was killed and another was injured in a shooting incident at the West Ambler Johnston residence hall early Monday morning. FOX News has not yet confirmed that report. . . .

UPDATE: Paul Huebl sent around a link confirming what I had already put up about Virginia Tech being a gun free zone.

Last spring a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for bringing a handgun to class, despite having a concealed handgun permit. Some gun owners questioned the university's authority, while the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police came out against the presence of guns on campus.

In June, Tech's governing board approved a violence prevention policy reiterating its ban on students or employees carrying guns and prohibiting visitors from bringing them into campus facilities. . . .

UPDATE: Obviously, this has turned into a much more horrible situation than was originally reported. I will wait to post more until more is understood about what happened.

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"Cell Phones May Be To Blame For Disappearing Bees"

I just watched the news this morning and found it comical that cell phones were being blamed for the sudden drop off in bees over the last year. How long have cell phones been around for? Why the sudden drop off? Montana and some other fairly low population states are also experiencing the drop off. I can only assume that they have less of their land area affected by cell phone radiation. Both the time period and the areas affected make me strongly suspect that there is another cause going on here.

Researchers in Germany may have found the cause of disappearing honey bees -- a worldwide problem that has also hit Colorado beekeepers hard. . . .

A German study shows that radiation from cell phones can disrupt bees' navigation systems. That keeps the bees from returning to their hives.

In some cases, 70 per cent of bees exposed to radiation failed to find their way back to the hive after searching for pollen and nectar, according to the research by Landau University.

Colony Collapse Disorder has affected beehives in 24 states, including Colorado. Losses of 50 to 90 per cent of colonies have been recorded. The loss rate is 40 percent in some Colorado's 30,0000 colonies. Beekeepers said that many of their bees never return to the hives and the hives dwindle and die. . . .



California Talk Trip this coming week

Monday, April 16th
Chapman University Law School -- noon -- The Bias Against Guns
Western State University Law School-- 5 PM -- Debate on gun control

Tuesday, April 17th
Loyola University Law School -- noon -- The Bias Against Guns

Wednesday, April 18th
OC Federalist Society -- noon -- The Bias Against Guns
Whittier University Law School -- 5 PM -- Affirmative Action in Law Schools


Laurie David and Sheryl Crow Nailed in CNBC Global Warming Interview by Joe Kernen

Great video from CNBC interview with “An Inconvenient Truth” producer Laurie David and Sheryl Crow on Global Warming (scroll down here for a link to the video). The host, Joe Kernen, just nails them. The website link also has a discussion about how upset David and Crow were after the interview. This is a great interview and well worth watching.

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So you really believe in Gore's hype about Global Warming?: Well here is a chance to put your money where your mouth is

The encouraging thing is how long the odds are on this

NORFOLK, VA., — Think global warming will raise the oceans enough to submerge Cape Hatteras, N.C.? Want to bet on it?

An online gambling service has started taking bets on global warming, including whether it can submerge some of the East Coast's top vacation spots. The odds that Virginia's Cape Henry will be under water by 2015 — 200-to-1 at BetUs.com. Its odds for Cape Hatteras flooding by the same date — 300-to-1. . . .

I will have to start searching more for these betting opportunities. Here is another story on this site:

BetUS.com spokesman Reed Richards said the company will personally back numerous bets, or "propositions," posted on the Web site related to global warming.

"It's part of a campaign we've been doing for the past two and a half years called 'pop culture gaming,'" Richards said. "You can wager on things in the headlines."

One bet gives members 1-to-5 odds that scientists will prove global warming exists beyond any scientific doubt by the end of this year.

Another gives 100-to-1 odds that polar bears will be extinct by 2010.

(A complete list of all the global-warming related bets is listed at the end of this article.)

Richards said "thousands" of people have already placed money on the company's global-warming bets, with $10 being the average wager. . . .

the bets are "designed to part fools from their money." . . .

Someone actually thinks that there is a one percent chance of polar bears going extinct in the next three years? Anyway, it seems like the extreme environmentalists are the ones who will be parted from their money.

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Arizona possibly reducing penalty for forgetting to have concealed handgun permit with you

Carjacking stopped by Concealed handgun Permit Holder

Man shoots assailant

WARREN (Ohio) — A 55-year-old man thwarted a carjacking Tuesday morning after exchanging gunfire with the would-be thief. The victim told police he had pulled his vehicle into his Youngstown Road driveway about 12:45 a.m. when one of three men who was walking past his home started shooting at him.

The victim, who police reported has a conceal-carry gun permit, returned fire. The would-be thief jumped into the victim's car and backed into a street sign. He drove forward, went through a fence and slammed into a junk vehicle. The gunman jumped back over the fence and got into a car that had pulled up to the scene. The victim suffered a cut hand, but police say he wounded his assailant, who is in a Warren hospital pending filing of charges.

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Kansas Gov Vetoes Change in Right-to-carry law

Topeka — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today vetoed legislation that would have prevented cities and counties from restricting concealed gun permit holders. . . .

The article is pretty one sided in that it only presents the governor's explanation for the veto and not the explanation behind passing the law. Legislators plan to attempt an override. They had to do the same thing to get the original right-to-carry law passed.

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Kurt Vonnegut: RIP

Kurt Vonnegut wrote many interesting pieces, but this is one I enjoyed the most. "Harrison Bergeron" was written by Vonnegut in 1961, but the warning that it gives is just as timely now. Sorry, on second thought, in a time when children's sports often no longer give awards for the winners, I think that the essay is even more important now.


Ohio Sheriff sues to stop Right-to-Carry group from getting names of permit holders

This is a weird case, but it seems as if the sheriff is upset about having to provide the names of permit holders to one of the groups that fought for right-to-carry laws. Presumably the group is asking for the names so that they can organize permit holders (fund raising, fight for legislation, etc.). Unlike the mainstream media that has made the names of permit holders public, it is doubtful that the right-to-carry group has that intention. I have two thoughts on this:

1) If the right-to-carry group runs a website or has a newsletter, I don't see how they couldn't be defined as a journalists.
2) I doubt that the sheriff would have brought the suit to stop a "real" media organization from getting these names.

County Sheriff Phil Stammitti sued Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann on Wednesday, asking a county judge to declare unconstitutional a 2004 state law that requires Stammitti to provide the names of those who apply for concealed carry permits to journalists.

The lawsuit also asks the court to determine whether Ohioans for Concealed Carry President Jeff Garvas, who also is named in the suit, is a journalist.

Stammitti wants county Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi, who was assigned the case, to decide whether he should be allowed to disclose the names and other information of permit holders to anyone, including journalists.. . . .



Crime Surge in England: Tony Blair Blames Black Culture

Possibly Bill Cosby could get away with something like this, but politicians really take a big risk discussing these topics. Black on black crime, whether it is in the US or the UK, inflicts a massive cost on the black community. My own belief is that a stricter law enforcement system with more real penalties would help. If you increased arrest and conviction rates in those communities, my guess is that crime would also go down there.

Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture. His remarks angered community leaders, who accused him of ignorance and failing to provide support for black-led efforts to tackle the problem. . . . .

Giving the Callaghan lecture in Cardiff, the prime minister admitted he had been "lurching into total frankness" in the final weeks of his premiership. He called on black people to lead the fight against knife crime. He said that "the black community - the vast majority of whom in these communities are decent, law abiding people horrified at what is happening - need to be mobilised in denunciation of this gang culture that is killing innocent young black kids".

Mr Blair said he had been moved to make his controversial remarks after speaking to a black pastor of a London church at a Downing Street knife crime summit, who said: "When are we going to start saying this is a problem amongst a section of the black community and not, for reasons of political correctness, pretend that this is nothing to do with it?" Mr Blair said there needed to be an "intense police focus" on the minority of young black Britons behind the gun and knife attacks. The laws on knife and gun gangs needed to be toughened and the ringleaders "taken out of circulation". . . .


More on Pregnant woman who defended herself with a gun

A video report of the pregnant Minneapolis woman who used a gun to protect herself and her two year old is here.



Some progress regarding people keeping guns in the home

With all the garbage put out in the media, it is amazing to me that people's perception of the benefits of having guns in the home have been increasing. Going from 35 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2006 is a real change, though I feel sure that if this poll had been done in the 1950s it would have been in the 70 or 80 percent range.

When asked whether a gun in the house makes the house safer or more dangerous, 47% said safer in October 2006 - up from 35% in August 2000 and 42% in October 2004.


Opposition to statue honoring fallen Navy Seal

Here is an amazing story of anti-gun people oppose a statute to honor a Navy Seal who won the Navy Cross saving the lives of three of this fellow soldiers shot in a firefight. The anti-gun people are upset that this Navy Seal is being depicted with a gun.


On the G. Gordon Liddy Show tomorrow

I will be on the G. Gordon Liddy Show at 11:30 AM Wednesday morning.


Illinois State Police rely on incorrect statistics regarding gun control

The Illinois State Police gives some amazingly bad advice that doesn't seem to be based on anything:

Use of a firearm to protect yourself or property is not recommended.

-Guns stolen from residences are a primary way of getting guns into the hands of criminals.
-Half of all the women that fire a gun trying to protect themselves shoot someone they do not want to, i.e. friend, neighbors, relatives, etc.

But for quite different information see page 9 of this BJS report for information that 9.9 percent of criminal guns came from theft or burglary. Purchased, obtained from family or friend, and rented or borrowed were all much more common sources.

I have called up and asked about both claims. At least on the second claim they had a source, but the source that they pointed to claims that they didn't provide the information. The state police were then called back to figure out where it came from, but so far no source.

The website also advises women to fight their attackers:
Concentrate on these areas only when combating an assailant.


For information on the safest course of action see this link.

I was sent this link for the Illinois State Police a few days ago and I apologize for forgetting who sent this to me, but I did appreciate it.

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Pregnant woman shoots attacker

Felons getting the right to vote

`On April 5, 2007, Governor Crist persuaded Florida’s clemency board to restore voting rights to about 800,000 former prisoners.

Crist’s action was vigorously opposed by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, as well as by former governor Jeb Bush. Under the new rules, about 80 percent of the disenfranchised whose crimes were not classified as “violent” will automatically have heir voting rights restored, so long as they have paid any restitution to victims and have no pending criminal charges.

This measure will largely exclude about two hundred thousand people defined as “violent career criminals,” murderers and sexual offenders, who must submit to an investigation of their cases and a hearing before a clemency board. In practical terms, the vast majority of these former prisoners will never vote again. This raises a basic question about the “limits” of American democracy, and the danger in restricting the electoral franchise. . . .

Personally, I still think that it is strange that this is the only "right" that Democrats want to restore to felons. All the information that I have seen indicates that felons care much more about other issues (jobs, self defense). But what baffles me completely is how some people such as this author think that American Democracy is at stake because we are not letting murderers and rapists vote. What is the deal there? The same people who push for voting rights being restored to violent felons would never think of restoring the right to own a gun to those who were convicted of even just simple misdemeanors.

Thanks to Jack Langer for sending me this link.


New Op-ed on What Should We Advise Women who are being Stalked?

Sonya Jones and I have a new op-ed on the recent failure of restraining orders in protecting women: Flawed Laws Help Stalkers Victimize Women.

What do you do when the police can’t protect you?

Police may be the single most important factor for reducing crime, but there is something the police themselves understand: They almost always arrive at the crime scene after the crime has occurred.

Expecting people to trust the police to protect them and to behave passively is a recipe for disaster.

The last couple of weeks have seen a couple prominent murders where restraining orders did women little good. Numerous news organizations, such as ABC News, have run headlines asking "How Do You Stop a Stalker From Killing You?"

Unfortunately, despite acknowledging that "many women find themselves on their own," the media are drawing the wrong lessons. To simply advise that women "Get the hell away from him" often doesn't go anywhere near far enough. . . .

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Elizabeth Edwards is scared of "rabid, rabid Republican" Neighbor

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is scared of the "rabid, rabid Republican" who lives across the street from her home. This guy must really be way out there politically. You can tell how extreme that he is politically since he has a "Go Rudy Giuliani 2008" sign on his fence. Given how extremely far right New York city is, I can understand her concerns. She doesn't want to meet the man and because he owns guns she is worried about the safety of her children.

While I couldn't find any sites that provided help for phobias regarding Republicans, here is a site that deals with Hoplophobia.


Advice of DC police officer to citizen fearful of crime: get a gun

Richard S. Lindzen on Global Warming

Lindzen doesn't pull many punches in this piece in Newsweek.

Judging from the media in recent months, the debate over global warming is now over. There has been a net warming of the earth over the last century and a half, and our greenhouse gas emissions are contributing at some level. Both of these statements are almost certainly true. What of it? Recently many people have said that the earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we've seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe. What most commentators—and many scientists—seem to miss is that the only thing we can say with certainly about climate is that it changes. The earth is always warming or cooling by as much as a few tenths of a degree a year; periods of constant average temperatures are rare. Looking back on the earth's climate history, it's apparent that there's no such thing as an optimal temperature—a climate at which everything is just right. The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman's forecast for next week. . .

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Romney could use some new advisers on guns

I have commented on this before, but the people advising Romney on guns seem to be the same people who advised Kerry. Going shooting or becoming a lifetime NRA member are nice, but they aren't what matters to most of the people who care about the gun issue. What matters is that the candidate understands the issues. Romney is such a smart guy. I have been impressed by so many of his answers on many questions, but on the gun issue there are just a few minor things that he could do to convince people that he understands the issue. For example, when he starts talking about "assault weapons" I am sure that many gun owners instantly know that he doesn't have a clue about guns.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest he was a lifelong hunter even though he never took out a license, campaign rival Mike Huckabee said Sunday.

"I think it was a major mistake," said Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor. "It would be like me saying I've been a lifelong golfer because I played putt-putt when I was 9 years old and I rode in a golf cart a couple of times."

"I think American people are looking for authenticity," Huckabee added. "Match their record with their rhetoric." . .

While I was traveling last week through Texas, I heard Huckabee on the radio. No one is going to be to his right on the gun issue. He could have given you an hour discussion on why the guns covered by the so-called assault weapon ban were not machine guns and why statements that no one would ever using these so-called assault weapons for hunting show that the people who make them don't know guns. Fred Thompson and Huckabee (and even Ron Paul) will be dividing some of the same vote, but in the Republican primary it is a bigger vote than what is being divided by McCain, Giuliani, and to some extent Romney.

If Romney wants to put his Massachusetts gun record behind him, one big thing that he could do is change his position on assault weapon bans. There is an easy way to do it: point to the fact that the claims about crime going up after the ban was sunset didn't occur. I have tried offering other simpler advice to Romney people, but I have found a completely unreceptive audience.

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O’Connor on the possible end of Affirmative Action

Sandra Day O’Connor, the retired associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and author of the majority opinion in a landmark 2003 decision upholding the legality of race-conscious college admissions, acknowledged in a speech today that she is not confident the court had preserved affirmative action in higher education for much longer.

Speaking at Washington’s National Press Club at a symposium on diversity at colleges, Justice O’Connor said, “The future of affirmative action in higher education today is certainly muddy.” As the basis for her observation, she cited Michigan voters’ adoption last fall of an amendment to that state’s Constitution banning affirmative-action preferences, as well as the passage of similar measures in California in 1996 and Washington State in 1998, and current efforts to place preference bans on several states’ ballots in 2008.. . .

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Happy Easter

Another unintended Consequence of government regulation

If you happen to be buying a new windows machine these days and you get upset about how long it takes to start up, know that about a minute of that three minute start up time when you turn your machine on occurs because Microsoft can no longer control part of the user experience and that is true thanks to the Department of Justice.

Walt Mossberg says his Vista startup experience was pretty horrid because of the tons of ads and other things that OEMs load onto the OS. They do that to try to make a few extra bucks on each machine sold. Microsoft can’t stop them because the DOJ made it impossible to push around the OEMs and keep them from ruining the startup experience. . . .

It appears from Walt Mossberg that the start up time for Vista would still much slower than Macs even without this extra software, but an additional minute when you are having to already wait 2 minutes for your machine to start seems pretty long.

Restarting took over three minutes, and a cold start took more than two minutes. That suggests the computer is loading a bunch of stuff I neither know about nor want. By contrast, a brand new Apple MacBook laptop, under the same test conditions, restarted in 34 seconds and did a cold start in 29 seconds. . . .

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With Hillary Slipping in the Polls, will she soon have trouble with her fundraising?

Coming from nowhere, without any strong pre-existing donor base, Senator Barack Obama’s sensational showing in the first quarter — amassing $25 million in campaign contributions — has left the Clintons sputtering. And his astonishing bottom line is only part of his surprise upset in beating Hillary. While she narrowly edged out the new kid on the political block in the total amount raised, Obama outscored Hillary 2:1 where it really counts: the number of individual donors. This is a big win for Obama and demonstrates both the depth of support for an attractive alternative to Hillary, as well as the finely tuned organizing skills of the first term senator.

In the first three months of 2007, 100,000 people gave Obama money, while Hillary’s fund-raising base was only half as large with 50,000. That’s a big difference. . . .

Hillary won’t disclose how many of her donors have reached the maximum of $2200 for the primary, and $2200 for the general election. But, reports of her fund-raising tactics suggest that she squeezed her donors dry. In practical terms, this means that she has fewer donors to go back to for later donations. . . .

With polls such as this and this, Clinton has something to worry about. She is so much better known than her opponents that she has almost nowhere to go but down.



"UK is knife crime capital"

Gun Registration Under Consideration in Albany, NY


An over reaction by academics?

Using the "N-word" was a stupid error in judgment, but this guy was a kid when it occurred and he admitted responsibility and apologized. The kid was a teenager when it happened. I have also heard stories of what this kid has had to endure. Apparently at a conference at Yale last year, the Yale Law School Dean lead a walkout when this kid merely showed up in the audience. Are these reactions in proportion to what this kid did given that he has apologized and there is no evidence that the apology wasn't sincere.

What the kid said was wrong, but compare it to other statements that could have been made. Suppose that he had said that Bush was the same as Hilter or that Republicans were Nazi. Would he have been condemed in academia? I can even concede that these later attacks would not be nearly as hurtful, but I doubt that it would have been given even a brief notice by many academics. Surely even if it had been an issue, his age would have been raised as a mitigating factor. I would like to believe that I would be wrong about all this, but I doubt it. Surely, law deans would not lead walkouts on this person if he showed up at a conference under those circumstances.

Finally, let me note that this kid is some type of genius. It is not surprising to me that people who have these book smarts lack certain, shall we say, people skills (understanding when some things are a mistake).

Camara, a native Filipino who grew up in Hawaii and enrolled at Harvard Law School at age 16, had been on track to become an assistant professor at GMU's law school. But his candidacy was derailed after the law school's dean, Daniel D. Polsby, publicized the possible appointment so he could hear what students had to say before making a final decision.

During Camara's first year at Harvard Law School in 2002, he fueled a controversy when he wrote racist remarks in a voluminous summary of a 1948 Supreme Court decision that barred restrictive covenants based on race. He then posted the writing on a Web site designed to help other law students. . . .

This kid is now just 22. Show some compassion towards this kid who made a mistake and move on. I am disappointed that George Mason turned the guy down for a position.



One prof who probably should have gotten tenure

Unfortunately, it is becoming rarer and rarer for professors that actually use economics to explain the world in interesting and useful ways. So many teachers find it easier to go through simple math models that students may remember for a month or two. My eldest son, Maxim, wrote an excellent article for his school newspaper about one such professor, Jeffrey Gerlach.

In the economics department, a professor who is widely regarded as a great teacher, Jeffrey Gerlach, was not retained. . . .

Several objective measures indicate student support for the professor. There were three sections of Economics 101 offered this semester, each with 150 slots and within half an hour of each other. While the class taught by Professor Gerlach was overbooked, with 167 registered, the two other course sections attracted just 89 and 78 students each.

On Ratemyprofessors.com, a widely-used website used by students to share their views on professors, Gerlach has a 3.9 “quality” rating, which is above the 3.6 average for tenured professors at the College. The quality rating is a combination of the “clarity” and “helpfulness” ratings.

“When I teach Econ 101, I include many examples from business, politics and everyday life. I believe economics is very useful for understanding the real world and I try to demonstrate that in class,” Gerlach said of his teaching methods. . . .

If you read the entire article, you will see that the department defends its decision not to give Jeffrey Gerlach tenure based on not the quantity, but the quality, of his work. My question is this: how many other faculty members at W&M have been offered a one year fellowship at MIT or an equivalent school? I could be wrong, but my guess is zero. Here is a guy who seems much better in terms of teaching and at least a solid researcher. What gives? I have a hypothesis, but I will keep it to myself.


Talks this week

Wednesday 1:30 to 3:00
Talk on Affirmative Action in Law Schools
University of Texas at Dallas, Business School

Thursday 3:30 to 5:00
Talk on Abortion and Crime
Baylor University Economics Department

Talk on Media Bias
University of Texas at Austin



ATF putting more gun dealers out of business

Shooting at the University of Washington: Another Gun Free Zone, Woman asking for Police Protection

There was a shooting at the University of Washington. A former boyfriend of the woman killed her, but according to Michael Medved, the woman had been asking for police protection for weeks to no avail. Possibly the police should have advised the woman to quickly get a concealed handgun permit.

While the media concentrated on the fact that it was illlegal for the killer to have a handgun on school property, it would have been nice if they had mentioned that ban applied to the victim as well.

Wittmier said campus police were not aware of the restraining order against Rowan. He also said he did not believe Rowan had permission to carry a handgun on campus, where firearms are generally banned.

Thanks to Ben Zycher for the link.

Here is a copy of the University of Washington code of conduct regulations (2)(e):

Conduct on campus code — Prohibited conduct.

(2) In order to assure those rights to all members of the university community and to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in which the university may continue to make its special contribution to society, the following types of conduct are hereby prohibited on or in property either owned, controlled or operated by the university which is used or set aside for university purposes, hereinafter referred to as the university campus:

(e) Possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals or other dangerous weapons or instrumentalities on the university campus, except for authorized university purposes, unless prior written approval has been obtained from the university chief of police, or any other person designated by the president of the university;

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Some of the many problems with Ethanol


Extreme political correctness in teaching

Apparently, teachers in the UK are dropping discussion of the Holocaust because of fear of offending Muslim students. It is not clear to me why Muslim's should be offended by this fact.

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed. It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial. . . .

From Fox News:

Teachers are dropping controversial subjects such as the Holocaust and the Crusades from history lessons because they do not want to offend children from certain races or religions, a report claims. . . .

From Daily Telegraph:

Some teachers dropped the Holocaust completely from lessons because of fears that Muslim pupils might express anti-semitic reactions. One school avoided teaching the Crusades because its "balanced" handling of the topic would directly contradict what was taught in local mosques. . . .

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Is the fact that more women are living without men in the house increasing gun ownership?

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO - KIMBERLY SHRUM grips a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver and aims at a target 25 yards away. Bang.

A hot shell casing hits the floor, joining hundreds of others littering the concrete at Jackson Arms Indoor Shooting Range in South San Francisco.

Shrum centers herself and aims again. Bang.

After two days using her new revolver, Shrum's hands are sore from the recoil of every shot.

"I get that rush and power from a Magnum," said the 36-year-old Millbrae resident. "I've taken archery and thrown darts, but shooting is another way to hurl something through the air. But this is just like shooting a paper ball into the trash can. TwoPoints. Air ball."

She is among a growing number of women who are showing up at shooting ranges across the country. Many women who visit the Jackson Arms shooting gallery do it because they love the power of guns and want to learn how to protect themselves.

While there are no hard figures on the number of women who own guns, it's estimated that nationwide 11 million to 17 million women wield firearms, said Laura Browder, author of "Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America." The National Rifle Association doesn't keep figures by gender.

Browder said the gun industry is just as focused on females as it has been over the last 200 years, but the marketing strategy now taps into their fears.

"The gun industry is saying, 'Look, the state is not here to protect you, the cops are
not here, no one is looking out for you,'" said Browder, who is assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. "There's a lot of single mothers, and there's a lot of suggestion there is no man in the house, and the woman has got to take care of herself." . . .

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