Monday March 10, 2014
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A while back I noticed that someone had posted a letter saying that she had never heard of anyone actually using a weapon in self-defense in a home.
I didn't want to heat up an argument where there already were far too many comments and far too few facts. I had to bite my lip, but I stayed out of it even though I knew that the lowest number for the use a gun for self-defense in America, the number accepted by strongly anti-gun people, is over 80,000 times each year. Knowing that, it took some patience to stay quiet, but I did.
However, now that the bill has failed it may be time to point out that even President Obama, in his April 8, 2013, speech in Hartford, CT, acknowledged the legitimacy of home defense as a reason for the Second Amendment.
For anyone who may have missed that refreshing moment of political honesty, I'll quote it for you.
Quoted by the Associated Press, and retrievable by anyone who would like to hear it, President Obama recounted a conversation he had had with his wife, Michelle, while campaigning in rural Iowa. “Sometimes it would be miles between farms, let alone towns,” he said. “And she said, ‘You know, coming back, I can understand why somebody would want a gun for protection. If somebody drove up into the driveway and, Barack, you weren’t home, the sheriff lived miles away, I might want that security.’ ”
That's Barack Obama saying that a legitimate reason to own a gun is for home defense. He could have kept quiet about that, but he didn't. Go check it.
I've been puzzling over this kind of thing for a long time--years--wondering what it is that makes some people so willing to just repeat whatever they hear no matter how senseless it may be. No doubts. No questions. No thought. Just in the ears and out the mouth.
Then it occurred to me last night.
And I at last understand.
I saw some teachers who taught that way. By rote. Tell it to them. Have them repeat it. Mission accomplished!
We used to call it memorize and regurgitate. It doesn't work if you have to teach kids something they can actually use, but it works to help them pass tests--if the tests are written the right way.
"Who said, 'Give me liberty or give me death?'"
"What are the three colors of the American flag?"
"Where was the Constitutional Convention held?"
"When did Lincoln give the Gettysburg address?"
"How did Washington cross the Delaware?"
You see? Who, what, where, when, and how.
But NEVER why.
Why requires understanding.
That's what we are seeing when people just repeat what they've been told. They don't process information; they just store it and repeat it. No thinking about it, no looking into its meaning, no checking its truth; just in and out.
They are the same people you used to see in China, holding Mao's Little Red Book in one hand, marching down the street, and shouting Communist "truths" in unison. They do it because it's all they can do.
It also explains why you'll hear some of the same old stuff when a subject comes up next time. They will have forgotten that it isn't true. They'll just repeat what they've been told.
Words, phrases, maxims, buzwords, rumors, scuttlebutt, chatter, chitchat, watchwords, the dirt, the rumble, the lowdown, the message, or--as they call it at six o'clock....
Getting a little off the subject but a good example I think of people learning things that aren't right. The history of Payson and people that lived here a long time ago has been so screwed up I quit reading most of it.
But it will be the history of Payson from now on because no one will change it.
Example. My husband and I went thru the museum when we moved back here. There was a board with livestock brands burned into it hanging on the wall. One of them belonged to us for 13 yrs. and my husband's grandad owned it for several yrs. back in the 30's.
I very nicely told the people working there that it was wrong. Some man got nasty about it so I went home got 3 pieces of paper showing ownership when we bought it, while we had it and when we sold it. They all had pictures of the brand along with the ear marks we used. The papers came from the brand dept. of Arizona.
Do you think it was changed? HE-- NO ! That was back in 1995. So now it goes down in cattle history of Payson WRONG. It is a L with a backwards F. But someone decided to brand the F going in the right direction.
I have heard from a couple of other ranchers that thier brand on the board is wrong also.
You're the second person who has told me that.
The idea of the livestiock brands being burned into aboard is a nice one. Country. Cowboy. No doubt it looks good. But why not correct it? Why not just add a second board and a small note that the original board had an error on it. How much effort would that take? The error itself becomes part of history.
The important thing about history is that it be correct.
I didn't want to make the original post too long, so I left out something very important for the sake of brevity.
The writer of the original letter claimed that the Second Amendment had nothing to do with the use of a gun for home defense, a very wrong-headed argument being made by the mainstream media at the time. In the light of Supreme Court decisions on that exact point, I knew that any such claim was dead wrong, but didn't want to take up the space needed to prove it. But now that we have more time, here is an article written by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on that exact issue.
The FBI publishes the "FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin," which is intended to keep its agents up to date on critical current issues so that they act accordingly. In January of 2011 the FBI published an article on the Second Amendment. It is too long to quote, so I'll just post the pertinent parts with a couple of comments. You can read the whole article on the FBI site.
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Jan 2011
THE SECOND AMENDMENT
By Michael J. Bulzomi, J.D.*
(*Doctor of Jurisprudence. The special agent who wrote this teaches law at the FBI Academy. He first explains how a lawsuit arose and then tells what the Supreme Court had to say about home defense.)
"Heller, a special police officer in the District of Columbia, was denied a license to register a handgun for self-protection in his home even though he possessed one for his job. Citing the Second Amendment, Heller filed suit in federal district court challenging the city's gun laws. This challenge was rejected and Heller appealed. The D.C. Circuit Court reversed the district court's decision, holding that an individual has a right under the Second Amendment to possess firearms and that the city's gun laws infringed upon that right. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the decision and discussed the extent of the right to bear arms."
"The Court declared that an "inherent right to self-defense" is central to the Second Amendment and that a total ban on an entire class of firearms essentially serving as Americans' first choice for self-defense of "the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute" is an impermissible infringement upon one's right to keep and bear arms."
End of quote.
"...the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute...."
That say a lot doesn't it?
Okay. The next time someone claims that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with home defense you have the answer, taken right from the horse's mouth.
I don't mean to pile on here, but that original letter was so wrong in so many ways that it deserves at least one more informed comment.
The truth is that more often than not a gun, provided it is in the right hands, prevents violence. Here how:
A researcher named John Lott, wondering why so few cases of self-defense were reported by the media, discovered that in general, only shootings ending in fatalities are discussed in news stories. He followed up on that discovery with a study that showed that "national surveys" suggested that "98 percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack."
Loot repeated his survey a second time a few years later, some people chose to doubt his numbers, but even when the worst of the doubters repeated the research and published numbers of their own, their studies showed a value between 70 and 80 percent.
Fine with me. Make it 98% or 75%, if merely showing a gun stops a crime in progress without anyone being injured, I'm not going to argue about numbers.
And one last thought. National statistics show that 93% of burglaries involve unoccupied homes. The reason is obvious.
So, the bottom line? If we take the absolute lowest numbers we have we see that over 200,000 times each year someone uses a gun for self-defense, that merely pointing that gun is effective in--again at the absolute lowest numbers--75% of the time, and that 93% of burglaries occur in houses which are unoccupied and therefore undefended.
Oh, and just one last thing. I'll put up a link so that anyone who is interested can go out and see the numbers for himself.
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