Beyond the Cusp

September 10, 2016

How Could Gun Control Lower Gun Violence?

 

This has been a basic question where conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, gun owners and advocates against gun control advocates have wrestled and neither side has ever found the magic, pardon our word usage, silver bullet to end the violence resulting from criminal firearm usage. Every time there is a dramatic milestone reached as was recently in Chicago where they reached five-hundredth homicide of the year or a dramatic firearms related death toll resulting from firearms usage such as the Orlando club shooting or the string of homicides in San Bernardino for the anti-gun forces to rush to blame the guns even if the real culprit was terrorism as in Orlando and San Bernardino. There is the demand for long waiting periods, deeper background checks, limits on firearm purchases per person per year or any of a number from a plethora of inventive laws which would presumably end criminal purchases of firearms at gun shows, gun stores, private sales or other legal forms of firearms purchases. This begs a simple question, how many criminals are purchasing their firearms legally. Yes, there have been some tragic cases where a person legally purchased the firearms they use all too often in violent mass shootings such as too many school shootings or mass public shootings such as in movie theaters or nightclubs or as vengeance workplace violence or even terrorism. These tragic cases often are the first criminal act of the shooters and they went through all of the existing checks and even if further checks and wait periods were enacted they would have had little if any effect beyond waiting periods causing them to plan longer and delay their shooting sprees but not preventing them. Still, over ninety percent of shootings are committed by people with criminal records who already would be unable to walk into a gun show or gun store and purchase a firearm legally and most of the firearms used in these crimes are often stolen weapons which were bought illegally from nonstandard sources which operate beyond the law. The idea that making legal firearm purchases more time consuming, burdensome and legally tangled with more and more layers of paperwork and legal hurdles does nothing to prevent criminal firearm purchases and the politicians know this and the crime data records prove this. So why if these facts are well known and understood do the politicians continue to call for restrictions on firearm purchases and even have many calling now for the repeal of the Second Amendment and the complete ban of legal firearm ownership despite all evidence pointing to this leading to increased firearm use by criminal elements as they then are assured they will be the only people armed in any criminal incident.

 

There are at least two easily understandable reasons for the politicians calling for more restrictive laws. The most obvious is their receiving funds for making such demands coming from the anti-gun lobbies who will love such legislation and will spend liberally supporting political campaigns for those supportive candidates. Another reason is the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) who also favor more firearm laws as each law, regulation and licensing required by law increases the numbers of government employees required to process and handle the additional forms, research, background checks, license issuing or renewal and any other directives and requirements such legislation demands. These are two of the most active groups a candidate can get behind them in order to finance their campaign. The other reason which looms over the gun debate even more than campaign finances is the general lack of real information and education of the public, especially in most major metropolitan jurisdictions. This is largely due to the complete lack of intimate knowledge, education, training or even the slightest use of a firearm by the majority of the voting public. With a smaller and smaller percentage of the population having served in the military, especially suburban residents, and even less training in firearms in such organization as the Boy Scouts and other youth groups and there no longer having any firearms training in summer camps, the public is generally unfamiliar with firearms and many even developing a symptom bordering on maniacal fear of firearms to the point of hyperventilating at the sight of a gun other than on the belt of a uniformed police officer. Additionally, the use of firearms in entertainment venues such as movies displaying firearms in ways which are wildly inaccurate such as handguns or rifles firing well over one-hundred rounds without ceasing fire for reloading even firing six-shot revolvers twenty or thirty times before changing to another weapon or reloading, has fueled misconceptions of the lethality and practical use of firearms which if applied to swords would have the sword being capable of killing merely by removing it from its scabbard. Another misconception furthered by the entertainment industry is the range at which weapons, particularly handguns, are lethal. With shots being taken with a 9mm or a 45cal semi-automatic handgun at well over a quarter mile, 440 yards or four and a half football fields (pitch) which is a highly dubious range even for a really good marksman, but that is the short end of impossible shots as many a movie aficionado can attest. I have actually seen neighbors shrink away when friends and I would return from the outdoor public range and transport normal handguns and a few hunting rifles from the trunk of the vehicle into the house for cleaning and once had an extremely paranoid neighbor call the police claiming that terrorists were meeting in my place with dozens of guns and other weapons. The police were not all that amused but as two of my friends had Federal Firearms Licenses and one had a Class III Weapons Permit and worked at a gun store, they were forced to allow us to retain our weapons. The neighbor was frantic that we were not taken away in chains and the arsenal confiscated. Ah, reliving the good old days of my misspent youth.

 

Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers

Dianna Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers

 

The truth is that should the anti-gun and anti-weapons fanatics get their way, we will be eating steaks with butter knives if the vegans allow us to continue to eat slabs of cows. This claim is made as there have been calls in the United Kingdom, or at least in London and other cities of the Isles to make knives beyond six inches illegal which would make a number of carving knives and my bread knife illegal and some steak knives I have seen such as the ones at a restaurant in the United States and likely elsewhere called Outback. By our figuring, if these fanatics against weapons of all venues got their way, we would no longer have forks and instead be using sporks with our butter knives. The people who wish to make life so guarded that even the roads are made soft enough that falling will not scrape an elbow or a knee really have lost all sense of excitement and see danger not as a challenge to be overcome but a peril which must be eradicated so even the most inept cannot harm themselves no matter how recklessly they address life’s challenges. Where if they desire to round every corner in their homes and pad every piece of furniture while only using safe utensils such as butter knives and sporks and eat only the most bland fruits and vegetables rushing to the doctor’s office at the first sneeze or cough, let them live such lives but do not force your phobias on the remainder of us who wish to live lives dangerously using real forks and steak knives just to eat an apple because we love the thrill of the hunt. Truth be told, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution was argued in the Federalist Papers as being the last line of defense against and to prevent Government Overreach and assure the Constitutional limits on Government power was in the hands of the people.

 

Safe Knife and Spork of the Future

Safe Knife and Spork of the Future

 

These people who claim that the gun is evil are carrying paranoia to an extreme beyond reason. I am willing to bet any of these people that a fully loaded handgun of any caliber could be placed on my kitchen table and sit there in the open for a full year and nobody I know would pick it up or fear it and it is highly unlikely, to the point of absurdness, that it would ever injure, let alone murder, anybody during that year or any number of additional years. I am willing to bet that they could not produce one person who robbed a convenience store who was claiming the firearm walked up to them, grabbed them by the hand and dragged them to the convenience store forcing them to rob it. Yet these same people would claim it was the gun if that same person had shot the clerk and simply wounded him requiring three stitches and a band aid. The tired old phrase that it is the person who commits the crime and not the firearm is true but there are those who insist on believing otherwise. They will claim that had the criminal not had the gun they would not have committed the crime. Somehow we believe it is more likely that the criminal would easily be able to buy a gun from, wait for it, another criminal if they were without a gun and believed one was needed to commit their crime. They would not go to Joe’s Gun Emporium or the county fair gun pavilion or any other legal means, they would go to a well-known criminal world individual and purchase a gun and for a few dollars more a gun without any serial number as it had been removed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the criminal world will sell you guns made to order for the right price. It probably comes as a shock to the gun control supporters that there exist individuals who actually sell guns illegally and if they desire making it more difficult for criminal elements to use firearms, then the people they need to prevent from selling guns are the criminal elements and not the local gun store. Are there those gun store people who might sell guns under the table? Probably, but they are a rare minority and eventually they will be caught which every gun owner will be glad and hopes such a person is put away for a very long time. Gun owners are responsible citizens and are just as abhorred at criminal gun use as the next person, even the anti-gun lobbyist. Nothing would make gun owners happier than for every gun to be legally owned and never used for a criminal purpose and for not another person to die from gun violence. As far as gun accidental deaths, when you can figure out how to end the fifty-thousand plus vehicle deaths each year on the American highways and streets, then we can worry about the few hundred accidental gun deaths. It is nice to keep things in perspective and every gun death is a tragedy as is every premature death. But please let us remain sane and address the more serious causes of accidental deaths such as swimming pools and bathtubs, honestly folks.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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November 16, 2015

Blood Spilled is the Same Crimson Color Wherever it Flows

 

The Paris attacks were a horrendous and heinous act of barbarity which will be added to the ever lengthening list of civility slaughtered by barbarity. These craven acts will never end until the world of civil nations has determined that enough is enough. The world where law rules over men and life is precious must respond with strength and vigor against the spreading evil. There is an ancient saying which bears acknowledgement during the discourse on this latest act and the thousands that preceded it that goes, “Whatever starts with the Jews never ends with the Jews.” The only difference is simply a matter of time. Examples are found throughout history as is the truth of another even older saying found in Genesis 12:3 states, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse. Through you every family on earth will be blessed.” One is a slanted interpretation of the other and must be taken together which leads to a very strange concept which has proven true even in our day. Read on, it gets clearer, I promise.

 

Those who have assisted Israel, stood with Israel and felt the pains of Israel are blessed as they are acting in a manner that blesses Israel. Those who have threatened Israel, not stood stridently with Israel or have ignored the plights inflicting Israel or are demanding Israel give away that which Hashem has granted to them as their eternal gift and Hashem stated covenant with Abraham where said in Genesis 13:14-16, “After Lot had departed, the LORD said to Abram, ‘Look from the place where you stand to the north, south, east, and west. I will give all the land that you see to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone is able to count the dust of the earth, then your descendants also can be counted.’” The lands which Abraham saw became the lands divided by the twelve tribes as the thirteenth tribe, some might say the first tribe, were the Levites and Cohans who lived amongst all the tribes and kept the Tabernacle and eventually the Temple in Jerusalem. The lands are pictured in the map below and show an Israel reaching from both sides of the Jordan River to the Sea and from the southern deserts to the Litani River in the north. The current borders of the State of Israel under that oft misused phrase often wielded at a weapon against Israel actually is no threat to Israel as ask any neutral legal authority who has studied and practiced International Law what the real current borders are of Israel and their answer would be that technically the Jordan River, the Negev/Sinai border, the border with Gaza, the Mediterranean Sea and the Blue Line with Lebanon. How does this differ from the map below? Well, the Blue Line is considerably short of the Litani River in Lebanon and it is doubtful they would desire to give us between a third to one half of their country. It is even more doubtful that Jordan would decide tomorrow to gift the lands east of the Jordan River containing the Reuben, Gad, Benjamin or East Manasseh. The odd thing is that Israel has no design on these lands and would welcome with simply the lands she liberated in June of 1967 in the Six Day War. As far as the Arabs, those willing to live in peace should remain and live in peace and the rest should be allowed to leave and even be financially assisted. Not so ridiculous, is it?

 

 

Left side map depicts the division of the Promised Land amongst the tribes and right side map compares the modern promised land from the Jordan west to the Mediterranean Sea compared to the maximum of area during King David’s and King Solomon’s reigns.

 

 

Meanwhile we are going to be struck for the next ten days to two weeks with wall to wall coverage of the Paris attacks as things play out and the terrorist perpetrators of this horrific waste of innocent lives and then it will slowly fade like reverberating echoes of a winding rock canyon. Within a half year, as long as no other attacks are perpetrated either in Paris or elsewhere in Europe as the authorities main interest and desire is not so much resolving the situation but rather appearing to have addressed the situation, shown the expected and responsible reactions and give the appearance of proper concern as well as be perceived as taking the proper remedial steps to address the future safety of all the citizens making Paris and other cities, especially in France, safe from such attacks be terror entities, be they Islamic State or Hamas or even forces trained by Iran’s special units of the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps). The quicker that everything can be allowed to return to normal, the faster the political leaders can go back to spending everybody else’s money on their reelection bid through government largess on projects onto which they can place their names or otherwise gain prestige in the electorates’ eyes and minds.

 

Of course the French have nothing which can compare to Israel when it comes to removing all signs of a terror attack in near nothing flat as Israel does with all too much consistent efficiency. Often after a terror assault in Israel every last drop of blood and every other vestige of the attack is cleansed and prepared for any potential end necessary, even if there were a resulting death requiring that the person’s corpse be made as whole as possible and every piece gathered at the scene is readied, identified and treated as required. A group of volunteers started the organization known as ZAKA (Hebrew: זק”א‎, abbreviation for Zihuy Korbanot Ason, Hebrew: זיהוי קרבנות אסון, literally: Disaster Victim Identification) who have since been recognized by the Israeli government. The members of ZAKA are religious, mostly Orthodox Jews, are volunteers doing some of the most difficult work imaginable and they do this extremely difficult and unfortunately all too necessary and potentially gruesome and made even worse as in at least one occasion some ZAKA volunteers have found they knew the victim and found they needed to stop performing their duty and gather their emotions and often decide or are told to take the rest of the duty day off in order to gather their thoughts, get a hold on their emotions, and do all that it takes to recover, though often many actually take their obligation to the deceased and the families of the deceased , injured and witnesses by also removing every sign that there had ever been a terror attack or even the slightest bloodletting as often the scene is cleaner and more, one might say holy, but not so much in any traditional aspect but more in an aesthetic or even spiritual as these members of ZAKA are doing a necessary and difficult service and doing so as volunteers.

 

 

Eiffel Tower Symbol for Peace Restored to All France and the World

Eiffel Tower Symbol for Peace Restored
to All France and the World

 

 

While comparing France and Israel, we would be remiss if we did not also mention the difference in the world’s reactions. As we pointed out earlier, what begins with the Jews never ends there. The Jews were slaves in Egypt and eventually slavery became a black mark in the Western World and partly thanks to the British navy, slave ships soon found themselves out of business and seeking more honorable cargo. This has been proven once more in too many instances as the terror which began in Israel, or actually well before Israel became a nation, there were terror attacks in 1929, 1936 and again in 1939 with these instigated before there was any Israel, before there could have been any occupied lands, before anything except Jews working the land and hoping to establish their state. Had there been no Arab terror attacks on the Jews or against the British, their arrangement, though very unofficial despite certain orders given by British commanders to their troops, then there might not have been a British so ready and almost glad that the United Nations took the Mandate and the forming of the State of Israel out of their hands as such had been nothing but a burden for them. The treatment received from the British almost might make one wish to quote to them their own Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, who wrote Merchant of Venice where the character of the Jewish money-lender, the precursor of a modern bank and one of the few professions left open to Jews as it was uncustomary for Christians to make loans in that period, who made one of the most famous soliloquies which begged the adverse treatment of the Jew and the pleading for the recognition of the Jew as an equal member of society and also given the equal respect any other many, especially a Christian, would receive in the same position. Below is his famous retort to why he deserves justice, and equal justice at that.

SHYLOCK: To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million; laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what’s his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

 

Israeli Flag

Israeli Flag

 

 

We could make a similar pleading before the United Nations or before the European Union which has voted to make certain Jewish products be labeled such as a sign against European citizens purchasing these items. In response to all the United Nations’ inequities and the European Union’s sanctioning Jewish products including some of the world’s most excellent wines, luscious fruits, high technology products and software (including some of the greatest personal computer protection software) and these industries are the largest employers of the Arab Palestinians, the European Union et al, paying them wages which rival the wages paid by the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas to the terrorists imprisoned for their crimes in Israel, Israel has decided that instead of returning the sanctioning of select products, Israel will carry on business as usual. The reason, you ask? Because we are a light unto the nations and will treat others as we wish to be treated. Pretend our ancient lands are not ours. Are we to plead vainly before you? Were that to be of service, it would still demean us. Were we to shrink before our enemies, would that be sufficient to mollify you though you know as do we that our enemies cannot be mollified. When you single us out from amongst the world of nations for condemnations more deserved by others, are we not to decry the injustice. When you feed the hate of those who spread terror throughout our lands and you turn away, would we not be equally staid if we steeled our nerves and ignored your pain. But we did not any of these recourses. When terror licked your shores and sliced coldly through your metropolis we sent assistance and offered our hands to hold and help in your time of need. When you wronged us we cried out as who would not as to not decry such acts would prove us as inhuman as your actions have been inhumane. We have not dealt shame for shame nor have we turned our backs on those who have ignored our pain. When terrorists shoot our citizens, do they not bleed the crimson colored blood just as deep and red as your victims? And, when the blood had all been let, do our victims not die as had yours? Recognize that we are feeling humane beings and that our families cry salted tears as have yours. We also weep for your dead, could you at least not turn from ours? We will never change as you can read in our history that we once warred to take a land to have as our own almost thirty-five-hundred years ago, our known promised land. Since then our wars have been to defend those lands. We are not even demanding the entirety of that ancient lands so well described in the largest selling book on the planet and the stories are told, unlike other religions, with all the warts and pains and errant acts of even our most respected and beloved forefathers. We do not profess to be perfect or that our history has not always been as free of sin as we would have liked, but we still admire those who after their sin dropped to their knees and begged Hashem that they would not again commit that sin and they meant every syllable they uttered whether their acts measured up was for them and Hashem to recon. We claim a land which has stood unproductive for those who would hold it and it waited until we return to give up her fruits, not that it did not take a large and almost unimaginable amount of toil and large endeavors but Hashem smiled on these efforts and we have been rewarded with a land which once again flows with milk and honey. Those words, milk and honey, you probably remember those words and that means you remember Hashem made a covenant with Abraham and all his inherited line through Isaac, Jacob and then Joseph and his conniving brothers who all made their peace and settled their reckoning. We do not want that pound of flesh, we want just the portion which Hashem promised and we know our history, we know what the founders of our homeland said and what they were and the miracle which brought low the walls of Jericho and all else which Hashem blessed our ancestors with. We know of their failings and the exile in Egypt and the miracles when Hashem brought me out from bondage in Egypt and for many years my closing words at every Seder rang out like a clarion bell calling attention to our dream as a people, “Next year in Yerushalayim!” For me that dream has come true, and I live in my land that was promised me by the Covenant of Abraham. I endeavor to ever improve the parts I must hold to as Hashem had allowed me to return to my true home. And here is the strange part; I am more at home here than I ever believed was possible and my joys when I pray each morning at a house of prayer and the Sabbath when I make the effort to go to a synagogue in which I know I am appreciated as an equal despite my slight language problem as I am as far from literate in Hebrew as I am in French, as for my French speaking friends, I could never order fish in a French restaurant as my pronunciation would sound as if I might have ordered poison. My French speaking friends will understand. May we all reach out and make the world right for all to live in peace with dignity, mutual respect, love, tolerance, and most of all, forgiveness with understanding. Je Suis Paris et Je Suis Yisroel!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 21, 2013

Why More Gun Laws Will Not Work

With two shootings on military installations in the news recently, the Major Nidal Malik Hasan trial and the Aaron Alexis shooting at the Navy Yard, some of the glaring deficiencies and misinformation which exist throughout the liberal mainstream media were exposed for all to witness. The worst of the offenders were at CNN where during the Piers Morgan coverage it was reported that the shooter had used an AR-15 shotgun, a firearm that does not exist. The mix-up probably resulted from the erroneous reporting that the shooter Aaron Alexis had used an AR-15 and the fact that he originally began his shooting spree utilizing a shotgun and the liberal mainstream media preoccupation with demonizing the AR-15 as the most evil and dangerous firearm ever produced. In a warped way, the erroneous reporting that an AR-15 was used when none was found at the scene simply served to display for all to see how the news sources have an agenda which they will go to any lengths to make every shooting a case of demonic possession where the presence of a firearm, especially the most demonic AR-15, drove a poor unfortunate over the edge pushing them into a murderous rage. What these two particular shootings have proven is how poorly the authorities, even the military who should be more proficient and knowledgeable, can miss even cases where the perpetrator ends up being somebody who should have set off alarms, warning that they should not be permitted anywhere near a firearm. Major Nidal Malik Hasan had given repeated instances of having taken an interest in Jihad and the Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis had numerous arrests and was disciplined numerous times while in the Naval Reserves. In both cases the authorities who should have easily caught at least some of the warning signs as there were more than enough to tip people off, but in both cases the authorities did not report or even make any records of obvious transgressions which would have prevented either perpetrator to have ever gotten to the point where they performed their murderous rampages. What these two particular shootings proved, as have many shootings over the years, is that had authorities actually done their jobs and made the proper reports when the signs of behavior problems were exhibited, then neither of these two murderous rampages would have gotten to the point where they endangered innocent people.

 

The politicians were quick, especially Ms. Pelosi, to start the call which rings out after every catastrophe for more laws against firearm ownership. The reality in both of these shootings on military installations is that if law enforcement and other public officials had performed their obligations to the public, otherwise known as their jobs, and completed and filed the appropriate paperwork instead of simply deciding that it was not that important and why ruin somebody’s life by making a permanent record, they ended up ruining many people’s lives that were taken or forever traumatically altered as a result of shootings committed by individuals who should never have been allowed to own firearms and had given overt signs that they were headed over the edge into violent rage shooting many innocents. The old adage that if only the authorities enforced the laws then there would be far less firearms violence as there are more than sufficient laws on the books to prevent the majority of shootings is quite true as these shootings prove. The other story line here is that if only we trusted our military personnel when on military grounds to carry their service weapon then such shootings would be ended before the numbers of people murdered mounted to such numbers as in these two cases. If we cannot trust out military personnel to have their service weapon with them while on duty and on military grounds, then who can we trust? A perfect example of allowing military personnel to carry their weapons at least on base being a preventive measure is proven in Israel where the majority of military personnel takes their service weapons with them everywhere, on base and into the public areas and this has proved to be a great deterrent to crime. The real crime of these two particular shootings was that they should have been easily preventable if only laws had been enforced, paperwork completed and filed with the appropriate departments and had the people assigned with doing the appropriate checks had actually taken their obligations to the public by performing their job requirements competently and completely.

 

There is one more item which people are not being informed of and it is simply because it does not serve the story line the press wishes to paint. Where you will likely hear that the number of firearm related deaths are approaching or even surpassing automobile related deaths, you probably missed the report that shows that firearm deaths have been falling on average for the past twenty years. Reporting that truth would not be as forceful to make you fearful of firearms as reporting that traffic deaths and firearm deaths are approaching parity, but the truth is that these statistics are good news for both statistics as vehicular fatalities have also been coming down as well. But as we know, in the news business if it bleeds it leads thus less fatalities is not news so they have to look for anything which they can imply that firearm fatalities are horrendous and a plague beyond your wildest fears. What is the most tragic side of firearm fatalities is where some of the worst statistics in firearm violence and fatalities are also the cities where they have the most stringent laws against firearm ownership and the average citizen can forget about procuring a concealed carry license despite the fact that these cities are the places where such a right is most needed. The shootings which have made the news recently out of Chicago have been newsworthy largely because they are taking place in President Obama’s home town and that supposedly makes these shootings more important than those in your or my town. Still, the deaths in Chicago are shocking and can be used to claim that as Chicago is our President’s hometown we should be ashamed that the gun violence is so rampant. The problem is that the violence in Chicago is actually predictable as it is in Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, and way too many of our large cities which sit in blue states where gun ownership is treated as if it were a criminal offense which results in criminals being the ones with the guns. What the media will not tell you is that in the 1950s often children would bring their 22 rifle to school and place them in the coat room and take them when school let out and go hunt varmints such as squirrel, raccoon, rabbit or such for sport or even for dinner for some families. Of course such would be impossible today yet I would bet there are some who wish that schools still used flashcards to teach math tables and things were more like they were back in the day when spelling counted and you were required to get the correct answer to math problems.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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