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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Assault Weapon Myth

For John, BLUFSometimes you need to dig down to find the cause of the cause.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Instapundit sends us to the blog Bearing Arms, which has a link to an Opinion Piece of the "Week in Review" section of The New York Times.  The writer of the NYT item, Mr Lois Beckett, is a reporter who covers gun violence for ProPublica.  The article is "The Assault Weapon Myth".

The story in the Bearing Arms starts with this short paragraph:

In a stunning op-ed released Friday, the NY Times finally admitted that “assault weapons” are a made-up political term fabricated by anti-gun Democrats.
That may be a bit over the top, but I have to admit that I have thought the definition of "assault weapon" seemed pretty contrived to me.  It is sort of like the distinction between a regular weapon and an automatic weapon or a semi-automatic weapons.

Here is the lede from the story in The Old Gray Lady:

OVER the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition:  The sale of assault weapons should be banned.

That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public.  In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.

But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth:  The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year.  Little handguns do.

So, we were seeing the difference between analysis and theater.

That said, there are thoughtful people out there trying to develop other solutions, such as Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu of New Orleans and Mayor Michael A. Nutter of Philadelphia.  These two are the founders of Cities United, a network of mayors trying to prevent the deaths of young black men.  As Mayor Landrieu says “This is not just a gun issue, this is an unemployment issue, it’s a poverty issue, it’s a family issue, it’s a culture of violence issue.”

The New York Times article ends up:

More than 20 years of research funded by the Justice Department has found that programs to target high-risk people or places, rather than targeting certain kinds of guns, can reduce gun violence.

David M. Kennedy, the director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, argues that the issue of gun violence can seem enormous and intractable without first addressing poverty or drugs. A closer look at the social networks of neighborhoods most afflicted, he says, often shows that only a small number of men drive most of the violence. Identify them and change their behavior, and it’s possible to have an immediate impact.

Working with Professor Kennedy, and building on successes in other cities, New Orleans is now identifying the young men most at risk and intervening to help them get jobs. How well this strategy will work in the long term remains to be seen.

But it’s an approach based on an honest assessment of the real numbers.

Imagine that, "an honest assessment of the real numbers".

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  From Wikipedia we have this description:  "An automatic firearm is a firearm which continuously fires rounds as long as the trigger is pressed and held and there is ammunition in the magazine/chamber.  This is in contrast to a semi-automatic firearm which fires one round with each individual trigger pull. Although both "semi automatic" and "fully automatic" weapons are "automatic" in the technical sense that the firearm automatically cycles between rounds with each trigger pull, the terms "automatic weapon" and "automatic firearm" are conventionally reserved to describe fully automatic firearms.  Confusion can be avoided by this convention."
  I used to be pretty impressed with Mayor Nutter, but then indications of voter fraud emerged in his city and he covered for it, which made me less impressed.  This could change my mind again.

1 comment:

Cindy Krieger said...

My advice to David M. Kennedy is that jobs will not be enough. On the other hand if you teach these men to read, it is like teaching them to fish. Anything short of that is only a bandaid remedy for a terminal illness. The television is the most obvious tool for teaching the indigent poor to read. Most all of them have TVs, and make time to watch.

For what follows my definition of not conscious is the portion of the brain devoted to processing the portion of the environment (not emotion associated) to which the person is not attentive. I define the sub conscious as the corresponding not conscious emotion processing component of the brain.

I believe teaching illiterate adults, and children as well, to read would be easy. Just forcibly enable the English subtitles to appear at the bottom of the TV screen. Over a period of about 6 to 9 months, any English speaking illiterate adult will learn to read, even against their conscious will to do so. This learning is an automatic consequence of the neural network design of the not conscious brain which will not consciously piece it all together as they consciously watch their TV shows. Then in a Eureka moment a short time later they will know they can read. Some call the not conscious the sub conscious, but I choose to distinguish between the two.

Likewise for children who watch Sesame Street, or other children's educational shows, would also learn to read on about a fifth grade reading level because this is the level of the conversation between Ernie and Burt, and representative of the level of conversation in children educational shows.

The HUGE draw back is that if enough kindergarten children enter school reading on a fifth grade reading level the Department of Education would be forced to revamp their entire curriculum from the ground up. I doubt they will do this willingly and it will not take place without a fight.

An aside is that TV broadcasters could hire a bunch of English majors to ensure the English subtitles are grammatically correct and meet the English language spelling conventions which will be needed by these future hopefully employed adults.