Monday, July 31, 2006

DC Still Clueless

The WaPo reports that DC residents don't think much of the actions taken as part of the recent "crime emergency" declared by DC Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. Not surprising. The report includes that back in October 2005, two teenagers shot and dumped on Suitland Parkway became the 11th and 12th "young" homicide victims in 13 days, prompting the original declaration. This state of emergency was reiterated and highly publicized after 14 killings in 14 days. Such short durations are not statistically significant, so we can't really say this constitutes an 9% increase in the crime rate, but it's still an increase, at least anecdotally.

The latest action? Put 16-year-olds and their younger compatriots off the streets by 10PM, starting this writing, just about an hour away. Oh yeah, add surveillance cameras and police overtime. It should reduce the number of juvenile deaths, right? Well, maybe...

And what's the excuse the WaPo reports for why juvenile arrests went from 6% in 2005 to 8% in 2006? Boredom.

Bite me.

Boredom isn't the reason; it's the excuse. The real problem is that it has become unfashionable to hold people, regardless of age, accountable for their own actions. When kids are bored, they can choose how to entertain themselves. Stealing cars isn't the only option. Roving neighborhoods in gangs and terrorizing residents isn't either. And, as Clinton proved so wonderfully, neither is turning lights on basketball courts at midnight.

So, whose job is it to hold these kids accountable? Parents. Failing that, schools. Failing that, police.

I will grant you that the DC government education system has failed these kids. That comes back to the parents, also. It's almost impossible for students to hold the education system accountable. The student is powerless in that environment with their grades held hostage should they choose to stand up to a miserable teacher. That is the parents' job. But the parents are either missing in action or clueless. Perhaps they've abandoned their kids. Perhaps the single remaining parent is swamped just keeping food on the table and something akin to a roof overhead. Perhaps they never had a parent stand up for them and don't know it's their job.
Doesn't matter. It's still the parents' job.

Don't get me wrong - the schools need to be responsive and provide quality education. It's not a matter of money, regardless of what the NEA would have you believe. Sure, well-funded education programs have options not available to small budget schools. But this is DC! The civics, history, nature, science, and math centers of the nation are within a Metro ride. It takes planning on the part of the school to bring in these experts or to go to where they are, but it's not expensive. With proper motivation, there is no reason why these kids, instead of being told they can't leave their homes after 10PM, couldn't instead have to be encouraged to go do something besides study, work, or even teach/tutor for a while.

This rant isn't done, but I am. Start ripping it apart and let's see if we can actually find something that might work better than what isn't working now.

Comments? Anyone?

Blog Maintenance

If you have read earlier posts, particularly the debut post, you already know this whole blogger thing is new territory for the author. As a result, mistakes were made. One of those was choosing a goofy name to tag all the posts with as the author. Being tired of having the post line fill the page, I've cut it down. It's still me, I'm still in Beavercreek, you'll still hear my TalkBacks at, but "Mark in Beavercreek at" was just too much of a mouthful. Same guy, new name - NRAMark.

That and a million other items of similar value would fit nicely on the head of a pin...

Friday, July 28, 2006

An Individual Right or a Collective Right?

One of the big arguments between supporters of an individual right to keep and bear arms and those who oppose that right is whether the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the individual or guarantees the rights of states or only for militias. Anti-gunners have argued recently that the opening clause of the amendment, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...", means it is a collective right, not an individual right. In 2004, the Justice Department released a Memorandum Opinion with over 400 footnotes which concludes that "the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and to bear arms." It's a long document, but it's worth the time to read it. And if you don't believe its conclusions, also go back and read all the references. Argue with the logic, if you can, but don't just disagree with it because it guts all the gun grabber's rationales for existence.

The 2005 Firearms Law & Second Amendment Symposium discussed this issue at length, with speakers taking both sides of the issue (or at least attempting to). The video clips are very interesting, even for those of us who aren't lawyers. If you're particularly focused on the first clause of the amendment, be sure to listen to Prof. Nelson Lund, Ph.D. in the first block of speakers on the general topic, Second Amendment, Congress, & The Courts. Listening to the entire conference is a worthy use of your time if you really want to know the facts on this issue, whether it agrees with what you feel or not.

Exposing the UN Gun Ban Fraud

I just found this at JWR - Mallard Fillmore's take on "The United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects" a few weeks ago.:

After the Secretary General's "Who, us? Why, no, we'd never try to take guns from citizens..." opening speech in response to a hundred thousand plus letters and postcards from American citizens, the conference succeeded in accomplishing pretty much nothing. (I'd give you a media link regarding the volume of letters, but - shock - it didn't get much press and what it did get has dropped out of search engines. And besides, the UN shredded the letters anyway.)

Of course with the UN, accomplishing nothing is usually a good thing for freedom in the world.

The full UN version of what happened is linked to the snappy conference title above. The condensed NRA version is certainly more readable.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Phoenix Under Fire

No, I'm not talking about the range fires that have been burning up millions of acres in the dry southwest. This is a much more deadly and unpredictable menace, two serial killers still on the loose. As my mother puts it,
We go on with the serial killers here - two of them. No clue to what is going on but they strike from 10 PM to 4AM. Just awful. People are pretty scared.
This may sound cold, but the killing spree is somewhat of a wakeup call for people in that area. Firearms sales are up. I'd be willing to bet the cops will not find them until they attack the wrong person...the person who is determined not to be a victim, got themselves effective tools of defense, learned how to use them, and carried them with them always. Basically, these whack jobs will eventually attack a person who is ready for them and that will end it with the serial killer DRT -- Dead Right There, taking the eternal dirt nap, assuming room temperature. And the media will do just as happened with the knife attack in Tennessee - misreport the story and leave out that it was a citizen with a concealed weapon who ended the conflict, or invent "facts" regarding how the conflict was ended. (Yes, those fictional accounts have now been corrected and are no longer online...)

Because the moral foundation the country was founded on has been so severely maligned in "society", anyone who goes out anywhere and is not preapared to defend themselves from a violent assault is giving up every hope of returning safely. No, it won't happen every time and probably not for years. But it only takes one time. The lives of good citizens are too valuable to allow them to be snuffed out by a sociopathic mutant. It is time for the rest of us to return to the days of the American Revolution when everyone was armed and expected to be so. Crime was virtually zero. Same is true for the "old west" - although the "meet me at high noon" style gunfight was popularized in Hollywood inventions, the old Dodge City was a safer place to be than today's Washington DC. As Robert A. Heinlein is oft quoted, "An armed society is a polite society...".

It's time we made society polite again.