Friday, November 23, 2007

The New York Times and the civil right it does not like

The editors of the New York Times are, unusually for them, calling upon the Supreme Court to construe one of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution to give individuals no rights against the government. Hint: It is not the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, or Eighth amendments. You do the rest of the thinking. The most appalling thing about the editorial is its final sentence:

A decision that upends needed gun controls currently in place around the country would imperil the lives of Americans.

There is not a shred of sustainable evidence that this statement is true in any meaningful sense. Literally, of course, it might be: the specific life of some American might be "imperiled" because an otherwise law-abiding person owned a handgun. However, the empirical case for the impact of gun control on lives or crime is so astonishingly thin that the editors are far more guilty of "lying" on this subject than, say, the Bush administration was about WMD in Iraq (to pick a basis for comparison than the editors should understand).


Texas: Dallas Man 'Justified' in Shooting Two Burglars on His Property, Grand Jury Says: "The owner of a West Dallas machine shop will not face charges for shooting and killing two burglars on his property. A Grand Jury determined the actions of James Walton were justified. Walton shot the two men while they were each committing separate burglaries at the shop where he works and lives. He told FOX 4 that he is relieved the ordeal is over. Police responded to at least 42 calls for burglaries and thefts at Walton's place before the shootings."

Florida: Suspect's case closed after owner held him at gunpoint : "An 18-year-old arrested in October for trespassing on another man's property and breaking into his vehicles won't get to press charges against the owner, who held him at gunpoint until lawmen arrived. The teen, Michael Joseph McCreary, had his case closed last week by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office. He had approached deputies on Nov. 14 with his mother to file a complaint for aggravated assault and battery against the owner of the property on Reinke Drive - Victor E. Mikell - for using excessive force in detaining him in an Oct. 28 incident. McCreary said Mikell hit him with the butt of a rifle, held the barrel at his head, drug him into a driveway and threatened to kill him while he waited for law enforcement to arrive. But Mikell told investigators he had "heard shots" coming from the back of his property and went to investigate. That's when he found McCreary and two other men fleeing after allegedly breaking into vehicles and stealing property from Mikell's wooded land. Mikell said he raised his rifle to his shoulder and yelled at McCreary to stop or he would shoot, and McCreary stopped. But he soon became belligerent and acted like he might take off again, Mikell said, so he hit McCreary in the stomach with the butt of the rifle and marched him to the driveway, where he kept him face-down on the ground until lawmen arrived."

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