Thursday, June 12, 2008

Miami Herald: 2nd Amendment is 'Mythical Right'

Post below recycled from Warner Todd Huston, my esteemed co-blogger at STACLU

The Miami (FL) Herald let lose with another propagandistic broadside against the 2nd Amendment on Thursday featuring some more moaning and false statements about how horrible it is for America that the misnamed "assault weapons ban" has lapsed. There is much wringing of hands, waterworks, histrionics and over dramatics by the aptly named Fred Grimm here. In "What's a few dead cops to the gun lobby?" Grimm's final pronouncement is that the 2nd Amendment is a "mythical right" but in between there are many misstatements and out right lies.

Grimm starts out putting on some faux "shock" that a modern "semiautomatic assault rifle" he had the occasion to handle was so light. "The shock was in the weight of the thing. Less than six pounds," Grimm writes. And, what exactly does this mean? A butcher knife weighs less then a pound and can kill, too. What does weight have to do with anything?

Then the scare tactics:
I thought how easy it would be for some kid, some 110-pound wild-dog street punk, to heft an AR-6520 and wield it to hellish effect.

OK, so the gun is not heavy. This makes the gun somehow less than safe? Guess what, Mr. Grimm. Cars weigh in the tons and teenagers kill themselves by the thousands each year with them. In fact, they kill themselves FAR more with cars than they do guns. Yes, thousands die a year, Mr. Grimm, even though cars are really, really heavy.

Shocking, eh?

Then Grimm goes off lamenting that police forces are spending money on "assault rifles" because of the lapse of the so-called "assault weapons ban."
No wonder Fort Lauderdale is spending $82,000 for guns designed to kill enemy soldiers. Police know that since the expiration of the federal assault weapon ban, young criminals have ginned up the arms race.

So, Grimm seems to make the claim that "assault weapons" are suddenly everywhere? Naturally, Grimm doesn't bother to give us any facts and figures to buttress this wild claim. He just states it as fact and moves on. He also makes the absurd claim that small time criminals can easily come up with the "three grand" that he says the street price for one has reached, saying that illegal gun dealers...
...Sell them out of car trunks at twice the price to gangbangers, drug dealers and armed robbers who want to upgrade to cop killers. Sell them to felons. Sell them to kids. Sell them to certifiably crazy people as long as crazy people can ante up a cold three grand.

Nice scare tactics and propaganda. Lacking in truth, but nice propaganda.

Then Grimm makes with what he must think are "facts."
In 2004, Congress allowed the ban on assault weapons to expire. The federal law suffered major loopholes, but it still had the effect of tamping down the firepower cops faced on the streets. Since the ban was jettisoned, police groups like the International Association of Chiefs of Police have lamented that the bad guys have the cops outgunned.

But, there is no evidence whatsoever that this gun ban really did have the "effect of tamping down firepower." Even those in the Senate that support this gun banning law said that the rate of so-called "assault weapons" used in gun crime was only at 3.5 percent of gun crimes before the ban went into effect. And that is using their own numbers which are probably suspect because they are being used for their own propaganda.

Three percent of anything is statistically insignificant. In 1999 a study was done by Jeffery A. Roth and Christopher S. Koper of the National Institute of Justice and paid for by the Clinton Administration. The study of 15 states found that there might have been a 6.7% decline in murder rates where the Federal gun ban "could have" made a difference. But, in the end, even this Clinton paid for study admitted that assault weapons had been used in such a tiny number of crimes before the ban that it wasn't really provable that the assault weapons ban had any significant effect at all. Saying, "it is highly improbable that the assault weapons ban produced an effect this large," the report didn't do much to help Clinton prove the ban worked in 1999 and things have not changed that much since.

It should also be noted that the claims of "cop killer bullets" linked with the word "assault weapon" is meaningless rhetoric. The same, high power, so-called "cop killing" bullets that some military weapons fire can also be fired by some hunting rifles. So, to link these high powered bullets only with "assault weapons" as if only those sorts of weapons can use them is disingenuous to say the least.

Our Grimm one ends his propaganda with some suitably dramatic nonsense.
Congress demonstrated in 2004 how much value was placed on the mythical right of private citizens to own semiautomatic military assault rifles.

How much? More than a few dead cops.

I see. So the Second Amendment is a "mythical right," eh? Sorry, but the Founders just don't agree with you, Mr. Grimm.

Maryland Dry Cleaner Owner Shoots Robber: "Dennis Edwards reports a would-be robber, armed with a knife, demands money from the owner of a Charles Village cleaner... It appears this is a case of a store owner turning the tables on the robber who tried to take away his hard-earned money. Right around 1:45 p.m., a man armed with a knife enters a dry cleaning shop at St. Paul and 32nd Street demanding money. The store owner pulls out a gun and shoots the suspect several times. The injured suspect was taken to the hospital, and arrested, and he'll survive. Police say the store owner was shaken but not hurt. Police say there will be a full investigation to determine if this was justified use of force on the part of the store owner, but right now he's not being charged with any crimes.

Oregon Man shoots and kills stray pitbull: "A man who shot and killed a vicious dog on a neighborhood street will not face charges because he acted in self-defense. Neighbors say the man followed in a car after seeing two dogs, a pit bull and a doberman, stalking the neighborhood and attack a cat. He got out of the car when he saw the dogs attack another cat. The pit bull turned on the man, at which point he fired two shots and killed the dog. The cat was taken to a veterinarian, but its injuries were too severe and had to be put down. Both dogs were licensed. The owner of the second dog came and took his dog when contacted by LCAS, Howard said.

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