The Socialist Republic of New York State hates guns. We know that, right?
Well, these serial rights violators have a law on handguns that requires you to get a permit in the city which you’re applying, to even own a handgun, nevertheless carry it around with you (carrying being a separate permit).
We’re not addressing the “carry” issue with this suit. This is about possessing one. The issue at hand, is that the petitioners wanted to take their gun to either a gun range, or their other home, outside of New York City, the city in which they have a permit. But doing so, is a violation of the restrictions of New York City’s own stupid fucking law. To be clear, they weren’t talking about carrying a loaded gun, they’re talking about transporting it, unloaded, in the trunk maybe, where they don’t have access to it.
Seeing that this is the biggest 2A violation that ever violated, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA) took the State of New York to court, and lost years back. They lost mostly because they were still in the state of New York, where they don’t give a fuck about your 2A rights.
The New York court argued it’s a mild burden at best, and therefore not a violation of said rights. Because not being able to take your gun to go practice with it, or even take it to your 2nd home, is “no big deal.” New York is seriously a joke, y’all. Like can’t we just send the Coast Guard in and wipe that whole New York government out?
Anyway, once NYSRPA were granted certiori by SCOTUS (that means SCOTUS agreed to hear their case), the city of New York knew they were fucked since the left-wing minded justices are in the minority, and backed off on the prohibition of taking it to a range outside NYC or to a second home. You might think they did this because they knew they were wrong, and were trying to right their wrong, but fuck no they weren’t.
Instead, they were attempting to “moot” the case with SCOTUS, meaning they were hoping it would make it irrelevant, and therefore SCOTUS would drop it. If SCOTUS dropped it, it meant their law would be unmolested to their liking as much as possible. But these fucking weasels in NYC amended that provision after certiori was granted, to allow for “continuous and uninterrupted travel” to such things.
Meaning, you had to go straight to the range, and straight home. Don’t stop to piss, get a coffee, or say hi to your mom. They acted like they’d consider such “reasonable and necessary” (their words) stops to be OK, but the fucking law isn’t written that way. So NYSRPA was like, “Fuck you fucking weasel assholes, you didn’t moot shit. You fucking made a weasely provision like the fucking weasels you are.
So now we’re at SCOTUS trying to determine if this bullshit law will stand or not.
Sadly, the majority decided to punt it, and render the case moot, since these new provisions were not part of the original suit, and the components that were, were indeed rendered moot.
Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch (as well as Kavanaugh who rode the fence like it was a horse) disagreed with punting it, and felt a decision should have been handed down, because those commie pricks in New York are not honoring the Heller decision outside the home, when they believe it does in fact protect your rights outside the home as well as inside it.
My own personal opinion: May NYC legislators choke on a big old bag of dicks.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. ~ 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.
Nothing seems to evoke more passion from either side of the political aisle than the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution. People on the Individual-Right side of the fence often cite the “shall not be infringed” clause, but those who wish to limit or eliminate the individual right to bear arms often cite the “well-regulated militia” clause.
The anti-individual-right argument being that the framers meant for Americans to be able to form militias to protect the people or the country, and those militias would need to be armed. This sentiment has been echoed by such noteworthy Civil Rights leaders as former ACLU head and mathematics professor Ira Glasser, which he discussed at length during the March 2nd, 2018 Comedy Cellar podcast. (click to listen)
Side Note: Don’t be fooled that the podcast is from the Comedy Cellar. Owner Noam Dworman is quite fond of discussing politics, and is incredibly thoughtful, fair, and insightful on the subject.
Oddly, the person who got it right (IMO), contradicting Ira Glasser, was Noam’s co-host, comedian Dan Naturman, who often describes himself as left-leaning. Dan does possess a law degree from Fordham University, and Noam studied law at the University of Pennsylvania, making them the only people trained in law involved in the discussion, not Glasser.
While Noam Dworman tends to seem centerist, he understandably felt the need to defer to Glasser’s judgement, since his work with the ACLU would seem to assert Glasser would be the more knowledgeable person in the room—but on this issue, he just wasn’t.
The argument the anti-individual-right group presents seems pretty sound on the face of it, but there are several flaws with this line of thinking, making it unarguably incorrect.
But let’s break down the flaws of these arguments one by one.
The first issue is that it is entirely contradictory with the rest of the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights was drafted, not as a set of laws for the people to heed, but instead, limits set on government as to how government may restrict the people’s individual rights.
The Bill of Rights Institute writes:
The first 10 amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. James Madison wrote the amendments, which list specific prohibitions on governmental power, in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties.
So if the 2nd Amendment was drafted to allow the establishment of militias, and was not meant as an individual right, it would be inconsistent with the other nine amendments.
Our founding fathers believed you have inalienable rights by virtue of existing, and they cannot be taken from you. They don’t come from government at all—the founders of our country were very clear on that when they wrote the Declaration of Independence.
The Bill of Rights places limits on what government may do, not establishes the formation of government entities. Those things are laid out in the first portion of the Constitution. But it also is written with the intention that the power comes from the people, not government.
For instance, our first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” versus something like “You are free to practice any religion of your choosing.”
This pattern is consistent throughout the Bill Of Rights, and while most see both those phrases as essentially the same, there’s an incredibly important distinction. As the Bill of Rights are written, the people have the power and are imposing a limit on the government’s ability to limit their religious freedom. In the second theoretical example, it implies government has the power and is granting religious rights to the people.
So now that we understand the Bill of Rights (it’s in the name, for Pete’s sake) establishes rights of the people, not of government, and thus contradicts the idea that the 2nd amendment was meant to help local militias to form, let’s move on to issue #2.
THE MEANING OF THE WORD MILITIA
The meaning behind the word “militia” in the second amendment.
If we assume the term “militia” refers to local military and police, which are government entities after all; the people arguing the 2nd amendment was set up to allow local governments to establish militias comprised of the people believe our forefathers wrote an amendment that says that government cannot infringe on government’s rights to bear arms. This is not only inconsistent to the rest of the Bill of Rights, which guarantee individual rights, but its redundancy is nonsensical. If government cannot infringe on government’s rights to carry guns, then there would be no reason to even mention it in the first place.
The militia clause does refer to government, but not just local governments, it means any government. It wasn’t a right of the militia, it was a limit on it. This will make more sense as we move on to the next issues.
THE MEANING OF THE WORD REGULATED
The third important issue people get wrong with this, is believing “well-regulated” is synonymous with “well-organized.”
The last issue with the anti-individual-right argument is what it argues is being protected. The incorrect argument is that it’s protecting a country (state) which is free. But the reality is it is protecting freedom itself, ensuring the state remain free. You’d have to deny nearly all of America’s founding history to believe that freedom wasn’t at the core of everything the founding fathers did. Freedom was always more important in their minds. Far more important than the state.
ANOTHER WAY TO WRITE IT
With all that in mind, let me reword the amendment in the way it was intended using language that is maybe more understandable in today’s vernacular.
In order for the people of the United States to remain free, the militia shall be kept under control by the people of the United States who have the right to keep and bear arms.
This is precisely how the amendment was intended, and the only interpretation of it which cannot be easily challenged.
They knew government will always be prone to becoming bloated and oppressive. And while a government can pass a million laws, those laws have no teeth if there is no militia to enforce them. So in order to keep that government, specifically its enforcement wing (the militia) well-regulated, the people should be armed as well. This way, the government (and militia) always have some level of fear from the people. It’s the only reason to use the word “regulated” that makes sense.
This opinion, being current precedent, effectively settles the argument for now.
IS THIS IDEA OF THE GOVERNMENT FEARING THE PEOPLE EVEN REALISTIC NOW?
Since the United States Military is infinitely more powerful than its armed citizens, many argue the point becomes moot, since we “the people” couldn’t possibly fight them. Which in a narrow scope might seem accurate, but again, if you apply a little skepticism, it isn’t.
So why do gun control advocates believe this is what the 2nd amendment implies? It’s likely a simple case of confirmation bias—a phenomenon whereby someone attempting to prove something they hope to be true/false, eschew interpretations that conflict with their bias and/or accept suspect data that supports their bias, due to an inner desire to substantiate their argument.
We are all prone to do this, and with the exception of devout skeptics like myself, we’ll rarely even know we’re doing it, nor act to correct it.
Their lives were forever changed because of gun violence, so it’s quite reasonable to assume they would advocate limiting our right to bear arms. And when people have been forever affected by senseless gun violence, it behooves all of us to respect their trepidation in respect to lax gun laws. We haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.
But apologies to those who wish to limit our rights to bear arms, and believe the “militia” clause supports your argument. If you want to argue against gun rights, using the “militia” argument, it just isn’t consistent with the rest of the Constitution, and you’re unfortunately misinterpreting the clause.
On this episode, my best friend Mike (a non-active duty Marine) speak with Wade and Byrne from Sci-Gasm about guns, gun culture, and why we love them so much here in the US. But it’s really a conversation on how to discuss controversial topics like gun laws as well.
Gun laws are a pretty sensitive subject in America, regardless of which side of the issue you’re on. But it shouldn’t be.
Indeed they are our constitutional right, and I support that right whole-heartedly. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be fair, and debate respectfully on the subject with those who may hold a different view. After this last election, I hope we can all agree civility in political discourse has a lot of room for improvement.
People who argue with logic and reason, are far more likely to encourage more to side with them than people who insult, lie, yell, and behave anything but adult-like.
So with that being said, let’s break down a few of the common myths often bandied about regarding guns.
MYTH #1: They’re trying to take our guns
Any time Democrats propose new gun legislation, Republicans immediately go on the defensive and rile up the base by insinuating their opponents are trying to entirely disarm the populace.
But the base is already on their side, there’s no need to get them riled up. Not to mention, it’s entirely dishonest, and most who do it already know that.
Not a single law was proposed in recent history to remove all guns from private citizens, nor did anyone propose repealing the second amendment. If you feel the need to lie about your opponent’s argument to defeat them, think about what that says about you. It says you’re incapable of winning your argument on its merits. When you do this, you’ve already lost the moral and logical high-ground.
The effort should be focused not on the straw man argument that “they’re trying to take our guns,” but instead on the specific regulation being proposed.
This less than favorable opinion is often due to the constant infighting between the two parties, that is largely full of myths, hyperbole, misdirection, and occasionally bold-faced lies. Neither come off looking like professionals, or even reasonable people.
So the party that strives to be amenable to finding common ground, and deemed as the most civil and honest will win this fight.
The Republicans owned Congress at the time, so a 17% approval rating should be a clear message they’re missing their mark.
Most Democrat-proposed ideas are around more stringent background checks, or limiting certain types of weapons, the latter of which, I think is misguided, but I’ll save that for another time.
Both parties agree that guns shouldn’t be in the hands of violent felons, or those with a diagnosed mental disorder.
But the problem for Republicans often arrives when Democrats propose what might be reasonable background checks, the bill is only one page of such reasonable checks Republicans might be open to agreeing to, but then a myriad of other pages of pork-like special favors for their district or other provisions that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
Republicans are just as guilty of doing the same on other issues, so no one party is innocent of this. But if both just stuck to passing simple single-item bills on the issues where they agree, they’d be far more effective and win over the American people.
The best tactic for Republicans would be to first loudly proclaim that they’re willing to look at effective background check legislation and pass the background check attributes both agree on. Propose counter legislation that includes those, and only those, and let the Democrats justify why they won’t vote for it.
Show that you’re willing to find common ground publicly, and emphatically, leaving the Democrats looking like the only ones not willing to work towards progress. If Democrats argue, “these provisions don’t go far enough,” Republicans can simply put it back on them by saying, “This is what we already agree on. So let’s pass this first, and if it doesn’t help, we can discuss further measures later.”
Myth #2: The Gun Show Exemption for Background Checks
Democrats often cite the gun show exemption to background checks as a big problem, and frankly, they’re partly right, even if they’re disingenuous in their presentation of the issue.
The fact is that gun dealers at gun shows do in-fact do background checks. However, if you’re a private person who has a .22 caliber pistol for instance, and you’d like to upgrade to a 9mm pistol, you can take it to the show with you, and if some other private person like you who’s there (not a dealer or vendor) has a 9mm but wants a .22, then you can legally make a private citizen trade. This is just like you would do if your neighbor decided they wanted to sell or trade with you, it just happens on the premises of a gun show.
Instead of just shooting down every idea Democrats have, Republicans could admit that maybe there are things that could be done, that aren’t an undue burden on law abiding citizens, to help clean up this “loophole.”
It could be something as simple as having people fill out a background check upon entering the show, if they’re considering buying or trading, and let them shop to their heart’s content from there. If they don’t pass the test, there’s really no reason for them to enter the premises of a gun show in the first place.
While I’m not saying that’s the answer, things like that can certainly be deemed a reasonable measure to prevent guns getting into the wrong hands, and are at least worth discussing in earnest.
As this image from the CDC document found here shows, in 2014, there were 2,626,418 deaths in the United States that year, making 33,000 just above 1.2% of the reasons for death attributable to guns.
By comparison, more than double died from diabetes, nearly three times as many from Alzheimer’s (which took my father last month), and nearly twenty times more died from heart disease.
As the 538 article also shows, nearly two-thirds of those gun deaths were suicides, and a small percentage were self defense, or police shootings of criminal suspects.
While I think we all agree suicides are tragic, as a libertarian, I believe that you own your own body, and have the right to end it whenever you like.
My own grandfather was quite ill when he shot himself, and having already lost my grandmother years earlier, he didn’t want to burn through what little he had saved for his kids by chasing a terminal disease. While you may not agree with it, that was his choice and you should respect it.
But no matter what side of suicide you are on, it cannot be fairly called an act of violence, nor the fault of a gun. So those acts should not be considered when discussing gun violence, and I think those with an anti-gun position should be fair when presenting such arguments, no not cite 33,000 number, but instead, the 10,000 or so that were potential murders or manslaughter, versus suicides and justifiable homicides.
All that being said, 10,000 wrongful deaths is still a large number of people, and is incredibly tragic. It is a small percentage, but certainly statistically significant, and Democrats have fair cause to want to do something to lessen that number. Even if we disagree on their proposed methodology, their altruistic intentions should be evident and respected.
These are three of many arguments from both sides that are the first that came to mind to me. But I’m sure you can think of many more.
The bottom line is that Democrats should know most Republicans don’t want to put guns in the hands of bad people. They just don’t want law-abiding citizens to have their rights violated and disagree on how to go about preventing it.
Republicans should know that most Democrats don’t want to disarm America, they want to prevent wrongful deaths, and they think less guns will achieve said goal.
Until both parties in congress, and the party-faithful voters who make their voices heard on social media learn to understand, then be understood, these immature and dishonest tactics will continue to ensure that America doesn’t advance in any meaningful and constructive way.
We’re all smart enough to know better, it’s time we acted like it.
Unless you avoid the news at all costs, you’re fully aware of the shootings by police, killing two black citizens, Alton Sterling and Philano Castile, both under highly questionable circumstances.
Then Army reservist/Afghan war veteran Micah Xavier Johnson, so enraged by such shootings, murdered several police officers in Dallas in retaliation.
There can be no doubt, that tensions between the governed and the government are at levels that are bordering the animosity that triggered us to war for independence against Great Britain 240 years ago. But how did we get here, and how do we get out?
Facts versus Headlines
It’s fair to say that the media push narratives that get ratings. But while according to the FBI in 2014, most black and white people are killed by people of their own race—89% for the black community, and 82% for the white, they often push a narrative that a young black man is more likely to be killed by a white cop.
The FBI didn’t break them down by race, but even if they were all white cops shooting black victims, which they certainly aren’t, that’s still four times less than the 2,205 black-on-black murders in the same year, or the 2,488 white-on-white murders.
Let’s be clear about that statistic, though. It has little to do with living in violent communities, a narrative that is often asserted. The first clue is that white-on-white murders are very similar.
It actually has to do with people being four times as likely to be killed by someone they simply knew.
See this table from the FBI, also in 2014, which shows that 43% of the time people were killed by an acquaintance or family, compared to 11.5% by strangers. The rest are unknown, but since the dataset is somewhat large, we should reasonably assume that nearly 4:1 ratio would be true for the unknowns as well.
The Attitude Adjustment
We need to change the way we interact with each other.
The police were hired to protect our rights. If one pulls you over or otherwise interacts with you, remember that this person is potentially willing to die for you—treat them accordingly. A little compassion for police who do such a dangerous job would go a long way to improve the exchange you have with that officer.
But as always, it takes two to tango.
Police are trained to fear the worst and prepare for it in each interaction they have with the public. The most innocent traffic stop could be their last.
But preparing for the worst doesn’t excuse assuming the worst, nor treating them as if they’re the worst. If police want people to respect them, they must first show citizens the same respect they expect from them. If an officer didn’t specifically witness a citizen harming someone, they are innocent until proven guilty—it’s an officer’s duty to act accordingly.
Blame Legislators Versus The Police Where Appropriate
Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat (libertarians already generally know this), when you try to socially engineer society by passing victimless crimes, you cause police to have to enforce those crimes—requiring more police.
This puts both police and citizens in harm’s way; increasing the odds of violent interactions between the two parties.
Drugs, prostitution, blue laws, and other such victimless legislation which protect no one—yet risk many, are a huge part of the problem.
If you support passing a law, then you must be comfortable with the notion of putting a gun to the offender’s head and killing them yourself if they violate it. If you’re uncomfortable with this thought, then it’s pure hypocrisy to put police in the situation where they may have to do so in your name.
For instance, if your neighbor were smoking marijuana, would you walk next door, put a gun to their head and tell them to stop or you’ll kill them? Of course not. But if that same neighbor were raping a child, I suspect you’d feel quite differently. This is bad legislation versus good in a nutshell.
If we want to reduce senseless violence, we must first elect someone looking to undo all the senseless laws we’ve passed which trigger senseless violence. Then be sure they don’t pass new ones going forward.
Respect the Constitution
I’m in a state where concealed carry requires a permit. So this means I open carry when walking my dog at night, because I haven’t taken the course and applied for that license. I carry in case I get accosted by a miscreant. In so doing, I often worry I might get accosted by the police.
The current scenario is that if a busy-body citizen calls police to report me walking down the street carrying a gun, the police must investigate. They do this because we’ve allowed a litigious culture where police can be held liable for not investigating.
What should happen however is that the police should respond to the caller with, “Carrying a gun is every American’s right. Does he/she appear to be committing a crime? If not, there’s nothing for us to investigate.”
This may seem wrong at first, but the police would do this if you reported someone just driving a car down the street. Driving a car and carrying a gun are both perfectly legal actions that have an intrinsic danger if done so irresponsibly or maliciously. So while at first it may seem like a horrid analogy, they are almost exactly the same.
The reason it feels wrong is simple conditioning by anti-gun people who deem gun carriers as a threat, despite the fact everyone is a threat in some way, and gun carriers aren’t any more likely to harm someone. Most are responsible citizens exercising their 2nd amendment rights just as all of us exercise our 1st.
We then need to pass serious tort reform to preventing civil action against police who don’t investigate someone carrying a gun, on the off chance that person actually harms someone.
Better Community Outreach via Police Training
This proposal is a bit novel and controversial, and I admit it may have unintended consequences. But I like blue skies thinking, so I’ll propose it anyway just to get some creative juices flowing.
Much like we have food stamps to help the needy eat, I think police could use confiscated weapons that are normally destroyed, and start a program with impoverished citizens in bad neighborhoods to protect themselves by donating these weapons and giving classes on how to use them properly.
Of course those citizens would be screened properly for criminal backgrounds like they would for a gun purchase. And yes, it is possible one of those guns may be used in a crime later. But it’s also highly possible that those guns may save many lives of people too poor to buy one themselves, yet absolutely may need one as a result of living in a high crime area.
If every good citizen were armed, and prepared to defend themselves against a would-be criminal, we’d have a lot less would-be criminals.
Criminal prey on the weak, but it’s hard to call anyone packing heat, weak. Guns are the greatest equalizer mankind has every invented, turning a feeble grandmother into a Chuck Norris level threat.
Police Need To Eschew The Brotherhood Mentality
Being a Corvette owner, we tend to recognize each other—so much so, that nearly all of us wave at another Corvette owner driving past. Motorcyclists do this too. If you were from Boston, visiting California, and overhear the person next to you say he just “Pahked the Cah,” you’ll almost certainly strike up a conversation with him.
This is because people are hard-wired to bond with those they share commonalities with—it strengthens societal bonds. The easiest way to do this, is to bond over a unique common interest or trait. I say “unique,” because if you were both in Boston, you’d pay the same person no attention whatsoever.
Police know that their work is dangerous, so they form strong bonds among one another so they can be confident they’d have the other’s back, even if they don’t personally know each other—it’s a very natural phenomenon.
But they should be taught that this is a natural emotion, and that they should avoid following it blindly. Much like the placebo effect, while it’s natural, it can do far more harm than good if all skepticism is eschewed.
This data shows that police are just as likely to commit criminal acts as the general public.
At first, you might think this seems odd, but the police are regular people, not superheroes.
We often hear stories of good Samaritans doing wonderful things. So being a good person isn’t unique to police, nor is being a criminal unique to the general public either.
The reason I say they need to eschew the brotherhood mentality is that police often defend other police who have clearly done unconscionable things.
While at first, a police officer might think defending their “brothers” is the honorable thing to do, but it’s absolutely not in their best interests.
When an officer commits a crime, they violate their sworn oath to uphold the law of the land, dishonoring their noble profession. But it also creates animosity with the public who feel as though police can operate above the law without repercussion.
This hatred and distrust often leads enraged citizens to act violently towards the police, because they feel it the only way justice will be served—putting good cops needlessly at risk, as evidenced by the aforementioned Micah Johnson.
Instead, if an officer is arrested or put on probation for a potential felonious act, police should distance themselves from that person entirely, and make it clear that if the person is found guilty, that person is no “brother” of mine.
They should also be quick to report any criminal acts among their ranks, and clean their own house unmercifully. They will never get the trust and respect of disenfranchised citizens otherwise.
And let’s be honest, if you are a police officer, are you really OK with one of your own committing a murder or unprovoked assault?
Drew Peterson should serve as a shining example of the harm that can come from this blind loyalty. His fellow officers failed to properly address allegations of abuse against Drew when his then wife Stacy Peterson reported him a multitude of times for serious domestic abuse.
It is almost certain that had his fellow officers taken Stacy’s complaints seriously, and treated Drew like any other violently abusive husband—investigating Drew in earnest, Stacy could very well be alive today, with Drew safely in jail where he belonged.
By all means, police should have each other’s backs, but never at the expense of what is right. A criminal is a criminal, whether they wear a badge or a wife-beater, they should be treated with the same prosecutorial mindset.
I could write an entirely separate post on the tactics police unions use to protect police in ways that harm the general public, and destroy the public’s trust in them. They should merely assign the accused a lawyer, and refrain from professing the person’s innocence or any other public statements until that officer is cleared of any wrongdoing.
But once convicted, their sentences should be as harsh as what would be applied to the general public (in my opinion harsher, since they swore to uphold those laws). The slap on the wrist sentence for an offense that would land us regular citizens in jail is surely one of the largest factors in eroding the relationship between the governed and the government.
Recently, a friend of mine posted a meme from the Prepare to Take America Back Facebook page about a gun dealer who has bacon in his shop, and if a prospective gun buyer intends on buying a firearm from him, you have to eat the bacon. The purpose of course, is to prevent Muslims from buying guns.
A lengthy discussion ensued, so I felt this was a good opportunity to promote skepticism over ideology and point out the flaws in the arguments by analyzing both sides.
The Actions of the Dedicated
If someone is so delusional as to want to murder a number of people at will for their god, it stands to reason they are not subscribing to a rational mindset. They are highly dedicated to an end result, and nothing other than a good person with a gun is likely to stop them. So I’m pretty sure if they’re motivated enough to murder, they could easily justify eating a piece of delicious bacon for the cause. It is likely only rational non-violent Muslims would be restricted from buying guns in this manner.
I should also point out that many gun owners have come out against No-Fly-List restrictions on gun purchases because a few innocent people end up on that list. So preventing law-abiding Muslims from buying a gun just because of the actions of a few violent ones seems rather hypocritical.
While the numbers might be slightly different, you could replace the term “Gun Owners” with “Muslims” and make the exact same argument.
Like gun owners, most Muslims are indeed non-violent. So for gun owners fighting for gun rights by pointing to the above statistics to be ideologically consistent, they shouldn’t be promoting anti-Muslim views either.
The Constitutional Argument
The bacon scheme, while clever, many argue is a violation of the 1st amendment that seeks to prevent religious discrimination. But if we look at the verbiage of the first Amendment, it should be obvious it’s not an issue.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The first five words are, “Congress shall make no law.” As this is a private business owner, he’s not congress. The first amendment restricts government and protects him, not the other way around.
Aside from the Constitutional issue, the government may not discriminate because we all pay our taxes to it and it governs all of us equally, therefore we deserve equal protection under the law.
But whether it be the KKK, Black Panthers, Westboro Baptist Church, a Christian bakery owner not wanting to make a cake for a gay wedding, or this gun shop proprietor, in a free country, while government may never discriminate, they should never have the power to dictate who you are kind to or do business with. Let the free market sort it out.
The conversation that ensued on this meme was after a mutual friend commented “94% of terrorist attacks in America are committed by non-Muslims, look it up.”
Global research sounds mighty official, but then they cited a graph they stated came from Princeton University’s Loonwatch. Princeton university, being a prestigious institution, should lend some credibility as well. But there’s only one problem—Loonwatch’s “About” page only cites Princeton as the source of the definition of the word Loon from Princeton’s WordNet® 3.0. They may have attended Princeton (they don’t say), but there’s no indication this info is from Princeton University in any official capacity.
Since Loonwatch didn’t compile the data, this makes Global Research’s citation of Loonwatch irrelevant.
As you read the about page, it becomes clear, Loonwatch are opinion bloggers just like me, with no intrinsic credibility that comes from being a well-respected institution or peer-reviewed publication.
Opinion writers only get credibility by citing credible sources, as we don’t compile any of the data ourselves, we merely interpret it. But the genetic logical fallacy requires that we not dismiss their opinion, even if they’re not necessarily a credible source, so we’ll soldier on.
Loonwatch made a graph based on this FBI.gov data, which is a credible citation and to be commended. The thing that differentiates me from Loonwatch is that I won’t be pushing a particular narrative. I will present multiple ways to construe the data so no context is missing. Loonwatch failed to do this, and thus why I’d argue my post is more fair in its analysis.
Loonwatch did little to show how they came to their conclusion. The FBI study, cites individual attacks and who was deemed responsible for them, but did not in any way segregate them into the convenient categories Loonwatch used on their graph, so I can only guess that maybe Loonwatch researched each group deemed responsible individually, and categorized them by categories of Loonwatch’s choosing. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s important that Loonwatch at least explain their methodology, which they didn’t.
So don’t take anything Loonwatch or I say to the bank. Look at the FBI Data provided, and come to your own conclusions. I just hope to promote critical thinking.
The problems with the 94% statistic are numerous.
The first flaw is that it breaks the groups up into categories that aren’t mutually exclusive. For instance, you could have Latino Communists, so what group do they fall in on the above chart, Latinos or Communists? And wouldn’t Communists be considered an Extreme Left-Wing Group as well?
Second, the caption they have for the graph reads as follows:
Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, From 1980 to 2005, According to FBI Database
But Loonwatch’s groups are not how the FBI classified them. The FBI classified them by name, such as Al Qaeda, versus grouping them as Muslims like Loonwatch did, making the caption dishonest as they aren’t the groups “according to” the FBI as the caption states. That doesn’t mean Loonwatch’s interpretation of the data is inaccurate, but when people make false assertions like that, it talks negatively to their credibility, as they’re either being dishonest or sloppy in their work.
Thirdly: It counts each attack as one incident out of 316, no matter how many were killed or injured in that incident including many that resulted in no death or injury at all.
Loonwatch headed their post by saying, “Terrorism Is a Real Threat … But the Threat to the U.S. from Muslim Terrorists Has Been Exaggerated.” As such, including incidents which resulted in no human harm, is certainly a bit misleading. The FBI was simply tracking terror attack numbers, but Loonwatch used that data to argue threats to the U.S., which aren’t quite the same thing. The non-injurious attacks may or may not have been intended to harm anyone (a threat), but only scare people into compliance (terrorism). It’s entirely possible those attackers purposefully sought to avoid being a threat to life and limb by bombing unoccupied property, effectively making them non-threats.
Analyzing the data myself
First, let’s eliminate the aforementioned incidents that resulted in no harm to anyone and we’re left with 44 attacks versus 316 to analyze. I’m eliminating these because the narrative is about who is a threat to Americans, so incidents which resulted in no harm should be irrelevant. I researched every group responsible individually to categorize them myself and determine which were Muslim and not.
Muslims committed 6 of those 44 attacks, or 14%. This is more than double the 6% Loonwatch presented, using their same metric. But, it still supports their underlying argument that non-Muslims committed more attacks than Muslims, by far.
After I had done that, instead of treating each incident as if they’re the same, I’m going to categorize them by how many were killed at the hands of terrorists, which is more relevant to the narrative of the threats to Americans.
Of 3,178 terrorist murders, Muslims committed 2,982 of them (94%), which is ironically (and completely coincidentally) the same percentage, yet polar opposite, of the narrative Loonwatch portrayed. There were approximately 13,048 Muslim-committed injuries out of a 14,017, (93%) as well.
Now that may seem like I’ve refuted Loonwatch’s argument since that’s a 188% swing, but I haven’t. I’ve merely presented the same data in a different light.
To be fair, I will also point out that almost all of them are from the September 11th attacks. So one incident of 44 is severely skewing the data. But nonetheless, while Muslims don’t account for most of the incidents, by a landslide they account for the most deaths.
Using the same data Loonwatch did, I could make that argument, leave out the context I gave you, and give a conversely biased opinion to Loonwatch. It’s a lesson in how people leave out info without lying to lead you into a false impression.
What’s This Puerto Rico Stuff?
While we’re on the subject of skewing the data, I could eliminate the events in Puerto Rico as well.
While Puerto Rico is a U.S. Property, I think if you asked both Americans and/or Puerto Ricans whether they consider Puerto Ricans to be Americans, most would say no. They’re not a state, plus they’re not even allowed to vote in U.S. general elections. Again, the narrative was whether Americans are mostly under threat from Muslims, so adding Puerto Ricans to the list is a bit misleading to that narrative for most Americans
Eliminating non-injurious and now Puerto Rico attacks, I have 35 remaining incidents, of which Muslims were responsible for 6, or 17%, which still supports Loonwatch’s claim that non-muslims are responsible for more attacks.
We can agree to disagree on whether Puerto Rico should be excluded from this list or not, but at least I’m telling you I’m doing it, so you can make up your own mind.
Where’s the Current Data?
The FBI Crime Data table cited was 1980-2005. This is data that ended early in Bush’s second term. Click here for what the FBI gives for data after 2005. It’s vague at best, and not in a nice table like the 1980-2005 report, making it difficult to compile any data from it. Maybe the FBI has this info hidden away somewhere convenient for some reason, maybe they’re just lazy. But nonetheless, the data used for the argument is 11 years old.
But scrubbing through this less-than-helpful timeline from the FBI, while there were several terror attacks thwarted two were successful which killed thirteen people and injured thirty more, all committed by Muslim extremists. Add in the recent Orlando attack that happened after the Loonwatch study, there are 49 more deaths on that list, and you realize for the last decade, the only terror threat to Americans, if we’re going by recorded incidents, has been from Muslims.
I’m atheist, and thus against all religion, because I think religious extremists of any faith are capable of doing heinous things. But in the modern era, I do not think anyone could reasonably argue that most ideological unprovoked violent acts in the modern era are not committed by people who claim to be doing those acts in the name of Allah.
But it is important to understand that just because they are responsible for such violence, it does not in any way mean that a majority or even a disproportionate amount of Muslims are violent. Arguing the converse is pure bigotry. But the evidence is clear that for every one American killed or injured in a terrorist attack by non-Muslims, there have been approximately 93-94 who were harmed or killed by Muslims. A narrative that is rather different from the one made by Loonwatch, yet also entirely true.
I have no animosity towards Muslims that I don’t equally have against all religion, my only issue is with misleading stats to push a particular narrative. Whether someone is killed by a religious extremist, or killed by a gang member robbing a store, the end result is identical. As with anything in life, I believe it is important to remain skeptical and question everything, because data can always be presented in a quite misleading manner to serve someone’s agenda. I hold myself to a higher standard, but you can’t possibly know that. And you can’t know it about any other op-ed write either.
Donald Trump has recently announced that as president, he would use executive order to ban Muslims from entering the country temporarily.
As an atheist, I feel all religion can be dangerous if taken to extremes. But that being said, there can be no doubt that around the world, in the 21st century, the overwhelming majority of atrocities committed in the name of religion are committed by people of the Muslim faith.
Any time a tragedy happens, we as a people tend to believe we should try to analyze the problem that caused the tragedy and fix it. If the problem is too big for any one of us to fix, the non-libertarian population often feel government should fix it for them.
But let’s apply a little critical thinking to Trump’s idea of banning foreign Muslims from entering the United States.
How exactly do we go about banning all Muslims? If a Muslim applies to come to America, do the authorities ask that Muslim if they’re Muslim?
While an honest Muslim might answer truthfully, knowing it would preclude them from coming, wouldn’t a radical Muslim intending to kill Americans, or a desperate but peaceful Muslim hoping to flee a war-zone, just lie to get into the United States?
Quite similarly to the “If guns are outlawed, only criminals will have them” argument, if Muslims are banned from entering the United States, only deceitful Muslims will enter.
There is no DNA test that tells you what religion someone is—religion isn’t genetic. There is nothing science has to offer to detect one’s religion.
The 1st amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
By the letter of the Constitution, the president could in-fact pass such an order, because it isn’t Congress passing a law, it’s the president passing an executive order.
So while some have put forth the constitutionality argument, I would have to argue it is a non sequitur.
But, the Supreme Court continues to allow Blue Laws which are clearly an establishment of religion, proving the letter of the Constitution isn’t always their ultimate guide.
So it’s quite possible that the Supreme Court would strike such an executive order down based on the “principles” of the first amendment, versus the letter of it, as they tend to err on the side of secularism these days—something I typically appreciate.
So now we understand that if Trump wrote such an order, there’s no way to know who is and isn’t a Muslim. Even if the Supreme Court didn’t strike it down as an executive order, if Congress tried to pass it as law, it would most assuredly get struck down then.
But also, it is important to consider that even if such a law did somehow evade the Supreme Court’s wrath, and scientists invented a Muslim detector that really worked; when exactly is “temporary” over?
We’ve been fighting the war on terror since 2001, and it’s not like there are any fewer radical Muslims killing people. While the radicals may be a small minority at best, if he’s passing such an order to eliminate the threat, the threat won’t be eliminated until all Muslims are dead—an idea I assume most people would not support.
Because much like it’s impossible to identify a Muslim with any certainty if they choose to hide it, it’s equally impossible to identify a radical Muslim hell-bent on killing innocent civilians they deem to be infidels deserving of death.
Hopefully, Trump and his supporters will come to their senses and realize this isn’t a workable plan, and instead look for ways to better screen all people coming into the United States. But they should also understand that with freedom comes danger, as illustrated by our gun laws—something most Trump supporters do support, and anyone else who is serious about liberty.
So if we’re OK with one danger, we should be OK with the other, lest we be hypocrites.
While I don’t claim to have the answer; if we’re seeking one, I’d at least like to know there’s a bit of logic and reason behind the ideas being proposed, because this one has very little.
“If you see something, say something,” is a much simpler notion, it’s something we can all do to help government officials find these people. Exercising our 2nd amendment rights to arm ourselves so we can take down any would-be killers in our midst if we encounter one is pretty simple too.
Both are far more likely to be effective and far more doable than Trump’s entirely unworkable notion.
log·i·cal: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion lib·er·tar·i·an: an advocate of the doctrine of free will; a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action