reason

There is no possibility whatsoever of reconciling science and theology, at least in Christendom. Either Jesus rose from the dead or he didn’t. If he did, then Christianity becomes plausible; if he did not, then it is sheer nonsense. I defy any genuine scientist to say that he believes in the Resurrection, or indeed in any other cardinal dogma of the Christian system.
—  H.L. Mencken
Gun Control Lies

My town, New York City, enforces rigid gun laws. Police refused to assign me a gun permit. The law doesn’t even let me hold a fake gun on TV to demonstrate something. 

But New York politicians are so eager to vilify gun ownership that they granted an exception to the anti-gun group States United to Prevent Gun Violence. New York allowed States United to set up a fake gun store, where cameras filmed potential gun customers being spoofed by an actor pretending to be a gun-seller. 

“This a nine millimeter semi-automatic. It’s a very handy gun. It’s easy to use,” he says. “You can carry it in a purse like that gal from Wal-Mart. Her two-year-old son reaches into her pocketbook, pulls it out, shoots her. Dead, gone, no Mom!”

States United then made that footage into an anti-gun public service announcement. “Over 60 percent of Americans think owning a gun will make them safer. In fact, owning a gun increases the risk of homicide, suicide and unintentional death,” says the video.

It’s a powerful message. But it’s a lie, says John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center. He says that gun control advocates lie all the time.

Lott acknowledges the tragedies. Sometimes a gun in the home is used in a homicide or suicide, or leads to accidental death, but he adds, “It also makes it easier for people to defend themselves—women and the elderly in particular.”

Lott says, “Every place in the world that’s tried to ban guns… has seen big increases in murder rates. You’d think at least one time, some place, when they banned guns, murder rates would go down. But that hasn’t been the case.”

I pushed back: what about people harming themselves?

“There are lots of different ways for people to commit suicide,” Lott said, and researchers have looked at how those tragedies are affected by access to guns. “We find that people commit suicide in other ways if they don’t have guns.”

What about accidents? Lott replies that accidental shooting deaths are relatively rare: “about 500 a year.” That sounds bad, but about 400 Americans are killed by overdosing on acetaminophen each year (most of them suicides), and almost as many Americans drown in swimming pools. 

“It would be nice if it was zero (but) consider that 120 million Americans own guns,” Lott says. 

Often those guns are used to prevent crime. The homeowner pulls out the gun and the attacker flees. No one knows how often this happens because these prevented crimes don’t become news and don’t get reported to the government, but an estimate from the Violence Policy Center suggests crimes may be prevented by guns tens of thousands of times per year.

Add politics to the mix and the anti-gun statistics get even more misleading. Gang members in their late teens or early adulthood killing each other get called “children.” Fights between gangs near schools get called school “mass shootings.”

The number of mass shootings in America has been roughly level over the past 40 years, but The New York Times still runs headlines like, “FBI Confirms a Sharp Rise in Mass Shootings Since 2000.” That headline is absolutely true, but only because they deceitfully picked the year 2000 as their start point, and that was a year with unusually few mass shootings. It’s as if the paper wants to make it seem as if mass shootings are always on the rise, even as crime keeps going down.

It all helps stoke paranoia about guns. Some people respond by calling for more controls. Others, fearing the government may ban gun sales, respond by buying more weapons. The number of people holding permits to carry concealed weapons has skyrocketed to 12.8 million, up from 4.6 million just before President Obama took office. Since 40 percent of American households now own guns, anyone who wants to take them away will have a fight on his hands. 

Has the increased gun ownership and carrying of guns led to more violence? Not at all. “Violent crime across the board has plummeted,” says Lott. “In 1991, the murder rate was about 9.8 (people) per 100,000. (Now) it’s down to about 4.2.”

I can’t convince my friends in New York City, but it’s just a fact: More guns—less crime.

COPYRIGHT 2015 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.


from http://ift.tt/1ILvdyn
Today I looked through our pictures. I didn’t cry, I smiled. You were a huge part of my life and we had great memories together. I’m happy that we were together, I’m not happy that it ended or how it ended. But, you came into my life for a reason and you left for a reason. And now I’m going to find someone who will stay in my life so a reason.
—  July 27, 2015
Who ever said we live once
I pray to prove them all wrong
Yeah we’ll be missed not forgot
But I’ll be back when I’m gone
‘Cause every life has a reason
On our knees praying for something to believe in
Legend stains the memory like blood stains the bed
Ink stains the paper with a message and it says
That we were born to be loved
Yeah we were born to be free
We’re not born to be slaves
We’re born to make history
So whatever your path, don’t tread lightly
And whatever your gift, use that shit wisely
—  Neon Hitch // Born To Be Remembered
reason.com
Oklahoma Official Used Asset Forfeiture to Pay Back His Student Loans
Another lived rent-free in a confiscated house.

An assistant district attorney in the state of Oklahoma lived rent-free in a house confiscated by local law enforcement under the practice of asset forfeiture. His office paid the utility bills. He remained there for five years, despite a court order to sell the house at auction.

Another district attorney used $5,000 worth of confiscated funds to pay back his student loans.

These are just a few of the gems unearthed during a recent hearing on Oklahoma authorities’ liberal use of asset forfeiture to take property from suspected criminals and spend it on personal enrichment.OklahomaWatch.org reports:

Under state law, the money or proceeds from forfeited property are supposed to be spent on enforcement of drug laws and drug-abuse prevention and education. …

Regarding use of the property or money after seizure, audits of district attorney’s accounts by the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office have found the assets in a number of cases were misused or not accounted for.

A 2009 audit of the district attorney’s office that represents Beaver, Cimarron, Harper and Texas counties found that a Beaver County assistant district attorney began living rent-free in a house obtained in a 2004 forfeiture. A judge had ordered the house sold at an auction, but the prosecutor lived there through 2009.

Utility bills and repairs made to the house were paid out of the district attorney’s supervision fee account, the audit states.

The audit recommended the house be sold and the supervision fee account be reimbursed.

“These conditions resulted in expenditures that were not for the enforcement of controlled dangerous substances laws, drug abuse prevention and drug abuse education,“ the report stated.

State Sen. Kyle Loveless, a Republican, has sponsored a bill to make these practices less common. He would prohibit asset forfeiture unless a suspect was actually convicted of a crime, and stipulate that the money go to the state’s general fund.

It’s easy to see why these reforms are necessary—not just in Oklahoma, but everywhere. Allowing local cops and prosecutors to keep the spoils creates perverse incentives to plunder with reckless abandon.

Unsurprisingly, cops are desperate to preserve the practice:

Law enforcement officials counter that forfeiture is necessary to combat drug trafficking and say that abuses are rare. They say Loveless is hyping the issue and using scare tactics to push his bill.

“I’m very concerned that’s the line he’s taking in that,” said District Attorney Greg Mashburn, who represents Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties and sits on the commission overseeing the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. …

Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley, who also sits on the Bureau of Narcotics commission, said Loveless’ bill would cripple law enforcement agencies’ counter-drug efforts.

“I know for a fact we all try to work very hard to rid this devil’s candy (drugs) off of our state. And for someone to try and push us back – sheriff’s departments, police departments – that’s how we continue our fight, is to take that money and go forward,” Stradley said. “That will set us back many, many, many years.”

We can’t stop people from having drugs unless we are allowed to steal more money has to be one of the least-convincing arguments for maintaining the drug war.