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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Professor Roth Says “...Guns Aren't the Problem”

One of many guns carried at a gun rights rally where not one person was shot.
During his presentation Why Is The United States The Most Homicidal Nation In The Affluent World? Professor Randy Roth of Ohio State University speaks for an hour about the causes of murder and why the murder rate fluctuates. What are most conspicuous for their absence is that he doesn't mention guns. They only come up during the question and answer period because of an audience question. Below is a transcript of the question and Professor Roth's answer with the most relevant parts in bold:
CARRIE MULFORD: I’m Carrie Mulford at the National Institute of Justice. I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t mention gun availability, gun laws, anything like that, so I was curious —
ROTH: Because I don’t like being abused and having my life threatened. [audience laughter] Because I’ve had both. I’ve been, you know, my scholarly credentials have been, you know, when I — because guns aren’t the problem. I mean, I say this, and as I say, I went to graduate school, many of us went to graduate school. We had very expensive and rigorous educations to learn that the answer to every important question is yes, no and maybe, right? And the answer to the question, “Are guns responsible for our homicide rate?” Yes, no and maybe. And that’s the truth.
And you try to tell that truth, and you get — I mean from the left and from the right. I mean it’s been more vicious from the right because they’re more vicious, but I’m sure if I said that in the 1960s when the left was more violent than the right, I would have gotten the death threats from them. So, you know, it’s a hard thing to really deal with, but I do talk about it in the book and I think about it extensively. Do you want me to talk about this? Because I know that people will watch this video, and they’ll doctor it. You can look at YouTube at how they’ve chopped things I’ve said to make me look — like one of their favorites was to chop what I said about Democrats and Republicans with what I said about chimpanzees. So they chopped it so I called Republicans chimpanzees, so they started a campaign to get me fired in Ohio. This is the kind of stuff that people will do, and I don’t want to be a coward about it, so I’ll answer your question, but this won’t go well for me if this gets on the Web. They will make sure that I get punished for saying what I’m going to say.
We’ve had, we’ve always had, a high level of gun ownership from, say, the colonial period right down into the 1940s. And at times we’ve been the most violent society in the affluent world, and at times we’ve been the least homicidal, haven’t we? So is it just guns?
When you take a look at the muzzle-loading era, and this is in the book, when it takes you time to load that gun? You know, “I’m mad now, but you’ve got three minutes to run, I suggest you do that.” Did you see, you know, the movie “Lincoln,” did you see that wonderful scene where he shoots and misses, and the guy’s trying to reason with him while he’s trying to reload his derringer, because you only got one shot? And he’s waiting, you know, he gives him about 20 seconds, and then he decides, “Uh oh, it’s time to run.” And he does. That’s how it goes. So when you look at that, what’s interesting is that gun use, the percentage of homicides committed with guns, goes up and down with the murder rate.
When that murder rate is high as it is in the mid- and early 17th century, the majority of homicides among unrelated adults are committed with guns. You look at this low period from the 1690s to the 1760s, only 10 percent of all homicides among unrelated adults are committed with guns. You go back up to the Revolution, it goes up to over half. Up and down in the Embargo crisis, up and down going into the crisis of the 1840s. So what it means is when people are feeling hostile or defensive, they will go to that dispute with their neighbor with their gun loaded. When they’re not feeling hostile or defensive, they go and cuss them out when their cattle come across the line and destroy their crop. They’ll go to the law.
So you’ll see that, you know, they’ll go to property disputes, they’ll go to political disputes with the guns loaded, and they kill each other. And so you have to kind of plan that out. And so what you see is that it goes up and down like that. And one of the experiments I would love to do, I’d love to run American history back to 1857 and dis-invent modern firearms. What do I mean by modern firearms? Those, the great invention of Smith and Wesson when they put everything together in 1857 and the first rimfire handgun that the black powder was totally enclosed within the cartridge, so you could keep your gun loaded all the time. Because if you know, black powder’s hygroscopic, it absorbs water, it corrodes your barrel, you can’t keep it loaded. Why do they always show the gun over the fireplace? Because that’s the warmest, driest place in the house. You’re trying to keep that gun going. So the thing is is when you see that firearm’s gunstock change between 1857 and 1910, it took that long for us to move to the breech-loading guns with self-contained ammunition, reliable manufactured ammunition. You will see the percentage of homicides committed with guns go up and up and up regardless of whether the homicide rate was going up or down.
And what you see, the dramatic thing is all through the colonial period, when you look at intimate partner homicides, family homicides, only 10 percent were committed with guns whether the homicide rate was high or low among unrelated adults. But when you see that modern firearm come in, you’ll see the rate at which intimate partner violence was committed goes up to be the same level as with unrelated violence. And you’ll see who’s most likely to be killed with a handgun in the late 19th century is not an unrelated adult. It’s a woman who rejected her lover. Because now I can take this gun around and I can stalk her. I can go with this gun — concealed if I am suicidal, I can conceal it, I can go talk to her. And very often she wants to be friends, she want to — rejected me, but the family wants to be friends. You go over to her house, he’ll say, “Will you take me back?” She gives the wrong answer, she says, “No, I can’t come back, but I’d like to be friends.” Shoots her, shoots himself, done. Seventy percent of those homicides are being committed with a handgun in the 1850s, ’60s and ’70s because that’s the perfect murder weapon. And because they love you, of course, the guys love you, so they don’t want to shoot you in the face, they don’t want to disfigure you. They love you, they shoot you in the back of the head or through the heart. They want it to be quick, they want it to be relatively painless, and they want to go too.
So in other words, what I would you say is that when you have this gender problem coming up, you can see that throwing guns into that is deadly. And when that homicide rate goes up, having guns there means the completion rate of an assault goes up. So, yeah, I think that when you have that homicide rate go up, having this many guns in the society makes it worse than it would otherwise be. And I say one of the reasons why we probably had a tough time during the 1950s getting down to 1 or 2 per 100,000, why were we stuck at 4 to 5, part of that is the fact that we were so heavily armed, and because we’ll engage in this kind of impulsive violence.
So in other words, what I told you was that guns aren’t the fundamental problem, we’d be killing each other with rolling pins because we hate each other, we hate our country. Europeans have a tough time understanding why Americans hate their government so much. So I say there’s a very elaborate form of self-hatred in a democratic society, isn’t it? But I think that that’s there. So in other words, you can see why everybody hates me by what I say, okay. It’s not an ideological response, and, you know, it’s based on years of research, it’s based on hard work that they don’t respect. I’ll be blunt. [emphasis added]

The entire transcript can be downloaded here.

I don't agree with everything Professor Roth says in his presentation but he does knock down the gun rights haters argument that the problem is guns and that eliminating them will make everything great. In fairness, his words don't completely favor gun rights either but they do support the view that guns aren't the cause of the problem. Thank you, Professor Roth.

It makes me sick to have to say I'm grateful to the government but I must cover myself so here is the required citation:

The International Libertarian gratefully acknowledges the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce, in part or in whole, the video Why Is The United States The Most Homicidal Nation In The Affluent World?. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this video are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

John Lott Destroys Gun Rights Haters in a Debate (video)

What a hidden gem! This is an unlisted video of a gun rights debate. The clowns at UC Berkeley must not have liked that John Lott destroyed the gun grabbers. For anyone going into a debate or discussion of the issue this is must watch!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

PA Gun Rights Haters Show Their Intolerance

A few liberty activists dropped in on a gun rights haters' rally. On a nice Sunday afternoon, March 9, 2014, they had the Team 26 bicycle riders stop at Buckingham, PA near Philadelphia. Here is the reception I received: 
They were angry because the high school where they originally were going to do their rights hating rally at ran them out. They relocated to an out of the way church with no sidewalk on either side of the road. This made a counter-rally impossible. Strangely, they then claimed this constituted our backing down. (See my rebuttal The “Pacifist” Advocates of Violence Lie Again.)

There was no excuse for these people's behavior at the rally. If they had any regard for freedom of speech they wouldn't have interfered with our respectful outreach. Notice how at 0:42 a woman laughs delightedly at the verbal abuse the activist in the red coat is dishing out. It is obvious from the video that many in the crowd agreed with her abusive behavior. Contrast this to the behavior of members of the Brandywine Peace Community when on Good Friday 2011 a libertarian brought a gun to their civil disobedience at Lockheed Martin in King of Prussia, PA. They were outraged but remained civil. Their nonviolence discipline specifically states, "We will observe with co-actors, police, Lockheed Martin employees, and passers-by,
the rules of human courtesy. We will exhibit no violence or hostility - physical or verbal - toward anyone." [emphasis added] The people running the rally can learn from the good folks at the Brandywine Peace Community.

In fairness as I started handing out fliers one woman did say that even though I was on the other side she was glad I was there. She even thanked me for attending. The woman at 2:02 in the video seems puzzled by the spectacle of the red coat insulting me and taking my fliers. Perhaps she wondered, why the intolerance? I ask those of you who oppose gun rights to think about the kind of people you're following. Can you really trust them? Is the behavior you see in the video something you approve of? Don't you think that free speech should be defended rather than attacked? Please don't support these rights destroying groups anymore.

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding.”
-- Judge Louis D. Brandeis

A comment on a recurring theme at these kinds of rallies. We hear speakers say over and over that they respect gun rights and don't want to take away good people's guns. Yet we see signs like the one at the top of this article. Isn't a ban taking away people's guns? It is truly amazing that gun rights haters can't see the hypocrisy.
Police cars at the gun haters rally
Speaking of hypocrisy, notice how the red coat in the video threatens to call security. To my mind this was threatening me with force. (I'm sure there wasn't any security she was just making a pathetic attempt to intimidate.) Off camera she said "the police know you're here". Again, the threat of using force against peaceful outreach. Strange that these gun rights haters claim to be the peaceful ones. They claim to be against guns and violence yet they didn't ask the gun toting police to leave. I'm sure the opposite is true, the police were there at their request. Remember that the police are the ones whose job it is to use force and more often to threaten to do so. It isn't consistent with pacifist principles to want armed men who are legally empowered to use force around.

Sometimes law enforcers come up with a good idea. Such is the case with Law Enforcement Against prohibition (LEAP), a group concerned with the war on drugs and neutral on guns. The text of the flier I was handing out is from a page that was, but is no longer, on LEAP's website. Link to text of the flier:

On a humorous note I can now add "parasite" to "disgusting creepy crawly thing" on my activist resume. Keep the insults coming, haters.

The above hate mail was a reaction to this presentation:

In closing, I once again repeat my challenge to debate the gun rights issue. If the gun rights haters are confident that they're right they'll jump at the chance to do so.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The “Pacifist” Advocates of Violence Lie Again

Do the anti-gun rights zealots really think that people are so stupid they'll fall for these lies? Given what Shira Goodman wrote in “Gun Bullies Back Down and Plan to Stay Away from Peaceful Gun Violence Prevention Event” they must. Let's take her article apart piece by piece. (Items in bold are quotes from the article linked above.)

Concerned Gun Owners of Pennsylvania made clear in their press release that “CGOPA has canceled their counter-rallying on Sunday out of respect for private property rights and the sanctity of God's church.” They did this after CeasefirePA and their collaborators were run out of Doylestown, PA and had to relocate to a church in a nearby town.

...CeaseFirePA, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and local groups like Bucks Safe are hosting a peaceful event to greet the Sandy Hook Riders Team 26,...Quite true, the event is peaceful, but what violence are they calling for? Read on.

... a group of cyclists riding in memory of the victims of gun violence prevention...Interesting that they published this. We're the ones advocating gun rights, they're the ones whose “gun violence prevention” is disarming decent people preventing them from defending themselves. I guess that makes their mourning appropriate. (Since they will no doubt correct this typo a screen shot is included below as proof of their sloppiness.)

...and calling for stronger gun laws.Last I checked laws are enforced by armed people with jails to confine other people in. An interesting position for alleged pacifists to take. They seem to be all for non-violence until is is time to disarm peaceful people like us activist gun owners. Then the violence and bullying become OK. Here's how I put it in my coverage of their two state May 11, 2013 event:

There is a reason we stayed in Pennsylvania. We knew we couldn't go into Trenton, New Jersey (where their rally started) with our guns. The police would have arrested us. Even in Morrisville the township threatened to arrest open carriers. We ignored those threats and they backed down. Yet somehow the gun haters saw themselves as being threatened. The fear was totally irrational. The open carriers would have protected them had a criminal tried to harm them. Meanwhile, it is they, the gun haters, that want to send armed law enforcement officers after gun owners. Go figure.

For the last week, pro-gun organization Concerned Gun Owners of America had been planning a counter-protest and blatantly trying to intimidate supporters to avoid this event.” No, it was the Concerned Gun Owners of Pennsylvania that was holding the counter-protest. Obviously accuracy isn't Ms. Goodman's forte.

Members of the group took to social media posting plans to carry firearms and shout through megaphones at the peaceful gathering, but [we] were not intimidated.” Intimidated? Please, Ms. Goodman, post any threats of violence that were made against your group. I know you won't because there were none. As opposed to your group which advocates legal violence against us. Regardless, please don't lie, the counter-protest was going to be empty holster since guns aren't allowed in or near schools. (They originally were going to rally at Central Bucks West High School.) We already know that these gun rights haters have an irrational fear of guns. Are they now afraid of empty holsters too?

...bullies try to intimidate people because they’re insecure.” I couldn't agree more. We libertarians live by the non-aggression principle. The idea is that it is immoral to initiate the use of force or threaten the use of force against others. We have the confidence to say we will not use violence or threats nor will we tolerate that kind of behavior against ourselves or others. I call on all gun rights haters to renounce their advocacy of violence and join with us in calling for a world in which no one aggresses against anyone else.

Lastly, I issue a challenge to Ms. Goodman and the others standing with her to debate the issue with me. If you really think you know what you're talking about we'll be debating soon.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Broken Constitution (video)

 This is the speech I gave at the
My message that the constitution has failed went over better than I thought it would. It says a lot about this crowd that we can have differences of opinion and still respect each other.