TeeJaw Blog

Is Self Defense a Natural Right?

Posted in Government and Politics, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Sunday, August 21, 2011, 12: 09 PM

Natural rights are those “unalienable rights endowed upon us by our creator” and have their genesis in universal natural law. They are to be distinguished from legal rights that emanate from man-made legal institutions, such as government. While natural rights do not come from government, they need to be protected by government; they need protection from those who would infringe them and deny them to us, such as criminals who attack and rob. They also need protection from government because it holds a monopoly on violence. Government strong enough to protect rights is certainly strong enough to take them completely away.

Because a right of self defense is necessary to preserve one’s very existence it must be a natural right. Not everyone agrees. The usual comment from radical leftists that “you don’t need a gun, the police will protect you,” evinces hostility to the idea of self defense as a natural right. A legal duty to retreat, still the law in some states, is an official declaration that the right of self defense is conditional. Some may say that no right is ever absolute, and reasonable conditions upon the right of self defense are appropriate. But a problem soon arises over just what conditions are reasonable or appropriate. A right to life and the pursuit of happiness are subject to only one condition; that one’s exercise of these rights not deprive another of the same rights.

Any argument that the use of force in defense of self is not justified, because it infringes the right of someone else to their life, is fallacious so long as defensive action is distinguishable from offensive action. The right to self defense only arises when some other, human or animal, has placed one’s life in jeopardy.

There are still many who believe that self defense cannot be justified. This notion is so prevalent that an entire nation, Great Britain, the very nation that was once the cradle of rational thought, has outlawed it. The results were predictable. Rampant violence by young street thugs against the law-abiding; victims who have the temerity to try to preserve their lives and dignity are given jail terms at the same time the criminal aggressors are allowed to go free.

Sarah Thompson, M.D., in her article Raging Against Self Defense, published by Jews For the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, has attempted to understand the psychology of those who are committed opponents of the right of self defense. She finds anti-self defense attitudes explained by the unconscious defense mechanisms of Projection, Denial, and Reaction Formation.

There is some solace for our curiosity  in psychological explanations of this sort.  We know a lot of people are emotionally and psychologically unbalanced.  That isn’t enough to satisfy, however.  We still need to know what motivates officials, who are otherwise mentally well adjusted, to crave such power over their fellow citizens as to try to deny them what is arguably the most basic natural right,the right to protect oneself and to live peaceably?

The answer to this question is more likely to be found, not in psychological studies, but in unbiased political science that explores another aspect of human nature:  the quest of human beings for power.  This inquiry starts with the premise that political liberty only exists where there is no abuse of power; it is an eternal experience that every man who holds power is drawn to abuse it; he will proceed until he finds the limits. [Montesquieu]

By way of Instapundit, I’ve found a recently written article that brilliantly describes the infringement of the Obama administration upon our natural liberties.  It’s not that the Obama government is that much different in its propensity to run roughshod on the rights of citizens; Montesquieu spent his life writing about the proclivity of all governments to overstep the bounds.  The Obama administration though, is especially shameless and determined to trample on rights it considers a threat to its power.

Mike McDaniel is a former police officer, detective, and SWAT member of a large police department. He has written a web article titled  Gunwalker and the Foundation of Liberty — The lives of the individuals harmed by Gunwalker mean nothing to statists.

[For those unfamiliar with the ATF scandal called “Gunwalker” or “Operation Fast and Furious” these links will help:  CBS News; Fast and Furious.]

McDaniel says the statists beliefs of politicians and bureaucrats care little for the individual except as it relates to their own ability to sustain their privilege and power.  The individual’s value is measured by how much or how little it means to the state. These attitudes are the necessary and sufficient foundation of socialism.

It all comes down to this: Is there an inalienable right to self-defense? If there is, each man has indisputable, inestimable value, value that he may rightly preserve even if the life of another man is forfeit. A man may kill another in lawful self-defense even if the policy preferences of the state would prefer his death. If a right to self-defense actually exists, it is in a very real sense the highest law of the land and all lesser laws must pay it deference. It fundamentally defines the social contract, the nature of the relationship between man and the state.

But if there is no such inalienable right, the entire nature of the social contract is changed. Each man’s worth is measured solely by his utility to the state, and as such the value of his life rides a roller coaster not unlike the stock market: dependent not only upon the preferences of the party in power but upon the whims of its political leaders and the permanent bureaucratic class. The proof of this analysis surrounds us.

Irony abounds in that England, the cradle of the common law and of our doctrine of self-defense, has utterly done away with even a government-condescended privilege to self-preservation. Not only have the English allowed themselves to be virtually stripped of firearms, British politicians have made attempts with varying degrees of success to ban knives. Attempting to protect the self or others from brutal criminal attack can and will lead to lengthy jail sentences in jolly old England — for the victims. Attacking criminals often go free, and often successfully sue their victims for daring to harm them in the process of depriving them of property or their very lives.

In the recent riots in Britain, we see America not far into the future if the progressive worldview is much further advanced. Contemporary England is a nation that spends a great deal of time and energy ostensibly caring for “the people,” yet cares not a whit for the life of any individual, particularly when that life is threatened or taken by a member of a favored political class or victim group, criminals included. This attitude and practice is a foundation of socialism.

Read the whole thing.


Grizzly Bears, Grisly Death, and Idiot Park Rangers

Posted in Government and Politics, Guns, Predator Defense, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 9: 02 AM

A 57-year old California man was killed by a grizzly in Yellowstone the other day, on a trail not far from Canyon Village. He and his wife spotted the female bear with two cubs from a distance of about 100 yards. They immediately stopped, backed up slowly and retreat back down the trail. The bear charged, ran the man down and killed him in the space of seconds. The wife was farther down the trial and was only slightly injured.

The rangers say the bear was acting in a normal defensive mode. They have no plans to capture the bear for relocation of for any other reason. The newspapers are making a big deal out of the fact that the man was not carrying pepper spray. Well, he was a tourist visiting America’s oldest National Park. He might not have been aware of pepper spray or how to use it. And despite all the hype of how safe you will be if only you have pepper spray, it’s not the panacea its proponents claim. I always carry it, along with other types of bear repellant, but in a wind it’s pretty easy to spray yourself instead of the bear. Wind just happens to be fairly common in bear country. Any cop can tell you that there are some humans who are unaffected by the very strong pepper spray they carry, so I think it’s safe to say there are a few bears that might be immune to it as well, especially when we’re talking about an adrenaline-filled 600-pound animal as naturally nasty and cantankerous as a grizzly.

The unfortunate man and his wife were on a short walk from Canyon Village, a busy area populated with tourists. They weren’t headed into the back country. If you ask me, Americans should not have to fear a grisly death from a grizzly when they visit their national parks, at least if they are mere sightseers and not back country trekkers. The Park Service is irresponsible in not keeping dangerous bears away from areas where tourists are plentiful.

The rangers are also idiots. One of them made this public statement: “We’re able to reassure people,” she said. “We told them that if they keep a safe distance they can enjoy the wildlife safely.”

For God’s sake, lady, the guy was 100 yards away from the damned bear when he first saw it and immediately tried to leave the area! I guess the National Park Service recruits its rangers from the same service used by the motor vehicle department. I take that back, the people at the motor vehicle department are no where near that dumb.

Big Win For Chicago Gun Rights In The 7th Circuit

Posted in Gun Rights, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Thursday, July 7, 2011, 4: 59 PM

The case is Ezell v. City of Chicago, on appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Judge Virginia M. Kendall.  Three individual plaintiffs, Rhonda Ezell, William Hespen, and Joseph Brown (all Chicago residents); and three organizations, Action Target, Inc.; the Second Amendment Foundation, Inc.; and the Illinois State Rifle Association, challenge Chicago’s ordinance requiring one-hour of range training to obtain a gun license while at the same time banning all firing ranges in the City of Chicago.  Their claim is  that the ordinance violates their Second Amendment right to firearm training at a range and is unconstitutional on its face.  Plaintiffs ask for a preliminary injunction against the City barring it from enforcing its firing range ban.  Plaintiffs cite irreparable harm, a likelihood of succeeding on the merits, and argue that any alleged harm to the City is speculative and unlikely to occur.  The trial court judge, Virginia Kendall, ruled that Plaintiffs could not show irreparable harm and were not likely to succeed on the merits because, she reasoned, firearms training is not protected by the Second Amendment.

The 7th Circuit United States Court of Appeals reversed Judge Virginia Kendall, and said,

For nearly three decades, the City of Chicago had several ordinances in place “effectively banning handgun possession by almost all private citizens.”  In 2008 the Supreme Court struck down a similar District of Columbia law on an original-meaning interpretation of the Second Amendment.  District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635‐36 (2008). Heller held that the Amendment secures an individual right to keep and bear arms, the core component of which is the right to possess operable firearms— handguns included—for self‐defense, most notably in the home.

Soon after the Court’s decision in Heller, Chicago’s handgun ban was challenged in McDonald v. City of Chicago. The foundational question in that litigation was whether the Second Amendment applies to the States and subsidiary local governments.  The Supreme Court gave an affirmative answer:  The Second Amendment applies to the States through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  In the wake of McDonald, the Chicago City Council lifted the City’s laws banning handgun possession and adopted the Responsible Gun Owners Ordinance in their place.

The plaintiffs here challenge the City Council’s treatment of firing ranges. The Ordinance mandates one hour of range training as a prerequisite to lawful gun ownership, see CHI. MUN. CODE § 8‐20‐120, yet at the same time prohibits all firing ranges in the city, see id. § 8‐20‐080. The plaintiffs contend that the Second Amendment protects the right to maintain proficiency in firearm use—including the right to practice marksmanship at a range—and the City’s total ban on firing ranges is unconstitutional.

Circuit Judge Rovner, wrote a concurring opinion in which he said,

Stung by the result of McDonald v. City of Chicago, the City quickly enacted an ordinance that was too clever by half. Recognizing that a complete gun ban would no longer survive Supreme Court review, the City required all gun owners to obtain training that included one hour of live‐range instruction, and then banned all live ranges within City limits. This was not so much a nod to the importance of live‐range training as it was a thumbing of the municipal nose at the Supreme Court. The effect of the ordinance is another complete ban on gun ownership within City limits. That residents may travel outside the jurisdiction to fulfill the training requirement is irrelevant to the validity of the ordinance inside the City.  In this I agree with the majority: given the framework of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald, the City may not condition gun ownership for self‐defense in the home on a prerequisite that the City renders impossible to fulfill within the City limits.

Plaintiffs lost in the trial court but now the 7th Circuit reverses.  The Court of Appeals holding is as follows:

Holding Number One:

On the present record, the plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction against the firing‐range ban. The harm to their Second Amendment rights cannot be remedied by damages, their challenge has a strong likelihood of success on the merits, and the City’s claimed harm to the public interest is based entirely on speculation.

Holding Number Two:

Article III of the U.S. Constitution restricts the Federal judicial power to actual “Cases” and ” Controversies,” a limitation understood to confine the federal judiciary to “the traditional role of Anglo‐ American courts, which is to redress or prevent actual or imminently threatened injury to persons caused by private or official violation of the law.”  The doctrine of standing enforces this limitation. Standing exists when the plaintiff suffers an actual or impending injury, no matter how small; the injury is caused by the defendant’s acts; and a judicial decision in the plaintiff’s favor would redress the injury.

The individual plaintiffs in this case, all Chicago residents, have standing because the City’s ban on firing ranges inflicts continuous harm to their claimed right to engage in range training and interferes with their right to possess firearms for self‐defense. These injuries easily support Article III standing.

Moreover, the organizational plaintiffs [The Second Amendment Foundation; Action Target, Inc.; and The Illinois Rifle Association] also have standing and the trial court’s contrary holding was in error.  Action Target, as a supplier of firing‐range facilities, is harmed by the firing-range ban and is also permitted to act as an advocate of the rights of third parties who seek access to its services.   The Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois Rifle Association have many members who reside in Chicago and easily meet the requirements for associational standing: (1) their members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (2) the interests the associations seek to protect are germane to their organizational purposes; and (3) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual association members in the lawsuit.

The 7th Circuit found the district court’s emphasis on the organizational plaintiffs’ standing puzzling. It’s clear the individual plaintiffs have standing. Where at least one plaintiff has standing, jurisdiction is secure and the court will adjudicate the case whether the additional plaintiffs have standing or not.

Holding Number Three:

Irreparable harm is established because the City’s ordinance interferes with the plaintiffs’ right to exercise  their second amendment right to engage in firearm training at a range.  The ordinance is unconstitutional on its face because no matter how applied it violates the second amendment rights of all Chicago residents.  The City Council violated the second amendment when they enacted the ordinance.

Holding Number Four:

The plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits.

After deciding the plaintiffs could not show irreparable harm the trial court judge  didn’t pay much attention to whether the plaintiffs had shown a likelihood of prevailing on the merits, a necessary pre-requisite to a preliminary injunction.  She rejected heightened scrutiny outright saying the ban on range training in the City might not violate anyone’s Second Amendment rights.  The 7th Circuit says her reasoning misses the point.

Heller focused almost exclusively on the original public meaning of the Second Amendment, consulting the text and relevant historical materials to determine how the Amendment was understood at the time of ratification. This inquiry led the Court to conclude that the Second Amendment secures a pre‐existing natural right to keep and bear arms; that the right is personal and not limited to militia service; and that the “central component of the right” is the right of armed self‐defense, most notably in the home.

Heller said the total ban on firearms in the District of Columbia was unconstitutional under any standard of scrutiny.  The 7th Circuit now says that what was meant by “any standard of scrutiny” was “any standard of heightened scrutiny.”  Rational basis scrutiny could never be the standard of scrutiny because if a firearms law only had to satisfy a rational basis the Second Amendment would have no meaning at all.  All laws must have a rational basis.

Because the “central component” of the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, and home, the right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right to acquire and maintain proficiency in their use; the core right wouldn’t mean much without the training and practice that make it effective.  Therefore, the trial court judge was simply wrong when she said she didn’t think the City’s ban on firing ranges would not violate anyone’s Second Amendment rights.

The 7th Circuit remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to grant the Plaintiff’s request for an injunction against the City of Chicago prohibiting it from enforcing its ban on firing ranges within the City.  If a trial on the merits ensues, that is if Chicago still wants to fight the case, the 7th Circuit opinion sets forth all the arguments and rationale the trial judge will need to reach the proper decision which will be that the City of Chicago will be permanently barred from enforcing its total ban on firing ranges within the City.

The Middle East Problem Is Difficult To Resolve — But It Is Easy To Explain

Posted in Government and Politics, History, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Thursday, February 17, 2011, 9: 26 AM

This video has been viewed almost 750,000 times since it was posted on YouTube in October, 2010.

Especially poignant is Prager’s question of what would happen if Israel laid down its arms, and what would happen if all the Muslim countries laid down their arms? In the first instance Israel would be destroyed and there would be mass murder of the Jews living there. Prager says that in the second scenario there would be peace. He is right that there would be no Israeli aggression against any Arab country if Israel could trust that it would be left alone to live in peace. But there would not be peace in the region. Before the modern State of Israel came into existence peace did not exist in the Middle East. Without Israel to act as the lightening rod, there would be conflict among the Arab states, as there was before Israel. The Saudi flag has always depicted a sword.

Michigan Bill Would Eliminate Gun Free Zones In State

Posted in Government and Politics, Gun Rights, Guns, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 10: 32 AM

From The Detroit News:

    State Sen. Mike Green is looking to abolish the limitations concerning concealed weapons and allow those with licenses to carry a firearm essentially anywhere in the state. Green, R-Mayville, said he introduced the bills today in order to prove “there are no places that should be gun free.”

This is a good idea and I hope it gets some traction in Michigan, and then in other states. Anyone with a CCW has already been given a thorough criminal background check and found to be law abiding and of good character. State by state records show CCW permit holders to be extraordinarily law abiding and trustworthy. Typically, less than 1%, sometimes much less, of all currently outstanding CCW holders get involved in anything that results in a suspension or revocation of their permit. In most states it takes only relatively minor offenses (other than traffic infractions) to cause a permit to be suspended or revoked. A high number of suspended permits are reinstated when the matter causing suspension is cleared up.

Gun free zones are danger zones. That is where violent criminals and the mentally disturbed go to commit their heinous acts, knowing there will be no one there to immediately stop them. Jared Loughner was still capable of shooting more people in the Arizona shooting when a lawfully armed citizen helped others subdue him. This man was not in the immediate area but heard the gun shots and ran toward the gunfire. It is often the case that lawfully armed citizens are not only good citizens, they are courageous citizens proving that we do indeed live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. At least when it’s allowed.

UPDATE: Some place restrictions are just absurd. Georgia prohibits permit holders to carry their guns in any place of worship, even if the church gives its permission. This precludes a pastor from having his gun in his own study. The absurd thing about this law is that can be no justification for it. None. It’s just a naked restriction for…what? Churches have been targeted by criminals and nut jobs and making them a gun-free zone increases rather than reduces the likelihood of a massacre. A more reasonable policy is to let the church decide whether it wants to allow its members who are CCW holders to carry their guns, as Utah does. Any church in Utah can prohibit guns in its church by filing a notice with the Utah BCI [Bureau of Criminal Identification] which will then list it on the BCI website. Only one church in Utah has done that: The Church of Latter Day Saints. I don’t know their reason. All other churches allow guns.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Establishment of The State of Israel

Posted in crime, Gun Rights, Guns, History, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 9: 31 AM

Seventy-two years ago last night, November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht occurred throughout Germany and parts of Austria. Just over four years later the holocaust had killed millions of Jews when the Warsaw Ghetto uprising began on January 18, 1943 and ended on May 16, 1943. All of the Jews in the uprising died but they made the Nazis pay a price for their death and they, not the Nazis, determined how they were going to die. They died fighting.

The 2001 television docudrama, Uprising, about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, is available on DVD. Netflix doesn’t carry it (I guess Jews defending themselves doesn’t fit the narrative).

If more German Jews had guns the history of the holocaust would be much different. In this review of Uprising, David Kopel writes that 2,000 years of Jewish passivity came to an end in the Warsaw Ghetto:

The Warsaw battle had begun on Passover, and like the first Passover, the Warsaw resistance led directly to the establishment of a Jewish state. Without the fighting spirit that was rekindled by the Warsaw ghetto revolt, it is doubtful that the Jews would have prevailed when Arabs attacked them the moment the state of Israel was proclaimed.

The Jewish commander of the uprising was a 24-year-old schoolteacher named Mordechai Anielewicz. On April 23, 1943, he wrote a letter from Warsaw to a friend named Yitzhak, explaining what was happening. Here is one paragraph from that letter:

From this evening, we are switching to a system of guerilla action. At night, three of our units go out on two missions: an armed reconnaissance patrol and the acquisition of weapons. Know that the pistol has no value, we practically don’t use it. We need grenades, rifles, machine guns, and explosives.

The entire letter is reproduced in this review of Uprising.

See also Nazism, Firearm Registration, and the Night Of Broken Glass

Yes, It Would Be Legal To Build A Mosque Near Ground Zero — So?

Posted in barack Obama, Culture, Culture Rot, Government and Politics, Playing the Race Card, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 11: 04 AM

The left-wing intelligentsia cannot defend any of its ideas with reasoned argument, cannot or will not respond to any of the objections raised by conservatives to their socialist plans for America; in frustration or confusion when presented with an actual debate they resort to hateful name calling. So, if we object to having a trophy mosque erected near the site where radical Islam murdered 2,700 Americans we are called racist, Islamophobic and intolerant. We are told that we must be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims, but we dare not suggest that Muslims perhaps ought to be sensitive to the feelings of the loved ones of those who were senselessly slaughtered by Muslims, in the name of Allah.

Debra Burlingame (sister of Charles “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 that was flown into the Pentagon on 9/11), speaking on behalf of the 9/11 families, responded to Obama’s announcement of his support of the ground-zero mosque at the White Ramadan dinner:

Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see. Since that dark day, Americans have been asked to bear the burden of defending those values, again and again and again. Now this president declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots.

Read the rest of Ms. Burlingame’s statement here.

As is his way, Thomas Sowell writes a few simple sentences that get right to the heart of whatever controversy he chooses to address. Here he is on the ground-zero mosque wrangle:

The proposed mosque near where the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed, along with thousands of American lives, would be a 15-story middle finger to America.

It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious, so it is not surprising that the intelligentsia are out in force, decrying those who criticize this calculated insult.

What may surprise some people is that the American taxpayer is currently financing a trip to the Middle East by the imam who is pushing this project, so that he can raise the money to build it. The State Department is subsidizing his travel.

The big talking point is that this is an issue about “religious freedom” and that Muslims have a “right” to build a mosque where they choose. But those who oppose this project are not claiming that there is no legal right to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.

If anybody did, it would be a matter for the courts to decide — and they would undoubtedly say that it is not illegal to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center attack.

The intelligentsia and others who are wrapping themselves in the Constitution are fighting a phony war against a straw man. Why create a false issue, except to evade the real issue?

Our betters are telling us that we need to be more “tolerant” and more “sensitive” to the feelings of Muslims. But if we are supposed to be sensitive to Muslims, why are Muslims not supposed to be sensitive to the feelings of millions of Americans, for whom 9/11 was the biggest national trauma since Pearl Harbor?

It would not be illegal for Japanese Americans to build a massive shinto shrine next to Pearl Harbor. But, in all these years, they have never sought to do it.

Read the rest of Thomas Sowell’s article here.

Anyone who doubts the real purpose of the ground-zero mosque might want to consider the recent revelations of how the Orlando mosque has been used as a fund-raising arm for terrorism:

A few years ago the IRS successfully prosecuted several individuals who were evading taxes by claiming to be a “church” under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Here, this “mosque” is gathering money to give to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood under the guise of a church and telling the contributors that their donations are charitable deductions under 501(c)(3) while at the same time admitting “This is not charity, this is politics.” Aside from the support of terrorist groups, which is a Federal felony, this is a case on a silver platter for a tax evasion prosecution under Section 7201 of the Internal Revenue Code. Where is the IRS? Where is the Justice Department?

Sam Colt Made Us Equal

Posted in Government and Politics, Gun Rights, Guns, History, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Thursday, August 12, 2010, 9: 58 AM

Think the world might be a kinder, gentler place if firearms did not exist? I’ve never believed that and now there is some pretty good evidence that a gun-free society is not a polite society.

The following is from an article that Carlyle Moody and Don Kates are writing that refutes the theory that more guns in a society will cause more crime. Here is part of the article that was written by Prof. Moody, an economist at William & Mary College:

If more guns cause murder, and more guns cause more murder, it would seem societies with no guns at all should be the safest possible states. There are few gun free societies in the world today. However, if we look back in history to the time before the invention of firearms, we can judge for ourselves whether those societies were tranquil and safe. Remarkably good homicide data is available for England, beginning in the 1200’s. Those data indicate a pre-gun homicide rate in England of roughly 20 per 100,000 [roughly four times greater than the U.S. today]

Firearms were introduced into England in the 1400’s and were in wide use by the 1500’s, coincident with a decline in the homicide rate to 15 per 100K. However these early guns were predominately of the matchlock design. This design featured a slow burning fuse held in a clamp at the end of a serpentine lever. When the trigger was pulled the clamp dropped down so that the end of the lit fuse touched the powder in the flash pan, firing the weapon. The design was simple and the weapons relatively inexpensive. The major problem with the design from the point of view of personal defense was that, because of the need for a lit fuse, the weapon could not be kept and carried loaded and primed for quick use against a sudden attack.

The first firearm that could be carried loaded and primed was the flintlock, introduced into England around 1630. In this design the fuse is replaced by a piece of flint. When the trigger is pulled the flint strikes a piece of steel producing a shower of sparks that ignite the powder in the flash pan. This technology persisted through the early 1800’s. While matchlocks were almost exclusively long guns, flintlock technology was readily adapted to produce handguns, which were particularly useful for self defense. The flintlock pistol was relatively inexpensive, could be comfortably carried, was ready for action in an instant, and did not require a great deal of physical strength or expertise to operate. The flintlock could be fired in an instant, making it the ideal self- defense weapon. Armed with a flintlock, the physically weak found themselves on an equal footing with the physically strong in a confrontation.

The introduction of the flintlock coincided with the largest decline in homicide in English history. The homicide rate plunged to 6 per 100K in the 1600’s. The English homicide rate continued to decline slowly and steadily until well into the 20th century. For example, in 1900 the homicide rate was 0.96 per 100K.

The last hundred years of English history tells the reverse story.

Continue reading Kates and Moody here.

Kates and Moody add something significant to John Lotts’ book More Guns, Less Crime, now in its 3rd edition. Perhaps it’s not just more guns, but more and better guns that lead to less crime.

I think it was Hamilton Felix in Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein who said “A well armed society is a polite society.” He was right.

Read the rest of Kates and Moody’s excellent article at More and Better Guns = Less Crime, European History

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UPDATE: Off-Duty Baltimore Police Officer Fatally Shoots Unarmed Marine — 13 Times

Posted in Gun Rights, Guns, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Monday, June 7, 2010, 6: 00 AM

This story, at least as reported by Baltimore Channel 11, looks like a very bad shooting. Tyrone Brown, the marine, had no weapon, there was some sort of altercation, alcohol might be involved, the officer might have been intoxicated, Brown might even have been trying to defuse the situation and might not have been a threat to the officer. The officer refused to take an alcohol test. Not good. And the officer is not identified. Why not?

Just my theory, but I maintain that in cities or communities where law-abiding citizens are disarmed, as they are in Baltimore, the police are more dangerous to law-abiding citizens than they are to criminals. Just me, I have no evidence to back that up, and even if it’s true it would only apply to some cops. I believe it, and predict that someone will prove it someday.

Question: As a group, who is more trustworthy with guns (measured by negligent discharges and illegal use of guns), CCW permit holders or cops (federal, state and local)? No unproven theories here, the answer is well established by empirical evidence. It is an astonishing answer when it is considered that screening and qualification to be a cop is much more rigorous than it is to get a CCW permit.

Please keep in mind that the initial report from WBAL TV in Baltimore might yet prove to be incomplete or misleading. It’s also possible that I’m giving in to my cognitive biases, and that news stories such as this easily serve as confirmation of that bias.

Nah, no way.

UPDATE: Killer Cop Should Have Lost His Badge 5 Years Ago Now we know why they withheld his name.

From the Baltimore Sun:

“So now we know that Baltimore Police Officer Gahiji A. Tshamba, back in 2005, was intoxicated when he shot a man in the foot during a confrontation. What we don’t yet know — and hopefully answers will come today — is how Tshamba managed to retain his badge after the incident?”

I told you so.

But what I want to know is not how he kept his badge; how did he stay out of prison?

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Students For Concealed Carry On Campus Making Headway

Posted in Government and Politics, Gun Rights, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 12: 49 PM

Students For Concealed Carry On Campus can claim credit for a more than doubling within the last week of university and college campuses allowing concealed carry by permit holders. The group sent the following in an email to Say Uncle:

I don’t know if you have seen anything about this, but the number of colleges allowing concealed carry on campus has more than doubled this week. Especially as this has not received any media coverage, I feel that this is a substantial news issue that should be covered and would be of interest to your readers. I’ve gone into more detail about this below, but feel free to email or call me at the address below for any additional information.

Prior to this week, only twelve colleges in the entire nation explicitly allowed carry of a firearm: The ten public colleges of Utah, Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia and Colorado State University. Following a substantial ruling to remove the ban at the University of Colorado, the fourteen colleges in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) voted to rescind their current ban and allow any licensed adult with a concealed carry permit to exercise that right while on campus. While I cannot find any direct news articles about it, you may link to the revised policy [here]

This action alone more than doubles the number of universities and colleges allowing concealed carry from twelve to twenty-six.

In addition, one of the two community colleges in Colorado not part of the CCCS, Aims Community College, has scheduled a meeting to make the same changes in their policies. You may view an article about [here]:

This dramatic shift follows in the wake of a ruling against a similar policy at the University of Colorado. Members of Students of Concealed Carry on Campus (Concealedcampus.org) and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (Rmgo.org) originally filed suit against the University of Colorado claiming that state law preempted any governmental entity, including the Board of Governors, from banning concealed carry license holders from possessing a firearm on campus. While the initial ruling went against the firearms activists, it was reversed on appeal.

The Colorado State University (CSU) Board of Governors originally voted to reverse the long standing policy of allowing students with state-issues concealed carry permits to possess firearms on campus shortly after the initial ruling.

Over the last seven years while the policy had been in place, crime had rapidly decreased and not a single instance of gun misuse by a licensee has been reported. The new ban was opposed by CSU’s student government, the county sheriff, the editorial boards of both the campus newspaper and the Colorado Springs Gazette, as well as more than 1,000 students who signed a petition against the ban in just a few short days. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Aberdeen Alderden [TeeJaw], was so outraged by its passage that he told local media that he intended to undermine it by refusing to book violators of the ban into his jail, which the CSU police department utilizes for arrests. In the wake of the recent ruling however, Colorado State University has reversed it’s ban on firearms.

This issue will likely continue to be fought in court. For the time being however, it appears that some Colorado students and faculty will be allowed an option for self defense and that some criminals will no longer have a governmental guarantee that their potential victims will be unarmed.

In comments by readers of Say Uncle it appears that Michigan State and Portland Community College should be added to the list.

In Wyoming it will take a change in State law before concealed carry will be legal at the University of Wyoming and the various community colleges in Wyoming. It should be done forthwith when the legislature re-convenes in 2011.

The email to Say Uncle identifies the Larimer County Sheriff as Jim “Aberdeen.” His name is Jim Alderden.

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The First Million Mom March

Posted in Self Defense by TeeJaw on Saturday, March 6, 2010, 12: 50 PM

This video is from Wednesday of this week at a Starbucks coffee shop in Seattle. Supporters and opponents clashed over Starbuck’s announcement that it will not go along with demands to prohibit customers who may legally carry firearms from bringing them into their stores. In the video a woman who supports Starbuck’s policy talks to a woman from the Million Mom March.

Whenever I hear the message of The Million Mom March, that no one should have a gun, I think of the forced march made by some Jewish moms nearly 70 years ago. It’s been called the “First Million Mom March.”

It happened at Mizocz Ghetto, Poland on October 14, 1942. These mom’s husbands were sent to labor and/or death camps. Then the moms were marched to a ravine to be shot. Some were holding infants.

After the mass shooting, some of the Jewish moms were still alive. This picture shows a German policeman shooting them.

It’s astounding that the Germans took pictures of this. The source of these photos is the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It’s also astounding that the current members of the “Million Mom March” are unmoved by them, or unmoved in any way that might be effective in assuring this sort of thing never happens again.

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New Book For Gun Owners

Posted in Culture, Government and Politics, Guns, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Monday, January 11, 2010, 12: 18 AM


On October 16, 1991 George Hennard drove his pickup truck through a plate glass window of Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. He then took out his gun and proceeded to murder 23 people.

Susan Gratia Hupp was there having lunch with her mother and father. She had a small revolver that she had been carrying in her purse for protection but left it in the glove compartment of her car that day because Texas did not have any provision for citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons at that time. She was concerned about losing her chiropractors license if she were caught carrying her gun.

When the shooting started Susan and her parents dove under the table as did most of the other patrons. At one point Hennard stopped to reload his gun and Susan realized that if she had her revolver she could have stopped him at that moment from killing more people. He finished reloading and then killed several more people, including Susan’s mother and father.

In this video Susan testifies at a Senate hearing a year later when Congress was considering the Clinton Gun Ban which became effective in 1993 and expired when Congress failed to re-enact it in 2003. Her appearance that day is noted for her comment that the Second Amendment is not about duck hunting. It begins at minute 4:45 in the video:

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Rise Of The Anti-Media: In-Forming America’s CCW Movement

Posted in Culture, Government and Politics, Guns, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Thursday, January 7, 2010, 12: 29 PM

big ccw

Lexington Books

Look for a review here as soon as I can get this book read. Also this earlier one by the same author: The National Rifle Association and the Media: The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage (Frontiers in Political Communications, Vol. 1)

In the meantime, the 5-star reviews at Amazon are worth taking a look at. (Click the pictures).

Professor Brian Anse Patrick
Department of Communication
University of Toledo

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John Stossel on Gun Control Laws And Crime

Posted in Culture, Government and Politics, Guns, Self Defense by TeeJaw on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 12: 57 PM

This video is from ABC’s 20/20 on May 20, 1977. It’s still timely, and always will be. Stossel is now with Fox Business and has a blog.

See also these recent posts: More Guns, Less Crime and Homicide Down in D.C.-Up in Baltimore

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Quote of the Day

Posted in Self Defense, Uncategorized by TeeJaw on Saturday, January 2, 2010, 4: 00 AM

sun tzu

To subdue an enemy without fighting is the highest skill.

— Sun Tzu, 2,500 years ago

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Violent Encounters and Their Avoidance

Posted in Self Defense by TeeJaw on Friday, January 1, 2010, 1: 16 PM

violent encounters

I wanted to know more about this book as soon as I saw that the first chapter is entitled “Awareness is Your Best Defense.” I have always liked the advice given by veteran firearms trainer John Farnam who counsels that the best way to avoid a violent encounter is not to be there when it happens. In order to not be there requires personal mental preparation by thinking in advance about situations where you may be compelled to use force in order to save your life. Avoidance is possible if you see trouble far enough in advance.

The book is divided into three logical sections. Section One is “Before Violence Occurs,” Section Two is “During a Violent Encounter,” and Section Three is “The Aftermath of Violence.” This last section should be important. The chapters include such subjects as dealing with the police, finding a good attorney, and understanding that courts are about resolution, not justice.

The reader reviews are also good so I plan to read this book. After that I’ll report on it again. It’s available on Kindle.

UPDATE: I now have read it and found it to be very good. I wasn’t as interested in the second section as the first and third because at my age I have to depend on my common sense to stay out of trouble and will have to rely on my wits to get out it if I can’t avoid it. I believe that in order to do anything you must be able to see yourself doing it and I can’t see myself doing many of the things that are discussed in the second section. One, because I’m too squeamish and two, because they require skills that I won’t take the time to learn. But for those who can see themselves learning and performing martial arts maneuvers, there are some good tips in there. The third section on the aftermath of a violent encounter is a tutorial of matters everyone who is at risk of being involved in a violent incident should have spent some time thinking and reading about. Everyone who either stays home or goes somewhere is at some risk of needing to know the stuff that is covered there, and I think the authors did a good job with it.

While reading the first section I often thought, “Well, this is pretty much common sense, what’s new?” But then I remembered that my common sense is not everyone’s. I’ve stayed out of trouble in life by knowing and doing most of the stuff the authors talk about in section one of the book. But a lot of others, especially testosterone driven young men, don’t have that same common sense, at least judging by some of the things I read about them doing. Since I once was one of those young men I also have some memories to back that up.

The third section contains information that cannot be derived from common sense alone. Here the reader will likely learn some new information that will prove valuable should they be so unfortunate as to need it someday.

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