A New Group Promoting Gun Control? Yea, Right.

A new group has just popped up in the gun world.  It’s a 501c3 organization and its mission statement reads as follows:

“Reduce incidents of suicide by firearms, gun negligence through education and proactive programs that identify risks, raise awareness, and provide solutions to those who choose to own firearms responsibly and the public at large.”

colionThis has got to be another bunch of tree-hugging, gun-grabbing liberals, right? Wrong.  In fact, the Board of Directors reads like a standard group of pro-gun activists right out of central casting, including a a lawyer, John Renzulli, who defends the gun industry in negligence cases; Colion Noir, the NRA spieler who prances around in various videos proclaiming the joys of arming yourself for self-defense; the head of the national gun wholesaler’s association, Kenyon Gleason; and a self-proclaimed gun training expert, Rob Pincus, who sells a whole swatch of videos that are a cross between the usual shooting games combined with messaging which extolls the virtues of 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

These new-found promoters of what Gun-control Nation likes to refer to as ‘gun sense’ also claim to have “created alliances between the leading experts and organizations in the Firearms and Mental Health Industries,” although the website does not contain the name of a single mental health organization or expert whatsoever. There is a Board member named Suzanne Lewis, who claims to be ‘very passionate’ about mental health issues; maybe she represents the alliance between guns and mental health. Nobody else on the current Board of Directors appears to have any connection to the mental health ‘industry’ at all.

On the other hand, this group, which claims to represent a ‘catalyst for change,’ does include several guys whose work, it can safely be said, has been fundamental in helping to embed the idea of self-defense gun ownership as a positive and joyous thing. The lawyer John Renzulli, for example, was the lead attorney in the Hamilton v. Accu-Tek case, which ultimately resulted in the gun industry being exempted from class-action suits. Want to get an idea about how Colion Noir pushes guns for the NRA? Watch his disgusting NRA video where he openly taunts the Parkland kids for using their 1st-Amendment freedoms to criticize the 2nd-Amendment ‘rights’ of Colion and his friends.  The only alliance that this loud-mouth could ever make with mental health professionals are with the mental health professionals who still believe that solitary confinement works wonders on the criminal brain.

I would like to believe that this foray into the gun-sense landscape will quickly come to an end with a quiet, little thud. But I’m not so sure. The fact that a spokesman for the NRA, along with the head of a major, gun industry trade group and a lawyer whose firm participates in just about every litigation attempt to defend gun products have publicly stated their intention to “develop programs for suicide prevention, firearms negligence, trauma mitigation, and child safety,” tells me that the strident and uncompromising stance of the NRA may be coming to an end.

I don’t have any evidence for what I am about to say, but there is simply no way that this new group of pro-gun activists would be out there promoting a strategy right out of the gun-control playbook if they first hadn’t reached some understanding with the gun industry’s Powers That Be. After all, Kenyon Gleason runs the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) which means his salary is paid by the national gun wholesalers responsible for every one of those shiny, new guns ending up on the local gun shop’s shelves.

For the past thirty years, the gun industry has been promoting itself through fearsome messaging about a world without guns. Maybe the industry now wants to test a different approach, namely, a world without the unsafe use of guns. Anyone believing such nonsense would feel right at home living with the Martians at Area 51,  but maybe Sleazy Don Trump is building a luxury hotel there right now.

 

 

 

 

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Stopping Kavanaugh And Stopping Gun Violence Isn’t The Same Thing.

This may come as a rather rude shock to many of my Gun-control Nation friends, but I am increasingly convinced that the best thing which could have ever happened to the folks who want to see an end to gun violence was the election of Sleazy Don Trump. The reason I say that is because the pro-gun noisemakers had a field day when they were behaving like attack dogs against the so-called Obama regime. But now the Red Team offense is being forced to play defense and things are no longer what they seemed.

kavanaugh1             To begin with, gun sales are in the toilet, there’s simply no other way to describe what’s going on.  Want to buy a new, brand-name AR? It used to set you back $700 and change to get one from DPMS, now the asking piece is down around $400 bucks.  One of the guns which the kids love to carry around in the street, the Kel-Tec 9, is running around two Franklins; it used to cost three.

Here are some interesting numbers:  1,186,000 – 903,000 – 839,000.  Those are the FBI-NICS handgun and long gun background checks for August 2016, 2017 and this past month.  That’s a month-to-month drop of 30 percent. We used to have a joke in the gun business that if you wanted to make a million, start with two million.  Guess what?  It’s all of a sudden not such a joke.

And last but not least, we have the boys in Fairfax, who all of a sudden find their membership dues dwindling away, with a decline from $163 million in 2016 to $128 million last year. And since annual dues are now $40 and a certain percentage of members paid a one-time Life Member fee at some point in the past, there is simply no way that America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ has 5 million members, or even 4 million dues-paying souls.

Although we won’t really know how this will play out until November 6th, what may be giving the real impetus to the decline in the fortunes of Gun-nut Nation may be the degree to which the narrative promoting a lessening of interest in guns and shooting is clearly strengthened by the opposition to Sleazy Don Trump.  No matter what my gun-grabbing friends may believe, Brett Kavanaugh’s comments about assault rifles during his confirmation hearing was straight out of the standard, Republican playbook on how and why assault rifles are nothing other than a legal type of gun.

And before everyone in Gun-control Nation goes ape over adding another pro-gun conservative to the Supreme Court, let’s not forget that it was a conservative Supreme Court which refused to overturn the AR ban enacted by Highland Park. And the Highland Park law wasn’t one of those grandfather deals like the 1994 assault weapons ban; the law said that either you got rid of your AR or you got out of town. And by the way, the SCOTUS upheld the Highland Park ban by a vote of 6 – 2, not some kind of 5 – 4 ‘thank you Justice Kennedy’ swing vote.

Don’t get me wrong, okay? I’m no friend of the Federalist Society and if Kavanaugh turns out to be a drunk, a liar, a serial abuser or all three, he can do us all a favor, pack up and disappear.  Or better yet, his Republican sponsors can tell him to go take a hike in Rock Creek Park.

But let’s make one thing very clear. You could have nine Supreme Court justices with the temperament and political savvy of my personal hero – Ruthie B. Ginsburg – and such an alignment wouldn’t change the reality of gun violence one, tiny bit. We didn’t get to the point where 125,000+ gun injuries each year have become the norm because the Supreme Court is tilted this way or that. And my gun-control friends shouldn’t lull themselves into thinking that opposing Kavanaugh (or opposing Sleazy Don, for that matter) represents a victory for what is referred to as ‘gun sense.’  Because at the end of the day, the guns are still out there….

Coming Soon.

From My Cold Dead Hands 978-1-53614-574-8

A New Book On Gun Violence.

From My Cold Dead Hands 978-1-53614-574-8

This new book will be released shortly and will be available both in print and e-book editions.  The 60,000-word text is an attempt to provide both sides of the gun debate with what I believe is lacking in the argument over gun violence, namely, an understanding of the industry which produces the instruments of gun violence – the guns themselves.

Although I have no issue with regulating any industry whose products may cause threats to health, be it physical, financial or psychological health, in the case of the gun industry I find that most of what both sides claim to be the path to proper regulation is based on nothing more than what they hope to achieve, rather than what their regulatory strategies, if enacted, will bring about.

On the pro-gun side, there is simply no connection between letting everyone walk around with a gun and protecting society from crime. Of course one can always produce examples of how some likely crime was thwarted because a guy or a gal pulled out a gun in the nick of time. So what?  All this proves is that, at one moment, the existence of a gun might have made the difference in the outcome of a particular criminal event.

On the gun-control side, the evidence that keeping guns out of the ‘wrong hands’ will make a difference is equally scant. You can run all the regression analyses you want to using this data and that. What you’ll get is a very tidy way to describe the behavior of two trends over time, and anyone who then claims that description should be accepted as causality at least should hedge their academic bets.

I hate to sound like Sarah Palin who still believes that her experience managing the family budget gave her everything she needed to figure out what to do about the federal debt, but I started writing about gun violence because many, if not most of what I experienced in more than  50 years in the gun business, simply did not square with what I kept hearing and reading from advocates on both sides of the debate.

The truth is, or at least the truth as I see it, is that the lack of knowledge about the industry that one side attacks while the other side defends, is borne out first and foremost by a basic failure on both sides to divulge what they really believe and think about guns. If I had a nickel for every time that a gun-control advocate like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton said they ‘supported’ the 2nd Amendment, when in fact, the last thing they ever wanted to support was the ‘right’ to ‘keep and bear arms,’ I wouldn’t still be working for a living. For that matter, the idea that we should allow every ‘law-abiding’ citizen to walk around with a gun because an armed citizen is simply exercising his ‘civil rights,’ is equally absurd.

Know how many Americans bought hunting licenses in 1958?  Try around 14 million. Know how many bought licenses last year? About the same. Meanwhile, over these sixty years, the population of the United States has grown by slightly more than 50 percent. Is it any wonder that the gun industry keeps itself in business, and also keeps the gun-control movement alive and well, by promoting guns as a real-live version of a video game?

For all the terror, grief and trauma engendered by mass shootings (and I am in no way understating the tragedies of such events,) for most of us, the United States remains a remarkably safe and secure place to live, grow up and grow old. Which is all the more reason why gun violence needs to be understood and controlled. Hopefully, my new book will serve as a small contribution in that respect.

 

Want To Understand Gun Violence? Understand The Guns.

If there’s one issue which breaks the gun-violence debate into two aides, it’s how we explain the connection between gun ownership and violence caused by guns. According to public health researchers like David Hemenway, et. al., the United States suffers from an extraordinarily high rate of gun violence because we have so many guns.  We are the only country with a per-capita ownership rate of nearly 100 percent, thus we have gun violence that is three to seven times higher than any other advanced nation-state. The other side, led by Gary Kleck and John Lott, argues that because we have so many guns, we have a less-than-average rate of violent crime because citizen-protectors keep us all safe and sound.

browning              I have just posted a detailed paper on the Social Science Research Network, which represents the first time that anyone has attempted to look at gun violence by understanding the behavior of the perpetrators or the suffering of the victims, but by the type of the gun-violence instrument itself, namely, the gun. This research was based on a remarkable collection of documents published by our friends at The Trace, who collected inventories 846,353 guns collected by 1,054 police agencies between 2010 and 2016.

What emerges from this research are several discoveries which, speaking bluntly, turns some of the most cherished notions held by Gun-control Nation on their heads. The first notion is the idea that the existence of any and every civilian-owned gun might be a threat to public security and health. After all, that’s the assumption which underlies the idea that more guns results in more gun violence, right?  Wrong.

I did a word search of the entire listing of 846,353 guns using these five words: Remington 700, the Ruger 77, the Winchester 70, the Marlin 1894 and the Savage 11. These five rifles(in their different variations)  probably represent 10 percent of the entire American  gun stock in circulation today, and altogether the words came up exactly five times. Of course we have to assume that the cops sometimes don’t get the names right or other times simply forget to write down the manufacturer’s name at all. But let’s be honest folks – the bottom line is that there’s simply no way that the 160 million or so hunting guns play any role in gun violence at all.

The research also turned up the fact that at least one-third of all ‘crime’ guns have been in the civilian arsenal since long before any information was developed which would allow the ATF or the local cops to conduct anything remotely considered to be a so-called gun ‘trace.’ This is because guns have a funny way of not wearing out and many of these crime guns have been floating around since long before gun makers were required to keep records covering who bought their guns. Ever hear of a 4-shot derringer called the Brownie and manufactured by Mossberg between 1922 and 1930? Of course you haven’t, but 40 of these little bangers were picked up by the Chicago cops in 2014.

I didn’t publish these findings to contradict or devalue the research on gun violence done by public health. To the contrary, their work needs to be read, shared and fully discussed. But what also needs to be considered is that creating a more effective regulatory system for reducing gun violence is simply not possible without developing and implementing policies that regulate the instruments of this violence – the guns.

What this research points up is that every category of gun violence is primarily a function of access to concealable handguns, and we make no distinction whatsoever in how we regulate access to these weapons as opposed to all other types of guns. The guy who walks into my gun shop and buys a broken, old shotgun because he has an extra Jackson in his billfold jumps through the exact, same legal hoops that someone jumps through who buys a Glock 19 with five extra, hi-cap mags.  That’s a regulatory system which is bound to fail.

Want To Reduce Gun Violence? Buy A Knife.

Yesterday I received an email from a company in California offering to send me a brand new knife which, according to the message, is the best and most reliable weapon I will ever need to protect me from all kinds of harm.  And the knife is free!  I just have to pay a small shipping charge and I get this awesome, personal-defense product as my very own.

knife              Where did the company get my email address?  From Armslist, the internet gun Craigslist, where thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people try to sell their guns. I have been a Craigslist member since the website first started up and have actually both bought and sold several guns on the site.  Don’t worry, they were all legal sales.  But knives are different from guns – as lethal as a knife may be, most jurisdictions don’t require any kind of licensing at all.

What struck me about the knife giveaway, however, was the ad which then appeared on my computer monitor after I placed my order for the ‘fight fast’ knife.  Because for the paltry price of just $129, which is a lot less than what I would pay for the latest Michael Jordan Retro 13 sneaker, I can get an Extreme Survival Package, an essential set of tools to keep me and my family alive when “the real horror and chaos of an actual meltdown sinks in, you’ll suddenly realize you’ve been thrown back into the stone age.”

What this survival package allows you to do is “cross even rugged terrain with total confidence,” then “construct a temporary hide site,” also “keep your team protected from infiltrators,” and most important, get “alerted in advance” if someone has “infiltrated your territory.”  And all of this for the ridiculously low price of $129!!

Let me just interject a point of reality here, which is that I have always wanted to get the franchise for renting those electric chairs which people ride around in at the NRA show. Because most of the folks who rent those automated walking-machines don’t have some kind of physical infirmity with their legs – they are simply too fat to walk anywhere under their own steam. No matter how many pounds you need to lose, if you want to feel really thin, just go to a gun show and wander around, looking at the people, not just the guns. And these are the folks that the ‘fight fast’ knife company believes need to negotiate ‘rugged’ terrain?

Back in the 1980’s, when the gun industry first realized that most sporting hunters were either dead or now living in suburbs or simply too old to hunt, they cocked up the idea that a gun was still an essential piece of equipment because, sooner or later, everyone would meet up with a bad guy who would attack hem unless they were armed.  The latest version of that nonsense comes from idiot Dana Loesch (no surprise) who claims that an assault-rifle ban is just another attempt to prevent women from protecting themselves in instances of domestic abuse.  God only knows how Dana actually spouts such crap with a straight face.

I am beginning to believe that the ‘armed citizen’ marketing of guns is morphing into a new message which combines the threat of criminality with the coming breakdown of civilization, an apocalypse  that can only be prevented if we take necessary measures to keep ourselves and our loved ones protected from harm.

It turns out that a healthy majority of Americans now believe, according to Pew Research, that more than 80% of American senior citizens believe that video gaming contributes to gun violence. Meanwhile, more than 40% of American adults play shooting games, and many of these games revolve around various survivalist themes.

What’s the difference between cranking up the video console to play Frostpunk and buying an essential, Fightfast survival kit?  The video game only costs ten bucks but every marketer will tell you there’s nothing more American than selling up.

 

Thanks to Shaun Dakin for mentioning the video survey on Pew.

 

Land Reform and Farm Murders in South Africa: The Untold Story of the Boers and the ANC

See the original story on Ammo.com here.

South African farm murders have long been a niche cause on the Internet, and the country has made headlines again due to a South African government plan to seize the land of white farmers under the guise of “South African land reform.”

News of these farm murders and land seizures have gained steam with the release of Lauren Southern’s documentary Farmlands. And United States President Donald Trump has brought even more attention to the plight of Afrikaners with his tweet that he would be looking into the South African land and farm seizure.

ANC1Most people don’t know much about the history of South Africa beyond the simplistic propaganda of the 1980s – white South Africans bad, ANC good. The history and current situation of South Africa, however, is much more complex.

Defining Terms: Who Are the Key Players?

Before going any further, terms should be defined and the key players identified:

  • ANC: The African National Congress, the leading party in South Africa since the end of apartheid.
  • Afrikaners: Dutch-, German- and French Huguenot-descended white South Africans who primarily speak a language called Afrikaans.
  • Bantu: A group of black South Africans including the Xhosa (of which Nelson Mandela was a member) who originally lived in the northeast of the country.
  • Boers: A subset of Afrikaners who still lead a rural and agricultural existence.
  • Democratic Alliance: Currently the second-largest party in the South African parliament, the Democratic Alliance is a broad-based centrist party that is comparatively economically liberal for South Africa. It enjoys broad, multiracial support, though it is most popular among all racial minorities – white, Coloured and Indian. Its black supporters are often derided as “clever blacks” by ANC supporters.
  • EFF: The Economic Freedom Fighters, a far-left political party in South Africa that has pushed the South African government to seize land from white farmers. Sometimes derisively called “Everything for Free,” the EFF is the third-largest party in South Africa, but is poised to become the second.
  • Khoisan: A popular name for the original inhabitants of most of the territory now known as South Africa. This is not an ethnic designation, but a linguistic one. These are who the Dutch settlers first encountered.

A Brief History of South Africa: From Early Settlement to the Boer War

ANC2To understand the current situation in South Africa, it is important to first understand the country before, during and after apartheid.

South Africa’s modern history begins with the Dutch East India Company, which established trading posts for sailors along the coast. Dutchmen soon started settling the area, with little, if any, conflict with the native Khoisan population. Dutch settlers, however, quickly came into conflict with the Dutch East India Company’s authoritarian rule.

Freedom-seeking Dutch settlers moved north starting in the 17th Century. In 1852, Boers founded the South African Republic (known as the “Transvaal Republic”) and then the Orange Free State in 1854. These are called “Boer Republics” and they, in turn, came into conflict with both southward-expanding Bantu tribes (most notably the Zulu, who were in the process of conquering other nearby Bantu tribes) and the British Empire.

White South Africans” are typically treated as a monolith, but there are two main, distinct groups: The Afrikaans-speaking Afrikaners and the English-speaking British. Indeed, there were intense hostilities between these two groups, especially after the Second Boer War when the Boer Republics were reforged as British colonies.

Telling the Afrikaners to “go home” is a nonsensical statement. They are not Dutch. They do not hold Dutch passports, nor would they at any point have been welcomed back by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In many regions of South Africa, the Afrikaners have been around longer than the Bantus and have a stronger claim on the land, having purchased it from Khoisans. On the other hand, traditionally Bantu land was conquered from other Bantu tribes or taken by the Bantus from the Khoisans.

A Brief History of South Africa: The Boer Wars

“The Boer Wars” refers to two wars between the Boer Republics and the British Empire, but mostly the second one. The first was a rout for the Boers and left the British Empire with egg on their face. They would not be embarrassed a second time.

The first concentration camps were built for Boers. Not just any Boers, but primarily the wives and children of Boer Commandos (irregular guerilla troops) fighting the British Empire. The strategy was simple: Lock up their women and children, and they will lose their will to fight.

It worked. Adding insult to injury, the most publicized photo of the concentration camps, a picture of seven-year-old Lizzie van Zyl nearly starved to death, was touted in the British press as evidence of parental neglect by the Boers. There was great international outcry against the British during the Boer War, but it never amounted to much.

Boer Republics were reconstituted as British colonies. In 1910, three British colonies were unified as the Union of South Africa. After World War I, South West Africa, today known as Namibia, was administered effectively as a fifth province of South Africa, but for obscure reasons never integrated. South Rhodesia voted on membership, nearly joining, but the argument that it would become “the Ulster of Africa” proved too powerful. The history of South Africa is largely that of a rebellious and unhappy British Dominion until 1948.

A Brief History of South Africa: Enter Apartheid

ANC3“Apartheid” is an Afrikaans word meaning “separateness.” It was a series of laws drafted beginning in 1948, after the success of the Afrikaner-heavy National Party in the national elections. There was a split in the party between those who favored apartheid as it happened versus those who favored complete separation, including parallel governance. The former won out in no small part due to a thirst for cheap black labor.

Most people know the basics of apartheid, but they are worth going over briefly here: South Africans were classified into one of four racial categories: white, black, Coloured (a non-pejorative term in South Africa, meaning roughly “mixed race”) and Asian or Indian. In 1949, mixed marriages were outlawed with cross-racial intercourse outlawed the following year. In 1953, amenities were segregated by law. Increasingly, the blacks of South Africa were segregated into townships and Bantustans, the latter being nominally independent “homelands” for Africans. This meant that as foreign nationals, in the eyes of the Union of South Africa, they were required to carry documentation to work in South Africa and needed to leave after they were done.

Coloureds, who had the vote, were slowly disenfranchised. Indians and other Asians were never allowed to vote.

Between the end of World War II and the declaration of a republic in 1961, internal politics were dominated by the division between conservative republican Afrikaners and liberal monarchist British whites. Apartheid enjoyed greater support among Afrikaners and less among British South Africans. British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s “Wind of Change” speech increased support for apartheid among British South Africans because of a sense of abandonment by the homeland. Many were upset at being forced by the British government to choose between South African and British citizenship and passports.

Still, none of this amounted to what the National Party hoped to achieve – a cohesive and united white South African identity. Support for apartheid was always tepid among British South Africans.

It is certainly true that notions of racial superiority were a prime motivator for apartheid, but there was another factor in play: Communism. The Suppression of Communism Act was passed by the first apartheid government, banning any Communist organization. The Act took a broad view of what constituted “Communism.” However, given the infiltration of mass movements, particularly in the developing world at the beginning of the Cold War, this is perhaps less cynical than it is commonly made out to be. The Act was used to suppress the African National Congress, something we will talk about in detail later.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Afrikaner society is fundamentally and deeply conservative. Pornography and gambling were illegal in apartheid-era South Africa. Most businesses could not open on Sundays. Abortion, homosexuality and reproductive education were tightly regulated. There was no television until 1976, as this was believed to be immoral and a vehicle of Communism. English-language programming was seen as a threat to Afrikaans culture.

A Brief History of South Africa: The Rise of the ANC and Nelson Mandela

ANC4The Suppression of Communism Act was the instrument used to outlaw the African National Congress. While the ANC is typically thought of as a democratic-liberal organization, this is simply not true.

The ANC’s closest ally was the South African Communist Party. Indeed, Nelson Mandela, the face of anti-apartheid resistance, was not only a member of the SACP, he served on its Central Committee, something he denied for decades. The SACP has never to this day contested its own candidates in South Africa, instead fielding their people on ANC slates.

What’s more, the SACP partnered with the ANC in forming Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), the paramilitary wing of the anti-apartheid movement.

The average person on the street likely thinks that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned simply for being black or opposing apartheid. In fact, he was imprisoned for a bombing campaign carried out by Umkhonto we Sizwe, of which he was the head. In fact, Nelson Mandela was convicted of 193 acts of terrorism. He was offered his freedom multiple times on the simple condition that he condemn terrorist attacks against the apartheid regime. He refused every time.

The ANC was not the only organization in South Africa opposed to apartheid. Many white South Africans saw the system as unsustainable. However, outside of South Africa, the situation was largely posed by the media as a question of “apartheid forever or the ANC.”

The ANC and its allies in the Communist Party and the trade union congress COSATU (known as the tripartite alliance) were not the only alternative to the ruling National Party and thus apartheid. The Progressive Federal Party was the main parliamentary opposition to apartheid, which, as the name implies, was in favor of a federated South Africa. The New Republic Party was likewise in favor of power sharing and oriented toward reconciliation with the Commonwealth.

The New Republic Party and the Progressive Federal Party were also bitter enemies. The New Republic Party was a conservative party denounced as racists by the Progressive Federal Party. The Progressive Federal Party was a liberal party derided by the NRP with the nickname “Packing for Perth,” due to the impression that their members were all emigrating to Australia. Two-thirds of South African whites supported some sort of federalism or power sharing, but moderate elements never received any international support.

Nor was the ANC the sole representative of South African blacks. Zulu nationalists, currently represented by the Inkatha Freedom Party, were often bitter enemies of the ANC by the 1980s. Many black South Africans served in the police force and other aspects of the government, leading to the rise of a barbaric form of retribution known as “necklacing.” This is filling a tire with gasoline, hanging it around the neck of a suspected collaborator or political opponent, and lighting the tire on fire. Death can take several hours.

Winnie Mandela, then-wife of Nelson Mandela, declared that “With our boxes of matches, and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country.” This caused the ANC to create some distance between itself and her, but ultimately she was given further positions in the movement and the ANC government.

A Brief History of South Africa: The ANC in the Saddle

ANC5In 1994, the African National Congress took power in South Africa. At this time, its paramilitary organization was integrated into the country’s regular defense forces. Convicted bomber Robert McBride, praised by no less than IRA terrorist Martin McGuinness, is the Executive Director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. Touted as the “Rainbow Nation,” the fall of apartheid in South Africa was part of an overall feeling of optimism throughout the world surrounding the Fall of Communism.

However, not everything was roses in the new Republic of South Africa. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was an attempt to lay bare the crimes of the apartheid regime. The tribunal, which did not dispense with sentences, but merely sought to find the truth, has been criticized for not dispensing any justice. Neither former National Party government members nor ANC partisans were punished by the Commission.

The elephant in the room at all times was an overwhelming increase in the crime rate. The term “rape gate” entered popular parlance as South Africans installed panic room doors on their bedrooms. Crime is the main reason for emigration from South Africa. The 2013 murder rate was seven times that of the United States, the 11th highest in the world. Between 2005 and 2015, over 200,000 South Africans were murdered – this in a country of about 50 million. There were over 17,000 murders in 2013 alone. Compare this to just over 14,000 in the United States during the same year, despite the fact that South Africa’s population is approximately equivalent to two states – California and Texas.

This is only the official murder rate. Many suspect that the rate is higher, due to a disengagement from formal policing and a reliance upon private security firms. Quality of public services has likewise deteriorated, with rolling blackouts being the norm in South Africa.

The ANC presides over what is potentially the largest welfare state in the world, according to economist Mike Schussler in 2010. Six percent (3.3 million South Africans) of the population pays 99 percent of the taxes, while 31 percent (16.4 million) receive social grants. This means there are five South Africans receiving welfare for every one paying taxes. 71 percent of South African children live in houses where no adult is employed.

South Africa has a sweeping affirmative action quota program. Employee demographics must, under the South African Employment Equity Act, represent the racial demographics of South Africa as a whole. This means that, for example, the national power company was pressured to fire a number of skilled white engineers, while the country was going through rolling blackouts. The country currently has a labor shortage of approximately 800,000 skilled workers.

The affirmative action program has not lead to a significant increase in the number of skilled black technical workers. In 1994, 15 percent of black South Africans held skilled technical positions. In 2014, this percentage had increased to 18. Meanwhile, between 1992 and 1997, the number of skilled technical degrees dropped by 13 percent while the number of degrees in public administration and social services skyrocketed by 199 percent.

Finally, the specter of corruption has hung over the ANC regime. Scandals surrounding the ANC government have included bribery in arms deals, the abolition of a task force dedicated to organized crime and corruption, sexual misconduct including criminal charges, and using government and civil organizations to fight its political opponents, particularly those in the Democratic Alliance.

What Are the South African Farm Murders?

ANC6It is currently twice as dangerous to be a South African farmer than a South African police officer. The murder rate among South African farmers is three times that of the standard murder rate in South Africa, which is already one of the highest in the world.

The government claims the motives for the farm attacks are robbery. However, this does not pass muster. Farm attacks frequently include raping the female members of the household – including young children – while forcing the male members of the household to watch. The victims are often then tortured to death in front of each other. Farmers claim police response to these attacks is sluggish at best and nonexistent at worse. The government stopped collecting statistics about farm murders in 2008.

What’s more, the attacks on white farmers in South Africa tend to have pitched levels of brutality about them. Without getting too lost in the weeds of the grizzly details, it’s worth mentioning some of the more grotesque attacks on farmers at least in passing:

  • In 2012, a 12-year-old boy was drowned in boiling water after watching both his parents murdered and his mother raped.
  • A 56-year-old grandmother was gang raped during a robbery netting approximately $2,000.
  • Five men sexually assaulted a woman in front of her 5-year-old son over the course of an hour and a half.
  • Over the course of six hours, a woman was tortured by having her skin cut off, raped and had her feet power drilled.
  • A 66-year-old man was beaten to death in front of his wife. She escaped being gang raped by saying that she had HIV.
  • Bedridden Alice Lotter, 76, and her daughter Helen, 57 were tortured to death over several hours, including by being stabbed in the genitals with a broken glass bottle. One had one of her breasts removed while still alive. “Kill the Boer” was painted on the wall in their blood.
  • Knowledge Mandlazi went on a killing spree in 2014, murdering five whites and stating that “My hate for white people made me rob and kill.” He held up his middle finger to surviving victims in the courtroom.

Another common form of attack is the land invasion. In one example, 100 men began squatting land. The farmer did the sensible thing and left. Who could blame him in the kind of environment described above?

Far from being a “white nationalist conspiracy theory,” farm attacks have been reported on and denounced by Human Rights Watch and former Australian Prime Minister Tony AbbotAfriforum, a wing of Christian trade union Solidarity, likewise reports on farm attacks regularly.

What Is Behind the South African Farm Attacks?

Anti-white racism is a popular current in mainstream South African politics. The song “Kill the Farmer, Kill the Boer” is still publicly sung, despite this being declared a hate crime. The traditional means of protecting rural South Africans, the commando units, were disbanded in 2003, leaving many South African farmers with no protection.

Anti-white rhetoric in South Africa is very real and very mainstream. Here are a few examples:

Compare this with the woman sentenced to three years in prison for calling someone a “kaffir.” It’s not surprising that some South Africans have begun getting trained by Israeli commandos to protect themselves and their property.

What Are the Farm Seizures?

The South African Constitution has recently been amended to allow for Soviet-style expropriations of farms without compensation. Zulu lands are specifically exempted.

This is a bit nonsensical for two reasons. Many white South Africans have been in South Africa longer than most Americans have been in America. Second, the dominant black ethnic group, the Bantus, doesn’t have a strong claim to most of the land in South Africa – the Khoisans would, but they sold it to the Boers or had it conquered by the British. This is as if the U.S. government started seizing land from white families in upstate New York traditionally belonging to the Iroquois and giving it out to the Cherokee.

Still, despite the fact that farm seizures are precisely the means by which Zimbabwe ended up in such a failed state, there seems to be no stopping farm seizures in South Africa. Perhaps worst of all, there are rumors that South Africa’s banks intend to collect mortgage payments even after properties have been confiscated.

In the final analysis, the farm seizures in South Africa aren’t just about dispossessing an unpopular, market dominant racial minority – though that would be disturbing enough. It’s also a threat to South Africa’s incredibly fragile democracy. The ANC is a dominant party with little chance of losing elections and thus, little reason to behave accountably. Add to this the lack of a broad-based middle class with a vested interest in strong property rights, and you have a recipe for kleptocracy and starvation.

Bibliography

 

 

Will More Laws Reduce Gun Violence? Amnesty Thinks So.

Now that everyone is convinced that the Congress will turn blue in November and some degree of political sanity will be restored, the hopes of my friends in Gun-nut Nation that a more rational method can be found to reduce gun violence are once again rising to the fore. To bolster this belief (and maybe it will come true) everyone is now producing a report of some kind which promotes the idea that we need better laws and regulations in order to reduce the violence caused by guns.

amnesty1The latest entry into the ‘more laws equals less gun violence’ sweepstakes comes from Amnesty International, an organization whose anti-violence creds are above reproach.  When it comes to pushing for a more just and humane world, the folks at Amnesty are the real deal and nothing that I am going to say should in any way be taken to raise the slightest doubts about the value of their work, okay?

Be that as it may, their just-released report, In the Line of Fire – Human Rights and the U.S. Gun Violence Crisis, should be read by everyone, but also should be read with care. And the reason for my concern has nothing to do with their basic argument, i.e., that our failure to adopt a comprehensive, regulatory system to control guns is a fundamental violation of human rights. Rather, it is the degree to which the report promotes an unstinting belief in the idea that we can legislate our way out of the gun-violence mess. Which also happens to be the approach not only of all the major gun-control advocacy organizations, but also serves as the basis for most of the public health gun research upon which these organizations depend.

With all due respect, I don’t agree that new gun-control laws will necessarily change the situation at all. And the reason I don’t agree is that I have yet to read a single piece of research on gun violence which shows that after a new gun regulation is passed in a particular jurisdiction, that gun violence in that jurisdiction actually went down. Note the use of the word ‘actually.’  What this means is that one can make a definitive cause-and-effect connection between an event – a new gun regulation, and a trend – the gun-violence rate, over time.

I know all the studies which purport to prove that states with more restrictive gun laws experience less violence caused by guns. I also know all the studies which again purport to prove that when a state passes a permit process that allegedly slows down how quick it is to buy a gun, that impulsive gun suicides also go down.

These studies prove nothing of the sort.  They are counter-factual regression analyses using synthetic controls, which basically estimate that if a certain state had not passed a certain law, then the rate of gun violence affected by that law would have remained the same as the rate of gun violence in states that didn’t pass the same law. Know what happened in Colorado after the state passed a comprehensive background check in 2014?  The gun homicide rate didn’t go down, it went up – to the tune of 50 percent!

Before you accuse me of selling out to the pro-gun side, or trying to promote John Lott, or any of the other angry comments I invariably receive whenever I tell Gun-control Nation that maybe, just maybe, they don’t know all that much about guns, let me make myself very clear. I am not opposed to regulating or correcting any dangerous human behavior by passing and enforcing  proper laws. But I am opposed and won’t back down from the idea that you can’t say that a certain law will work just because you want it to work. Gun violence isn’t going away because all those law-abiding gun owners will obey another law.  After all, if you don’t own a gun, when was the last time you passed a background check?

Does Gun Violence Include Defending Yourself With A Gun?

Want to know the basic issue dividing Gun-nut Nation and Gun-control Nation?  It’s whether or not guns are good things or and things to have around the house. The whole argument gets down to that.  Period.

VPC logo            In 1992 and 1993, Art Kellerman and Fred Ricard published two articles which claimed that higher rates of gun homicide and gun suicide were found in homes with guns. Then Gary Kleck published an article in which he claimed that armed citizens prevented upwards of 2.5 million crimes each year. And these three pieces of research, alternately applauded and damned by pro-gun and anti-gun activists, still continue to set the parameters for what the argument about guns is all about.

The latest contribution to the debate is a brief report just issued by our friends at the Violence Policy Center, which says that “for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 334 criminal homicides.”  In other words, the positive social utility of gun ownership is clearly outweighed a ton by the negative social utility of guns. The data behind this proposition comes from the usual suspects – the CDC and the FBI.

I would be a little careful about using FBI data on justifiable homicides, if only because their numbers on the other category of justifiable shootings which is called ‘legal intervention,’ and that means civilians being shot by cops, may be off by as much as half.  At least this is what is claimed by the Washington Post which has been tracking police gun-violence for several years. But anyway, back to the VPC report.

I would be the last person to promote the idea that armed citizens should be considered as a protective shield against violence or crime. That someone could maybe hit an unmoving, paper target and then walk around ready to take on society’s enemies with a real gun is nothing more than a stupid, childish fantasy except it’s being played out in real-life terms. Want to pretend you’re ready to blow away all the bad guys?  Go to a video arcade and play one of the shooting machines.

Unfortunately, the VPC report comparing what one might call offensive gun use (OGU) to what has often been called defensive gun use (DGU) is based on a comparison which doesn’t conform to what the two sides say about how personal-defense guns are used. The DGU supporters basically argue that just about all the successful events where a gun prevents a crime don’t actually involve anyone getting shot at all. Gary Kleck’s famous (or infamous) DGU study found that a gun was discharged in a DGU event less than 15% of the time.

When the VPC defines a DGU as an event when a gun is discharged and then compares such events to all the gun homicides committed each year, of course the difference in numbers is enormous to the point that there’s really no comparison at all. But if there ever was an orange to apples comparison in the gun world, this is it. The whole point of using non-shooting DGU numbers to promote the positive social utility of guns, is that you don’t have to rely on any real data at all. And this is where things get difficult for our friends in Gun-control Nation, because the folks at the VPC and other advocacy organizations would like to believe that people can be persuaded to support reasonable gun-control policies because, after all, arguments are won and lost based on facts.

In the case of guns, the facts really have no bearing on the debate. How else do you explain that a majority of Americans really believe that access to a gun keeps you and your family safe? Until and unless the VPC and like-minded groups explain this remarkable instance of cognitive dissonance, all the reports and all the data won’t make much difference at all.

 

When It Comes To Reducing Gun Violence, Here’s The Real Deal.

There’s a small group of gun-control activists in Florida, who in the space of just several months, have done more to advance the cause of reducing gun violence than all the national, gun-control organizations put together.  I am referring to an advocacy group in Florida that has a website but also something much more important than a web presence – a public partnership with another advocacy group, Americans for Gun Safety Now, (which has both a website and a Facebook page) representing not just a bunch of tree-hugging, anti-gun liberals, but a cross-section of major Republican Party donors and other conservative-minded folks.

BAWN-AFGSN             Let’s get serious, okay? Remember the last time that Jack Nicklaus, the Jack Nicklaus, attached his name to anything remotely connected to liberal politics at all?  If you do, then it wasn’t this Jack Nicklaus who publicly supported Trump in 2016 and campaigned for Romney in 2012. The AGSN group was founded by a major Republican supporter, Al Hoffman, who was not only the Ambassador to Portugal, but also was the former RNC Finance Chair. In other words, when Al picks up the phone and contacts any Republican anywhere in the United States – they listen, okay?

The alliance between these two groups is the most momentous event in the entire history of gun-control advocacy because what has otherwise characterized the debate between Gun-control Nation and Gun-nut Nation is that the latter group can always depend on GOP politicians and GOP-leaning citizens to support their point of view. There’s a reason why our friends in Fairfax, VA are major sponsors of the CPAC meeting every year but don’t show up at the annual meeting of the ADA.

What both created and brought these strange bedfellows together was, of course, the massacre at Parkland, which happens to be a community largely built by Al Hoffman’s real estate development company, but he’s hardly the only big bucks behind the AFGSN group. I noticed that the lineup includes Norman Braman, who just happens to own more than 20 car dealerships in Florida and was a major backer of Marco Rubio’s Presidential bid in 2016. Here’s the bottom line: You don’t get a couple of heavyweights like Al Hoffman and Norm Braman to come out for a liberal issue like gun control every day of the week, or any day of the week, for that matter.

This unlikely collaboration revolves around an unlikely issue, an attempt to put a state constitutional amendment banning assault rifles before Florida voters in 2020, which just happens to be the next time these same voters will be pulling a lever for either the 45th or 46th President of the United States. Until Parkland, Florida was always considered the ‘gunshine state,’ with a strong and organized pro-gun movement run by Granny Marion Hammer, former President and now state lobbyist for the NRA.  She recently sued a Miami resident, Brian Fitzgerald, for cyberstalking, because he sent her several nasty and profane emails after Parkland, a lawsuit which is more embarrassing than real. If our NRA friends think that the old lady is a match for Hoffman, Braman and Nicklaus, they better think again.

When all is said and done, Gun-nut Nation can scream and yell all they want about how gun-control laws rob gun owners of their civil rights, their Constitutional rights, whatever right they want to invent to hold onto their guns. But the bottom line is that when Marion Hammer and other gun-nut zealots refer to advocates for gun control as ‘traitors,’ it’s a strategy that the NRA needs to carefully consider before running it up the flagpole against guys like Braman, Hoffman, et. al. And if Republican stalwarts in Florida now believe that gun violence needs to be contained, let’s not forget for one moment that these folks have plenty of friends in other states where mass shootings have occurred….

If Gun Control Is The Issue, The Democrats Have The Real Deal.

Now that the alt-left media has decided that Andy can’t run for President because he’s too much of a ‘centrist’ when we all know that Trump can only be beaten by someone who is truly a member of the Progressive Left, I’m going to challenge this nonsense and tell my friends in Gun-control Nation that if they really want a serious attempt at reducing gun violence, they should start a Presidential boom-let for Cuomo before it’s too late.

cuomo              Here’s what the Cuomo nay-sayers at Vox had to say about Andy’s Presidential chances today: “Had Cuomo simply done the normal thing and supported Democratic state Senate candidates and gotten the chance he feared to sign ambitious progressive bills, he’d be perfectly positioned for the circumstances of 2020. Instead, as it stands, he’s left relying on a powerful state party machine and the loyalty of less attentive voters [my italics] to secure what should have been a total cakewalk of a renomination.”

Know who these scions of left-wing political correctness are referring to when they say that Cuomo’s support comes from ‘less attentive’ voters?  They are referring to minorities, in particular Black voters who, according to Vox, always go for the Establishment candidate whether that individual really supports their goals or not. Why didn’t those closet racists at Vox just come out and use the line from Limbaugh-Hannity about ‘low-information’ voters?  Either way, they should be ashamed of themselves for pandering to such lies.

Regarding Andy’s stance on guns, there is not a single Democrat in or out of the Presidential possibilities who has a fraction of his creds.  Hillary may have been all in favor of gun control in 2016, but in 2008 she ran around blue-collar communities telling primary voters that she choked up in tears remembering the wonderful hunting trips she took with dear, old Dad. As for Bernie, he knew full well what would happen to him if he came out with a strong push against guns – in a general election he would have lost his home state.

On the other hand, memories may be short but it was Andy who wrote and brokered the deal between the Clinton Administration and Smith & Wesson which, in return for S&W agreeing to police its own dealer network, the government agreed to immunize the company against tort suits – a position ultimately put into force by the 2005 PLCCA law which immunized gun makers from torts, in exchange for which all they had to do was stick a lock in every gun that they shipped.

Know what would have happened if S&W had agreed to Andy’s plan?  It would have put the company out of business, period, kaput, which is why the gun industry backed a boycott against S&W that only ended when the company was sold and the new owners, along with the Bush Administration, decided to disregard the deal and let well enough alone. Basically, what Andy wanted was a complete monitoring of every S&W dealer by the factory, up to and including on-site visits insuring that safety rules and storage regulations were being followed, along with greater counter-top scrutiny to eliminate straw sales. Had this plan been forced on every gun maker, I don’t think that 10% of the retail dealers could have met its requirements and gun retailing as we know it would have disappeared.

Some of these requirements can be found in the New York SAFE law, which Andy pushed through the state legislature after Sandy Hook. And right now, some of the provisions of that law (registration of assault weapons, hi-cap magazine ban, comprehensive background checks) are a template for how gun-control activists want to strengthen gun laws in other states.

I don’t know Andy’s position on other issues, but on gun control he’s the real, unvarnished deal. If my friends in Gun-control Nation are looking for someone in 2020 to challenge Sleazy Don’s crazy idea that his supporters are so loyal they would vote for him even if he gunned someone down in the street, they won’t find a better choice than the guy who will be sitting in the New York State Governor’s Mansion on November 7th, 2018.