Gun Nuts Discover The Trace And Guess Who Wins?

It took about three weeks for The Trace to earn its first rave review from the gun-nut community in the form of a rant delivered by Larry Keane, a Senior Vice President at the NSSF.  And it only took Larry less than two sentences to deliver what is always the first and foremost reason why something, anything is a threat to all those nice folks who own guns, namely, the word Bloomberg which works every time.  Come to think of it, I can’t recall any statement by the NSSF over the last several years about alleged threats to gun ownership that hasn’t mentioned the word Bloomberg, unless the statement substituted the word Obama for Bloomberg, although many NSSF rants about threats to gun ownership usually mention both.

Since this online newspaper got some start-up dough from Bloomberg, there’s no question that you can’t trust anything it says.  And gun owners, according to Keane, are wise to the nefarious ways of Bloomberg because they know just how biased and anti-gun he is.  The proof that the pro-gun community is savvy to the Bloomberg anti-gun strategy is the fact that The Trace “has readers outraged over one-sided reporting on issues and reckless disregard for facts.” Which is an interesting statement coming from Keane since nowhere on the Trace website do we find any statement from readers at all.

trace                I guess what Keane is referring to is The Trace Facebook page which, like all Facebook pages, does allow visitors to make statements about content that is posted on the site.  So in the interests of fairness, I thought I would test the NSSF’s claim about the degree to which readers are “outraged” by all this one-sided, anti-gun reportage spewed forth by the Bloomberg cabal on this new site.  I chose as my test of Keane’s assertion a link back to a story about the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s plan to melt down 3,400 guns seized over the past year, a Facebook posting which in the following 15 hours received almost 80 comments from viewers of the page.

Before I share the results of my little survey, I should say that there aren’t many things that piss off gun-nuts more than the destruction of guns.  After all, we know that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  So why get rid of the guns?  I’ll tell you why: because the Los Angeles County Sheriff is caving into pressure from gun-grabbers like Bloomberg who want to get rid of all the guns.  And what better way to get rid of guns than to melt them down? That being the case, if readers are truly “outraged” by the anti-gun bias of The Trace, we should certainly find this outrage expressed in the comments posted on their Facebook page.

So I read all the comments about the gun meltdown and if this story provoked reader “outrage,” all I can say is that I’d love to see my weekly Huffington column generate such an outrageous response.  Here’s an example of the kind of outraged reader comments posted on the site, beginning with the initial comment to which five other readers then made a response:

Comment:  The Los Angeles police department should sell those guns and distribute the proceeds to various crime diversion programs. …

Response #1: You honestly believe that is the solution

Response #2:  NO ! Read the article , the whole idea is to destroy the guns SO THAT they cannot be used against innocent people ever again !!

Response #3: The point is to get guns off the street DA

Response #4: My point exactly.

Response #5: So, selling guns to people who can pass background checks automatically means these guns will be used against innocent people? Basically, gun owners that can pass background checks are “guilty until proven innocent”.

 

Some outrage, right?  And what I have reproduced above is fairly typical of the comments attached to every story posted by The Trace.  The NSSF won’t ever admit that a gun story can be published which would generate thoughtful, intelligent and respectful comments from both sides, because they don’t want the gun debate to be based on informed opinion or facts.  Which is exactly what makes The Trace such a threat to gun-nut promoters like Larry Keane.

 

 

 

 

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It’s Official! When It Comes To Murders, The Second City Is Now The First City

fbi

 

 

Chicago has always been known as the ‘Second City’ because it can’t seem to compete with New York.  But that’s changed.  The latest report on American crime released annually by the FBI, shows that when it comes to murder, Chicago now leads the list.

Since my diaries on crime seem to generate lots of bickering over the data, I want to make one thing very clear: the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports are estimates because: 1) they are based on partial data; 2) they assume that every reporting department collects and analyzes its crime data in the same way. Nevertheless, the gap between murders in Chicago and everywhere else are so great that we can say with some degree of certainty that the Windy City has really stepped it up in 2012.

According to the FBI, Chicago had 500 murders in 2012, while New York dropped to a paltry 419. Note, incidentally, that New York’s population is three times  higher than Chicago’s (8.7 million to 2.7 million, respectively) which makes Chicago’s murder rate (per 100,000) about four times higher than New York’s rate, 18 to 4.8.

Think Chicago’s an unsafe city? Think again. The 2012  murder rate in Flint, MI was 63! Down the road a bit in Detroit the rate was only 55. Philadelphia’s a veritable garden of tranquility with a homicide rate just slightly over 21.

Altogether there were 15 cities that counted at least 100 murders in 2012: The Big 4 above, plus Los Angeles (299), Baltimore (219), Houston (217), New Orleans (193), Dallas (154), Memphis (133), Oakland (126), Phoenix (124), St. Louis (113), Kansas City (105) and Indianapolis (101).

The total population for these cities is somewhere between 25 and 30 million. Their police departments reported 3,420 homicides in 2012, out of a national reported total of 14,827. Which means that cities that held less than 10% of the US population accounted for almost one-quarter of all murders. Way to go you big cities!

What I find most significant about the FBI data on the geography of homicide is not the cities that made the murder list, but the cities that didn’t. Jacksonville, for example, didn’t make the list. Think there’s no inner-city neighborhoods in Jacksonville? Next time you drive down I-95 on your way to Daytona or Palm Beach, get off at Lem Turner Road and cruise around.

There are lots of cities like Jacksonville filled with crummy neighborhoods whose existence we lament but really don’t do anything to help things change. And many of these cities don’t have double-digit murder rates and yet we don’t know why. Twenty years ago, for example, New York City initiated a community-based policing  system that was credited with steep declines in crime. It was copied by virtually every other metropolitan police department and in some places it worked and in others made no difference at all.

One last point about the 2012 FBI Report: It shows that the average value of the property that was reported stolen in larceny and burglary increased from $1,721 in 2011 to $1,726 in 2012. Maybe the economy is finally recovering.

Dumb or Dumber – Either Way Kelly Ayotte is Clueless About Background Checks

When the Manchin-Toomey bill went down to defeat, I wondered how certain Senators could say they supported background checks while, at the same time, voting against them.  At least the Senators who voted against the bill because they didn’t like background checks (ex. Rand Paul) were being consistent.  But saying yes on the one hand and no on the other?

English: Official portrait of US Senator Kelly...

English: Official portrait of US Senator Kelly AYotte. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

A friend just forwarded to me a copy of the letter that Kelly Ayotte is sending out to people who have taken the trouble to ask her the same question.  And her response is that the NICS system is not working and until it’s fixed, she can’t support extending it to cover additional transactions.  Here’s her first proof that the NICS system is “broken.” She sasy:

“Even if the current background check system was expanded, it’s important to note that a May 2013 Department of Justice report found that less than one percent of state prison inmates who possessed a gun when they committed their offense obtained the firearm at a gun show, and only about 10 percent of state prison inmates obtained their firearm from a licensed firearm dealer. In many cases, criminals find alternate methods to obtain firearms. In fact, 40 percent of state prison inmates who possessed a gun when they committed their offense obtained their firearm from an illegal source such as through a drug deal, theft, or the black market, and that is why we need rigorous prosecution of gun-related crimes.”

Is Senator Ayotte actually saying that if 40% of all guns used in felonies cannot be tracked or controlled through background checks, that we shouldn’t go after the other 60%?  Is a United States Senator saying something quite that stupid? Hold on – it gets better. She also says that the whole NICS is a “broken system that the government is not fully enforcing.”  And she adds: “For example, in 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was referred 76,412 National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) denials, about two-thirds of which were based on the applicant being a felon or fugitive from justice. Of those, charges were brought in only 44 cases – and resulted in just 13 successful prosecutions.”

This business about all the NICS denials that aren’t being prosecuted has been floating around the background checks debate and I’d give anything to find out who said it first. Because I’ve heard it repeated again and again and while it sounds like the system really isn’t working, I wouldn’t assume that there’s any problem at all.  For example, what does the phrase “fugitive from justice” really mean?  In Los Angeles, for example, there are more than one million outstanding bench warrants for such offenses as failing to pay a fine for jay-walking, or smoking, or God knows what else.  The number in New York City is about the same.  None of these warrants will ever be served and every one of these individuals is a “fugitive from justice.”  I’m not saying the system is perfect; there have been NICS denials in my shop and I know at least one instance in which the individual who was denied really shouldn’t have gotten a gun.

The truth is that Kelly Ayotte didn’t want to vote for expanded background checks because for the moment she’s a friend of the NRA.  She can’t come out and admit it, so she cloaks her vote in an appeal for ‘better enforcement’ of existing laws.  Oh well, I guess in politics you get what you vote for.  Maine voted for Kelly and Kelly voted for the NRA.