Monday, April 20, 2015

Coming Up For Air -or- What's That Smell?

I haven't given up on writing entirely, I'm just maligning language elsewhere is all.

A couple of semi-related news items jarred my tentative thinking process recently.  One being the reporting regarding the recent vote(s) in the Texas legislature on gun carrying by non-law enforcement-type citizens in the state.

Let me just say this about that; it probably actually is possible to make your disdain for your audience more plain, but the below-quoted double error (from the opening sentence no less) written by one Nathan Kopple for The Wall Street Journal (and seemingly quoted verbatim by and Fox News) does seem to set that bar well up there:
Texas is poised to become the largest state in the U.S. to allow citizens to openly carry handguns, a change long sought by gun-rights activists.
Taking* my objections in the order of their presentation: 

(1) Alaska 


(2) Alaska you moron errr, Mr. Kopple.

[and in rebuttal to the obvious first quibble, (1) could alternatively be California.  No matter how you slice it, this account has nowhere to go but up]

Calling into question my own sense of cynicism, The Dallas Morning News at least managed to avoid those obvious hallmarks of journalistic excellence flubs.  The law enforcement devil is in the details, of course; we'll see how the actual law is written before I get out either one of my nice new holsters.

A question has arisen in my mind recently about 2nd Amendment civil rights debates more generally. It has become a 21st century axiom among modern 2nd Amendment civil rights supporters (to include myself) that more guns = less crime, and I've certainly been willing to advance that contention as thoroughly well proved.  But I do have to wonder of late ...

In years past, US gun legislation debates often referenced British crime reporting statistics on gun-related questions - more pertinently, the degree of doubt in the reliability of crime statistics from the UK. The questions thus raised were put to telling effect in the dismissal of these "facts" as to their relevance in US legislative debate over the last decade+.

My concern on this matter was (completely inadvertently, I'm certain) summarized quite brilliantly by this Joe Huffman blog post because of what I have discovered in my reading elsewhere recently about US crime reporting. The US DoJ's Uniform Crime Statistics are this country's national summation of all local and state crime reporting, as broken down by a variety of categories. There have been reports for many years now about US national crime statistics not reflecting actual events:
Racial violence might be up. It might be down. Either way we may never know: A new study from the Department of Justice says victims of violent crime often do not call the police.
And if they do, police often do not file crime reports, say local newspapers around the country.
“More than half of the nation’s violent crimes, or nearly 3.4 million violent victimizations per year, went unreported to the police between 2006 and 2010,” said a Justice Department analysis.
That’s 17 million violent crimes off the books in five years.


Bearing that in mind, the ramifications of this article gives me pause:
Campus crime is easier to track than city crime because campus cops have to obey federal reporting laws -- and the Clery Act requires schools to list the full description of the suspects. And make that available at the school web site.

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If it is fair of us to say that questionable statistics must be given no credence in making legislative decisions regarding the expression of our civil rights here in the USA, and we now seem to have more than ample evidence that our own national crime reporting statistics are at-best "questionable", what are we really basing our axiomatic civil rights claims on?

I confess I do not know what to make of all of this as of yet.  I leave it for now with my fellow citizens to begin the process whereby we have traditionally made such choices (and all of you please refrain from throwing things at each other, at least until I can take part rejoin you).  I can be as pragmatically cynical as anyone, needs must, but I think we would do better to determine our own levels of moral repugnance on this one of our own volition.

*  I don't know what I've done with the font and can't be bothered to fix it.  Consider it my effort to shield you from the fullest intensity of my intellectual brilliance.  

Stop laughing (except you Mr Kopple; et tu eh?).