Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crime statistics and the "right" to ban weapons

In a released study on crime in Dubuque, citizens fear to be downtown at night. Nearly 71% of respondents did not feel safe in the downtown area according to a study conducted by the Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies in DeKalb.

The Mason City Globe-Gazette editorial board seems to be a little confused about our republic. Statements like, "...the Second Amendment gives people the right to bear arms...", is a good indication of where they stand on all of the Bill of Rights. It also lends to the opinion that they need a civics refresher.

The title is a bit confusing to me as well. Globe Gazette Editorial: Counties, cities and businesses have right to restrict gun carry

I may just be parsing their words here but government, at any level, does not have "rights", they have powers. They have no more right to push a citizen around as your neighbor down the street. They don't have have a right to snoop into your emails, phone calls or bank accounts but they do have the power to do so.

There's a big difference between power and rights. Semantics means something to me and I tend to take it seriously.

Government only has powers delegated to it by the people. We have acquiescently given up many of our individual powers to the state. By neglect or design, we have done so.

And they bring up another thing I tend to take seriously, "studies". The editorial board seems to have never heard of Kleck:
Also, the idea that a gun is a great source of self-protection is largely illusionary. A 2009 study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine estimated that people in possession of a gun at the time of an assault were 4.5 times more likely to be shot during the assault than someone in a comparable situation without a gun.

Although there are certainly examples where people were able to successfully defend themselves with a gun, the study shows that is the exception rather than the rule.
Sorry, but I call this hogwash. If no weapon is present by either party in an assault, then the gun is not present to make a valid comparison to when it is present. What this "study" is saying is that if I'm assaulted by 50 different assailants, my gun will be used against me about 9 times. It's possible, but only if I'm carrying.

If I wasn't carrying, how can the gun be taken away from me if it isn't in my possession. At those times, the N is zero. If I'm not carrying, my gun can never be taken away from me. N = zero.

If I am carrying, it's possible that it might be taken from me. It's possible because I would have a weapon in my possession. N > zero. It will always be X number of times greater because one of the comparative variables will always be zero while the other is always greater than zero.

It's like dividing by zero, it doesn't work.

I will agree with one thing, private businesses have the right to ban whatever they wish. That's because private businesses are owned by private individuals. Except when the state deems them a public place, like during the Great Smoking Ban. A power that the state exercised against a private business.

I also have the right not to engage with a private business that does not cater to my tastes. If a business put up a sign that stated only tall, good-looking gentlemen with a full head of hair were welcomed and all others were banned, that is their right. I'll take my business elsewhere.

You can't always do that with a government agency. If you have business at the courthouse, you can't take your business elsewhere.

If the state law against gun prohibition by local governmental entities can be ignored by those county and city boards, then where is the rule of law? Tom Miller's opinion notwithstanding. And how about a resolution is okay while the law uses the word ordinance, then that's okay?

And one other thought, if a county bans firearms on county property, where will some of the gun shows be held? Marshalltown holds theirs at the county fairgrounds and I'm sure other gun shows are held on city and county properties throughout the state.

A gun in someone's possession doesn't make them a raging lunatic. And a sign isn't a magic shield against all evil.

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