Archive for May, 2007

A brief pause

May 14, 2007

For those anonymous individuals who look in on this site from time to time, there will be a brief pause in postings. My intermittant commentary will resume the end of May.

Thanks for looking in.

Hero won’t be charged

May 13, 2007

A citizen in New Hampshire who put himself at risk to protect a police officer who had been shot won’t be charged according to this story.

New Hampshire authorities said yesterday that they will not press charges against a former Marine who stepped into a deadly shooting and killed a 24-year-old high school dropout who had moments earlier fatally shot a police officer.

The former Marine, Gregory W. Floyd, 49, was driving with his son along Route 116 in Franconia on Friday night when he saw Liko Kenney, 24, shoot Franconia Police Corporal Bruce McKay, 48, four times in the torso. After Kenney drove his Toyota Celica over McKay as the officer lay on the ground, Floyd grabbed the officer’s service weapon and shot and killed Kenney.

Now maybe that is just the reporters take on this story, but it seems to me that they should be hailing this guy as a major hero. “Will not press charges”? I would hope that thought never entered anyone’s mind.

Obviously it did, although maybe I’m just being picky:

New Hampshire’s attorney general, Kelly A. Ayotte, said Floyd will not face charges because he was justified in using deadly force.

“Based on the results of the investigation, our conclusion is that Gregory Floyd’s actions were justified based upon dangerous circumstances confronted with and efforts to assist McKay,” Ayotte said at a news conference in Concord.

Regardless, they don’t sound too enthusiastic.

Mark Steyn has a comment on this as well.

Thanks to Instapundit for this pointer.

Licencing guns and automobiles

May 12, 2007

The next time you hear someone say, “Well we licence cars, why shouldn’t we licence guns?”, point him or her towards this posting.

This argument is odd because cars are basically regulated as follows (I rely below on California law, but to my knowledge the rules are similar throughout the country):

(1) No federal licensing or registration.

(2) Any person may use a car on his own private property without any license or registration. See, e.g., California Vehicle Code §§ 360, 12500 (driver’s license required for driving on “highways,” defined as places that are “publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel”); California Vehicle Code § 4000 (same as to registration).

(3) Any adult may get a license to use a car in public places by passing a fairly simple test that virtually everyone can pass.

Read through the whole thing.

Gun Control Quebec Style

May 11, 2007

Quebec Premier, John Charest, isn’t relying on logic and reason to pass his new gun laws. Typical of a politician trying to put a spin on legislation that is supposed to “solve” a perceived problem and pandering to the emotions aroused over the Dawson College shooting, Charest is calling his new legislation the “Anastasia Act“, after the student that was killed at there.

The parents and sister of Anastasia De Sousa, the Dawson College student who was murdered in last September’s campus shooting, were in the National Assembly yesterday when Premier Jean Charest read his Inaugural Address, opening the 38th Quebec legislature.

Calling the day of the shooting “the most sombre” in his time as premier, Charest reiterated his government’s commitment to introduce a bill that would limit the transport of restricted weapons, such as semi-automatics and handguns.

And he said his government would call the bill the “Anastasia Act,” in memory of De Sousa.

Shades of Allan Rock.

Quite frankly, Charest is beginning to give me the creeps. It’s hard to believe that he was once a Conservative.

Quebec government pursues its’ own gun control agenda

May 9, 2007

Jean Charest, Quebec’s premier, is pursuing his own cynical gun control agenda even in the face of strong criticism from numerous sources.

The Quebec government is planning to bring in a new gun-control bill that would impose tougher restrictions on semi-automatic weapons — a proposal critics are shooting down.

The Charest government has revealed it wants to force owners of restricted firearms to leave their weapons at gun clubs. The clubs would also be responsible for purchasing the guns on behalf of its members.

Critics have pointed out that these storage facilities would be a magnet for criminals, who would know exactly where an inventory of valuable firearms were located.

There is also the question of conflict with federal firearms laws which say that firearms must be stored at the owner’s residence. In addition  most owners of restricted firearms have transport permits from the federal goverment that allows them to transport their guns to various shooting facilities for practice and competition. How Charest’s bureaucrats intend to mesh their law with the federal laws remains to be seen.

However we can assume that logic and common sense will be nowhere to be found as is normally the case when politicians attempt to make political points with the public by “doing something” to solve some perceived problem. It was ever thus.

I can only assume that this new foray into gun control by a provincial government will jar gun owners across Canada (and most particularly in Quebec) out of their complacency and they will immediately rise to the occasion and begin writing letters to their politicians and to the media and supporting their various organizations in the fight to protect their rights of ownership. Maybe even donate money to the cause so those organizations have the wherewithal to fight the fight.

I wish. Unfortunately it’s a lot easier to sit back and and let other people worry about the detail and then wonder at what point in time you lost all of your rights.

I don’t think I was born a cynic, it just came naturally.

Election strategies for gun owners

May 7, 2007

As someone who is concerned about our current firearm laws in Canada and who has been involved for years in the battle, I have concerns about the political tactics some pro-firearms activists are proposing.

Most of it stems from feeling that the Conservatives, having formed the government, albeit a minority one, have not aggressively dismantled the Firearms Act. Because of this, we are seeing proposals from some groups and individuals that call on firearm owners to withhold donating money to the Conservative Party until they become more aggressive on the firearms issue or that we even withhold our votes from Conservative candidates in the next election to punish them for their perceived inactivity.

This is such a destructive process that I seriously question the judgment of those who are actively promoting these plans.

Let’s look at the options.                     

The Liberal government of Jean Chretien originally brought in Bill C68, which got rid of the old FACs, brought in the compulsory licensing program that made any gun owner who didn’t acquire one a criminal, put the long-gun registry in place and made administrative errors a criminal offence. If that wasn’t enough, Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, during the last federal election, called for a ban on semi-auto firearms. They have clearly associated themselves with Wendy Cukier and her coalition for Gun Control. Any firearms owner who associates him/herself with a program that would bring these people back into power is not thinking clearly.

The NDP, through their leader, Toronto Jack Layton, has called for bans on handguns, semi-auto firearms and the establishment of compulsory central storage for privately owned firearms.

The Greens have a stated firearms policy to ban all assault weapons (no definition of what that entails), clearer regulation of gun storage (again, no detail), a program to phase-out handguns by tightening eligibility requirements over time and a ban on large capacity magazines (They apparently didn’t realize that the Liberals beat them to it on that one).

That leaves us with the Conservative Party, which is being criticized for not living up to their pre-election promises on the Firearms Act.

The problem is that the Conservatives have a minority government that stays in power at the indulgence of the three opposition parties, none of which are sympathetic to firearms owners. There is absolutely no support from the Liberals, the NDP or the Bloc Quebecois (BQ) parties to reform the Firearm Act.

At one point there was the possibility that legislation to eliminate the long-gun registry would be tabled with MPs being allowed a free vote. It was thought that there might be enough opposition members who would individually support the legislation to pass it. However the Dawson College shootings put an end to that consideration.

Although there are many who fear that the Conservative’s commitment to firearms legislation reform is only skin deep, it is still the only real option available for gun owners. Bear in mind that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made positive public statements about getting rid of the long-gun registry and Yorkton-Melville MP Garry Breitkreuz has not only fought for gun owners since the beginning, he has almost single-handed kept the issue alive in the media and in Parliament. For gun owners to talk about not supporting him and his Party is truly a slap in the face to a parliamentarian who has worked his butt off to keep this issue in the public eye.

That won’t stop some gun owners from voting Liberal or NDP or (in Quebec) for the BQ. People vote their party of choice for a variety of reasons. Some vote from family tradition and some because they don’t own a handgun or a semi-auto and figure that they aren’t going to be directly affected by the proposed bans anyway. Others just have voting issues that are more important to them than firearm laws. But if protecting firearm ownership rights is their voting issue then I would want to know how those rights would be protected with a Liberal or NDP government in place.

I do believe that any firearm owner who votes for another party’s candidate in the next federal election, or stays home on election day and doesn’t vote as a protest or even refuses to donate to the Conservative party’s election funds is doing himself (as a gun owner) and all other Canadian gun owners a disservice.

Benjamin Franklin’s words are still true today: “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately”.

He also said, “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. A very wise man.

Mark Steyn

May 4, 2007

Mark Steyn is one of my favourite commentators. His commentary is candid, humourous and extremely well-written. His book, ‘America Alone’ is an excellent read. I liked this article on the West’s weakness in dealing with radical Islam.

Islam isn’t interested in winning the debate, it’s interested in winning the real fight – the clash of civilizations, the war, society, culture, the whole magilla. That’s why it doesn’t care about the inherent contradictions of the argument: in the Middle East early in 2002, I lost count of the number of Muslims I met who believed simultaneously (a) that 9/11 was pulled off by the Mossad and (b) that it was a great victory for Islam. Likewise, it’s no stretch to feel affronted at the implication that you’re violently irrational and to threaten to murder anyone who says so. Western societies value logic because we value talk, and talks, and talking, on and on and on: that’s pretty much all we do, to the point where, faced with any challenge from Darfur to the Iranian nuclear program, our objective is to reduce the issue to just something else to talk about interminably. But, if you don’t prize debate and you merely want to win, getting hung up on logic is only going to get in your way. Take the most devastating rapier wit you know – Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward – and put him on a late-night subway train up against a psycho with a baseball bat. The withering putdown, the devastating aphorism will avail him nought.  

Read the whole thing.

The deadliest school attack

May 4, 2007

There has been considerable media verbiage that the Virginia Tech shooting was the deadliest school attack in U.S. history. Turns out they needed to go back into the 1920s to get the true story.

It’s been reported that the violence at Virginia Tech is the deadliest school attack in U.S. history.

Unfortunately, it would appear that isn’t true. It is, perhaps, the deadliest shooting spree at a school – beating the record set by Charles Whitman at the University of Texas in 1966 – but if you’re considering any and all attacks on schools, the deadliest still remains the 1927 attack on a school in Bath, Michigan, where 45 people were killed and 58 people injured.

************* 

Andrew Kehoe was upset by a recent property tax that had been established to help fund the construction of the school – a tax which resulted in financial troubles for the school board member, including the foreclosure of his farm.

Over a period of months Kehoe acquired a ton of pyrotol – a World War 2 era incendiary – and two boxes of dynamite. Some of this he planted in the school, some he planted on his farm.

Just prior to his attack, he loaded the back of his car with metal debris, and placed a small amount of dynamite behind the front seat. Sometime later, he murdered his wife.

On May 18, 1927, at 8:45 a.m., Kehoe detonated the explosives he had planted on his farm, then entered his car and drove to the school.

At 9:45 a.m., there was an explosion at the school, which collapsed the north wing.

Firefighers that had been heading towards Kehoe’s farm turned back and headed towards the school.

At approximately 10:15 a.m., Kehoe arrived at the school and noticed the superintendent, who he motioned to approach the car, which the man did.

At this point – according to an eyewitness – Kehoe shot his rifle into the backseat of the car, which appeared to trigger an explosion, destroying the car, and killing Kehoe, the superintendent, and three others.

Which only goes to prove that a disturbed and homicidal individual will find a way to commit mayhem and the chances of stopping him beforehand are negligible to nil.

Is Elizabeth May losing it?

May 2, 2007

When Elizabeth May became leader of the Green Party she had instant credibility, at least with the media. Then she made the announcement that in the next federal election (whenever that may be) she would run against Conservative cabinet minister Peter McKay in Nova Scotia instead of a safer riding which would give her a chance at being the first member of the Green Party to be elected federally, making electoral history in Canada.

That was questionable, but not as controversial as her next decision which was to make a deal with Liberal leader Stephane Dion, where the Liberals would not run a candidate against her and the Green Party would reciprocate by not running a candidate in Dion’s riding. This friendly partnership with the Liberals raised a lot of concerns in the media and also among Liberal and Green Party supporters as well.

Then this.

On Sunday, Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada, returned to London, Ont., where she lost a byelection five months ago. Although Ms. May was not on the campaign trail this time, she was preaching the Greens’ environmental catechism, this time from the pulpit of a local United Church.

**************** 

Ms. May’s teary-eyed homily on global warming no doubt moved many in the audience. Speaking of global warming, she told the United Church congregation that “Through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can meet this moral obligation.”

But other parts of her speech were entirely bizarre, conjuring up theories that call into question not only her credibility as the leader of the Greens, but Mr. Dion’s judgment.

In referring to Evangelical Christians, Ms. May stated that some “are waiting for the end [of] time in glee … and they unfortunately include President [George W.] Bush.” Ms. May also described Stephen Harper’s plan to deal with global warming as “worse than Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of the Nazis.”

One can only wonder what comes next.

It can happen in the U.S. – there’s a plan!

May 1, 2007

There are always those, even amongst supposedly well-informed firearm owners, who say that confiscation of your firearms can’t happen here. Well, of course it has happened already in Canada to a degree and there are serious threats currently being made by politicians to confiscate semi-auto handguns, all handguns or all semi-auto firearms, depending on the politician and the day of the week. But I have had gun owners tell me that it is all talk and they would never really do that. For sure. And besides, no-one other than a nut-case would want to ban all firearms.

Well, apparently that’s not the case. An article in the Toledo Blade by a gentleman by the name of Dan Simpson, who according to the article credits is a retired diplomat and on the editorial board of the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has it all figured out.

Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.

Hunters would be able to deposit their hunting weapons in a centrally located arsenal, heavily guarded, from which they would be able to withdraw them each hunting season upon presentation of a valid hunting license. The weapons would be required to be redeposited at the end of the season on pain of arrest. When hunters submit a request for their weapons, federal, state, and local checks would be made to establish that they had not been convicted of a violent crime since the last time they withdrew their weapons. In the process, arsenal staff would take at least a quick look at each hunter to try to affirm that he was not obviously unhinged.

It would have to be the case that the term “hunting weapon” did not include anti-tank ordnance, assault weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, or other weapons of war.

All antique or interesting non-hunting weapons would be required to be delivered to a local or regional museum, also to be under strict 24-hour-a-day guard. There they would be on display, if the owner desired, as part of an interesting exhibit of antique American weapons, as family heirlooms from proud wars past or as part of collections.

Gun dealers could continue their work, selling hunting and antique firearms. They would be required to maintain very tight inventories. Any gun sold would be delivered immediately by the dealer to the nearest arsenal or the museum, not to the buyer.

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for “carrying.”

Now how’s that for a plan. And this guy’s on their editorial board!

Thanks to The Michael Bane blog for this link.


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