After the McDonald decision: what next?

Monday’s decision in McDonald vs. City of Chicago is a major victory for civil rights. Yes, it was 5-4 and the ruling was weaker than it could have been, but the basic holding that the Second Amendment is incorporated against states and all lower levels of government can be a powerful tool for positive change if we wield it correctly. The legal climate for full restoration of firearms rights in the U.S. is now better than it’s been since the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Much remains to be done, however. The Heller ruling in 2008, while affirming that firearms ownership is a fundamental individual right, allowed “reasonable regulation” and failed to specify a standard of scrutiny for what is “reasonable”; the McDonald decision does not specify this either. The constitutionally correct position, of course, is that laws infringing on Second Amendment liberties should have to meet the same strictest-scrutiny standard applied where the First Amendment is concerned — but the City of Chicago has already made plain its intent to nullify the Heller and MacDonald rulings by equating “reasonable” with “prohibitive”.

The next major round of litigation will almost certainly be over the scrutiny standard. The tactical question for gun-rights advocates, though, is which kind of state and local regulations to attack, and in what order. Of course outright gun bans like Chicago’s need to be first on the target list; but after that, what?

It seems to me that the next logical target is concealed-carry bans and permit requirements for handguns. This is an issue that affects more Americans than restrictions on long arms or registration requirements, so popular pressure should be easiest to muster here. Two states (Wisconsin and Illinois) forbid concealed carry altogether; three others (Alaska, Vermont, and Arizona) do not have any permit requirement. Comparing crime and violence rates per capita it’s pretty clear which arrangement wins.

If I were a pro-Second-Amendment lawyer, I would argue thusly: (1) the applicable standard is “strict scrutiny”, e.g. the law must serve a compelling purpose which cannot be served by less stringent regulation, and (2) the example of Alaska and Vermont shows that these regulations do not serve a compelling purpose at all.

It will be interesting to see if any civil-rights group is brave enough to try this.

146 thoughts on “After the McDonald decision: what next?

  1. The next big fight on the docket will probably be Sykes v. McGinness. If Sykes wins this case, then the likely effect will be that states will be required to have shall-issue permits for either open carry or concealed carry.

  2. I think victory in Sykes v. McGinness is an even shot at best, but I’m more optimistic about our ability to at least partially fix our dismal situation here in MA. Here, issuing licenses for possessing (not just carrying) handguns is at the discretion of your local chief of police. Theoretically, you can appeal an arbitrary and capricious denial or revocation in district court, but this appeal is basically a farce since the law gives the CoP such wide latitude in making licensing decisions.

    There was a court case in 1993 in which a licensed handgun owner was questioned by police after a handgun which he had sold years earlier was found discarded in an alleyway. The licensee told the police that he would be happy to cooperate with the investigation, but wanted to get a lawyer first. This wasn’t good enough for the chief of police, who revoked his license in retaliation. The licensee sued. The court ruled, and the appeals court upheld, that even though the plaintiff’s civil rights were violated by being punished for asserting his constitutional right for an attorney, his recourse for this was limited at most to monetary damages, and he was not entitled to reinstatement of his license.

    Depressingly, second amendment considerations aside, I think the courts correctly interpreted the statutes, which really are that terrible. Maybe McDonald gives us a lever to fix that.

  3. Arizona now has “Constitutional Carry” as well.

    ESR: Yes. I see this is a very recent development. Will edit appropriately.

  4. Two states (Wisconsin and Illinois) forbid concealed carry altogether; three others (Alaska, Vermont, and Arizona) do not have any permit requirement. Comparing crime and violence rates per capita it’s pretty clear which arrangement wins.

    This is very weak evidence. Consider the following hypothetical:

    1) Wisconsin/Illinois start with 4 times the rate of problem X than Alaska/Vermont/Arizona.
    2) Concern about problem X leads to anti-X regulation in Wisconsin/Illinois.
    3) Anti-X regulations halve the X-rate in Wisconsin/Illinois.
    4) Wisconsin/Illinois now have twice the X-rate of Alaska/Vermont/Arizona.

    You cannot then conclude that anti-X regulation is a failure.

  5. Possibly more important is Pena v. Cid which is challenging the safe handguns list. Basically, it is a whitelist of the guns which you can buy. Similar schemes exist elsewhere, such as in Washington DC. The problem is that manufactures need to submit applications for each variant for testing or evaluation, along with a nice fee, of course. Depending upon the jurisdiction, this can include a separate submission for each color, or whether something is a right or left-hand model. This greatly increases the costs of doing business and reduces the selection available.

  6. In answer to your question, “who will be brave enough?”… Calguns Foundation (CGF) (along with calguns.net) and Gun Owners of America (GOA) will continue to lead the way.

  7. @pete

    Wisconsin/Illinois start with 4 times the rate of problem X than Alaska/Vermont/Arizona.

    Probably true for Alaska and Vermont that have very low population densities, but probably not for Arizona. Look at these crime rate statistics and you’ll see that Phoenix and Chicago have comparable crime rates. Sure Chicago’s is a bit higher, but not that much, especially considering Chicago’s population is about double Phoenix’s.

  8. We have a similar scheme in Massachusetts, not even supported by law. The AG and the Executive Office of Public Safety simply invented their own authority to impose the whitelist. Back when it was first introduced, we fought this and were winning, but then the plaintiffs ran out of money. McDonald should give us a new avenue for a fresh challenge.

  9. Gura’s next plan is to go after North Carolina (and by extension everyone else) for the restrictive “State of Emergency” laws. The thing is, one of the claims in the lawsuit includes is that it has been ruled by McDonald that there exists a fundamental right to possess firearms in any non-sensitive public place. This basically takes the second amendment outside the house. Remember that Heller and McDonald were about handgun possession inside your home. here’s a link to the complaint.

    http://onlygunsandmoney.blogspot.com/2010/06/next-case-bateman-et-al-v-perdue-et-al.html

  10. @Daniel: Not quite correct. The EOPS roster has basis in Ch140 S 123 clause eighteen. It’s the AG’s consumer protection regs that were invented. That said, I believe both are unconstitutional and look forward to legal challenge.

  11. @pete: Not really. The problem is that gun crime != guns, just like computer crime != computers. From my reading of your statement, X == gun crime in step 1 and X == guns in step 2. You’ve implied that Wisconsin and Illinois have more problems with gun crime than Arizona, Vermont and Alaska.

    My statement was intended to point out that A) Illinois and Wisconsin have far more population density than Vermont and Alaska, so having more gun crime isn’t surprising, and B) your statement doesn’t hold true for Arizona at all; its largest city has comparable rates of gun crime as Phoenix.

    Furthermore, you haven’t established that enacting gun laws lowered crime rates or even gun crime rates; you’ve just stated that without any hard statistical evidence to back that up.

    Anyway, guns and gun crime aren’t the same thing. Just because you have lots of guns doesn’t mean you have lots of gun crime. Furthermore, just because you have lots of laws banning firearms carry doesn’t mean you don’t have lots of people carrying firearms. I’ll bet Illinois also has lots of laws banning speeds in excess of posted limits, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have lots of speeders in Chicago.

  12. @Morgan: I suggest you consult a dictionary for the meaning of “hypothetical”.

  13. It looks like the ban in Chicago began in April of 1982, so it would be interesting to look at crime rate statistics for all 5 states +/- 10 years of 1982 and determine if there is any noticable effect in Illinois that is not also shown in the other states (it’s possible that crime dropped in the mid 80s, and in fact I believe that is what happened nation-wide).

    Can anybody here get those stats? If not, I’ll look at it myself this evening.

  14. >Can anybody here get those stats? If not, I’ll look at it myself this evening.

    I’ve read in several sources that gun crime rose dramatically in Chicago after the ban, just as it did in DC after theirs. But I don’t have the numbers handy.

  15. @pete – perhaps you should look up “fallacy”.

    You are trying to relate orange prices to brick sales.

    The hypothetical you SHOULD be looking at is the trendline for violent crime over time before and after the gun ban. Also, look at crimes involving guns over the same time period.

    If the trendline does not go down post-ban, then the ban has failed and should be repealed.

    history shows that in every case where a gun ban was implemented both gun crime and violent crime failed to drop, and often increased.

  16. >history shows that in every case where a gun ban was implemented both gun crime and violent crime failed to drop, and often increased.

    This may be too strong a statement. I doubt we can make claims about “every” firearms ban, there is probably insufficient evidence to draw such a broad conclusion. Records from pre-industrial and tribal societies and areas only nominally under law are too scanty. It is not out of the question that a gun ban might have reduced crime in Afghanistan or Albania – I don’t know there has been such a case and am skeptical, but the evidence doesn’t foreclose it.

    I can say this: I know of no cases in which a gun ban imposed on a jurisdiction in a modern civil society decreased crime. The usual result is a dramatic increase. The sample size for this assertion is pretty large.

  17. @esr

    Fine. be that way :P

    You are correct, however. I intended that statement to mean in modern western civilization. The examples I had in mind, specifically, were Australia, England, Chicago, Washington DC, Florida and Texas.

  18. And it’s all irrelevant anyways, since (A) the majority of tragic, senseless firearm deaths in the usa for as far back as the CDC’s online National Injury Reports go have been male suicides, and (B) the coming home fabrication revolution is going to make access to firearms and weapons trivial for everyone, and thus firearms ownership effectively unregulable.

    Therefore, what we should probably be focusing on is identification of and outreach towards men and boys most likely to commit suicide, and general training in weapons handling for everybody, rather than gun ownership restriction. The latter wastes too much time, attention, money, and other valuable resources on conflict between advocates for self-defense and their opponents that could much more beneficially be expended on preventing gun violence at the human source.

    And thus f the gun restrictors are really interested in decreasing not only tragic, senseless firearm deaths but violence and crime in general, they should be working with gun ownership groups to help men and boys in crisis, including weapons training.

    Unfortunately, though, our society, like most if not all, refuses to pay a little bit more for our resources, manufacturing, infrastructure, defense, and other commons costs if it means not beating our young men into dehumanized self-sacrificers as much we do.

    You all know it’s true, but nobody ever addresses that point unless I preemptively scrub that lack of response into their faces by directly pointing out why: you don’t want to face and deal with your own culpability in the system of training everybody to devalue and dehumanize men and boys, including the men and boys themselves, in exchange for the cheaper goods and services that their “willing” self-sacrifice of their well-being, safety, health, and lives affords you.

    But it’s okay. I give you absolution. You were born and raised in a ridiculous world-wide open-air asylum, and you can’t be blamed for other people’s failure to provide the therapy, knowledge, and insights you need for good mental health.

  19. >You are correct, however. I intended that statement to mean in modern western civilization. The examples I had in mind, specifically, were Australia, England, Chicago, Washington DC, Florida and Texas.

    Those are all valid examples.

    It’s important to me to exercise semantic hygiene even on arguments for positions I favor. Especially important.

  20. The coming home fabrication revolution is going to make access to firearms and weapons trivial for everyone, and thus firearms ownership effectively unregulable.

    No, it will just make attempting to keep guns out of the hands of criminals even more futile than it already is. Law-abiding citizens will continue to respect at least the letter if not the spirit of whatever prohibitions on weapon fabrication are put in place, and you overestimate either the intelligence or the honesty of anti-gunners if you think such a reality will change their minds about anything.

  21. >And thus [i]f the gun restrictors are really interested in decreasing not only tragic, senseless firearm deaths but violence and crime in general

    Ah, there’s where your logic goes wrong. The dupes and footsoldiers have a sincere desire to reduce “violence and crime in general”, but their leaders do not. To the leaders, counseling suicide-prone men and boys would be irrelevant to the actual goal, which is to abolish both the physical and psychological capacity of individuals to resist coercion by the permanent political class and its armed agents.

  22. Acksiom> Unfortunately, though, our society, like most if not all, refuses to pay a little bit more for our resources, manufacturing, infrastructure, defense, and other commons costs if it means not beating our young men into dehumanized self-sacrificers as much we do.

    WTF? In what way are we “beeting our young men into dehumanized self-sacrificers”?

    Please provide an example of a young man beaten into a dehumanized self-sacrificer because this statement just doesn’t make any since to me.

  23. The dupes and footsoldiers have a sincere desire to reduce “violence and crime in general”, but their leaders do not. To the leaders, counseling suicide-prone men and boys would be irrelevant to the actual goal, which is to abolish both the physical and psychological capacity of individuals to resist coercion by the permanent political class and its armed agents.

    Reminds me of when I unjoined the PTA. I found out that the national organization was busy lobbying for additional Brady-style handgun restrictions, remarked “Hmm, I don’t remember voting on this” and decided not to give them any more money…

  24. “No, it will just make attempting to keep guns out of the hands of criminals even more futile than it already is.”

    “Just”? Do I interpret that correctly to mean you are asserting that it will have no other meaningful effects whatsoever? If so, that’s a pretty strong claim, and it’s going to require some pretty strong proof.

    “Law-abiding citizens will continue to respect at least the letter if not the spirit of whatever prohibitions on weapon fabrication are put in place. . .”

    Yes, just like they do with speed limits! no wait. . . .

    Sure, some people are obsessively opposed to guns as guns *per se*, and will never compromise on that. Others, however, are opposed to guns because they really *do* want to prevent senseless, tragic firearm deaths and injuries, and have simply never been exposed to alternative means of doing so beyond regulation. I don’t blame those people for that– let alone negatively overgeneralize about them as you just did — because so far I’ve seen, this is a new and original argument.

    You should try to be more open-minded. I know the larger point about our shared responsibility for our culturally systemic abuse of men and boys — which, as I predicted, you totally ignored — is so very disturbing, but you really shouldn’t try to handle the queasy, upsetting reaction it provokes in you by improperly transferring it over onto other arguments that you think you’re capable of invalidating.

  25. Thank you for the correct *sic*, Eric. Please note in my reply to Daniel that I address that dichotomy between the leadership of the opposition to the right to self-defense and the followers they deceive and abuse. I don’t see how that makes my logic wrong, however; if anything, the difference you point out goes to support my thesis, instead. One simply has to take their grassroots and lower-to-middle management membership away from them, by providing superior programs and messages.

    dgreer, if you can’t even think of any examples on your own, you probaby need some fundamental instruction in these matters. I recommend the following as an excellent beginning to your enlightenment:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/042511094X/qid=1111174726/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3/104-2800911-6111965?v=glance&s=books

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0425181448/qid=1111174128/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-2800911-6111965?v=glance&s=books

    Enjoy!

  26. Two thoughts.

    1. Bans on “Saturday Night Specials” have the effect of pricing handguns out of the reach of the poor. If people have the right to a handgun in their house for self protection, but laws triple the price of handguns and put them out of the reach of poor people, it’s not much different from a poll tax.

    2. Local discretion on the granting of firearm licenses has to go. My town in Massachusetts is not good about granting permits. The next town over is essentially “shall issue” (de facto, if not de jure). It seems that Equal Protection says that this must end.

    But if I were so smart, why am I living in Massachusetts?

  27. Acksiom:

    Uh, no thanks. I was asking because I wanted to see your defense of these ideas and because you pegged my new-age-bullshit-meter.

    Your defense is apparently that you read a book and became “enlightened”. Congratulations.

    For my part, I’ll stick to what actually is, and not what some yammering sophist scribbles down to justify his Ph.D. and turn a few bucks on morons that are trying to “get” men.

    And for those who want to “get” men, get a dog, learn to make him happy, and then treat you men the same way. We’re very simple creatures :^) (except for those who prefer cats … Eric ;^).

    And you didn’t even have to waste $20 on the book :^). My community service for the day!

  28. Borepatch> But if I were so smart, why am I living in Massachusetts?

    Good question! Sell the snow blower and get your butt to Texas. Hell, everybody else seems to be moving here :^).

  29. There’s a huge, public paper trail of gun-grabbers saying ‘yes, we DO intend to make ALL guns illegal; the permit raj is just a start’.

    Abundent material evidence for any lawsuit.

  30. Mike Vanderboegh, over at Sipsey Steet, says among other things…

    “The McDonald decision, like the Heller decision before it, means exactly dick in the grand scheme of things. Liberty is secured by free men who are willing to kill for it and who hold the means to accomplish that in their own hands.

    Everything else is eyewash.”

    http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/

    Basically, the right to bear arms is innate, along with the right to self defense. I think Billy Beck also has some good things to say along these lines.

  31. @dgreer, the thought’s crossed my mind. Especially with the Texas schools kicking the butt of the California schools.

  32. Borepatch, talk my employer into moving its security team to the Dallas branch, and I’ll happily move in next door in furtherance of the common defense :-)

  33. Well, I prefer San Antonio. Food’s better.

    ‘Course, I may be a bit biased ;^).

  34. >The McDonald decision, like the Heller decision before it, means exactly dick in the grand scheme of things. Liberty is secured by free men who are willing to kill for it and who hold the means to accomplish that in their own hands.

    The second sentence is correct, but the first is not. The McDonald and Heller decisions matter because a lot of LEOs will take them seriously. They measurably damage the ability of the predatory political class to monopolize the use of violence and de-legitimize violent resistance to tyranny.

  35. >(except for those who prefer cats … Eric ;^).

    Yeah, and I like tofu, too. It has been alleged that I have color sense. Under the influence of my wife the costumer, I’ve even learned a few things about about …. textiles.

    No, no, I’m not going to turn into some sort of brie-nibbling metrosexual weenie. I’d have to tie a tourniquet around my testicles first…

  36. I find the argument that the “intervention” of target persons and general education of the public in general as a scheme to reduce “gun crime” (a misnomer if I ever saw one, as guns don’t commit crimes), to be pretty fallacious. All you have to do is look at the “flip side” on the issue of abortion: Everyone thinks it’s bad that it happens, but the people most vociferously against allowing it in any form shun sex education courses for the “at risk” population, prohibit birth control, and generally don’t provide any alternatives.

    I don’t see any of the groups currently endorsing gun bans to sign on to counseling for gang members or depressed adolescents, requiring gun safety education courses in schools, or actually having an alternative plan to a strict ban.

    Eventually, SCOTUS will have to make a ruling that actually addresses the idea that the “right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Hopefully not before another “conservative” Justice leaves the bench.

  37. “Just”? Do I interpret that correctly to mean you are asserting that it will have no other meaningful effects whatsoever?

    No other meaningful effect with respect to gun control. I of course agree that without this qualifier the statement would be patently absurd.

    Yes, just like they do with speed limits! no wait…

    I take it from this that you are not a gun owner at all, or a very casual one who is not at all tapped in to gun culture. If the penalty for speeding were a year in jail, forfeiture of your vehicle without compensation, and a lifetime prohibition on ever again possessing one, you can bet you’d obey the speed limit. Gun owners take all gun laws extremely seriously.

    I don’t blame those people for that– let alone negatively overgeneralize about them as you just did — because so far I’ve seen, this is a new and original argument.

    I can’t parse this sentence. What are the antecedents of “them” and “this”?

    I know the larger point about our shared responsibility for our culturally systemic abuse of men and boys — which, as I predicted, you totally ignored — is so very disturbing, but you really shouldn’t try to handle the queasy, upsetting reaction it provokes in you by improperly transferring it over onto other arguments that you think you’re capable of invalidating.

    I’ve completely lost the thread of the argument you’re making here. I’m pretty sure that we share some sort of common ground with respect society’s abuse of men: see my and Eric’s comments on this thread from a couple years ago. Aside from the one point which I refuted, I agree with everything Eric said there. But insofar as this issue relates to gun control, I don’t understand the agenda you’re proposing and I don’t understand why you think anything related to it runs counter to my assertions rather than reinforcing them.

  38. ESR> No, no, I’m not going to turn into some sort of brie-nibbling metrosexual weenie. I’d have to tie a tourniquet around my testicles first…

    I am relieved :^).

    And you comment about “the costumer” reminds me of something my mother said. She said that girls play with dolls so they can learn to dress their husbands :^).

  39. >And you comment about “the costumer” reminds me of something my mother said. She said that girls play with dolls so they can learn to dress their husbands :^).

    My wife’s from a working-class background in a decaying industrial town, very unlike my own cosmopolitan upper-middle-class upbringing. She bootstrapped herself up several strata by sheer intelligence and guts, was the first member of her family to go to college, and earned a law degree; she’s now a partner at her law firm and vice-president of our town’s borough council. But the difference in our background meant that I, to a significant extent, taught her upper-middle-class deportment – including how to dress.

    I hasten to add that she completed the lessons decades ago and hasn’t required advice in that long.

  40. It took 13 years to get from Brown to Loving so I expect this to be the same sort of long slog with the same sort of die-hard opposition.

    OTOH, it is interesting how the racist chickens of gun-control past are coming home to roost: McDonald is a black guy, the most “gun friendly” Supreme Court Justice is a black guy, Al Sharpton reports that 90% of the callers to his show support the decision, the opinion and Justice Thomas’ concurrence are full of cites to the intersection between racism, gun control, and how blacks needed guns for self-defense when the white authorities were indifferent or hostile.

    It will be useful to remind people of how the shenanigans of Mayor Daley et. al. resemble those used to disenfranchise blacks back in the Jim Crow days – how the response to Heller and McDonald is just a 21st century reincarnation of the Mississippi Plan.

  41. “Uh, no thanks.”

    [shrug] Your loss. Pretty much all you’re accomplishing with your casual dismissal is the tacit demonstration of my thesis, so I’m good.

    That’s because it’s really not that hard to recognize how we train everyone to devalue and dehumanize boys and men, including boys and men themselves. Thus, if someone can’t or won’t do it, the best interpretation for their failure is that it’s because they’re particularly invested in maintaining and profiting from that devaluing and dehumanizing status quo. Pretty much all other interpretations are more negatively characterizing.

    “I was asking because I wanted to see your defense of these ideas,”

    50 percent of life is just showing up. 50% percent of the remainder is just following through.

    So I guess that puts you in the below-average demographic.

    “and because you pegged my new-age-bullshit-meter.”

    Then you need to lower the sensitivity.

    However, as a general lesson in how to display the bare minimum of intellectual courtesy and integrity expected of adults — at least several of which you could plainly use — I’ll cite you a coupe of factoids you’ll find in Farrell. First, as of the publication of The Myth of Male Power, 24 out of 25 of the worst jobs were 95% to 99% male employment (the remaining other, professional dance, was about 50/50). Second, over 4 times as many men as women were committing suicide, and for people in the 20-24 age group, that ratio was 6 to 1. These statistics have likely not changed much since.

    Additionally, here’s something on youtube that will hopefully succeed, through sounds and images, in focusing your apparently juvenile attention span long enough for you to actually learn something:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZAuqkqxk9A

    Now it’s your turn. Please reproduce the lesson by displaying a bare modicum of intellectual courtesy and integrity yourself by coming up with just one example on your own of how we devalue and dehumanize men comparative to other members of society.

    Because if you can’t do it, well, that pretty much demonstrates my earlier point about your ignorance. And if you *won’t* do it, well, *that* pretty much demonstrates my original point about the fundamental sexism involved.

    “Your defense is apparently that you read a book and became “enlightened”.”

    I am curious as to how exactly you come to that conclusion, since, as I said, I only presented you with a good *beginning* to your education on such matters.

    It appears therefore that we should move even further back to the remedial level of merely reading for comprehension, but I’m sorry to say that I have no recommendations for you in that regard — I don’t have much to do with grade-school level education these days.

    “Congratulations.”

    Thank you. As a gesture of gratitude, I googled some links to help you in your apparent choice of vocation:

    http://mojo-place.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-to-be-miserable-in-20-easy-steps.html

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_get_shorter_in_height

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_scat_553612_ln?rh=n%3A553612%2Ck%3Aknee+pads&keywords=knee+pads&ie=UTF8&qid=1278035947&scn=553612&h=6d83d299e6b75abb8db652748b35f85e7543bcad

    “For my part, I’ll stick to what actually is, and not what some yammering sophist scribbles down to justify his Ph.D. and turn a few bucks on morons that are trying to “get” men.”

    That would be a lot more applicable if Farrell hadn’t taken a tremendous hit to his earnings by publishing these books. IIRC, he was earning something in the low six figures when he was towing the standard feminist line, and that dropped by around 90% when he started writing positively about men’s issues.

    “And for those who want to ‘get’ men, get a dog, learn to make him happy, and then treat you men the same way. We’re very simple creatures.”

    No, that would be just you, and the other below-averagers like you. Most of the rest of us, which is also most of us, are considerably better than that.

    “And you didn’t even have to waste $20 on the book.”

    Ah. So you didn’t even look at the amazon pages ITFP. You just went and spewed all that crap out without even the slightest idea if what you were talking about.

    “My community service for the day!”

    Yes, well, I think we all know by now just how degradingly low your standards are; there’s no need for more examples, thank you very much.

  42. >OTOH, it is interesting how the racist chickens of gun-control past are coming home to roost

    And ironic, as well, since the deep motivations of the anti-gun crowd actually ceased being racist to any significant degree sixty years ago. Now they’re race-blind but left-totalitarian.

    It makes me wonder if a third wave of “gun control” will be pushed at us sixty years from now, after the death of today’s left, by some now-unimaginable gang of villains. And have to be fought against with reminders that in the 20th century it was a tool of people that everyone in that future remembers only as evil memebots for Communism.

  43. >Yes, well, I think we all know by now just how degradingly low your standards are; there’s no need for more examples, thank you very much.

    Acksiom: You are essentially correct in much of your indictment. Daniel actually understands and agrees with several of your premises. Now shut up – or at least learn how not to alienate people who agree with you (which is to say me and to some extent Daniel) with an irritating combination of vagueness, snottiness, and tendentious language.

    Daniel: You didn’t handle this exchange well. I understand that as an HFA you may be a bit neurologically challenged for dealing with people like Acksiom and do not hold it against you. I’m not sure how to advise you to change your behavior, except … try to bias yourself a bit more towards the attitude that there may be something of value beneath what appears to be airy neurotypical bullshit and that part of your responsibility as an intelligent person is to dig it out.

  44. dgreer,

    Actually those books look kind of interesting and realistic (within the limitations of social science) and not new age at all. Of course I’ve read Acksiom in other places and knew that he is not a new age sort of person, so the new age alarm did not go off falsely for me. Others did though, so I’m glad recognizing your false alarm made me cautious enough about mine to click on the links.

    Yours,
    Tom

  45. Eric, you confused the heck out of me there until I Googled “Daniel Greer” and got a Texas libertarian. There are apparently two HFAs named Daniel in this thread who are arguing with Acksiom despite agreeing with him “to some extent” :-)

    ESR says: Actually I think I confused the two of you. Apologies.

  46. esr,

    > airy neurotypical bullshit

    Yes, Acksiom tends to set off my crank alarm.

    > at least learn how not to alienate people who agree with you (which is to say me and to some extent Daniel) with an irritating combination of vagueness, snottiness, and tendentious language.

    Oh yeah. When my difficult and combative alarm went off it was correct.

    > You didn’t handle this exchange well. I understand that as an HFA you may be a bit neurologically challenged for dealing with people like Acksiom and do not hold it against you. I’m not sure how to advise you to change your behavior, except … try to bias yourself a bit more towards the attitude that there may be something of value beneath what appears to be airy neurotypical bullshit and that part of your responsibility as an intelligent person is to dig it out.

    Oh man I wish you had been their the first time I had to deal with Acksiom. Here I’ve been thinking of him as a typical internet crank – a really false alarm – and mostly ignoring him when in fact he had something important to teach me.

    Acksiom,

    I apologize for thinking of you as a typical internet crank. It may be true that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but it’s also true that flies make lousy wise men. I need to be caught by vinegar when there is something important to learn.

    Yours,
    Tom

  47. ESR:

    It’s Don and I was intentionally being a bit of prick there. I apologize to the group, Acksiom, and my host.

    BTW, “HFA”? Please parse. Is that anything like “redneck in residence”? :^)

    Acksium: My reaction was caused mostly by your assertion that what you rendered as fact was common knowledge and anybody who disagreed was less intelligent that yourself (at least, that’s the way it read to me).

    One honest question tho before I drop this, exactly how do I “profit from devaluing men and boys?” That I just don’t grok.

  48. dgreer: HFA = High Functioning Autistic, and if you’re not one and your name isn’t Daniel then I’m now completely confused. Eric, which one of us were you chiding?

  49. I think even people who are not High Functioning Autistics might have trouble with someone who is producing “an irritating combination of vagueness, snottiness, and tendentious language.”

    Yours,
    Tom

  50. > One honest question tho before I drop this, exactly how do I “profit from devaluing men and boys?”

    You get the benefit of dirty and dangerous jobs done at less expensive prices.

    Yours,
    Tom

  51. Danial Franke> HFA = High Functioning Autistic, and if you’re not one and your name isn’t Daniel then I’m now completely confused. Eric, which one of us were you chiding?

    Ha! I guess, as much as I’ve tried to over come it, HFA is probably still an accurate description (have the ask the wife on that one, she’s the “normal” one in this relationship :^), and yeah, my name is Don, not Dan.

    And Eric was chiding me, as I said I was intentionally be in a bit of a pain :^).

    ESR says: But I was confusing you with the *other* HFA. Droll, isn’t it?

  52. I’m too busy to address most of the replies at the moment, but for this I will make the time:

    Thank you, Don; I give you mad props for that. I believe you’ve also observed how exceedingly rare it is for someone to admit an error and apologize for it, and you’ve earned my compliments and respect.

    To give your question a quick answer (well, quick for me) — we all profit from it, in that we all share the cheaper costs for resources, infrastructure, manufacturing, defense, and other goods and services of the “commons” (in the “Tragedy of” sense) that result from not spending more initially on ensuring the safety of the men who risk and suffer injury and death in providing those goods and services. I’m talking about mining, forestry, lineworking, gas, electric, and sewage; garbage collection; policing, etc. — debilitating, dangerous, deadly work without which modern civilization would not exist.

    As the comedian Louis CK has pointed out (if not in so many words, and I’ll find and post the link later) — our modern existence would be considered the lifestyle of literally the gods to our ancestors. But just as the ancient gods required their sacrifices, so too do we modern humans. We need a constant resupply of men who are willing to risk their well-being, safety, health, and lives in exchange for those cheaper costs of the raw materials and functional machinery of civilization. And so, we teach everybody to devalue and dehumanize boys and men, themselves included, so that there will always be enough of them willing to put themselves into harm’s way.

    And, as I said, when people reject the idea vituperatively, it’s usually because their livelihood is more dependent upon that resupply of self-sacrificing men than others. The other, less common reasons are usually more — or at least, usually considered more — negatively characterizing than that, such as High Functioning Autism, which I believe is what Eric meant by HFA. I say “usually considered” because I don’t share that point of view, being myself what is probably best characterized as a High Functioning Sociopath, and I hope that clarification serves to compensate for any offense you might find in my answer.

    So essentially, you — and the rest of us as well, myself included — profit from it in that it makes men and boys more likely to risk themselves for less recompense, thereby driving down the costs of our standard of living.

  53. >You get the benefit of dirty and dangerous jobs done at less expensive prices.

    Right, this is obvious. It’s why I recognize Acksiom’s indictment as fundamentally correct. Now, if he can just stop being what the Brits call a “prat” about it…

  54. Tom DeGisi> I think even people who are not High Functioning Autistics might have trouble with someone who is producing “an irritating combination of vagueness, snottiness, and tendentious language.”

    Actually it was the fact that his claim appeared to me to be self-referencial, kinda like, “You’re a biggot, and if you deny you’re biggot, it just proves your a biggot.”

    Guess I need to read one of those books because I’m thinking of dirty, dangerous jobs, and most of them are pretty damned highly paid (rough neck jumps to mind, followed by tower climbers, and North Atlantic/Pacific fishermen).

  55. >And so, we teach everybody to devalue and dehumanize boys and men, themselves included, so that there will always be enough of them willing to put themselves into harm’s way.

    That’s only part of the story. Part of the reason this goes on without question is that many men (including me) are wired to crave the kind of validation that comes from putting themselves at physical and other kinds of risk – of being, in whatever way they can, heroes. There’s a analogous element of female complicity in the abuse of women that stems from their dominant mating strategy of attaching themselves to the most successfully alpha male they think will stick around to help raise offspring.

    >being myself what is probably best characterized as a High Functioning Sociopath

    Hm. That makes the second of my acquaintance; one of my best friends is an HFS. It’s an interesting type, often very capable and charismatic but you have to watch your ass around ‘em because the neural substrate for empathy and ethical reciprocity is only partly functional.

  56. FWIW, I think all the theories about organized conspiracies to devalue men are bunk. There’s no conspiracy; it’s just one of society’s growing pains that comes with prosperity.

    It used to be that the traditionally “masculine” virtues, of which I will select bravery as an instructive example, had starkly obvious utility. Being a coward 10,000 years ago meant running away from the charging mammoth rather than spearing it, and your tribe going hungry as a result. Now most of us don’t have to worry about that. Food comes from the supermarket and most of the dirty and dangerous jobs are being done by machines while the most of the male breadwinners are sitting at desks.

    Today, bravery is still of dire importance, yet it’s easier to fool ourselves into devaluing it. Brave decisions today, like leaving your comfortable day job to start a company or blowing the whistle on some routinely-accepted injustice, have positive effects that play themselves out over months or years rather than minutes or hours. As a result, these acts are harder to conceptualize. They make it harder to draw the line between cause and effect, and harder to condense them into parables to tell to children. These acts are also less distinctly masculine: women are just as capable of them.

    People on both sides of the culture war still think of bravery in terms that more closely resemble stone age ways. There’s a burglar in your house. Do you reach for your gun, or do you lock yourself in the closet and hope the police will save you? These sorts of choices still matter, but they matter rarely enough that the cowards can advocate their position without getting laughed out of the room. It’s a mistake to continue regarding these scenarios as paradigmatic of why bravery is important, but it’s a mistake that our brains are intrinsically wired to make.

    What we need is a hack to help us cope with this mistake. Eric had it right in the post that I linked earlier when he said that we need a set of manhood ordeals. We need to start teaching bravery to our hindbrains in order to help our forebrains understand it. If we can do that, the rest will fall in line.

  57. Acksiom: I guess what I’m having trouble with here is that we “profit” from it. I can’t think of a seriously dangerous job that doesn’t pay a premium for said danger. Tower climbers, linemen, rough necks, North Atlantic/Pacific fisherman, Miner, etc. All those jobs pay significantly more than other jobs of similar skill levels.

    Are you saying that men doing these jobs are being taken advantage of at any price? If not, what price do you put on the risk to a man’s life and limb?

    My dad was a lineman (back when they didn’t have those fancy little buckets). He spent several years manning a trouble truck, climbing poles in the middle of storms (including a couple of hurricanes) to restore power to critical services like hospitals. He did it for the money and when he didn’t feel the money was worth the risk he moved out of the job. He didn’t devalue himself, he accepted the risk for the reward. The assertion that he devalued himself seams to me to be demeaning. I would say the same thing about the tower climbers I’ve worked with, and about the rough necks I’ve known over the years.

    It’s a job. Somebody has to do it, and for those who will do it, they make more money than they could make being a plumber’s helper, or bus boy, or porter, or rough carpenter. The men who do the work accept the risks, take whatever reasonable precautions they can, and then demand a good wage for the job. I’m guessing I’m being particularly thick here, but I just don’t see how this is devaluing them.

    I’m also not sure what that has to do with suicide rates. I suspect the difference between the number of men and women dying of suicide is that women tend to use suicide methods that are less… immediate for whatever reason and therefor are found and “saved” more often than men.

  58. One more thing, it seems that the argument has something to do with the fact that most of these jobs are populated but males. I might suggest that most of these jobs require a large amount of upper body strength and as such would necessarily exclude the vast majority of females.

  59. > And ironic, as well, since the deep motivations of the anti-gun crowd actually ceased being racist to any significant degree sixty years ago.

    I’m skeptical. I think there is still some lingering racism there.

    OTOH at least part of what I’m seeing could be the anti-gun crowd cynically pandering to what they believe is the racism of the pro-gun side: “We only want to get rid of the kinds of guns that black people use; we’re not interested in banning the kinds of guns that white people use.”

  60. Speaking of motivations, it’s been my experience that almost everybody (well, everybody who’s not a serious 2nd Ammendment advocate) can think of somebody they know that they wouldn’t want to have a gun because that person scares them (their mean, stupid, clumsy, whatever) and that’s how I think most people justify their desire for gun control laws. They rarely think about criminals, and they rarely think about the fact that THEY won’t be able to get a gun because, well, they don’t have a gun now and don’t want a gun, so it won’t effect them.

    The Leaders of the anti-gun movement feed these fears. From the leadership point of view, it’s about power, plain and simple. Whether they are racists or not is coincidental. As long as the folks don’t have guns, they don’t have the MEANS for self defense, and therefore they are more reliant on the leaders and will give more power to the leaders, sending us down the road to a genuine police state, which would be just fine with these people, since they’d be the ones at the top calling the shots.

    I think its interesting that laws have become more intrusive and more restricting in inverse proportion to the percentage of the population that excises it’s right to keep & bare arms. Everywhere that guns have been effectively banned, the laws are unbelievable intrusive and the politicians will tell you they HAVE to have all that power to “fight crime” or “keep the public safe”.

    Give me a 12 gauge and 9MM, I’ll keep myself and my family safe, then the cops just have to drag the bodies away. Less danger for them, more freedom for me. I’m good with that.

  61. The violent crime rate in Chicago is rather weird. It goes up from 1985-1986, drops slightly, levels out until 1988, at which point it climbs until 1990, and slides to low levels by the 2000s.

    Most of the cities I looked at peak in 1990 and then decline to levels below 1985 by 2000 or earlier. (New Orleans has a brief jump 2006-2007. Katrina aftermath related?)

  62. Actually, I pulled the stats for the 5 states above last night. Looking at the graph of the crime rates for AZ, AK, IL, WI, and VT what stands out is the IL and AZ have similar violent crime stats over the period 72-82, but starting in 84, where AZ has a moderate increase in crime, IL has a very significant increase (as much as 20%). The peaks and valleys appear to be coincident with the economy at the time.

    I then graph IL/AZ % and found that IL crime rate was 125-150% higher than AZ both before and after the gun ban but the swings seemed to worsen after the ban.

    From this, I’d venture to guess that the lack of guns makes criminals more bold and so, when there are more people willing to be criminals, they will hit more victims, and when times are good and there are fewer criminals in general, there’s very little difference. Perhaps that implies that guns deter criminals who take advantage of victims of opportunity and circumstance, where as they make very little difference with the hardened and determined “professional” criminal types (the drug dealers, gangsters, etc.) and likely make no difference at all in “crimes of passion” situations.

    I have no idea if there’s any way to verify these ideas.

    Stats available here.

  63. On the idea of home fabrication of guns: The effect of this is likely to make guns more available for criminals, true, but there’s another level: gun control regulations are likely to start targeting the blueprints/instructions that the fabricators need to make guns. Hence, pressure to make the blueprints heavily DRMed in order to prevent copying, and possibly a new class of ‘forbidden information’ alongside, say, child porn, that needs to be searched for in people’s laptops at border crossings. I’m not sure whether that’s particularly worrisome or not, but certainly it can’t be good to give those so inclined more excuse to go after data.

  64. Tom Dickson-Hunt> … gun control regulations are likely to start targeting the blueprints/instructions that the fabricators need to make guns.

    I think that’s hopeless. SCOTUS has already upheld that the designs for a nuclear bomb and the source code for “strong encryption” is protected speech. I cannot imagine that designs for a hand gun would be less so.

    As for the manufacturing equipment, it’s in practically any machine shop in the US and regulation of such would probably double the difficulty they’d have getting guns out of the hands of the population in the first place. Even without that, a piece of pipe, a nail, a rubber band, and some wood and you can make a gun with very little trouble. I remember in the 70’s when the national media had burbs on the horror of people getting hold of “zip guns” and how they were afraid kids would make them and they’d blow up. ‘WE MUST SAVE THE CHILDREN!!!’ Morons.

  65. Yeah…it’s ridiculously simple to make a working gun. Somehow, the gun grabbers never quite seem to realize that. I know essentially nothing about machine tools, and yet i’m pretty sure I could make something that works, if not the prettiest thing in the world, in a day.

  66. dgreer Says: “Acksiom: I guess what I’m having trouble with here is that we “profit” from it. I can’t think of a seriously dangerous job that doesn’t pay a premium for said danger. …All those jobs pay significantly more than other jobs of similar skill levels.”

    I think he has a point. One of the things that was pointed out to me a long time ago was that there was evidence to believe that the safety records of various jobs increased as the percentage of women in those jobs increased. This would seem to indicate that when women move into a job sector, the job becomes safer. The argument is that men are willing to accept that extra danger, but steps are taken to engineer the worst of the dangers out once women start doing the job. I think that Aksiom is trying to say that there must be an undercurrent of “the lives of men aren’t as valuable” in this thought process, even if we don’t directly think that way.

  67. <I’m skeptical. I think there is still some lingering racism there.

    Actually, one thing I’ve noticed is that the anti-gun whackjobs will mention black criminals, aka gangs, but only when they’re trying to sell the general public on their anti-liberty schemes. When they think they’re among friends, they make it clear that their real fear is of “rednecks” with guns. They don’t hold back, either; it isn’t uncommon for them to fantasize openly about extermination. (This is probably why they cling so hard to the myth that southerners are “inbred.”)

    The irony here is that, going by the statistics, “rednecks,” meaning working class rural residents, are probably more likely to be gay male ballet dancers than murderers. The crime rate in those areas is somewhere south of Switzerland. Yet that doesn’t stop sissified Upper East Side types from fantasizing about the rape-crazed, violent redneck tidal wave that is only one liberalized gun law away.

    These people are bigots; they just aren’t *racial* bigots. And quite frankly, they are more than a little mentally ill.

    Also, they seem to be very insecure about their own sexuality; thus the constant claim that gun owners are underendowed below the belt. Question: assuming they are correct, just when was the Constitution amended to deny civil rights to men with small penises?

  68. >Question: assuming they are correct, just when was the Constitution amended to deny civil rights to men with small penises?

    Oh, the rude jokes that beg to be made here. But I shall be strong. I shall refrain.

  69. OK, I can’t not say it.

    >Yet that doesn’t stop sissified Upper East Side types from fantasizing about the rape-crazed, violent redneck tidal wave that is only one liberalized gun law away.

    Two words: “Rough trade”. You innocents out there can Google it.

  70. Sean Sorrentino> …This would seem to indicate that when women move into a job sector, the job becomes safer….

    Please name an industry where this has happened, because I cannot think of one (and I’ve tried). As I said elsewhere in my comment, the jobs I’m thinking of (and that are usually used as classic examples of the most dangerous jobs) all require large amounts of sustain upper body strength, something that only a relative hand-full of women have.

    I suspect, if you examine these jobs (e.g. railroad brakeman – that’s the only example that comes to mind at the moment) there was a technology leap that not only made the job safer, but made it physically less strenuous, thereby opening the position up to women in a practical way. It isn’t women that make it safer, it’s the technology, and it isn’t safety that makes it possible for women to participate, it’s the technology.

    And counter to the claim that I think I’m hearing from others here, that technology reduces costs as well, because it opens the job market to a broader population, allowing people to be hired at reduced wages for the same job. In other words, it’s CHEAPER to value the lives of workers (regardless of age and sex) when it comes to issues of safety. In fact, in my example, the technology eventually replaced the brakeman all together, allowing the railroads to drop those positions and sell off their fleet of expensive to maintain cabooses.

  71. Esr: I had never heard that phrase before now. I guess you learn something new every day.

    Just to be clear, however, I was referring to a *negative* fantasy.

    ESR says: I know. But it was funnier – and possibly more truthful – the other way around.

  72. On the subject of men’s rights:

    My own opinion is that there really are a lot of issues that need to be addressed on this front, such as parental rights, misuse by women of child support money, etc.; but that the issue has unfortunately been clouded by the usual eggheaded insistence on perfect equality, instead of keeping the focus on serious injustices against men.

    To give one of the more extreme examples, I’ve seen one blogger, who shall here go unnamed, demanding that rape of men by women be taken as seriously as the reverse. It was, to me, a red flag. Although this blogger was intelligent and had made numerous good points in the past, it was hard for me to take her seriously afterward.

  73. Back to the leftist fantasies about the coming redneck violence: like many leftist ideas, this has a very definite Gnostic flavor. In their minds, there is this misleading, and secretly evil and damned, world we live in, but beneath it there is a deeper truth that is the exact opposite.

    It may seem as if rural areas are peaceful…but deep in the heart of every rural worker lies a Klansman lynching blacks and going home to beat his wife/sister and molest his children.

    It may seem as if guns can defend you against criminals…but in the Gnostic real world, you are one accidental discharge (no jokes please, esr) away from awakening your dark side and committing another Columbine.

    It may seem that free economies outperform socialist ones, and in pretty much linear relation to how free they are…but in the secret world of the Left, there is a point on the freedom vs. prosperity graph, just beyond Hoxha’s Albania, at which the linear relation suddenly meets a discontinuity; and in this previously undiscovered utopia, the human race will have no freedom but perfect prosperity.

    It may seem that the US is a generous nation that allows residents of its impoverished southern neighbor to seek a better life here, and in fact goes way overboard in ignoring its own laws about immigration; but, in the secret world, these people are in fact forced to come here by the secret cabal through which the US controls their own incompetent governments and makes slaves out of them.

    I might add that while this can be seen as Gnosticism, it also tracks pretty well with the classic description of paranoid schizophrenia.

  74. Ken> To give one of the more extreme examples, I’ve seen one blogger, who shall here go unnamed, demanding that rape of men by women be taken as seriously as the reverse. It was, to me, a red flag. Although this blogger was intelligent and had made numerous good points in the past, it was hard for me to take her seriously afterward.

    Uh, why? Are you in the camp of, “A woman can’t rape a man?” If so, I beg to differ. There have been cases of this sort of thing, and dispite overwhelming evidence in some of them, the juries usually acquit because SOMEBODY on the jury believes that deep down every man wants it. Sound familiar?

    There has also not to my knowledge ever been a successful case of sexual discrimination in the work place perpetrated by a woman on a man (or a man on a man for that matter). The most amazing thing about what you said is that the commenter is a woman, which makes her a VERY rare bird in deed, as most women I’ve spoken with about this seem shocked at the idea that men could be rape victims and should be treated as such.

    This nonsense is codified in law as well. For instance, in Texas a woman (regardless of age) is legally incapable of giving consent after consuming any amount of alcohol. In other words, you take you wife to the bar, then go up stairs for sex in your hotel room, you’ve just legally raped your wife. The same is not said of men, so if the Cougar can get a guy to the beer-goggles stage, she can have her way with him and he has no recourse when he sobers up.

    Oh, and while we’re on the subject of male rape :^) I believe somebody here suggested Al Gore as a potential advocate to speak out against jail-rape. Looks like that might just happen yet.

  75. >Are you in the camp of, “A woman can’t rape a man?” If so, I beg to differ. There have been cases of this sort of thing

    I’m a pretty worldly guy with lots of knowledge about the sexual fringes, but I balk at this one. For a woman to have her way with a man, he’s got to have an erection. This response has to be seduced out of him, it can’t be coerced. Thus I too, am skeptical that “rape” is possible in this direction.

    I won’t deny there are such things as female sexual predators; I have had sad and wounding experiences with one or two myself. But they injure in subtler ways, by seducing men and then being sexually or emotionally unavailable after they’ve elicited a need. This sort of thing cannot be labeled “rape” without emptying that word of its actual, coercive meaning.

  76. Not only do I not think a woman can rape a man; I frankly doubt most of the men pushing the issue think so either. Most of the ones I’ve seen who made such a claim had a deep hatred of women beforehand, and were pushing this issue as a form of vengeance.

    I grant that the other issues you raise are perfectly legitimate.

  77. The next step has to be the “may issue” laws. We basically need to get rid of “may issue” and replace them with “shall issue”.

    I don’t know enough about Sacramento’s Sykes v. McGinness case, but I always figured that New York City’s may issue law will the next one to reach the Supreme Court, as NYC is effectively “shall not issue” unless you are rich or politically connected.

  78. ESR: “For a woman to have her way with a man, he’s got to have an erection. This response has to be seduced out of him, it can’t be coerced.”

    Beg to differ. There is evidence that sexual arousal can be imposed. It happens to women too. For some people, the wiring is such that skilled stimulation of erogenous zones can produce arousal and even orgasm in an unwilling subject. Note that this makes the rape even more horrific – also considerably more embarrassing for a woman. It’s not always possible – but it can happen. Alcohol or other intoxicants can facilitate this – obviously by rendering the subject semi-conscious, but also at lower levels by weakening the subject’s control over his or her body and feelings.

    Besides that, there are artificial stimulants such as Viagra/Cialis. Also an electrical device which is inserted in a male’s anus. (It’s used by stockbreeders to obtain semen from bulls, boars, stallions, and other animals.)

  79. dgreer> Give me a 12 gauge and 9MM, I’ll keep myself and my family safe, then the cops just have to drag the bodies away. Less danger for them, more freedom for me. I’m good with that.

    This sort of thing may be well and good in a rural area, but we city dwellers are not too keen on it. Maybe you only care about you and yours, but we’re not pleased at the prospect of you shooting the baby sleeping in the crib in one of the adjacent apartments. That’s why Chicago (and other cities) are determined to keep fighting on the issue.

    You have to understand that this is not a legal issue. This is all about when you were ten years old and you wanted a BB gun. You asked your father, and he said, “Go ask your mother.” You asked your mother and she said,

    “NO!! You’ll shoot someone’s eye out!”

    ….and you know that there is NO GETTING AROUND the dreaded “shoot someone’s eye out” objection.

    My advice to those who want guns for self-defense is to not push your court cases too hard. If you get what you want, there will probably be a real urban and suburban groundswell in favor of repeal of the second amendment. You don’t want that, and I don’t want that, either.

  80. My advice to those who want guns for self-defense is to not push your court cases too hard. If you get what you want, there will probably be a real urban and suburban groundswell in favor of repeal of the second amendment. You don’t want that, and I don’t want that, either.

    I have to call bullshit on this (at least in terms of a true groundswell as opposed to some sort of astroturf campaign). In Texas and most surrounding states, no permit or training is required to own a gun or keep one in your home. This is true even if your “home” is a 450 sqft condo in a highrise, and this policy does not, as far as I know, seem to be causing any significant collateral carnage.

    BTW, the last time there was a huge furor over firearms in Texas was the Killeen Luby’s shooting in 1991. The public outcry over this shooting led to (drumroll…) the shall-issue concealed handgun permit in 1995.

    Contrast this with Chicago, which, in the wake of McDonald, quickly passed a new ordinance allowing only one operable firearm per household, and requiring owners to have a state firearms permit, to register weapons with Chicago police and to take four hours of classroom training and one hour of firing range training. The ordinance also forbids gun shops within the city limits.

    This new Chicago ordinance will probably be challenged as well. I could see the prohibition on gun shops being overturned, and the one firearm per household rule turning into one firearm per qualified adult, but it’s really hard to envision the training and registration requirements being overturned. The same sort of thing is true of New York and Massachusetts — through trial and error, these places will figure out the maximum regulation they can get away with, and that will probably include some education and registration component.

    So it’s really pretty hard for me to imagine that, for example, licensed gun users in Chicago are going to cause enough problems to move the political needle, especially since right now, when most people who keep firearms for self-defense probably haven’t even been to a class, accidental deaths only account for about 2% of all firearm deaths.

    The sanest (not sane; just sanest) argument for gun control is actually suicide prevention, but it’s pretty obvious if you think hard about it that there are better ways to prevent suicide and improve quality of life than to simply ignore someone after you’ve insured that he doesn’t have easy access to a firearm…

  81. >The sanest (not sane; just sanest) argument for gun control is actually suicide prevention, but it’s pretty obvious if you think hard about it that there are better ways to prevent suicide and improve quality of life than to simply ignore someone after you’ve insured that he doesn’t have easy access to a firearm…

    Also, there’s the issue that it turns out that people without access to guns commit suicide at comparable rates to people who do; they just don’t use guns. (When gun control is passed, gun suicides go down, but suicides overall stay about level.)

  82. My advice to those who want guns for self-defense is to not push your court cases too hard. If you get what you want, there will probably be a real urban and suburban groundswell in favor of repeal of the second amendment. You don’t want that, and I don’t want that, either.

    I don’t think that anyone who is not currently in favor of repealing 2A will be shifted that way by gun control being struck down by the Supremes. The position of repealing is quite rare, to say the least, and there is little intellectual justification for advocating repeal of one of the Bill of Rights.

    And even if there is an ‘urban and suburban groundswell’–there’s no way on Earth that such a groundswell could amass the support to get such a controversial Constitutional amendment through.

  83. LS> If you get what you want, there will probably be a real urban and suburban groundswell in favor of repeal of the second amendment.

    You have completely misjudged the groundswell. The groundswell has been in a pro-2nd amendment direction for the last two decades. For proof, take a look at the concealed carry laws, and how they have changed over the years:

    http://www.gun-nuttery.com/rtc.php

    Notice how in 1986, only 9 states were “shall issue” states and 16 states were “no issue”. In 2010, 39 states are “shall issue” and 2 states are “no issue” (and it will be 40 “shall issue” states on Jan 1, 2011). Notice how 14 of the “no issue” states became “shall issue” states, and also notice how zero states have become stricter on concealed carry.

  84. Ken said
    > Not only do I not think a woman can rape a man;

    ESR said
    > For a woman to have her way with a man, he’s got to have an erection.

    This would have to be at the sillier end of argument on this blog. For example, is non-consensual anal penetration not rape?

  85. On the subject of fabrication of firearms:

    I find this interesting, but I’m wondering if home fabrication technologies are good enough yet to allow unskilled folks to produce firearms, which requires high-quality parts to made with tight tolerances capable of bearing various levels of stress in order to produce a gun that will fire safely and reliably.

    I think the engineering/blueprint end is irrelevant. If regulators seek to control fabrication from this end, I think we’ll simply end up with open source firearms designs, so long as home fabrication technologies simplify actual fabrication enough.

  86. Morgan, The Amazon link I posted above is for a manual describing the fabrication (for study purposes only!) of a fully automatic 9mm submachinegun. It is built of fairly easily obtainable steel pipe and tubing using a drill, files and hacksaw. This doesn’t qualify as rocket science as it looks like the most difficult part is modifying a reamer for the chamber.
    For those with a bit more skill and access to machine tools, Amazon also has books with more sophisticated designs. They also have texts about making your own gunpowder from scratch.
    The point is, gun tech is already open source and has been for centuries.

  87. >This would have to be at the sillier end of argument on this blog. For example, is non-consensual anal penetration not rape?

    Ah, now that is a good point that I had not thought of. Score for you.

  88. LS says:”….and you know that there is NO GETTING AROUND the dreaded “shoot someone’s eye out” objection.”

    The right to shoot your own eye out is protected by the Constitution – it is an inalienable right.

    Everyone I knew growing up had a BB gun, a 22, a Benjamin pump or equivalent from 3rd grade on. We were armed. We also had Gilbert Chemistry sets and knew how to use them. Serious fireworks were available at the local Chinese store. There were some injuries from bomb building using the flash powder from firecrackers, but no one I knew shot their eye out or wounded another. Cannons were a favorite metal shop project.

    Gun fearing wussies are just another symptom of the decline of Western Civilization.

  89. It’s all too depressing to consider. I’m suffering from compassion fatigue viz-a-viz these nasty thuggish states/localities that continue to view the population as a herd of cattle to be corraled and neutered at their behest.

    I have even less energy to care for the fate of the moronic individuals that vote for – and enable – these disgusting fascists.

    Enjoy the bed you made, fuckers.

    As for the rest of the innocent victims…..flee?

  90. Hunt Johnson>The right to shoot your own eye out is protected by the Constitution – it is an inalienable right…Everyone I knew growing up had a BB gun, a 22, a Benjamin pump or equivalent from 3rd grade on. We were armed. We also had Gilbert Chemistry sets and knew how to use them. Serious fireworks…

    Shoot SOMEONE’s eye out, Hunt. Your Constitutional Right to Shoot Out Your Eye stops at other people’s.

    What these replies show is that there is a great divide on these matters between heavily urbanized areas and more rural places. In the big cities, anti-handgun laws are popular. Rural people don’t understand it, but there it is. It’s really true. If you knock them down, there will be a reaction.

    I, too, regret the emasculation of the chemistry set. The ones you get today won’t even let you stain the table, let alone make that coveted explosion.

  91. What these replies show is that there is a great divide on these matters between heavily urbanized areas and more rural places. In the big cities, anti-handgun laws are popular. Rural people don’t understand it, but there it is. It’s really true. If you knock them down, there will be a reaction.

    I’m a big city guy who is 100% pro 2nd Amendment. I grew up in Detroit (I live near Tampa these days), currently ranked #3 in the U.S. in terms of murder and non-negligent manslaughter per capita. And I’m definitely not alone amongst Detroiters and formers Detroiters.

  92. >I’m a big city guy who is 100% pro 2nd Amendment.

    I, too, am a pro-gun urbanite. OK, I live in an exurb but I’m very definitely a city boy rather than a country one.

  93. Interesting data analysis: CCW permit holders are 5.78 times less likely to murder than the population at large.

    That’s a no-brainer. In most states, you can’t be a felon, and you need training. In Texas, it is a 10 to 15 hour class taught by a DPS officer.

    You need planning, you need money, you need to make it to the class, you need to not be afraid to be near a peace officer. At the end of the class, you have heard a lot about how to approach various situations. Finally, you have the actual gun, which is a huge confidence booster when you are in an iffy situation.

    So, basically, you have responsible, law-abiding citizens, who have received a modicum of training on how to de-escalate tense situations, who aren’t deathly afraid of someone with a knife, and who have been made keenly aware that it is their responsibility to deescalate a situation if possible, and (for the simple reason that they’ve had it fully explained to them) that they will probably be worse off than the average citizen if they discharge a firearm when they shouldn’t have.

    It’s a great recipe for calmer interactions.

  94. >What these replies show is that there is a great divide on these matters between heavily urbanized areas and more rural places. In the big cities, anti-handgun laws are popular. Rural people don’t understand it, but there it is. It’s really true. If you knock them down, there will be a reaction.

    A reaction, sure. I’m willing to accept that a majority of urbanites are in favor of handgun restrictions. However, even if we assume that all citizens of all urban areas are completely in favor of repealing 2A, which is not true, they still don’t have the numbers or the states to get an amendment through. The reaction is not going to take that form. Chicago is already pushing the limits with its new policies of after McDonald; perhaps the ‘reaction’ you postulate will simply be more such testing. I’m not sure what other form you might expect it to take.

  95. What these replies show is that there is a great divide on these matters between heavily urbanized areas and more rural places. In the big cities, anti-handgun laws are popular.

    Perhaps in big cities with decaying centers, anti-handgun laws are popular because of classist/racist fears, but you overstated your case, and completely ignored my statement about condos in Texas.

    Population-wise, Texas has 3 cities in the top 10 in the US — Houston (4), San Antonio (7), and Dallas (9). Houston has over 75% the number of people in #3 Chicago, and over 50% of number of people in #2 Los Angeles.

    Granted, the population density still isn’t as high as some other places, but nonetheless, there are large numbers of people living nearly on top of each other in various places in Texas, and as far as I know, the support you claim for handgun restrictions just doesn’t exist here.

    The interesting thing about even a moderate number of homeowners owning firearms is that it has a positive societal effect similar to disease inoculation. Since the thieves don’t know which houses have guns, they have to assume they all do, and the thieves try very hard not to break in if somebody might be home. I remember reading a couple of years ago that in England these days, thieves deliberately wait until people are home before they break in, because that way, it becomes a robbery and they can get more cash and jewelry.

  96. >I’m willing to accept that a majority of urbanites are in favor of handgun restrictions

    Probably not. Nationwide polls can’t find a majority in favor or prohibition or even registration any more, and the U.S. is urbanized enough that this pretty much guarantees an urban majority isn’t anti-gun.

    It might have been possible to find such a majority in the 1970s, but U.S. popular support for firearms restrictions has been dropping steadily for 25 years. That’s why there are only a few states left that prohibit possession or have may-issue (rather than shall-issue) CCW; there used to be a lot more. The trend is in the pro-gun-rights direction, as exemplified by Arizona dropping CCW permit requirements earlier this year (joining Vermont and Alaska).

    This is why the media is running stories about the McDonald decision being privately a relief to top Democrats, who badly want the firearms issue off the table. Ever since Bill Clinton told them (correctly) that gun control cost the Democrats the 1994 elections, party strategists have been trying to sidle away from that plank of the platform. They’ve been unable to actually do that because of pressure from the virulently anti-gun-rights left wing of the party, and it’s been costing them heavily – especially in swing districts in the South and West.

    It is interesting that the long-term collapse in popular support for firearms restrictions has continued despite an unrelenting anti-firearms slant in the mainstream media.

  97. ESR> For a woman to have her way with a man, he’s got to have an erection.

    Oh, crap! The next thing your gonna say is that if a woman experiences an orgasm or gets wet while being raped, she enjoyed it and it wasn’t rape.

    See how silly that argument is? You’ve never had an involuntary erection? Really?

    And that says nothing of other forced sexual activities.

    Yes, Virgina, there are female rapists and male rape victims.

  98. Dan> As for the rest of the innocent victims…..flee?

    Uh, to where? Texas is about as good as it gets (I just can live where it snows!) and since the people that are round us up are running all 50 states, we’re left with nowhere to run inside the US. And as bad as it has become, the US is still the best place I know of to live.

  99. >Oh, crap! The next thing your gonna say is that if a woman experiences an orgasm or gets wet while being raped, she enjoyed it and it wasn’t rape.

    No. But there is a fundamental difference. A woman can have vaginal sex forced on her without being physically aroused. A man cannot perform normal intercourse without being physically aroused.

    I add the “normal” qualifier because it has been pointed out to me that a man can be involuntarily anally penetrated by a woman with a dildo, and that certainly qualifies as rape. So I concede that point. However…

    >See how silly that argument is? You’ve never had an involuntary erection? Really?

    I have. But my own experience, and the reports of others, tell me that involuntary erections (induced, e.g., by steady pressure on the genitals without sexual arousal in the limbic system) are quickly lost if the erectee does not achieve limbic-system arousal. I remain doubtful that a would-be rapist could complete the act if she did not actually turn the victim on early in the proceedings.

  100. LS> This sort of thing may be well and good in a rural area, but we city dwellers are not too keen on it. Maybe you only care about you and yours, but we’re not pleased at the prospect of you shooting the baby sleeping in the crib in one of the adjacent apartments. That’s why Chicago (and other cities) are determined to keep fighting on the issue.

    You cannot be serious! First of all, this is a situation of training. Second, the guy that just broke into your apartment doesn’t give a rats ass about your neighbors baby when he starts shooting at you and your kids. And finally, one chooses his weapon taking things like how thick the walls are into account and any gun store owner worth a damned will ask these sorts of questions and make recommendations that are appropriate.

    As for the difference between the attitudes for urbanites and and country folks, yeah I’d have to say there’s a REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE as I’ve spoken to in previous posts. The fact that you don’t understand the way the world works is no excuse for you to take away the right of others to self defense from the true predators in the world. Shame on you for your childishness and sophistry.

    LS> You have to understand that this is not a legal issue. This is all about when you were ten years old and you wanted a BB gun. You asked your father, and he said, “Go ask your mother.” You asked your mother and she said,
    LS> “NO!! You’ll shoot someone’s eye out!”
    LS> ….and you know that there is NO GETTING AROUND the dreaded “shoot someone’s eye out” objection.

    Yes, you’re right. They are trying to treat you like a 10 year old, and you’re defending it. Grow up.

    LS> My advice to those who want guns for self-defense is to not push your court cases too hard. If you get what you want, there will probably be a real urban and suburban groundswell in favor of repeal of the second amendment. You don’t want that, and I don’t want that, either.

    Soooo, you’re saying that we should be happy with the rights the government ALLOWS us to have and not complain that we aren’t getting all the rights that we are guaranteed under the Constitution? No thanks, I’d prefer freedom over serfdom. If you insist on being a serf, I’m a land owner and will be happy to be your lord. I could use a serf or two around here. :^)

  101. esr> I have. But my own experience, and the reports of others, tell me that involuntary erections (induced, e.g., by steady pressure on the genitals without sexual arousal in the limbic system) are quickly lost if the erectee does not achieve limbic-system arousal. I remain doubtful that a would-be rapist could complete the act if she did not actually turn the victim on early in the proceedings.

    My point is that the victim can become aroused but that doesn’t make them WILLING. How do you think female rape victims get wet and achieve orgasm during rape? It’s STILL RAPE!

  102. >My point is that the victim can become aroused but that doesn’t make them WILLING. How do you think female rape victims get wet and achieve orgasm during rape? It’s STILL RAPE!

    You’re claiming that a man who experiences limbic-system arousal, as opposed to a mechanical erection, isn’t willing? Careful. By that criterion, many men who are seduced in conventional ways aren’t “willing”. I think you are in deeper definitional trouble than you properly understand. Perhaps you would climb out of it if you focused less on state of mind and more on the application of coercive force.

  103. esr> I think you are in deeper definitional trouble than you properly understand.

    Perhaps.

    So, if a woman holds a gun, or ties some guy up against his will, manages to get him aroused, she then isn’t raping him by using his member to satisfy her desire? What about coercion through threat of harm to another (wife, parent, child, etc.) or himself (outing him as gay, turning him in for some crime, framing him)? And there are certainly mechanical and pharmaceutical methods to be used to help make a man cooperative.

    Will women be waiting in dark alleys to crack some guy over the head to take advantage of him? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that rape of men by women doesn’t exist or is impossible (nor even particularly difficult).

    Why is “No means no,” an acceptable standard for rape with women, but not men? As I’ve said, this happens, it has happened before, it will happen again, and the predators will continue to walk the street and rack up victims until we recognize rape is rape, regardless of the perpetrator or the victim.

    And the argument that some men will claim that they were raped just because they regret who they slept with after the fact just doesn’t wash, because we all know that some women have done this same thing to men for years and nobody here is reasonably saying that’s an excuse to drop the current rape laws.

  104. >So, if a woman holds a gun, or ties some guy up against his will, manages to get him aroused, she then isn’t raping him by using his member to satisfy her desire?

    I see where you’re going with this, but how do we distinguish it from the following scenario: He’s tied up, she sexually stimulates him, he decides she’s really hot and he doesn’t mind having sex with her after all? What I’m trying to point out is that the distinction between “she gets him aroused” and “he decides she’s really hot” may be difficult even for the alleged victim to make, let alone a third party. Now, remove the element of coercion and we have a pretty normal seduction scene – man initially unwilling but she does the right things to arouse hia limbic system and he gets into it. And into her. Being unwilling at the start of the interaction can’t be the right test for “rape”, therefore.

    I’m willing to stipulate that if the woman has an unspecified technical means of making him have a mechanical erection without involving his limbic system, that qualifies as rape, but then I already stipulated that she could rape him with a dildo. These are both far-out edge cases that don’t address the basis of my original skepticism. Whoever originally brought up the topic of women raping men seem to suppose that, in fact, a woman could jump a man in an alley (as opposed to a laboratory full of purpose-built stimulation devices and drugs) and somehow make his penis perform even if he were otherwise passive, analogously to the way a male rapist can penetrate an unaroused woman. This I still can’t buy.

  105. esr> He’s tied up, she sexually stimulates him, he decides she’s really hot and he doesn’t mind having sex with her after all?

    She’s tied up, he sexually stimulates her, she decides he’s really hot and she doesn’t mind having sex with him after all?

    With the above story, would the jury convict? Probably.

    Uh, that would be rape. You can’t take somebody by force and seduce them. It’s illegal, or at least it should be. The key word here is “consensual” sex. She can tie me up all day long, once I’ve agreed to be tied up, but she doesn’t get to make that decision without me. And just because she’s able to give me wood doesn’t make it any more acceptable. If I’ve not given consent, it’s rape, regardless of whether my body performs or not, regardless of whether I have orgasm or not. There should be no difference in this standard than there is with women.

    I don’t if I can convince you further, but I promise you’ll never convince me the other way.

  106. esr: Sorry, forgot to address that last bit. If some guy forces a woman to give him a hand job, has he raped her? If he uses other body parts to take his pleasure, is it rape? Last I checked, penetration was not a criterion for rape, as there are plenty ways to force yourself on a woman without penetration. If the victim doesn’t get hard, you don’t think a woman could force herself on him in other ways (not just with dildos)? I’ve given women orgasms while fully clothed.

    Because rape isn’t sex, penetration is not a necessary component. It’s the forcing to perform some sort of overt sexual act by coercion or threat that constitutes sexual assault and there’s no reason that standard cannot be held for women as well as men.

    And again, I can tell you for a certainty that a man can say no, not WANT to do it, but his body can still betray his intellectual desires. If he says no, and HE thinks it’s rape, it’s rape, same as a woman. If that’s not the case for men, then women should have to have higher burden of proof to accuse a man (and I’m not advocating that at all!).

  107. To all who pointed out that they are urbanites and are gun fans:

    1. Yes, but you’re a biased sample. Firearms are one of this blog’s Big Four, after all.

    2. I would even go so far as to say that a majority of big city MEN would say (privately), “Yeah! I SHOULD have a right to have a gun!”, BUT, as soon as their wives or girlfriends see the REMOTEST POSSIBILITY of the SLIGHTEST bit of harm to their present or future children, see how fast they get shut up. (Remember that it was mom who vetoed the BB gun.)

    “You’ll shoot someone’s eye out.” is a very powerful meme. Those affluent, overprotective suburban and upper-east-side moms have time on their hands and plenty of money available for a crusade. Look out for them.

  108. I believe the classic line is “You’ll shoot YOUR eye out!” from” A Christmas Story”. Our mother not only put up with all our gun stuff, but was the Oahu womens’ target archery champ for many years. I never once heard her say “quit shooting the M1 in the back yard, you’ll shoot your eye or someone else’s out”. That meme may have had some impact a while back, but not any longer apparently.
    I suspect LS may be more the victim of a biased sample than most of Eric’s readers.

  109. awakening your dark side and committing another Columbine.

    That’s something that really disturbs me about the gun-grabbers: when they spin these lurid fantasies about violent rampages, aren’t they really telling us what they would do if they were armed?

  110. LS, I’m surprised nobody’s taken you to task over your comment on repealing the Second Amendment.

    Even if you could get 2/3 of both houses of Congress to agree on it – a near impossibility, period, on anything – and then 3/4 of the state legislatures to go along with it – something even more impossible – then you still haven’t made it legitimate to infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

    The Supreme Court held in the 1870s (I couldn’t find the exact case when I just looked) that the Second Amendment does not grant the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but guarantees a pre-existing right. Thus, repealing the Second Amendment would not make it legal to infringe that right.

    So, Heller and McDonald will have to be directly overturned for the gun grabbers to have a chance.

  111. >Thus, repealing the Second Amendment would not make it legal to infringe that right.

    Furthermore, there’s actually a strong argument from the history of the ratification process that actually repealing any amendment in the Bill of Rights would destroy the legitimacy of the entire Constitution.

  112. Furthermore, there’s actually a strong argument from the history of the ratification process that actually repealing any amendment in the Bill of Rights would destroy the legitimacy of the entire Constitution.

    If I’m properly understanding the argument that you’re implying, I think it’s a weak one. I think you’re saying that the constitution could not have been ratified without the understanding that the Bill of Rights would be amended shortly thereafter. But if you say that that implies you would destroy the legitimacy of the constitution by repealing part of it, then you could similarly argue that its legitimacy was destroyed when the 13th amendment was ratified.

  113. I can see that argument, Eric…but it’ll never fly, because the legal result of adopting that argument is the same same as Rene Descartes saying “I think not”: the government would vanish in a puff of logic, and no court would do that to itself.

  114. >But if you say that that implies you would destroy the legitimacy of the constitution by repealing part of it, then you could similarly argue that its legitimacy was destroyed when the 13th amendment was ratified.

    No, I’m saying that the First through Tenth Amendments have a special status in that respect that later ones do not. Read up on the history.

  115. >I can see that argument, Eric…but it’ll never fly, because the legal result of adopting that argument is the same same as Rene Descartes saying “I think not”: the government would vanish in a puff of logic, and no court would do that to itself.

    There’s an easier way out. The NRA would present the argument that the Bill of Rights is not subject to the normal repeal mechanism; the court would say “Duh!” and rule the repeal attempt invalid. To my knowledge, nobody pro-gun who has studied this scenario is the least bit worried about the outcome. See Sanford Levinson’s The Embarrassing Second Amendment for a famous admission that it’s a slam dunk by an anti-gun scholar.

  116. > See Sanford Levinson’s The Embarrassing Second Amendment for a famous admission that it’s a slam dunk by an anti-gun scholar.

    Um, where? I followed the link, re-read the article, and didn’t find any such admission despite being biased toward finding one even if it wasn’t there.

  117. No, I’m saying that the First through Tenth Amendments have a special status in that respect that later ones do not. Read up on the history.

    You’re being cryptic. Links and excerpts, please?

    There’s an easier way out. [...] the court would say “Duh!” and rule the repeal attempt invalid.

    I don’t think you’re thinking through the result of this: this is not an easy way out. If the SCOTUS were to make a ruling such as this on any constitutional amendment, no matter what its content, it would provoke a far worse constitutional crisis than the original matter at hand. The entire principle of judicial review is merely a part of common law. Congress can and occasionally does strip the supreme court of its jurisdiction over certain matters, and the supreme court has itself ruled that congress has this authority (Ex Parte McArdle). If the supreme court were to turn this doctrine on its head and claim unstrippable power regarding what is admissible not only into statutory law but into the constitution itself, this would be a claim on effectively absolute power and I don’t think the government would survive it.

  118. >Um, where? I followed the link, re-read the article, and didn’t find any such admission despite being biased toward finding one even if it wasn’t there.

    Hm. I’ll have to reread it and several other sources myself now. This could be time-intensive; back when I was doing research on the subject I read about a dozen serious analyses surrounding the question, and apparently I’ve misattributed to Levinson something I read elsewhere. I’m pretty sure my source for the “slam dunk” was linked from the Second Amendment Law Library, but much of that site seems now to be shut down. Annoying…

  119. >You’re being cryptic. Links and excerpts, please?

    Wikipedia on the Bill of Rights is a good start; chase the references. The first ten amendments are special because (a) they were ratified simultaneously with the Constitution itself as an answer to anti-Federalist objections that the body of the Constitution failed to be sufficiently protective of natural rights, and (b) they were held then and in later Supreme Court decisions not to be grants of rights but to be recognitions of pre-existing natural rights which no ruler or government had the privilege to revoke without forfeiting all claim to legitimacy. To understand this more fully you need to dig into the way English republicanism developed its ideas about natural rights and tyranny in the wake of the English Revolution of 1688: this was the toolkit the Framers were using.

    >The entire principle of judicial review is merely a part of common law. Congress can and occasionally does strip the supreme court of its jurisdiction over certain matters, and the supreme court has itself ruled that congress has this authority (Ex Parte McArdle).

    But here’s how it would have to go: First, state legislatures would have to pass a repeal motion. Then the courts, up to the Supremes, would have to say “No, you can’t do that, the Second Amendment is part of the entailed Bill of Rights and not subject to repeal.” Then Congress would have to somehow move to nulify that bit of judicial review. All three steps would be required for a constitutional crisis, because practice after Marbury vs. Madison does give the courts the responsibility for defending the integrity of the Constitution.

    I apologize for seeming cryptic, but I honestly thought anyone who know anything about constitutional law and history would already know about the special status of the first ten amendments.

  120. Actually, Congress could embed the nullification in the enacting motion for the Constitutional amendment that would repeal the Second, the same way it embeds the requirement that the amendment be ratified within 7 years to take effect. Any way you slice it, it gets to be a sticky mess, with no good way to resolve it.

  121. The flip-side of the fact the Bill of Rights does not grant rights but rather recognizes pre-existing ones is that repealing the Bill of Rights would do nothing to revoke these rights. The function of the Constitution is to specify a mechanism that the framers hoped would protect natural rights, not to specify the rights themselves. In this sense, the Bill of Rights is a non-sequitir and a kludge; Madison, though he gave in, originally would have agreed with this assertion. Although time has arguably vindicated the anti-Federalists in regard to the Bill of Rights’ utility in protecting these rights, it is nonetheless a jurisprudentially inelegant way toward that goal, and, a fortiori, not a necessary condition for governmental legitimacy. It is the actual violation of natural rights, and not what does or does not appear on any piece of paper, that renders a government illegitimate.

  122. >But here’s how it would have to go: First, state legislatures would have to pass a repeal motion. Then the courts, up to the Supremes, would have to say “No, you can’t do that, the Second Amendment is part of the entailed Bill of Rights and not subject to repeal.” Then Congress would have to somehow move to nulify that bit of judicial review. All three steps would be required for a constitutional crisis, because practice after Marbury vs. Madison does give the courts the responsibility for defending the integrity of the Constitution.

    Of course, to pass an amendment in the first place, Congress would have to be strongly in favor of the repeal. (The only scenario I’m getting here is one in which the great majority of pro-gun Congressmen dies somehow, as in some sort of terrorist attack on the Capitol of which the ten survivors happen to all be really anti-gun. Does anyone know of the legalities of this situation?) It’s likely not in doubt that Congress would, had a repeal passed the states and been shot down by the Supremes, act to nullify the Supremes’ decision in favor of repeal.

    Of course, this whole discussion leaves out another aspect of the issue, which is that should the above events ever come to pass, just about all gun owners would go to high alert from the first time it passed Congress. Should such a constitutional crisis ensue, it’s quite possible that if it went the anti-gun way there would be armed rebellion.

  123. >Should such a constitutional crisis ensue, it’s quite possible that if it went the anti-gun way there would be armed rebellion.

    Yes. All kinds of fun would then ensue, like a significant portion of the Armed Forces defecting to the rebels because the military officer class is stuffed with conservative constitutionalists who take the Second Amendment very seriously indeed. Congressmen are very stupid animals, on the whole, but not stupid enough to fail to see that one coming – which is why this nightmare won’t ever play out in real life.

  124. I keep saying that the Second Amendment imposes a duty on all gun owners to decide under what circumstances they would be required to take up arms against their government in defense of themselves and their country, and then stick with it…

  125. Jay Maynard Says:

    “I keep saying that the Second Amendment imposes a duty on all gun owners to decide under what circumstances they would be required to take up arms against their government in defense of themselves and their country, and then stick with it…”

    Yes, as otherwise we will be nibbled to death by ducks! The NRA is saying “No more Katrinas”, but I think the Oathkeepers are the ones to keep an eye on.
    The 3% maybe. In the meantime, that chart linked above is encouraging.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Rtc.gif

  126. The first ten amendments are special because (a) they were ratified simultaneously with the Constitution itself as an answer to anti-Federalist objections that the body of the Constitution failed to be sufficiently protective of natural rights

    You seem to have a broad definition of “simultaneously”.

    The Bill of Rights was proposed by the first Congress under the Constitution, which by definition came after the Constitution was ratified and elections for that Congress were held.

    It is undeniable that some of the states that ratified the original constitution attached to their ratification messages some proposed amendments for the First Congress to consider. I suppose one could argue that those messages conditioned the ratification in some way, but as much as I love the Bill of Rights, I can’t go along with that argument. The ratification process didn’t provide for any such conditional ratification. If the states wanted those amendments to be required in some way, and for them to not be subject to later repeal, they should have refused to ratify the proposed Constitution, sent their delegates back to a second Constitutional Convention to propose those amendments, and then ratify the revised document.

    That certain provisions of the constitution could have been designated as inviolate was demonstrated by the text that was ratified: It provided an amendment process that permanently excluded from consideration any amendment that would deprive a state of its equal suffrage in the Senate without its consent. (It also included a temporary block on the ban on unapportioned direct taxes and protected language artfully crafted to allow the slave states to continue importing fresh meat until 1808.) One could therefore make the argument that the 17th Amendment, which deprived states of their suffrage in the Senate entirely (substituting that of the citizens of those states, which the Constitution carefully distinguishes from the states) is unconstitutional, as it purported to do so even for those states that had not ratified it.

  127. It is undeniable that some of the states that ratified the original constitution attached to their ratification messages some proposed amendments for the First Congress to consider. I suppose one could argue that those messages conditioned the ratification in some way, but as much as I love the Bill of Rights, I can’t go along with that argument. The ratification process didn’t provide for any such conditional ratification. If the states wanted those amendments to be required in some way, and for them to not be subject to later repeal, they should have refused to ratify the proposed Constitution, sent their delegates back to a second Constitutional Convention to propose those amendments, and then ratify the revised document.

    It’s true that the Bill of Rights was not passed simultaneously with the Constitution. Many of the states essentially made the later passage of a Bill of Rights a condition on their ratification, but this was not ever really codified. Therefore, I have to agree with the idea that constitutionally, repealing any of the Bill of Rights is possible. However, philosophically it is wrong, in that the Bill of Rights does not grant rights, but codifies and affirms natural rights; even in the absence of a legal declaration, it is wrong for a government to infringe on such rights. And practically, it is impossible. I think even the ACLU might oppose a repeal of the Second Amendment; the Bill of Rights are (still) embedded fairly deeply in our national memetic DNA, and a repeal is not going to go through. Thus, the whole argument is sort of silly, except in entirely abstract and theoretical terms.

  128. The ACLU doesn’t support the Second Amendment, and never has. Their excuse has been that other groups defend it, but in reality, they just don’t like it and would like to see it go away.

  129. >The ACLU doesn’t support the Second Amendment, and never has. Their excuse has been that other groups defend it, but in reality, they just don’t like it and would like to see it go away.

    True, but I think it’s plausible that they would oppose a repeal, simply because of the precedent it sets. Not opposing it would make it harder for them to defend their image as supporters of civil liberties.

  130. “For a woman to have her way with a man, he’s got to have an erection. This response has to be seduced out of him, it can’t be coerced. Thus I too, am skeptical that “rape” is possible in this direction.” It’s been hashed over a bit already, but here is the simple version of the flaw in your argument. Rape is defined by lack of consent. Arousal is not the same thing as consent. The key is identifying how the 2 concepts are different.

    If it would help, let’s examine an instance of a female raping a man. (I seem to recall reading the actual story on feminist critics or toy soldier’s blog). A man allows a woman to take shelter in his hotel room, with no intention of sleeping with her for various reasons. He wakes up in the middle of the night, with her on top of him. Despite not finding her attractive, the physical stimulation has aroused him enough for penetration. When he tells her to get off of him, she says she’ll claim rape if he resists. Thinking there is no way for him to prove she took advantage of him, and that if she is willing to take advantage of a sleeping man she likely would be able to lie to police about what happened, he doesn’t physically force her off of him before she is done, and his erection lasts long enough for her happiness. Is that not rape? If he enjoys it at the time, but never would have started the encounter because he is married?

  131. >Is that not rape?

    Yes, but I want to qualify that assent by denying that it would have been rape without the element of threat, of coercion. I think it is dangerous to devalue the term “rape” by extending it to sex that is not coerced.

    I also want to point out that she did in fact seduce an erection out of the victim, even if he was not conscious at the time. My original doubt that an erection can be obtained by coercion is not impeached by this story.

  132. But you do admit that the existence of seduction within a situation does not prohibt the coexistence of coercion within that situation, even barring the edge cases where the coercion itself is sexually appealing to someone? Your initial reaction seemed to be that it since it required seduction to get the erection, there could be no coercion involved. It does require care in identifying the coercion, and as someone who wasted time arguing the definition on Crooked Timber, I’m hardly going to disagree about that.

    I agree with you that watering down the definition of rape is dangerous, but… if the man hadn’t woken up at all until after it was all done and didn’t even know it happend? I would not call it rape if it was someone that he had often voluntarily slept with in the past and hadn’t broken up with, but without some reason to presume consent I would.

  133. @esr

    I also want to point out that she did in fact seduce an erection out of the victim, even if he was not conscious at the time. My original doubt that an erection can be obtained by coercion is not impeached by this story.

    I’m with you here, but defining “coercion” in this situation can be difficult. Firstly, you have to consider that for a normally functioning man to have an erection, all he needs is a single sexual thought that arouses him.

    I also want to point out that she did in fact seduce an erection out of the victim, even if he was not conscious at the time. My original doubt that an erection can be obtained by coercion is not impeached by this story.

    She did not necessarily have to seduce an erection out of him. It’s possible that he could’ve had the erection all on his own. I’m sure every normally-functioning male here has woke up with an erection before, probably many times.

  134. >But you do admit that the existence of seduction within a situation does not prohibt the coexistence of coercion within that situation, even barring the edge cases where the coercion itself is sexually appealing to someone?

    I don’t think I ever denied this, actually. At the time the question originally came up, there were at least two edge cases that hadn’t occurred to me.

    >I would not call it rape if it was someone that he had often voluntarily slept with in the past and hadn’t broken up with, but without some reason to presume consent I would.

    Again, I don’t see an an element of coercion in that case. No threat, no rape.

  135. Re-quoting: “For a woman to have her way with a man, he’s got to have an erection. This response has to be seduced out of him, it can’t be coerced. Thus I too, am skeptical that “rape” is possible in this direction.” The jump from the second to the third sentence only makes sense if you don’t think coercion and seduction can’t coexist. You accepted the specific example, but I was hoping you would see the flaw inherent in that logical jump. Perhaps you had some other logical connection in mind between the two that I didn’t see? Perhaps the word “possible” needs to be replaced by “likely”. I don’t think the situation of being aroused but not consenting to sex is really an edge case, except to the same amount that rape in general is an edge case of human sexual behavior.

    Regarding the most recent hypothetical: taking advantage of a sleeping individual whom you had no reason whatsoever to expect would agree to sexual activity if conscious, is rape. Sex inherently includes at least minimal amounts of force, and if you . I was attempting to clarify the meaning of consent so that it wouldn’t be marital or date rape to start stimulating your established sexual partner while they slept (which some foolish individuals HAVE tried to call rape in the past). Basically, the consent doesn’t have to be closely affiliate with the act chronologically, as long as consent hasn’t since been withdrawn. It does require care if you start thinking about cases which imply rather than explicitly granting consent. The act of sex, in and of itself, requires a certain amount of forceful interaction between two individuals, and thus requires at least some level of consent to be legitimate. Period. Much like slapping someone who is passed out drunk is still battery even if they never know about it.

  136. I’m a bit surprised not to see Kennesaw GA turn up in these conversations; is that instance thought to be an outlier?

  137. > Interesting data analysis: CCW permit holders are 5.78 times less likely to murder than the population at large.

    I would have thought the gradient *far* steeper than that.

    I have a Green Book that notes that out of 400K someodd CCW permits issued in Florida over a certain period, there were…

    wait for it…

    *six* gun incidents.

  138. >I’m a bit surprised not to see Kennesaw GA turn up in these conversations; is that instance thought to be an outlier?

    Gunfolk all know about it. Anti-gunners’ brains lock up and go TILT TILT TILT when we try to explain…

  139. I was just clarifying that the results are generally held to be what they appear to be. And not that it’s thought to be a bad arguing point.

    I would assert, though, that the fact that they go TILT is *precisely* the thing you have to be shooting at…

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