Monday, April 30, 2007

Unwittingly Armed: The Hypocrisy of Hillary

"If you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns." The old saw is not quite true; it misses a huge group of people who will remain well armed in the wake of gun prohibition.

I realized this while watching the Democrat Presidential Debate. Brian Williams asked the candidates to raise their hands if they had kept a gun in the house during their adult life. Several raised their hands to acknowledge that guns are an important part of the American tradition of individual freedom and responsibility. Sen. Hillary Clinton did not raise her hand.

Yet, Sen. Clinton most assuredly did have a gun in her home from 1992-2000. Unless the Secret Service was armed only with batons during the Clinton administration, she had many guns in her home. Even assault weapons. The only reason she did not think to raise her hand is that she did not have to concern herself with the nitty-gritty of firearms self-defense. She could afford to have someone else worry about it for her. Those of us who do not have access to the U.S. Treasury for our self-defense needs must take responsibility for ourselves, or remain defenseless.

Why is a professional, semi-private security force like the Secret Service (or a private force like Rosie O'Donnell's armed guards) any different from private gun ownership? Training and firepower for professional bodyguards and private gun owners differ - but only in relation to the likely threats. Is one a legitimate exercise of the right to self-defense, but the other not?

If private ownership of guns is outlawed, the only people with guns will be those who can afford them - both the criminals who can afford to go to prison if caught with an illegal gun and the wealthy who can afford to hire armed guards. These groups will not feel the sting of gun prohibition.

It's the rest of us who will be defenseless.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gun Ban at Virginia Tech Fails

Do I want to "feel" safe, or be safe?

That question crossed my mind as I watched the news coverage of the Virginia Tech tragedy and I asked myself what I would do if a madman targeted my school. Given CU-Boulder's policy banning the lawful carrying of firearms on campus, I and my classmates could do little to protect ourselves from an armed killer.

The illusion of safety offered by gun bans is comforting, until a tragedy like this shatters the illusion. The question going forward is whether we will rebuild the illusion with more gun control, or endeavor to create schools that are actually safer by allowing law-abiding guns owners to carry on campus.

Those who were not directly impacted by the Virginia Tech tragedy do not have the luxury of mourning quietly; we must demand our right to defend ourselves be recognized by the state. The deeper horror of these school shootings is that in nearly every case the government has disarmed the innocent. People legally licensed to carry should be allowed to carry on campus.

Links:
Rocky Mountain News
Virginia Tech Gun Ban
Updates

Contact:
Rep. Alice Madden: alice.madden.house@state.co.us
Sen. Ron Tupa: ron.tupa.senate@state.co.us

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Intrawest Boycott

Dear Intrawest:
I was at Copper on April 7, 2007, skiing with a few friends and enjoying the bands playing at the Sunstation event. I am sorry to report that this will be the last time I will be skiing at Copper, or any other Intrawest resort.

I have been a season pass holder at Copper for the last two seasons, but I saw a display of prejudice and ignorance this weekend, apparently endorsed by Intrawest, that has influenced my decision to take my business elsewhere.

Displayed prominently at each entrance to the Burning Stones Plaza was a sign stating a few simple Sunstation event rules, including: "No Firearms." While the other rules seemed reasonable enough, this rule is wrong for several reasons.

First, nothing is gained by asking law-abiding customers to disarm. Certainly anyone with nefarious intent will not mind ignoring the event rules. Even someone irresponsible enough to drink alcohol while carrying a gun is likely not interested in following Copper's rules. So, the only people with guns at the Sunstation event were likely people who wished to do others harm, or were indifferent about it.

Second, even if violent criminals do not come to free concerts in the mountains, the event rules gave petty thieves a heads-up: Everyone coming to this concert who carries a gun has been asked to leave it in his or her car. Anyone inclined to break into a car has a double incentive; they can hope to collect ski gear and guns. Thieves do not need added incentive to break into cars.

Lastly, the rule evinces an ignorance about firearms and the people who choose to carry them that offends me as a gun owner and an American.

When this rule is revoked and repudiated I will consider coming back to Copper and Intrawest. Until then I—and my friends— will be skiing and riding elsewhere.
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Please send your own message to Intrawest: businessconduct@intrawest.com

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The essential companion to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Not becasue this film is accurate and Gore's isn't; rather the two perspectives on global warming remind us that scientific knowledge in this area is far from complete.

That is why incremental change is generally preferable. It allows us to correct mistakes in our knowledge before those mistakes cause serious harm. Of course, the speed and scope of change should match the imminence of the problem. Here, any negative effects that might be attributed to anthropogenically-caused global warming have been incremental or marginal, thus our response should likewise be incremental. Market responses to global warming such as carbon footprint credits achieve positive results without exposing us to the economic risks incumbent in a wide-spread global warming remediation program like that envisioned by Al Gore, et al.