George Bush: Extend the AWB, Close the Gun Show "Loophole"

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 07 Oct 2004 12:00:00 GMT
From scopeny:
"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader." -- Samuel Adams

From The Federalist:

"From 1975 to 1992 when there was no ban on assault weapons, 16 police were killed by such weapons. During a similar period, when the ban was in effect 20 police were killed by assault weapons. Draw your own conclusions." -- Lyn Nofziger
"My anti-Americanism has become almost uncontrollable. It has possessed me, like a disease. It rises up in my throat like acid reflux, that fashionable American sickness. I now loathe the United States and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world. I can hardly bear to see the faces of Bush and Rumsfeld, or to watch their posturing body language, or to hear their self-satisfied and incoherent platitudes." -- Novelist Margaret Drabble, London Daily Telegraph

From this comment at geekwitha.45:

I'm an SCA member. One morning in northern Arizona I was getting ready for a war at about 6am, and I get the knock knock knock. I'm basically naked, wearing a loin cloth and covered with Woad and temporary tatoos. I wrapped a towel around my waist, grabbed the shotgun and opened the door...

The screaming and the running were such fun.

-- Chris Byrne - Dream Debate - cartoon commentary on the debate that Russmo and I would love to hear. Hahahahahahaha.

# Halffast - Lights Out, Chapter 65 BugMeNot is up. You have been following it, haven't you? PDFs of the whole thing (up to chapter 63) are here.

# Sid Evans and Bob Marshall at Field & Stream - George Bush Vs. John Kerry: The Field & Stream Interviews - Mr. Evans interviews Bush and Mr. Marshall interviews Kerry. The following excerpt is from p. 108 of the paper copy of this October 2004 issue. It's at the top of page five of the web version. Looks like we'll be seeing a gun show "loophole" closing "law" whether Bush or Kerry gets elected in November.

Evans: A gun question: One of the most hotly debated topics among gun owners is the so-called assault weapons ban. Some sportsmen think the ban is the first step on a slippery slope toward broader gun controls. Should they be concerned?

President Bush: I think we ought to keep the ban... I've said that the ban ought to be extended but not expanded. Secondly, they should not be concerned as long as I'm the president.

The best gun policy is to find and prosecute those who commit crimes with guns. The best way to protect people's rights to own a gun without undue interference by the government, and I emphasize undue--or unnecessary--is to hold people to account who use guns to commit crimes. You know, I was an instant-background-check person. I think that makes sense. I think most gun owners understand that we don't want people who should not be owning a gun buying a gun. And one way to do so is to use technology in such a way that we are able to identify felons, for example, or people that shouldn't be owning a gun. And I think they ought to be extended to all places guns are sold, by the way, and I know we can do that. But I emphasize the instant background check. This ought not to be a cumbersome process. This ought to be a consumer-friendly process.

# Bill Whittle - Deterrence - a new essay from the keeper of the American spirit. Don't miss part 2, where you can read comments and post your own. [geekwitha.45]

It would be nice to live in a world full of liberals. I say that as a staunch conservative. It would be nice to live in a world that behaved like a Hollywood party or a university campus, filled with kind, educated people with lots to lose, who cherish reason and responsibility and are incapable of brutal, violent acts. If all the world were filled with decent, compassionate, rational people, life would be a bouquet.

But it's not. There are bad people who do bad things, and there are bad countries run by bad people who do bad things who eat the kind and gentle people for breakfast. There is no denying this. Therefore, liberals are insane.

It's a damn shame, it really is.


John Kerry has spoken now in front of the nation. We have, at last, a position that can be analyzed. I could use exerpts from their first debate to show that he is better spoken, or nicer, or taller than President Bush. I care about none of that. I am interested in one thing only from these two men: who will best deter the enemy? Who will best be able to stop a thousand 9/11's in a millisecond of religious ecstasy? That's all I care about.

We'll review the debate in the order in which it occurred.


Now, assume for a moment, that you are one of the Islamicist enemies of this nation. President Kerry has outlined a plan to reach out to the Muslim world and isolate you. President Bush, on the other hand, predicates his reelection on the premise that he will

...pursue(d) al Qaeda wherever al Qaeda tries to hide. Seventy-five percent of known al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice. The rest of them know we're after them.

By the way, for about seventy of that seventy-five percent, you can go ahead and substitute the word "killed" in place of the more delicate "brought to justice."

As a deterrent, I honestly and regretfully don't think our terrorist enemies are much deterred by the thought of dying. I think they are fully ready to die. People who are fully ready to die in order to kill you and your family, who are undeterred by death, are likely not to terribly concerned by the thought of being isolated in a more sensitive approach to John Kerry's sworn mission to hunt down, and isolate, chastise and severely reprimand terrorists.

Terrorists don't seem to be too afraid of stern language. But I do notice, that while the fear of death does not seem to deter these people, the fact of being dead does significantly decrease their operational effectiveness. That's a casual observation on my part -- no real Harvard study to back it up. More of a hunch, really.
and here's a fine response:

You define "deter" in a strange way. Here's what has on it: "to turn aside, discourage, or prevent from acting". That is, deterrence is active. It means taking or threatening an action that changes the incentives of a would-be opponent.

Similarly, in your carrot versus stick contrast, you offer a false dichotomy. In both cases are actions. The assumption that some action is necessary is smuggled in.

The sensible people on my side of this debate are not talking about taking action to deter terrorists. As you admit: they cannot be deterred very easily.

Rather, we are saying that inaction is the correct course, to not-provoke terrorists. Our criticism is exactly that too much action has occurred, in the past, and that those actions and their results are the grievances that terrorists have. They are specific grievances, against America. These include 50 years of your interventionism, but the specifics on Al-Qaida's list are these:

(1) we support their hated Israel, ergo, at one remove the killing and other mistreatment of Palestinians
(2) we killed Iraqi children via "sanctions"
(3) we occupied their holy country, Arabia

These things are all true, albeit not the whole truth. But you cannot expect those aggrieved by them to care about mitigating factors, i.e., that Saddam worsened the effects of the sanctions. They are fanatics. They do not see the truth as well-educated right-wing Americans see it. They see the truth that educated right-wing Arabs see.

These grievances are the reason why they attack America and American interests, but not, say, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and any number of other western, but peaceful, nations. They are rational men. They attack us to try to influence our policy. They don't attack nations whose policy they don't care about one way or the other.

Now we've added a new grievance to the list: we have occupied Iraq. A whole generation of Iraqis is being radicalized against us. (Cough Abu Ghraib cough.)

You don't "deter by being nice". Deterrence is applicable only in the context of conflict. Rather, what my side sees (and your side apparently does not) is that ideally you remove conflict in the first place by being nice.

"Deterrence" assumes conflict is not tractable. It is usually better than appeasement (i.e., being nice when conflict is intractable). But it is not better than simply having no conflict to begin with.

I suggest that, ideally, America should have no conflict with the world. America's policy should be viewed with indifference by the world. In the past it was fairly safe to do things that caused distant peoples to hate you. They'd attack your colonial army, maybe, but the home front was too far to attack. In this era of technology, breeding hate is no longer safe. Therefore it behooves us to stop breeding it.

That is the lesson of 9-11.

And the historically clear way to produce indifference amongst distant people is quite simple: don't hurt them. Trade peacefully with them if possible, otherwise, leave them alone. Make simple and clear boundaries that they agree on. Spank them if they aggress, otherwise, nothing. This is isolationism, in a nutshell.

The nuclear genie is not going back into the bottle. In the long run, terrorists will get nuclear weapons if they want them. (Is anyone so daring as to say, no terrorist will ever get a nuclear weapon?) When that time comes, I hope that they no longer have serious grievances against us. And if we want that to be true in, say, 20 years, we'd better start now, acting inoffensively in the world. This means pulling back from the world militarily. Trade peacefully; let them run their own affairs without interference from us.

Meanwhile, our new policy of preemptive attack against a weak country (Iraq), but not other recent or soon-to-be nuclear states (Pakistan, Iran, perhaps North Korea) sends a clear signal to every third world dictator type: get nukes ASAP if at all possible. That is, our belligerence is arguably counterproductive on the issue of nuclear proliferation.

Given that terrorists will almost certainly get their first nuke from a nuclear state, and probably a non-Western nuclear state, is that sort of belligerence really in our interest? I think not. We are not deterring in Iraq; in fact, we are making nuclear terrorism against the USA more likely.

Well, it's too late to change what we've done in Iraq, but it's not too late to change our policy and firmly disavow what President Bush and his people did. That's a good reason not to vote for Bush.

Not that I'm voting for Kerry. As you say, he's basically Bush lite. He's in cuckoo-land if he thinks that "alliances" are going to get us anything in Iraq. I don't think he thinks that, actually; I think he's too smart. I'm not voting for either him or Bush. Badnarik remains my choice.

Posted by Leonard on October 6, 2004 01:19 PM:
I posted the following [to which I added a little bit later]:
Stirring as usual, Mr Whittle. And if you believe the mainstream 9/11 story, very logical.

I would not vote for John Kerry for anything but soylent green, though I'd prevent my kids from eating that batch...

I'd love to believe the Mr. Bush is telling the truth about the war on terror, whatever that is. What's a terror? Where can I find it except in the darker recesses of my own heart? We can certainly fight terrorISTS, but how can we fight terror short of a spiritual quest to eliminate it from our own souls?

After the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, photographs of a bunch of Arab guys appeared very quickly in the papers. Where is the proof that they were actually the ones who did it? I can't say I believe all the conspiracy theories that abound about what really happened, but it sure would be nice to see some real proof that the dead guys in the pictures were responsible for the incredible flying that day. [And that burning airplanes were entirely responsible for the towers' collapse.]

I'd love to believe that George Bush is on our side, but it's hard to do when he signs the U.S.A. T.R.A.I.T.O.R. Act and the Department of Fatherland Sekurity Act and the First Amendment Doesn't Apply to Political Campaigns Act, and when his Secret Service keeps arresting people holding posters that say mean things about him, [and when we're thankful every time we weather the airport security gauntlet that the fuse Richard Reid failed to light was sticking out of his shoe and not his ass,] and when Bush says in his interview in the latest (October 2004) issue of Field & Stream (p. 108) that he wants to extend the "assault" weapons ban and legislate instant checks on all gun sales (the Democrats call this closing the gun show "loophole"), and when he is likely to sign the newest excretion of the Congress, H.R. 10, the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act", about which GOA has strongly warned. You may like this guy, and maybe he's better than Kerry, but he's no friend of mine.

But man you tell a good story, and I really want to believe it.

Posted by: Bill St. Clair on October 6, 2004 05:40 PM

# Michael Kanellos at CNET - Experts envision taillights that talk - communication via the light from an LED has lots of possibilities. [smith2004]

With the technology, a person trapped in a building could hold up a cell phone to a ceiling light, and rescuers would be able to pinpoint his or her exact location. Similarly, cars could exchange information through headlights and taillights, and car computer systems could tell drivers if there were major stalls ahead.

# Tech-Sights - TS100 - a new, receiver-mounted, aperture sight for SKS rifles. $50. Available in mid-November. [claire]

Tech-Sights TS100 Aperture Sight

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