Friday, December 05, 2008

Guns for Everyone

St. Louis alderman Charles Quincy Troupe is on the right track here:

Alderman Charles Quincy Troupe's neighborhood has seen nine homicides in 10 months this year, more than all but one other section of the city.

With gunplay wreaking havoc on his ward, Troupe thinks he has found an answer: citizens arming themselves.

The alderman is pleading with constituents to get guns of their own — and learn how to use them. Troupe, who represents a swatch of north St. Louis, is encouraging residents to apply for concealed weapons permits so they can start carrying a firearm.
This idea has worked just about everywhere it has been tried. I am glad St. Louis Today is reporting on it.

On the whole, the article is fair to both sides but, not surprisingly, a whiff of bias creeps in toward the end:

Laws allowing residents to carry concealed weapons are the subject of passionate debate. Gun control advocates argue that they put communities at greater risk, while groups such as the National Rifle Association assert that "right to carry" laws have led to lower crime rates.

Last year, local law enforcement officials told the Post-Dispatch that Missouri's concealed weapons law had no apparent impact on crime.
I see. So the unnamed gun control advocates have arguments but the NRA only has assertions. Maybe. But what I see in this article is an assertion by law enforcement officials (again not named) that concealed carry laws had no apparent impact.

No quotation at all from the NRA is supplied so I did a little research on the NRA website. This article quotes statistics and has footnotes:

More RTC, less crime: Violent crime rates since 2003 have been lower than anytime since the mid-1970s.[1] Since 1991, 23 states have adopted RTC, the number of privately-owned guns has risen by nearly 70 million,[2] and violent crime is down 38%. In 2007, the most recent year for which complete data are available, RTC states had lower violent crime rates, on average, compared to the rest of the country (total violent crime by 24%; murder, 28%; robbery, 50%; and aggravated assault, 11%).[3]

1. BJS ( and FBI (

2. BATF, “Firearms Commerce in the United States 2001/2002” ( - Firearms).

3. Note 1, FBI.
Looks like an argument to me...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Public Press

Liberals argue that we need public schools because an educated electorate is necessary to democracy. My favorite argument is that democracy also requires an informed electorate, but we don’t let the governments run the newspapers. That always used to shut them up.

Guess I’ll have to find a new argument…

Seven legislators from the area served by The Bristol Press and The Herald in New Britain today wrote to the state Department of Economic and Community Development to ask for its help in preventing the closure of the newspapers.
This is a stirling example of why pointing out contradictions is a dangerous rhetorical device. He who lives by the reductio dies by the absurdam.

This is, of course, a small example an will probably turn out to be harmless. But this quote from the original letter is depressing:
Also, for much of the same reasons that we press for campaign finance reform and other important ethics legislation, having a locally-based newspaper is important for public accountability. As elected officials, ourselves, we want to public to have access to independent news about what is going on in government and our communities. We share the sentiments of our nation's leaders who wrote the Bill of Rights that a free press is an essential part of democracy.
This only avoids being orwellian by virtue of the fact that it is so shockingly obtuse. The idea that government subsidy provides independence doesn't pass the laugh test, though I suppose that is the point of the reference to campaign finance laws. Hmm, on second thought maybe it is orwellian after all.

(Food Chain: Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, Bristol Today)