Monthly Archives: April 2007

A Gun Owner Defends Himself

On the streets of Cleveland Ohio, a gun owner stops a crime:

Damon Wells is the man gun supporters imagined when they fought for the right to carry concealed weapons.

He had a permit to carry his gun, and he had the gun on him when a pair of teenage thieves approached him Saturday night on his front porch.

When one of the youths pulled a gun, Wells whipped out his and shot one of the boys multiple times in the chest, police said.

Arthur Buford, 15, died after stumbling away and collapsing on a sidewalk near East 134th Street and Kinsman Road.

City prosecutors decided Monday that Wells, 25, was justified and would not be charged for what appears to be the first time a concealed-carry permit holder has shot and killed an attacker.

Is it tragic that a 15 year old died ? Yes, it is, but what might have happened if Wells hadn’t had a gun ? At the very least he would have been robbed and perhaps beaten, at worst he would have been shot and killed himself. In that split second when Buford and his accomplice pulled the gun on him, Wells had no way of knowing and he reacted the way anyone should’ve reacted in that situation…….he defended himself.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped a debate from being ignited:

Gun supporters said the weapon saved Wells’ life. Opponents said it took Buford’s – that the 15-year-old might be alive if a citizen had not been armed.

His cousin, Tameka Foster, 21, questioned why police refused to punish Buford’s shooter. “They let that man run out freely,” Foster said. “My cousin is dead.”


Toby Hoover, of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said she had not heard of any other fatal shooting involving a concealed-carry permit holder.

“This is one of the few where they actually used it to stop a crime,” Hoover said.

But, she said, “there’s still a dead kid here.”

I’m sorry, but if he hadn’t been out on the streets of Cleveland robbing people at gunpoint, then he’d still be alive today. Mr. Wells is not getting charged because he didn’t do anything wrong.

The Pentagon’s Public Relations Disaster

Every war has it’s heroes, and in the case of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two heroes that received the most accolades from the Pentagon were Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. Tillman, you will recall was the NFL star who left his football career behind to join the NBA where he died a hero under fire from the Taliban. Lynch, of course, was a supply clerk with a Maintenance Company who was captured in an ambush after her convoy made a wrong turn. Lynch was held prisoner for a week before being released in a raid by American forces.

In the official stories released by the Pentagon, they were lauded as heroes. Now, it turns out the Pentagon was lying through its teeth:

Military and other administration officials created a heroic story about the death of Cpl. Pat Tillman to distract attention from setbacks in Iraq and the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the slain man’s younger brother, Kevin Tillman, said today.

Testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Mr. Tillman said the military knew almost immediately that Corporal Tillman, an Army Ranger who left a career as a pro football player to enlist, had been killed accidentally in Afghanistan in April 2004 by fire from his own unit. But officials chose to put a “patriotic glow” on his death, he said.

Mr. Tillman said the decision to award his brother a Silver Star and to say that he died heroically fighting the enemy was “utter fiction” that was intended to “exploit Pat’s death.”

In addition to exploiting Tillman’s death, it’s pretty clear that Pentagon officials were lying about it as well. For more than a year after the incident, they stuck to the story that Tillman was killed by the Taliban when it was known fairly quickly that it was in fact friendly fire that resulted in his death. The fact that they withheld the truth from the American public and, more importantly, Tillman’s family in order to preserve the elaborate tale of heroism woven by some PR Officer somewhere is, quite frankly both cynical and deceitful.

And Lynch’s story similarly turned out to be much less than initially thought:

Former Pvt. Jessica Lynch leveled similar criticism today at the hearing about the initial accounts given by the Army of her capture in Iraq. Ms. Lynch was rescued from an Iraqi hospital in dramatic fashion by American troops after she suffered serious injuries and was captured in an ambush of her truck convoy in March 2003.

In her testimony this morning, she said she did not understand why the Army put out a story that she went down firing at the enemy.

“I’m confused why they lied,” she said.


Ms. Lynch said she could not know why she was depicted as a “Rambo from West Virginia,” when in fact she was riding in a truck, not fighting, when she was injured.


For her part, Ms. Lynch said in her testimony that other members of her unit had acted with genuine heroism that deserved the attention she received. “The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideas of heroes, and they don’t need to be told elaborate tales,” she said.

Yes, but when you are fighting a war that seems to depend more on public relations than on strategy, creating a fake hero every now and then makes perfect sense.

Defending Yourself

In the post I wrote last week, In Defense of Self-Defense, I lamented how our culture is changing from one which once saw moral justification in self-defense to one which values self-sacrifice. I also shared some of my in-expert opinions on how the students and faculty at Virginia Tech might have protected themselves from becoming victims of a crazed gunman.

I have since found a Slate article, Fight or Flight at Virginia Tech: What Should You Do When Confronted with a Gun-wielding Madman? The article’s author consulted with self-defense experts Richard Kobetz of Executive Protection Institute and John Whitman of Krav Maga Worldwide. The most obvious thing you should do, as the article points out, is to run (ideally in a zigzag pattern) or find an escape. Short of escaping, you might have to fight back. As a public service to the readers of The Liberty Papers, here are a few excerpts on how you can fight back if you find yourself in this type of situation.

To disarm a gunman, you’ll need to take his focus off his weapon and his plan of attack. To do this, you might throw chairs, laptops, or fire extinguishers at him, or set off the sprinkler system or fire alarm. Then, you’d want to pick up a desk or some other shield and charge right at the killer. There’s a chance you’ll be killed in the process, but if two or three people rush at once, there’s also a chance that somebody will take him down. (Unarmed civilians who band together have a much better chance of surviving an attack.)

If you’re already within a step or two of the gunman, you might be able to grab his weapon. If he’s facing you, quickly reach up and take hold of the barrel, and then aim it away from your body. The move should be as clean and economical as possible. The gunman will reflexively pull the gun back away from you. Go with him: Keep gripping the gun and push your weight forward. Then, punch him in the face or the throat as hard as you can. Hit him on the nose, jab your fingers into his eyes, or strike him with the heel of your open palm. Then use your free hand to grab the nonbusiness end of the gun. With two hands on the gun, you can knee the killer in the groin or head-butt him. A better idea might be to twist your hands like they are revving a motorcycle engine. The weapon will pivot and break the gunman’s finger inside the trigger guard.

The article points out that the above strategy would have had to been modified in the case of the Virginia Tech massacre since the gunman had a gun in each hand. If this is the case, you should grab both hands while kicking until others can help you. I urge everyone to read the whole thing; taking this advice could possibly save your life.

Hat tip: Boortz

The Maddening Trust Fund Lie

It’s sad to see very smart people get fooled into playing the government’s games. I hate to call him out on this one, because he’s a blogger that I respect, but Kip is using their terms when he’s smart enough to know how fraudulent they are.

To review: An IOU from myself to myself is worthless. An IOU from the federal government to the federal government is worthless. Calling that IOU a “Treasury security backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government” does not change its worthlessness — any more than would calling it “zoop.”

When Social Security runs into deficit starting around 2017, those IOUs will be “cashed in,” which simply means that the federal government, which has already spent the money, will have to raise either taxes or the budget deficit (I’m guessing the latter).

We all can agree that the “trust fund” is a bunch of BS. The trust fund has no assets in it, as Kip points out quite correctly, and which I explain through the use of analogy here.

Some will tell you Social Security fails in 2041, because that will be the time that the fictional “trust fund” is empty. The people who tell you that are trying to deceive you. But it’s equally deceptive to claim that we’re doing just fine until 2017, because that’s when Social Security goes into deficit. Kip, throughout his post, references that 2017 date, but that obscures the problem. The problem won’t magically hide until 2017, and then appear. THE PROBLEM STARTS TODAY!

It’s very simple. Right now the government is spending every dollar that we provide in Social Security taxes, every dollar we spend in income taxes, and then borrowing money on top of it. Every year between now and 2017, the amount of money the government has to pay in Social Security benefits will rise, and will rise faster than tax receipts from the payroll tax. So unless they reduce spending elsewhere, every year total government spending will rise, and because each year the social security “surplus” gets smaller, they have to make up that money elsewhere, either with other taxation or more debt.

The 2017 date is a convenient fiction, much like the 2041 date. It’s used by people to make us think that we still have time to fix the programs in the future, but the problems exist today. The problem is that government spending is rising faster than government revenue. Unless we cut spending or raise revenue, we’re in a lot of trouble. Which pocket they take that revenue out of doesn’t matter.

China Set To Become World’s Biggest Polluter

In a few months, the People’s Republic of China will surpass the United States as the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases:

China could overtake the US as the globe’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases later this year, far earlier than expected, one of the world’s leading energy bodies warned today.

If left unchecked, within 25 years emissions from China will be double those of the combined output of the US, EU, Japan and all other industrialised nations, said Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The Paris-based organisation, which advises wealthy countries on energy policy, had previously said China was on course to become the world’s biggest such polluter no earlier than 2009.

But such is the country’s untrammelled economic growth, much of it driven by coal-fired power stations, this could potentially happen within months, Mr Birol told Guardian Unlimited.

“If Chinese economic growth, and therefore coal consumption, continues to surprise us, this may well be this year or next year,” he said.

And China isn’t the only developing country set to become a huge polluter:

“Within the next 25 years, CO2 emissions which come from China alone will be double the CO2 emissions which will come from all the OECD countries put together – the whole US, plus Canada, plus all the European countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand etc,” he said.

Over the same time period, India’s emissions were forecast to grow such that they were half the OECD total, Mr Birol added, calling this “very, very significant”.

This development is interesting on several levels. First, it will be interesting to see if the environmentalist lobby starts putting as much pressure on the PRC  as they do on the Western world to restrain economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Second, even if they do, the reaction of the Chinese government is likely to be less than sympathetic:

Those comments follow the weekend release of a Chinese government report detailing the costs of climate change but asserting that the country should focus on development before cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Higher than average temperatures meant spreading deserts, worsening droughts, shrinking glaciers and increased spread of diseases, said the report, compiled by more than a dozen government bodies. It said emission limits were unfair and would constrain China’s current energy and manufacturing industries.

China is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gasses, but is exempt from its restrictions because it is a developing country.

The Chinese seem unlikely to agree to anything that would restrain economic growth anytime soon. Meaning that any effort to confront China on this issue could end up having foreign policy implications.

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