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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nicholas Kristof / Guns / His View from the Ivory Tower



I must take issue with Nicholas Kristof, and his recent op-ed piece “Lessons from the Murders of TV Journalists.”  Of course, Kristof had to give us some clarity and expound on his anti-gun position, relevant to the tragedy in Virginia.  Mr. Kristof, do they actually pay you for this stuff?  Oh yes, I almost forgot.  You went to Harvard.  OK, I apologize and retract that insensitive remark.

However, if I might digress for a just a moment, Harvard is becoming a sort of inside joke (from Frazier Crane to Barrack Obama); a joke that everyone appreciates – other than Harvard alumni I understand.  It must be a very difficult school to get into – unless you are wired in some way.  I know our President had a difficult time preparing himself for the rigors of a Harvard education.

Obama quoted:  “Man, I wasted a lot of time in high school.  There were times when I, you know, got into drinking, experimented with drugs.  There was a whole stretch of time where I didn’t really apply myself a lot.”

I wonder if Harvard has that Presidential quote prominently displayed on campus as motivation for their new recruits.  I might suggest a caption:  See, anyone can do this.

Back to the topic at hand:  statistics lie and liars use statistics.

Kristof:  “More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on the battlefields of all the wars in U.S. history.”

Hardly original, that old stat was drug-out years back by Mark Shields, who we all know from the PBS News Hour.  And, yes, apparently that is a fairly accurate statistic from what I can determine.  But, what Kristof fails to mention is that the vast majority of those deaths were by accident or suicide.  Kristof would probably respond, ‘Well, yes, but so what?’  It’s the implication Mr. Kristof – don’t you get it?  Accidents happen (car accidents, occupational accidents, and stupid accidents) and people intent on suicide would have found a way under any circumstances.  Furthermore, Kristof, by inference, seems to minimize the sacrifices of our military for what I consider to be a meaningless comparison.

Kristof:  “More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”  Again, he drags in military deaths and our military personnel’s, relatively speaking, inconsequential sacrifices – something he knows little about – having never served in the military.  That said, I can’t statistically refute the statement he makes, other than possibly the word “every.”  Those kind of statistics are harder to track down.  But, Mr. Kristof wouldn’t try to mislead – or would he?

Oh, just a small additional observation, why does Obama tend to label obvious terrorist attacks as workplace violence?  Is he attempting to tamper with statistics?
  
Kristof:  “To protect the public, we regulate toys and mutual funds, ladders and swimming pools.  Shouldn’t we regulate guns as seriously as we regulate toys?"

I guess Kristof is unaware of the fact that there are in excess of 20,000 statutes, ordinances and regulations regarding guns and ammunition at the Federal, State and Local levels.  Can some improvements be made?  Yes, but shouldn’t we look at strong enforcement of current laws first?  I’d support that.

Here are a few new laws that I would favor:
  •                Convicted felon in possession of a gun:  automatic three years in prison – no judicial discretion, no chance for parole.
  •                Knowingly selling or furnishing a gun to a convicted felon:  automatic three years in prison – no judicial discretion, no chance for parole.
  •                Theft of a gun, during the commission of a felony:  automatic three years in prison – no judicial discretion, no chance for parole – in addition to any time associated with the attendant felony.

I could go on, but what’s the point?  A few, very few, people will read my blog post.  Whereas, millions will read and be influenced by Kristof’s ramblings.  That’s not really fair; but is, nonetheless, one of the benefits of a Harvard education.


True Nelson