Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Judge orders DOJ to release Fast and Furious documents blocked by Obama

Katie Pavlich reports on it for Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.

“This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal,” Judicial Watch released in a statement.

The FOIA lawsuit has been ongoing for 16-months and is now proceeding after a lengthy delay. The Justice Department originally asked the court for an indefinite hold on a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, citing executive privilege and an ongoing investigation. That indefinite hold request was shot down more than a year ago.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

Unfortunately, this is coming too late for Obama’s 2012 re-election contest, and the mainstream media is unlikely to report it, just like they failed to report the IRS scandal. But if we all share this story, it will help people to realize how lawless and corrupt this administration really is. It’s gangster government, as Michele Bachmann said. The crooks are in charge.

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Democrats try to block whistleblower’s Fast and Furious expose

Fox News reports on the latest Democrat cover-up scandal. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

The ATF agent who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious has been denied permission to write a book on the botched anti-gun trafficking sting “because it would have a negative impact on morale,” according to the very agency responsible for the scandal.

After first trying to stop the operation internally, ATF Agent John Dodson went to Congress and eventually the media following the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. Two guns found at the murder scene were sold through the ATF operation.

Dodson’s book, titled “The Unarmed Truth,” provides the first inside account of how the federal government permitted and helped sell some 2,000 guns to Mexican drug cartels, despite evidence the guns killed innocent people.

Dodson, who is working with publisher Simon & Schuster, submitted his manuscript to the department for review, per federal rules. However, it was denied.

Greg Serres, an ATF ethics official, told Dodson that any of his supervisors at any level could disapprove outside employment “for any reason.”

[...]Dodson says “The Unarmed Truth” will come out in January, with or without the ATF’s permission.

I hope this book sells a lot of copies.

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Violent crime rate more than doubled in the four years after the 1997 UK gun ban

Whenever I get into discussions about gun control, I always mention two academic books by John R. Lott and Joyce Lee Malcolm.

Here is a paper by Dr. Malcolm that summarizes one of the key points of her book.

Excerpt:

Tracing the history of gun control in the United Kingdom since the late 19th century, this article details how the government has arrogated to itself a monopoly on the right to use force. The consequence has been a tremendous increase in violent crime, and harsh punishment for crime victims who dare to fight back. The article is based on the author’s most recent book, Guns and Violence: The English Experience (Harvard University Press, 2002). Joyce Malcom is professor of history at Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is also author of To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an AngloAmerican Right (Harvard University Press, 1994).

Upon the passage of The Firearms Act (No. 2) in 1997, British Deputy Home Secretary Alun Michael boasted: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.” The Act was second handgun control measure passed that year, imposed a near-complete ban on private ownership of handguns, capping nearly eighty years of increasing firearms restrictions. Driven by an intense public campaign in the wake of the shooting of schoolchildren in Dunblane, Scotland, Parliament had been so zealous to outlaw all privately owned handguns that it rejected proposals to exempt Britain’s Olympic target-shooting team and handicapped target-shooters from the ban.

And the result of the 1997 gun ban:

The result of the ban has been costly. Thousands of weapons were confiscated at great financial cost to the public. Hundreds of thousands of police hours were devoted to the task. But in the six years since the 1997 handgun ban, crimes with the very weapons banned have more than doubled, and firearm crime has increased markedly. In 2002, for the fourth consecutive year, gun crime in England and Wales rose—by 35 percent for all firearms, and by a whopping 46 percent for the banned handguns. Nearly 10,000 firearms offences were committed.

[...]According to Scotland Yard, in the four years from 1991 to 1995 crimes against the person in England‟s inner cities increased by 91 percent. In the four years from 1997 to 2001 the rate of violent crime more than doubled. The UK murder rate for 2002 was the highest for a century.

I think that peer-reviewed studies – from Harvard University, no less – should be useful to those of us who believe in the right of self-defense for law-abiding people.

I found this interesting article from August 2011 by Dr. Malcolm in the Wall Street Journal, where she catches us up on what it is like to live in the UK under draconian gun control laws.

Excerpt:

As wild gangs of youths burned homes, shops and cars and severely beat anyone who tried to stop them last week, English people tried to defend themselves. Their desperation triggered a 5,000% increase in purchases of baseball bats from Amazon.

This is a sad symbol of the failure of the British approach to crime—with its sympathy for offenders, intolerance of self-defense, and unwillingness to pay for adequate crime control. A people once proud of their peaceful country and unarmed policemen had to resort to clubs to protect life and limb.

Great Britain’s leniency began in the 1950s, with a policy that only under extraordinary circumstances would anyone under 17 be sent to prison. This was meant to rehabilitate young offenders. But the alternative to incarceration has been simply to warn them to behave, maybe require community service, and return them to the streets. There has been justifiable concern about causes of crime such as poverty and unemployment, but little admission that some individuals prefer theft to work and that deterrence must be taken seriously.

Victims of aggression who defend themselves or attempt to protect their property have been shown no such leniency. Burglars who injured themselves breaking into houses have successfully sued homeowners for damages. In February, police in Surrey told gardeners not to put wire mesh on the windows of their garden sheds as burglars might hurt themselves when they break in.

If a homeowner protecting himself and his family injures an intruder beyond what the law considers “reasonable,” he will be prosecuted for assault. Tony Martin, an English farmer, was sentenced to life in prison for killing one burglar and wounding another with a shotgun during the seventh break-in at his rural home in 1999. While his sentence was later reduced to five years, he was refused parole in 2003 because he was judged a danger to burglars.

In 2008, a robber armed with a knife attacked shopkeeper Tony Singh in West Lancashire. During the struggle the intruder was fatally stabbed with his own knife. Although the robber had a long record of violent assault, prosecutors were preparing to charge Mr. Singh with murder until public outrage stopped them.

The UK experience with gun control really shows where the anti-gun people would take us. This is their view – this is what the gun control supporters want. People who refuse to permit and promote responsible gun ownership by law-abiding citizens side with the criminals. They want criminals to be free to threaten, assault and murder law-abiding citizens. That’s the truth of it. I would also say that if a man does not believe in using any and all means necessary to protect his family, and others, by opposing aggression by criminals in his own home, then he is not a man to marry. Ladies, avoid him.

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10 people shot on Friday in Chicago, the city with the strictest gun control laws

From the Chicago Tribune: (H/T Doug Ross)

Shootings across the city Friday afternoon and night wounded at least ten people, according to Chicago police, including four teens in three separate South and West side attacks.

The rest of the article has details on who was shot and where.

In August 2012, 13 people were shot in 30 minutes in Chicago.

Now, you might think that Chicago has some of the most permissive gun control laws in the country – especially if you were a leftist. But that’s not the case. Chicago is run by an anti-gun radical named Rahm Emmanuel, and they basically have a de facto ban on guns in the entire city. So how is banning guns working for them?

Take a look at this CNS News article:

There were 192 shootings in Chicago throughout the month of November – a 49 percent increase from a year earlier – according to police records obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

In November of 2011, Chicago recorded 129 shootings compared to the 192 shootings this November.  Police records also reveal that shootings increased more than 11 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 compared with a year earlier.

Total homicides in Chicago rose to 480 for the first eleven months of 2012; a 21 percent increase from last year.  On November 30, 2012, there were four fatal shootings within the city.  These murders brought the homicide total to 38 for the month, just above the 37 recorded in November of last year.

Back in 2011, a ban on guns was overturned and crime rates were dropping. But then along came Rahm Emmanuel in 2012, pushing for gun registries and more gun control.

The policies of the left are not working. And that’s because they are not looking at the root cause of crime.

Doug Ross explains:

How much of the violence in Chicago that occurs each night is authored by kids without fathers?

That’s the question we should be asking. Only that question won’t be asked and it won’t be answered, because it indicts the Democrat Party’s failed policies on a monumental scale.

How many dead, crippled and imprisoned inner-city youths has “Great Society” left in its wake? Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

How many have died thanks to “the War on Drugs”, “the War on Guns”, and “the War on Poverty”? And how many more must die before we reverse course on the Democrats’ failed welfare state policies and their catastrophic impact on the two-parent family?

And he’s not just making that up. Take a look at the evidence from National Review:

A Detroit study found that about 70 percent of juvenile homicide perpetrators did not live with both parents. Another study found that of girls committed to the California Youth Authority (for serious delinquents), 93 percent came from non-intact homes. Nationally, seventy percent of youths incarcerated in state reform institutions come from single-parent or no-parent homes. A survey of juvenile delinquents in state custody in Wisconsin found that fewer than 1/6 came from intact families; over two-fifths were illegitimate.

[...]Young black males from single-parent families are twice as likely to engage in crime as young black males from two-parent families. If the single-parent family is in a neighborhood with a large number of other single-parent families, the odds of the young man becoming involved in crime are tripled. These findings are based on a study conducted for the Department of Health and Human Services by M. Anne Hill and June O’Neill of Baruch College. The study held constant all socioeconomic variables (such as income, parental education, or urban setting) other than single parenthood.

Crime has often been thought to be a problem of race or poverty, since poor people and racial minorities comprise a larger portion of the violent criminal population than of the population as a whole. But in fact, the causal link between fatherlessness and crime “is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime,” as Barbara Dafoe Whitehead noted in her famous “Dan Quayle was Right” article.

The real cause of gun violence is the antagonism towards marriage by people on the left. They don’t like the traditional family because it has different roles: men work and women raise young children. That clashes with their feminist ideology which says that women should be identical to men. They are the ones that push sex onto young people with early sex education, free contraceptives and free abortions. Premarital sex is good, according to Democrats, because it undermines the traditional (sexist) courting that leads to traditional (sexist) marriage.

For a leftist, it is a wonderful thing when they can reward a woman who has premarital sex with welfare, because single women and especially single mothers vote overwhelmingly for bigger government and higher taxes. Encouraging risky sexual behavior is how Democrats stay in power. When families break down, it creates all sorts of opportunities to grow government and make more people dependent on government.

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Crime rates in Chicago and DC drop after gun control laws are struck down

From Fox News – what happens to crime rates when gun control laws are repealed?

Excerpt:

Murder and violent crime rates were supposed to soar after the Supreme Court struck down gun control laws in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Politicians predicted disaster. “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence,” Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty warned the day the court made its decision.

Chicago’s Mayor Daley predicted that we would “go back to the Old West, you have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle it in the streets…”

The New York Times even editorialized this month about the Supreme Court’s “unwise” decision that there is a right for people “to keep guns in the home.”

But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn’t rise after the bans were eliminated — they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.

Not surprisingly, the national media have been completely silent about this news.

One can only imagine the coverage if crime rates had risen. In the first six months of this year, there were 14% fewer murders in Chicago compared to the first six months of last year – back when owning handguns was illegal. It was the largest drop in Chicago’s murder rate since the handgun ban went into effect in 1982.

Meanwhile, the other four most populous cities saw a total drop at the same time of only 6 percent.

Similarly, in the year after the 2008 “Heller” decision, the murder rate fell two-and-a-half times faster in Washington than in the rest of the country.

It also fell more than three as fast as in other cities that are close to Washington’s size. And murders in Washington have continued to fall.

If you compare the first six months of this year to the first six months of 2008, the same time immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s late June “Heller” decision, murders have now fallen by thirty-four percent.

Gun crimes also fell more than non-gun crimes.

Robberies with guns fell by 25%, while robberies without guns have fallen by eight percent. Assaults with guns fell by 37%, while assaults without guns fell by 12%.

Just as with right-to-carry laws, when law-abiding citizens have guns some criminals stop carrying theirs.

Read the whole thing, there are more lovely facts in there. If you ever need to debate this, I recommend buying these academic studies published by the University of Chicago Press and by Harvard University Press. The former shows how crime rates dropped in the USA when Americans rescinded gun control laws, and the latter shows how crime rates rose in the UK when the British strengthened their gun control laws. Sometimes is good to have the data handy.

Let’s learn about the issue from the news

ABC News explains in this short 6-minute clip:

And here is a longer 44-minute show from Fox Business: (featuring a debate between economist John Lott and the Brady Campaign spokesman)

There are other debates in the show as well.

Now watch a 3-on-3 debate on gun control

This debate is in 13 parts, featuring the two of the best proponents of legal firearm ownership – John Lott and Gary Kleck. The real sparks fly during the Q&A, so don’t miss that. (If you can’t watch the debate, then you can read this post and this post instead).

Here’s part 1, which contains the introduction.

Here are the remaining speeches:

This is everything you need to know about whether legal ownership of firearms reduces crime.

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