Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

St. Louis couple uses guns to defend their daughter against two criminals

The Blaze explains who no one in the mainstream media (or the White House) seems to understand: Guns Save Lives.

Excerpt:

Two armed criminals reportedly put a gun to a 17-year-old girl’s head on Monday night as she was outside retrieving something from a car. The man, whose intentions still aren’t entirely clear, then ordered the teenager to take them into her house — a decision that would prove to have deadly consequences.

Peering out the window of the St. Louis home were the girl’s mother and father, each prepared to protect their daughter with deadly force. There was also a 5-year-old boy in the house, though his relationship to the family wasn’t known on Tuesday.

The girl’s father, a 34-year-old man, reportedly observed the men walking towards his home while holding a gun to his daughter’s head, a sight that no father ever wants to see. He quickly retrieved his firearm and his wife did the same.

The brave dad then confronted the two criminals and opened fire, hitting both suspects with accurate shots. The girl’s mother also fired off some rounds, but failed to hit either suspect.

One of the men was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene while the second suspect escaped only to later be arrested after calling his brother to take him to the hospital because he had been shot.

“Police identify the suspect who was killed as 31-year-old Terrell Johnson from north St. Louis,”KTVI-TV reports. “The second suspect- a 33-year-old man- is hospitalized in critical but stable condition with gunshot wounds to his chest and both thighs. Police say he will face charges.”

No one other than the suspected criminals were injured in the incident.

So, now might be a good time to review the science on guns and self-defense.

A quick refresher on why people own guns

People own guns so that they deter criminals and reduce the crime rate in their communities. The more guns there are in the hands of law-abiding citizens, the lower the crime rate goes, because criminals don’t like being shot at by their crime victims.

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.

A more recent study – from 2014

A new study that was in the news just last week confirms these findings. Newsmax reported on it.

Excerpt:

A recent study showing a reverse correlation between concealed weapons and murder rates has renewed the contentious national debate about the effect of gun controls on violent crime.

Reason magazine reported last week on economist Mark Gius’ study of gun controls, published in the journal Applied Economics Letters showing states with restrictions on concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states.

The study looked at the effects on murder rates of both state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons restrictions from 1980 to 2009.

[...]The findings come as A 2007 study has been also getting a new look from those who dispute gun control efforts aimed at stemming gun violence, Boston magazine reported last summer.

In research first published in Harvard’s Journal of Public Law and Policy, criminologists Don Kates and Gary Mauser looked at the correlation between gun laws and death rates.

“International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths,” the pair wrote in their introduction. “Unfortunately, such discussions [have] all too often been afflicted by misconceptions and factual error and focus on comparisons that are unrepresentative.”

The pair found “correlations that nations with stringent gun controls tend to have much higher murder rates than nations that allow guns.”

It’s not a reasonable position to think that disarming law-abiding citizens will reduce crime rates. The evidence is against it.

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Democrats freed nearly 68,000 illegal aliens with criminal convictions in 2013

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The federal government let nearly 68,000 illegal aliens with criminal records go free in 2013. When it’s law and order vs. future votes for Democrats, we all know which wins under this administration.

A new study from Washington’s Center For Immigration Studies (CIS) found that the Obama administration in 2013 released 67,879 illegal aliens who had been convicted of a criminal offense — 35% of the total number of the aliens with criminal convictions encountered by law enforcement.

The vast majority, the CIS report said, were due to “the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.”

So much for President Obama’s claim last June that “today, deportation of criminals is at its highest level ever” because “we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and who are endangering our communities.”

[...]How can our government let so many criminals go instead of deporting them, as the law demands?

“Eleven million people living in the shadows, I believe, are already American citizens,” Vice President Joseph Biden told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

And the repeat crimes so many of these illegals with criminal records will commit against Americans is a perfectly acceptable price to pay, apparently, to win millions of new Democratic votes Obama’s aggressive, lawless open-door immigration policies in the years ahead.

Here’s an example of one of the people that Joe Biden believes is already an American citizen from National Review.

Excerpt:

Meet 27-year-old Julio Miguel Blanco-Garcia. An illegal alien from Guatemala, he has lived and worked in Fairfax County, Va., for at least eleven years. The region is a notorious “sanctuary” for immigration lawbreakers where elected officials and big business look the other way in exchange for cheap labor and cheap votes.

When he wasn’t working illegally as a construction worker in the government-fueled Boomtown ’burb or getting himself high on drugs, Blanco-Garcia was building up a lengthy rap sheet. According to Fairfax County court records cited by the Fairfax City Patch.com, Blanco-Garcia has been arrested for:

  • Public swearing/intoxication in March 2010.
  • Petit larceny in September 2011.
  • Concealment/price alteration of merchandise in April 2012.

With the feds granting blanket amnesty waivers by administrative fiat and refusing to fix the deportation abyss, coupled with brazen “don’t ask, don’t tell” sanctuary policies by local officials, Blanco-Garcia managed to escape detention and deportation for more than a decade. In December 2012, the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force (which includes U.S. Marshals staff, Fairfax County police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and D.C. fugitive-operations officers) finally caught up with Blanco-Garcia. They detained him after determining “that he was in violation of U.S. immigration law.”

But it was too late for 19-year-old college freshman Vanessa Pham. In July 2010, the bubbly art student’s decision to be a Good Samaritan to open-borders beneficiary Blanco-Garcia cost Pham her life. After getting her nails done at a Fairfax Plaza salon, she encountered the illegal alien and his infant daughter in the parking lot. Blanco-Garcia was strung out on $400 worth of PCP.

According to prosecutors, he asked Pham to take him to the hospital. She let the man and his baby into her car. When Pham took a wrong turn, Blanco-Garcia turned on her — stabbing her more than a dozen times with a knife he was carrying. She veered into a ditch; he coldly wiped her blood off of his hands with a baby wipe and clambered out of the sunroof with the child.

Cops found the blade of the murder weapon, with the killer’s DNA, under Pham’s seat. But for nearly three years, her friends and family agonized as the DNA remained unidentified and the case unsolved. The investigative break? Illegal-alien Blanco-Garcia continued his criminal havoc — surprise, surprise — and attempted to steal several bottles of champagne from a local grocery store. He was convicted of larceny in April 2012. By December, law enforcement had tied his fingerprints to Pham’s murder. Blanco-Garcia’s trial begins next week.

True to form, the whitewash media have ignored Blanco-Garcia’s immigration status and the public-policy implications of our government’s systemic, bipartisan refusal to enforce the laws already on the books. The Washington Post (which employed illegal-alien reporter turned amnesty activist Jose Antonio Vargas for years and glorified the amnesty mob marches in 2006 and 2007) conveniently failed to mention Blanco-Garcia’s illegal-alien status. Some crimes are more equal than others.

Here’s another case where an illegal alien murdered an 18-year-old after he was offered a ride home by the victim. Again, the mainstream media ignored the story.

Which political party is more interested in protecting taxpaying citizens from criminals? Well, it’s not the Democrats, that’s for sure. On the one hand, they want to disarm law-abiding citizens. On the other hand they want to be lenient with illegal aliens who commit crimes against law-abiding citizens. It seems to me that government should exist to prevent crimes – not to grant favors to groups that they know will vote for their agenda.

Just to be clear, I favor more skilled immigration and faster naturalization of skilled immigrants who come here legally, pay their own way for some long period of time (10 years, cumulative?) and do not break the law in that time. But that’s not what the Democrats are promoting here, they want the criminals to stay. Even if it means that innocent taxpayers have to die for their political plans.

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American Spectator praises Australia’s bold new conservative leader

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Well, I think we can get some encouragement from this article from the American Spectator.

Let’s take a look at his policies and appointments:

On economic policy, his government has moved in the opposite direction of those who favor Dodd-Frank-like behemoth approaches to the financial industry. Instead it’s opted to simplify regulation. As the minister responsible for the reform bluntly pointed out, “no amount of legislation will ever be a guarantee against another Storm Financial.” Indeed it’s often excessive regulation that creates opportunities for financial shenanigans by industry insiders.

Regarding the welfare state, Abbott’s minister for Social Security, Kevin Andrews (another conservative politician-thinker), has announced a major overhaul of a welfare system that was starting to drift in a distinctly European-direction. Predictably the left are up in arms. But so too are those rent-seeking Australian businesses who now find themselves dealing with a government uninterested in subsidizing them. That’s nothing, however, to the fury that greeted Abbott’s disbanding of the climate-change bureaucracy established by the preceding Labor government.

[...]The first sign of Abbott’s seriousness about obstructing the left’s long march through the institutions was his government’s appointment of the policy-director of the center-right Institute of Public Affairs to the nation’s Human Rights Commission. This was widely seen as the beginning of an effort to re-balance an organization long criticized as monolithically left-wing. Since then Abbott has indicated that major changes are coming to the ABC: Australia’s government-funded institutional — and ideological — equivalent of the BBC.

[...]Along the same lines, Abbott’s education minister, Christopher Pyne, has initiated a review of the national curriculum implemented by the previous government. A moment’s glance at the curriculum’s treatment of history soon illustrates the extent to which it seeks to downplay Australia’s indisputably Western heritage. In the words of Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell, “Europe, Britain and the United States are mentioned 76 times, while Asia is referred to on more than 200 occasions.” This disparity is odd because although Australia is certainly in Asia, no objective observer could say that Australia is “of” Asia. Moreover, while Australian students learn about “Gaia” and other deep-green fantasies in grade 9, many Australian universities find they need to put the same students through remedial English classes once they begin college.

Then there are Abbott’s initial steps on the international stage. Take, for instance, his recent remarks at Davos. Much of the address was devoted to pushing a strong free trade agenda and insisting that governments should let business do what it does best: promote lasting economic growth. “After all,” Abbott said, “government doesn’t create wealth; people do, when they run profitable businesses.”

In the same speech, however, Abbott made the conservative point that economic prosperity and freedom can’t be sustained in a value-neutral world. Nor did Abbott shy away from relentlessly pressing one of the most important moral arguments for free trade articulated long ago by Adam Smith: that economic freedom, combined with the right institutions, radically reduces poverty faster than any other approach. “No country,” Abbott added, “has ever taxed or subsidized its way to prosperity.”

All in all, the address added up to a solid integration of sound economics with conservative principles. That’s what makes Abbott different from, say, Canada’s Stephen Harper or Spain’s Mariano Rajoy. Abbott happily engages in the indispensable task of moral suasion in favor of conservative positions. What’s more, he’s quite good at it. With his rare combination of plain-speaking and intellectual substance, Abbott makes conservative ideas sound, well, reasonable to the average voter.

Now, I personally thought that prime minister Stephen Harper of Canada was the best leader of any nation out there, but I had not been following Australian politics as much as I should be, and now I think I’ll give the crown to Abbott. He seems to have a good fusionist view that integrates economic policy and social policy, and that makes him better than Harper, in my view. I would like to see Abbott flex his muscles on foreign policy, as well. Something to look forward to.

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Can the negative effects of fatherlessness be attributed to other factors, like poverty?

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

Here’s a blog post from the Institute for Family Studies to answer that question.

Introduction:

Growing up without a father—whether that’s due to divorce, a nonmarital birth, or a father’s death—is associated with a host of negative effects. But given that children from low-income families, for instance, are more likely to live apart from their father in the first place, it can be hard to tell to what extent an absent father causes the problems that father absence is associated with, and to what extent other factors related to both family structure and child outcomes (like household income) are to blame.

Researchers Sara McLanahan, Laura Tach, and Daniel Schneider published a paper last year on exactly this problem. They reviewed 47 studies that used a variety of methods designed to uncover the causal effects of father absence, such as lagged dependent variable models, natural experiments, and individual fixed effects models.

Here’s one of the findings:

Labor Force: McLanahan and her colleagues found few studies on how father absence affects children’s employment and income in adulthood. The handful of analyses they did find are not entirely comparable; however, some of their findings were consistent. “Divorce was associated with lower levels of employment” in two studies, and in two other studies there were “higher levels of labor force inactivity among those who experienced divorce in early childhood.” In a fifth study, growing up with stepparents and with a single divorced mother had negative effects on occupational status, while growing up with a single widowed mother was not a disadvantage relative to growing up with stably married parents.

Here is Dr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation to add some more evidence for this view.

He writes:

Census data and the Fragile Families survey show that marriage can be extremely effective in reducing child poverty. But the positive effects of married fathers are not limited to income alone. Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes.

When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school.[19] Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.

The effect of married fathers on child outcomes can be quite pronounced. For example, examination of families with the same race and same parental education shows that, when compared to intact married families, children from single-parent homes are:

  • More than twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime;[20]
  • Twice as likely to be treated for emotional and behavioral problems;[21]
  • Roughly twice as likely to be suspended or expelled from school;[22] and
  • A third more likely to drop out before completing high school.[23]

The effects of being raised in a single-parent home continue into adulthood. Comparing families of the same race and similar incomes, children from broken and single-parent homes are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact married families. [24] Compared to girls raised in similar married families, girls from single-parent homes are more than twice as likely to have a child without being married, thereby repeating the negative cycle for another generation.[25]

Finally, the decline of marriage generates poverty in future generations. Children living in single-parent homes are 50 percent more likely to experience poverty as adults when compared to children from intact married homes. This intergenerational poverty effect persists even after adjusting for the original differences in family income and poverty during childhood.[26]

Yesterday, on the Dennis Prager show, Dennis was discussing this article and this article during the male – female hour. He made the point that children raised by single mothers and divorced mothers don’t have the experience of growing up and seeing their mother love her husband and act like a wife towards him. No government program can provide that. It is important that boys and girls have that experience of seeing a woman love her husband, and seeing a man love his wife. Of seeing them in a committed, stable, purposeful relationship, trying to provide for and raise their children.

Today, a lot of women are watching Hollywood movies and TV shows where men are portrayed in a very negative way, e.g. – Mad Men. These shows are often written by people on the hard left – radical feminists and/or gay activists. A girl growing up in this environment is just not going to have access to a positive view of how men and women get along in a marriage, making them less marry-able. Less safe to marry. That example of man and wife would act as a counter to Hollywood, but too many boys and girls are growing up without it.

So what’s the take-home lesson? The take-home lesson is that we need to be more careful about choosing partners and having children. It’s probably a good idea to be less driven by emotions, peer approval and hormones, and more driven by rational thought and studies. Choose wisely, and test well.

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Want to stop school shootings? Then strengthen the institution of marriage

I am sort of lukewarm on W. Bradford Wilcox, because I think he’s a moderate to left person, but this article in National Review is pretty good.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Another shooting, another son of divorce. From Adam Lanza, who killed 26 children and adults a year ago at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., to Karl Pierson, who shot a teenage girl and killed himself this past Friday at Arapahoe High in Centennial, Colo., one common and largely unremarked thread tying together most of the school shooters that have struck the nation in the last year is that they came from homes marked by divorce or an absent father. From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s “list of U.S. school attacks” involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.

[...]The social scientific evidence about the connection between violence and broken homes could not be clearer. My own research suggests that boys living in single mother homes are almost twice as likely to end up delinquent compared to boys who enjoy good relationships with their father. Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson has written that “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.” His views are echoed by the eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, who have written that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”

Why is fatherlessness such a big deal for our boys (almost all of these incidents involve boys)? Putting the argument positively, sociologist David Popenoe notesthat “fathers are important to their sons as role models. They are important for maintaining authority and discipline. And they are important in helping their sons to develop both self-control and feelings of empathy toward others, character traits that are found to be lacking in violent youth.” Boys, then, who did not grow up with an engaged, attentive, and firm father are more vulnerable to getting swept up in the Sturm und Drang of adolescence and young adulthood, and in the worst possible way.

In previous posts, I have argued that it is women who need to be thinking about how children need fathers, and to be more careful about evaluating and selecting men who can do the jobs that men do in marriage. Protecting, providing, moral/spiritual leading.

It probably would also be a good idea to roll back policies that weaken and redefine marriage. I don’t just mean same-sex marriage. I mean no-fault divorce, and the normalization of premarital sex. Basically, anything that weakens the stability of marriage and the male-female fit inherent in marriage ought to be shamed and opposed. Children need mothers and fathers. We shouldn’t be promoting or subsidizing any behavior or lifestyle that encourages people to have children (on purpose or accidentally) outside of a carefully-considered marriage relationship.

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