Monday, June 27, 2016
Gun regulation: Is Australia a model that the USA should adopt?
In the wake of the recent shootings at Orlando and elsewhere, many Leftist commentators have pointed to the strict gun controls introduced by Australia in 1996 and have noted that Australia has had NO mass shootings since the laws were enacted. They assert that this is powerful evidence for the enactment of such laws in America. But is it true? Did Australia's strict laws reduce gun deaths?
Before I answer that, I think I might point out that there are important demographic differences between the U.S. and Australian populations. In particular, the minorities are different. Australia has negligible Africans but large numbers of Han Chinese. And those two groups differ greatly in propensity to crime generally and homicide in particular. The Chinese are as pacific as Africans are violent. I don't think I have ever heard of a Han Chinese breaking into someone's house, whereas that happens daily in the USA. So Australians have a much smaller need for guns as self-defense. I love the Han.
But one part of the Leftist claim is true. There have indeed been no mass shootings since 1996 in Australia. But such shootings were rare anyway and gun crimes were already on the way down in Australia so how do we allow for that? Below is an article from a major medical journal that has done all the statistics. Its conclusions have been widely reported but almost always misreported. So I produce the actual journal abstract below.
As you can see, they found that the decline in gun deaths had speeded up but not to a statistically significant degree. More interestingly, the rate for all crimes had declined even more than the decline in gun deaths. So all we can say is that Australia has been getting steadily safer for a long time now. There is no evidence that guns have anything to do with it. The journal article:
Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013
Simon Chapman et al.
Rapid-fire weapons are often used by perpetrators in mass shooting incidents. In 1996 Australia introduced major gun law reforms that included a ban on semiautomatic rifles and pump-action shotguns and rifles and also initiated a program for buyback of firearms.
To determine whether enactment of the 1996 gun laws and buyback program were followed by changes in the incidence of mass firearm homicides and total firearm deaths.
Observational study using Australian government statistics on deaths caused by firearms (1979-2013) and news reports of mass shootings in Australia (1979–May 2016). Changes in intentional firearm death rates were analyzed with negative binomial regression, and data on firearm-related mass killings were compared.
Implementation of major national gun law reforms.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Changes in mass fatal shooting incidents (defined as ≥5 victims, not including the perpetrator) and in trends of rates of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and suicides, and total homicides and suicides per 100 000 population.
From 1979-1996 (before gun law reforms), 13 fatal mass shootings occurred in Australia, whereas from 1997 through May 2016 (after gun law reforms), no fatal mass shootings occurred. There was also significant change in the preexisting downward trends for rates of total firearm deaths prior to vs after gun law reform. From 1979-1996, the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 3.6 (95% CI, 3.3-3.9) per 100 000 population (average decline of 3% per year; annual trend, 0.970; 95% CI, 0.963-0.976), whereas from 1997-2013 (after gun law reforms), the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0-1.4) per 100 000 population (average decline of 4.9% per year; annual trend, 0.951; 95% CI, 0.940-0.962), with a ratio of trends in annual death rates of 0.981 (95% CI, 0.968-0.993). There was a statistically significant acceleration in the preexisting downward trend for firearm suicide (ratio of trends, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.970-0.993), but this was not statistically significant for firearm homicide (ratio of trends, 0.975; 95% CI, 0.949-1.001). From 1979-1996, the mean annual rate of total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths was 10.6 (95% CI, 10.0-11.2) per 100 000 population (average increase of 2.1% per year; annual trend, 1.021; 95% CI, 1.016-1.026), whereas from 1997-2013, the mean annual rate was 11.8 (95% CI, 11.3-12.3) per 100 000 (average decline of 1.4% per year; annual trend, 0.986; 95% CI, 0.980-0.993), with a ratio of trends of 0.966 (95% CI, 0.958-0.973). There was no evidence of substitution of other lethal methods for suicides or homicides.
Conclusions and Relevance
Following enactment of gun law reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through May 2016. There was a more rapid decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013 compared with before 1997 but also a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude. Because of this, it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms.
JAMA. Published online June 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8752
Multicultural illegal immigrant, 28, who carried out a 10-day campaign of sex attacks on lone women on their doorsteps is jailed for eight years
A serial sex attacker has been jailed for eight years after assaulting a string of women over a 10-day spree in South London just months after he arrived in the UK.
Algerian Mehdi Midani, 28, followed eight 'vulnerable' women as they walked home at night.
The former mechanic conducted a campaign of 'terror' across the Brixton Hill and Clapham areas of the capital, even attacking four women in the space of just four hours.
He was handed a sentence of 10 years with eight to be served in jail, two on licence following his release.
Passing sentence Judge Nicholas Madge said: 'You moved from one offence in an evening to two in an evening to four in an evening. 'You waited, watched and followed women.'
Judge Madge said one victim turned to see Midani 'grinning' at her while another caught him 'ducking behind a car' as he followed her.
'All these offences were committed against lone women during a 10-day period. 'On each day that you assaulted women you travelled from North London to Brixton or Clapham and then returned to North London after carrying out the assault.'
He added: 'The experience of this court is that sexual attacks on women by strangers in the street are rare. In that sense, London is a relatively safe city.
'However, courts will do all they can to keep it that way and to protect women by imposing long sentences upon anyone who attacks women, especially at night.'
Midani was convicted of six counts of sexual assault and one count of common assault in April and pleaded guilty to a further count of sexual assault at Inner London Crown Court.
The court heard that he entered Britain via Ireland after leaving his native Algeria and that his immigration sentence is currently 'unknown' - but it is believed he may have entered illegally and the Home Office will seek his deportation once he has been sentenced.
The Left's Assault on Our Values
I want to tell you about the left’s ongoing assault on the First Amendment.
California has mandated that all insurance policies must cover elective, surgical abortions as “basic health care.” At least three churches filed a federal lawsuit against the mandate, which flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.
The churches also asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether the California mandate violated federal legislation, known as the Weldon Amendment, intended to protect rights of conscience.
The Obama administration ruled [Tuesday] that church health insurance policies are not protected by the Weldon Amendment and, thus, churches can be forced to pay for elective abortions.
It is hard to imagine a more outrageous and blatantly anti-First Amendment order than this. If the government can force churches to pay for abortions, it’s not far from ordering pastors to perform same-sex marriages.
Meanwhile, another First Amendment controversy has been brewing, this one related to free speech. A number of left-wing state attorneys general are attempting to prosecute global warming skeptics for fraud. They are using the brute force of big government to shut down the debate.
Thankfully, this overreach is getting serious pushback. Last week, more than a dozen conservative state attorneys general publicly warned that if climate change skeptics could be prosecuted for fraud, so could global warming alarmists like Al Gore, whose wild predictions have never panned out.
Not long ago, the left was panicking about the coming ice age, not to mention global famine caused by overpopulation and “peak oil.” I’d say the right has a far stronger case to make when it comes to prosecuting environmentalist fraud.
The Importance Of Judges
As utterly ridiculous as these examples are, they are yet more evidence of the left’s growing intolerance for religious liberty and free speech. And as I noted in both examples, these issues are being fought over in the courts. They will be decided by judges.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this upcoming election when it comes to control of the courts. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has left the Supreme Court evenly divided between four reliably liberal justices and four generally right of center justices.
The decision upholding an individual’s Second Amendment right to own a firearm was a 5-to-4 decision. The Hobby Lobby decision, upholding religious liberty, was a 5-to-4 decision. Both could be overturned depending on Scalia’s replacement.
That’s how important this election is. Religious liberty and the Second Amendment are at stake — and your vote will determine the outcome.
That’s right. The men and women we elect to the White House and the Senate determine the judges who sit on our federal courts.
Horror and Hush-Up in Twin Falls, Idaho
Something wicked happened in Idaho's rural Magic Valley. The evil has been compounded by politicians, media and special interest groups doing their damnedest to suppress the story and quell a righteous citizen rebellion.
On June 7, a brief news item appeared on local Twin Falls, Idaho-based KMVT about a "reported sexual assault that possibly occurred near the Fawnbrook Apartments" five days earlier. Unconfirmed accounts of the alleged crime on conservative-leaning websites, plus reports from area members of anti-jihad activist Brigitte Gabriel's Act for America group and longtime watchdog Ann Corcoran's Refugee Resettlement Watch blog, culminated in coverage on the powerhouse Drudge Report.
The social media groundswell, untethered from the constraints of political correctness, forced government authorities to respond.
Police and the local prosecutor's office grudgingly confirmed that an investigation had begun into the incident. The victim: A mentally disabled 5-year-old girl. The alleged perpetrators: Three boys, ages 7, 10 and 14, from Sudanese and Iraqi immigrant families (predominantly Muslim) who have been in the country for less than two years -- all but confirming that they are refugees.
What happened? The case is under seal because it involves minors, but prosecutor Grant Loebs said there is videotape of the alleged sexual assault (a fact which local activists first divulged). Two of the boys are in custody. It's not clear what happened to the third.
Here's the sickening thing: The people who should have been asking tough questions -- like, you know, mainstream journalists -- have spent more time attacking local whistleblowers and bloggers than they have spent demanding answers and holding public officials accountable.
Why? Consider the backdrop. Residents in Twin Falls have been worried about the impact of an increasing influx of refugees, many from jihad-coddling countries, over the past several years. Their concerns about crime, welfare, health care, and schools echo those of communities across the country who are bearing the coercive brunt of Beltway bleeding hearts' refugee resettlement policies enacted in a shroud of secrecy.
Members of the Twin Falls City Council smugly likened refugee resettlement critics to "white supremacists." Regional newspapers including the Idaho Statesman and the Spokane Spokesman-Review rushed to discredit the on-scene reporting of internet writers such as Leo Hohmann, who had interviewed a witness to the crime for World Net Daily.
"Jolene Payne, an 89-year-old retired nurse who lives at the complex" told Hohmann that she spotted one of the boys "taking pictures with a camera" outside the apartment complex's laundry room. She went inside and found the 5-year-old naked with two of the younger boys naked standing over her. "The worst thing was the way they peed all over her clothes," she recounted.
Pro-mass immigration advocates may not like the sources of some of the original reporting that forced the case into the sunlight, but the watchdogs got more right than wrong. These critics now have Twin Falls' political leaders sputtering to cover their backsides and police brass defending themselves against explosive charges that they dragged their feet.
Instead, the "professional journalists" dwelt on a few early factual errors about whether the boys were from Syria and whether a knife was used -- and filled their dismissive articles with "can't we all just get along" propaganda from refugee resettlement advocates and contractors with vested financial interests in the game.
The callousness of local officials and indifference of local and national media reminds me very much of an international incident that went viral on YouTube earlier this year in the eastern German town of Bad Schlema -- located in a region overrun by Muslim refugees.
A concerned grandfather whose granddaughter under the age of 10 was sexually harassed by Muslim migrants protested to mayor Jens Muller. In response to his plea for help, Muller told the elderly man to direct his family to "not walk in areas" where refugees would be.
"Just don't provoke them and don't walk in those areas."
The grandfather lamented at the public meeting: "You're not allowed to walk in your own city anymore."
To which the jaded mayor replied: "This is the way it is."
Thank goodness there are Americans still fighting against the collective shrug of sovereignty surrender. Louder, please.
Third acquittal in the Freddie Gray case
Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the police van inside which suffered his fatal neck injury last April, has been found not guilty of second-degree “depraved heart” murder by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams.
Goodson, 46, has also been found not guilty on charges of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.
Goodson waived his right to a trial by jury. His bench trial began June 9 and final arguments were heard Monday.
Gray, a 25-year-old black man from the Sandtown area of Baltimore, died of his injury on April 19, 2015. A week earlier, Baltimore City police officers put him in the back of Goodson’s van, handcuffed and shackled, but unrestrained by a seat belt.
His death set off more than a week of protests followed by looting, rioting and arson that prompted a citywide curfew.
After the verdict was read, protesters began chanting “Murderer!” over and over again outside the courthouse.
Inside court, with high security present, “People were quiet … There were a few people shaking their heads, some people who were emotionless,” WJZ’s Mike Hellgren reports.
The judge said that the evidence for conviction simply was not there, and that there was no way that Goodson would have known that Freddie Gray was injured until the van’s final stop at the Western district police station, which is where a medic was called.
The prosecution’s theory of the case did not fit the facts that they presented, which clearly troubled Judge Williams.
Williams also chided the state for using the term “rough ride,” calling it a highly-charged term that they failed to define.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.