Ideologues benefit when perception is reality and facts are meaningless
Let’s make something clear: The only reality in the United States is the reality presented as reality on TV “news.” Since at least 70 percent of Americans no longer read newspapers, magazines, or books and, instead, passively absorb all their “news” from television (and, apparently, Facebook memes), knowing facts and thinking about facts is meaningless because perception, not fact, is reality.
All that matters is what the TV-educated believe, and how they feel, about the perception of reality presented as reality on TV “news.” Knowing and thinking is a waste of time. It’s all about believing and feeling now.
Which is why Senate Democrats sabotaged proposed “no fly, no buy” legislation in June simply because it was sponsored by Republicans, and why House Democrats followed with a choreographed charade highlighted by a made-for-TV dead-dog-and-dead-pony show designed to obscure the fact that they are the problem, not the solution.
Which is why Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) had the gall on Sept. 19 to blame Republicans for derailing efforts to prevent potential “terrorists” (people placed on the secret “no fly” list) from legally acquiring firearms. The fact is, it was the Democrats who shot down a proposal by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in June that would be doing that right now if not for their partisan electioneering.
Toomey, Collins and other senators — including less ideological Democrats — submitted it as an alternate to anti-gun zealot Sen. Christopher Murphy’s (D-Conn.) sham legislation that would not have survived a legal challenge because it doesn’t offer Americans on the secret “no fly” list a due-process procedure to challenge the designation. The Republican-sponsored alternate had that provision while offering the same assurances. But that fact didn’t, and still doesn’t, matter.
Which is why when Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sept. 22 proposed the same bill Republicans offered as an alternative in June, TV “news” portrayed it as a concession to gun control when, in fact, it was merely a renewed attempt to keep guns from potential “terrorists” without degrading the Constitution. It was not a deviation, but a Republican being a Republican.
Which is why when Toomey — who with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) sponsored the failed 2013 compromise universal background bill — re-affirmed he still favors universal background checks and is receiving campaign support from anti-Constitution crusader Michael Bloomberg, it is portrayed by TV “news” as a shocking reversal. It was nothing new; it was Toomey being Toomey.
Which is why when Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, the only Republican senator to receive an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association, tells the TV-educated he supports Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s expansive gun-control policies, it is portrayed by TV “news” as another sign that the GOP is accepting the “common sense” wisdom of gun control. It was nothing new; it was Kirk being Kirk.
Perception is reality, regardless what the truth is. With gun control anticipated to be an exploitable issue among the TV-educated in November’s elections, it is more important to sustain perception than to address facts.
Which is why facts no longer matter.
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STATISTICS, STUDIES, LIES
Survey’s disclosures confirm common knowledge among gun owners
It is a well-known marketing contingency that the most devoted 20 percent of any product’s purchasers typically account for 80 percent of its sales. Therefore, it isn’t necessarily a stunning disclosure that, according to estimates in a Harvard-Northeastern study, nearly 50 percent of the 265 million privately owned guns in the U.S. belong to just 1.6 million Americans.
According the study, published in The Guardian and Bloomberg mouthpiece The Trace, most of the nation’s 55 million gun owners possess one to three guns, about 7.7 million own between three and eight, and about 1.6 million—about 3 percent—own between eight and 140 guns each.
The overall number of gun owners has risen by 10 million since 1994 and the number of privately, legally owned guns has increased from 65 million in 1994 to 111 million in 2015, according to the study.
Although there are plenty of vagaries to nit-pick in the study, much of the data within the survey of 4,000 online respondents confirms what gun-owners have known for years.
For instance, the study claims that while sales of most firearms have either remained flat or declined over the last 20 years, handgun sales have boomed. More than 42 percent of the nation’s privately owned firearms are handguns, compared to just 34 percent in 1994, the study estimates.
And that is because the TV-educated have been indoctrinated — by both conservative and liberal ideologues, and mindless exposure to lazy, irresponsible “action” TV “news” — to believe gun crime is out-of-control and they need a handgun for self-defense. Of course, as the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report (look it up sometime) documents, the reality is that per capita violent crime has been declining nationwide for decades (with exceptions, such as Chicago).
The study confirms what gun-owners already know: More people are buying guns for self-defense rather than sport. As Harvard researcher Dr. Deb Azrael told The Guardian, Americans are buying more handguns because of “increasing fearfulness” induced by TV “news” and programming.
The study confirms another fact that gun-owners already know. While overall legal gun-ownership is declining among the general population (down from 25 percent in 1994 to 22 percent in 2015, according to the study) and among males (from 42 percent to 32 percent), it is increasing among women (from 9 percent to 12 percent).
As AWR Hawkins notes in Breitbart, the increase in women owning firearms “dovetails well” with Crime Prevention Research Center’s (CPRC) John R. Lott’s recent study documenting the number of women with concealed carry permits has increased twice as quickly as the number of men with permits, and about 75 percent more quickly among minorities than among whites, since President Barack Obama assumed office nearly eight years ago.
The study’s authors conclude that if TV-educated Americans were aware that there is less crime than they perceive, there would be less perceived need to purchase a firearm for their protection.
The problem with that observation, Hawkins writes, is “it may overlook the causal role that concealed carry permits and gun ownership played, and continue to play, in making the U.S. safer.”
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Pennsylvania lawmakers seek to restore state preemption bill
Pennsylvania lawmakers on Sept. 20 reintroduced preemption legislation that would let prevent local governments from enacting their own gun laws and regulations that are more restrictive than state laws and regulations.
According to the Associated Press, the state’s House Judiciary Committee voted 21-6 for a bill that is a near-replica of a similar 2014 preemption law that was overturned in 2015 by Commonwealth Court in a decision upheld by the state Supreme Court in June.
The new proposal provides the state’s gun owners — as well as organizations they are members of, such as the NRA — to file challenges to local gun ordinances if they exceed restrictions imposed by the state.
The Commonwealth Court and Supreme Court invalidated that law not because of its actual legal merit, but because of the way it was presented for a vote to state legislators in 2014. The courts ruled the original preemption bill violate a ban in the state constitution on bundling unrelated topics in a single bill. The preemption bill was enacted as part of legislation that also addressed the theft of metal.
“The law itself is not unconstitutional — it’s the way it was put through,” Rep. Mark Keller (R-Perry), the bill’s sponsor, told the AP.
The new version adds a provision requiring 30 days’ notice before filing a lawsuit to allow municipalities to repeal ordinances and avoid litigation.
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IN THE COURTS
Judges critical of DC concealed carry restrictions
If the tough questions asked by two of the three judges hearing arguments on Sept. 20 in Wrenn v. DC and Grace v. DC is an indication, Washington D.C.’s renewed attempt to circumnavigate the Constitution will again be foiled.
And, even better, the ruling in these cases, as well as in Peruta v. San Diego, could ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court and determine, once-and-for-all, that the “may issue” qualifier for receiving a concealed carry permit is an illegal restraint on a citizen’s ability to exercise a Constitutional right.
Both cases appeared before a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. According to the Associated Press, during oral arguments, Judge Thomas B. Griffith said D.C.’s restrictive “may issue” requirement means a woman who lives in a dangerous neighborhood and wants to carry a gun for self-protection, won’t meet D.C.’s “may issue” standards (because virtually no one does) and, thus, is limited to “running” if attacked or “learning martial arts.”
“Why should someone show a need for self-defense?” Griffith asked. “Isn’t it an inherent right?”
Judge Stephen F. Williams said there was little difference between an outright ban on carrying a gun and the city’s “good reason” requirement. Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson didn’t ask any questions.
According to the AP, in the last two years, only 88 people have been approved for concealed-carry permits while 309 applicants have been denied.
Wrenn v. DC was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation while Grace v. DC was filed by the Pink Pistols, a gay gun-owners organization. Alan Gura, the Second Amendment attorney who won the 2008 Heller v. DC and 2010 McDonald v. Chicago cases in front of the Supreme Court, argued on behalf of Wrenn.
As Martin Austermuhle writes for WAMU Radio, “None of the judges hinted at when they would rule, nor how broad — or narrow — their ruling could be. But depending on what they ultimately decide, the issue could have national implications.”
In June, an 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld a concealed-carry law much like D.C.’s in Peruta v. San Diego County.
If the 2nd Circuit panel rules against D.C., “it could put the issue of concealed-carry restrictions on course for review by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Austermuhle writes.
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