Posts Tagged ‘Ban’

The Real Motive For Going After “Assault Weapons”

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

For Your Own Good?

I’d like to discuss this subject rationally with my readers, and that means we must dismiss emotion from the subject.  The passions inflamed by discussions of gun bans, as well as the debate over their legitimacy and purpose are sure to take any debate to the brink, so rather than fill volumes with useless rhetoric, I’d like to cover a bit of ground most of the media, even conservative outlets, won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  People on the pro-Second Amendment side of this argument are quick to point out the very real statistics that demonstrate fewer people in the United States are murdered in a given year with all rifles, including the subset consisting of so-called assault weapons, than are killed in the city of Chicago with handguns in that same year.  This statistic should be stunning to those who had swallowed the media hype about so-called “assault weapons,” but the simple fact of the matter is that such weapons account for a statistically insignificant number of murders in the US, according to the FBI’s own crime figures.  Knowing this, it is reasonable to ask why it would be that the gun-grabbers would focus on this contrived class of weapons for their immediate gun-ban agenda.  There are just a few reasons, and they’re all important to understanding their agenda, but one is absolutely critical.

The first thing to understand is that by simple appearance, and since cosmetics largely define the classification, so-called “assault weapons” look mean.  Despite the fact that Grandpappy’s old-school Browning BAR in .30-06(7.62×63,) another semi-automatic rifle that is much more lethal, given the higher energy of its round versus an AR-15 in .223 or an AK-47  in 7.62×39, the Browning merely looks relatively innocuous compared to the menacing AR-15.  The truth is that a single round from any of the three could be lethal, but if I had to bet on which would cause more damage, I would put my money on the .30-06.  The .30-06 was the standard round the Army employed in its Springfield M1 Garand rifle, from the period covering the Second World War until its ultimate replacement with the M14 (.308) and the M16(the fully automatic cousin of the AR-15.)  The projectile of a .30-06 is an awesome round, and as George S. Patton observed, the Garand rifle was at the time what he considered to be “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”  Let us therefore conclude that there are indeed rifles with far more lethal capability that would not be considered “assault weapons” for the purposes of this ban.  It is therefore an obvious conclusion that this classification of weapons, defined almost entirely by cosmetic characteristics, was created entirely because they look more threatening than Grandpappy’s BAR and therefore make for better propaganda.

This is the classification of weapons that constitutes the most rapid growth in gun ownership in the country, excepting one:  Handguns. There are many more handguns in circulation than there are so-called “assault weapons,” meaning that as a purely political exercise, it will be easier to drum up some majority willing to ban “assault weapons.”  This political calculation is why the focus is on so-called “assault weapons:”  If the gun-grabbing camel is to get its nose under the tent-flap that is the Second Amendment, it must start with something that is owned by a relatively smaller albeit rapidly growing segment of the populace. If too many obtain weapons in this class, it will be more difficult to ban them, and so the gun-grabbers must act now to the extent they are able.

So-called “assault weapons” generally share another characteristic that gives them broad appeal both among civilian sportsmen and police or paramilitary organizations:  Compared with many of the rifles that look  more innocuous, they can be mastered and handled by a much larger segment of the population, because felt recoil is reduced to levels that do not jar one’s bones, and they are typically light enough that the do not cause extensive fatigue for the shooter. Because of their relatively simplified design, they are easily maintained by even an inexperienced novice.  Most of them share various types of ammunition that are lightweight and inexpensive, giving them broad appeal.  Since the expiration of the 1994 “Assault Weapons” ban in 2004, millions or even tens of millions of this type of firearm have been produced or imported into the United States, although most of the imports have been “sporterized” (removing many of the cosmetic features defining them as “assault weapons”) in order to comply with US Customs restrictions and regulations imposed by the BATFE. What this means to statist gun-grabbers is that so-called “assault weapons” are the most effective weapons with which to stave off any tyrannical moves by the government.

Their low recoil, easy portability, durability, weather and dirt resistance are all features common to their military cousins.  The ease of maintenance, the high capacity magazines, and the relatively inexpensive ammunition mean that these weapons would be of indispensable use to those who comprise “the militia” as defined by our founders, who were not discussing and did not intend “The National Guard” by their description.  The founders of our country and the framers of our constitution envisioned a militia made up of every able-bodied male, able to bear arms in defense not only of the country in time of invasion or insurrection, but in defense of liberty if the source of insurrection were to become the legalized sort characterizing every despotic form of government the world has ever known.  Knowing this, it’s important to realize that so-called “assault weapons” are the focus of fear among the anointed who may have other plans for our republic.  It is for this reason that they seek to ban them, because this is the sole weapon classification in broad distribution among the American people that makes a meaningful resistance to arbitrary governmental actions possible.

It is for this reason that the gun-grabbing left wishes to deprive you of so-called “assault weapons,” knowing that they resemble in many respects their military cousins, minus the ability to operate in fully-automatic mode.  In truth, a well-skilled group of veterans, or average citizens could hold off a similarly sized military force for some time unless heavier weapons were brought to bear against them.  From the moment the ATF carried out its botched raid on the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel, TX, it was clear to all who watched that a superior force of government agents could be held at bay indefinitely until there was an application of larger, military class weaponry.  So-called “assault weapons” have no application in defense against tanks.  It was in response to this raid that the assault weapons ban of 1994 was crafted.  It’s also worth noting that as much as the broad-based backlash against Hillary-care, the AWB of 1994, passed by Congress in September, was instrumental in fueling the “Republican revolution” in November that year.

What the events in Waco made plain to the elites is that armed resistance is possible, and while it would be relatively easy to contain small enclaves of resisters in compounds simply by the application of superior firepower and military equipment, putting down a wider resistance might prove difficult. On a broader scale, with a resistance across the entire population, perhaps even on the offensive rather than hunkered in bunkers awaiting the end of the world, such a resistance might well overturn a runaway government despite its advantage in heavy weapons and military equipment.  This was a shock to the powers-that-were, and it posed to them a new danger that spoke to a future moment when they might face justice for treason rather than a few dozens or hundreds of isolated radicals being dealt with in swift and severe fashion.

This may sound fantastic at first blush, but I beg you consider it if only to recognize the reasons why despite all of the illogical arguments made against “assault weapons,”  the political class in our nation’s capital have a very strong reason to see the citizenry of the nation deprived of “assault weapons.”  In their jaded but pragmatic view, citizens may use their shotguns, their handguns, and even Grandpappy’s old-style Browning rifle, to kill a deer, or even one another, but politicians are largely protected from these, and more importantly, they represent no meaningful offensive capacity in a theoretical war against the aggressions of government. Not since the advent of modern military weapons have the American people had at their disposal so effective a means by which to resist arbitrary government, and you had better believe that the government knows it.  Whatever doubts they may have had evaporated during a morning raid in 1993 at the door of a religious enclave that had been obsessed with the end of the world.  From that moment forward, it was realized and understood by the political ruling class that they must relieve the American people of that capacity.  In 1994, they made the first attempt to do so.

In the eights years since the expiration of that law in 2004, many on the radical left have thought of little else but reinstating it, and you can bet that if they get it back in place, there will be no expiration this time, and no means save one by which to undo it.  There’s a widespread understanding in Washington DC that on our current fiscal and monetary path, massive civil unrest is virtually inevitable, but if it should eventuate while the American people retain the capacity for mass armed resistance, the eventual clean-up may not look quite like the anointed class had hoped.  It is for this reason that we must not permit them to ban our guns, and our “assault weapons” most of all, because the fact of their existence may constitute the only implement of detente in a cold war now waged by the forces of statism against the greater body of the American people.

Now you must understand why despite the illogical basis for the arguments, and in spite of crime statistics that demonstrate the irrational course of going after them, the statist gun-grabbers must act to deprive you first of so-called “assault weapons.”  Once deprived of these, you will maintain no other for long.   This concept was well understood by our founders, though in interceding generations, it has been neglected and white-washed by the statist intelligentsia.  In that vein, I offer you a few pointed reminders you should take care never to forget:

:
“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason, during Virginia’s ratification convention, 1788.

“The power of the Sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends, and countrymen, it is not so for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword, is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tench Coxe, Penn Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

“…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…” – Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist Papers 29

“There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instill prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common sense are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits, and interests?” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers 29

“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms…To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…” –
Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53, 1788.

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution(1787)

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, …” – Alexander Hamilton Federalist Papers 28.

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Confessions of Failure: NY High-Cap Magazine Ban to be Amended

Friday, January 18th, 2013

At present, the law rushed through the legislature in the State of New York does not exempt police officers from the prohibition on magazines with more than seven rounds.  This isn’t surprising given the rushed legislation or the fervor of imbeciles in that state for stricter gun control.  What’s astonishing is the confession of those, including their genius governor, who have said there will be an addition or amendment to the law before the ban goes into effect in March, exempting police officers.  Given the facts ABC News has reported, these brilliant minds are even dumber than you and I might otherwise have suspected. How could I conclude this from their report? Let’s see if we can find the confession of failure in the article:

The Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President released a statement saying, “The PBA is actively working to enact changes to this law that will provide the appropriate exemptions from the law for active and retired law enforcement officers.”

State Senator Eric Adams, a former NYPD Captain, told us he’s going to push for an amendment next week to exempt police officers from the high-capacity magazine ban. In his words, “You can’t give more ammo to the criminals

Well, apparently the genius State Senator is able to understand that criminals won’t necessarily abide by the restriction on magazine capacity, so much so that he’s worried that officers would face criminals with more loaded ammunition, but the esteemed legislator doesn’t realize that the same would apply to average citizens accosted by thugs?  Cops are to be given the benefit of higher capacity mags, and as the PBA states, even retired law enforcement officers should be covered by an exemption, but you’re just out of luck!

To the residents of the State of New York, I bid you a fond farewell.  I was born in that State, but I would not nowadays travel there for any reason I can imagine at present.  In New York, while their State Senators apparently recognize the unnecessarily  ludicrous level of danger these restrictions on magazine capacity impose on police officers, they don’t give a damn about ordinary citizens who may be confronted with thugs who may well wish to poach their lives too.

Do you suppose the bad guys will now say: “Hey, we’re going after a non-cop, so we don’t need our high-cap magazines?”

This entire line of reasoning is not merely logically broken, but morally bankrupt.  It demands that while cops and criminals are free to parade around with whatever ammunition capacity they choose(since criminals don’t care about laws, and cops are exempted,) the people the government officials of that morally repugnant State don’t seem to give one damn about is you, the average citizen.  Good luck!  The State of New York now offers you a choice if you wish to give full vigor to the defense of your life, or the lives of your loved ones:  Be a cop, a legislator, a retired officer, or a criminal.  Law abiding citizens need not apply.  Just stick to your seven rounds and get faster about your magazine changes.  Before long, they’ll knock it down to three rounds.  And then one.  In the end, you can have the gun, but unless you’re a cop or a criminal, you’ll need to use it as a club.

Here’s the video report from ABC News 7:

 

Combating Ignorance About Guns

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

He’s Coming for Yours…

One of the things that causes me the most consternation about the entire argument over gun control is how so many people who express opinions on the matter exhibit a complete lack of knowledge on the instruments at the center of the discussion.  More, it’s frustrating to realize that among all the voices chiming-in, there are a great number who have no idea why it is that we have the Second Amendment, or what all the fuss is about.  To them, it’s a simple matter: Collect up all the guns and the problem is solved.  Sadly, simplistic views like this aren’t very likely to bear fruit, and there is good reason to be skeptical about those who express them.  After all, before launching into a tirade against guns, or anything else for that matter, one ought to know a bit about the subject matter, but it seems to have become the fashion in America to speak with conviction on issues about which one may know precisely nothing.  This article is an attempt to lift the veil of ignorance that seems to shroud so much of the public discourse, and while my readers may know much of this material, I have no doubt but that there are millions who might benefit from the information contained.

The first thing that every person ought to know about guns is that many things have been mislabeled by politicians so as to more easily sway the ignorant.  Understanding what is and what isn’t true about guns first requires learning what they are, how they function, and what the different types of guns are, as well as their uses.  One often hears politicians talking about “fully automatic” weapons.  This is by itself a misnomer, because I’ve not seen a weapons system that is fully automatic outside of military applications, for instance like the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System used in our Navy.   That is a system that once turned on, automatically aims and fire projectiles at targets without any further human intervention.  You would not be able to contain one of these even in a fairly large garage, so let’s dispense with the nonsense about “fully automatic weapons.”

In practical terms, however, when most people talk about fully automatic weapons, what they are describing is a gun that will continue to fire one cartridge after the next by merely squeezing and holding the trigger.  I am always perplexed when media outlets describe a shooting with a semi-automatic weapon as “spraying the room with bullets,” since “spraying”  implies a continuous stream.  If the trigger is being re-pulled with each round, there is no “spraying” involved.  “Peppering” is a better descriptor, but naturally, the media blows everything out of proportion.  They may share an anti-gun agenda, but I believe another explanation is that most people in the media are equally ignorant about guns. Only with automatic weapons is something remotely like “spraying” possible.  Automatics are very rare in fact, and have been strictly licensed for decades.  There is a great deal of paperwork and taxation and licensing fees involved in maintaining an automatic weapon.

In stark contrast, what is generally regarded as a semi-automatic weapon requires an additional pull of the trigger for each round to be sent down-range.  The confusion arises because there are any number of guns that look just like their automatic cousins, but are instead purely semi-automatic weapons.  What most people know as the AR-15 is simply the semi-automatic cousin of the fully automatic M-16 rifle, first tested and fielded by the Army in the 1960s.  This family of rifles has been through several stages of development, and there’s no denying that they even share many common parts, but I can most thoroughly assure readers that an off-the-shelf AR-15 is not an automatic, and is not capable of “spraying” anything in the sense of a fully automatic M-16.  An M-16 has a maximum cyclic rate of around 700 rounds per minute.  This assumes you could feed it a continuous stream of ammunition, and that the barrel would not bow like a banana from the heat well before a full minute had elapsed.

A semi-automatic is in fact a self-loader, or an auto-loader, in that when you squeeze off one round, the rifle will by a combination of spent propellant gases and mechanical action eject the spent cartridge and reload the next round, provided one is available.  One must release and again squeeze the trigger to fire the next round and send it down range.  Military rifles like the M-16 have a select-fire feature that permits the user to place the weapon in automatic or semi-automatic mode.  Civilian rifles like the AR-15 do not have the automatic setting, and can only fire in semi-automatic mode.

The same thing is true of the much-discussed AK-47.  There are as many versions of this rifle in the world as there are manufacturers, plus some, but those legally imported into the US are all of the semi-automatic variety.  In fact, while it is theoretically possible to convert many of these rifles to fully automatic function, the jail time one would incur for having done so is hardly worth the trouble of modifying one, and depending on which model and so forth, you may have some substantial but delicate machining ahead of you.  It’s simply not worth it, either in terms of any perceived benefit, or in terms of the probable criminal liabilities.  In all the hundreds upon hundreds of gun-owners I know and have known, I’ve never known so much as one willing to entertain the idea.  We rational gun-owners enjoy our right to keep and bear arms far too much to put it all at risk over something so foolishly wasteful.

One of the questions I am asked by people who aren’t aware of the reasons for the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban” of 1994  given the differences in function between an automatic weapon and a semi-automatic weapon is why it was that such weapons were ever banned at all.  The answer is purely political.  So-called “Assault Weapons” merely look menacing, and as we should all know by now, politics is frequently all about perceptions.  If you want proof, consider one of the features banned in that law: The Bayonet Lug.  A bayonet lug is a machined block or other appendage on a rifle that permits the mounting of a bayonet.  I have never heard of a single person committing a crime with a bayonet attached to an “assault rifle,” and yet we are told that this is a feature that makes them more dangerous.  I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but given what I know about the world in which I live, I am willing to bet that more people are killed by meteorites hitting them in the head than have been killed by a madman with a fixed bayonet.

Since this is the case, one must ask what rational purpose there is to this classification of so-called “assault weapons.”  The answer is that all of the criteria are purely cosmetic.  Much is made of the question of magazine capacity, but frankly, this is a lot of steam.  Take your average Glock 17, a weapon that is fairly common, and sadly has been used in a number of the high profile crimes of which we’re all aware.  There are those who, apart from simply calling for an outright ban, want to restrict the number of rounds one can store in a magazine to just ten.  I say “just 10,” but 10 shots are plenty in the hands of a practiced shooter, because if you’ll head over to Youtube, you can watch videos of competitive shooters who are able to change magazines and resume fire in less than one second.   In other words, any perceived hitch in reload time is very minimal for somebody who is well-practiced.  On the other hand, for those less-experienced shooters who may simply be trying to fend off some home-invader(s,) a magazine change could take several seconds, costing them time and permitting the assailant(s) to close the ground between them.  Having a higher-capacity magazine is a distinct advantage for the less-than-expert home-defender, because having nearly twice the rounds on tap probably increases their chance of successfully defending their home particularly against multiple assailants.

The point is, however, that with practice, the difference between two ten-round magazines and one seventeen-round magazine is negligible.   Some will ask: “But what about Assault Rifles? Surely their magazines cannot be changed so quickly!” Really?  Try this video.  As you can plainly see, magazine changes, no matter how frequent, are of little consequence to somebody trained to shoot.  There are those who will say “But that proves our point about semi-automatics.”  Not really.  Watch this gentleman firing and reloading his revolver.  As you can see, there’s nothing about this that would suggest that some of the most horrific shootings we’ve witnessed over the years would have been even slightly different in terms of the results by eliminating semi-automatics. Perhaps this will lead you to believe that I’ve made the case against all semi-automatics, but before you jump to conclusions, take a look at this video of a seventy year-old bolt-action rifle.

What nobody seems willing to discuss is how often firearms are used in the defense of innocence against the insane or malignant people who manage to get their hands on them.  In one recent case, an off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy in San Antonio, TX prevented what could well have turned into another theater shooting by engaging a suspect who ran into a theater shooting.  This story received virtually no press coverage, but once again, what is demonstrated is how guns can and are frequently the instruments of salvation for the innocent.  Just days ago, a woman in Georgia shot an intruder who had broken into her home.  She hid with her children in the crawl-space, but when the thug came into view, she unloaded on him.  There won’t be a widespread push to get this into widespread circulation, either.

Just as our society is beginning to break down, and you may find yourself more frequently needing the defensive capacity of firearms, the Obama administration is trying to fast-track legislation to ban them.  This is another example of how the emotions of Americans are used against them by shrewd politicians who take advantage routinely of crises to advance what is nothing more than a political agenda.  It does nothing to change the reality that there are some sick and evil people who will make use of whatever weapon is available to do some of the most horrific things.  As Charles Krauthammer recently explained on FoxNews, the real problem is that we have made it nearly impossible to get a troubled person committed for psychiatric treatment.  That was true with the individual who carried out the massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school, and it was undoubtedly true of many others.

Given enough time and opportunity, the insane and the evil will find ways to turn almost anything into a deadly instrument of mass murder, whether it’s a handgun or a fertilizer bomb or a Boeing airliner.  None of that changes the fact that one’s 2nd Amendment rights are not subject to popular vote.  None of that changes the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.  The founders, in their wisdom, understood that one might well have need to defend himself, and that police would not always be available to respond in time to prevent a crazy or a villain from doing their absolute worst.  At the recent school shooting, this was clearly the case, since by the time the police arrived on scene, the killer had taken his own life, and there was no exchange of gunfire with police.  In fact, given the circumstances, the killer could have used ‘slow’ revolvers to equally tragic effect, and nothing about the outcome would have changed.

The purpose of our 2nd Amendment is to afford you the possibility of repelling attackers, and dealing with insane and evil people who prey upon their fellow man.  They understood that there would always be good cause for self-defense, and given their recent experiences, they also understood all too well that some times, the evil and the crazy act from behind the shield of official power.  One would think that somebody would eventually consider the death tolls governments have inflicted on their own people over the last century, but somehow this death toll, numbering in the tens or hundreds of millions always manages to escape notice.  No other sort of institution has inflicted that sort of carnage whether private or individual, and yet we have some number of people who suffer under the delusion that governments are to be trusted as the sole armed defender in a given society.    I saw an interesting image on Twitter Saturday being re-tweeted around and what it said was that “a movie about a society in which only police and military are armed has been made,” and when you click into the picture, you see a scene of execution and the title of the movie:  Schindler’s List.

If this doesn’t make plain the truth of the matter, I don’t think you’re willing to be convinced of the truth.  Some people choose ignorance because it’s more comforting than actual knowledge, or because it permits them to take up the support of evil while pretending not to have known better.  Either way, readers should understand that there can be no rational argument for stripping the hundreds of millions of guns from the American people for the purposes of crime prevention.  The truth is that guns are simply an instrument like any other, and as long as there is man, there will be senseless violent murders, whether guns are available or not.  The only thing achieved by banning firearms is to leave millions of Americans virtually defenseless, and that’s immoral.  Instead of going after the crazies, the politicians are using this as an opportunity to go after the rights of law-abiding citizens, and for all the reasons you can already guess, you have every reason and right to resist it.  Ignorance should no longer be an excuse.  Those who advocate the banning of firearms are simply damning many more innocent Americans to deaths from which they might have protected themselves.  So much then for “good intentions.”

So You Like 100 Watt Light Bulbs? Better Stock Up!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Is the Party Over?

Effective at midnight, certain types of light-bulbs will be against the law. 100-watt incandescent light-bulbs are the first to be phased out due to a miserably wretched piece of legislation passed in 2007.  It’s true that Republicans managed to place a provision into a recent bill that would de-fund enforcement through September 2012, but the fact is that most manufacturers and retailers will comply, not wishing to risk being outside the law.  That’s right: 100 watt incandescent bulbs of the sort we’ve been using for decades are going away, and if you don’t like it, you can thank the Democrat Congress of 2007 and and of course President George W. Bush, the “compassionate conservative” who signed this idiocy into law.  Hurrah for compassion! Hurrah for government regulation! Hurrah for George W. Bush!  If you’re not happy about this, you’ve got just a few more hours depending on your timezone.

Many Americans like me find compact florescent bulbs to be problematic.  They contain toxic mercury, and there is already talk about disposal issues, never mind the problems you might have if you break one.  They’re expensive, and in truth, despite the hype, they don’t last any longer, and I’ve encountered a number of these with defects. In addition, they drive my pets insane, because apparently they emit high-frequency noise that I cannot hear, but they can.  We’ve gotten rid of every one of these from our home, since we have no desire to torture our pets.  More problematic, the light they produce is in a wavelength that bothers my eyes, and seems to trigger migraine headaches.  Of course, why would the Democrat Congress of 2007 or the compassionate George W. Bush care about that?  No, they don’t understand that while I don’t mind if others wish to have these compact florescent bulbs, but they shouldn’t mind either if I retain the choice to pay the few pennies more in electricity bills in exchange for avoiding all the troubles they inflict in my own home and life.

The other alternative is the LED bulbs, but they’re outrageously expensive, and I’ve not figured out how to finance a house-full of them.  Perhaps a second mortgage?  The other problem is that my only experience with them is not a good deal more positive in terms of the light emitted, but I’ve decided that as a practical matter, I have no intention of being an early adopter of the technology because it’s fantastically outside my budgetary constraints.  Of course, neither the Democrat Congress of 2007-2011 was the least bit worried about budgetary constraints as shown by the growth of our federal budget, and it doesn’t seem that either the compassionately conservative Mr. Bush or the fantastically radical Mr. Obama had any concerns about the effects of this law on working stiffs.

It is for this reason that I have decided not to participate in this ban, and in order to do so, I’ve been stock-piling.  At an average usage of one bulb per month, I now have enough to last should I live to be 100 years old.  (I won’t last that long, of course, but I want to have some put back for my heirs.)   My message to the Democrat Congress of 2007-2011 and to Presidents Bush and Obama is simply: “You’re not the boss of me.”

Of course, the thoughtful will have noticed that there exists no similar measure one can adopt to protect one’s future health-care from the mandate that will be Obamacare, at least not for working stiffs.  Fortunately for them, neither the Democrat Congress of 2010 nor President Obama will suffer those limitations. After all, they have you to pay their bills, light their corridors, and dispose of their toxic bulbs.

Hurry on down to your local big-box store and buy up such 100-watt bulbs as you can still find.  They’re going away, and you have nothing but the compassion of big government liberals of both parties to thank!

Happy New Year!

Reality Check: Horses and Slaughter

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

It's Time to Face Reality

I’ve had horses for a long time.  I love horses.  It’s fair to say that I know a good deal about them, and have successfully bred and raised them, and also taken mercy on horses by relieving them of undue suffering.  It’s also fair to say that one of the things I have learned in all my time with horses is that some people, most of whom have never owned a horse, have no idea what is entailed in the ownership, maintenance, and medical demands of a horse.  Too many people have a “happy-talk” view of horses that does not match reality.  Too many people believe that they shouldn’t ever be slaughtered, because it’s a fate too cruel to contemplate as some of the same people wolf down hamburgers or buckets of chicken.

The Congress has finally lifted an effective ban enacted five years ago on the slaughter of horses for human consumption here in the US, and the lifting  of this folly in law will finally permit some hope for an industry that has suffered grave harm because some in government have been listening to the well-meaning, but uninformed folks who believe that horses should be exempt from the same fate as other livestock.  Some of you are going to hate me after this post, but so be it.  If you’ve not yet tackled this truth, today is your day.  The truth is that with the glut of unwanted horses now flooding the market, all horses are suffering as a result.  More are being abandoned, and more are slowly starving, because owners have been deprived of one method of disposal because some people don’t like it.

People talk about the cruelty of horse slaughter, as if it is any more cruel for a horse than for a cow, pig, or sheep.  Newsflash:  It’s no different.  If you like bacon dressing your plate of eggs and hash, you’d better grip reality.  Slaughter is what it is.  I make no excuses for it, because it is necessary.  If you’re one of those “vegans” who believe that eating all meat is bad, congratulations on your philosophical consistency, but at the same time, I offer you my condolences since growing children need meat proteins and if you’re not providing them to children in your care because of your beliefs on slaughter or meat, I think you’re a blooming idiot.  The simple fact of the matter is that humans need meat in their diets.  You can murmur and whine all you like, and you can call me names until you’re blue in the face, but our nature is not that of a herbivore. Nature didn’t give you incisors to slice through veggies.  Deal with it.

Now as to the particulars of horses, let’s get something straight:  Long before mankind saddled up on horseback, early man was rubbing his belly after a fine meal of horse meat.  Horse is leaner than beef from cattle, and is every bit as nutritious.  In World War I, when most of the world still fought wars on foot and on horseback, the United States sent more than a million head of horse to Europe to fight the war.  None came home.  Most of the surviving horses went to feed a starving continent in the aftermath of that war, and millions of Frenchmen and Germans, among others, owed their survival to a diet of horse stew.  This was less than one-hundred years ago, meaning there are many still around who remember those days.  Check in with them before condemning horse slaughter.  It wasn’t only the meat that the Europeans used.  As in any such calamitous circumstance, almost every part of the horse was used, including the coats, from which winter clothing was made.  My wife still has a coat passed down to her through generations that finds its origin in that period.  She doesn’t wear it, but it remains as a reminder of her heritage and how her family like so many in Europe were forced to survive.

Having covered the purely practical questions, let’s move on to the economic ones.  Horse slaughter fulfills a vital function in the horse industry:  It puts to good use animals that would otherwise be dumped in landfills or buried in massive pits.  As it stands, we have a surplus of horses since the prohibition on federal funding of inspections of horses slaughtered for human consumption enacted through Congress five years ago.  It has long been true that excess horses found their way to slaughter because only the most useful animals are kept.  There are a few organizations that run horse rescue operations, but the truth is that those subsist almost entirely on charity, and in these hard economic times, they’ve been suffering, and a few have even gotten themselves into trouble, unable to feed or care for the growing number of discarded horses.  Too many people have come to the irrational view of horses as pets, but this is a nonsensical view that cannot be sustained in the real world.  Horses are livestock, and when treated as such in the market, the market handles the problems associated.

In days gone by, but thankfully perhaps now returning, horses past their usefulness went to “the glue factory,” as the euphemism promised.  Only the rare horse, perhaps famous for racing or other equestrian endeavor managed to avoid this fate.  The reason is simple enough to understand, and I know a thing or two about it:  Horses are expensive to maintain, feed, and pasture or stable, and because they are no longer a necessity of our culture, the demand for them comes only from entertainment, sports, and yes, that practice of slaughter for food and other byproducts. As a matter of economics, the lack of slaughter has devalued all  horses, because we now have a glut of unwanted horses too infirm from old injuries and old age to ever be of use other than as pasture ornaments.  Let’s conduct an economic exercise:  When slaughter was legal, we saw prices of nearly $0.60/lb. for horse on the hoof.  This meant that a 1000lb. horse could be expected to bring six-hundred dollars.  While that’s not a great deal of money, if the horse is fit for no other use, that’s the most the horse is worth.  You can attempt to attach non-market emotional value to the horse, but that’s a matter of subjective considerations that has nothing to do with the market.  Now, let’s take that same horse, and rather than slaughter, let’s euthanize the horse.  Depending on the veterinarian, that may cost anywhere from $100 to $300, or more.  Then you must dispose of the carcass.  Yes, horses go somewhere, and most of them end up in a landfill.  You can expect to pay between $200 and $300 for that.  Let’s stay on the cheap side of this argument. Let’s assume you euthanize and dispose of the horse for a grand total of $300.  As compared to taking that same horse to slaughter, you’re out $900.  Math is hard.  Nature is harder.

Let’s imagine that this animal is going to be kept as a pasture ornament.  Let’s just say we’re going to keep the animal around indefinitely.  You will spend an average of $1500 annually on veterinary care, and another $600 on farriers’ services, and you will feed the horse hay and some sort of bulk protein in the form of grain or pelletized feed products.  The average one-thousand pound horse is going to consume $40 in hay and $20 in feed for a week.  Do the math.  You’re going to spend a load of money on a horse that isn’t doing anything else.  It’s not at all difficult to suggest that with the average horse, even bargain-shopping on all the necessities, you’re going to spend $5000 per year to maintain the existence of the animal.   At present, the average healthy young horse does not fetch $1000 at a sale in my home state.  I want you to think about that reality: On average, in my state, if you can give a horse away, you’re doing well.  Texas has some particular problems in its horse market brought about by politicians, but nationwide, the industry has suffered from this horse slaughter ban.  Too many unfit, infirm animals are taking up too many resources, because for the last five years, we have been prevented from slaughtering the excess.  While horses haven’t been going to slaughter, many horse farms have been killed off, because they can no longer sell their product at a profit for all the useless animals stacking up all over the country.

Now, before some PETA-minded “animals have rights too” whack-job starts in on me, no, I have never personally shipped a horse to slaughter.  Every horse we’ve ever had that became seriously injured or sick was euthanized.  Yes, I paid the freight to haul off their carcasses, but understand that in all but one hopeless case, we tried to save the horse first, meaning its meat was unfit for human consumption anyway due to the medications that were used in the animal’s treatment.  With perhaps all but one of them, if I had known that the treatments would have been futile, and that they were going to die irrespective of our veterinary efforts, I would rather they had gone to slaughter than spend untold thousands on treatments that were ultimately followed by euthanasia and disposal.  At least that way, some good would have come of them.

I realize that seems harsh to some people.  Part of this sense is born of the fact that some people mistake livestock for pets.  Pets live indoors. Pets are generally in some manner housebroken.  If you’ve managed that with an equine, you’ve one serious horse-whisperer.  The simple fact is that the bias in favor of horses on the part of some resides purely in their minds, much like any other bias.  I mentioned “all but one of them,” and that was such a case, where my bias in favor of the horse would have caused me to expend a good deal more if the veterinarians had not convinced me it would be fruitless.  It had nothing to do with the horse’s market worth, but his worth to me personally, but the fact that one particular horse was especially valuable to me doesn’t change the fact that horses are livestock.

I also think with the shape of things in our world, the time is quickly coming when we will have no room for purely sentimental legislation that effectively leads to asinine bans on the slaughter of horses for human consumption.  The simple truth that none of the do-gooders ever address is that horses will die. All horses will die.  How they will die comes down in many cases to human choice, but the only end accomplished by slaughter bans is to deny to horse owners a residual, token amount for the tens of thousands of dollars they will have spent over the life of a horse, and to make those owners slaves to animals long beyond their use.  You can call me a mean and ruthless bastard if you like, but the truth of the matter is something else entirely.

I love horses, but  I know that the only way we will preserve them is that if they are maintained as private property.  A thing is defined as property in part by the right of its owner to use and dispose of it.  If the argument of the anti-slaughter advocates is that I should be denied the use and disposal of my property, they are merely communists acting under another claim of “the public interest,” or “the public good.”  If I knew who inserted that provision into the bill that eliminated the ban, I would give them a big sloppy kiss and $100 toward their re-election.  So would most others in the horse husbandry business.   It’s not that any of us in the horse industry seek to slaughter horses, but we know so long as they exist, this will be necessary, if unpleasant.

Follow-up: A Note to Horsemen