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Sorry, Cain Fans

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Within the first few minutes of his appearance with David Letterman, Herman Cain told the host and audience two things that disqualify him for public office. First, candidate Cain proclaimed that he is “not a politician.” Second, he stated that the “country should be run like a business.” It does not work that way. If a person is not a politician, they do not qualify for an elected government position – appointed, maybe, but not elected, where being a politician is requisite. As to running government like a business, that is a false analogy. 

Candidate Cain with David LettermanGovernment is like business” is a text book example of the false analogy. In such an analogy, two objects, A and B, are shown to be similar. Then the argument is that since A has property P, B must also have property P. The analogy fails when the two objects, A and B, are different in a way which affects whether they both have property P. You have heard this populist argument that just as business must be sensitive primarily to its bottom line, so also must government.

The problem is that the objectives of business and government are completely different. Business is all about profit and governments are all about people.

Both business and the government have budgets. Budgets are based upon revenue and expenses. However, business revenue is based upon sales and government revenue is based upon taxes. The revenue mechanisms are entirely different, hence the false analogy. Governments can only increase revenue by passing laws to raise taxes, which may have irksome political implications beyond the grasp of the finest CEO. Businesses can only increase revenue by increasing sales.

In either case, reductions in spending do not increase revenue. Less spending only impacts margin, which is not a government consideration at all. The government does not have a Profit and Loss Statement or a Balance Sheet, where there is such a thing a negative equity. The concept of equity is not governmental.

The whole idea of a federal budget is relatively new anyway. The Constitution does not even mention such a thing. The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 created the U.S. General Accounting Office as part of the Legislative Branch. Its purpose is to audit the federal books and prevent fraud. That 20s legislation created the Bureau of Budget in the Executive Branch to coordinate budget submissions by various departments and agencies. By the 40s, the idea of a balanced budget existed but was considered just so much old political rhetoric.

Speaking of the Constitution, the balanced budget amendment, H.J.RES.2, came to the House floor and went to committee last January. Last week Congress failed to pass it, as the Super Committee succeeded to fail.

Budgets that propose to reduce revenue only work when a business plans to downsize itself as a company strategy.

Let’s say that a company makes a 2% margin on a revenue volume of $20M, which is a $400K profit. The company’s downsizing strategy is to make a 10% margin on a revenue volume of $10M, a $1M profit. The $600K difference is sellable to a BOD because it cuts fixed expenses and reduces revenue. The idea of downsizing the federal government and reducing taxes may sound good, it is just that the government has no mechanism to reduce its size.

President Reagan said, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

inside the box thinkingBalanced budgets only exist in business. Prudent business management is all about balancing revenue and costs to achieve profit. That is why successful business managers, as Cain claims he is, think inside the box. That is where the money is. Likewise, successful politicians think inside the box, because that is where the votes are.

At his word, Cain says that he knows all about being a business person but not about being a politician. So, why should anyone vote for him? He is missing the point. Politicians do not just say things they think that voters want to hear. Politicians say things that are calculated to appeal to an electorate constituency. Candidate Herman Cain says things that may sound good to him, but they did not sound good to television show host David Letterman. Sorry, Cain fans, your candidate does not qualify.

Bragging about not being a politician and expecting to become president is like bragging about not being a business person and expecting to become a CEO.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • “If a person is not a politician, they do not qualify for an elected government position”

    It’s likely Cain meant he’s not a career politician like Perry and Gingrich because anyone running for office is a politician.

  • stymie

    They only question I have for you Mr. “Journalist” is what is your agenda and what are you afraid of? What is your motive? What causes a person to so cavalierly and carelessly discredit a person who soundly places themselves in the public arena to be castigated by people, such as yourself, in the cheap seats.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Pretty lame question from an anonymous commenter, “stymie.”

  • Cain on the other hand is a great at having donors footing the bill for his book tour.

  • Cannonshop

    Your blurb’s wrong, Tommy. Governments are not about “People”, they’re about “Power-over People”. It is only through GOVERNMENT that one gains the power to kill, steal, intimidate and abuse others without fear of consequence.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    Yes, that’s the FEAR line…and you’re ignoring all the good things – yes, the GOOD things – that government DOES do.

    Yes, governments can and do commit terrible crimes…but the one we have for the most part is pretty good. Now I know that you’re going to scoff at that as pollyannish, but let me give you one statement, followed by a couple of questions:

    Nature abhors a vacuum. No matter where you live in the civilized world, you WILL live under the auspices of a government…

    …so which makes more sense – to complain endlessly about how bad government is, or to ACKNOWLEDGE that government (in the first world nations, at least) actually do quite a few good things very well and that the people should work together to improve the government rather than throwing out the baby with the bath water?

    ‘Cause you ARE going to live under a government – so, is it better to tear it down or to help it work more efficiently for the benefit of the people?

  • Cannonshop

    Glenn, Government AND business both need to be restrained, this is the fundamental difference between your world-view and mine: I see the good that government does, as being there only because it is held back from indulging its baser instincts-a situation that is just as true with Corporates as it is with Government.

    We’ve SEEN what unrestrained Government looks like-Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, pick your third-world tyranny, etc.

    yeah, my posts and such are often coloured darker than yours, It doesn’t make me some kind of Anarchist, Glenn-I know very well that Government is a necessary thing, and that whenever you have more than three people somewhwere, you’re going to have one, of some sort.

    I’m naturally suspicious of anyone who says they’re going to take something from me, or do something to me, “For my own good” regardless of whether or not they first obtained my permission to do so.

    Further, I’m DEEPLY suspicious of anyone who sits there and says they need MORE power, when they clearly can’t handle the power they already possess, whether it’s a Regulator blaming lack of rules for his own slack enforcement, or a businessman who wants the government to bust the unions, or a union organizer who wants Card-Check instead of a secret ballot-I mistrust anyone who wants to make their job easier at my expense.

    YOU should TOO…but you don’t.

    Then again, I’m more likely to believe in the Unseelie Court, than in the Judeo-Christian ‘god’…so there you are.

  • Cannonshop

    Let me explain it to you (once again) Glenn…

    We have this employee, a manager, say…and he’s already having problems with the responsibilities we’ve given him. I believe it to be insane to give this guy MORE responsibilities, and authority, given his performance. The employee is Uncle Sam, he’s a well-meaning guy who does a few jobs really well…and a lot of jobs really, really, really badly.

    You don’t give this guy MORE work to do, when he’s made a dogs-dinner of the work you already gave him. You give him LESS to do, restrict his duties and authority to what he’s demonstrated SOME ability in.

    Of course, this means taking on more responsibilities yourself-which is something stated in Uncle Sam’s work-contract, a document colloquially known as “The Constitution”, which defines the roles that Uncle Sam is supposed to fulfill, and limits his authority in filling those roles.

    Uncle Sam’s a nice guy, but we’re overburdening him with jobs he just can’t do-like “Making the world safe for Democracy”, Saving the Planet from the sins of man, meddling in the affairs of others for reasons outside the National Interest, guaranteeing loans, proppping up megacorps, and meddling in the affairs and lives of individual citizens.

    Go back to the preamble of the Constitution:

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    “Secure the Blessings of Liberty”. What is Liberty Glenn, and do you, as a citizen, have any responsibilities within it, or have you decided to hand those responsibilities (and thus, the Blessings of Liberty as well) to the Government?

  • Deano

    The thing to remember is that Cain is not really interested in achieving elected office.

    He is, essentially, on a book selling and speaking tour – garnering as much attention and visibility he can – and making money shilling his book, his value for future speaking engagements etc.

    Pretending that the nonsense he periodically spouts is anything other than a set of inane soundbites intended to generate publicity and attention is crazy. This man is not and has never been a potential front-runner for the simple reason that he can’t and won’t win the nomination…and he knows it.

    It is a testament to the awfulness of the majority of the GOP candidates (Huntsman excepted) that Cain has lasted this long.

  • Baronius

    No analogy is the same on every point. If it were, it’d be an identity. Does this analogy work? Not if you think of the deficit in terms of revenue, which I think is Tommy’s approach. If you look at the deficit in terms of spending, then yes, the business analogy is valid. As for the overall issue, the deficit itself, it is very much in the nature of business to be alert to ongoing losses, and I assume that Cain wants to bring that priority to government.

    I think Tommy misses one important point of the analogy. He says that government doesn’t get smaller, but he doesn’t consider the implication of that when viewed through the prism of business.

    And yes, El B is right. Cain’s not a politician in the sense that he’s never run for office before. It’s up to the voters to decide if inexperience is a virtue.

  • Zingzing

    If they do decide that inexperience is a virtue, it just goes to show that 4 years is too long for a republican to remember the things they say.

  • It miraculously ceases to be an issue the second the candidate shows up wearing a red tie rather than a blue one.

  • And while there is something to be said for experience of running a big business, the unseemly cosiness of government and corporations is one of the major reasons why the global economy got into the mess it’s currently in, and why there are a lot of angry people squatting in parks.

  • Doc, you say, the unseemly cosiness of government and corporations is one of the major reasons why the global economy got into the mess it’s currently in . . . .

    Does this suggest that years and years of experience in running a big government is less than a big plus?

  • Cain is frighteningly stupid.

    “In an interview Monday, Cain said part of China’s threat to the United States stems from its attempts to develop nuclear weapons — even though China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964.”

    “A week ago Cain didn’t even know where Libya is. Now he suggests The Talibn are there.”

    I finally agree with Charles Krauthammer: “Charles Krauthammer Questions Whether Herman Cain Knows Where Libya Is”

    Stupidity, misogyny, and also being a pig and a liar are his strongest suits.

  • Personally, I think he has got everything it takes to be a politician.

  • Cannonshop

    #9 Exactly, Cain’s doing a Ross Perot-he doesn’t really want the job, he just wants to influence the debate (and make some money).

  • Cannonshop

    #15 Yes, Cindy, because stupid people build multimillion-dollar businesses with a national name-brand identity, whilst you geniuses starve in obscurity.

    Get a frikking grip. Ignorant? Perhaps, but stupidity indicates an inability to UTILIZE information, not lack of said information itself.

    The difference between “Ignorant” and “Stupid” is that you can’t fix stupid with education.

    Get a frelling grip.

  • Does this suggest that years and years of experience in running a big government is less than a big plus?

    Frankly, yes.

  • Re # 19 — Good grief, Doc, we agree!

  • #17 Cain’s doing a Ross Perot-he doesn’t really want the job, he just wants to influence the debate

    About Texas billionaire Ross Perot’s influence, he ran two times as a third party candidate: 1992 as an Independent and in 1996 as a Reform Party candidate. He carried no states. He got no Electoral votes. But Perot got popular votes, almost 19% in 92 and almost 9% in 96. He may have bungled a couple of things, like dropping out and dropping back in to the 1992 race, but he got on the ballot in all 50 states each time.

    Although the Libertarian Party has run candidates in each presidential election since 1972, when it got one Electoral vote, Ron Paul got nearly a half a million votes when he ran in 1988. If anyone might have an influence on the national debate, it would be Paul, who dwarfs Herman Cain both intellectually and as an experienced candidate.


  • Re #20:

    No we don’t.

    [Normality restored: defibrillators can now be stowed.

    Carry on, everyone]

  • The difference between “Ignorant” and “Stupid” is that you can’t fix stupid with education.

    Actually, with the help of a few well-aimed critical thinking classes you can.

    Unless the stupidity is congenital and not environmental, and I don’t think Cain suffers from either.

    It would be more accurate to say that we all do and say stupid things, even the brightest of us, and from the sounds of things Cain has contributed his fair share of stupid lately.


    @ 21;
    Some folks believe Perot took enough votes away from Bush, Sr., in ’92 to swing the election in Clinton’s favor.

  • @24
    Some folks are wrong. The Electoral vote is the one that counts and it went 370 to 168 for Clinton, who carried 32 states plus DC. Bush carried 18 states.



    So even if you take away Perot’s 19 percent – give 14-15 to Bush, 4-5 to Clinton – it wouldn’t affect the Electoral vote?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    The employee is Uncle Sam, he’s a well-meaning guy who does a few jobs really well…and a lot of jobs really, really, really badly.

    See, that’s the disconnect between thee and me – you know down deep in your heart that while the government does a few things well, it does most things badly…

    …whereas I know down deep in my heart that the government does most things well, but a few things badly.

    And how do we judge which is the right viewpoint? Easy – the overall results. We ARE a first-world nation – our standard of living is still quite high (the efforts of the GOP notwithstanding). Even most of our poor have televisions, microwaves, computers, and internet access…

    …which is NOT the case in third-world nations.

    Cannonshop, if our government was as screwed up as you believe it to be, then we’d BE a third-world nation. Our poor would NOT normally have the amenities I listed above.

    And our nation is NOT an exception to the rule! Nearly ALL the first-world nations are socialized democracies, complete with the comprehensive government oversight and regulation you despise to your very core!

    If you were right, then the first-world socialized democracies of the world – which all have the behemoth bureaucracies you believe are sure harbingers of tyranny and economic disaster – NONE of these would be first-world nations.

    It’s hard to argue with RESULTS, Cannonshop. Yes, most politicians crave power – but the fact that they crave power does NOT mean that they do not desire to do what is best for the people of the nation.

    Cynicism is a good trait – but ONLY in moderation. When it’s taken too far, it’s every bit as (and perhaps worse than) wide-eyed innocence.

  • @26


  • Baronius

    REMF, Tommy is wrong. If Bush got 2/3 of the Perot vote and Clinton got 1/3 of it, Bush would have won CO, CT, GA, IA, KY, ME, MT, NV, NH, NJ, OH, and WI along with the states he did win, for a total of 274 Electoral Votes and reelection. For example, Ohio went the following way:

    Clinton 1,984,942
    Bush 1,894,310
    Perot 1,036,426

    A 2:1 split of Perot voters would have given Bush 21 EV right there. Would Bush have won the Perot voter? That’s a different question.

  • Cannonshop

    #29 IIRC, Perot sapped as many DEMOCRAT voters (or self-proclaimed such) as Conservatives in ’92 (at least, iirc, according to CNN and most reputable polling groups). Without Perot, the results would’ve been largely the same that year, Bush 1 screwed up his chance of re-election with the S&L bailout and breaking his ‘No new Taxes’ pledge, as well as his embrace of the Brady Law-which alienated single-issue gun-voters, as well as his administration’s actions regarding Ruby Ridge (which did NOT occur during the Clinton years, in spite of the post-debacle legendry attached…)

    I’ve come up with a Hypothesis from that election, and subsequent years;

    If you like guns, and don’t like Taxes, you’re probably not a Democrat-but that doesn’t mean you’re going to vote Republican. If you like Taxes, and you don’t like Guns, you’re a Mainstream Democrat, or you’re George Bush Sr.

    #27 Glenn, We both agree Government does SOME things well, where we disagree, is where it does things poorly, and where it has no business doing things at all (though there is, likely, more in common there, than an observer watching us go round-and-round might think.)

    I think it safe to say we agree that our government does well in executing foreign military actions, but we disagree on when and whether those actions are warranted.

    I suspect we both agree that government has no place dictating such personal matters as who you marry, what town or neighbourhood you live in, or what private-sector employment you might seek. I suspect we agree that government overreaches in trying to regulate sexual behaviour between consenting adults, and I suspect we both agree that there is no room for government to dictate what views may be expressed in a public forum (i.e. we both believe in free speech and freedom of religion).

    I think we both agree that the Government does a decent job of delivering the mail, maintaining highways, ports, and bridges (within its budgetary limits), maintaining courts of law, and…then we stop agreeing.

    EVEN on legitimate functions, I tend to notice that the government spends more than it should, gets less than is required, and tends to fail in resisting “mission Creep” effects. We have too many intelligence agencies, and now we have a duplicate DHS to fill the same fundamental role as the NSA was created to fill.
    We have a TSA that is redundant and un-necessary-the hijackers in 2001 succeeded because aircrew were trained and advised NOT to resist hijacking-they were armed with BOX KNIVES-a weapon slightly less effective than a coffee pot.

    We have a Dept. of “Justice” that has sold weapons to criminal gangs, throwing gasoline on a brush-fire along the southern border-it really doesn’t matter what their initial intent was, the action was provably stupid, and has resulted in wrongful deaths at the instigation of American Government Officials (whom will not see one day in prison for their negligence, nor lose their pensions, nor face serious disciplinary actions.)

    We have a multibillion dollar “war on drugs” that has made Millionaires and Billionaires out of south and central american thugs, and millionaires out of Mexico’s worst citizens, as well as rotting out our inner cities and breeding multiple generations of criminals in a permanent underclass created by said ‘war on drugs’. The entire edifice is an example of incompetent policymaking, and many of the laws written to support it have eroded the liberties of law-abiding citizens while having little to no impact on the criminals. Pre-emptive asset seizures alone violate due-process, and in the event that the accused is found not guilty, they must file a suit with their own (often taken early) money to get those assets returned-if they haven’t already been sold off or distributed out.

    YOU don’t see a problem with this, I do.

    We’ve had Decorated American Vets killed in their houses-and no evidence of a crime, by police. Jose Guerena was murdered by police in a ‘drug raid’ series on his street-they had no evidence he was involved with the commission of a crime, the man had a full-time job and he was gunned down in front of his family, this is a SYMPTOM of a growing problem-one that has been festering in this country for decades, regardless of who controls the white-house, you choose to see it as an isolated incident, I see it as a symptom of a larger, more wide-spread problem.

    The problem I see, Glenn, is a government with the best of intentions, and often when a man has the best of intentions, he will use those intentions to justify the most horrific of crimes.

    Because, he’ll say, “I’m doing it to you for your own good.” Fundamentally a position at odds with Liberty, and sadly, one that has grown from a few god-botherers in the Religious right, to be the predominate excuse in the Progressive Left.

    I don’t see a need for all-powerful government, nor do I see it as a desirable state…

    and nevermind a government that can’t (for whatever reason) limit its spending sufficiently that it does not plunge not only current, but future generations into crushing debt, often debt owed to people who do NOT have this nation’s best interests in mind.

    Further, I will point out that the failure runs bipartisan on the financial front, both Bush, and Obama, signed off on massive spending bills that served only to rescue the golden-parachutes of incompetent bankers and wall-street gamblers, at the expense of Americans whom are neither incompetent gamblers, nor Wall-Street high-rollers.

    A check over the last four years since the AIG/Bear Stearns mess to the present, shows that these bailouts, and the ‘stimulus’ packages, have merely extended and deepened the economic malaise in this country, with unemployment and stagnant real-dollar economic growth, and frankly, the end is just as far now, as it was four years ago under Bush.

    This means, to my eyes, that Uncle Sam in his current state, can’t handle basic money practices that most working class people have mastered by their thirties.

    Security Theatre-the make-believe ‘security’ of checkpoints and “Show your Papers” and scans and cavity searches, has not made us safer, instead, it’s made us more paranoid, and the majority more willing to accept even more extreme measures with even weaker justifications-sacrifice of Liberty for “Safety” is one of the main paths to Fascism, or Feudalism.

    I see this, you deny it…until your man’s out of office again.

    More authority is not what Uncle Sam needs, Uncle Sam needs to go on a diet, have his jobs cut back to a scale he can handle, have the regulations cut back to where the people charged with enforcing them know what they are without needing a library and internet access.

    I mean, seriously, we have eighteen thousand pages of tax-code just at the federal level, yet the Government can’t collect enough revenue to balance the books as they were written ten years ago??

    Something needs cutting here. We NEED a dept. of Treasury, and it NEEDS to be able to collect revenue-believe it or not, I agree with this…

    but it needs to be focused on collecting and generating revenue the RIGHT WAY, evenly, in a manner not prejudicial agianst ANY citizen, and it needs to be doing nought BUT collecting revenue in the process. Can we agree on that? I doubt it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    You’re right that there is much that we agree upon, including about mission creep. However, when it comes to the intelligence agencies, the intelligence side of our national security has had to address such a wide range of issues that it is highly impractical for any one agency to do it all. Would it be really be better for one or two agencies to do it all – like the Great Divide that once separated the FBI and CIA – or does it make more sense to have several different agencies who are each better able to focus on a particular type of intelligence or security threat…and all those agencies overseen by a central figure?

    I would have to say the latter – remember that the single biggest fault that the 9/11 Commission found was that our intel agencies didn’t talk to each other, and that had they shared what they knew, 9/11 would likely have been prevented.

    When it comes to the Justice Dept., you’re poisoning the well. For every Really Bad Thing they do, there’s hundreds, possibly thousands of good things they do. It’s the nature of human communication, though, that we hear all about the bad stuff and not nearly so much about the good stuff.

    You and I strongly agree on the War on Drugs – that’s a travesty that has torn apart two generations of the black community.

    And lastly, yes, I’d disagree with you on taxing everyone exactly the same. So would Thomas Jefferson. So would Adam Smith, the “Father of Capitalism”. They were both strongly for a progressive taxation. And so were the millionaires who testified before Congress this week that they should be made to pay more taxes. And then there’s the small matter of our nation’s fiscal history, of how well our economy does when our rich have to pay more in taxes, as compared to how crappy our economy becomes every time the rich get away with paying little or no taxes.

  • If you like guns, and don’t like Taxes, you’re probably not a Democrat-but that doesn’t mean you’re going to vote Republican. If you like Taxes, and you don’t like Guns, you’re a Mainstream Democrat, or you’re George Bush Sr.

    Cannon, nobody likes taxes (for instance, my wife stands to make about $500 today for working on Thanksgiving, then stands to have about half of it taken away in income tax), but some of us perceive their desirability.

    And personally, while I won’t have a gun in my house and agree that sensible controls on their sale, possession and use are perfectly reasonable, I do enjoy shooting them. It’s one of the few sports I’m any good at.

    I guess that makes me pro-tax and anti-gun. But I can guarantee you that I won’t be voting Democrat at the next election.


  • It’s the nature of human communication, though, that we hear all about the bad stuff and not nearly so much about the good stuff.


  • Cannonshop

    #32 Doc, define “Sensible Gun Control”, ’cause we might actually have more agreement than you think…or less. Multiply that disagreement by the population of adults in the United States, and you will find the core of the argument, and why it’s going to BE an argument in the future.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    All I want – all I’ve wanted for many years now – is registration of all firearms.

    The only real block to that is the fear of the black-helicopter crowd (encouraged by the NRA and the gun manufacturers…and the politicians who use it as a wedge issue in elections).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I’d like to add mandatory safety training, too (just like with cars), and the NRA could take the lead on that.

    One more thing – the fear of the black-helicopter crowd is a strawman, because mandatory registration of all firearms has never been a problem in Switzerland and Israel.

  • Cannonshop

    #36 first…

    Israel it’s not a problem because the country’s under constant attack, so the government sees an armed populace as necessary, and in Switzerland, it’s a substitute for a large standing army.

    Mandatory training would be a good idea-save for the lack of public shooting facilities in most metropolitan population centres (True in both the U.S. AND Canada)

    Now for #35…

    Universal Registration has proven to be a problem in Canada, which had fewer arms than the U.S. by quite a lot, and a longer history of registration style schemes. How much of a problem? it exceeded the budget allocated by several multiples in the first year. AS for “Black Helicopters”, England adopted universal registration, as has Australia-and shortly thereafter, came universal Confiscation. It’s not “Black Helicopters” when the places that have put it into place have pretty much universally done the same thing repeatedly that opponents SAID they were going to do (whilst backers claimed the opposition was being paranoid.)

    which has NOT stopped criminals from obtaining arms in any place that has it, unregistered arms, illegal arms. Mexico has strict gun-control as well, remember, as does the U.K., France, Italy, (well, most of Europe, really). The U.S. federal government is already massively in debt, with a debt that exceeds the income of the nation, how is adding another massive debt, through an expensive registration campaign that will only impact law-abding citizens (it won’t touch criminals, and that’s the point of Gun Control, right???), and exposes said law-abiding citizens (but not criminals) to confiscation, in any way responsible, given our national financial condition?

  • Cannon, of course registration isn’t going to stop arms smuggling, any more than vehicle registration stops unregistered vehicles from being driven.

    And you know perfectly well that registration isn’t going to lead to confiscation in the US (and you mischaracterize what happened in the UK and Australia anyway). The Second Amendment guarantees it.

    It’s the attitude of some (not all) gun advocates – throwing out common sense in favour of ONE narrow interpretation of a document designed to be flexible – that simply beggars belief.

  • zingzing

    “it won’t touch criminals, and that’s the point of Gun Control, right???”

    sure it will. i know there’s something in the american spirit that demands we shoot each other, but other countries with strict gun laws are able to keep gun violence strikingly lower than we are able to. detroit’s canadian border-mate, windsor, ontario, just had its first murder in more than two years, while detroit has about a murder a day. there’s multiple reasons for that, but one of the factors is most certainly gun control. (another is a social safety net that allows people to escape poverty.)

    “[a registration campaign that] exposes said law-abiding citizens (but not criminals) to confiscation…”

    come on. it’s silly how little you’ve thought this through. criminals that are caught are subject to the law as well. maybe i’m having trouble wrapping my head around your distinction… it’s mind-boggling. having to register your gun does not punish you in the least. having an unregistered gun would be reason for punishment on its own. make that punishment serious enough, and carrying around an unregistered weapon wouldn’t be worth the risk. does this not make any sense?

  • Igor

    My reading of the 2nd amendment says it’s to keep a vigilant militia, not to empower reckless individuals.

    Uncle Sam did a job that no one else could or would do when he created the interstate highway system. And the railroads. And the airline system. And open sea lanes.

    All would have been bungled chaos if it had been done privately. Just look at the disaster that private insurance has inflicted on the medical industry. While waaayy overpricing everything.

  • Remember Representative Gabby Giffords? Murderers used rifle weapons to assassinate RFK, MLK,and JFK? How about Jim Brady and his boss, Ronald Reagan? Giffords, Brady, and Reagan survived. Bad shooters failed with pistols.

    As to the 2nd Amendment, its codification is 18th century. It is part of our Bill of Rights. I defend that. However, none but the rich owned pistols at the time. They did not defend themselves or hunt with hand held muzzle loaders. The amendment guarantees a citizen the right to bear arms. It says nothing about registration that abridges the right.

    Prove that a citizen militia is requisite and I will buy the NRA argument. Otherwise, join a gun club, register your firearm, and learn how to shoot.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    So has confiscation happened in Switzerland? No? How about Israel? No?

    Because the people wouldn’t allow it, just like here.

    The people of Australia DID support and allow the confiscation after a massacre.

    But I get it – in Right Wing World, thou shalt FEAR the government above all else, even when common sense and history shows how irrational that fear is. Most of us realize that the only thing we need to fear is fear itself…but of course courage and refusal to fear doesn’t work in Republican politics….

  • Clavos

    Uncle Sam did a job that no one else could or would do when he created the…airline system.

    I’m a 30 year veteran of the airline industry, the last of a continuous line of members of my family working in commercial aviation since the early 1920s. Uncle Sam emphatically DID NOT “create the airline system;” except for the awarding of contracts to carry the mail in the earliest days of US commercial aviation, and the establishment of the air traffic control system and FAA safety standards, the federal government’s involvement in the airline industry has been largely negative and detrimental to the carriers, and the airlines that survive today have done so in spite of, not because of government intervention.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Are you saying that the air traffic control system and FAA safety standards are detrimental to the airline industry? I’m honestly not sure if I’m reading you rightly on that.

    And if those are not the problems to which you refer, then please tell me how the government’s been so detrimental to the airline industry. I did spend a couple years working with OSHA and we mostly inspected squadron ops, so I know a little (but only a little, I admit).

  • Cannonshop

    WOw, I’m about to argue with CLAVOS!!!

    (wonders never cease, but don’t worry, guys, I’ve got responses coming for Tommy AND Glenn…so’s y’all don’t have to feel left out…)

    Clav, I work in the ‘building the bird’ side of things, FAA’s a pain, but a dam useful one-the FEDS made the Executives in Chicago confront certain suppliers whose constant screwing up were delaying a certain rahter promninent programme that is three years and change behind schedule and only this year certified, with the first deliveries occurring over two years late.

    FAA’s a pain, but they generally do their job passably well, in ensuring both the survival of the industry as a whole, and passengers and freight in particular.

    SPECIFICALLY on the build side, mind… I’m sure you know a lot more about the customer-end, where maybe the agency isn’t quite as good, after all, the build-side is pretty much straightforward mechanics that you can test, whereas the operation side involves human beings and all the freaky random shit that human beings do,don’t do, or can’t do.

    Okay, Tommy, now it’s your turn…

    Gabby Giffords: shot by one of her own supporters, a guy whose own family said he was blitzraging nuts. I really don’t see how registering his handgun would have stopped him, honestly.

    JFK: Murdered by a Traitor, who’d been allowed re-entry into the United States, and whose possession of said rifle according to the 1938 gun control act was probably illegal to begin with. WTF was this guy doing outside of a stockade, again? For that matter, what was he doing inside the United States? I suppose it could be argued that registration might’ve stopped his aquiring that particular weapon, but as the Troubles in Ireland, Basque situation in Spain, Red Brigades in France, Germany, Italy, and the Palestinians in Israel demonstrate, someone wants a gun, they’ll get one-even if it’s illegal.
    Dr. King was murdered by the KKK, an organization that was obtaining illegal arms from about the end of the Civil War to the end of Reconstruction, and moving illegal arms before and after that.

    Ronald Reagan and Jim Brady…

    How close was the shooter? Arms-length? and why? FRIEND OF THE BUSH FAMILY. Trusted. The weapon is one of the few types you can find even in England with minimal difficulty-a .22 caliber weapon, common even in the Warsaw Pact, so common you can find them, and the ammunition, just about anywhere that has a history of GC legislation (in the modern sense) younger than the establishment of the United States itself.

    Gun Control is “Security Theatre”, Tommy-it’s making laws to feel like you’re doing something about a problem, usually theoretical, or based on “It MIGHT happen”, that don’t actually stop the crimes you’re intending to stop.

    Notably, you list a bunch of political persons as your example, but avoid the subject of the Luby’s Cafeteria massacre, it’s okay, I understand, POLITICIANS are people to you, but People aren’t, some nameless civvies get gunned down, unable to even TRY to defend themselves (usually because of security theatre laws), welll…those’re either useful bloody shirts to wave in generating MORE security theatre, or just acceptable losses, for the Cause, ‘yknow…right?

    You could even bring up Georgia TEch-no guns allowed on campus. Guy chained the frelling doors shut before he started killing people. It took him finally truning HIMSELF off…after he finished his victims off.

    Might’ve been different, if one of those prospective targets of his (targets that scream, bleed, want to live, but won’t) had turned him off instead, wouldn’t it? Hmmm?

    There AREN’T enough Police to protect everyone, there can’t be-we’d have to lower the standards of police so low that they’d be effectively no better than the rest, and they still wouldn’t be enough. Killers are going to kill, they’re going to find ways to kill, the only protection you REALLY have, is to be ready to protect YOURSELF and OTHER PEOPLE AROUND YOU. Not everyone can, but more can if they’re allowed to, than can if they’re not.

    Mass Murderers and Serial Killers look for victims that can’t protect themselves, whether by statute, or just plain physical limitation. It’s how they get those big bodycounts. Maj. Hassan at Ft. Hood was well aware that on-post, nobody but the MP’s is allowed to carry a weapon-his victims were universally disarmed, in spite of being trained soldiers. Outside the Range, you’re not allowed to carry. Period.

    Same thing happened with the Ft. Bragg sniper incident, for the same reason.

    Of course, we heard about Maj. Hassan’s shooting spree for about a day and a half, but Gabby’s story is going to be made into a movie (if it ain’t been already) after weeks of coverage.

    The guy worked on her goddam campaign-the bodyguards had no reason to distrust him…but they should’ve-it’s their job.

    #42 Yeah, they did. They let themselves be panicked into it, and they did. A freedom lost in an hour won’t be regained. Do you really think there isn’t a booming black market in the kind of hardware they supported the ban on? I suspect there is. I suspect there are some aussies making a killing either importing or duplicating that kind of hardware, and stuff that is NASTIER.
    I’ts probably a nice little sideline for guys used to moving stuff like Heroin and Cocaine in-harder to track, a little harder to hide from some types of search, but lucrative and dogs really wont’ alert off it if you pack it in the right fluids.

    I kind of also expect the next massacre down-under’s probably going to be just as bloody, and with either one of hte limited types still legal there, or with black-market hardware either not-turned-in, or brought in from outside.

    Murderers prefer targets they KNOW can’t fight back.

    As for Israel-They’re fighting a daily war just to keep existing. take away the existential threat for a few years, and they’ll fall right in line with Europe and start collecting the arms for destruction.

    and Switzerland’s a different case too-“Universal Conscription” and a legal requirement to keep and maintain a weapon, and proficiency WITH said weapon, along with ammunition and accoutrements handy and ready. That law goes away, and wait a few years, the weapons will too.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    Murderers prefer targets they KNOW can’t fight back.

    True…but on the other hand, if someone specifically wants you dead, you’re probably going to be dead fairly soon no matter how big an arsenal you have.

    Think about it – if you, Cannonshop, wanted to kill me, would it really matter if I carried around an AK-47 and wore body armor all the time? No – because if you wanted me dead, you’d find a way. Right? Right. Those of us who are peace-loving citizens are simply lucky that the great majority of criminals are simply not too bright.

    In other words, guns are only good against the “recreational murderer”, so to speak, the one who is for all intents and purposes a random act. But I suspect you’ll find that most murders outside the ghetto are NOT random acts. In fact, a UW study found that a in a gun-owner’s house, a gun was twenty-two times more likely to be used against family, friend, or acquaintance than in self defense against a criminal not personally known to the owner.

  • Clavos


    No, I did not say that; I actually said that FAA’s safety standards were one of the good things the gov did, along with the early mail contracts and the traffic system.

    You want detrimental? The intense regulation of the commercial side that existed for years, even to the point of governmental price fixing, which led to lazy management which knew if they lost money they merely had to ask the gov to rise fares for them and all had the same fares, consequently management did not watch costs (ESPECIALLY labor costs — I had secretaries making $50K — secretaries!!) because they didn’t have to — all the struggling they are now experiencing is re-adjustment from that state of affairs. The government nearly ruined the domestic airline biz until it finally was deregulated.

    Cannon@45: please see first part above of my response to Glenn — I agree with you.

  • Igor

    Airline de-regulation was a disaster. I could fly coast to coast in the regulated 70s for $200 in great comfort. Now, it costs a fortune and is a bloody nuisance. In the regulated 60s it cost $12.50 to fly from SF to LA ($10 by turboprop, but you arrived 15 minutes later!). We used to do it on a date.

    All that de-regulation did was create a fountain of profit for speculators who skimmed off the profits with holding companies (a business curse that SHOULD be prohibited by law, as it has been before).

  • Clavos

    Actually, you’re wrong, airline fares on competitive routes are now lower (adjusted for inflation) than they were back in the 70s.

    Key phrase here: “ON COMPETITIVE ROUTES.”

    I KNOW that the fare from Pensacola to Atlanta (for example) is now quite high on a per mile basis, but NY/NE to Fla rates are lower, as are almost all routes in which there is competition. Plus, low fare airlines like SW and Airtran could not have come about without dereg, the gov would not have allowed them to undercut the trunks during the bad old days.

  • Clavos

    And airlines are no longer forced to fly unprofitable routes — a good thing which led to the rise of regional carriers and thus much greater efficiency in the industry as a whole.

  • Cannonshop

    #46 Glenn, it’s the freak events (like Columbine, Georgia Tech, Ft. Hood and Luby’s) that drive the legislation into place more often than not. GCA 1968 was politically the result of the Kennedy assassinations (multiple, both John, and Bobby) And the King assassination-all three of which qualify as freak occurrances centred around a celebrity death.

    Likewise, the Brady Law relied on the Columbine massacre to get passed-it changed the rational discussion to one based entirely on emotion-a tactic that also passed the PATRIOT ACT with broad, bipartisan support.

    These laws were written to prevent the freak incidents which, as you’ve noted, hasn’t stopped freak incidents from happening AGAIN.

    What these laws DO accomplish, is a short-term emotional high of “we did something about it”-a high that is false, misleading, and potentially more dangerous than the condition allegedly addressed, because the new law doesn’t stop the original crime, and we’ve seen, doesn’t stop other, similar crimes from happening later-but some new laws DO make more people more vulnerable TO these freak incidents than they were or might have been-which is bad.

    You’ve brought up Switzerland, and I honestly like their model a lot, I think it was what the Framers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment, and in a condition of universal armament and training, I might even consider universal registration a good idea…

    But we’ve got over three hundered million people in the U.S., and out of those, maybe between five and Fifteen million who actually own a firearm-and that’s using VERY optimistic numbers as to the spread. I don’t think you’d be comfortable adopting the Swiss system-call it a hunch, but something tells me you don’t want a full-auto assault weapon and a thousand rounds in every house, apartment, trailer and condo in the country, and I’m rather certain your colleagues in the Democratic Party would chafe at the idea of mandatory weapons training for all men sixteen to sixty-seven and a similar mandate to provide municipal facilities at taxpayer expense for marksmanship practice and/or training.

    I imagine the thought would give Igor, Tommy, etc. nightmare visions of a new-wild-west with blood in the streets at the very suggestion.

    As for me, I think the idea’s a good compromise-EVERYONE who isn’t a convicted felon has a gun (and is of age), and knows how to use it (and is required to learn how-maybe as a mandatory in high school or something), and once that condition is filled, we can register all the guns to make sure that they’re in compliance with the law.

    (I say that in perfect confidence that it would NOT happen, btw.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I agree that deregulation is not always bad, particularly when it fosters real competition. I suspect that both you and Igor are right – with regulation came significantly cheaper airfares back in the day…but that may also have hurt the profitability of the airlines and the competition. I think that the real answer is somewhere in the middle of both your viewpoints.

    You are right, however, that airline fares have not kept pace with inflation. What sucks is that America’s domestic airlines have become mass transportation – they cut financial corners as much as possible, and decent service is a distant memory. That’s why I no longer fly any American carriers in my flights overseas – I use Asiana or Korean because their service is plainly superior (and any lecherous old man would find their stewardesses an – ahem – welcome distraction, like ours used to be back in the day).

    While deregulation has kept prices relatively low, it hasn’t happened without other frustrations. For instance, I hate small planes – I really do. More than once I’ve refused to get on them. It used to be that I could fly from St. Louis to Memphis on a Boeing jetliner…but no more. Jackson MS services significantly fewer jetliners than it used to back in the 1980’s – or at least it sure seems that way.

    And I suspect that because the market forces compel the airlines to concentrate on hubs and not “waste” money on smaller regional airports, it’s harder for those smaller cities (like Jackson MS) to prosper.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    I think the idea’s a good compromise-EVERYONE who isn’t a convicted felon has a gun (and is of age), and knows how to use it (and is required to learn how-maybe as a mandatory in high school or something), and once that condition is filled, we can register all the guns to make sure that they’re in compliance with the law.

    Wonderful rhetoric – it really is – but it doesn’t fit the facts.

    Did you read the bit about the UW study showing that a gun in a household is twenty-two times more likely to be used on a friend or family member or acquaintance than on a stranger or in self-defense?

    I’ve already pointed out that the hard numbers show that a high rate of gun ownership does NOT bring down the murder rate – generally, speaking, it’s quite the opposite, in fact.

    And why is that? Why is it that states with a high rate of gun ownership generally have a significantly higher murder rate? I’d like to ask you to address that question.

    And what’s my suspicion as to the reason? I think it has ZERO to do with blue-state/red-state politics, and everything to do with our culture. My 16 year-old son noted how much peer pressure he got to get drunk or to use drugs back in the States, but there was hardly any such peer pressure here in the PI. He also knew kids who carried weapons, and yes, he felt the pressure on that, too. I know he got drunk, I don’t know if he used drugs or carried a weapon, but I do know he’s said many times he likes the school culture here much more than back in the States.

    Now extrapolate that kind of peer pressure to adults in America – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that it doesn’t stop with teenagers, but continues on into adulthood…particularly with the impetus of partisan politics behind it.

    THAT, Cannonshop, is why I think it would be a disaster for America to have quasi-universal gun ownership – as a people, we’re immature. For too many years we glorified the bad boys, the anti-heroes – the WWF/WWE is a shining example. Yes, every nation has such an over-testosteroned segment of the population, but we’re beyond the pale, stupidly so, and we see it in our high schools every day.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You want to arm every American (who isn’t a criminal), Cannonshop? What the bloody hell for?

  • Cannonshop

    #54 mostly just to annoy Sarah Brady, Tommy Mack, and Glenn, Jordan. I actually think the broad variety of laws in the states is a better means to uncover the solution to the question, than any one-size-fits-all (really none) “solution” at the Federal level. Generally, our existing laws are, imho, sufficient…

    WHEN they are ENFORCED, as in when BATFE, FBI, and the Justice Dept. isn’t sabotaging the system for questionable reasons related to an ‘Investigation” that, so far, has netted only civilian and LEO deaths along the border, because the ‘guns they were gonna track’ became essentially untraceable (except back to the dealers they pressured into cooperating with the “investigation”) in the hands of criminals they KNEW ahead of time were going to get them.

    But teasing Glenn about the WHOLE gun-control issue is good, clean fun, nobody has to get paranoid or start wondering what ulterior motives the Agencies have for what they’re doing, beyond the usual, traditional black-helicopter funnies.

  • Cannonshop

    #54 (cont’d) also, it was a nose-honk off of Glenn’s example of “Sterling” Gun-Registration: Switzerland, whose registration system has to do with a host of other things, not including security-theatre make-believe crime controls.

  • Igor

    I see that some around here are gullible enough to believe that airline deregulation has brought lower airfares because they’ve been successfully deceived by the loss-leader fares that Orbitz states in their ads just to suck in the gullible before they hit them with the REAL airfare.

    Those same fools probably believe that the seats are softer and the foot room greater because of the inevitable benefits of Free Markets.

    The Invisible Hand at work!

    Milton Friedman says so, it must be true!

    Isn’t it great that de-regulation has eliminated flight delays and tarmack waits?

    Isn’t it great that de-regulation has made it impossible for an airline to command passengers to sit still in their seats for 8 hours and poop and pee in their pants rather than go to a bathroom?

    Isn’t it Grand, boys?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –


    Okay then – since the examples of Switzerland and Israel don’t work because their national systems are different, then could you please point out to me a nation somewhere in the world where there is open gun ownership, no registration required, no limits on what kind of guns?


    And I don’t buy your ‘teasing’ and ‘nose-honking’ line – you don’t strike me as someone who would do that. I think you were completely serious the whole time, and wanted to find a politically-acceptable way out of the argument.

  • Cannonshop

    #58 Glenn, if I had EVER thought a discussion on a Blog or Magazine’s “Comments” between readers would affect the world enough to take it deeply seriously, it was a long time ago, and I’m no longer afflicted with such Narcissist delusions now.

    I argue about this stuff because it’s FUN to do so… (probably a sign of a DIFFERENT mental illness on my part, but there ya go), Taking any of it TOO seriously turns people into genuine neighbor-killing nutjobs like that douche that shot Gabby Giffords, or those douchebags making the Occupy Protests look bad by shitting on cop-cars and raping coeds.

    IOW, even on issues I DO have deep feelings about, I try (don’t always succeed, but TRY) to keep things in perspective-nothing I propose or suggest is entirely serious, or entirely un-serious, the level of serious really depends on the tone of the discussion.

    What we do on these forums isn’t solving a damn thing-we’re bullshitting, just like we’d be doing in a bar on wednesday night over coffee (or beer, if you’re not on the wagon). I can almost guarantee, no matter how convincingly I or you argue, we’re not going to influence anyone with our views HERE.

    THAT is being honest about things, Glenn. I can rant and rave and in the final analysis, nobody’s going to give a shit.

    as can you, with the same result.

    So, what we’re really doing, is entertaining ourselves, a few friends and frequent-readers, and a small audience unlikely to take what EITHER of us say particularly seriously no matter HOW well we say it.

    All that said, the fundamental circumstances of Israel and Switzerland make using those countries a non-starter from EITHER position on the guns issue.

    As for “Showing you any country”, I can’t. I can point out that most of the world have a history of hereditary nobility, frequent periods of dictatorship, violent suppression of dissent, assembly, or state-sponsored religious persecution. (well, maybe not Canada or Australia, or New Zealand, but those places didn’t become countries until AFTER we did, and AFTER significant liberalization of British Colonial Policy.) So, your argument there is a non-starter. Historically, gun-controls have been about PEOPLE controls-specifically the forms adopted in the United States-the first statewide gun-control was post-reconstruciton, and it was to disarm Blacks. Gun Control and Segregation, Gun Control and “law and order” policies, Gun-Control and racism in THIS country have a common heritage, and draw from the same fundamental urges, even if it’s cosmetically different now, the rhetoric and imagery used are the same.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yeah, you’ve really sucked in the whole NRA charade, hook, line, and sinker. If we listen to you – ahem, the NRA – then privately-owned guns are somehow the only thing that’s keeping us free!

    Last I recall, what’s keeping us free are our votes and our voices, not our guns. The world has changed, Cannonshop – Gandhi didn’t need guns to help India become free. Guns didn’t free South Africa. You say that gun-control was used to enforce segregation and Jim-Crow laws…but guns were NOT what brought segregation and Jim Crow laws to an end.

    Our votes and our voices did…without the need for the ownership of a single gun.

    “The pen is mightier than the sword”…or a gun.


    And sure, all my rants and arguments on BC are just so much wind…but that doesn’t make it okay for me to just say crap for the sake of saying crap.

  • Cannonshop

    #60 So, Glenn, why are you so afraid of them? More specifically, why are you so afraid of OTHER people having them? Especially of other people having them without telling you, or letting you decide if they may? Specifically, I”m talking about people whom are NOT already criminals, Glenn?

  • Cannonshop

    (#60 continued) Why do you feel the need to create a NEW class of criminal, don’t we have enough already, with the laws we have at PRESENT?

    This is my problem with your position on this issue, Glenn-it doesn’t do anything about existing criminals, except adding to their ranks, which by definition makes everyone LESS safe, all for either the fetishistic fear of firearms, or the fetishistic desire to ‘be like everyone else’.

    Maybe we don’t NEED to be like Europe, Glenn, maybe we shouldn’t be trying to be more french, or german, or british.

    Maybe instead of blaming inanimate objects for our problems, we should actually be looking AT the problems, and addressing the problems, instead of cosmetic roleplay and security theatre?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maybe instead of blaming inanimate objects for our problems, we should actually be looking AT the problems, and addressing the problems, instead of cosmetic roleplay and security theatre?

    I think you’re setting up some false choices here, Cannonshop.

    Why can’t you have both? Why not a comprehensive gun control policy AND a comprehensive plan to address and examine the problems that lead to crime?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    Perhaps that’s the big disconnect – you think I’m afraid, but I’m NOT afraid. If I were as afraid as you think, I’d be armed to the teeth…

    …but I’m not. I have no firearms in my household (in the U.S. or here in the Philippines). You can’t say I’m afraid of firearms. Why? Because I grew up with guns and I qualified on the 9MM and the 12-gauge shotgun and to my Marksman ribbon on the 9MM. I realize that these are nothing compared to what soldiers and Marines do and earn…but they’re enough to show that I respect the weapons but do not fear them. They are a tool and nothing more. I get that.

    Okay? Got that?

    One more thing – I’ve often made two statements:

    1) I’m strongly against total ban guns; indeed, such a ban is impossible in America – Pandora’s already out of the box and she ain’t getting back in! And…

    2) If guns were banned, I’d be first in line to go buy one.

    Okay? It’s not guns I’m against – it’s the insane thou-are-not-American-unless-you-support-the-NRA line that the conservatives push that I’m against. Y’all have tossed common sense out the door all for the supposed purpose of wrapping yourselves in the flag, putting the interests of the NRA and the gun manufacturers before the interests of the single mothers and the children they’re raising.

    THAT, Cannonshop, is where you and I differ in our opinions.

  • Igor

    Gun rights have become a caricature. What started as a simple right to guarantee localities a civilian militia has become a legalistic trick for arming criminal marauders.

  • Cannonshop

    #63 Because the Gun Control is a Placebo used so that they don’t have to actually address the real issues-just as the so-called “war on drugs” has nothing to do with the damage caused by addiction.

    In both cases, it’s about creating a new class of criminal to crowd the prisons, and a new black market to enrich the criminals, while doing nothing about the real problems, just blaming an object and granting it both a glamour it doesn’t possess in the pop culture, and making them even MORE of a profit item for black-market criminal operators, than it already IS.

    Dealing with the issues that CAUSE criminal behaviour, elminates the excuses for Gun Control, but Gun Control doesn’t deal with Criminal Behaviour, get it?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    But easy access to guns enables criminal behavior in an immature culture…and unfortunately, that’s what we have in America.

  • Cannonshop

    #67 Glenn, that’s fetishism-you want to pretend you can solve immaturity by removing responsibility from the equation. People don’t LEARN from being protected from either the decision, or the consequences. Insulation has LED to the immaturity of our culture, gun-crime hasn’t decreased with restrictions already in place, it’s broadened, widened, and gotten MORE prevalent…HERE.

    A lot of that is just natural follow-on from the current form of “Prohibition” (that thing that made the criminals rich in the 1920’s and 1930’s, as well as making them ‘glamourous’.)

    You don’t Mature when you’re wrapped in bubble-wrap and kept from making decisions, you atrophy. Our culture is ATROPHIED, it’s not maturing, and doing more of what’s atrophied it, is only going to make things WORSE.

    We already have a prison system filled to overflowing, to the point that they let violent criminals out early to make room for MORE violent criminals, along with the non-violent ones, our national prisons are basically like extended business conferences for the criminal underclass WE created, while our cities and mass-culture glorify the ‘Gangsta’ lifestyle funded by what amounts to a nation-wide blue-law structure that just feeds MORE bodies into the prison systems while enriching the wrong people.

    We’re paying an opportunity cost for the comfort of a system of Securty-Theatre, adding to that system’s only going to make it worse, not better. That’s the fundamental defect of Gun Control-It doesn’t fix the problem, it papers it over so that it can grow WORSE.

    The secondary effect, is that it adds MORE potential bodies to that overcrowded and dysfunctional criminal justice system. Registration to some reflects a governmental abandonment of the concept of Innocent until PROVEN guilty, because the citizen is required to take an affirmative action at his or her own expense to prove he or she is not a criminal-doesn’t that seem a little backward? That’s what it is, though-with the stroke of a pen, you turn anyone who DOESN’T hurry on down to the ATF to register their firearms into a criminal, even those who probably weren’t and weren’t inclined.

    Presumption of Guilt is never good, Glenn, and “For the Public Good” has been a rallying cry for government crimes ranging from the displacement of the Cherokee and Five Nations peoples, on through Jim Crow to the HUAC hearings run by McArthy, on through, and that’s just in the United States, overseas, it’s been used to justify everything from killing people for the wrong religion, to the killing of Kulaks in the Ukraine and Stalin’s Purges, to Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” and, of course, that event in the 1940’s we really shouldn’t reference because it kills every rational discussion on politics pursued on the internet.

    The point being, for the brief comfort and false promise tht it would stop at Registration, or stop at some other “Reasonable level”, the track record isn’t there. The track record has never shown that restrictions imposed stopped at the original stated point-as you mentioned, the Mission Creep issue in our government is REAL, and applies beyond the original military-community meaning.

    Deal with the CAUSES of the crisis, stop pretending it’s an object, or just admit you don’t think your countrymen are adult enough to be free, or ever likely to BECOME adult enough to be free.

  • The point being, for the brief comfort and false promise tht it would stop at Registration, or stop at some other “Reasonable level”, the track record isn’t there.

    That must be why you have to pass a background check in order to be able to buy a car, and there’s a 14-day cooling-off period before you can take delivery.

  • Cannonshop

    #69 Don’t encourage them, Doc! (and remember, if you’re rich enough, neither the background check, nor the waiting period really APPLY. G. Gordon Liddy, a convicted felon, not only advertises his ownership of firearms, but also his ability to carry in some of the most restricted cities in the country-mostly, as a result of being wealthy and well-connected.

  • Cannonshop

    OH, and Doc? I know a lot of carry-permit-holders, very close to zero percent of them outside of LEO’s carry anywhere NEAR as often as they drive-fact is, one of the main reasons auto accidents kill so many people, is that automobiles are damn near necessary in most of the country, at all hours of the day or night, in activities as diverse as mere peoplecarrying to hauling bulky objects that don’t and won’t fit on a bus-seat.

    This is not true of firearms. People don’t strap on their gun to go grocery shopping, even in the WORST neighbourhoods as a typical activity, and most “Gun people” are more likely to see doing so as foolish outside of very special circumstances.

    There IS a common thread in Automotive and firearms negligence events, though-the most common fatal ones involve the imbibing of a legal substance known to affect both mood and judgement.

    We all know how banning alcohol worked, it didn’t.

  • Cannon, my point wasn’t to do with the relative safety of automobiles and firearms: it was in response to your claim that government regulation inevitably leads to confiscation.

    I’m not talking about a complete ban, which would be unrealistic even if it were desirable. DC tried it, remember? And came up against a little thing called the Second Amendment. Besides which, as you note, banning something just creates criminals.

    I just don’t get the resistance to sensible regulation of what are, like cars, potentially very dangerous machines. I only hear daft arguments involving either one possible (and extremely dubious) interpretation of the Second, or your slippery slope fallacy.

    I agree that one thing the Second Amendment DOES guarantee Americans (contrary to the “militia” interpretation beloved of many on the left) is access to and ownership of firearms. But firearms to the Founding Dads were single-shot muskets and pistols: a technology that, other than the invention of rifling, hadn’t advanced much since its discovery. I suspect that had the FFs been able to anticipate the proliferation of modern, highly sophisticated and highly destructive weapons, they might have worded things a little differently.

    There’s no good reason why an average Joe or Jane should own a weapon specifically designed for military use, like an AK-47. Yes, I imagine they are fun to shoot. (In fact I know they are, having done so myself – single-shot, though.) I imagine battle tanks are also fun to drive, but you don’t hear many people bewailing the fact that they can’t commute to work in one. The proper place for bearing such arms is on the range, which is where they should be kept.

  • Igor

    71 – Cannonshop

    “OH, and Doc? I know a lot of carry-permit-holders,…”.

    Any of them a “narcissistic megalomaniac”. I ask because you seem to be an expert on identifying “narcissistic megalomaniac” and I’d sure be scared if one had a carry-permit.

  • Clavos

    We all know how banning alcohol worked, it didn’t.

    Nor is the banning of drugs.

    Which is why calls for banning weapons are not only silly, but unrealistic.

  • Why does everybody around here think people like Glenn and myself are in favour of banning guns, when we’ve clearly stated on numerous occasions that we’re not?

  • The Bill of Rights is the foundation of all of the rest that Congress does. But the arguments about the 2nd Amendment frequently border on the absurd, especially when one considers the efficacy of state militias. Citizens did not hunt with dueling pistols nor did bullets and Colt firearms exist in the 18th Century when the Bill was drafted.

    We are descendants of warring people and the smell of gunpowder is part of that. It is our past that cannot be banned, NRA or no. But firearm registration does not abridge any of our rights and is a source of state revenue.


  • @75

    Interestingly, in post-war Japan, the ownership of guns was a rarity. In fact, Kurosawa’s Stray Dog turns on the subject of retrieval of a gun lifted by a pickpocket from a cop, all all people.

    One would expect the trauma of having just gone through the war may have been the reason, not to mention the value that the Japanese place on martial arts.

    A comparison with the post-war Germany might be of interest as well.

  • @75, some people are colorblind when it comes to gray

  • Igor

    “We all know how banning alcohol worked, it didn’t.”

    A common misconception propagated by us drinking fans, but actually alcohol consumption dropped by about 30-40%. My parents, for example, quit drinking and never started again after repeal. But I think grandfather kept it up since he wrote in his memoir about having a schnapps and cigar every night. Of course us miserable children took up drinking with some brio. Oh well.

    It’s just that the drinkers made such a fuss and financed the gangsters that we think drinking increased after prohibition.

    As another example, I know a number of people who would smoke pot but don’t because it is illegal. In fact, I’d smoke occasionally if it weren’t illegal. I tried it in 1975 and thought it was fun, so now I wait for my final deathbed episode to try it again.

  • Igor, why does the arbitrary decision of others determine whether or not you smoke pot?

  • “… so now I wait for my final deathbed episode to try it again.”

    That’s kind of timid of you, not at all what one would surmise judging by your comments.

    Must agree with LB here, unless you believe all man-made laws should never be broken.

  • Clavos

    But firearm registration…is a source of state revenue.

    Reason enough NOT to have registration.

  • Clavos,
    I forget that you live in Florida, where proving that your parents are nationals means lower state college tuition. If you cannot, that is more state revenue.

    Have you been to Illinois, recently? Gun registration is the deal there. Documenting your parents isn’t even close to a consideration.


  • @80 Something else had to stay on the list of controlled substances. Revenue on it is only now an issue and that consideration is not arbitrary.


  • Cannonshop

    #75 Doc, I think I can answer your question. You’re just not going to like the answer much.

    It’s MUCH easier to ban something, when you know who has it, and even if YOU don’t want to ban weapons, there are a distressingly large number of Hoplophobes, many of them very cozily in government, who DO, and would like nothing better, than to have the means to actually make it achievable.

    Powers tend to be abused, and it’s not really conjectural with governments, especially at the National level, to expect them to do just that.

    Consider the trusting attitude both Glenn, and Clavos expressed in this thread, and the news that there’s actually a deal in the works to keep the offending provisions IN-it’s a lot more egregious to more folks than banning private arms, and has a much broader impact and much deeper and more aggressive ability to eliminate freedoms…and they’re going to pass it anyway, and then tell me again, that provided the means, and a new class of Criminal, that government won’t ‘mission creep’ straight into a round-up-the-firearms and jail-the owners?

    Sorry, but a government that we can’t even trust to uphold the basics of due-process, we can’t afford to know who’s armed, who isn’t, or with what.

  • Cannonshop

    As for the revenue issue…the cost of assembling, maintaining, updating, and tracking a national gun-registry has already proven to be a money-loser in much-less-well-armed and less populated CANADA-which adopted theirs only a few short years ago, and it immediately went into the red in spite of large numbers of canadians dragging their feet to register their arms.

    It’s a revenue LOSER. If you want to generate revenue, you structure your tax system to…GENERATE REVENUE. Not reward or punish social behaviours (we’ve got these things called “laws” for that), not to ‘encourage’ good citizenship (if your country and culture have merit, and pride, people will be good citizens on their own accord from, if nothing else, peer pressure), but to generate REVENUE.

    and you don’t spend so far past your ability to generate that revenue that you crash your credit rating and saddle your grandkids with the bill for your social experimentation.

  • If I was going to setup a system of gun control, I would require manufacturers to establish forensic ballistics databases for every single weapon they make, ownership databases, and make weapons owners legally responsible for any shootings by the weapons they own.

    So if someone is murdered with a weapon, the owner can be identified and charged with murder regardless of whether they committed the act as well as the actual perpetrator. Ownership brings personal responsibility.

    Selling on a weapon without formally transferring details of the registered owner would not be an escape clause for the responsibility.

    Such a plan would not resolve all potential problems but would be a useful start.

  • Clavos

    Umm, Cannon:

    I never posted a comment in the thread to which you link in #85…

    Just sayin’

  • Igor

    I don’t smoke pot because it is illegal (and I can’t think of any decent reason for breaking THAT law, I’m NOT an addict) and because it’s basically unhealthy. But I hear that it’s a good palliative for some common illnesses, which I don’t have.

    But I expect that any day the Doc will tell me “OMG! You’ve got blippetyblap disease and only 3 months to live!” At which point I’ll be able to perform some pot experiments with impunity.

    I’m practicing for the event by occasionally rolling a cigarette with some Top tobacco from the drugstore. I’m not very good, it’s too loose and frail, but I take a couple puffs (no inhale) and field-strip it (to destroy the evidence, so enemy soldiers can’t follow a trail of papers to discover our position!) and wash the smell off.

    I’m ready.

  • Clavos



  • Cannonshop

    #88 Oops, sorry Clav. My bad.

  • Cannonshop

    #87 Chris, what’s the objective of your law? What problem does it address? (and how are you going to convince FOREIGN and OUT OF BUSINESS manufacturers to construct, and maintain, such a database for their product?)

  • Well, as regards foreign manufacturers, convincing them wouldn’t be that hard. I imagine there would be a requirement for them to keep such a database if they wished to do business in the US.

    The DHS already requires foreign carriers to provide them with a passenger list for all inbound flights, so there’s your precedent.

    And any application of the law to manufacturers who have gone out of business would be not only pointless but unconstitutional, so that objection is moot.

  • Cannonshop, for me it is about accountability and responsibility rather than trying to control who has access to weapons.

    I don’t believe it is possible or desirable to control who has weapons but owners should have to take responsibility for what happens with and to their purchases in a way they don’t currently.

  • Cannonshop

    #94 Chris, you must live in a fascinating parallel world, one where by the magick of Registration paperwork, cars are safer on the road, dogs don’t bite people, etc. etc.

    If you own a piece of property, and it’s used in a crime, guess what?

    You’re responsible, or at least, Liable, registered or not.

    The thing you’re seeking as a goal, already exists in the really-real-world, Chris, maybe you’re just ignorant on the subject, or think there are some special exemptions with firearms or some other fairy-tale rumour.

    You’re just as responsible if someone takes your kitchen-knife and puts it in their ex-wife, as you are if someone takes your pistol and does the same thing.

    (remember, also, Chris, in the firearms community as a whole, the belief is there is no such thing as an ‘accident’, only “Negligence”-only the lawyers believe in accidents, and only then when their client’s facing Negligent Homicide charges for leaving the pistol loaded on the living room table for the kids to get ahold of-a situation much akin to leaving the car running in a playground, or the gas on with no pilot light in the kitchen, or storing the hair-dryer IN the bathtub…)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    You’re just as responsible if someone takes your kitchen-knife and puts it in their ex-wife, as you are if someone takes your pistol and does the same thing.

    Actually, no. If someone grabs a knife in your house and uses it to kill someone and you had nothing else to do with the crime, you might be sued, but you are not held criminally liable and the suit would probably be thrown out on grounds of ludicrousness.

    On the other hand, car owners and gun owners are expected to maintain control of these possessions. If you give the keys to a friend who then decides to drive drunk, it IS your fault because you didn’t maintain positive control of your vehicle (disclaimer – this was part of a class I used to teach).

    And it’s that same thing with guns – if you don’t maintain positive control of YOUR weapon, then you SHOULD be held at least partially responsible for what someone does with that weapon.

    And the ONLY difference in between the two? All cars are required to be registered, and the owners must have proven that they can safely operate a vehicle…but not so with guns.

    YES, we can be sued for almost anything that happens ON our property or WITH our property…but we are by law expected to maintain positive control of vehicles and guns…

    …and rightly so.

    That’s why guns should be required to be registered.

  • Herman Cain quit. I feel for Cain’s followers, but not their candidate. Narcissists never apologize for anything, like their dishonesty and lack of class.

    It is not the alleged sexless extramarital business, which he denied; it is the dishonesty that is so disqualifying. Gingrich is next. He is another dishonest narcissist.


  • Clavos

    Isn’t dishonest narcissism a prerequisite for entry into the american political arena?

    cf: Barack H. Obama

  • Cannonshop

    #96 Glenn, NOT all cars require registration-they simply require it if you’re going to take them out onto public roads under their own power. The equivalent would be requiring firearms to be registered if they are to be taken to a public area expressly built for the purpose-such as a public shooting range-using the car analogy, you can build any number of automobiles so long as you’re not taking them out onto public roads under their own power, without registering them, or even assuring they are safe. (fact, most race-cars aren’t registered.)

    So, there’s the first hole in your comparison. If you live in Washington State, for instance, you’re required to register your handgun at purchase-no shit, it’s the law, regardless of whether or not there is any PUBLIC FACILITY where you will be taking this handgun to discharge it (“Operate” the device, iow.)

    Otoh, you don’t need to do that with a car, if you’re just buying it to use on your own property, or for use as a parts car, or lawn ornament…

    Also, you don’t have to wait to buy your car, don’t have to undergo a background check, don’t even have to have a driver’s license-and to get plates to make it legal to operate, you don’t have to have the driver’s license either, and it’s a mild fine if you’re caught driving your registered car without a Driver’s License-while drunk, in spite of a law passed several years ago making it a felony with jail-time (Never Enforced.)

    Don’t use the clusterfuck of failure around automobiles to justify your gun-control, using the full content, you’re advocating a system that’s already beyond failure before it’s even begun.

    People actually DO go to jail for negligently discharging firearms in an Urban area, even if nobody got hurt, they generally get a ticket and a small fine for driving drunk-in spite of the law, and losign the license doesn’t lose them the ability to drive, nor possession of the means.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    DWI does get enforced with a day in jail – I’ve seen it because I had to process the reports that I received about it (usually because a sailor would be a day UA (AWOL to you)). DWI also means mandatory high-risk insurance (exorbitant!) for something like three years (or is it five?). Also, for active duty it’s a violation of article 111 of the UCMJ.

    I know of no law in WA making a DWI a felony. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. BUT a DWI offender will get jail time – it can be delayed, but it will normally be done.

    So…I’m not sure where you got the idea that it’s all just a cakewalk – it’s not. The problem lies not in the enforcement, but in those who ignore their prior convictions and go do it again anyway.

    One last thing – you’re trying to take apart the comparison of cars and guns by picking out this or that little detail, poisoning the well, as it were…but you’re missing the real-world big picture, which is when a gun or a car is purchased, the expectation is that it will be used as expected…and the expectations are that someone will use a gun only where and how they should, just as someone is supposed to operate a vehicle where and how they legally should. One’s normally used on private property, the other’s normally used mostly on public property…but the expectation is that they are to be used/operated where and how they legally should.

    One’s an apple…and the other apple is still an apple – you can call it what you will, but it’s still an apple.

  • Cannonshop

    #100 Glenn, I hit on the drunk-driving issue specifically for a reason. Yeah, I know, Soldiers and Sailors actually face punishment-it’s one of those instances where a municipality will actually DO SOMETHING (although, honestly, not much)in a situation where very little to nothing being done is the default condition.

    I picked it, because it illustrates a singular problem-our society can’t enforce the Laws it HAS equally or equitably, and you’re calling for MORE laws, a situation that honestly, boggles the mind.

    You’re pushing for laws based on what People “MIGHT” do-built around a fetishistic idea of ‘gun-powers’ needing to be restrained, when our system is strained and often broken just dealing with what people “DO do” and “Have” done using mundane and not-nearly-as-exotic-seeming things like beer and cars.

    and you still haven’t made a serious case for WHY you want universal firearms registration EXCEPT as a prelude to confiscation, have you noticed that? YOu’re hung up on the “How”, but you fail to make the case for WHY.

    Shouldn’t you be able to articulate the OBJECTIVE of a law, before calling for that law to be placed on the books (and on others?)

    If it’s not to confiscate weapons from those who’re likely to register (i.e. the law abiding) what is it for?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    I picked it, because it illustrates a singular problem-our society can’t enforce the Laws it HAS equally or equitably, and you’re calling for MORE laws, a situation that honestly, boggles the mind.

    Care to show me a nation – ANY nation – wherein the laws are always applied fairly to all citizens? Singapore comes close, I’ll give you that – bu Singapore’s a city-state, and cannot compare to running a nation.

    That said, the fact that some laws are not applied fairly does NOT mean that those laws should be gotten rid of – that’s nothing more than tossing out the baby with the bath water.

    and you still haven’t made a serious case for WHY you want universal firearms registration EXCEPT as a prelude to confiscation, have you noticed that? YOu’re hung up on the “How”, but you fail to make the case for WHY.

    That’s the old lawyer’s trick of denying any evidence presented on the grounds of “it ain’t evidence!”

    The only – the ONLY – reason I’ve ever given for universal registration of firearms is to be able to find out who it is that’s selling firearms to people who shouldn’t have them! That, and if someone steals your firearm, you report it, and he’s later caught with it, not only is the SOB who stole your firearm prosecuted for doing so, but you’ll probably get your firearm back.

    Your “prelude to confiscation” line is nothing more than a black-helicopter style conspiracy theory, trying to pin the blame on me for something I NEVER advocated…

    …or did you miss the times (once in this very thread) where I said that the day guns are outlawed, I’ll be the first in line to go buy one?

    But I get it, Cannonshop – you simply cannot conceive that I would take anything but the far-Left John Lennon political solutions.

    P.S. – I’ve never liked John Lennon – his extreme-Left views were every bit as unworkable and impossible as any far-Right Nazi’s.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Cannonshop –

    Get some sleep, guy – it’s one A.M. there.