Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Playing catch-up

In trying to catch up after my dizzying adventure with “labyrinthitis” this past week (I’m feeling better, if still just a tad woozy, thank you), I’ve finally caught up with two online articles of note from the last few days.

First, Jeffrey Tucker took a terrific shot last Wednesday at Bush’s $7.1 billion central plan to deal with our masters’ latest impending disaster — the so-called bird flu. “It seems,” wrote Tucker, “that some birds are catching a flu called Avian Influenza or, more commonly, the bird flu. It causes ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production. It can kill a chicken in two days flat. Scary.” Concludes Tucker:

“What’s remarkable is how little comment [Bush’s] bird flu plan provoked. We seem to have reached the stage in American public opinion where hysterical frenzies by government and totalitarian plans to take away all liberties are treated as just another day. We see the president telling us to fork over billions, and we turn the channel. Was it this way in the old Soviet Union or Germany when the state newscasts went on every night about the march of socialism? Has crisis management become the great white noise of American life?”

Great question. The answer, not the goddamn bird flu, is what’s really scary.

Then John R. Lott, Jr. and Fern E. Richardson reported on the recent failed initiative in Brazil to ban guns. It seems the murder rate in Brazil is, as last reported in 2002, 28.3 per 100,000 people, just a little less than three times the record U.S. murder rate at the height of Prohibition in 1933. The solution to Brazil’s problem, says the Brazilian government and media, is to ban all guns. An initiative was proposed recently, then defeated a week or so ago by almost two thirds of Brazil’s voters. Wrote Lott and Richardson:

“Brazilians have a right to be skeptical that yet more gun control is the solution. Strict licensing laws that have been in effect in Brazil since 1940 have not solved the problem. Since 1941 it has been illegal to bring a weapon outside one’s house without authorization. Eighteen gun-control laws and regulations were imposed during the period from 1992 to 2003. Many rules were extremely restrictive: For example, a 1997 law required anyone applying for a firearm license to have a psychological test and knowledge of operation of firearms, and a 1999 law limited each person to two handguns. Despite new restrictions on gun ownership being continually imposed, murder rates rose every year from 1992 to 2002, a total 41 percent increase.”

The writers conclude:

“Everyone wants to take guns away from criminals. The problem is that the law-abiding citizens, those who have followed the licensing and registration rules, are disarmed, not the criminals.”

And gun-confiscation efforts meantime continue enthusiastically here in the U.S.


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