Monthly Archives: February 2018

The 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment

Quite some time ago I posted the following to my blog. In light of the recent mass murders I thought it worth repeating with some additional thoughts added (in next weeks posting).

 Guns, guns and more guns!

Just when you thought I had offended just about everyone, well not quite. I have several friends that are staunch NRA supporters. Actually, I am not at opposed to gun ownership as long as they are registered. I see registration as an important item for law enforcement. I am in favor of our law officers having the latest armament available. My concern is regarding the “facts” regarding murder rates in the US vs. other countries. I often the comment “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. That does make sense, but the facts seem to indicate otherwise. Let’s compare our experience to a few other “civilized” countries:                     Source: http://chartsbin.com/view/1454

Current Worldwide Homicide/Murder Rate

Country or Area Rate (rate per 100,000 population) Note Source
  Australia                                                         1.23  

Belgium                                                             1.83                                                                                 Canada                                                                1.67                                                                             Denmark                                                          1.4                                                                                    France                                                               1.35                                                                           Germany                                                             .8                                                                                Iceland                                                                  0

I could go on, but you get the idea

U.S.A.                                                                 5.22

The issue is, are we safer because we have more guns (or less gun control)?                             The other comment that I hear often is: “it’s a Constitutional issue; the 2nd amendment gives me the right to own as many and whatever type of weapons that I want”. I would suggest that this is not entirely true, and even if it was we might want to modify our thinking based on the facts. Let’s look at the entire wording of the 2nd amendment to the Constitution: “Amendment II A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Yep, that is the entire amendment. It should be obvious that the intention of this right had to do with the need to maintain the militia, which at the time made excellent sense. At the time of the writing the Bill of Rights in 1789 the standing Army (created in 1784) was extremely small and the founding fathers realized the need to call on local militia troops should the country face another threat from a substantial foe. In 1812 the opportunity presented itself:  Source: http://www.weegy.com/?ConversationId=BA44DE6B                              “The United States was not prepared to prosecute a war, for Madison had assumed that the state militias would easily seize Canada and that negotiations would follow. In 1812, the regular army consisted of fewer than 12,000 men. Congress authorized the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular; it offered poor pay, and there were few trained and experienced officers, at least initially. The militia objected to serving outside their home states, were not open to discipline, and performed poorly against British forces when outside their home states. American prosecution of the war suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England, where anti-war speakers were vocal. “Two of the Massachusetts members [of Congress], Seaver and Widgery, were publicly insulted and hissed on Change in Boston; while another, Charles Turner, member for the Plymouth district, and Chief-Justice of the Court of Sessions for that county, was seized by a crowd on the evening of August 3, [1812] and kicked through the town”

stay tuned for some additional thoughts on this topic next week

Violence and Incarceration

Chapter 62 Violence and Incarceration

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the World. In fact, with only 5% of the world’s population we incarcerate almost 25% of the world’s total inmates! There is a direct relationship between violent crimes (refer to the prior post) and the rate of incarceration. The average annual cost of inmate incarceration is almost $40,000. As taxpayers, we should be outraged. The US has an incarceration rate (at almost 700 per 100,000) that is 5 times higher than the following countries:

Country (or dependent territory, subnational area, etc.) Incarceration rate (Prisoners per 100,000 population)
Central African Republic 16
Comoros 19
Faroe Islands (Denmark) 23
Republic of Guinea 26
Congo (Brazzaville) 27
Liechtenstein 27
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) 29
India 33
Mali 33
Nigeria 35
Oman 36
Chad 39
Burkina Faso 41
Bangladesh 43
Pakistan 43
Mauritania 44
Niger 44
Iceland 45
Solomon Islands 46
Japan 47
Ghana 49
Liberia 49
Sudan 50
Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) 50
South Sudan 52
Andorra 53
Qatar 53
Sweden 53
Yemen 53
Finland 55
Sierra Leone 55
Cote d’Ivoire 56
Mozambique 57
Gambia 58
Syria 60
Denmark 61
Nepal 62
Senegal 62
Togo 62
Equatorial Guinea 63
Papua New Guinea 63
Tanzania 64
Marshall Islands 66
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Republika Srpska 67
Djibouti 67
Indonesia 69
Netherlands 69
Malawi 70
Norway 70
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Federation 73
Slovenia 73
Afghanistan 74
Monaco 74
Benin 77
Burundi 77
Germany 78
United Kingdom: Northern Ireland 78. See notes below
Ireland, Republic of 79
Cyprus (Republic of) 80
Croatia 81
Madagascar 84
Switzerland 84
Sao Tome e Principe 87
Vanuatu 87
Sri Lanka 88
Italy 89
Greece 91
Isle of Man (United Kingdom) 92
Lesotho 92
Angola 96
Austria 97
Belgium 98
Libya 99
Kosovo/Kosova 100
Mayotte (France) 100
Haiti 102
France 103
Republic of (South) Korea 107
Cook Islands (New Zealand) 109
Tuvalu 110
Kuwait 112
Myanmar (formerly Burma) 113
Cameroon 114
Canada 114
Hong Kong (China) 115
Cambodia 116
Egypt 116
China 118 or unknown. See notes below.
Laos 119
Luxembourg 120
Reunion (France) 120
Uganda 120
Kenya 121
Tajikistan 121
Bolivia 122
Guatemala 122
Iraq 123
Bulgaria 125
Zambia 125
Guernsey (United Kingdom) 127
Micronesia, Federated States of 127
Ethiopia 128
Lebanon 128
Armenia 130
Kiribati 130
Malta 131
Spain 131
Brunei Darussalam 134
Portugal 137

The Wall

The Wall

 I’m unsure what the newly adopted budget includes, but if some of the funding is for National Security and that the “intent” is that a portion of the committed amount would be to fund a portion of the wall, then I have concerns.  To speak bluntly, the wall is a bad idea and a waste of our taxes.

The following is a 2011 quote from former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ralph Basham:

“Building a physical fence along the entire border with Mexico was one of “the dumbest ideas I heard when I was commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is critical to recognize that fencing (even with barbed wire, electrification, and possibly a moat filled with alligators) is not a solution, it is only a tool. There’s a fundamental misunderstanding about what a physical barrier—even the triple-layer fencing in San Diego–actually does or doesn’t do for the agency charged with building fencing and securing the border. All it really does is buy you time where a crosser could otherwise quickly escape or assimilate. None of the fencing is impenetrable. People will eventually dig under it or cut through it or go over it, but it gives you enough time to respond and apprehend them. Some fencing makes sense tactically in areas selected by the Border Patrol, as where we deployed some 700 miles of it under my tenure, and in many of those areas it has been a tool to provide permanent impedance to deter and slow illegal entries on foot or by vehicle.”

One can only hope that expert advise will bring reason to bear on this topic. There has been talk of spending in a range of $18 – $75 Billion for a wall which will have little impact on the flow of Opioids in the country. I wonder what just a few Billion spent in targeted areas (like the ability to order and receive Opioids directly from China) could accomplish.

Kudos to Rand Paul for standing up for the taxpayer! It’s sad that the vast majority of our elected representatives are fiscally irresponsible. Currently the National debt is racing towards $21 Trillion at almost a rate of $1 million a minute!