To Arms?

What we’ve seen in Paris this weekend is not an attack, or an incident, or a tragedy. It’s war, and war, like it or not, is fought with guns. Because terrorism works precisely by striking at random, it’s silly to expect the police to be able to protect everyone at all times. When there are men out there teaming up to kill you, the rational and prudent thing to do is to at least make sure you have a chance to fight back.

Source: What Happened in Paris is War, and the Only Way to Fight a War is With Firearms. If You Live in Europe, Get a Gun. – Tablet Magazine

Food for thought.

Let me say up front that I don’t think you end terrorism simply by arming your populace. Terrorist use a range of weapons and tactics, and a pistol – even a .45 – won’t stop them all.

But it is pitifully easy for a terrorist to acquire a gun, even in countries where private ownership of firearms is strictly circumscribed. All a terrorist need do to inflict dozens of casualties is to find someplace with no cops, release the safety, and open fire.

Let us, for the moment, ignore the author’s overt point and delve into his meta-message: in a war against an enemy able to bypass formal national and civil defenses to inflict casualties against the populace, government monopoly on the ownership of firearms is inadequate and perhaps indefensible.

At the very least, this opens the door for auxiliary and private security forces, with trained and licensed personnel, to carry firearms. Would the Copenhagen attacks have succeeded if Dan Uzan had been armed while standing watch outside the synagogue? What if the guards at the Bataclan had been packing, and had known what to do when trouble showed up toting AK-47s?

France, much less Europe, is not ready for an armed populace. They probably won’t be until we in America can find a better way to retain our firearms as a bulwark against tyranny while eliminating accidental deaths and curtailing gun homicides. Accidental gun deaths in the US last year claimed five times more lives than the terrorists did in Paris last weekend, and that alone inveighs against just selling a gun to every man-Jacques in the street.

But the asymmetrical threat of terror demands asymmetrical responses that, if nothing else, raises the difficulty and cost of terrorist acts. Armed protection in public gathering places is a good start.

But the real issue is that it is time for the leaders of Europe to stop relying upon time-honored tools forged to meet different threats. It is time to get creative and a little ruthless, to come up with ways to make terror too costly for ISIS to imagine. And the answer is not airstrikes. How many more innocents must die before Europe truly understands that armies, police, constraints on speech, and appeasement of Islamists do not constitute a defense against the most serious threat Europe faces today?


Greg Lukianoff: The New Yorker is wrong about Free Speech

“It’s because The New Yorker has a history of publishing great articles like Packer’s that I was so disappointed to read Kelefa Sanneh’s article, “The Hell You Say,” in the August 10 edition of the magazine. In the article, Sanneh likens free speech advocates (like me, I assume) to “gun nuts,” claims that campus speech codes have mostly been repealed (which is completely false), then bizarrely questions if people can believe in a diversity of belief. Those of us who are big fans of the concept of pluralism found the latter particularly mystifying.”

Source: A Dozen Things ‘The New Yorker’ Gets Wrong about Free Speech (And Why It Matters) | Greg Lukianoff

Read both Sanneh’s article and Lukianoff’s rebuttal. At the very least, Sanneh makes good points badly.

Yosef Kessler: Wanted: Safe spaces for Jews at CUNY – NY Daily News

At last Thursday’s Million Student March, a nationwide student demonstration for free public college tuition, this happened:

“Zionists out of CUNY!” and “There is only one solution: Intifada Revolution!” emanated from the crowd. Protestors called us racists and white supremacists. One attacked our signs. In the background, another demonstrator yelled, “Jews are racist sons of bitches!” Another spewed lies, such as that Israel is euthanizing and sterilizing her Ethiopian citizens, and that Israel is committing genocide. In spite of this onslaught, we stood strong against the shouting, cursing, lies and anti-Semitic hatred directed against us.

As I left the rally, someone yelled, “We should drag the Zionists down the street!”

Source: Yosef Kessler: Wanted: Safe spaces for Jews at CUNY – NY Daily News

Reading this, and reading through the AMCHA website, I am compelled to wonder who is more in danger on American campuses today: an African-American man, or a Jewish man? At best it seems that the two are pulling even.

Wesleyan Administration: Black Lives Matter and So Does Free Speech

Short and sweet:

“Debates can raise intense emotions, but that doesn’t mean that we should demand ideological conformity because people are made uncomfortable. As members of a university community, we always have the right to respond with our own opinions, but there is no right not to be offended. We certainly have no right to harass people because we don’t like their views.”

Source: The Wesleyan Argus | Black Lives Matter and So Does Free Speech

The Big Business Fallacy

I believe that the Republicans don’t think that there’s anything wrong economically in this country that giving big business (as distinct from small business) more power, and increasing globalization, will not solve.

via Trump and Elitism | The American Conservative.

This, from a conservative writer, Rod Dreher. And this is a significant problem with the GOP today: it seems to take its marching orders from the Fortune 500.

Once that gets out (and I’m not exactly whispering, and neither is Dreher or others like us,) the GOP will lose the center for 2016. At that point, we either step up with something better, or we step back and watch the rotten old elephant keel over and die.