Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 6, 2017


News from the heartland….. The NRA’s Chris Cox ably defends the Second Amendment while nailing Hollywood’s hypocrisy. Statistics on guns are often manipulated by the Left to achieve the desired policy results. Don’t buy it. And after the epic Equifax data breach, the company was just awarded a huge government contract for — what else — data security. Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.


“It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government.” —Mercy Warren (1805)


The NRA Responds to Leftist Hypocrisy

As the investigation into Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock continues, authorities have yet to determine his motivation. This fact hasn’t stopped Democrats, leftist celebrities and the anti-gun lobby from laying the blame on America’s “gun culture” and specifically the National Rifle Association. Thursday evening, NRA executive director Chris Cox responded in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, calling for Americans to have an honest conversation about what problems motivate murderous actions like those seen in Las Vegas.

Cox noted that Paddock was not a NRA member, but that NRA members were murdered and wounded in his shooting rampage. He emphasized that the NRA exists “so that good, honest people aren’t left defenseless.” He also pointed to a simple fact: “Gun control is a failed policy. And it’s safe to say that it doesn’t keep people safe.”

In what was his most poignant defense of the NRA, Cox said, “The NRA spends millions of dollars each year teaching safe and responsible gun ownership, and Hollywood makes billions promoting and glorifying gun violence. And then the same hypocrites come in and say that we’re to blame for this.”

Carlson then asked him specifically about “bump stocks” and whether the NRA was calling for them to be banned. Cox responded, “Barack Obama’s administration approved the sale of bump stocks and these other devices. What we have said is that the ATF needs to do their job. ATF needs to look and if there is technology that has come to the market that allows a semi-automatic rifle to function as a fully automatic rifle, they need to be regulated differently. We didn’t talk about banning anything; we talked about ATF going back and reviewing whether or not these are in compliance with federal law. And if not, let’s look at working together and figuring out a way to address this moving forward.”

Cox closed by once again emphasizing the need for honesty. “We need to have a broader conversation about a violent culture and what’s happened with gratuitous violence out of Hollywood, what’s happened with prescription drugs. Being honest with one another that if we’ve tried something and it’s failed it’s time to move on.”

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday hinted at exactly why the NRA exists — to defend our first civil right. In calling for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to schedule a vote on a Democrat bill that would ban bump stocks, Pelosi was asked if she viewed this bill as a potential slippery slope toward further gun restrictions. She replied, “I certainly hope so.”

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IRS Malfeasance Meets Equifax Ineptitude

By Jordan Candler

It was just a few weeks ago when Equifax finally came clean about a staggering security breach that imperiled the data of some 145 million Americans. Earlier this year, hackers infiltrated the company’s database and retrieved troves of intimate consumer data, including Social Security and credit card numbers. Security breaches happen, but this case was particularly infuriating due to some company officials’ lackluster — perhaps even criminal — response and the preventable way in which the breach occurred.

Another agency that retains some of your most personal information is the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS isn’t exactly trustworthy either, as demonstrated through the actions of Lois Lerner, who walked away with impunity after targeting conservative groups. The last thing consumers and taxpayers want these two agencies doing in teaming up. So guess what? That’s exactly what they’re doing. What could possibly go wrong?

On Sept. 29, the IRS awarded a $7.25 million contract “to establish an order for third party data services from Equifax to verify taxpayer identity and to assist in ongoing identity verification and validations needs of the Service.” How ironic — and damning — it will be when some untold number of IRS applications are flagged for fraud by Equifax due to the leaking of information … by Equifax. At this point it’s basically inevitable.

According to Fox News, “The contract stated that Equifax was the only company capable of providing these services to the IRS, and it was deemed a ‘critical’ service that couldn’t lapse.” That may or may not be true. But as Rep. Early Blumenauer made very clear, “I am shocked that the IRS would contract with this firm for activities that they are clearly unfit to carry out.” The agencies are either tone-deaf or perverse — or both. Hardly surprising — but nonetheless exasperating — coming from such contemptuous agencies.

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Top Headlines

For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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Stepping Back From the Crime Scene

By Michael Swartz

As is their practice after a shooting with casualties on a mass scale, leftists are blaming the guns for the behavior of a man who obviously lost sight of the commandment, “You shall not murder.” And while we mourn the victims, the mainstream media seems preoccupied with the possibility of multiple shooters and the need to ban “bump stocks.” Many folks have also lost sight of the big picture: Statistically, we’re at far greater risk in a hospital than at a public concert like Sunday night’s Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.

One statistician, in fact, concluded that the gun control measures being proposed would be rather ineffective in addressing the problem. Leah Libresco, who is described by The Washington Post as “a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site,” came to this realization as part of a large effort by her former employer — something FiveThirtyEight reminded us of this week — to analyze all 33,000 deaths by firearm in a particular year. She makes the case that “bump stocks,” bans on so-called “assault rifles,” and even gun buybacks would do little good when the largest portions of gun deaths involve their usage as “suicide machines” or as a method for young gangbangers to settle scores.

“But, but,” stammers the Left, “look at how little gun violence there is in Australia — a place where certain types of guns were confiscated under penalty of law two decades ago after their own mass shooting.” While it’s true that no significant mass shootings have since occurred in Australia, a 2016 study by three Australian researchers found the data was inconclusive regarding the effects of the gun buyback: “Following enactment of gun law reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through May 2016. There was a more rapid decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013 compared with before 1997 but also a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude. Because of this, it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms.”

Moreover, as Corey Iacono of the Foundation for Economic Education points out, another study that used the adjacent island nation of New Zealand — where there are fewer restrictions on guns — as a control found that both had roughly the same decline in mass shootings. “Gun control advocates have built their entire case about Australian gun control on lazy data analysis, or perhaps no data analysis at all,” argues Iacono. “If anything, Australia proves the complete opposite of what advocates of gun control want.”

He added, “A national gun confiscation scheme which reduced the civilian firearm stock by an astounding twenty percent and nobody can seem to find any clear evidence it caused a meaningful effect on the firearm murder rate? That’s not only embarrassing, it goes against everything they believe about the nature of the relationship between guns and murder rates.”

Then, when we consider this longstanding fact that more guns have yielded less crime, leftists’ case really begins to unravel. Not that they’ll stop shouting from the rooftops about it anyway — their newest cause is to repeal the Second Amendment. Our response? Molon labe.

The leftist viewpoint — shared, apparently, by the New York Times’ token “conservative,” Bret Stephens — doesn’t come close to meeting the smell test. Stephens’ anti-gun prejudices lead him to use faulty numbers, including counting five years’ worth of murder statistics to give himself a number that finally exceeds the annual toll in auto accidents. Even at this emotion-driven moment, this is all the gun-grabbers have.

Should we remind them yet again that stridently anti-gun Europe, whose elites would love to see our pesky Second Amendment consigned to the dustbin of history, suffers more mass shootings on a statistical basis than the U.S. does? Europe’s restrictions don’t allow a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with one. As we often point out, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Stephen Paddock reportedly spent about 11 minutes firing at the crowd before a security guard finally made it to his room. Local police were even further behind.

In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, Congress will certainly feel pressured to “do something,” with the most likely outcome a feel-good ban on bump stocks. Even the NRA doesn’t have a problem considering that, and a Republican lawmaker already has the bill set to go.

Despite the statistics that have shown a trend toward more security, our government cannot make us perfectly safe — though armed citizens certainly have made us safer. Even if the government took away all the so-called “assault weapons,” deranged individuals bent on causing mass casualties would find a way to do so. One need look no further than the 85 people mowed down last year by a jihadi with a truck in Nice, France.

Incidents like these are a problem of evil. Instead of debating the repeal of the Second Amendment — which was, after all, placed in the Bill of Rights as a check against a tyrannical government having all the firepower — we should be discussing the lack of self-control that our culture seems to encourage. There are still many laws on the books that extend the command of “you shall not murder,” and perhaps the first order of business should be to restore a much-needed respect for life.

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Jonah Goldberg: “It’s certainly the case that the NRA and related groups have given a good amount of money to Republican politicians (and quite a few Democrats) over the years. But in the grubby bazaar of politician-buying, the NRA is a bit player. Consider that $3.5 million in donations over nearly 20 years The Washington Post made such a fuss about. According to Opensecrets.org, the legal profession contributed $207 million to politicians in 2016 alone. Fahr LLC, the outfit that oversees the political and philanthropic efforts of billionaire anti-global-warming activist Ton Steyer, gave $90 million (all to Democrats) in 2016. In terms of lobbying and political contributions, the NRA and the gun industry generally spend next to nothing compared with the big players. According to OpenSecrets, the NRA spent $1.1 million on contributions in 2016 and $3 million on lobbying. The food and beverage industry has spent $14 million on lobbying in 2017 alone. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent $9 million on contributions in 2016. … Part of the problem, I think, is that people who hate guns and gun rights cannot believe that people disagree with them in good faith. There must be evil motives, chiefly greed, that explain everything. The simple reality is that the NRA doesn’t need to spend a lot of money convincing politicians to protect gun rights. All it needs to do is spend a little money clarifying that a great many of those politicians’ constituents care deeply about gun rights.”


Insight: “Goodness without wisdom always accomplished evil.” —Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

Upright: “The idea that gun control advocates don’t want to confiscate your weapons is, of course, laughable. They can’t confiscate your weapons, so they support whatever feasible incremental steps inch further toward that goal. … It seems odd that someone would let murderers and madmen decide what inalienable rights we should embrace. It is almost humorous to hear someone advising you not to worry about domestic tyranny as he explains why the state should eradicate a constitutional right and confiscate your means of self-defense.” —David Harsanyi

Demo-gogues: “Our Dreamers, they make America dream again. We, frankly, owe a debt to your parents for bringing you here to be such a brilliant part of our future” —Nancy Pelosi

Friendly fire: “I think there comes a time when you need to pass that torch. And I think it’s time.” —Rep. Linda Sanchez, House Democratic Caucus vice chair, encouraging Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn to vacate their leadership roles

Snake oil salesman: “Repealing the [Second] Amendment may seem like political Mission Impossible today, but in the era of same-sex marriage it’s worth recalling that most great causes begin as improbable ones. Gun ownership should never be outlawed, just as it isn’t outlawed in Britain or Australia. But it doesn’t need a blanket Constitutional protection, either. … Take the guns — or at least the presumptive right to them — away. The true foundation of American exceptionalism should be our capacity for moral and constitutional renewal, not our instinct for self-destruction.” —"conservative" NY Times columnist Bret Stephens

Non Compos Mentis: “While the guns Stephen Paddock used in Las Vegas fired automatic rounds, they were perfectly legal under ATF rules.” —CBS News

Village Idiots: “The murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad.” —Nancy Sinatra (If an NRA member was guilty of murder, not too many NRA members would object to a firing squad. But of course that’s not what Nancy means…)

And last… “I believe the shootings of random, happy people doing normal, quotidian things are a symptom of the spiritual emptiness and loneliness that afflicts a subset of our people — a byproduct of family dissolution and fraying communities. It won’t be solved by any gun measure.” —Mona Charen

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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