What are they teaching in law school these days?

Mr. Russell C. Fericks, an attorney with the Salt Lake City law firm of Richards Brandt Miller & Nelson has decided to show the world his preference for absurd tort legal theory in an opinion piece on the Salt Lake Tribune web site. While the title he chose is laudable, “Stemming the tide of handgun violence in America”, a goal I think we can all agree on, it’s unfortunate the title is just about the only thing worth while in the whole piece.

He starts be recounting a “poignant” sob story, as if there is any other kind, about someone getting shot. It follows with Mr. Fericks, as the hero, suing the big bad gun company who made the firearm involved in the crime. Mr. Fericks must have realized that suing the actually party who committed the crime would not get his client or himself any money, and instead went after an uninvolved third party who had deeper pockets. He claims his “legal theory was simple”, that guns are “ultrahazardous” and the manufacturer was an “enabling element in most violent crime in the U.S.”. Of course this is an extreme extension of enabling theory in Tort law, typically the enabler (the gun maker) would have to be guilty of negligence, which seems to have been absent in the case that Mr. Fericks brought, considering the case was dismissed in a summary judgment.

He continues with the old anti-gun line that “the S&W .38 Special was the handgun of choice among criminals”, like I haven’t heard that one before. Well, the .38 also happens to be one of the most popular handguns ever made; in fact it is the only handgun that has been continuously produced since 1899. According to this report it also tops the list of handguns stolen by a margin of 2 to 1 over the next highest on the list. Hardly S&W’s fault. As one can see, Mr. Fericks’ un-sourced “statistic” is meaningless.

Next he goes on to complain that President Bush signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, as it shields law abiding gun manufactures from the kind of frivolous lawsuit that Mr. Fericks filed against S&W. A self serving complaint if I have ever heard one. He cites the litany of our sins, unsafe cars, tobacco, etc. and states “we will eventually come to grips with the catastrophic costs of handguns”. Well I am sorry Mr. Fericks, but I remain unimpressed. Dramatic phrases are not persuasive any more, you have to back up your claims with facts, and if you are only looking at the costs in your analysis you are not seeing the whole picture.

Finally he states that there are parts of the Constitution he does respect, the forth and fifth amendments apparently. But he seems to imply that the phrase “the people” used in the forth and fifth amendments somehow magically mean something else when used in the second. I recommend that Mr. Fericks needs to spend some time learning his history, and read what the founding fathers said in other documents of the time period relating to the second amendment. He needs to understand what was meant by those words, as perplexing as they must seem to Mr. Fericks. For anyone with intellectual honesty will admit, after some time in the documents, that the second amendment means what it says about a right of the people. And it is Mr. Fericks’ collective-militia muddling argument that does not stand up to scrutiny in the end.

However, there is hope for Mr. Fericks on some level. He seems to realize the futility of banning guns, as evidenced by his recognition of the disaster of prohibition in the 1920’s. If that is the case, I recommend that our writer take a look across the pond to England, and see what a mess they have made for themselves when they banned handguns. They have left their law abiding subjects utterly defenseless against an increasing criminal element seizing on their newfound advantage. I am sorry Mr. Fericks, but I do not want what they are dealing with here, perhaps you could practice law over there, instead of importing their mess to us.

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Melodrama and stereotypes galore.

Well, I see the Brits are still fond of melodramatic titles, especially if the topic is firearms. As the title of this opinion piece shows “Licence to kill – life under the gun in the US”. I mean really, why are British Subjects, or ex-British as the case may be, so fearful of guns that they feel the need to carry on as they do. The author, Jarek Garlinski seems to think a few guns in a farmhouse merit a comparison to an infantry battalion’s arsenal. Please, spare us the exaggerations.

We get treated to the typical sob story; “a drunken Scotsman banging on someone’s door at 3a.m. and gets shot, how awful”. Well, I am sure that for every British ex-pat who gets himself shot 10 years ago for doing something stupid here in the US; we can point to a Tony Martin or some other unfortunate British Subject being subjected to the perverted legal system that now exists in the UK.

He attempts to belittle the NRA for “having no more than four Million members”. I’m sorry, but what other advocacy group has that many voluntary members. As an example; NOW only has around 550,000 members, and abortion is as contentious an issue, if not more so, then gun control.

The author then proceeds to read the mind of conservatives with several pontifications of what conservatives believe. Since the author does not appear to lump himself in with this “conservative” label, exactly how does he know what they believe. In addition to the “mind reading” we are treated to the typical stereotyping of what constitutes a gun owner, angry, paranoid, white, and male, give me a break. Maybe the author needs to spend some time actually doing research before writing, and visit a few sites like the Pink Pistols, The Second Amendment Sisters, Women Against Gun Control, or Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Please, spare us, the stereotypes are so 1970.

Our intrepid writer fails to mention the large and vocal Libertarian support for gun rights. Many of whom feel the NRA does not go far enough, and is guilty of complacency concerning many existing gun-control laws. Most are far from conservative. The author also feels the need to point out that the gun rights supporters he has talked with, meet the above stereotypes and are “impervious to rational argument”. Well from what I have read I am still waiting to see some rational arguments. And since we are on the subject, the writer needs open up to some rationality and come out of the cave he has apparently been living in, and take a good look at the skyrocketing crime rate in England, which he claims to know nothing about.

The author then delves into the past by dismissing the thought that an armed resistance to the Nazi’s could have done anything. Well, that the subjects of most European countries did not own arms was not a condition only for the subjects of those nations, but of the nations themselves. Most counties in Europe did not have the means to fight off the Nazi’s at the state level, and more importantly did not seem to have the will to fight until it was too late, does the name Neville Chamberlain ring a bell. And this lack of will is probably the main reason most Europeans are so perplexed by our gun ownership.

The author continues by misrepresenting the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act by implying that it granted some special treatment to the firearms manufactures. In fact the act only prohibits manufactures from being held liable when a third party uses a firearm illegally. I see that as common sense; however the writer seems to be in the same group of people who keep claiming that it means more than it says, that it gives immunity from product defects, or illegal distribution, which it does not.

Finally while “many Americans” do not own guns, 40% of the households in the US do. And since we are talking numbers, where are the links to all of author’s sources. Hmmm……

Oh and if Jarek Garlinski thinks Americans are suspicious of the UN when it comes to Guns, well we have good reason…..


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The Loony Left

Well it looks like our friends on the other side of the pond, the Guardian, have written a nice fluff piece on the actor George Cloony. They praise him for his “nuanced” confrontation with the administration and try to draw a distinction between Mr. Cloony and Mr. Michael Moore. The Guardian conveniently leaves out the part where Cloony, the “Guilty Catholic”, callously jokes about Mr. Charelton Heston’s affliction with Alzheimer disease, and then defend the tasteless joke by stating that since Mr. Heston is the head of the NRA he deserves “whatever anyone has to say about him”. I can’t say I am surprised about the omission considering the source. But for all the flattery the Guardian pours out over Mr. Cloony, he still comes off as the foul mouthed, immature, self absorbed actor with a soap box complex, that I have come to expect from the loony left in Hollywood.

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A common theme……

New England gun owners need to be vigilant, as a concerted effort by the New England media seems to be under way to influence the gun control debate.

Reading this article, it appears that the New England news rooms are all singing from the same song sheet. That the NICS system is not restrictive enough for their tastes, they want state permits, registration, and the like for all of New England. As it has been demonstrated before, the availability of guns is not the issue. But the media will continue to repeat their misleading statistics, and write the same articles over and over again to try and make this false notion stick in people’s mind as true. It is always easier for them not to think critically, and blame an inanimate object for societies ills. It seems too difficult for the media to address and tackle the real problems in Boston’s society, they take the less difficult road and blame the rest of New England for Boston’s trouble. Sad.

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They just won’t stop…….

A “news story” on the Boston Globe website shows us that the Boston Globe still has not figured out that opinion pieces do not belong in the business section, and that the writer, Mr. Steve Bailey doesn’t know what he is talking about (a common occurrence when most so-called journalists write about anything related to firearms).

It starts with a not so intelligent title “Live free and die”, this lame attempt at wit falls flat on it’s face. I guess according to Mr. Bailey, if we do not live under the strict control of the state we will all die, news to me. Next, Mr. Bailey opens by pointing out that you could buy a “lovely” grenade launcher “tax-free” in a New Hampshire gun show. I guess it isn’t enough for him to make snide remarks on what is for sale, absent government intervention. He must also point out that low and behold, the crazy government in New Hampshire doesn’t even tax the sale. It seems almost too much for our friend to handle, guns AND no taxes, pshaw on New Hampshire for allowing it’s citizens that much freedom.

In just the second paragraph we come to what I will euphemistically call the first of Mr. Bailey’s “embellishments”….

“…spotted a Bushmaster, similar to the rifle he carried in two tours of duty in Afghanistan. And he found an AK-47, the same gun the enemy carried. There were military sniper rifles and an M-16-type ”machine pistol” capable of firing off 100 rounds before reloading…”

Mr. Bailey should not mislead his readers, the “AK-47” at the show is not the same kind of gun that the Taliban carried, that’s just not honest reporting. If he doesn’t know that there is a difference between the two, I guess he is just negligent in his duties as a reporter. He also attempts to guide his reader to the notion that machine guns are for sale, with phrases like ”machine pistol”, which of course is inaccurate at best or just plain lying at worse. He follows that up with the crack about it being

“a gun only an angry high school student could love”.

Since Mr. Bailey can see no use for the pistol it must have no legitimate purpose and is only made for, and used by the “Columbine” crowd. I’m sorry, but I must have missed the part about Mr. Bailey’s being an expert in firearms technology, and of his prowess in psychology. Oh wait, maybe it’s because he’s not. So….. why is this “news story” not in the opinion section again?

Taking a break from his “embellishments” he returns to simple hostility as he describes a .38 revolver as

“a trashy little thing popular with thugs in cities like Boston.”

Well I hate to break it to Mr. Bailey, but a .38 is also popular among women who use them as their carry pistol to protect themselves from said thugs. Of course that’s not something most women get the opportunity to do in Boston, as the politicians there don’t trust their law abiding citizens with the tools to protect themselves.

I must say, I’m amused that it took Mr. Bailey longer to buy a refrigerator at Sears than it does to fill out an NICS form. I’m not sure that would be something Mr. Bailey should boast about. Did he have to try more that one credit card? Or maybe he tried to pay with a personal check? Whatever, I guess the fact that every state is tied into the NICS system, and can rapidly tell the seller if a buyer is disqualified from purchasing a gun or not, is not restrictive enough for Mr. Bailey.

Then it’s back to “embellishments”.

“And he could sell his new .38 down the street, too, no questions asked.”

I’m afraid that is not entirely accurate, for the gentlemen described would become a criminal if he were to do that. Buying a gun with the intention of selling it is illegal, it’s called engaging in business as a gun dealer without a license, which is a federal felony.

Finally we get to the real issue in this poor excuse for a “news story”.

“Massachusetts has the toughest gun laws in the nation, but the streets of Boston haven’t felt this dangerous in years. Increasingly, say police, guns are coming from Northern New England, where the gun laws are weaker.”

So according to unnamed police, weak gun laws in Northern New England are to blame for crime in Boston. I guess that the unnamed police officers and Mr. Bailey missed the recent report showing the safest and most dangerous cities in the US.

It is interesting to note that in Michigan you have some of the safest, and some of the most dangerous cities in the country, all with the same set of gun laws. It would seem obvious to most people, that being the case, the availability of firearms is NOT the main cause of crime in a city.

Mr. Bailey now decides to return to “embellishments” in a big way, he states:

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found that gun shows rank second, after corrupt firearms distributors, in the number of illegally trafficked guns that turn up in its investigations, according to a 2000 report”.

He tries to makes one think that crime guns come from gun shows and dealers. Unfortunately for Mr. Bailey that is not the case. The guns that the ATF “investigates” are not always used in crimes, and to suggest so as Mr. Bailey does is dishonest. The ATF has come out with a disclamer on reports that state this fact, but I suppose that Mr. Bailey can’t be bothered with facts. The truth is, guns from gun shows account for less that 2% of all guns used in crime as this DOJ report shows. I wonder why Mr. Bailey has no links to his source material for his “news story”.

As far as his reference to the guns used in Columbine, Mr. Bailey conveniently leaves out the fact that the guns were purchased by a straw buyer and given to the killers, an illegal act.

Then Mr. Bailey stoops to new lows of public discourse.

“Dramatically reducing the flow of illegal guns would be a relatively straightforward matter if it were not for the lunatic gun lobby and its political enablers.”

Did he really have to resort to an ad hominem attack?

I have to admit it makes one wonder who is the lunatic?
The one who argues using facts, and provides source material to support their arguments,
the one who does not use facts, provides no source material, and tries to disguise an opinion piece as a “news story” in the business section.

The last bit of his opinion piece is just more unsupported statistics that I will not bother with now. Once someone resorts to calling names they have already lost the argument, Mr. Bailey has no honor, and I have better things to do.

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