There they go again.Trump and guns.

Feigned Outrage

There they go again.

“If she (Hillary Clinton) gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in North Carolina today. “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

His campaign maintained that he was referring to political activism.

But Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager responded in high dudgeon: “What Trump is saying is dangerous.”

Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, erupted in disbelief. “Nobody who is seeking a leadership position, especially the presidency, the leadership of the country, should do anything to countenance violence, and that’s what he was saying,” Kaine said.

The ever low-key Elizabeth Warren followed up, saying Trump had made a “death threat.”

And of course a Democratic Congressman, Eric Swalwell, CA, followed up by calling on the Secret Service to investigate Donald Trump’s comments directed at Hillary Clinton, according to The Hill.

“Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton. We must take people at their word. @SecretService must investigate #TrumpThreat,” Swalwell Tweeted.

The fact that his tweet got him some media attention probably pleased Swalwell no end.

Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, said Mr. Trump’s statement was “repulsive — literally using the Second Amendment as cover to encourage people to kill someone with whom they disagree.”

The media loved it, seeing another opportunity for more over-the-top, twisted, contorted, coverage of the presidential campaign.

The New York Times reported that  Donald Trump seemed to suggest that gun rights backers could take matters into their own hands if Hillary Clinton nominated judges who favor gun control.

I heard the same kind of hand-wringing language on OPB this afternoon.

Similarly, The Hill reported: “Yet another Donald Trump reset has gone by the wayside as the GOP nominee appeared to joke that someone could shoot his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. His comment came just one day after a highly-touted economic speech meant to put Trump back on message.  After the comment gained steam on social media, the Trump campaign raced to clarify that Trump only meant political resource, not violence. But it’s the kind of diversion that drives on-the-fence Republicans crazy.”

Good grief. Come on folks. There are enough legitimate Trump issues to focus on without stooping to this kind of manufactured outrage.

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Gun safety training: another feel-good solution to shooting deaths

Umpqua Community College candlelight vigil

Umpqua Community College candlelight vigil

After every shooting rampage, whether at Umpqua Community College, San Bernardino, or Sandy Hook, voices are raised across the country calling for “something to be done”.

The latest solution to escalating firearms deaths, put out there on Jan. 9 by the New York Times, is government-mandated gun safety training. The fact that it would have little impact on gun deaths, except, perhaps, to make suicides more efficient, is apparently irrelevant.

“…since we’re awash in firearms anyway, we’d be better off if people knew how to use them without hitting anything other than their target,” The New York Times argued in a Jan. 9 editorial.

Sounds good, but according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of firearm deaths aren’t caused by bumbling undertrained shooters inadvertently blasting people. Instead, most gun deaths, roughly 6 of every 10, are suicides. This has been the case since at least 1981.

Training potentially suicidal people how to handle a gun better is unlikely to prevent them from blowing themselves away.

As homicides by firearms have been declining, the share of all gun deaths by suicide has been growing.

In 2010, for example, there were 31,672 deaths by firearms, including: 19,392 suicides (61%) compared with 11,078 homicides (35%).

In 2013, there were 33,636 deaths by firearms, including 21,175 suicides by firearm (63 %) compared with 8,454 homicides by firearms (25%).

Mandated safety training of potentially homicidal folks (including criminals, if they are so inclined) is also unlikely to sway them from their murderous intent. And if the New York Times’ objective in calling for required gun safety training is greater accuracy by shooters, does it make sense to insist on homicidal nutcases learning how to aim better?

I’m no gun-rights evangelist, but this push for government-mandated gun safety training to cut down on gun killings sounds to me like an attractive, but flawed and costly, tactic more symbolic than anything else.

If gun control proponents really want solutions, they should be realistic about what tactics will cost in time and money and whether they are capable of actually accomplishing anything meaningful.

Progressives say “Nyet” to the free market

For all their bleating about conservatives wanting to constrain personal choice, as in their anti-abortion stance, progressives are quite comfortable limiting the choices of others themselves. The result is a kind of ruthless do-gooderism, forcing others to live their lives according to the narrow precepts of smug true believers who know best.

Take retail gun and music sales.

The members of the Trinity Wall Street Church, an Episcopal parish in New York City that champions progressive causes, want Walmart shareholders to have a say on whether the company should establish policies governing the sale of offensive items.

Gus for sale at Walmart

Gus for sale at Walmart

That would include products that are “(1) especially dangerous to the public, (2) pose a substantial risk to company reputation and (3) would reasonably be considered offensive to the community and family values that Wal-Mart seeks to associate with its brand.”

The church’s objective?  To force Walmart to remove from its shelves high-capacity rifles and sexually-charged or violent music.

What’s next, shareholder votes on stores stocking water pistols, banned or challenged books, white American Girl dolls, 50 Shades of Grey or American Sniper DVDs, gory video games like Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty Black Ops, or the “Plan B” contraceptive pill?

In essence, the church wants to substitute its judgment and the judgment of other left-leaning true believers for the free market.

Just like the plastic water bottle zealots.

plastic-water-bottles

I’m no fan of paying for water in plastic bottles. For one, It’s obscenely expensive, compared with household tap water. Two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That’s about 2,000 times higher than the typical cost of a gallon of tap water. Most often the bottled water isn’t of higher quality than tap water either and the containers generate tons of wasted plastic.

But progressives aren’t satisfied with urging people not to buy bottled water, to use a reusable water bottle instead. They want to go much further. “Rally your schools, workplaces, and communities to ban bottled water,” they implore.

Another case of progressives wanting to impose their values and choices on me.

Companies should be free to develop and market safe products and consumers should be free to decide whether to buy them. Banning stuff because some slice of the population opposes a product for ideological reasons is offensive.

And of course I can’t pursue this topic without talking about Hillary Clinton.

HillaryClinton_2326613b

Hillary wants to require that prescription-drug companies spend a set portion of their revenue on research and development, or forfeit federal support such as tax credits or research money.

Does Clinton really think the government should go so far as to instruct how private businesses spend their revenue, all in the name of a higher good as defined by Hillary? And Bernie says he’s the socialist in the race.

Ignore the busybodies

RosenblumIgnore the busybodies.

That’s my advice after learning that Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, and attorneys general representing 27 other states and territories, have signed a letter to big pharmacy chains, including Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger, Safeway and Walmart, calling on them to stop selling tobacco products in stores that also have pharmacies. (http://nyti.ms/1ht1aLl)

“Pharmacies and drug stores, which increasingly market themselves as a source for community health care, send a mixed message by continuing to sell deadly tobacco products,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, a leader of the effort.

Following the line of thinking that it is immoral or contradictory for these businesses to sell tobacco products alongside healthcare products, are the attorneys general as outraged over all these company’s stores also selling tooth-decaying candy, life-destroying alcohol, and snacks like Twinkies that are contributing to an epidemic of obesity? And good grief, what about guns? WalMart sells guns. Talk about something that can ruin your health.

What individual stores stock should be based on customer preferences, not the headline-grabbing antics of state attorneys general eager to impose their views on the marketplace.