A nation run by imbeciles and cowards

First, Jonah Goldberg:

In a normal country during normal times, the jihadi terrorist shooting in Orlando in which 49 people were murdered in cold blood — and more than 50 injured — would be a cause for a serious debate about national security. Instead, it has been taken as an opportunity to light a bonfire of the inanities.

Let’s start at the top. President Obama once famously said (more than once, actually), “Don’t tell me words don’t matter.”

Fast-forward to this [past] week, when in a tantrum of biblical proportions, the furious president said . . . words don’t matter. Responding to complaints from Donald Trump and others that he won’t say the words “radical Islamic terrorism,” Obama huffed, “Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.”

Never mind that Obama’s passion refuted his own argument. Perhaps he’s right that “there is no magic to the phrase ‘radical Islam,’” but if that’s the case, why the years of stubborn refusal to say it? It’s almost like Obama still thinks “words matter” — he just wants to mock anyone who thinks the “wrong” words matter.

But let’s discuss this “political distraction” business. Before the blood had been mopped up in Orlando, the president and the woman seeking to replace him immediately tried to make the second-worst Islamic terror attack on American soil into anything other than Islamic terrorism.

Over and over again, news outlets uncritically reported on the “common-sense” effort to implement more stringent background checks and get rid of automatic weapons, AR-15s, and other “assault” weapons. Well, automatic weapons — i.e., machine guns — are already essentially banned for civilians. And the weapon used in Orlando wasn’t an assault weapon or an AR-15. As for background checks, they already exist. Moreover, the FBI conducted two extensive investigations into the shooter — a background check far more exhaustive than any proposed checks.

The terror-watch-list ban on gun purchases that Democrats now desire is a constitutional horror show if you believe, as the ACLU does, that the federal government shouldn’t be allowed to unilaterally draw up secret lists to deny people their civil rights.

Of course, Democrats insist they’re just being pragmatic, which is why Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) thinks the constitutional requirement for due process is “killing us.” What he didn’t mention is that the Democrats’ proposal is opposed by the head of the FBI because it would make tracking terrorists more difficult. Apparently, “common sense” requires trampling the Constitution to make the FBI’s job harder.

“A ban on Muslims would not have stopped this attack. Neither would a wall. I don’t know how one builds a wall to keep the Internet out,” Hillary Clinton said to guffaws from the crowd at a campaign event in Virginia. “Not one of Donald Trump’s reckless ideas would have saved a single life in Orlando.”

OK, but her proposals wouldn’t have saved any lives either. Moreover, this is the woman who insisted her illegal private e-mail server was secure because it was guarded by armed Secret Service agents. Ironically, their guns do save lives, but they’re no more effective than a wall at combating the Internet.

Still, for all its stupidity, the gun conversation looks like a debate at the Algonquin Round Table compared with the effort to make the Orlando shooting all about homophobia and gay marriage.

“While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear,” the New York Times editorialized, “it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians.”

“Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum,” added the Gray Lady (I’m referring to the Times, not Clinton). “They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.”

The killer was a registered Democrat. The source of his hatred was not the Christian Coalition but radical Islamism. He stated this motivation clearly during the shooting and for months prior. He reportedly also considered attacking that notorious gay hangout Disney World. Would we be hearing about the pernicious, right-wing, anti-cartoon-character climate if he’d opted for that target?

Maybe we would, because all that really matters to the people who hate saying “radical Islamic terrorism” is that we cling to the right political distractions.

Next, Sean Davis:

It happens like clock work: as soon as there’s a mere whisper of a terrorist attack or a mass shooting, the usual suspects kick in to high gear. Their destination is always the same: a faraway land where a so-called assault weapons ban magically eliminates not only guns but also prevents guns from walking of their own volition, without need of human agency, into crowded places and killing people.

The reaction after the terrorist attack in Orlando, in which a radical Islamist who pledged allegiance to ISIS murdered at least 49 people in a packed night club, was as predictable as it was pathetic.

Set aside for the moment the fact that no automatic weapons were used in the Orlando terrorist attack (an automatic weapon is one for which a single trigger pull will fire multiple bullets), and that it is literally impossible for a semi-automatic weapon to fire 700 rounds per minute. Nor, to my knowledge, have automatic weapons ever been used in a mass shooting in the modern era.

When silly people like Seth MacFarlane and Susan Sarandon say they want to ban “automatic weapons,” what they mean is that they want to ban guns that look scary. They don’t understand that you can’t walk into a gun store and walk out with a military-style assault weapon (one that can fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull). That’s because 1) most gun dealers don’t carry the military version of the scary looking gun, 2) you have to jump through an obscene number of hoops with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to even obtain a tax stamp that says you may purchase such a weapon (a process that takes months, if not years), and 3) the actual versions of rifles used by the military are really expensive and unaffordable for the vast majority of prospective gun owners.

Set aside for the moment the fact that no automatic weapons were used in the Orlando terrorist attack (an automatic weapon is one for which a single trigger pull will fire multiple bullets), and that it is literally impossible for a semi-automatic weapon to fire 700 rounds per minute. Nor, to my knowledge, have automatic weapons ever been used in a mass shooting in the modern era.

When silly people like Seth MacFarlane and Susan Sarandon say they want to ban “automatic weapons,” what they mean is that they want to ban guns that look scary. They don’t understand that you can’t walk into a gun store and walk out with a military-style assault weapon (one that can fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull). That’s because 1) most gun dealers don’t carry the military version of the scary looking gun, 2) you have to jump through an obscene number of hoops with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to even obtain a tax stamp that says you may purchase such a weapon (a process that takes months, if not years), and 3) the actual versions of rifles used by the military are really expensive and unaffordable for the vast majority of prospective gun owners.

But before we dive into whether the assault weapons ban was merely dumb, or if it was monumentally stupid and counterproductive, it’s important to define what the previous federal ban covered and how it defined an “assault weapon.” The 1994 assault weapons law banned semi-automatic rifles only if they had any two of the following five features in addition to a detachable magazine: a collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher.

That’s it. Not one of those cosmetic features has anything whatsoever to do with how or what a gun fires. Note that under the 1994 law, the mere existence of a bayonet lug, not even the bayonet itself, somehow turned a garden-variety rifle into a bloodthirsty killing machine. Guns with fixed stocks? Very safe. But guns where a stock has more than one position? Obviously they’re murder factories. A rifle with both a bayonet lugand a collapsible stock? Perish the thought.

A collapsible stock does not make a rifle more deadly. Nor does a pistol grip. Nor does a bayonet mount. Nor does a flash suppressor. And for heaven’s sake, good luck finding, let alone purchasing, 40mm explosive grenades for your rifle-mounted grenade launcher (and remember: the grenade launcher itself is fine, just as long as you don’t put the ultra-deadly bayonet lug anywhere near it).

The complete unfamiliarity with guns and how they work that led to the inept definitions in the 1994 law was on full display in a now-infamous television interview with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York congresswoman who backed the so-called assault weapons ban. In the interview, Tucker Carlson asked McCarthy to define “barrel shroud,” a firearm feature regulated by the law. Here’s how she answered:

CARLSON: I read the legislation and it said that it would regulate “barrel shrouds.” What’s a barrel shroud and why should we regulate that?

MCCARTHY:The guns that were chosen back in those days were basically the guns that most gangs and criminals were using to kill our police officers. I’m not saying it was the best bill, but that was they could get out at that particular time.

CARLSON: Ok. Do you know what a barrel shroud is?

MCCARTHY: I actually don’t know what a barrel shroud is. I think it’s the shoulder thing that goes up.”

“The shoulder thing that goes up.” It’s not the “shoulder thing that goes up.” There is no “shoulder thing that goes up.” The “barrel shroud” (a term nobody uses) is simply a hand guard that goes around a barrel. That embarrassing spectacle happened over seven years ago, and yet over that period of time, McCarthy’s fellow gun banners still haven’t seen fit to learn the slightest thing about the objects they wish to regulate.

If the cosmetic features used to define an “assault weapon” in the 1994 law strike you as really stupid ways to define an “assault weapon,” it’s because the 1994 law was a stupid law with stupid definitions written by stupid people. And not only was it a stupid law, it was a stupid law that didn’t even accomplish its stated goal. How do we know? Because today, more than a decade after the law’s expiration, the number of people murdered by rifles is 36 percent lower than it was during the last full year the assault weapons ban was in effect.

The law expired in September of 2004, making 2003 the last full calendar year in which the law was in effect. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime statistics, 390 people were murdered with rifles in 2003, making rifles the weapon of choice in 2.7 percent of murders that year. But in 2014, more than a decade after these vile weapons of war flooded American streets, the number of rifle murders surely skyrocketed, right?

Not so much. Quite the opposite. In 2014, the most recent year for which detailed FBI data are available, rifles were used in 248 murders. And not only are rifles used in far fewer murders over a decade following the expiration of the 1994 gun ban, they’re also used in a smaller percentage of homicides. In 2003, when the gun ban was in full effect, rifles were used in nearly 3 percent of murders. In 2014, they were used in barely 2 percent.

That’s the exact opposite of what gun banners said should happen. After the assault weapons ban, guns were supposed to flood the streets and just start killing people. Crime was supposed to skyrocket. But that’s not what happened. Yes, Americans bought a ton of rifles after the law expired, but rather than going up, the number of homicides in which rifles were used drastically fell. There were way more guns, but way less crime.

Are you ready for a mind-blowing statistic? In 2014, you were six times more likely to be murdered with a knife than you were with a rifle. Knives were the weapon of choice in 1,567 murders in 2014, according to the FBI. It gets crazier. You were also nearly three times more likely to be killed by someone’s fists or feet than you were to be murdered with a rifle. In 2014, 660 people were murdered with what the FBI calls “personal weapons”–hands, fists, feet–compared to 248 with rifles.

In the United States, knives are more deadly than rifles. So are fists. And feet. This is not my opinion. It is an incontrovertible fact. And it’s a fact that highlights a point that far too many people refuse to acknowledge: the human desire to kill is far more deadly than any weapon. Weapons do not of their own volition and agency decide to kill people. That requires human intervention. Humans hell-bent on death and destruction will get their hands on whatever tools they need to wreak their desired havoc. Restricting the use of those tools by innocent people who only want to protect themselves and their families is delusional madness.

Yet here we are. Rather than blaming individuals and ideologies, the leading lights of American society have decided to demonize inanimate objects. Despite the fact that the terrorist in Orlando was a radical jihadi who pledged allegiance to ISIS, progressives have decided to blame the NRA for what happened. Even though the terrorist wasregistered to vote as a Democrat, his fellow Democrats have decided that Republicans are the true culprits.

This is apparently how 2016 is going to go. If a boy tells you he’s a girl, then he’s a girl. If an Islamic terrorist who pledges allegiance to ISIS tells you he’s killing for Allah, then he’s probably a Republican with a lifetime NRA membership. After all, Islamic terrorists don’t kill people; peaceful, law-abiding citizens who believe the Second Amendment means what it says kill people.

Collective leftist denial about the existential, radical Islamic threat facing America is not going to prevent Islamic terrorism. Gun bans that ban guns based on nothing more than scary-looking cosmetic features are not going to prevent radical jihadis from murdering innocent people. Pretending that Republicans and the NRA are the real villains is not going to prevent ISIS from killing more Americans. Ignoring the fact that these attacks seem to only happen in gun-free zones won’t prevent violent psychopaths from waltzing into those gun-free zones and gunning down the unarmed civilians who congregate there.

There are Episcopal churches that this past weekend read a litany from the church’s bishop of Maine. It would have been perfect had the word “gun” been omitted, because isn’t violence that doesn’t use guns (say, from my recent career, fire and beatings) as bad as violence that does use guns? Twenty Saudi Arabians and Timothy McVeigh proved you don’t need guns to kill a lot of people.

The  group Bishops United Against Gun Violence also advocated calling U.S. senators today to favor whatever it is the Senate will be considering today. Of course, no one can say which law(s) would have prevented the Orlando massacre. The bishops apparently won’t mention that gun violence has been dropping, not increasing, even as gun ownership is increasing, or that murder rates are now where they were in the 1950s. But don’t believe me; ask …

… the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention.

Here’s an additional bit of inconvenient truth Paul Sperry reports:

America has now averaged one serious Islamic terrorist attack a year on President Obama’s watch, yet he still insists the threat from radical Islam is overblown and that he’s successfully protecting the nation.

If only hubris could be weaponized!

In the wake of Omar Mateen’s Orlando massacre, Obama whined about growing criticism of his terror-fighting strategy. But boy, does he deserve it. His record on terrorism is terrible, and Hillary Clinton should have a tough time defending it. …

Obama said Orlando “marks the most deadly shooting in American history.” Actually, it was the second-worst act of Islamic terrorism in American history, replacing in six short months the San Bernardino massacre as the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11.

Here are the previous seven:

December 2015: Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married Pakistani couple, stormed a San Bernardino County government building with combat gear and rifles and opened fire on about 80 employees enjoying an office Christmas party. They killed 14 after pledging loyalty to ISIS. A third Muslim was charged with helping buy weapons.

July 2015:
Mohammad Abdulazeez opened fire on a military recruiting center and US Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he shot to death four Marines and a sailor. Obama refused to call it terrorism.

May 2015: ISIS-directed Muslims Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson opened fire on the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, shooting a security guard before police took them down.

April 2013:
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Muslim brothers from Chechnya, exploded a pair of pressure-cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 260. At least 17 people lost limbs from the shrapnel.

September 2012: Terrorists with al Qaeda in the Maghreb attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing the US ambassador, a US Foreign Service officer and two CIA contractors. Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton misled the American people, blaming the attack on an anti-Muslim video.

November 2009: Army Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13. Obama ruled it “workplace violence,” even though Hasan was in contact with an al Qaeda leader before the strikes and praised Allah as he mowed down troops.

June 2009:
Al Qaeda-trained Abdulhakim Muhammad opened fire on an Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Ark., killing Pvt. William Long and wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula.

So there you have it — an average of one serious terror strike against the United States every year on Obama’s watch. And we’re not even counting the underwear bomber, Times Square bomber, Fed Ex bombs and other near-misses.

History will not be kind to this president’s record.

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