The Gun Free Zone Myth

One of the biggest lies told by the Conservatives after Newtown is that shooters will focus their attempts at violence at gun free zones because they will meet no resistance. Their solution is to put armed guards at these schools to keep the potential shooters away.

So why did this happen? That’s right. A gunman entered a police precinct and started shooting.

So much for the theory that having guns at a location will prevent a shooter from attempting gun violence. The truth is that a potential killer will commit acts of violence regardless of the risk of someone else returning fire.

Conservative share “facts” but reach wrong conclusions.

I am a frequent listener to the John Osterlind show on Rush Radio 99.5 FM in New Orleans. I will also call in and set the Conservatives straight when important. This is where I have earned the nickname “Liberal Dan”.

Today he was discussing certain “facts” pertaining to gun control. One set of facts was a listing of all countries in the 20th century that eliminated vast segments of its citizenry. Each of them had taken the guns away from their citizens. I am not disputing those facts. However, the conclusion Conservatives make about these facts are false. By pointing these “facts” out they try to make people believe that countries that enact strict gun control laws are trying to eliminate portions of their populations. But that is absolutely untrue. There are plenty of countries that have enacted stricter gun control laws that we have that are not trying to systematically eliminate portions of their populations.

Another set of facts was that for the most part, mass shootings take place in “gun free zones”. This is true, but again misleading. The point he and others try to make is that these killers search out these gun free zones to commit their acts of violence. However, this is not true. Shooters may choose to commit gun crimes in such areas. Bombers do not care about a lack of gun free zones. Timothy McVeigh wouldn’t have been able to bring a gun into the building in OKC. That didn’t matter to him, because he chose to use a bomb instead. Osterlind tried to say that the facts prove that if a potential killer knows someone with a gun might be there, that they will not go murder people. However, what it tells me is that people who want to murder other people will find a way to murder those people based on the situation at hand. If the killer is less likely to be successful using a gun and instead will be more likely to be successful by using a bomb, the killer will use a bomb.

The response by Osterlind? He suggested that bombs are harder to get so it is less likely that a killer would be able to get the job done with a bomb. Ironic, because that is exactly what an anti-gun advocate would say.

I am more than willing to discuss the issue of gun regulations with people on both sides of the aisle. However, when the pro-gun folks insist on using logical fallacies to promote their agenda, it is very difficult to have an honest discussion with them.

A logical fallacy by the “Arm The Teachers” crowd.

I have a lot of Conservative Facebook friends. I also post in several Facebook groups where Conservatives post a lot. Because of this I get a clear window into the desires of many Conservatives out there and what they believe is the direction we should take this country.

After the Newtown shootings I have been seeing a lot of posts by those who wish to turn our schools into the wild west by arming all teachers. There are some major issues with this. The first in my mind would be what happens if a teacher freezes up while trying to use a weapon and the weapon goes to the shooter, allowing the shooter to have another weapon and more ammunition.

One of the defenses of this “arm the teachers” movement is a list of several examples where an armed civilian is able to prevent more harm because they either used a gun or showing the gun deterred more violence. These stories are out there.

But if we are going to have an honest and balanced discussion about such stories as proof, we would have to know what happened in all the other times a gunman threatened a group of people and other people had their own guns available. How many times did individuals with guns who were not trained to deal with this sort of situation froze up and were unable to do anything? How many times did the person with a gun just become a victim first because they were incapable of bringing it to bear. How many times was the gunman able to take the gun away and have an additional weapon from that point on?

So yes, there may have been times where an individual was able to protect other innocent civilians from a gunman because they were also armed. However, without the other information there is absolutely no way for us to know if this is the exception or if it is the rule. Until those questions are answered, the proposition by those Conservatives cannot logically be used as a defense for the “arm the teachers” argument.

The Reason Bobby Jindal Supports OTC Birth Control

In an op-ed, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stated his support for allowing birth control pills to be made available over the counter.

He also stated that he opposes the requirement that insurance policies not only cover oral contraception but do so at 100% first dollar.

To some it might seem counter-intuitive to support increased access to oral contraception while also seeking to allow employers to not cover oral contraception in health insurance policies (that are paid for by the work of their employees).

However, by making oral contraceptives available over the counter, the pills would no longer be covered under an insurance plans prescription coverage. So not only would Jindal make sure that his religious fundamentalist buddies would get their way by allowing them to offer their employees insurance without oral contraception coverage, he would also end up making it harder to obtain birth control (especially for those women who cannot use the simple generic version of the drug) because it would no longer be covered at 100% first dollar .

When I first heard of his support for making oral contraceptives available over the counter I  refused to believe that he was doing so to increase access to birth control for women. All I needed was a little time to uncover the method behind Jindal’s madness. So for those people who believe that Jindal has all of a sudden become more friendly to women’s issues, don’t kid yourself. That will never happen.

Update: Other bloggers have also seen through this facade.

Why Bobby Jindal is not your Birth Control Buddy also points out that this is about reducing access to oral contraception and questions Jindal’s inclusion of age into the argument.

Update 2: It is a little disturbing that Think Progress believes Jindal is waking to popular opinion and is pushing for increased access to birth control coverage. He is, in fact, distorting popular opinion to push his radical right wing agenda of restricting access to women.

Listen to the new episode of Liberal Dan Radio “Crossing the Line”

Go to the Liberal Dan Radio page on Blog Talk Radio to listen to the latest episode.

You can feel free to discuss any of the topics discussed on the show right here as well.

One of the most important things discussed on the show is the article over on the “Good Men Project” where an admitted rapist says that he would rather keep drinking and raping than stop drinking. It is pretty sad. Over the next few weeks I will be interviewing other people who have been discussing that post as well. So remember to tune in over the next few weeks if you would be interested in hearing more about this amazingly bizarre example of how one can behave like one is not a “Good Man”.

Allow people to park under the Pontchartrain Expressway

Petition link

Many workers in the City of New Orleans use the free parking under the expressway in order to save money for their families. The City of New Orleans has blocked the area off for parking and intends to permanently close it in with a fence. This is being explained as being done to prevent the homeless from congregating in the area. Dealing with poverty and homelessness in New Orleans will not be accomplished by building a fence and moving people around. We cannot just sweep homelessness under the rug and expect our problems to be solved. We need real solutions to combat poverty and homelessness by empowering those people, not by shuffling them to different locations and preventing people from using free parking.

The reasons given for the closing of the area are to “remediate a health hazard”. What is that health hazard? Are people who parked under there under any health risk from parking there for months? This needs to be explained as well.

So we ask that the city explain this health hazard to make sure that the people who have parked under there are safe. We also ask for the city to find alternative ways to deal with homelessness and poverty that are more productive and for them to not eliminate the access to free parking under the bridge.

Update: After months of trying I was finally able to get through to someone from the New Orleans Interagency Council on Homelessness. She was not able to answer all of my questions. What she did answer actually left me with more questions than answers. I was told that allowing the areas under the bridge to be open was an “attractive nuisance” and that the area needed to be closed in order to keep the homeless away. She claimed it was for their safety because some homeless people had been victims of crimes. Attractive Nuisance laws are typically requirements to put up a fence to prevent kids from coming into your pool and not for keeping the homeless from sleeping under the bridge. And because shelters can deny access to people with alcohol, drugs or weapons, I am uncertain how many homeless are actually helped with this new regulation.

She also told me that maintaining the area under the bridge is expensive and that New Orleans has taken on that responsibility after Louisiana handed over the responsibility to them. She would not tell me how much those costs are and what percentage of costs they are as compared to  the cleaning of the rest of the downtown area. So I have to reject the notion that the added costs of keeping the area clean are that much more than the cleaning of the rest of the streets.

I still have not been told what exact law allows the city to close that area indefinitely, what the health hazard was that needed to be remediated, on what date the city took over the maintenance of the area under the bridge, and when (or if) the area will be opened back up for parking.

I was told that it was closed “indefinitely” for “free parking” which seems to suggest they are looking at handing the area over to parking companies so they can handle the maintenance. Though, she denied that this was what her words meant, her mentioning free parking makes me consider that as a possibility.

I believe now more than ever, that this is just an attempt to sweep homelessness under the rug during the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras. I do not believe it will help the homeless in the short or long term. It also hurts the residents of the city who work in the Central Business District and have less access during this time.