Combs Spouts Off

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Archive for May, 2018

Good guys with guns aren’t very newsworthy, but are effective

Posted by Richard on May 29, 2018

Last Thursday, in the most recent example of a good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy, the bad guy started shooting into a busy Oklahoma City bar and grill when two armed citizens independently confronted him and one of them shot him dead. Newsbusters noted that this event was barely mentioned by CNN and completely ignored by NBC and MSNBC. It will never be included in the list of “mass shootings” that the media and (other) gun control advocates compile because the bad guy only wounded two and didn’t kill anyone. As the NRA noted:

…Like a perverse Goldilocks, gun controllers will discount cases where a criminal was stopped before they were able to carry out sufficient carnage, and, as in the case of the shooting in Southerland Springs, dismiss a case where the killer was able to exact significant violence before an armed citizen could arrive.

According to a 2017 study by the excellent Crime Prevention Research Center, the number of concealed carry permit holders nationwide has grown to over 16 million, up 256% since 2007. But that’s still just 6.5% of the adult population, so it’s pure luck when a good guy (or gal; carry permits for women have been growing much faster than for men) with a gun and the willingness to act happens to be on hand when a bad guy starts shooting.

But per FBI data, that lucky happenstance is happening more and more often, and as David French noted, increasing the number of good guys and gals with guns has been shown to have no downside and is far more likely to provide a benefit than any proposed gun control laws (bold emphasis added):

Any sophisticated approach to a problem involves discussing potential solutions both left of boom (before the shooting) and right of boom (after the shooting starts). Gun control is a classic left-of-boom approach, designed to prevent attacks before they can happen. …

In fact, as the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler found in a now-famous fact check, no recent mass shooting would have been prevented by any of the conventional gun restrictions progressives often propose.

But this isn’t a left-of-boom essay. Let’s talk about what happens when the shooting starts. Here, the FBI provides extremely helpful data. How do shootings end? The most common ways are exactly what you’d expect: The shooters kill themselves or flee, or the police exchange gunfire with the shooter and/or apprehend him. But a surprising amount of the time, citizens stop the killer, and an increasing percentage of those citizens are armed.

From 2000 to 2013, only five times did an armed citizen (who was not a police officer) exchange fire with the shooter. Three times the citizen killed the shooter, once the shooter committed suicide, and once the shooter was wounded. Fast forward to 2016–2017. In that time period, six armed citizens confronted active shooters. They stopped the shooting four times (in one case, the shooter fled to a different site and continued shooting, and in the other the armed citizen was wounded before he could stop the shooting).

The lesson? Armed citizens can make a difference, and as more Americans obtain carry permits, more Americans will be on-scene and able to react. Moreover, what’s missing from the data is any indication that armed citizens make the crisis worse. The stereotype of carry-permit holders spraying panicked gunfire is simply wrong.

Police can’t saturate populated areas. There are simply not enough cops to go around. The records of their responses are heroic (the incidents include large numbers of police casualties), but, as the saying goes, when seconds count, police are minutes away. But, by definition, people do saturate populated areas. And when an increasing number of those people possess carry permits, the instant response grows more likely.

It’s foolish to argue that “more carry permits” is the solution to our national challenge. I think it’s also wrong to claim that more carry permits isn’t part of the answer. But for carry permits to help, it requires a government to protect liberty and a citizen to exercise that liberty responsibly.

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That liberty shall live

Posted by Richard on May 28, 2018

“Flags In” for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.
Into God’s valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o’er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.
Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom’s flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant’s chain.

Today, please remember those who died “that liberty shall live.” I’m remembering my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs — who, in the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, “answered his country’s call even before the phone rang.” I miss you, Papa.

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Germany to immigrants: keep on truckin’!

Posted by Richard on May 22, 2018

A couple of years ago, Shikha Dalmia wrote an important column about why immigrants in America are by and large much more likely to assimilate than those in Europe:

Immigrants don’t need job programs. They need jobs. …

Jobs offer immigrants not just a paycheck, but also an entry into their new society, providing them with both the means and motive to learn its language and customs, all of which eliminates the need for formal programs. …

Yet many European countries have gone out of their way to deny or severely limit job opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees. Until a few years ago, most European Union countries prohibited asylum seekers from any employment until their application was processed, which could take years. Even now, Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh points out, Germany legally bars them from working for the first three months, Italy six, France nine, and England an entire year. Many countries, including Germany, restrict their employment to “shortage” sectors—and some even ban self-employment.

Even after refugees obtain work permits, their upward mobility is greatly restricted in Europe, thanks to the exceedingly rigid labor market in many countries. The unemployment rates of France and Belgium are nearly twice that of the United States. This dismal job market affects immigrants much more than the native born, thanks to Europe’s tough minimum wage laws and other labor regulations that protect incumbents at the cost of newcomers.

As a result, Muslim immigrants in Europe are much more likely to be filled with resentment, anger, and hatred toward their supposed benefactors. So Germany, where “officials estimate that more than 75% of the new arrivals are unemployed, collecting benefits and are ‘unlikely to find work’ in the next ten years,” [!] should be applauded for taking even small steps to address this problem, right?

Well, maybe. But given that both ISIS and al Qaeda have encouraged the use of vehicles as weapons of terror, and many such attacks have since taken place, this may not be the best choice of jobs programs for Muslim immigrants:

… Big problems such as this call for big solutions and the Germans think they’ve come up with a winner. What better job to give to these unemployed migrants than that of… being a truck driver. (Voice of Europe)

This plan is not only bound to make some Germans, especially those in Berlin, somewhat nervous, it will surely cause many to wonder why it would take three years to train someone to drive a truck. Perhaps the curriculum runs something like this:

  • Three months of commercial truck driving training
  • Nine months of intensive language learning
  • Twenty-four months of teaching the students how and why not to mow down infidels
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