January 21, 2009

Cautious Optimism

Well, for what it's worth, I stayed up half the night to watch Obama's Inauguration speech. Parts that were of vital importance to me were too vague and general to have any meaning. Parts that don't worry me (like our approach to Islam) were clear and specific. Obviously our approach to Islamic countries has to change, but the main responsibility for curbing radical Islamic terrorism must come from within those countries. If it does not, the best foreign policy in the world will be useless. If Islamic countries do not take charge of their own internal policing while taking firm, positive steps to eliminate class inequalities and improve education for everyone, then protecting our own society might end up requiring a brutal, unforgivable genocide.

Mind you, I do not like that solution, but if we are left with no other choice then we must do whatever is necessary to protect our people and our way of life. I hope and pray that Obama's new policy will bring a peaceful resolution to the jihad being waged against us. The alternative is too horrifying to contemplate.

On the other hand, he was very general and vague about protecting "rights written down by our forefathers". What exactly does that mean? Does that mean unpopular political views (including extremes like neo-nazism) will be allowed a voice in public media? Does that mean I will one day soon have the freedom to strap on a loaded pistol and walk around town in any city in America without police assuming I am intent on murder and mayhem? Does that mean high school students will be allowed to form prayer groups? Will Islamic students be allowed to perform their midday prayers in the high school cafeteria? Will "rational" atheists be allowed to ridicule any expression of faith in public schools?

On a more personal level, the Obama campaign is working hard to shift their grassroots support into mass volunteerism. I applaud this wholeheartedly. I am even considering looking for opportunities to help them. On the other hand, there is this:

Obama-Biden Urban Policy:
End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence: As president, Barack Obama will support innovative local programs, such as the CeaseFire program in Chicago, that have been proven to work. Such programs implement a comprehensive public health approach that implements a community-based strategy to prevent youth violence. He will also double funding for federal afterschool programs and invest in 20 Promise Neighborhoods across the country to ensure that urban youth have meaningful opportunities to succeed.

Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn't have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets

This worries me. In fact, it scares me to death. Just spend a few minutes reading about the Chicago "CeaseFire" initiative. On paper, it sounds fine. In reality, this is nearly identical to another, much less acceptable campaign: the National Socialist 25-point Program. I admit, I am walking a razor's edge here. Community involvement is essential to overcoming the violence prevalent in American cities. The Chicago "CeaseFire" program is achieving a dramatic reduction in violence, but then, the National Socialists were very, very good at rounding up "malcontents" and shipping them off to death camps.

Is this what the modern world is coming to? Is genocide and facism the only way to have a peaceful, prosperous society? Has diversity and cross-cultural communication failed so badly in so many different realms that we are faced with no other choice than to eliminate, banish, or exterminate those who hold to a different philosophy of life? I don't know.

I do know that anti-gun extremists enjoy an overwhelming majority influence among the members of Obama's cabinet. I also know that the Brady Campaign and their followers (including Eric Holder), are not open to real-world data and statistical analysis. Instead, they are utterly and completely convinced that everyone who owns a gun is either a criminal or a criminal in the making. Now I understand that in the Bronx and in South Chicago, and in West L.A., people who own guns are generally gang members. I also know that even though these criminals terrorized the neighborhoods where Obama and Holder spent important developmental years in their youth, in view of the total United States population these violent criminals are a small, almost insignificant minority of gun users.

Yes, that's right. Despite the headlines and the Hollywood hype, the number of criminals who use guns in crime is statistically irrelevant. The Brady Campaign's quote of "30,000 annual gun deaths", does not correspond to the FBI count of 8,890 nor to the CDC count of 12,352 (both figures are for 2005, the latest year available online). Even if you combined the two you would only have two-thirds the figure provided by the Brady Campaign and regularly quoted by advocates of hyper-restrictive gun control.

Unfortunately, looking at the makeup of the Obama cabinet it is patently obvious that the only number Obama himself will ever see is the inflated and unrealistic Brady Campaign number.

The NRA has an interesting article from 2005 (the last year available for gun death statistics at both the FBI and CDC) called "Guns & Gun Ownership". According to that article, the ATF estimates that there are 214 million guns in the United States. 214 million guns and 12,352 gun deaths? Automobiles are more dangerous! Of the 250 million passenger vehicles, there were 39,252 traffic fatalities in 2005.

Hmm. Maybe the Brady Campaign confused guns and cars?