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Guns and Crime

Ghost guns: “A crisis!”

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Ghost guns A crisis

The Law of the Bureaucrat states that for every perceived problem there is a rule that can solve it. Supposedly having a gun with no serial numbers makes it impossible to solve crimes. After all, the serial number is exactly like the VIN on your car. If you have the number, you can somehow find the owner in a database somewhere. That will lead you to the criminal. Hence, the rule that manufacturers must put serial numbers on guns.

Right.

I got a hunting rifle for my birthday. It has a serial number. If it somehow gets used in a crime (not by me!) there’s no guaranteed way to use that number for anything except to identify when and where it was manufactured. The police might even learn that I bought it. That’s it. The criminal who stole it won’t be identified, for the simple reason that he stole it.

Duh!

There’s no database of serial numbers and owners. But suppose that we start registering every gun sale in a permanent record tomorrow. That won’t do anything for the hundreds of millions of guns that Americans already own. And it’s not going to do anything to help identify the stolen guns used in crime. And almost every gun crime is committed with a stolen gun.

So how do the police solve crimes? They find the weapons used in crime, fire bullets through them, and compare marks on the bullets and shell casings with evidence from the crime. Yes, they do try to discover the original purchaser, but since that person rarely commits the crime, that’s little real help. After all, what good did it do to learn that the Las Vegas shooter bought his weapons over several years? He was a lawful purchaser. And he had already suffered the death penalty.

One could propose a complete ban on guns, but that has been proven useless. Chicago plants a citizen every eighteen hours, and guns are all but illegal in private hands there. Gang-bangers get them anyway. Guns and knives are illegal in prisons, but prisoners figure out how to make them. The criminal mind is always a step ahead of law enforcement.

So what’s the big deal about an AR-15 with no serial number? Have ghost guns been used in lots of crime? The Wall Street Journal lists three crimes in four years. Surely that’s an epidemic in the context of over 12,000 murders a year. Of course we need to go ballistic over three criminals. A total of ten killed in four years is definitely worthy of hyperventilation when Chicago loses that many every week with stolen guns.

Don’t get me wrong. Every wrongful death is a tragedy. But when we are obsessing over less than one tenth of one percent of murders in order to create rules that only law-abiding citizens – who don’t commit crimes! – will obey, we’re barking up the wrong tree. We need to be dealing with the other 99.9% of the murders. When we have saved those lives, then it may be worth our efforts to save the remaining few.

It is immoral to spend scarce resources on even scarcer problems. It is even more reprehensible to spend them on solutions that don’t offer any realistic promise of success. Remember that every gun investigation starts with a gun in hand. If that gun has no serial number, either because it never had one or because it has been filed off by the criminal, the rest of the investigation isn’t materially changed. Fingerprints, DNA, and ballistic data will build the case. Those are far more likely to provide useful information than any serial number.

Serial numbers are applied by manufacturers to allow quality control. They have developed a secondary use in identifying the date of manufacture, either to allow purchase of proper spare parts or to establish value in old and rare models. They were never designed for criminal investigations, and are generally a poor tool in them.

To allow “ghost guns” to be the subject of legislative action is an example of magical thinking. Somehow, the good intentions will make life safer. But reality teaches us that we must take action that actually addresses real problems.

Ted Noel MD is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist with 36 years of experience. He produces a video blog on current political subjects weekly at www.VidZette.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve

    January 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Stopping people from making guns is impossible. Guns are just relatively simple machines. You might as well try to stop somebody from building a model airplane. There isn’t much difference. If commercial manufacturers can make guns then others can learn to make guns. It’s not magic.

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Guns and Crime

Charges being investigated in Las Vegas Shooting

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Charges being investigated in Las Vegas Shooting

As noted on the January 12th article We still want answers Las Vegas Shooting investigation, a hearing was set to take place on January 16th to possibly unseal the exercised search warrants in connection to the Stephen Paddock, the only identified Las Vegas Shooting participant. This followup is being conducted as part of getting the Las Vegas Shooting back into the front page as the public awaits answers. People  want answers and it’s good that some members of the media are fighting for them. The hearing was part of a legal action brought fourth by members of the media, most notably the Las Vegas Review Journal. Also covering the hearing was Craig Fiegener, a reporter who has closely followed this story.

To briefly summarize the hearing, the media attorney said that we have a right see the unsealed search warrants. The LVMPD ended up resorting to revealing that because additional charges are being considered, the hearing should be done behind closed doors. So no decision was rendered as Judge Cadish will give the police time to file a brief. For now we wait another week and then some for answers. But until then we can speculate. At the mention of charges being investigated, all eyes are on the shooter’s girlfriend.

Perspectives

Criminal charges possible in Las Vegas shooting, lawyers say

https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/shootings/criminal-charges-possible-in-las-vegas-shooting-lawyers-say/The hearing, before Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish, related to local police search warrant records.

Metro’s initial argument was that Cadish did not have the authority to unseal the records because that authority should remain with the individual judges who initially ordered the records sealed. Cadish rejected that argument.

The only other evidence Metro submitted in support of keeping the records sealed was an FBI affidavit. Review-Journal attorney Maggie McLetchie argued that Metro could not make assertions on behalf of the FBI, then noted that federal authorities did not oppose the release of federal search warrants last week.

“The press has an important role in being able to get access to this warrant information and help the public understand what occurred in regard to what warrants law enforcement got, what came back and what the actual facts are,” McLetchie said in court. “The horrific incidents of 1 October were over three months ago. The public still has many, many questions.”

That’s when Metro attorneys suddenly asserted that the sealed documents were pertinent to possible charges.

Cadish said she wanted to read through the sealed documents and compare them with information that already has been made public. She indicated she would make a decision by Jan. 26.

Court claim puts attention on Las Vegas shooter’s girlfriend

https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/shootings/court-claim-puts-attention-on-las-vegas-shooters-girlfriend/“It’s a very bold statement to say that criminal charges are going to be filed in this case when the only person whose name or inference has been put in the news is his girlfriend,” Las Vegas attorney Craig Drummond said. “I would hope they’re going to back it up. If they don’t, it will incite all of these conspiracy theorists even more.”

Drummond said it is possible authorities are looking at other people who may have not followed proper procedures when selling firearms to Stephen Paddock or others who may have helped him modify some of the weapons.

Defense lawyer Robert Langford speculated that if Danley knew of Paddock’s plans and somehow aided or abetted his actions, she would already have been charged.

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Culture and Religion

The strange tale of the Turpin family

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The strange tale of the Turpin family

Abuse of children is one of the most horrible things anyone can do. Rarely do I even read stories about abuse. I know it exists. I’m against it. I don’t want reminders of how evil some people really are. The story of the Turpin family drew me in and made me weep for a world that allows such things to happen.

Here’s the story, followed by my brief thoughts:

California family: Parents charged after children found shackled

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/16/us/california-turpin-13-siblings-held-captive/index.htmlDavid, 57, and Louise, 49, are accused of holding their children captive in their Perris, California, home in filthy conditions, some of them shackled to beds with chains and padlocks. The 13 siblings range in age from 2 to 29.

The parents are charged with torture and child endangerment, and scheduled for a court hearing Thursday. Bail was set at $9 million each. It was not immediately clear if the suspects had attorneys or whether they had entered a plea.

On Sunday, one of their daughters, a 17-year-old, managed to escape from their home by climbing out a window and called 911 from a deactivated cell phone she found in the house, police said. She told officers her parents were holding her 12 siblings captive inside the home, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.

My Take

There’s a danger here. We have to be mindful of children who are being abused. Unfortunately, that also means there will be times when the state must intervene. Any time that happens, I get worried. I want as little intervention as possible and only when absolutely necessary. The story of the Turpin family is an example of it being necessary.

The problem is that this evil was allowed to continue for decades. How can that happen? How do we respect the rights of parents and embrace a non-interfering government when there are people like the Turpins in the world? It’s a slippery slope and I have no answers.

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Culture and Religion

Pastor’s sins finally catch up to him, but will he land on his feet?

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Pastors sins finally catch up to him but will he land on his feet

Andy Savage may not be a household name (unless you are ‘Walkin’ and ‘Livin’ in Memphis, Tennessee), but recently a woman by the name of Jules Woodson claims that Savage sexually assaulted her back in 1998 when she was 17 years of age, and Savage was a college student and on staff of Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas. For better or worse this alleged scandal was swept under the rug and Savage was able to achieve work as a teaching Pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN.

While Savage owns up to his actions, he was not defrocked and blacklisted. We live in a cursed creation and all of us can and do fall into sin. While we need to repent of our sins, certain sins should disqualify people from serving in certain church offices in this life.

Reference

Church leader connected to sexual assault accusation against Andy Savage placed on leave

http://www.fox13memphis.com/top-stories/church-leader-connected-to-sexual-assault-accusation-against-andy-savage-placed-on-leave/679779540MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A church leader connected to sexual assault accusations against Highpoint Church pastor Andy Savage has been suspended.

On Friday, a woman named Jules Woodson came forward with allegations against Savage. The accusations stemmed from an alleged sexual assault in 1998, when Savage was a college student on staff at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas.

Andy Savage sexual assault case: Memphis Highpoint pastor gets ovation for apology

http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/article193746309.htmlMembers of a Memphis megachurch stood and applauded their pastor on Sunday when he admitted to and apologized for engaging in a “sexual incident” with a high school student 20 years ago.

Jules Woodson, who accused Highpoint Church Pastor Andy Savage of sexually assaulting her when she was 17, told The New York Times she watched the moment, streamed live on the church’s YouTube page, in disbelief.

Memphis pastor admits to sexual incident with teen, receives standing ovation

http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/37229945/criticism-support-growing-for-memphis-pastor-accused-of-sexual-assaultThere is a growing national spotlight on a Memphis pastor after revelations he had sexual contact with a high school girl 20 years ago.

Church members and people from all over are taking to Facebook about Highpoint Church pastor Andy Savage, who addressed his congregation Sunday.

Highpoint Church leader admits past sexual misconduct with high school student

http://wreg.com/2018/01/06/highpoint-church-leader-admits-past-sexual-misconduct-with-high-school-student/Andy Savage released an official statement on the incident that happened while he was a college student on staff at a Texas church.

Savage is now the Teaching Pastor at Highpoint and said he told church leaders about what happened before he was hired.

Jonathan Aigner who is best known for his blog Ponder Anew and was quiet for a few months on his blog, has been very passionate about this story and has posted three commentary pieces on his blog regarding this, and is not impressed of how Highpoint Church is handling the scandal, especially in the church’s worship.

The Andy Savage Story: Christian Culture MUST Hold Abusers Accountable

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/01/05/andy-savage-story-christian-culture-must-hold-abusers-accountable/One of the tragic things about contemporary megachurch worship is that it often worships the personality that built it. Pastors are given license to say and preach about practically anything they wish. Often, instead of the gospel, they cross over into a purely self-help gospel, cloaked with light biblical content to make it jesusy enough for church.

As their popularity grows, these false experts are given an extended platform for influence from those seeking to capitalize on their popularity. Christian publishing is one of the chief culprits, publishing the pop-psychologizing of these celebrity pastors in written form.

Today at Highpoint Church: When a Worship Song Is Blasphemous

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/01/07/this-morning-at-highpoint-church-when-a-worship-song-is-blasphemous/To summarize, Jules was taken in a car under false pretenses by her youth pastor, Andy Savage, and sexually assaulted in a remote location. When she alerted her pastors at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, now mini-megachurch StoneBridge, she was shamed and silenced. Andy was ceremoniously let go and sent home to Memphis. Since then, he has risen to a level of evangelical prominence, publishing books, releasing podcasts, and taking the role of Teaching Pastor at Highpoint Church in Memphis.

Along the way, he has been protected by a circle of good old boys, who knew, but have held this secret inside.

Highpoint Worship Leader Either Receives the Holy Spirit or Goes Crazy

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/01/08/highpoint-churchs-preaching-singers-heres-why-you-dont-give-worship-leaders-a-mic/This video is taken from Highpoint Church’s services on January 7, 2018. This particular Sunday will be forever chronicled on the internet and known as the Sunday Lowpoint…err…Highpoint publicly shamed a sexual assault victim while affirming their solidarity and support of her admitted attacker, Teaching Pastor Andy Savage.

I don’t know this person, so please don’t suggest I’m attacking her personally. But ladies and gentlemen, this is why you don’t give your worship leader a microphone.

I would hope that maybe we can all step back and exam our leaders, and how we should worship God in church and what is proper corporate worship. Maybe we can finally divorce the Nashville CCM machine and have a counter-cultural Christian Church that can show people that it is truly different than this world gone mad.

Aigner also highlights a video taken from Highpoint’s recent service in which their music set turned out to be (to quote a song title from the metal band Exodus) a “Fabulous Disaster.” Young Lady, your pastor is imperfect and you and your church need to truly focus on Jesus Christ right now, and raise your pastor up in prayer. Andy and your church building and body are only temporary things. You are passing up an opportunity to proclaim the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ here…but then again your role is to sing. Maybe we should apply Laura Ingraham’s “Shut Up and Sing” rule here as well. Meanwhile, Ainger calls the young girl’s bluff and presents a classic example of why historical church worship in which there is much logic in the matter as the better route.

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