Saturday, January 19, 2013

News Round Up

Republicans appear to be bowing to the inevitable and are moving towards a debt limit increase.  But at least it appears they will be requiring that the Senate pass a budget as part of the deal.  This is as much as could be hoped for, I guess.  I have posted about this twice and am feeling a little prescient.

The Algerian hostage deaths, horrific as they seem, could have been much worse; and the jihadists did little to advance their cause and are dead.  Almost 800 hostages were freed prior to the final bloodbath.

Relatedly, the WSJ has a great article by Max Boot on myths we believe about guerillas and terrorists.  A few tidbits:
1. Most guerilla movements end in failure.
2. Few movements are successful by using terrorism abroad.
The whole thing is worth a read as all the world's armed conflict has entered an era of guerilla warfare.

I missed "Gun Appreciation Day" today.  Of course, the media focused on the five injuries that occurred at gun shows today, even though none were life threatening. Relatedly, former NY Police Chief, Willie Bratton, no friend of gun rights, is quoted in the WSJ about preventing gun violence:

But the gun reform that truly gets Mr. Bratton fired up is one you don't hear much about these days. It is what he calls "certainty of punishment," or stricter gun-crime sentences. 
"People are out on the streets who should be in jail. Jail is appropriate for anyone who uses a gun in the commission of an act of violence. Some cities have a deplorable lack of attention to this issue," he says, citing Philadelphia.
Indeed, I don't have the statistics, but am willing to bet that most gun violence is committed by persons with a prior criminal record.  However, it turns out that 60% of criminals were legally permitted to own a gun at the time they committed their crime (see page 4 of the link).  This is because many felonies get plea-bargained to misdemeanors, allowing violent criminals to retain their rights.  We need a policy on such plea deals and certain jail time for crimes committed with guns.  Meanwhile, the NRA's membership is soaring.

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