Baby Colic

A couple years ago, my wife’s friend was having issues with a colicky newborn.  The baby was born via C-section and one of the recommended treatments was the administration of antacids.  In an effort to help her out, I tried to compile some of the relevant information I had come across into an email for her. 

My cousin just recently had a baby who is also having problems with colic.  Thinking that this might be of help to her, I dug up the old email and thought I may as well put it up here for future reference if it’s ever needed again.

I tried to tell a story by cutting and pasting the important parts from the articles referenced.  Hopefully it makes sense:

From Mark’s Daily Apple:

Until we’re born, the fetal gut is sterile. It’s just sitting there, accepting pre-digested nutrition from the mother, taking up space and generally living the slacker’s dream. But it works. The fetus doesn’t need a teeming, active gut, because all the work is done by mom’s gut flora. They’re breaking down the polysaccharides and the sugars, converting it into usable fuel, and diverting a portion of it all to the child. In a way, then, the kid is dependent on gut flora, just as much as you or I are. Once he (or she) is out of the womb, the child needs his own intestinal team. He’ll be eating, which requires digestion, and good digestion (especially of carbohydrate) just doesn’t happen without gut flora. He needs gut flora, and he needs it relatively quickly. That’s where the birthing process comes in. Traditionally, birth allows the passage of microbes from mother to the sterile infant gut, a relatively quick process. Gut colonization isn’t exactly a “feature” of the birthing process, however, and it’s not like there’s a specific pathway designed for the flora to travel from mother to child. No, gut colonization arises organically. It’s common sense, really, if you consider what child birth actually is: a somewhat chaotic, unsanitary event, where fluids are being exchanged, stuff is sloshing around and mixing together, with this vulnerable baby in the midst of it. You’ve got a helpless infant sporting a fecund, totally accessible gastrointestinal tract and a perpetually open mouth. He’s just kind of lying there, maybe crying a bit, but he’s incredibly open to suggestion. To gut flora, this is prime real estate, ripe for the taking. By the time the cord is snipped and the infant’s butt’s got a handprint on it, the baby’s upper gastrointestinal tract has been partially populated with bacterial strains derived from the mother’s feces and the surrounding environment (the air, others in the room, etc). Breastfeeding provides another ongoing source of bacteria. It takes about a month for a newborn to establish a solid population of gut flora, and another year for it to resemble an adult’s gut contents. (Any wonder why C-section, bottle-fed babies might get off to a slow start?)

From Wikipedia:

Some reports have associated colic to changes in the bacterial balance in a baby’s intestine. They suggest treating the crying with daily doses of probiotics, or “good bacteria” (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus reuteri). In a 2007 study,[64] 83 colicky babies given the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri had reduced crying time. After one week, treated babies had 19% less crying time (159 min/day vs. 197 min/day). By 4 weeks, treated babies had 74% less crying (51 min/day vs. 197 min/day). In a 2010 study conducted with the same probiotic strain, similar benefits were seen in colicky infants.[65] However, another study found no reduced colic in over 1000 babies who were given a mixture of four other probiotic strains from birth.[66]

In 2009, a University of Texas study observed that colicky babies had a higher incidence of mild intestinal inflammation and a specific intestinal bacteria, Klebsiella.[67] But, a commentary in the same journal, noted that the inflammation and bacteria were most likely just an exaggerated variation of normal.[68]

From ChrisKresser.com:

We’ve only recently begun to understand the extent of the gut flora’s role in human health and disease. Among other things, the gut flora promotes normal gastrointestinal function, provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism and comprises more than 75% of our immune system. Dysregulated gut flora has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

….

Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:

  • Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in fermentable fibers
  • Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic infections

….

When the intestinal barrier becomes permeable (i.e. “leaky gut syndrome”), large protein molecules escape into the bloodstream. Since these proteins don’t belong outside of the gut, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. Studies show that these attacks play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s and type 1 diabetes, among others.

Researchers have identified a protein called zonulin that increases intestinal permeability in humans and other animals. This led to a search of the medical literature for illnesses characterized by increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut). Imagine their surprise when the researchers found that many, if not most, autoimmune diseases – including celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease – are characterized by abnormally high levels of zonulin and a leaky gut. In fact, researchers have found that they can induce type 1 diabetes almost immediately in animals by exposing them to zonulin. They develop a leaky gut, and begin producing antibodies to islet cells – which are responsible for making insulin.

In Step #1: Don’t Eat Toxins, I explained that one of the main reasons we don’t want to eat wheat and other gluten-containing grains is that they contain a protein called gliadin, which has been shown to increase zonulin production and thus directly contribute to leaky gut.

But what else can cause leaky gut? In short, the same things I listed above that destroy our gut flora: poor diet, medications (antibiotics, NSAIDs, steroids, antacids, etc.), infections, stress, hormone imbalances, and neurological conditions (brain trauma, stroke and neurodegeneration).

From Pubmed.gov (Paper #: 9867098):

Presence of high levels of non-degraded gliadin in breast milk from healthy mothers.
Chirdo FG, Rumbo M, Añón MC, Fossati CA.

Center for the Investigation and Development of Cryotechnology of Foods, Dept. of Immunology, School of Exact Sciences, UNLP, La Plata, Argentina.

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Secretion of dietary antigens into breast milk has been extensively documented. The presence of these antigens is of relevance because they could be involved in the modulation of the immune response in neonates. The objective of this study is to determine the gliadin concentration in milk, colostrum, and serum samples from healthy lactating mothers on a normal diet. Gliadin levels in milk samples from a group of six mothers after a brief period of gluten restriction were also determined. The molecular weight of secreted gliadins was also analysed.

METHODS: Gliadin concentration was determined with a highly sensitive competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, modified so as to eliminate anti-gliadin antibody interference. The level of gliadin/IgA anti-gliadin immune complexes in milk, colostrum, and serum samples was determined.

RESULTS: Gliadin was detected in all 49 milk samples. Its concentration varied between 5 and 1200 ng/ml (mean, 178 ng/ml). In colostrum (n = 14) gliadin levels were higher (range, 28-9000 ng/ml; mean, 883 ng/ml), not being detectable in one case. Gliadin was detectable in 14 of 31 serum samples, in which levels were lower than in milk and colostrum samples (mean, 41 ng/ml). Neither a correlation between gliadin levels in milk, colostrum, and serum samples from the same subject nor a relation between gluten intake and gliadin concentration in milk samples from six subjects under a 3-day gluten-free diet could be found. Higher levels of immune complexes were observed in colostrum samples than in milk and serum samples. No correlation was detected between gliadin concentration and the level of immune complexes. The analysis of milk and colostrum samples by immunoblotting showed bands of immunoreactive gliadin presenting Mr similar to those of native proteins from wheat extracts.

CONCLUSIONS: Very high levels of gliadin were detected in milk samples from healthy mothers on an unrestricted diet. Gliadin levels were higher than those reported for dietary antigens in other studies. Breast milk contained non-degraded gliadins and gliadin/anti-gliadin IgA immune complexes.

PMID: 9867098 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

From ChrisKresser.com:

The low pH (high acid) environment of the stomach is one of the major non-specific defense mechanisms of the body. When the pH of the stomach is 3 or lower, the normal between-meal “resting” level, bacteria don’t last more than fifteen minutes. But as the pH rises to 5 or more, many bacterial species can avoid the acid treatment and begin to thrive.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens when you take acid stopping drugs. Both Tagamet and Zantac significantly raise the pH of the stomach from about 1 to 2 before treatment to 5.5 to 6.5 after, respectively.

Prilosec and other PPIs are even worse. Just one of these pills is capable of reducing stomach acid secretion by 90 to 95 percent for the better part of a day. Taking higher or more frequent doses of PPIs, as is often recommended, produces a state of achlorydia (virtually no stomach acid). In a study of ten healthy men aged 22 to 55 years, a 20 or 40 mg dose of Prilosec reduced stomach acid levels to near-zero.

A stomach without much acid is in many ways a perfect environment to harbor pathogenic bacteria. It’s dark, warm, moist, and full of nutrients. Most of the time these bacteria won’t kill us – at least not right away. But some of them can. People who have a gastric pH high enough to promote bacterial overgrowth are more vulnerable to serious bacterial infections.

A recent systematic review of gastric acid-suppressive drugs suggested that they do in fact increase susceptibility to infections (PDF). The author found evidence that using acid stopping drugs can increase your chances of contracting the following nasty bugs:

Salmonella
Campylobacter
Cholera
Listeria
Giardia
C. Difficile

Other studies have found that acid stopping drugs also increase the risk for:

Pneumonia
Tuberculosis
Typhoid
Dysentery

Not only do acid stopping drugs increase our susceptibility to infection, they weaken our immune system’s ability to fight off infections once we have them. In vitro studies have shown that PPIs impair nuetrophil function, decrease adhesion to endothelial cells, reduce bactericidal killing of microbes, and inhibit neutrophil phagocytosis and phagolysosome acidification.

Additional Information:

Chris Kresser provides an excellent discussion in his 9/5/12 podcast starting at the 35:05 mark.

An Alarming Trend

Watch this short segment from the local Detroit TV news on concealed carry permit holders fighting back against crime.

Did you catch Stephen Clark’s opening comment?  “Alarming trend.”  Ha!  I suppose if you’re a criminal, you would find it alarming that people are refusing to be victims.  Hopefully it’s so alarming, would-be criminals will decide it’s in their best interest to find safer and more productive ways to make a living.

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But no, I know what’s really alarming.  It’s the observation that people have rightfully lost faith in the government to keep them safe.  They are not content to be defenseless sheep – they value their own lives, they value the lives of their family members, they value the lives of their friends and coworkers too highly for that.  What happens when people realize that they are honorable men and women worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – not cattle to be milked by street thugs or thugs wearing government costumes?  The illusion of government awesomeness is lifting and people are taking responsibility for their own destiny – that is what is truly “alarming” to a statist.

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Concealed Pistol License Holders in Michigan

Women and Guns

In my experience, a person’s thinking about firearms and their utility for self-defense can be radically altered in a couple of ways:

  1. Being inspired by the story of someone who refused to be a victim.  (Click the link for the story that did it for my mom).
  2. Being shaken from your idyllic worldview by either your own personal experience or that of someone else.

For me, it happened around 14-years-ago when a female friend of a family member was forced to stop on the side of the road and was subsequently attacked and killed by a man using his bare hands.  Upon hearing the story, I experienced a sudden moment of clarity and I realized that if she had a gun, she would have at least had a fighting chance and would likely have stopped the assault.

Having many women in my life that are extremely important to me, I felt compelled to do what I could to make sure they remained safe and able to defend themselves if the need ever arose.  I took it upon myself, with some help from a generous co-worker, to learn as much as I could about guns so that I would be able to introduce my friends and family to shooting sports.  My goal wasn’t to beat them over the head with it, but simply to provide an opportunity to try it out so that they could then make an informed decision on their own.  That said, a significant part of my strong support of gun rights comes from a desire to make sure my loved ones are well protected.

It is extremely frustrating to me that 70% of women support a ban on semi-automatic weapons and 56% support a ban on “high-capacity” magazines (CBS News, “Missing in Gun Debate: Female Gun Owners”).  I’ve already provided several reasons for these tools, one of which includes defense against multiple-assailants.  After reading Rebecca Solnit’s disturbing article, “A Rape a Minute, A Thousand Corpses a Year” I was reminded of a specific form of multiple-assailant attack that should be of particular concern to women.  The first paragraph alone should convince most skeptics that the fairer sex should be quite interested in carrying ample ammunition and having the means to deliver it as efficiently as possible.

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I suspect that most criminals know that the vast majority of women are anti-gun and are unlikely to provide armed resistance.  If this tendency were to shift, and would-be criminals suddenly began succumbing to acute lead poisoning, might that not provide a possible deterrent effect?  Clearly violence against women is a complex issue and I don’t want to imply that what I am proposing is a perfect solution.  The charming, witty, and armed blogger, Rebecca Hauptman, has an excellent article that probably does a better job of making my point than I have:

I’ve never been under the illusion that a gun is some kind of magical talisman that can be carried to ward off menacing attackers.  No amount of training, nor tools, nor mindset can deter all violence, all of the time.  The best we can hope for is a chance—an opportunity to run, a chance to call out for help, a moment to draw our weapon and fire a shot.  Why not employ all the tools at our disposal, and acquire as many skills, and as much knowledge as is available in order to improve that chance?

Get educated.  Investigate all of the resources you have access to.  And PLEASE don’t believe anyone who tells you that you don’t have a chance of defending yourself.

I’ve heard it said that a liberal is a conservative that hasn’t been mugged yet.  I would like to encourage my readers to be proactive and not wait until something terrible happens to start taking steps to protect yourselves.  If you aren’t yet at this stage in your thinking, that’s fine, but don’t deny those of us who are, the right to defend ourselves and our loved ones.

There are some tactical issues with the above video, and it’s a bit corny, but I still think it makes a good point – it’s good to have an Emergency Life Saving device available when you need it.

The Sorry State of Critical Thinking Skills

I’ve read plenty of poorly argued, sloppy, and misleading commentary related to gun control in the past few weeks, but this particular post managed to get me especially upset.  It’s not that it’s uniquely worse than anything else I’ve read, but after clicking the link, I was appalled to see that it had received over 90,000 likes as of this writing.  This is clearly a testament to the poor critical thinking skills displayed by the average American and reveals a desperate need for improved quality of thought among the general population.

First Point

Our author begins by doing some crack journalistic research in an attempt to refute the claim that Hitler sought to disarm the German people.  He states that, contrary to popular belief, Hitler “made it his position to enable guns to be obtained more easily.”  Let’s explore this claim by reviewing the Snopes.com article our author uses to support his position.  In the Snopes piece, we find the following quote attributed to Hitler:

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.  History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.  Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.  So let’s not have any native militia or native police.

Seems pretty clear cut to me.  He clearly didn’t want “subject races” to be armed.  But wait, Snopes then goes on to say:

…Hitler was speaking of the need to disarm non-Aryans in the parts of Russia that had been occupied by German forces in the midst of a war, not of stripping all Germans of their guns.  (And it’s unlikely that Hitler would have expressed such a concept in this context, as the 1938 German weapons Act passed during Hitler’s rule actually loosened gun ownership rules for non-Jewish Germans.)

Hold on.  Did you catch that – he loosened gun ownership rules for NON-JEWISH Germans.  Remind me again, which category of ethnic people were murdered en masse by the Nazi government?  Could it be that our author’s own source refutes the point he is trying to make?

So how did the 1938 German Weapons law affect the Jewish people’s right to armed self-defense – you know, the people relevant to this discussion?  How about we take a look at the language of the law itself (translated from German, of course):

Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons

11 November 1938

With a basis in §31 of the Weapons Law of 18 March 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p.265), Article III of the Law on the Reunification of Austria with Germany of 13 March 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p. 237), and §9 of the Führer and Chancellor’s decree on the administration of the Sudeten-German districts of 1 October 1938 (Reichsgesetzblatt I, p 1331) are the following ordered:

§1
Jews (§5 of the First Regulations of the German Citizenship Law of 14 November 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt I, p. 1333) are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons.Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority.

§2
Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew’s possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation.

§3
The Minister of the Interior may make exceptions to the Prohibition in §1 for Jews who are foreign nationals.  He can entrust other authorities with this power.

§4
Whoever willfully or negligently violates the provisions of §1 will be punished with imprisonment and a fine.  In especially severe cases of deliberate violations, the punishment is imprisonment in a penitentiary for up to five years.

§5
For the implementation of this regulation, the Minister of the Interior waives the necessary legal and administrative provisions.

§6
This regulation is valid in the state of Austria and in the Sudeten-German districts.

Berlin, 11 November 1938
Minister of the Interior
Frick

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Seems pretty clear to me – disarmament of the Jewish people preceded genocide.  And this is hardly an isolated case.  The Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership have a great chart highlighting eight other genocides that followed disarmament.  This huge oversight should probably be enough to thoroughly discredit Mr. Fielder, but I will hold my nose and continue wading through this rhetorical mess.

Second Point

Our author’s second point is obviously a critique of the NRA’s recent ad highlighting the Commander in Chief’s hypocrisy in accepting armed guards to protect his children while dismissing proposals to allow qualified people to carry in schools.  Our author states:

Secondly, the presidents, and I mean ALL of them, and their families, receive death threats on a daily basis. President Obama did not enact the regulations that REQUIRE Secret Service protection for him and his family. If you believe your children are as much of a target as the president’s children, then you have a self inflated idea of your position in this world.

I’ve seen plenty of unprincipled and fallacious arguments directed against this ad and this one one pretty representative.  Every time I see one of these arguments, it seems to be nothing more than a poorly-reasoned, knee-jerk reaction to very polarizing organization.  Obama’s children may indeed receive daily threats and be a greater target, however, this is completely irrelevant.  While the average child may be less of a target, it is quite obvious that their risk of being attacked while at a “gun-free” school is something greater than zero.  There have been far too many incidents at schools to honestly claim otherwise.  The purpose of the ad was not to deny the president’s children the privilege of armed protection, it was to point out that Obama himself has accepted the principle that the best way to protect his children is to have armed guards at the ready.  He accepts this tax-payer funded benefit while supporting gun-free-zone policies that prevent qualified parents, teachers, and administrators the ability to provide armed protection to their own children.  If he doesn’t like that he is required to accept this benefit, let him write an executive order exempting his family from it.  In the words of NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, “Whoever thinks the ad is about President Obama’s daughters are missing the point completely or they’re trying to change the subject.”

Gun-Appreciation-Day-Salem-Oregon

I don’t have kids, but if I did, you better believe their safety would be every bit as important to me as the president’s are to him.  Every parent should feel that their child is the most precious thing on the planet.  This is not a “self inflated idea of your position in this world” – it’s called having your priorities in order.  My kids would not be less important than the progeny of whoever happens to inhabit Versailles the White House.  This is what it means to be a free man and not place yourself subordinate to pharaoh.  Clearly, people are angry that they are  legally prohibited from providing protection for their own children while at the same time being forced to pay for the Obama family’s security.  After all, it wasn’t Obama’s family that was attacked at Sandy Hook, it was the sons and daughters of mere proles that were the target that day.

Third Point

For his third point, our author boldly states, “there is NO law or bill being considered that would allow anyone to come marching into your home to take your legally obtained and legally owned firearms.”  Really?  Take a look at what the Democrats in New York were proposing :

Outright confiscation of “assault weapons.”
Outright confiscation of “ten round clips” (magazines).
–Establish a statewide database of all guns.
–Continue to allow gun permit holders’ names and addresses to be published by newspapers.
–Label semiautomatic shotguns with more than five rounds or pistol grips as “assault weapons.”
–Limit the number of rounds in a magazine to five and confiscate banned magazines that carry a larger number of rounds.
–Prevent citizens from owning more than two magazines.
–Prevent citizens from buying more than one gun per month.
–Re-license all current pistol permit holders.
–Require renewal of all pistol permits every five years.
–Pistol permits would have to be issued by the state and not local law enforcement.
–All guns in New York would be required to be micro-stamped.
–Ammunition dealers would have to be licensed.
–All gun owners would be required to keep their guns locked in their homes.
–A fee would be assessed for licensing and registering guns.

Granted, these measures did not make it into the bill the legislators voted on, however, it does clearly reveal the ultimate goal of the gun grabbers.  For example, a bill in Connecticut was proposed to make illegal the possession of any gun capable of firing more than one shot – de facto confiscation.  Several members of the ruling elite have made it very clear that their goal is complete civilian disarmamentThey have already succeeded in Chicago where disarming law-abiding people has proven to be such a spectacular failure that it is now safer to reside in a war zone than the Windy City.

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With his third point, our author also questions the logic of requiring registration of cars, but not guns.  Simply put, you do not have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to own a car – the analogy is invalid.  Also, besides the obvious problem of registration enabling future confiscation, you also have the issue of  journalists publishing names of gun owners and making them targets for burglaries.

Fourth Point

I’m not sure if our author is trying to deliberately mislead or if he really is as obtuse as he comes across.  In this paragraph, he attempts to do some myth-busting by revealing that more people are in fact killed by guns, rather than baseball bats, contrary to some unspecified internet meme he claims to have seen.  Not being privy to the picture he is citing, I can’t be sure what the problem is, however I strongly suspect it is a failure of reading comprehension – something Mr. Fielder clearly has an issue with.

BADcheBCcAAlZR2

The point being made by some of the pictures I’ve seen going around is that the number of homicides in which a RIFLE of any type was used is much less than even hands and feet, let alone blunt objects.  Of course HANDGUNS are used in homicides far more often than anything else, however, as the current national discourse centers around instituting a ban on “assault” rifles, the purpose of the pictures is to highlight the fact that these types of weapons are extremely under-represented in crime statistics.  Going after rifles of any kind will hardly make even the smallest dent in violent crime, yet that is what is being targeted in various legislative proposals.

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The Rest…

The media is not hiding other gun related stories because they want to sensationalize the problem, they are simply unable to cover every gun death story because there would be an average of 80 of them each day. So they concentrate (unfortunately) on the massacres which I think we can all agree, happen all too often.

Would it be too much to ask that they highlight just a few of the 1 – 2 million instances when law-abiding citizens use guns to save themselves from violent assault?  The reality is, there is a very real bias against the reporting of defensive gun uses by ordinary citizens.  Shouldn’t people be informed about the positive uses and then be allowed to draw their own conclusion?  I find it amazing and appalling that there are actually people out there who don’t realize how many lives are saved every day because of guns.

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I find the fact that more children are killed in the US by guns than in the entire Middle East region, very disturbing.

Where to even start with this?  First of all, be very careful when talking about “child” deaths due to guns in the US.  These numbers are often highly skewed because “child” includes anyone under 18 and frequently includes teenagers engaging in gang-related violence.  Something tells me this is not the image Mr. Fielder had in mind when discussing “child” deaths.  Also, does our author lament those children in the Middle East who are blown up by high-explosives or disease/malnutrition due to infrastructure damage or is it just gun deaths he has a problem with?  What are the numbers if we include all causes?

I find it disturbing that the NRA blames the rise in violent shootings on video games and then comes out with its own shooting video game (categorized for children as young as 4 years of age) less than a month after Newtown.

Look, I don’t want to come off as an apologist for the NRA, but this is just ridiculously misleading.  Was the timing a bit off?  Perhaps.  However, we are not talking about a violent first-person shooter game a la “Call of Duty”.  The NRA game is nothing more than target shooting at a range.  Yes, the NRA has spoken out about VIOLENT video games, NOT video games in general.  I see nothing hypocritical in producing a NON-violent video game that teaches gun safety.  How exactly does target shooting, an Olympic sport, promote violence?  (For the record, I don’t even agree with the NRA that violent video games are to blame, but this apparent effort by Mr. Fielder to fabricate some sort of outrage is absurd.)

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iTunes Description of the NRA Game:
~★ SAFETY, TRAINING & EDUCATION ★~
NRA: Practice Range puts the National Rifle Association’s broad scope of resources in the palm of your hand – with 2nd Amendment newsfeeds, gun law information centers & educational materials you can access anywhere, anytime.
~★ TARGET PRACTICE ★~
NRA: Practice Range also offers a 3D shooting game that instills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations. It strikes the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible.

If armed guards are the only answer to ending school shootings, then explain the VT shooting. Virginia Tech had an entire police department complete with a SWAT unit.  Explain Columbine, which had an armed officer on staff. When discussing an end to gun violence in schools, there should be NOTHING left off of the table.

This guy has a real knack for completely missing the point.  Police, with or without SWAT units, that are minutes away, are not as effective as armed resistance immediately provided at the scene.  Also, the Columbine officer was, in fact, able to return fire against Klebold and Harris allowing untold numbers of students time to escape.  Denying this man the credit he deserves for bravely saving lives just because it doesn’t fit your preferred narrative is disgraceful.  The only thing proven by the Columbine massacre is that having only one person with a gun may not be enough.

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No, armed guards are not the only answer.  However, having qualified people on hand with guns has proven to be very effective:

To quote our author, “Will it be a perfect solution?  No.  Will it help?  We’ll see.  Is it better than doing nothing? Definitely.”

There’s more, but this has already gone on long enough and I think I’ve made my point.  Besides, I refuse to dignify some of the remaining arguments with a response.  I would, however, like to add a final thought.  Any discussion of violence and its causes that begins with talk of gun-control as the primary solution displays nothing less than complete intellectual laziness.  The first step in problem solving is to ask, “What has changed?”  Semi-automatic rifles have been around for 128-years.  The AR-15 has been in production for 50-years.  This technology is clearly not the new variable.  An examination of gun violence that does not include any of the following should probably be immediately dismissed as a juvenile analysis not worthy of a grade-school writing assignment:

  1. The life-saving uses of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.
  2. Psychiatric drugs.
  3. The drug war.
  4. The breakdown of the family due to the perverse incentives institutionalized by the proliferation of the welfare state.
  5. Our militaristic society.

Guns are not a cause of violence.  No one picks up a gun and suddenly becomes a homicidal maniac.  Something caused them to want to initiate violence against others, for which they may or may not have chosen a gun as their preferred tool.  We need to address the “somethings” and stop chasing red herrings.

What’s in a Name?

I find it interesting that some in the anti-gun crowd are attempting to change the label assigned to AR-15 pattern rifles from “assault weapons” to “weapons of war*.”  As AmidsTheNoise eloquently explains in the video below, this is no accident.

But this shift in terminology, perhaps inadvertently, highlights an important point.  Our country has been at war continuously for over 11 years.  We now have an entire generation of kids who are coming of age barely having known anything else.  These kids have grown up being indoctrinated in the morality of “preventive war” – what people in previous generations would have called “aggressive war”.  We have taught an entire generation of kids that turning to violence is a legitimate first step in resolving disputes.  We glorify the state.  We glorify the troops.  We glorify war.  Why would we be surprised that people of this generation would use “weapons of war” to glorify themselves?

This is the society that those who believe in the unquestionable righteousness of the state have built.  As has been the virtually uninterrupted pattern throughout our history, proposals to fix problems caused by entrusting too much power to the state all center around further expansion of state power!  Of course, expansion of state power always comes at the expense of personal liberty.

A great misconception exists that tyranny always comes fully formed and ready to enslave a population.  In fact, this is almost never the case.  Rather, it arrives in step-wise fashion and is often only recognized when it is too late.

*Personally, I propose we start calling them “Emergency Life-Saving Devices.”

Why Would Anyone Need Something So Scary Looking?

I’ve been hearing certain questions quite often lately: “Why does anyone need an AR-15 rifle?” or “Why would you need more than a ten-round magazine?”

New Picture (8)

I realize these aren’t actual questions in the sense that the person asking has genuine intellectual curiosity – they’ve already decided, a priori, that no one does.  Nevertheless, I will provide the following reasons for your consideration:

1)  Criminals use them – multiple assailants carrying semi-automatic rifles during an attempted home invasion in Tucson, AZ.

2)  Even more criminals use them now thanks to the government’s Fast and Furious gun running operation.  Yes, the very government that wants to prohibit ownership by law-abiding citizens has provided weapons to Mexican drug cartels which subsequently used them to “to slaughter 14 Mexican teenagers and wound 12 more” as well as kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  The hypocrisy is astounding, isn’t it?

3)  One-shot stops are largely Hollywood fantasy.  Sometimes five shots (or 14!, or 16!, or 22!) at point-blank range may not do the job.  If the mother in the linked story faced multiple assailants, the ending may not have turned out so well.  Besides, the hit percentages reported for police are between 27% and 34%.  If it can be expected that only 30% of shots will connect,  a ten-round magazine becomes a three rounder – again, hopefully you don’t have to deal with multiple attackers or any that have recently indulged in methamphetamines. (1, 2, 3)

4)  They are easier for people with limited training, like the 15-year-old boy that used his father’s AR-15 to defend himself and his sister from a violent home invasion, to use in self-defense situations.  With four points of contact with your body, a long gun is dramatically easier to use than a handgun.

5)  Protection during times of civil unrest.  When the police refused to help, Korean business owners used various firearms, including semi-automatic rifles, to defend themselves and their property during the 1992 LA riots.

6)  Diane Feinstein, along with other members of the global ruling elite, don’t want us to own them, ergo, it is our duty to own them.

7)  Because fuck you – that’s why.  I don’t need to justify the way I choose to exercise my rights to anyone.

Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American… [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
– Tench Coxe, American political economist and a delegate for Pennsylvania to the Continental Congress in 1788-1789.

Call the Cops! Someone Stole my Crack!

A couple quotes from this article (click link for full story) on the violent crime rate in Flint, Michigan struck me and I’m not sure enough people understand the connection between the two.  The first concerns the circumstances surrounding the death of 6-year-old Jonaries Holden:

Jonaries was in the backseat of his father’s vehicle the night of Nov. 1, 2010, when a man in another vehicle confronted Jonaries’ father about a $60 drug debt. The man shot at the car.

The bullet killed Jonaries and sent Davontrae Benton to prison for 30-50 years for second-degree murder.

The second, near the end of the article, is Police Chief Alvern Lock’s lamentation regarding the preferred method of conflict resolution for many Flint residents:

…for there to be real change, a real stop to the homicides the whole city needs to help. The community needs to help the police department identify the killers – and there needs to be a change in mindset, he said.

People need to change how they resolve conflicts, Lock said.

Do you see the connection?

When you have a product with a strong demand, but onerous laws or regulations concerning its sale, an underground black market is invariably created.  With no legitimate way to handle disputes in a court of law, participants in the drug trade resort to the only means at their disposal – violence.  After all, if someone steals your inventory of crack, you’re probably not going to file a police report and contact your insurance company.

The war on drugs has been an utter failure.  When will we learn that you cannot legislate morality and that attempting to do so has resulted in far too many innocent lives lost and/or ruined?  When will we realize that this incredibly costly “war” can never keep people who want drugs from getting them?  Why don’t we abandon this failed attempt at prohibition and allow people the opportunity to resolve conflicts in a civil way?

In closing, I propose a little thought experiment:  Since it can be easily demonstrated that banning certain drugs has increased violence and even drug use (2) in some places, what effect should we expect if we were to ban guns?  No need to think too hard, just click the link to find out what happens.