Dec 18, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut: The Libertarian Party Gets It Right.

I was amazed, but the Libertarian National Committee issued a fantastic press release in reaction to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last week:

For Immediate Release
Dec. 16, 2012

Families throughout the nation mourn the horrific deaths of 26 people, including 20 young children, killed Friday during a Newtown, Conn., mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“It’s impossible to imagine the depths of despair and grief that the victims’ families are experiencing right now,” said Geoffrey J. Neale, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee. “Our hearts go out to every one of them.”

In the immediate aftermath of news surrounding the shootings, pundits and politicians called for new restrictions on firearm ownership, exactly the opposite of the approach needed to combat tragic gun violence in schools.

“We've created a 'gun-free zone,' a killing zone, for the sickest criminals on the face of the Earth," said R. Lee Wrights, vice-chair of the Libertarian Party. "We've given them an open killing field, and we've made the children of this country the victims."

Wrights pointed out that merely the knowledge that armed people will be present acts as a deterrent for would-be shooters.

"They're not going to walk into a police station, and why not? Because that's where the guns are," he said.

The Federal Gun Free Schools Zone Act prohibits carrying firearms on school grounds in most cases, effectively criminalizing the right to self-defense in places filled with the most vulnerable citizens. Without that federal prohibition, adults working at the school would have been free to defend themselves, very possibly saving the lives of many of the young children and adults who were slain in this horrific tragedy.

"We must stop blinding ourselves to the obvious: Most of these mass killings are happening at schools where self-defense is prohibited," said Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "Gun prohibition sets the stage for the slaughter of innocent children. We must repeal these anti-self-defense laws now to minimize the likelihood they will occur in the future and to the limit the damage done when they do."

Responsible gun owners can and do prevent mass shootings from occurring and escalating.
  • A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school's vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
  • A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
  • A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
  • A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
  • A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
  • A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
  • A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun.
  • At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.
For several years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, gun prohibitionists blocked pilots from carrying firearms. But after it became undeniable that guns are an essential line of defense against hijackers and other terrorists when the lives of innocent passengers are at stake, Congress finally passed legislation allowing it.

It's time to take the same approach with teachers, school administrators, and security guards, who should be allowed to carry the tools necessary to protect the students in their care. It's time to put an end to gun-free zones and make it much easier for responsible adults to arm, train, and protect themselves and the people they love from the violent criminals who seek to harm them.

"You can't depend on somebody else to take care of your own life for you," Wrights said. "It's too precious to put it into the hands of somebody else, particularly when the seconds count."

Dec 12, 2012

'Our Government-Created Financial Crisis' Goes Deeper, Yet.

Walter Williams wrote a good review of John Allison's new book on the roots of the financial crisis. You can read it here: Our Government-Created Financial Crisis | CNS News. My additional comments below are cross posted:

I have not read Mr Allison's Book yet, but I concluded that the predominant responsibility belonged to the Government back in 2008. There are several other events/facts that are rarely mentioned which really expand the evidence against Uncle Sam:
The ratings agencies that 'certified' the MBS', CDO's and CDS' that hid the true risk associated with the various debt instruments are a government-created cartel. Fitch, S&P and Moody's are the only SEC authorized rating agencies. Since they have no competition, is it at all surprising that the value and accuracy of their rating's are poor to say the least?
Second, the sheer existence of various government entities (Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, etc.) which underwrite mortgages has introduced significant "unseen" (per Bastiat and Hazlitt) moral-hazard without even considering the "seen" implications of the CRA.
Back in the 1950's and 1960's the vast majority of mortgages were privately held. When one wanted a mortgage one would go to a their local bank or S&L. That loan would in most cases be held by the same local financial institution for its lifetime. At that time the norm was 20% down-payment and a 30 year mortgage with a fixed or variable rate on the balance. When the local loan officer recommended approval of a loan, it was with the understanding that the risk associated remained with the local institution. Everything about the loan; the interest rate, the credit of the mortgagor, amount, etc., were determined based on risk.
Over the years since then, watching the government takeover of larger and larger portions of the mortgage market, we see the growth of mortgage brokers who did not hold the loan. They simply pass it on and make their living solely based on commission. Risk was no longer the primary driver. Now the qualification standards of the various government organizations were the main criteria of loan approval. The qualification standards in turn were primarily determined by politics. Countrywide's "Friends of Angelo" program; The CRA pressure on various lenders to increase approval rates; The political pressure brought by Clinton and the Bushs' on the various HUD Secretaries to increase the percentage of loans underwritten by the Government, etc., are just  symptoms of the moral hazard created by the simple existence of Fannie, Freddie and the rest.