READER'S EDITORIAL: THE TRAGIC DEATH OF KATHRYN STEINLE IN SAN FRANCISCO: WHAT IS MISSING FROM THE NARRATIVE?

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By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

Photo: Creative Commons image by Rama

Updated August 6, 2015 (San Diego's East County) --As the narrative goes, Juan Francisco López-Sánchez, an illegal immigrant with a long criminal history in the United States, who had been deported several times, was to be deported again; but San Francisco’s sanctuary law delayed handing him over to the Immigration and Nationalization Service. López-Sánchez claims he found the gun and was shooting at sea lions, not Ms. Steinle. There is no evidence that he was trying to rob Ms Steinle, nor even confronted her, so his claim may be true. However, an investigation found that the gun was stolen from a federal agent’s car. Whether López-Sánchez actually was the person who stole the gun from the car or how he obtained the gun is unclear at this time. In either case, he is still guilty of manslaughter, whether shooting at sea lions, at tin cans, or in the air, his actions, together with his previous criminal history, should get the maximum sentence.

However, what is missing from the narrative is why it was so easy for López-Sánchez to get a gun.

In this case, a gun was carelessly left in a car. Cars are stolen. Cars are broken into. It wouldn’t be the first time a gun was stolen from a car or, if he found it after it was stolen, it wouldn’t be the first time a “discarded” gun was found in this country. Even children have found them.

Reports have also found it is cheaper to buy a gun in many cities than a pair of jeans. And the infamous Willy Horton story used by Bush Sr. against Dukakis in their race to the White House left out the fact that Willy Horton did not enter the house armed; but found the handgun in the nightstand next to the owner’s bed. The gun they owned for protection was used against them. The National Rifle Association would have us all armed at all times; but how would this have helped Ms. Steinle?

Any time an innocent life is lost, it is one too many; but what would the narrative have been if some homeless American had stolen or found the gun or a kid with the same tragic result? Numerous studies show immigrants, including illegal ones, commit in proportion to their numbers less crime than citizens (see below). The sanctuary laws may need some revision; but one of their main purposes is to increase cooperation with the police. If immigrants, legal and illegal, are stopped by the police to check their status, they will see the police as the enemy and be reluctant to cooperate as witnesses or victims of crime. However, obviously these laws need revisions to ensure that criminals such as López-Sánchez do not slip through the cracks.

So, while I have no problem with an honest debate on the sanctuary laws, I think the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle, one more in a never ending tally of gun deaths, should more productively focus on the incredibly easy access that everyone in this country has to guns.

SOME ARTICLES ON IMMIGRANTS AND CRIME:

Kristin F. Butcher and Anne Morrison Piehl. Why are Immigrants’ Incarceration Rates So Low? Evidence on Selective Immigration, Deterrence, and Deportation. National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2007, Available at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13229.pdf

David Leonhard. Immigrants and Prison. The New York Times, May 30, 2007. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/30/business/30leonside.html

Jacob I. Stowell et al. Immigration and the Recent Violent Crime Drop in the United States: A Pooled, Cross-Sectional Time-Series Analysis of Metropolitan Areas. Criminology, Vol 47, No. 3, 2009: 889-928. Available at many university libraries.

Xia Wang. Undocumented Immigrants as Perceived Criminal Threat: A Test of the Minority Threat Perspective, Criminology, Vol 50, Nov 3, 2012: 743-776. Available at many university libraries.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH is a retired epidemiologist and native San Diegan. His family has been in San Diego since 1936. Dr. Harrison has been actively engaged in supporting the adoption of a single-payer-non-profit health care system, Medicare for All (see Physicians for a National Health Programs website at: http://www.pnhp.org ) and is currently writing articles in support of vaccinations for Every Child By Two, an organization founded in 1991 by

Rosalyn Carter (former President Jimmy Carters wife) and Betty Bumpers (wife of former Governor of Arkansas) to promote vaccinations in children. You can find Dr. Harrisons articles at: http://www.ecbt.org/index.php/facts_and_issues/article/expert_commentary .

 

The views and opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of the East County Magazine. Those with a viewpoint for consideration should contact the editor at editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

 

 

 

Comments

Response to Hano's Sacramento County vs. San Francisco County

!. Restrictive Gun Laws can't stop someone from getting a gun by stealing it from a car if the legally registered owner foolishly leaves a loaded gun in a car. I referred to reports on guns stolen from cars in the US.
2. Restrictive Gun Laws can't reduce the number of available guns if a nearby suburb or neighboring State have less restrictive gun laws.

So, yes, restrictive laws only work if responsible gun owners practice reasonable caution, not leaving loaded guns in cars and having them securely locked away in their homes and if such laws are broadly applied. You might as well say that since I can be killed by a drunken driver why bother with laws prohibiting driving under the influence. Such laws, hopefully, reduce such occurrences; but certainly don't eliminate them.

The point of my OpEd is the all too easy availability of guns to illegals, children, the mentally ill, and ex-cons, something you just avoid responding to. The U.S. murder rate per capita is much higher than in many modern technologically advanced Western democracies with similar percentages of immigrants, and the crime statistics correlate this with the guns. Something you ignore. This is no more an "indictment of the Second Amendment" than speed limit laws and laws against driving under the influence are a threat to our right to drive and mobility.

You are really tiresome. You seem incapable of any type of logical concrete reasoning.

Sacramento County vs. San Francisco County

http://fox40.com/2015/08/12/concealed-weapons-permits-on-the-rise-in-sacramento-county/ Why didn't San Francisco County's restrictive laws prevent this killing? Why don't Chicago's restrictive laws stop their bloodshed. Dr., your arguments don't hold water.

Response to Hano's "Ahhh...Liberalism"

This is NOT directed to you as it is obvious you are incapable of entering into a rational civilized dialogue/debate; but to anyone monitoring this site who consider themselves open-/fair-minded.

You devote most of your comment to labeling and name calling, not actually analyzing/refuting/discussing anything I wrote. Name calling and labeling are not arguments. They are the antithesis of rational argument. In fact, labeling and name calling clearly show that someone lacks the intellect/knowledge/skills or is just too lazy to enter into any valid intellectual exchange.

Let’s parse what you wrote: You wrote:

“Let's see if we can bring you back to reality somewhat. I doubt it seriously, but it's worth a go. First, when one relies upon the New York Times, the world is immediately informed of the liberal and biased nature of the person. I include this first because what liberals always do is "attack the source" vice the data. I think a little turn about is more than fair play here as well as more than accurate. All know that the only thing more liberal/anti-gun/pro-illegals is the Huffington Post.”

My OpEd made a number of concrete points that you could have tried to refute. I discussed my interpretation of three phrases from the Second Amendment. For example, “to bear arms” only refers to the military. You could have done a web search and/or ask your local librarian for help (personally, librarians are among my favorite people. I have found them always extremely helpful.) If you found a non-military usage for the term (more than one source required), I would admit I was wrong and would have learned something. I mentioned international statistics that show, compared to other industrial Western nations with similar percentages of legal and illegal immigrants, the US has the highest murder rate. I should have also mentioned that the main source of the difference was guns. Again, you could have done a search and, again, if you found several credible sources that refute this, I would admit I was wrong and would have learned something. I mentioned a US Department of Justice report on the number of guns stolen from homes and cars. I asked you several times simple questions, e.g., do you think it OK to leave loaded guns in cars? No answer from you.

It is arrogant and irrational to imply that you represent “reality,” especially when it is my OpEd that makes a number of concrete specific points and you who resort to name calling, labels, and unsubstantiated generalizations.

As for, “when one relies upon the New York Times, the world is immediately informed of the liberal and biased nature of the person.” First, no rational reasonable person would claim they speak for “the world.” If I attempted to make a similar point, I would find several polls and say, for instance, that the So and So poll of a random sample of 2,000 voters found that XX% gave a certain answer and another poll found . . . But you also wrote “relies on the New York Times;” but what is your evidence that I rely on the New York Times? I actually gave four references and wrote I have several more, one of which I should have used that contained similar information about immigrants having lower crimes rates than Americans was from the Wall Street Journal (Jason L. Riley. The Mythical Connection Between Immigrants and Crime. Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2015, A.19 ) I guess, since WSJ has an article that contradicts your closed-minded beliefs, the WSJ must be a liberal newspaper, thus nothing they write can be valid and anyone who reads WSJ, “the world is immediately informed of the liberal and biased nature of the person.” It was dishonest of you to write as if I only used one source. By the way, President Bush mentioned articles in the New York Times as do members of both parties in Congress.

If you want to judge me by the newspapers I read, the only one I receive daily is the San Diego Union-Tribune which I consider a Republican newspaper, so does that make me a Republican? And are ALL Republicans unbiased? Actually, I’ve never met anyone who is unbiased. We live in a complex world. Each person, regardless of their level of integrity and intelligence, only sees part of it and interprets based on their own values and experiences. I always have subscribed to the main local newspaper where ever I have lived in order to get the best local coverage. Though New York has several newspapers, I would bet that many New Yorkers from all parts of the political spectrum subscribe to the New York Times. However, when a certain subject or event is of interest, I read other newspapers. Besides the San Diego Union-Tribune, I have bookmarked a number of papers, such as the LA Times, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Reason Magazine. In addition, I have bookmarked and occasionally read newspapers from Canada, the UK, France, Sweden, Israel, and the Middle East. I am absolutely fluent in Swedish and can read French with help of a dictionary. I don’t have the time or energy to read them regularly; but like to see how a particular event is viewed around the world (see APPENDIX for partial list of newspapers I have bookmarked).

You wrote: “I include this first because what liberals always do is "attack the source" vice the data. I think a little turn about is more than fair play here as well as more than accurate.” “What liberals always do”? Where is your evidence? I have, unfortunately, seen ad hominem arguments used by people from all parts of the political spectrum. But I did not make an ad hominem statement in my OpEd. In my comment I did question your one source for immigrant crimes statistics, the Center for Immigration Studies. I did not write that they were wrong, nor that they manipulated data; but simply pointed out “their data may be “biased” and asked you why you rely on one source. Questioning your relying on one source is not the same thing as “attacking it,” and expecting a rational person to base their opinion on more than one source, I believe is a reasonable expectation.

However, I read carefully the article you hyperlinked to (Steven A. Comarota and Jessica M. Vaughan, Immigration and Crime: Assessing a Conflicted Issue, Center for Immigration Studies, November 2009) and found it well-researched, well-written, and their argument quite compelling. There are many studies and documents out there and I missed this one. Even when someone as vicious as you who refuses to enter into a civilized dialogue mentions a document I haven’t seen, I get it and read it. I am always open to new information and ideas. The above document gives the percentage of criminality of immigrants as close to their estimated percentage of the population. I don’t have the time or interest to devote to analyzing in detail their paper or search further for additional articles (I remind you that I also listed two peer-reviewed journal articles); but if I had had their paper, I would not have written that immigrant crime rates are lower than native born. However, I’m sure there are more studies out there or in the making, some that may agree with them and others that won’t. But whatever the crime rates are, the main point of my paper was how incredibly easy it is to get guns in the US. It is sad that you can’t be civil because you obviously do have valid points to make and I could learn something from you; but, instead, you devote most of your comments to hyperbole, personal attacks, labeling and absurd generalizations.

Having been involved in research for much of my career, researchers often question methodology, choice of statistics, and studies which find opposing results. No one considers these as “attacks.” Seems your rigid need to see the world in black and white leads to absurdities. If you read any articles I have written you would see that I try not to rely on one or even two sources; but multiple. There is an old saying, “trust but verify.” I also mentioned that the New York Times article lists statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice. Various government reports do end up being reported in our mass media, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Did you even bother to check out the Department of Justice statistics listed in the New York Times article?

By the way, I found other interesting papers on the Center for Immigration Studies website so I added them to my Bookmarks under the section for Immigration. I am always open to new sources of information.

I pointed out that the Second Amendment uses language that implies absolutes. Rather than discussing this, you called it “liberal blathering.” The First Amendment also implies an absolute, “Congress Shall Make No Laws;” yet we have libel laws and one can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. My OpEd questions the easy availability of guns, not the right of lawful citizens to own them; yet you claimed my OpEd was an “indictment of the Second Amendment.” Since I was questioning how easy it was for illegal immigrants, children, the mentally ill, and criminals to get a gun and you found that an indictment of the Second Amendment, it seems you have an absolutist vision of it. You could have discussed your interpretation of the Second Amendment, responded to what I wrote; but you didn’t.

As for rubbish about “white militias” I did not say ALL, it is you who uses sweeping generalizations; but that some cheered the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Do you really find it impossible to believe that in a country of 300 million people there would not be some fringe groups who agreed with Timothy McVeigh’s actions? My point is when an American commits some dastardly act many immediately try to see it as a lone individual; but when an immigrant commits a similar act some immediately try to see it as a characteristic of their race or ethnic background or religion. I could find the articles on the white militia responses to the Murrah bombing; but it wouldn’t change your mind.

You wrote: “Before you try to tell someone what an Amendment really means, you should know yourself and not spout bovine defecation.” “Bovine defecation,” are you incapable of just civil dialogue? First, the book “Origins of the Bill of Rights,” sounds like an interesting read. I read Levy’s book on the First Amendment years ago, so I will put it on my to-read list. I checked and SD Public Library has a copy, so, when I get a chance, I’ll get it; but your assumption that you know what Amendments mean and I don’t is one more example of your rigid way of looking at things. You could have asked what I based my interpretation of the three phrases on; but you just assumed. While I am not a Professor of Constitutional Law nor of Early American History, my B.A. is actually in Political Science, including two courses in American government and three courses in Constitutional law. At the time I considered going to law school. And since then I have read many books on the Constitution, the American Revolutionary War, and the Constitution. Besides my passion and training in Public Health and Epidemiology, I love reading history, etc. I would get carpal tunnel syndrome typing all of them;. You can find in the APPENDIX a few from just one shelf of my 10 bookcases (I probably have in my collection 50 books on the American revolution, Constitution, etc. and have read others borrowed from the library and I own about 3,500 books). By the way, there are two recent books that deal with the Second Amendment, one of which is also on my to-read list, Michael Waldman, The Second Amendment: A Biography. Here are two short articles online on the two recent books:

Michael Waldman. How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment, Politico Magazine, May 19, 2014, Available at: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/nra-guns-second-amendment...

John Paul Stevens. The Five Extra Words That Can Fix The Second Amendment, The Washington Post, April 11, 2014. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-five-extra-words-tha…dment/2014/04/11/f8a19578-b8fa-11e3-96ae-f2c36d2b1245_story.html

Rational, reasonable people understand that conscientious honest historians cannot cover all aspects of any topic and have their various individual perspectives. Supreme Court decisions often have concurring and dissenting opinions, often well-written and citing previous court decisions. To some extent, one can support a wide range of opinions by picking and choosing among the huge number of historical court cases in the US. The same goes for historians. I’ll eventually read the book you suggested and will probably find a number of interesting points and that it is well-written; but it is only one book and one person’s perspective. As you can see from the APPENDIX, I have actually read quite a few books and articles.

You could have written that you have read a number of books; but suggest I start with Levy’s Origins of the Bill of Rights, one of the better of the books you had read; but you didn’t. Am I to assume it is the only book you read on the topic?

It isn’t my PhD that is relevant; but my accepting that life is complex, thus reading as many sides as possible (including such “liberals” as F.A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, etc., the Wall Street Journal and Reason Magazine), using critical thinking, and always aware that I am mortal and, thus, never allowing myself to believe my judgments are flawless, not being arrogant or foolish enough to think that I am absolutely right, that I have perfect knowledge. I learn from writers you would probably label conservative or libertarian, from Christian, Moslem, and Jews, from many different viewpoints. I don’t automatically label them, as I don’t think that labeling is a valid critique and thus close my mind to what they have to say. In fact, as I wrote above, such labeling is the opposite of analyzing and evaluating, it is a closed minds defense against admitting ones intellectual deficiencies or laziness. I am always questioning others and myself as well.

In fact, despite your vicious, hostile tone, I even learned from you. I wrote in my OpEd that López-Sánchez “claimed he found the gun.” Which is true, it is what he claimed. You pointed out that the gun was originally stolen from a federal agent’s car. I checked and you were correct. However, we still don’t know how López-Sánchez got the gun. He may have stolen it from the car, purchased it on the street, or actually found it. In either case, he easily obtained a gun, the main point of my OpEd. So, even though you were not just trying to add information; but were attacking me on a rather trivial aspect of my OpEd, I still took the time to check it out. You suggested a book, Origins of the Bill of Rights and I added it to my to-read list. And you introduced me to The Center for Immigration Studies which I added to my Bookmarks. This is one of the differences between you and me. I can learn from anyone, even someone as close-minded, hostile, illogical, and vicious as you.

You wrote: “You remind me of the preacher/priest/rabbi/imman who speak to the masses and try to convince them that their interpretation of a religious document is the one that is valid. In other words, we "small", "uneducated", "non-PhD" minions should just shut up and accept their analysis of the document.” Actually, I love entering into a civilized rational discussion as I might learn something new. My problem with religion is the same problem I have with people like you (it is you that thinks your point of view is the only correct one). Fundamentalists from all of the religions consider anyone who has read the same scriptures; but views them differently as blasphemers and heretics, not listening to what they have to say or entering into a civilized rational dialogue, but immediately attacking. From time to time I also like reading historical and current books on religion. One of my favorite books is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.” But it is just one of probably around 100 or more books that I have read. I personally have had friends who are Baptists, Anglicans, Methodists, Catholics, Jews, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, Moslems, Buddhists, and Bahai. I may not agree with the totality of their respective beliefs; but both find wisdom and insights from each of them as intelligent, compassionate, and decent people.

You wrote: “As always, your crowd throws labels ad hominem in the false belief that people are stupid enough to believe them. Those days are far over, people know that you are lying, because your lips are moving, and now bother to check your facts.”

You are the one calling people liars, believing that by simply calling someone a liberal you needn’t actually take the time or effort to rationally critique what they write. As for “check your facts,” I referred to US Department of Justice report on stolen guns, to peer-reviewed journal articles, etc.. And you also referred to two actual documents, the one from the Center for Immigration Studies and Levy’s book. However, if you are assuming that your references represent some absolute truth and mine do not, you miss the point. You might have encouraged me to read your two suggestions; that is what people do in a civilized exchange; but you didn’t.

You fit the classical psychological defense of “projection” when someone projects their own flaws onto others rather than admitting them, that is, assuming you are absolutely right and rather than entering into a dialogue just attacking with ad hominem arguments and labeling.

As for your “small”, “uneducated”, “non-PhD” minions, I worked hard for my PhD and am proud of it; but my OpEd could have been written by a senior in High School and if a High School instructor handed out a copy of my OpEd and asked the class as homework to critique it, many would have done a much better job than you. He could have given as an essay question: Given that guns often come into the hands of illegal immigrants, children, the mentally ill, and convicted felons, do you think laws trying to deal with this conflict with the Second Amendment? Develop your argument with historical references, linguistic and legal analyses of the Second Amendment. Or, international statistics show among modern industrialized Western democracies with similar percentages of immigrants, the US has by far the highest murder rate with guns explaining a large part of this difference. Discuss this. Or does the phrase “to bear arms” solely relate to military?” or, how about, Do you think the Bill of Rights creates absolute rights, that any laws that limit them reflect a threat to our Rights in general?

What is fascinating is that my OpEd did not deny there are problems with the Sanctuary Laws, that they probably need revising; but I wanted to bring up the issue of how easily guns are available, something that doesn’t seem to bother you. Do you think leaving a loaded gun in a car is OK? Apparently, you don’t find it careless that a federal agent left a loaded gun in his car. López-Sánchez certainly did not walk into a gun shop, present an ID, wait for the mandatory waiting period, and pick up his gun. Yes, he was an illegal, and, yes, I don’t want people like him in the country; but they do get in, so why is it so easy for them to get guns? You can get rid of ALL the Sanctuary Laws, put troops arm to arm on the border and some illegals will get into the country. And native born American criminals, children, and people with mental illness do get guns and this doesn’t seem to bother you. My dad had guns, he taught me how to use them, many of my friends have guns. I do not see questioning the incredibly easy access to guns in this country as an “indictment of the Second Amendment.” But, as I’ve mentioned several times, I don’t see the world in black and white. I don’t see the world in absolutes. It is you who finds any questioning of the easy availability of guns as an “indictment of the Second Amendment.”

My definition of democracy is the informed consent of the governed. Informed means availability and awareness of “facts” and perspectives. 30-second soundbites, ad hominem arguments and labeling don’t count. Relying on one or two sources that confirm one’s pre-existing ideology limits ones understanding of our complex world. Seeing the world in terms of labels, black and white ones is not being “informed.” Imagine a forest. One can ask a zoologist, an entomologist, an ecologist, a botanist, an artist/photographer, a nature lover/hiker, etc. and each will give a partial picture. You obviously reject this. You would choose one and assume their description of the forest is enough. Being informed also includes the skills to evaluate the “facts” and perspectives, including logic, critical thinking, understanding of scientific methodology, etc and willingness to enter into a dialogue, to exchange information and viewpoints with others.

Many historians consider the genius of American government to be the art of compromise. Having read many years ago all of the Federalist Papers, I found they envisaged many factions having to work out compromises. For most of the 20th Century, compromise was the norm for our Congress. They debated in the Congress and then went out for drinks or dinner together, both parties. However, in 1993 Newt Gingrich ordered Republicans to stay away from Democrats. The result is the most dysfunctional government we have had in a long time. We have gone from mutual respect and friendships, recognizing that each side had legitimate viewpoints and were decent caring people to labeling and demonizing. And you fit right in with our current political culture. (for a recent perspective on this, see Dana Milbank: Washington Forgets the Art of Friendship, The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 1, 2015, Available at: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/aug/01/tp-dana-milbank-was...

As for Planned Parenthood. I would hate for you to be on a jury as you would assume the person guilty and ignore the defense. Planned Parenthood has asked for a federal investigation, especially focusing on possible major editing job of the tapes. A good editor could turn an interview with the late Mother Teresa into her being an advocate for the Devil. You have already made up your mind and if a federal investigation finds the tapes were subject to major edits and the unedited tapes paint a different picture, I doubt you would change your mind. I actually am considering writing an OpEd with a tentative title: The Planned Parenthood Tapes: Guilty and Not Allowed to Prove Innocence, An American Tradition? What do you think of the title? If an investigation finds that they are selling fetal parts for profit, I will accept that; but I refuse to rush to judgment.

You are obviously an extremely angry, frustrated person, living in a complex world you don’t understand and just lashing out. You want things to be black and white; but they aren't. Since I don’t know you personally, I will assume that you are intelligent; but are just too lazy and emotionally upset to enter into any type of civilized dialogue. People can differ in their values and perspectives; but a better world will only develop when people of good will, respecting each other, get together and discuss things in a respectful, civilized, logical manner. Your approach of avoiding responding to what I wrote and attacking with calling people liars, using labels. etc. closes any contribution that you might make to solving or even making small improvements to problems in our society. You seem to be attacking straw dogs, tilting at windmills, venting your anger and frustration because your comments barely relate to what I wrote in my OpEd.

Now, I have better things to do. My major focus is getting people to vaccinate their children. And I’m behind in my reading. I recently found at a library book sale a fairly recent book on Ben Franklin’s diplomacy with the French during the American Revolution, The Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America which I am looking forward to reading. You can check out my articles on my webpage given at the bottom of my OpEd, articles that have extensive reference lists. So feel free to continue to make a fool of yourself and get in the last word. No wonder you don’t use your real name!

APPENDIX

Some of Bookmarked Newspapers, etc:

United States:, San Diego Union-Tribune, LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal

Canada: Toronto Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, L’actualité, La Presse, Le Devoir, National Post, Le Journal de Montréal

France: Le Monde, L’Humanité, Le Figaro, Le Canard Enchainé

Israel: The Jerusalem Post, Ha’aretz

Sweden: Göteborgs Posten, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Nyheter, The Local (English Language Swedish Newspaper)

Middle East: Al Jazeera

Some Books and Articles in My Library on American Revolutionary War, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and History of Second Amendment

Joseph J. Ellis. American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic, Alfred A. Knopf, 2007

Woody Holten. Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution. Hill and Wang, 2007

Daniel Lazare. The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution is Paralyzing Democracy. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996

Richard Labunski. James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights. Oxford University Press, 2008

Seymour Martin Lipset. The First New Nation: The United States in Historical and Comparative Perspective. Basic Books, 1963

Charles L. Mee, Jr. The Genius of the People. (about the Constitutional Convention), Harper Row, 1987

Jack N. Rakove. Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1996.

James F. Simon. What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Robert H. Wiebe. Self Rule: A Cultural History of American Democracy. University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Garry Will. A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999

Gordon S. Wood. The Radicalism of the American Revolution. Alfred A. Knopf, 1992

plus at least two biographies of each of the Founding Fathers

As for the Second Amendment, I have read probably a half dozen books and 40 - 50 law journal articles. For instance, I have an entire volume from Chicago-Kent Law Review, Symposium of the Second Amendment, Vol.76, No 2, 2000

A few good articles that you could read that are available online:

Garry Wills. To Keep and Bear Arms, New York Review of Books, September 21, 1995. Posted/Available at: http://www.potowmack.org/garwills.html

Keith A. Ehrman & Dennis A. Henigan. The Second Amendment in the Twentieth Century: Have You Seen Your Militia Lately? University of Dayton Law Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, Fall 1989. Posted/Available at: http://www.constitution.org/2ll/2ndschol/27thes.htm

Carl Bogus. The Hidden History of the Second Amendment. University of California at Davis Law Review. 31, 1998. Available at: http://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issues/31/2/Articles/DavisVol31No2_Bogu...

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms” in plain English

as Hano indicates, means what it says. In context, the Minutemen of Concord and Lexington did bear their arms and instigated an armed revolution against the established non-democratic government of the time, and the Founding Fathers intended that that lesson should not be forgotten, decisions of the establishment Supreme Court notwithstanding.

Wow!

Me. I am to the right of Berry Goldwater.
If I want to live where only law enforcement and criminals have guns I would move to Australia.
If I wanted to live where there were no illegal "aliens" and no guns as above I would move to Communist China.
Only problem with most of the laws in this country today is they are not enforced unless it is politically correct to do so.

Ahhh.....liberalism

Dear "Dr.", Let's see if we can bring you back to reality somewhat. I doubt it seriously, but it's worth a go. First, when one relies upon the New York Times, the world is immediately informed of the liberal and biased nature of the person. I include this first because what liberals always do is "attack the source" vice the data. I think a little turn about is more than fair play here as well as more than accurate. All know that the only thing more liberal/anti-gun/pro-illegals is the Huffington Post. Second, nice try with the usual blathering liberal discourse regarding the Second Amendment. You remind me of the preacher/priest/rabbi/imman who speak to the masses and try to convince them that their interpretation of a religious document is the one that is valid. In other words, we "small", "uneducated", "non-PhD" minions should just shut up and accept their analysis of the document. For 46 cents (used), I recommend you purchase Origins of the Bill of Rights http://www.amazon.com/Origins-Bill-Rights-Yale-Contemporary/dp/0300089015/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438882431&sr=8-1&keywords=the+origins+of+the+bill+of+rights It is a little intellectual, but I am pretty sure you can handle it. It is put out Yale Law and goes through the foundation, history, etc. of every one of the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. Before you try to tell someone what an Amendment really means, you should know yourself and not spout bovine defecation. I have also seen the rubbish put out by liberals regarding "white militias". As always, your crowd throws labels ad hominem in the false belief that people are stupid enough to believe them. Those days are far over, people know that you are lying, because your lips are moving, and now bother to check your facts. I remember when the Southern Poverty Law Center stood for something. It now labels any organization that doesn't bow to its liberal bent "white racists", "anti-immigrant", "terrorists", etc. Sorry "Dr.", crying wolf no longer works. Finally, I have a solution to the "guns are so incredibly easy to obtain". Let's have a new block on the form required to buy guns. It will be a block that has a check mark for conservative or liberal. As with felony convictions, etc., marking liberal will be a disqualifying factor for firearms ownership. Now that you have solved this problem, you can go back to selling aborted fetuses, as I am sure that defense of Planned Parenthood with be your next "editorial".

Response to Hano

@Hano:

For my OpEd I relied on an initial report on the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle. So, thanks to your comment I have revised my OpEd (see above). The gun was, indeed, stolen from a federal agent’s car. It is unclear how López-Sánchez obtained the weapon. He may have been the one who stole it from the car, may have found it as he claimed, or could have purchased it on the street. I found several articles that the cheapest guns are stolen ones. One article stated that stolen handguns go on the street for $50 as compared to $200 for other illegally obtained guns. Even more important I found numerous articles on guns stolen from homes and vehicles, over 200,000 per year. I saved many to my hard drive; but I’ll give just two:

U.S. Department of Justice. Firearms Stolen during Household Burglaries and Other Property Crimes, 2005–2010 , November 2012. Available at: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fshbopc0510.pdf

Alex Yablon. The Gun in the San Francisco Pier Shooting Was Stolen from a Federal Agent. Four Questions to Focus on Next. Why gun thieves target cars, and why gun thefts of all kinds often go unreported. The Trace, July 8, 2015. Available at: http://www.thetrace.org/2015/07/the-gun-in-the-san-francisco-pier-s…ng-was-stolen-from-a-federal-agent-four-questions-to-focus-on-next/

SInce my point was the incredible ease with which guns can be obtained in the U.S., your comment helped strengthen my argument. I did mention households; but left out cars. This is what is called your being hoisted on your own petard. In addition, you gave one website for data on immigrant crime. I added four articles to my OpEd and could give more. The New York Times article in my revised OpEd gives Department of Justice Statistics. Why do you think your chosen website is valid? Do you have any way to judge them other than they confirm what you choose to believe? Your website is run by an anti-immigrant non-profit organization, so their data may be “biased.”

First, let’s look at the Second Amendment which states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Let’s look at several key parts:

“the right of the people”
“to keep and bear arms”
“shall not be infringed”

It clearly states: “the right of the people.” No where does it exclude children, the mentally ill, or ex-convicts, not even those convicted of violent crimes. It clearly states “bear arms” not own/possess guns. To bear arms has always been a phrase related to the military, which should be clear from the “well regulated militia;” but militaries have 50 caliber machine guns, bazookas, surface-to-air missiles, and nuclear weapons. Historically militaries, including ours, have had chemical and biological weapons. In fact, the British used smallpox against American Indians and infected runaway slaves were sent back to the Colonial army to infect them during the American Revolution. And the Second Amendment ends with “shall not be infringed.” So, if one were to take it literally, as an absolute, then all of the above, all persons and any and all types of weapons are covered. Do you really believe this?

In a 1949 Supreme Court case, Associate Justice Robert Jackson wrote a: "The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”

I drive a car; but there are laws against driving under the influence, against texting, speeding, etc. Having such reasonable laws certainly doesn’t make me feel that they are a step towards confiscating my car, ending my ability to drive places. I am on the Do Not Call List. Unfortunately, it is poorly enforced and I am often awakened when napping, disturbed when reading, etc. I screen all calls through my answering machine; but the phone still rings. Many are robocalls, computer generated. I want stronger do not call laws with better efforts to enforce them, including serious fines. I think I have the right to be undisturbed in my own home. I don’t believe such laws begin a slippery slope to confiscate phones and computers.

According to international statistics, compared to other nations with high percentages of legal and illegal immigrants, the U.S. has 2 to 5 times the murder rates. I have friends who own weapons, go hunting and target shooting. In fact, as a kid, I went often to the police firing range with my dad and became quite proficient with a 32 automatic taken as a souvenir from a dead SS officer. And, as an undergraduate, I did two years of ROTC where we learned to dismantle and reassemble M1s and considerable target practice.

You want to blame the tragic death of Ms Steinle on our immigration policies, on liberals; but what about the gross negligence of a federal agent leaving a gun in his car? And, as I wrote in my OpEd, what would the response have been if she had been killed by an American?

Your outrage at immigrants reminds me of the Boston Marathon bombing, something about as despicable as it gets. OpEds, letters to the editor, many vehemently anti-immigrant; yet, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrow Building killing 169 people, even after reports found some right wing American militias cheering, very little anger was directed at them. Historically, most acts of terrorism in the U.S. have been domestic, the first bombing of the World Trade Center, 9/11, and the Boston Marathon bombing were more the exception, as horrible and tragic as they were. And the Boston Marathon bombers learned how to build their bomb on websites of American right wing militias.

It is a HUGE leap to want to keep guns out of the wrong hands to an “indictment of the Second Amendment.” Unfortunately, one of the many problems our democracy has is people like you who are incapable of seeing the world as complex, who want it black and white, all or none, incapable of nuanced reasoning. Totally getting rid of Sanctuary Laws could be a cure worse than the disease. If immigrants, as has happened in Arizona, legal ones and even native born minorities experience the police as the enemy, then they will not cooperate with them, with a consequent increase in crime. This includes avoiding coming forward as witnesses to crimes against citizens like you and me. And if we had not one single illegal or legal immigrant in this country, tragedies like Ms. Steinle would continue because guns are so incredibly easy to obtain.

Finally, I will refrain from name calling as I don’t want to lower myself to your level. Whatever “valid” arguments you tried to make become lost in your resorting to character assassination. Obviously you have problems entering into a respectful dialogue. No wonder you don’t use your real name. I would be embarrassed to be you.

Huh?

Are you really as uninformed as your article indicates? The gun was stolen from a vehicle. The gun belonged to a BLM agent. In other words, a federal law enforcement agent for the Bureau of Land Management provided the gun that killed this woman. How you twist, in your twisted brain, that somehow the availability of guns is responsible for this woman's is beyond me. Personally, I don't give a damn if this illegal was shooting at the sky, he never should have been in this country and never should have been in a position to kill this woman. It was liberals like you that permitted this multiple felon to commit this and your hands are as stained as his with this innocent woman's blood. Your statement about illegal crime rates is also a flat out lie: http://cis.org/ImmigrantCrime Finally, if illegals don't want to tell the police about crime for fear of being "outed" and deported, they have a couple of choices. First, don't come here illegally to begin with OR second, live with the crime they refuse to report. Only fools like you try to turn a heinous crime against an innocent woman into an indictment of the Second Amendment. I have an idea, let's stop letting those of your ilk use the First Amendment.