In last week’s column about Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment and creation, I pointed…
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More Uses and Abuses of Laudato Si'

In last week’s column about Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment and creation, I pointed out some of the ways climate change alarmists have appropriated the pontiff’s language to advance agendas quite different from that of the Catholic Church. (Population control? Seriously?)

Well, the hits just keep on coming. Actor/activist Robert Redford on Sunday cited Pope Francis in his case for doing something — anything — to address the threat of climate change. 

“As Pope Francis has told us, we have a moral obligation to be responsible stewards of the earth and all it supports,” Redford wrote, which is true as far as it goes. “That means protecting future generations from the dangers of climate change.” Well, maybe.

But what does Redford have in mind exactly…[more]

July 04, 2015 • 08:13 pm

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Australia Might Not Even Exist Without U.S. “Guns on the Ground” Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, August 22 2013
[W]hile firearm possession has increased dramatically, firearm deaths have decreased dramatically.

“90% of white ppl are nasty.  #HATE THEM”

That was the racist April 29 tweet of James Edwards.  Today, Edwards sits in a jail cell, charged with first-degree murder in the wanton shooting of Australian Chris Lane this week in Duncan, Oklahoma. 

To date, Barack Obama has yet to interrupt a round of golf to proclaim as he did during the Trayvon Martin circus that, “If I had a son, he would look like James Edwards.”  In fact, when asked about the murder at the daily White House press briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest replied, “I’m not familiar with it, actually.”  Jesse Jackson, still exhausted by his own marathon Trayvon Martin publicity tour, could only manage to say that he “frowned upon” the murder. 

Clearly, the political left has a talent for projecting racism where it doesn’t exist, but ignoring it where it does. 

Meanwhile, in Lane’s native Australia, the reaction is understandably one of horror.  Unfortunately, the killing has also prompted some to sensationally exploit it on behalf of their ideological agenda. 

Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer jumped at the opportunity to advocate a boycott of travel to the U.S. in protest of our Second Amendment protections, and even blamed the National Rifle Association (NRA) from all the way across the Pacific.  “It’s a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the U.S.A.,” Fischer told CNN’s Piers Morgan, who graced the world with his own usual fit of anti-gun hysteria.  “This is the bitter harvest and legacy of the policies of the NRA,” Fischer added.  “This is why Australians and anybody else should think carefully about traveling to the USA, until you start to make a move on gun and firearm sensible control.” 

Fischer’s claims, of course, contradict mounting decades of rudimentary U.S. crime and gun ownership data.  In fact, his comments come at a particularly inconvenient moment for anti-Second Amendment activists. 

Specifically, in January of this year Obama directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “to immediately begin identifying the most pressing firearm-related violence research problems.”  The CDC’s report has now been released, and its findings aren’t what Obama and people like Fischer likely expected or hoped. 

First, the report confirmed the significant increase in firearm possession in the U.S. since the 1980s.  “Between 1986 and 2010,” it reads, “the domestic production of firearms has increased by 79 percent; firearm exports have increased by 11 percent; and firearm imports have increased by 305 percent (ATF, 2012).  A December 2012 poll found that 43 percent of those surveyed reported having a gun in the home (Gallup, 2013).” 

Despite that rapid proliferation, both unintentional and criminal gun casualties have dramatically declined.  Homicide rates in the U.S. have fallen by more than half over the past two decades alone, from 9.8 per 100,000 in 1991 to 4.8 in 2010.  Accidental deaths have similarly declined:  “Unintentional firearm-related deaths have steadily declined during the past century.  The number of unintentional deaths due to firearm-related incidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all unintentional fatalities in 2010.” 

Accordingly, while firearm possession has increased dramatically, firearm deaths have decreased dramatically.  Unfortunately, people like Obama and Fischer either remain ignorant of that fact or deliberately ignore it. 

The CDC report confirmed that defensive firearm use outnumbers criminal firearm use:  “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving guns in 2008.”  The report also noted that, “Firearm-related suicides – though receiving far less attention – significantly outnumber homicides for all age groups.”  In fact, the disparity approaches 2-to-1. 

Directly rebutting Fischer’s comments, the CDC report also noted the infinitesimal number of mass shooting deaths, as well as the ineffectiveness of gun control laws that he demands. 

Misleadingly, people like Fischer emphasize that the U.S. murder rate exceeds that of other industrialized nations.  The problem is that the U.S. rate is still tiny compared with the rest of the world.  While the U.S. rate of 4.8 murders per 100,000 exceeds Australia’s 1.0 rate, that must be kept in perspective by noting the murder rates in nations that effectively prohibit firearms like Russia (10.2), Greenland (19.2), Brazil (21.0), Mexico (23.7) or Honduras (91.6).  In that regard, this quote from the CDC report stands out:  “If one were to exclude figures for Illinois, California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., the homicide rate in the United States would be in line with any other country.” 

In other words, take out those areas in the U.S. that implement Fischer’s and Obama’s preferred policy, and the U.S. is right down there with Australia itself. 

There’s another irony to Fischer’s hysterics.  Namely, without American “guns on the ground,” in his words, Australia itself would likely have been invaded and conquered shortly before he entered the world.  In January 1942, Japanese military leaders resolved to, “Proceed with the Southern Operations, all the while blockading supply from Britain and the United States and strengthening the pressure on Australia, ultimately with the aim to force Australia to be freed from the shackles of Britain and the United States.” 

Fortunately for Australia and Fischer, who was born four short years later, American guns prevented that eventuality. 

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"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…[more]
 
 
—The Declaration of Independence, In Congress, July 4, 1776
— The Declaration of Independence, In Congress, July 4, 1776
 
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