Posted: September 13, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Self Defense, U.S. News | Tags: Background check, Civil Rights, Documentary film, Epix (TV network), Floyd Abrams, Gun rights, Katie Couric, Philip Van Cleave, Second Amendment, Sundance Film Festival, Television, Virginia Citizens Defense League
Charge: sequence in film was ‘work of fiction’ that damaged reputation of commentators.
Gun rights advocates don’t enjoy being falsely depicted as dimwits who can’t answer the most basic of questions about their No. 1 public policy issue.
Erik Wemple reports: That’s the takeaway from a defamation lawsuit filed today against Katie Couric and the producers of “Under the Gun,” a documentary about gun violence in the United States. Having debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the documentary itself came under the gun in May, when members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) claimed that it slighted them by mal-editing an interview in which they’d participated. In response to a question from Couric, the film’s narrator, the gun rights advocates were depicted as sitting in baffled silence for nearly 10 seconds.
[ALSO SEE – Katie Couric Sued for $12 Million For Defamation In Anti-Gun Documentary – bearingarms.com]
In fact, they had supplied an extensive response to Couric’s question.
Many onlookers, including the Erik Wemple Blog, blasted the film for this portrayal. Couric, the global anchor of Yahoo News, initially stood by the product but ultimately apologized for the “misleading” edit. The film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, wasn’t so contrite. “I think it’s sad to say that these eight seconds didn’t give the VCDL a platform to speak. Their views are expressed repeatedly throughout the film; we know how they feel about background checks. They said it earlier in the film,” said Soechtig in an interview after the furor.
“The lies we told were thiiiiiiiiiiiis big”
Intransigence of that sort may bedevil Soechtig in a legal action filed by the VCDL and two gun rights defenders in the film — Daniel Hawes and Patricia Webb — against Couric, Soechtig, Atlas Films and Epix, the documentary’s distributor. Filed in a Virginia federal court by Elizabeth Locke of Clare Locke LLP, the complaint states, “The Defendants manipulated the footage in service of an agenda: they wanted to establish that there is no basis for opposing background checks, by fooling viewers into believing that even a panel of pro-Second Amendment advocates could not provide one.” It seeks compensatory damages of $12 million, and punitive damages of $350,000 per plaintiff.
[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]
The filmmakers gave this particular lawsuit a galloping start, with a dreadful sequence that comes less than a half-hour into the one-hour-and-45-minute documentary. Seated in a circle are members of the VCDL against a dark backdrop. Couric asks this question: “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” In response, the VCDL members say precisely nothing. They stare into space, or at the floor. Brain-freeze appears to have enveloped them.
As the suit notes, this depiction is a “work of fiction.” The VCDL members actually filled Couric’s ear; Hawes, for example, said this:
The fact is we do have statutes, both at the federal and state level that prohibit classes of people from being in possession of firearms. If you’re under 18, in Virginia, you can’t walk around with a gun. If you’re an illegal immigrant, if you’re a convicted felon, if you’ve been adjudicated insane, these things are already illegal. So, what we’re really asking about is a question of prior restraint. How can we prevent future crime by identifying bad guys before they do anything bad? And, the simple answer is you can’t. And, particularly, under the legal system we have in the United States, there are a lot of Supreme Court opinions that say, “No, prior restraint is something that the government does not have the authority to do.” Until there is an overt act that allows us to say, “That’s a bad guy,” then you can’t punish him.
That argument, notes the complaint, is part of the six minutes that the gun rights advocates spent answering Couric’s question. Showing the VCDL as dumbfounded required some work on the part of the filmmakers. In coordinating the interview with the VCDL advocates, Couric and a cameraman from Atlas Films told them that they needed to sit in silence for 10 seconds so that the crew could calibrate the “recording equipment.” It was this passage that “Under the Gun” placed in the film instead of the actual answers supplied to the question about background checks. The suit alleges that this moment carried particular implications for each of the named plaintiffs in the case. Webb is a licensed firearms dealer (Gadsden Guns Inc.), and the edits indicate that “she lacks knowledge regarding background checks — a requirement for every gun sale she does,” argues the complaint. Hawes is an attorney who handles cases involving firearms, and the film suggests that “he lacks the legal expertise and oral advocacy skills required to perform his duties.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 7, 2016 Filed under: Global, Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, Space & Aviation, War Room | Tags: 2d Air Support Operations Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, Air Force Global Strike Command, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Guam, Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, RAF Fairford, Rockwell B-1 Lancer, Strategic bomber, United States Air Force
Two Air Force B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and a single B-52 Stratofortress from the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, last week for the NATO exercise.
Three U.S. long-range bombers will be flying over the Czech Republic this week for Joint Terminal Attack Controller Exercise Ample Strike, U.S. European Command announced this weekend.
Two Air Force B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and a single B-52 Stratofortress from the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, last week for the NATO exercise, which kicked off Aug. 30.
The Czechs are hosting the exercise, aimed to train partners in air-land scenarios, for the third time, according to NATO. The bombers will conduct day and night operations Sept. 5-16, EUCOM said. Approximately 300 participants from 18 countries will attend.
[Read the full text here, at Defensetech]
The Air Force also is adding air-to-air refueling missions during tactical aircraft and bomber missions. “US Air Force KC-135R tankers will refuel not only the German Tornado jets, Czech and Hungarian Gripen aircraft, but also US Air Force strategic bombers,” Col. Zdenek Bauer of the Czech Air Force Command, the exercise director, said in a release. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 6, 2016 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Science & Technology, Self Defense, War Room | Tags: Chief of Naval Staff (Pakistan), David Axe, First Sea Lord, George Washington, London, Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom), Navy, River Thames, Royal Navy, Tower Bridge, United Kingdom, United States, United States Navy
The 34ft boat can skim across the waves at more than 50kts to track high speed targets, while navigating and dodging other ships without the control of a human.
Naval commanders believe the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) could herald a robot fleet of high-speed craft packed with sensors to carry out spy and scouting missions.
The unarmed test craft is one of 40 prototypes to be tested by the Royal Navy in a major robot war game off the coast of northern Scotland in October.
The dawn of unmanned vehicles is likely to have the same revolutionary effect on naval warfare as the birth of flight and aircraft carriers, according to the navy’s Fleet Robotics Officer.
Cdr Peter Pipkin said: “This is a chance to take a great leap forward in maritime systems – not to take people out of the loop but to enhance everything they do, to extend our reach, our look, our timescales, our efficiency using intelligent and manageable robotics at sea.”
MAST has been built for the MoD’s defence laboratories and is based on an existing Bladerunner speedboat, but fitted with sensors and robotic technology that is still largely classified.
The boat has a sophisticated anti-collision system to avoid hazards and other craft, but current laws meant that when it was unveiled on the Thames, it had to have a human coxswain on board.
While the MAST is only a test platform for new technology and will not enter service as it stands, sources said it could it pave the way for future robots vessels that can track, shadow or spy on other craft as well as loitering off coastlines.
Elizabeth Quintana, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Navy was looking at unmanned vehicles to take on “dull, dirty, and dangerous” jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 30, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Self Defense, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Chicago, Crime, Gun laws, Gun violence, Josh Earnest, media, murder, news, video, White House Press Conference
Posted: August 25, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Self Defense, War Room | Tags: Department of State, Iran, military, Obama White House, State Department, US Navy
Posted: August 24, 2016 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Self Defense, U.S. News | Tags: Iran, media, Navy Ship, news, US Navy, video
Posted: August 20, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, Self Defense | Tags: African American, AK-47, American Military News, anti-gun, AR-15, Bill of Rights, Civil Rights, Common Sense, Democracy, Democratic Party (United States), Gun Grabber, Gun rights, Jim Crow laws, Ku Klux Klan, Left Wing, Louder with Crowder, National Rifle Association, Republic, Rifle, Seattle, Second Amendment, The Daily Beast, United States, Washington State
Political commentator and actor Steven Crowder decided to set up an experiment to see just how well people that want “common sense” gun control knew about firearms.
He set up a tent for “Citizens Coalition for Common Sense Gun Reform” to ask people that do not own or are interested in guns to see how much they knew about firearms and which ones should be banned based on “common sense.”
Crowder quickly finds out that the people who are in favor or “common sense” gun control know very little about guns in the first place and what they are capable of. The people justdecided which guns should be banned based on how it makes them feel.
[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]
For example, many people wanted more “tactical looking” firearms banned, but yet other kinds of rifles displayed on the table were fine, such as hunting rifles. Crowder does point out on the side that the AR-15 is actually a popular small game hunting rifle but because it looks tactical, it should be banned.
People were also not well informed on what types of guns were used in crimes and thought that the AR-15 is used in many cases, but as Crowder points out, from 2007 to 2015, 70% of shooting murders are from handguns.
Source: American Military News
“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.
— H. L. Mencken
Democracy? In Moderation, Please.
Buried somewhere in the above Daily Beast article is probably a perfectly decent, arguable case for a certain kind of small-ball, incremental legislation. Unfortunately, but predictably, its case is comically undermined by hateful, shallow, silly, dishonest writing.
Ohh! Those evil Republicans! They should be taken out and horsewhipped! Here, hold my drink. I’ll do it. Get outta my way. I’ve got some GOP ass to beat. Oh, never mind.
Never mind that this advocacy item masquerading as journalism doesn’t even attempt to demonstrate how the measures will have any impact whatsoever, to “avert mass shootings”. Which is understandable. One; averting mass shootings is not, and never was, the goal of activist gun-control legislation. And two; There’s no evidence that “averting mass shootings” can be accomplished by legislation in the first place.
Think the gun debate isn’t polluted with toxic stupidity from the Left? Read on:
“…But with the substantial distortion of our democracy around guns, they are the issue with which this particular method most adheres to the original intentions of the progressives who created it a century ago, at a time when large interests such as timber and railroads blocked popular reforms in legislative bodies around the country.”
The progressives who created it a century ago. Right. Wait, you mean the puritan, racist, anti-constitutional Wilsonian reformers of that era, the progressive activists who gave us segregation, prohibition, and Jim Crow laws, those guys?
The early 20th-century progressives’ “original intentions” are in stark contrast to the intentions of our founders. Cautious, deliberative men, keenly aware of the historically destructive effects of “direct democracy“.
Ever notice how our most sacred and treasured rights are intentionally safeguarded, hardwired in the Bill of Rights? Completely out of reach of voters?
The founders were no fans of democracy.
“When two wolves and a sheep decide what to have for dinner.”
Benjamin Franklin definition of democracy is as clear now as it was over two centuries ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 19, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, Politics, Self Defense | Tags: Barack Obama, Brady Campaign, Concealed carry in the United States, Concealed Carry Permit Holders, Crime prevention, Florida, Gun, Gun laws, Investigation, John Lott, Research, Texas, United States, Violent crime
Cortney O’Brien reports: “Indeed, it is impossible to think of any other group in the U.S. that is anywhere near as law-abiding” as concealed carry permit holders. So concluded the Crime Prevention Research Center following its new report, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States 2016.”
“With about 685,464 full-time police officers in the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, we find that there were about 103 crimes per hundred thousand officers. For the U.S. population as a whole, the crime rate was 37 times higher—3,813 per hundred thousand people.”
The center studied the rate of criminal offenses among concealed carry holders in Florida and Texas when coming to its conclusion.
The findings speak for themselves. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 19, 2016 Filed under: Asia, China, Guns and Gadgets, Science & Technology, Space & Aviation, War Room | Tags: Aerospace Knowledge Magazine, Artificial Intelligence, Beijing, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, China Daily, Cruise missile, Missile, Plug and play, United States, Wang Changqing, Xi Jinping
Next-generation cruise missiles equipped with artificial intelligence and capable of being tailored for specific combat scenarios, are set to debut in China.
— Wang Changqing
“We plan to adopt a ‘plug and play’ approach in the development of new cruise missiles, which will enable our military commanders to tailor-make missiles in accordance with combat conditions and their specific requirements,” explained Changqing. “Moreover, our future cruise missiles will have a very high level of artificial intelligence and automation.”. Changqing indicated that China is already a global leader in artificial intelligence.
[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]
The new cruise missiles will “allow commanders to control them in a real-time manner, or to use a fire-and-forget mode, or to add more tasks to in-flight missiles,” Changqing said.
A modular missile is well-suited for future combat. The “destructive capacity, flight mode, and range” of the missiles can be easily adjusted to counter threats on the ground and at sea, Wang Ya’nan, editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge Magazine, informed China Daily. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 15, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Politics, Self Defense, War Room, White House | Tags: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, media, news, Nuclear Codes, Nukes, The Football
Posted: August 10, 2016 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Robotics, Science & Technology, War Room | Tags: 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (United States), Artificial Intelligence, Future, Heavy machine gun, iPhone, Robot, United States Army, Zero–sum game
Jennings Brown reports: A recent glimpse at the future of robotic warfare proves tank robots aren’t ready for the battlefield just yet—but soldiers are enthusiastic about tiny drones that can be mistaken for birds.
“We need to be making sure we’re fielding new technology as quickly as we can. It doesn’t do any good if we’re just investing in great technology if we don’t actually get it into the field for soldiers.”
— Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning
Unites States soldiers based in Hawaii spent half of last month testing out cutting-edge robotic prototypes in exercises as a part of Pacific Manned-Unmanned Initiative (PACMAN-I). Members of the 25th Infantry Division controlled air and land drones to determine what technology could actually benefit soldiers. It was the third time in history human that soldiers have collaborated with robot counterparts in a simulated war zone.
Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning visited the exercise on July 26, a sign of the interest the Army is taking in the battlefield applications of unmanned vehicles. “We need to be making sure we’re fielding new technology as quickly as we can,” Fanning said, in a statement. “It doesn’t do any good if we’re just investing in great technology if we don’t actually get it into the field for soldiers.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 6, 2016 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere, Science & Technology, Space & Aviation | Tags: Allies of World War II, New Mexico, rockets, Soviet Union, Space Race, United States, V-2 Rocket, White Sands Proving Grounds, World War II
Reel 1 shows a V-2 rocket assembled from German parts at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico. The alcohol tank, oxygen tank, propulsion unit, and tail housing are placed in position.
The rocket is carried to the firing area and raised to a vertical position. Reel 2, final checks are made and the rocket is fired. Its course is followed by radar. Parts are recovered after the rocket has crashed.
Posted: August 6, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, Global, Guns and Gadgets, Mediasphere | Tags: 2016 Summer Olympics, Air Rifle Event, Belo Horizonte, Brazilian people, Competition, Dilma Rousseff, firearms, Guns, International Olympic Committee, Melanie Leupolz, Olympic games, Rifles, Rio de Janeiro, Sport Shooting, Target shooting, Thomas Bach, United States
Stacy Dash writes:
I love to see strong American women with guns. Way to go, Team USA!
American teenager Virginia Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday, holding her nerve against two Chinese Olympic champions to clinch the women’s 10m air rifle event.
The 19-year-old American edged out China’s Du Li, gold in Athens in 2004, with an Olympic-record score of 208. Defending Olympic champion Yi Siling, also of China, took the bronze medal… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 29, 2016 Filed under: Global, Guns and Gadgets, Self Defense, Space & Aviation, War Room | Tags: Eglin Air Force Base, Farnborough Airshow, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender, RAF Fairford, Royal Air Force, Royal International Air Tattoo, United Kingdom, United States Marine Corps
Years of flat budgets amid an increasing operational tempo has thrown Marine aviation into a readiness crisis, forcing pilots to scrounge museum aircraft for parts simply to keep their aircraft flightworthy. Nevertheless, Marine aviators must prepare for high-intensity warfare against increasingly sophisticated foreign adversaries.
Can the Marine Corps triage aircraft readiness if sequestration continues? How will the Marines integrate next-generation technology as diverse as autonomous vehicles, the revolutionary F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, and a new heavy-lift helicopter into future operational concepts? Read the rest of this entry »