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    Banning Coffee Didn't Make The French Less French
    By Hank Campbell | February 21st 2013 02:05 PM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    Legislation to restrict guns is a lot like legislation to restrict abortion - it's a tough sell at the federal level because of that pesky Constitution so it requires a friendly court and and a lot of lawyers. States, of course, can do it more easily. Some states have ways to restrict abortions and some states have ways to restrict guns.

    Gun restriction proponents like Vice-President Joe Biden would probably like to restrict abortions too. America is the only civilized country that still allows late-term abortions on demand, but abortion doctors don't rush into schools and go on an abortion spree so score one for abortion fans.

    And to be fair, Vice-President Biden doesn't want to ban all guns, he is not convinced by advocacy claims that having loaded guns generally put children at risk - he ironically claims that what he calls "assault weapons" are too hard to use to shoot someone and instead believes we should keep a loaded double-barreled shotgun next to the bed.



    It's an interesting hypothesis. A Houston grad student has created an organization to test it - they are giving away shotguns in high-crime areas to see if V.P. Biden is correct. In the San Franscisco Bay area, the police have done a 180 degree turn from what the federal government wants - they are encouraging citizens to shoot mentally ill people who are on a shooting spree rather than waiting for Dianne Feinstein or the police to save them.

    If we weren't so arrogant, we wouldn't have to test these hypotheses ourselves, we could learn  lessons by analyzing other country's gun control efforts, like in Europe. Italy is second in Europe in gun murders, though they ban guns.  Switzerland makes all men join the military and then sends the men home with a gun, so not only are guns not banned, they are everywhere, and they are first in Europe in gun murders.  A country that gives them away is only slightly more deadly than a country that bans them? I guess that is a wash so continental Europe can't teach us much after all.

      And banning guns hasn't even protected schoolchildren in Europe. 2 of the top 5 biggest school shooting sprees ever were in Germany, tied with the US - Germany had 3 in the top 5 and the US only 1 until the Newtown tragedy. As John R. Lott, Jr., economist and author of "More Guns, Less Crime" noted, on a per capita basis Europe has one less shooting spree than the US per decade. So Europe has already taught us that guns are not the problem, mental health is, Mr. Vice-President.  

    How about the United Kingdom? The UK bans guns but England, Scotland and Wales hold the top three spots for violent crime in the civilized world.  In America, breaking into a house is a real crap shoot when someone is home - unless a newspaper is kind enough to post the addresses of gun owners, which makes things safer for criminals. That is why there are so few home invasions in America when the person is home.  Burglars ain't dumb. In the UK, home invasions when the person is home are common. 

    What other lessons can they teach us across the Atlantic? We can learn. 

    The UK once tried to ban coffee too.  Some worried it would make men too French. By that they meant impotent. 


    Link: Adam Cole at NPR

    Other elites worried that coffee led to discussion and therefore was a weapon, like a gun, that would shake the citizenry out of their stupor and lead to rebellions against elites. They had a point.  Where were both the American and French Revolutions planned?  That's right, coffee houses. Where did I build Science 2.0? Okay, in my den but I drank a lot of coffee while doing it.

    King Charles II shut down all coffee houses in England but changed his mind quickly. There is only so far you can push people before revolts go from academic speculation to scary reality so monarchs and politicians have to tread the line carefully. 

    In the case of Charles II changing his mind, "I think maybe he recalled that they had beheaded his father," Mark Pendergrast, author of "Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World", told NPR's Adam Cole

    Comments

    Here's an interesting segment of the Bay Area article that you linked to:
    >>While this policy expedites law enforcement’s ability to react, security experts add that it is critical that civilians are trained and prepared to deal with a worst-case scenario.<<

    As most reasonable folk would agree, 'trained' and 'worst-case' are subjective. I'm pretty sure that real security experts would not expect that civilians, in large numbers, will get the proper training and that trying to assess the level of the 'case' may be beyond their collective capabilities. On the other hand, I agree that self protection is preferred to hiding and hoping not to be noticed.

    Back to the article: What's up with the coffee business? Some enterprising GMO scientists need to get busy fighting
    Coffee Leaf Rust Disease.
    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=42874

    Hank
    Oh, I agree. While I appreciate the public's willingness to help if needed, it can't be just anyone. People who get a CCW permit are already inclined to want to be helpful and competent - the only people who apply for one and don't intend to be responsible and competent are anti-gun advocates, who here in California make a bunch of fake appointments so the waiting list for real people is a year.

    But some sort of standard before people are pulling out guns is necessary.  Banning them is dumb but asking people who are uncomfortable with them to help take out bad guys is not winning any smart prizes either.

    I wrote on the coffee rust issue last week - science can totally solve that. 
    Don't know how I missed that one, but thanks.

    And thanks for this reassurance >> Science can save us from running out of coffee <<