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Joe Nocera Goes to Bat for Gun Control

 Taurus PT 1911 (courtesy

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera refuses to consider the possibility that the “shall not be infringed” part of the Second Amendment means “shall not be infringed.” More to the point, Joe can’t understand why anyone would believe that government regulation of private firearms ownership is a bad thing, not a good thing—excluding the fact that they lack his intellectual firepower and bleeding heart empathy. So Joe’s taken to labeling gun owners who oppose civilian disarmament “absolutists.” Which is a kindler, gentler and more condescending way of calling them “extremists.” Well here’s one thing that’s absolutely true: Joe Nocera is a clever bastard . . .

Nocera knows how to control the narrative by combining journalistic sins of omission and commission. In other words, Nocera is the Mayor of Spin City. To wit today’s “Gun Report” . . .

The new meme among gun absolutists appears to be hammers. “Why did you elect to report on guns as a choice of weapon, when according to current F.B.I. stats, bear claw hammers and baseball bats are the number 1 and number 2 choice of weapon?” wrote a pro-gun reader: “Guns are 3rd.” When I was interviewing Second Amendment absolutists for Saturday’s column, I heard the same thing. So of course, Jennifer Mascia and I looked into it. Guess what? It doesn’t appear to be true as Slate reported in February . . .

Just for fun, let’s cede Joe the statistical argument (at least until Bruce Krafft sees the bat signal). Do you see what he’s doing?

Instead of debating whether or not keeping a running tally of “gun violence” is inherently biased in favor of (not to mention inspired by) civilian disarmament, instead of balancing “gun violence” against defensive gun use, Joe’s focused his readers’ attention on baseball bats and hammers.

Still, in the interest of fair inquiry, Jennifer and I will be searching this week for incidents of hammer violence as well as gun violence. We will run The Hammer Report directly below The Gun Report, so readers can see for themselves how much hammer violence there is compared to gun violence. Should be illuminating, don’t you think?

You gotta give Joe credit. At the same time that he’s ridiculing his “absolutist” detractors by simplifying and mischaracterizing their argument, he’s added information which backs up the underlying precept of civilian disarmament: America is a cesspool of violence.

Truth be told, we are a law-abiding and peaceful nation whose violent crime rate has been dropping for more than a decade. The majority of the reports in Joe’s daily tabulation of firearms-related homicides are gang/drug-related deaths and suicides, restricted to a small population, both geographically and demographically.

Not that you’d know it from reading This Day in Gun Violence. Joe’s supposedly objective diary gives an intentionally distorted view of our society. Context is the argument killer, and Joe knows it.

Thankfully, his “something must be done” alarmism is doomed to failure. For one thing, it’s monotonous. Not even Joe’s snarky sniping can save the feature from ballistic boredom. For another, Americans still believe in their Constitution and the rights it protects. Absolutely positively.


  1. avatar Chad says:

    What is a ” Bear Claw Hammer?” And where can I get this tasty sounding Implement? Dunkin Donuts, maybe?

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      Eat four in quick succession and you’ll find out.

      Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the claim that hammers are used to kill more people than guns. I’ve heard the claim that they are used more often than rifles, which isn’t hard, because rifles are so rarely used. Anybody got a source for the broader claim?

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          Yeah, that’s what I had seen as well. Firearms as a whole are #1 and much more than blunt objects, but blunt objects are more than rifles and hands, fists, etc. have more than twice as many victims as rifles.

        2. avatar Ropingdown says:

          Nocera’s just another hit man for the editor-in-chief, trying to become St.George by slaying a dragon of his own creation. So he finds the only guy in the US who got the hammers-and-clubs vs. rifles stat confused…and ran with that guys misstatement. I’go on the record, Joe: I’m absolutely for the 2nd Amendment. The new memes are all from finance these days: “When things get serious, you’ve got to lie.” FM of Luxembourg. The NYT’s financials are seriously bad and so….

      1. avatar Chad says:

        I believe it comes from the FBI’s Expanded Homicide data table 8.

        Notice the personal weapons category. I guess we should take people’s hands and feet away next?

        1. avatar dwb says:

          tis but a flesh wound.

  2. avatar Jim B says:

    “Truth be told, we are a law-abiding and peaceful nation whose violent crime rate has been dropping for more than a decade.”

    I know with all the media reporting of violence and wars it doesn’t seem like it but there are those that say we live in the peaceful time in human existence. Hard to believe, huh? Well that is what this guy believes anyway:

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      That’s a really good book, and well worth the read. Yes, there is still horrible violence, and it could stand to get a lot better, but a lot of people don’t realize how violent it used to be in bygone eras. Your chances of dying of old age are better now than ever before.

    2. avatar DaveL says:

      I must get that book. I’ve been reading many good things about it.

      I find nothing illuminates the situation so well as numbers. Not the B.S. statistics thrown out deliberately without context, but the numbers that make the context. For instance, try calculating how low we’d need to get the murder rate before we can no longer get two murders into the national news each and every day: We need 2 * 365 = 730 murders, divided by (314,000,000 / 100,000) = 0.23 – less than the murder rate of Iceland or Japan. We can be safer than Iceland or Japan and still fill the news that forms your view of the world with murder.

  3. avatar ensitue says:

    Another Commie Hack doing his bit to Transform America, gee I wonder if he’s married an Iranian like Kerry’s daughter?

  4. avatar sdog says:

    “Thankfully, his “something must be done” alarmism is doomed to failure.”


    i agree, this “it deserves a vote” thing from the state of the union is hopefully running out of steam because it is a hollow argument and does not address the underlying issues (mental illness, poverty, etc..

    1. avatar Pat says:

      Something must be done……..IN THE NAME OF THE CHILDREN. You cant forget to wave that bloody shirt.
      Liberalism is a mental disorder.

  5. avatar csmallo says:

    I am proudly an “absolutist” when it comes to the Second Amendment. I am also an absolutist when it comes to the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. The First Amendment says “no law abridging…”. It doesn’t exempt commercial speech. It doesn’t exempt campaign speech, It doesn’t even exempt porn. All speech should be protected. The Second says “..shall not be infringed..” So that means all current gun laws are unconstitutional.

  6. avatar Lucas D. says:

    No, the dude who got free air travel for life by buying pudding was clever; Joe Nocera is just a bastard.

  7. avatar Michael B. says:

    I don’t care what him or anyone like him says. More and more Americans everyday are financially dropping off the grid.

    Social engineering-obsessed jackasses like you, Joe Nocera, have shredded our constitution and made so many laws and regulations trying to force your vision of utopia on the rest of us that sensible people increasingly have no respect for the law, you or your cancerous thieving politicians.

    In the end you’re gonna be spinning your wheels in vain and the system you’re responsible for creating is gonna bite you worse than it’ll bite us.

    No matter what you do, liberty will live on you power-worshipping son of a bitch.

  8. avatar Roadrunner says:

    Much, maybe most, of the gun violence in this country is related to a drug war. And even if the extremists on Nocera’s side had their way and disarmed every law-abiding American, that war would still be going on, and the combatants would still have weapons. See Mexico.

    On a related note, the weapons they’d most like to take away from us, chambered in 5.56 x 45, are falsely called assault weapons when civilians own them in semi-automatic. Shouldn’t Nocera be the least bit curious that Janet Napolitano’s DHS calls them “personal defense weapons,” as she buys 7,000 of them capable of full auto?

  9. avatar niceguns says:

    I guess New York is now reaping the benefit of electing democrats and Jews,
    You heard right JEWS. If you can’t see that the JEWS are at the forefront of the gun grab then I suggest you take your head out of your asses.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      The publisher of this blog s a Jew. Alan Gura is a Jew — an Israeli! Alan Gottleib is a Jew. Robert Levine is a Jew. I could go on, but why bother. Tell ya what — I’ll get my head out of my @ss if you get your @ss out of your mouth and apologize to your mommy for trying to play with the adults. Now get back to Call of Duty. ‘Kay?

      1. avatar niceguns says:

        Look at Obama’s overly Jewish cabinet OK dope. Look whose leading g the way OK dope

      2. avatar Swarf says:

        I’m not a Jew but I’m cut like one.


        1. avatar Ropingdown says:


    2. avatar Michael B. says:

      Go to hell, racist troll.

      1. avatar John in AK says:

        Now, now. Racist trolls perform a valuable service: They help bring the rest of us together to point at them and marvel at their crassness. They are akin to the funny little sh*t-throwing monkeys at the zoo, are they not?
        Oh, we laughed and laughed.

      2. avatar Rick says:

        Niceguns isn’t a racist since Jews come in all manner of racial characteristics. No, he isn’t a racist, but he is an ignorant bigot, bless his heart.

    3. avatar Ing says:

      I think everyone who has been involved in the Second Amendment debate can see that Jews are a significant subset of the people who are driving the gun prohibition movement.

      Everyone who has read this blog for any length of time also knows that that Jews are a significant subset of the people who are fighting tooth and nail to preserve our right to keep and bear arms. Speaking of “reaping the benefit,” we’re commenting on this article thanks to one of them.

      1. avatar Ross says:

        All races, creeds, genders etc are involved on both sides of the Second Amendment fight, no one group has the monopoly on one or the other.

      2. avatar John in AK says:

        Ain’t that jes’ the way with them Joos? First they are all, like, Commie Pinko New World Order bastidges and kilt Jesus so’s we kin hate ’em all fair an’ square, and then some of ’em turn right around and are pro-Liberty and the Bill of Rights and are just like everybody else ‘cept they think Jesus was jes’ a nice fella what helped he daddy out in the carpentry shop.

        Cain’t TRUST them people to pick on being frien’s or emenies, one or ‘tother.

        Beware! Things like ‘niceguns’ still walk among us, undetected until they speak.

    4. Isn’t Nocera a Sicilian name, anywho? Not that those crafty Sicilians are to be trifled with either….

      Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!


      1. avatar Gadsd N. Flagg says:

        +1 for yet another The Princess Bride reference.

        It is “INCONCEIVABLE!” that I should find here other aficionados of this movie.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Have fun storming the castle!

    5. avatar Ropingdown says:

      Niceguns: By some inexplicable convergence of of mystical vortices, Jews will often be found on both sides of any interesting debate, political or scientific. In the hardwired code of life it’s not a bug, its a feature. I noticed there are Catholics on both sides, too. Whatever am I to make of that? Oddly, I further have discovered that in the Tehran News there’s only Muslims and, hold onto your hat, only one side. Even more baffling, no? Because the US Jewish population is very largely urban, you will find their political influence focused there, and their political inclinations similar to others in the few major cities. To quote former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, a Jew and also a decorated WWII infantry veteran, it may be true that “Jews live like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans.” It isn’t a conspiracy, except of geography.

      1. avatar Shenandoah says:

        Ropingdown, this is the Internet, how dare you be so reasonable!

    6. avatar Hal says:

      I’ll let Ralph continue to be the witty respondent on this one.

      Hey niceguns, take your anti-semitism somewhere else. Oh and, when you get there, don ‘t forget to go f*ck yourself you c*ck s*cking pr*ck. F*ck you, f*ck your mom and f*cl your face.

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        Hal, jeez, this isn’t a sex blog!!

  10. avatar Orion says:

    Joe…dear dear sweet Joe. They are 2A absolutists because the 2A is suppose to be absolute. The language is specific, “shall not” be infringed, not “may not”. Look it up and learn the damn difference.

    1. “The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) defines shall and must as synonymous terms denoting ABSOLUTE requirements…” ~wiki/Shall_and_will

      2A is absolutist.

      Do they have a reading comprehension requirement to work at the New York Times?

    2. avatar rhampton says:

      No, the right is not absolute. Scalia covered this in the Heller decision.

      Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

    3. avatar rhampton says:

      D.C. v Heller — SCALIA: Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited . . . nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

      1. avatar dwb says:

        you like to quote that part, but not the “in common use” part.

        1. avatar rhampton says:

          Scalia explains that in common use does not include unusual and dangerous, specifically mentioning the M-16

        2. avatar Hal says:

          The M-16 which is a burst/full auto weapon which has already been banned. Nice try sport.

          Not that Scalia is correct. They can compromise all they wish but the second amendment is about the citizenry bring able to arm themselves with weapons which are the equivalent of those carried by Infantry forces.

          Scalia can tell me the earth is flat 100 times but it doesn’t make it true.

        3. avatar rhampton says:

          Hal, Scalia gave a very detailed explanation about the limits on arms a modern “militia” could be expected to legally own. He admits that, because of those limits, the modern militia would be hopelessly outgunned, however that does not alters the court’s historical understanding of the 2nd amendment

        4. avatar Data McBits says:

          Nice dodge, rhampton. You failed to acknowledge your mistake. The M16 is already heavily regulated and outright illegal for civilians to own if it was manufactured after 1986 (which would include nearly all current military models). The AR-15, target of most pending legislation, is not an M16 and would therefore be EXEMPT under the Heller decision — this is DOUBLY true because it is “in common use”. An AR-15 may be visually similar to an M16 (or an M4), but that’s where the similarities end.

          Please learn what the hell you’re talking about before you go around telling other people how and when (and if!) they can own it.

        5. avatar rhampton says:

          Data McBits,
          My initial reply was to Orion who made the point that the 2nd Amendment was an absolute right that could not be legally infringed (hence the term “absolutist”). I countered that, according to the conservative wing of the present day Supreme Court, the right was not absolute. The M-16 was just one of several examples given by Scalia (felons, the mental ill, schools, etc) where/when there are legal limits on the right to bear arms.

      2. avatar Shenandoah says:

        I would argue that by committing a felony you are breaking the social contract and thus relinquish the rights held by “the people.”

        1. avatar Ropingdown says:

          I’d agree if it was applied to violent felonies. I strongly disagree that the federal law should count what state legislators have nominated ‘misdemeanors’ as felonies under the federal restrictions. That’s just bad law and bad federalism. Such a case is on appeal, but I haven’t got the citation in front of me. Such is life.

  11. avatar Roadrunner says:

    Alan Gura who won the Heller case is Jewish. So is
    Alan Gottlieb, Second Amendment Foundation. So is David Kopel, Independence Institute. So are Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, but that was really easy. I don’t think it would take long to find a few more. God bless the Jews.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again: Nocera is an @sshat. From Providence. Which is the worst kind of @sshat.

  13. avatar Russ Bixby says:


    I used to be a “thug,” as someone here once called me because I’ve worked for the Feds on occasion – as an overseas contractor in Turkey, Germany and Antarctica.

    As an aside, climate change due to us is real, as much as the Limbaughcrats would have everyone believe otherwise, but I digress.

    Near the end of my first winter in McMurdo, one Glen Rooth tried to kill one Anthony Beyer. He used a hammer – and clunked a couple others as well. The stories I could tell about THAT…

    At Mirnyy a few years previously one Russian buried an axe in another for supposedly cheating at chess.

    While some bases have at times sported firearms (but no flamethrowers) I know of no shootings – attempted, threatened or otherwise,


    Back to climate change, sort of, I’d again suggest that we all refer to any and all DGU as “an inconvenient truth” when talking with the Other Side.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      one Russian buried an axe in another for supposedly cheating at chess

      Completely understandable.

      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        It’s simply mafia code. An honorable enemy gets a shot in the head. A dishonorable one a shot in the face….or the axe. Cheating at chess? My god, what a degenerate. I bet the bastard cheated on line calls in tennis. Of course he did.

    2. avatar Mark Eisnger Galley Manager says:

      Hey Russell Bixby, aren’t you the goofy Coke-Bottled Glasses Clary lab computer geek Supervisor who used to think he was a dog and bark at people? I remember how everyone wondered how you passed the psych exam and were allowed to winter over in Antarctica. You would bark at the food line in the galley when you wanted something. Then when you jumped into cold Ross sea naked for the Polar plunge you dove to the bottom and came up with lingering tingling arms. You also would walk outside in below zero weather without a jacket or ECW gear on. Obviously you had freezer brain and were the biggest embarrassing mentally unbalanced joke during the winter over. You were constantly sexually harassing a much, much younger red-headed Assistant cook who filed many complaints against you and you ruined her entire winter over experience. Man the stories we could continue to tell about that and you. She had the same first name as “One” famous Princess in Star Wars (Carrie Fisher character) The moral of the story is: Those who live in glass houses should shut the f up!!!

  14. avatar JAS says:

    I believe Nick is the stats guy in the fold. I would ask him to produce a map of the US with red dots marking spots where all this gun violence is taking place using the FBI data. Dots should vary in size by the numbers. It should be interesting and I’d love to see that presentation. Chicago’s dot could cover IL.

  15. avatar Lucas D. says:

    I’d say it’s not a Jewish thing, but a product of the typical East Coast/New York City attitude. That New York City has a large Jewish population is largely irrelevant, since -as Ralph just pointed out- tons of Jewish folks around the country do NOT support gun control.

    NOTE: This was supposed to be a reply to the thread above, but for some reason it was posted at the end of the comments.

  16. avatar BDub says:

    I’m sure Nocera will just tell you he Googled the word “Hammer” didn’t find any hammer violence.

  17. avatar Totenglocke says:

    Truth be told, we are a law-abiding and peaceful nation whose violent crime rate has been dropping for more than a decade.

    Actually Rob, it’s been more than two decades. Crime peaked in 1991 and has been falling since.

    1. avatar Gyufygy says:

      If we abuse the correlation and causation like some other people do all to frequently, I can declare that my starting 2nd grade caused a change in crime trends.


      1. avatar Ropingdown says:

        A grateful nation can only say, “Well done, Gyufygy, well done.”

      2. avatar Ralph says:

        Gyufyfy, TYVM for the reduction in crime and for the Giants beating the spread in the 1991 NFL championship.

      3. avatar Totenglocke says:

        Wait….that means that we’re the same age. Damn.

  18. avatar Don says:

    This would worry me if anybody read Joe Nocera.

  19. avatar 40&2000 says:

    I know a family that was beaten to death with a hammer. I can assure you they are no less dead than if they had been shot and the rest of the family was no less devistated. The surviving sister immediately went out and bought a handgun for home protection for whatever that’s worth.

  20. avatar Hal says:

    This guy is a disgrace to whatever is left of honest journalism. To INTENTIONALLY take a statistic which he KNOWS relates only to rifles and to misrepresent it to be about all firearms is disgusting.

    Why are you afraid to discuss the ACTUAL statistic Joe? Is it because it underscores the absurdity of any ban on assault weapons? I suppose that being honest would be inconvenient to your agenda. You’re a terrible person (I use the term loosely).

  21. avatar Stinkeye says:

    “The majority of the reports in Joe’s daily tabulation of firearms-related homicides are gang/drug-related deaths and suicides, restricted to a small population, both geographically and demographically.”

    This is a point I think the pro-2A side needs to stress a lot more often. The antis love to trot out the “11,000 victims of gun violence a year” statistic, but they never get into just who all those “victims” are, leaving the impression it’s all Sunday school teachers and promising young cellists.

    If you eliminate criminals who are shot in the commission of a crime (either by a cop or their intended victim defending themselves) and the criminals shot by other criminals, I wonder what the total of actual “innocent victims” is.

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Promising young cellists? Y’know what they say about fiddle cases…

  22. avatar Pollyana says:

    I find it unsurprising that a business reporter, who basically makes his living off the droppings of our Wall Street Oligarchs, would leap at the chance to carry water for Mike Bloomberg, who has made 28 billion dollars serving the technology and information needs of our Wall Street Oligarchs.

    I find it curious that the drive to disarm the population seems to have taken hold, just as the global ponzi scheme appears to be slipping out of control. It’s almost as if the Wall Street Oligarchs fear that there might be consequences to shipping manufacturing jobs out of the country, swindling homeowners and raping the treasury with the TARP and associated buy outs.

    Don’t they know that both parties in the government are completely bought and paid for and will never bring them to justice? That the six conglomerates that control 90% of the mainstream media will forever keep people in the dark? That the few resistors will be easily identified by the highly sophisticated information security state and then neutralized by the DHS/interior ministry army?

    just kidding…

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