People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, January 31, 2005

And Here I Worried

I was so worried that the French - most particularly Jacques Chirac - were not going to pass favorable judgement on the Iraqi elections. My fears were, as it turns out, unfounded.

French President Tells Bush He Is Satisfied With Iraq Elections

By Christine Ollivier Associated Press Writer

PARIS (AP) - Although a leading opponent of the U.S.-led war, French President Jacques Chirac told President Bush on Monday he was satisfied with the organization of Iraq's elections and that the terrorists have been partly thwarted.

Chirac spoke to Bush in a telephone call, said the French leader's spokesman, Jerome Bonnafont.

"The participation rate and the good technical organization of the elections were satisfactory," Bonnafont quoted Chirac as saying. (link)

I hope President Bush told Jacques where he could stick his "satisfaction." Just knowing that the latter is supportive troubles me. We don't want to be on the wrong side of this issue. And the wrong side is always the French side.

Hain't we Got All The Fools?

There are occasionally concepts put forth by really smart people or by organizations with impeccable reputations that seem, from the git-go, completely misguided. Borderline stupid.

One of them has to do with what is euphemistically termed "ballistic fingerprinting," the tracing of a bullet to a particular gun by the markings left on that bullet after the weapon has been fired. There are those of us (disclaimer time - I am a proud member of the NRA) who heard about it, read the rationale behind it, studied the supporting data, and concluded that the people who buy into such nonsense are daft.

Everyone at the Washington Post fell into that category. They thought it would be a neat idea to take a 9mm bullet that had been left behind at a crime scene - perhaps dug out of a victim's body - take it to the ballistics lab, run it through the database that warehoused the ballistic signature - or fingerprint - of every firearm on earth, determine which firearm was involved in the crime, and nab the perp.

Right out of a Dick Tracy comic book.

Comic being the operative word. There are an estimated 150 million firearms in circulation today. There will be another million sold over the counter this year. All of these would have to be catalogued and entered into this monster database (your tax dollars at work, of course) in order for it to work. And let's not forget what ballistics experts had to say about this bizarre idea. They advised that the barrel of a handgun could easily be altered with a file in order to change the signature. They also tried to get the crusaders against gun violence (rather than against thugs and assassins) to understand that a firearm's signature will change as that firearm gets more and more amunition fired through it - as the rifling inside the barrel wears down.

And then there were those who suggested that there was not enough money in the United States treasury to pay for this grandiose scheme.

No matter. The people at the Washington Post, along with Sarah Brady, the radical leftist Violence Policy Center, and the Million Moms March (did I forget Rosie O'Donnell) still thought it was a wonderful idea - reality be damned.

Well, the law enforcement community is now coming forward - ever so timidly - and saying the money spent thus far has been wasted. Nobody - NOT ONE MURDERER, NOT ONE MUGGER, NOT ONE BANK ROBBER, NOT ONE BAD GUY - has been brought to justice having been tracked by this database. From the Washington Post this morning:

BARELY A YEAR after singing the praises of a law requiring gun makers to submit ballistics data on every handgun sold in Maryland, state police have declared it a dud and want it repealed.

Since the law took effect in 2000, the information gathered has not significantly aided a single criminal investigation [my emphasis]. The cost so far, much of it for setting up the system: $2.6 million over the four years. That's not a lot of bang for the buck, nor does it reinforce the state police's own report in 2003 that called the ballistics database "a powerful weapon in law enforcement's arsenal against crime." (
Not one single criminal investigation. $2.6 million. And counting.

Now you'd think shedding light on a topic like this would allow the folks at the Post to see that their pie-in-the-sky theory was a failure. Instead, it seems the light has blinded them and they have simply closed their eyes to the truth. The Washington Post wants to forge ahead. Blindly. In fact, they want us to broaden the program.

A broader national database would be the best approach. In Maryland, the relative handful of inquiries by state police to a still young database may not produce significant results for some time. Still, police can and should make better use of the system. It may yet prove to be a flop. But at this point, collecting the data ought not to stop.
The operative word being flop.

But don't discount the efforts of the liberals at the Post and their liberal allies. There are lots of them and they have great wealth to squander trying to make this pig look like a sow. The big cities up north are chock full of them. As Mark Twain recognized in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:

Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side?
And ain't that a big enough majority in any town?

Israelis Start Down That Road

This is a good thing:

Israel said it will begin withdrawing its troops from five towns on the West Bank on Wednesday amid protest from tens of thousands of Jewish settlers who seek to block both West Bank and Gaza Strip pullouts.

Also, it was announced Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will fly to Israel Sunday in advance of a two-party summit between Palestinian leader President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The two Mideast leaders are scheduled to meet two days later in a bid to revive a "road map" plan.

Shaul Mofaz, Israel's defense minister, yesterday said the troop pullout from five West Bank towns would be a further sign of cooperation with the new Abbas administration, which has significantly curbed violence in the Gaza Strip. (link)

There is a real possibility that peace will come to Palestine.

Freedom Rings

Speaking of good things, it appears the people of Iraq have come out en masse and sent a message to all the naysayers (led by Ted Kennedy) and their terrorist allies that the Iraqis will be taking the helm and will be setting a course toward freedom.
Iraqis by the millions defied the terrorists and came out to vote for their first post-Saddam democratic government: They waited patiently on line, sharing chocolates and juice with each other, clapping and cheering as they waited.

Even in cities like Fallujah and Mosul — hotbeds of the anti-democracy insurgency — Iraqis turned out in unexpectedly large numbers, defying the terrorists and sending the world a message about Iraq's courage and determination.

"I cannot describe what I am seeing — it is incredible," said Baghdad Mayor Alaa al-Tamimi as he choked back tears. "This is a vote for the future, for the children, for the rule of law, for humanity, for love." Given what Iraqis endured in more than three decades under Saddam Hussein's brutal oppression, his sentiments hardly seem like hyperbole. (link)

Our troops in Iraq have done a marvelous job of making the election possible. Many of them have given their lives in an effort to free the Iraqi people - and to make us safe here at home. The heavy voter turnout yesterday is a tribute to them.