Hickenlooper, Concealed Carry, and the Planned Parenthood Murders

John Hickenlooper
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper chose the immediate aftermath of the Planned Parenthood murders to insult and demean peaceable gun owners in the area. Today the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Greeley Tribune carried an op-ed by Dave Kopel and me titled, “Hickenlooper’s shots at law-abiding gun owners don’t help.” From the op-ed:

Hickenlooper told CNN: “In Colorado Springs, it’s one of the more conservative parts of the state, we probably have more people that have licenses for concealed weapons, probably more guns around. That didn’t help.”

Hickenlooper’s gratuitous insults are baseless. The only person with a concealed carry permit who had anything to do with Planned Parenthood was the clinic’s armed security guard. Apparently deterred by the armed defender, the criminal did not attack the clinic until after the guard had left for the day.

The op-ed goes on to discuss the heroism of Jeanne Assam, who previously used her concealed handgun in Colorado Springs to successfully defend a church full of people from a mass murderer.

The op-ed continues:

The mass shootings you’ve never heard about are the ones that were stopped by lawfully armed citizens, so the number of fatalities did not become “mass.” Recent ones include Logan Square, Chicago (2015, Uber driver), a West Philadelphia barbershop (2015, passer-by intervened), and Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pa. (2014, armed doctor). [Read the entire piece.]

Here I want to mention some additional notes about the case and the op-ed, in no particular order.

Although my name appears first and I wrote some initial text, Kopel took the piece over and contributed most of the interesting material.

It is not entirely clear whether the guard on duty at the Planned Parenthood office prior to the attack was armed that day, nor whether the perpetrator intentionally waited until the guard left to attack. Here’s what KKTV reports:

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains President and CEO Vicki Cowart told 11 News over the weekend that safety measures are already in place. . . .

Cowart said the Planned Parenthood clinic off Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs had one security guard on duty that day.

“He had finished his duties and he was gone by the time the individual showed up,” said Cowart.

Cowart said no one replaces that security guard. Most of the time, she said security guards are armed.

For more regarding Hickenlooper’s remarks, see CNN’s blog, related video, and an article by Valerie Richardson for the Washington Times. I called Hickenlooper’s office to ask for clarification; I left a message but my call was not returned.

Themes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Yesterday the Colorado Springs Gazette published my op-ed about the major themes of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I briefly discuss the heroes’ fight against tyranny, the redemption stories of Dumbledore and Snape, and the lessons of the Horcruxes and Hallows for dealing with death. The article reveals some important elements of the novel’s plot, as indicated.

So far illness has kept me away from the film, but I look forward to seeing how well the film carries out the themes of the novel.

I’ve published other essays about the Potter series at the web page for my book, Values of Harry Potter. For example, I’ve written more about “Tales of Beedle the Bard,” the children’s book that Hermione reads in the final novel, and the Hallows.

Read the whole Gazette essay!

Environmentalist Clowns Threatening Human Life

Today’s Colorado Springs Gazette published my op-ed, “Environmentalist clowns threatening human life,” reviewing a November 18 talk by Keith Lockitch. (The online version is dated November 20, while the print date is November 21.)

See also additional quotes from environmentalists.

For the story about the environmentalists dressed up as clowns, see the Denver Daily or Denver Post.

Here is the entire piece:

Environmentalist clowns threatening human life

Climate change threatens our nation. Pollution is the cause. We must reverse course now to save future generations from misery.

Contrary to environmentalist hysteria, the problem is not carbon dioxide warming the earth. Instead, our political climate of freedom suffers the pollution of environmentalist controls of our industrial economy.

On November 18, environmentalists dressed up as clowns rallied at the state capitol to demand that Colorado shut down a coal-fired electricity plant.

That night, Keith Lockitch, an environmental analyst with the Ayn Rand Center, explained in a Denver talk why environmentalist controls threaten human life and well-being.

People need industrial energy to live and flourish, Lockitch emphasized. Indeed, modern energy enables us to respond to climate disasters and weather extremes, natural forces that have always threatened human life.

Throughout human history and still today in undeveloped regions, droughts, floods, freezes, and heat waves have devastated food supplies and caused wide-scale suffering and death. What allows the developed world to largely escape such dangers is our relatively free, industrial economy.

Consider the droughts of the 1970s, Lockitch suggested. While the weather caused massive death and starvation in undeveloped regions of Africa and India, the United States suffered “only minor economic losses.”

Americans respond to freezes by turning up their furnaces. If it gets too hot we turn on air conditioning. If one farming region suffers a freeze, drought, or other problem, we ship food from elsewhere. To learn about potential dangers, including bad weather, we turn on our electricity-powered televisions or computers.

Industrial energy allows us to live longer, healthier lives. If we get sick, we ride in oil-powered ambulances to electricity-powered hospitals. While people in undeveloped regions continue to die from smoke inhalation from cooking fires, we use clean gas or electric stoves. Yet many environmentalists would hamper industrial prosperity.

The political question, Lockitch said, is separable from the scientific question of climate change. Whether or not human carbon dioxide emissions will seriously contribute to harmful warming, free- market capitalism enables us as investors, entrepreneurs, producers, and consumers to respond to problems, whatever their causes.

Don’t environmentalists merely want us to change from fossil fuels to renewable sources? Lockitch pointed out that prominent environmentalists opposed solar farms in the Mojave desert and wind farms off the shores of Massachusetts. Many environmentalists oppose nuclear power. Their goal is to limit human activity regardless of the availability of energy.

Lockitch outlined the problems with wind and solar. Americans currently use around 600 coal-fired plants. It would take 1,000 wind turbines on 40,000 acres of land to replace a single plant. Their production would require enormous costs.

Coal plants can expand or reduce output based on demand. “You can’t turn on the sun, and you can’t turn on the wind,” Lockitch noted. At a coal plant the energy is stored in the coal itself. Wind and solar plants produce electricity at unpredictable times in uncontrollable amounts, and it cannot easily be stored for future use. What happens if you face an emergency during a blackout caused by low wind?

That’s not to say that Lockitch is committed to fossil fuels. He pointed out that Rand wrote a novelized account of a motor with cheap, clean, and abundant energy.

To Lockitch, the question is not ultimately about fossil versus renewable energy. It’s about freedom versus controls. On a free market, people can decide how best to use fossil fuels and what new energy sources deserve research and investment.

Does the future hold advances in nuclear power, solar collection, or some yet-unimagined source of energy? Free-market capitalism spurs productive development.

Environmentalists might enjoy clowning around and imagining a renewable-energy utopia. In the real word, our lives and well-being depend on modern industrial energy production. To protect ourselves we must defend free-market capitalism. That means we must clean up the economic pollution of environmentalist controls.

Ari Armstrong, the author of Values of Harry Potter, publishes FreeColorado.com.

Rationing Inherent in Obamacare: Sources for Gazette Article

The Colorado Springs Gazette published my article, “Rationing inherent in Obamacare,” on Sunday (despite its August 14 posting date). Please read the entire article there. Here my purpose is to provide related links and context.

Barack Obama’s line about “not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller,” may be seen on YouTube. Unfortunately, the clip omits some of the context. Thankfully, ABC has published the complete transcript of the June 24 broadcast.

Turning to the second page, we find the following lines:

But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that’s not making anybody’s mom better, that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.

And those kinds of decisions between doctors and patients, and making sure that our incentives are not preventing those good decision, and that — that doctors and hospitals all are aligned for patient care, that’s something we can achieve.

My short answer is, “Who is this ‘we,’ compadre?”

John Lewis’s evaluation of HR 3200 is available online. You can also read the entire text of the bill for yourself.

The sign from the July 29 Colorado Springs rally is shown in the second photo from a review by Americans for Prosperity. I covered the August 6 Longmont rally on my web page. The information about Mike Sola is available via YouTube and the Detroit Free Press.

As a couple of examples of British headlines, here’s one about a heart surgery that was initially denied; here’s another about painkilling injections” (via Patient Power). John Stossel’s report, which includes information about England and Canada, is at ABC.

Watch the Independence Institute video on Oregon rationing:

I got the transcript of Obama’s appearance in New Hampshire from the LA Times.

But, again, for my core arguments as to why rationing is inevitable under Obamacare, read the Gazette article!