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From: (J.D. Baldwin)
Subject: Re: A Little Humorous Observation on "Gun Control"
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 19:37:07 GMT

In article <>, Jason Gottlieb
<> wrote, quoting me:
>> >Yes. If one cannot get a new gun, one is a lot more likely to be very
>> >protective of the ones you have -- that would cut into the 300,000 guns
>> >a year stolen from law-abiding citizens that end up in the hands of
>> >criminals.
>> People are already rather "protective" of their guns.
>Then why are 300,000 a year stolen?

I'd say that what happens to 0.1% of a commodity is, sort of by
definition, atypical of what happens to the commodity in general.
Guns are, by and large, pretty well protected.  Criminals still get
'em, from a great many sources.

We can't keep guns (or drugs) out of our maximum security *prisons*,
for chrissakes.  What makes you think turning America into a prison
(which is what would be required to root out privately owned firearms
ownership) will make this problem any more amenable to solution?

>> I'm trying hard to imagine exactly what mechanism would prevent
>> criminals (who, by definition, ignore laws) from engaging in what you
>> describe just because a new law is passed.  Particularly considering
>> that it's been illegal under federal law for nearly 30 years
>> *already*.
>Illegal, yes, but under laws that are made impossible to enforce because
>they differ from state to state.

Get one of your English-speaking Japanese friends to re-read that
paragraph to you.  "Federal law" does not differ from state to state.

>> >The recent ATF reports that I do not have in front of me (thanks to a
>> >recent computer crash), but were reported in the New York times this
>> >past summer, I believe.
>> >
>> >That qualifies as slightly more than reports of Elvis' current domicile.
>> Nothing the New York Times prints on the subject of guns "qualifies as
>> slightly more" than what I read in the "Weekly World News" about space
>> aliens stealing our frogs.  In fact, the WWN has it over the NYT in that
>> there *is* a documented decline in the number of frogs.
>Ah, you reject the foremost newspaper in America because... you don't
>like what it says.
>How open-minded.

"Because the NYT says it, it's true."  Sounds real open-minded to me.

I've read articles about guns in the NYT.  They are about half as
accurate as what the NYT writes about military affairs -- which is to
say, they *are* on a par with the Weekly World News, except of course
the Weekly World News is an *intentional* joke.

Now, military affairs are complicated and sometimes difficult to grasp
for someone who hasn't lived and worked in that culture for years, so
that's excusable.  But accurate technical details about guns are
trivially easy to come by, so mere incompetence doesn't excuse the NYT
from calling semi-automatic long guns, "assault rifles."

They have an agenda, and it shows.  Nowhere more than with the example
you adduce, if in fact you are remembering it correctly (of which I
have no doubt).  The ATF report in question has been posted elsewhere
in this thread, and it *contradicts* the idea that high-gun-crime
jurisdictions are that way because of the "laxness" of the low-gun-
crime jurisdictions.

>> You asked me once what my basis is for believing that Japan is
>> essentially a police state.  The article timed out before I got around
>> to giving an answer, so here it is:
>> I served about a decade and a half in the U.S. Navy, which you may
>> know has no small presence in Japan.  I have never visited Japan
>> (though I have seen it from the air), but I have had many friends and
>> acquaintances who have passed through Japan, and not a few who lived
>> there for years.
>Let's keep this in mind, folks: he has never been to Japan, and his
>relationship with Japan was one enjoyed from inside a Navy uniform.
>While this is a noble position, one for which I honestly and sincerely
>salute and thank you, it puts you in absolutely *no* position to analyze
>Japanese law.

So what?  Neither have you ever been a victim of the Japanese police.
It's possible to live in a country and be completely sheltered from
its darker side (witness all the people in America who think the
police never lie and never mistreat suspects in their custody).  I
am telling you that people I trust *have* lived in Japan and *have*
seen this first-hand, and *have* had the local authorities confirm the
same to them directly, even laughing about it.

Now, if you think I'm lying, or my friends are lying to me, say so.
But pretending that just because I've never *personally* seen this
happen, it *must* not be so is just plain irrational.  Have you ever
seen an American murdered by a handgun?  Well, then, it simply doesn't
happen!  QED

>> But my opinion is mainly based on those who know better than either you
>> or me:  those who dealt directly with the Japanese legal system.  I had
>> some involvement with the military justice system (on the administration
>> side, not as a defendant) and came to know a few JAG officers who lived
>> in Japan and dealt directly with the local authorities.  They would, to
>> a man, laugh out loud at your suggestion that the need for a warrant in
>> Japan is anything like what it is in the U.S.
>You base your opinions on unsubstantiated hearsay of others, and you
>expect me to take that as a stronger position that the unsubstantiated
>hearsay of you?

It's not "unsubstantiated hearsay" when independent sources corroborate
the same basic set of facts, which is what I have when multiple JAG
officers of my acquaintance tell me the same thing.  Then, on top of
that, we have an investigative article on the subject by the LA Times.

Or are you "reject[ing] the foremost newspaper in America
because... you don't like what it says"?

>> Police routinely barge into private homes and conduct whatever search
>> they like, with no accountability whatsoever.  Suspects are detained
>> for *weeks* with no hearing, no right resembling the Western habeas
>> corpus and no contact with loved ones, lawyers or anyone else but the
>> police.
>Yes, all this happens, and more -- in both Japan and the U.S. What you
>fail to evidence, what you or your JAG friends could not possibly
>evidence, is whether this behavior is an aberrant extreme (like the NYC
>plunger handle case) or the norm.

Even those of us who are particularly frightened and disturbed by the
recent trend toward lawlessness and viciousness of U.S. federal law
enforcement don't believe such events are "routine" in America.  And
there is still a measure of accountability -- most notably the loss of
evidentiary value of things seized this way -- for such behavior in
America.  But in Japan, can you use, in court, a piece of evidence you
seized in this manner?  (Hint:  the answer is Yes.)

>Now you assert that:
>> Beatings of suspects are not only common -- they are very nearly routine.
>But you provide nothing to back this other than "your friends said so,"
>and no offense, that's not particularly compelling.

a) My friends were trustworthy people in a position to know -- they
routinely took custody of suspects who had been in the custody of
Japanese police.  They were quite familiar with the nature and extent
of the statutory and practical protections afforded to those accused
of crimes, and they were universally regarded -- by Americans and
Japanese alike -- as damned thin, by American standards.

b) I provide a damned sight more than "nothing" to back that statement
-- I provide a cite well-researched and on-the-record-sourced article
from one of the best newspapers in the U.S.  If you choose to reject
it because you don't like its conclusions, that's your right, but
please don't insult the rest of us by pretending it doesn't exist.

>> Police and other officials with whom my friends
>> dealth with not only admitted all of this, they were proud that they
>> don't "coddle" their criminals the way they see Americans doing on
>> Western TV and in the movies.
>Admitted what? That it happens? Or that it happens with regularity?

That there is nothing remarkable about the fact that someone emerges
from interrogation in a Japanese police station with multiple
contusions and fractures.  "He no want cooperate" was the usual
explanation, I believe.

>> Now, I don't expect you to accept the third-hand word of people you
>> never met,
>No kidding.
>> even though their direct and daily contact with a system
>> from which you are almost certainly well-sheltered (as a gaijin
>> in a foreign culture)
>Hold it right there, pal. Sheltered? I work for a Japanese company. I
>read the Japanese papers daily. I belong to several Japanese
>associations, including the Japanese Businessman's Debate Federation,
>where I speak with lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats on a regular
>basis. Many foreigners in Japan are sheltered, and lead cloistered
>lives, but not me.

Ever been interrogated by the police, as a suspect in a crime?  Ever
picked up someone from such custody who has been?  Ever asked the
police who interrogated him just how he came to get all those

No?  Then I'd say you're "sheltered" from the dark underbelly of the
pristine safe society in which you live.

>> is a pretty good basis for general impressions,
>> and even though I know and trust those who relayed their first-hand
>> stories to me.  But if you can get back issues of the LA Times there,
>> you could check out a rather well-researched article called "Victims
>> of a Safe Society" from Feb. 27, 1992.  It goes into graphic detail
>> about what I've described and cites Japanese civil rights attorneys
>> who estimate that around *half* of all confessions are forced.  It
>Japanese civil rights attorneys? Yes, yes: like Amnesty International,
>who makes similar cases about American justice, if I recall.

I'm not aware of any allegations by AI -- or by anyone credible --
that half of all confessions in the U.S. justice system are forced.
AI has a real beef with capital punishment, but I believe the U.S.
usually ranks pretty high in their annual report on personal freedom.

Anyway, you wouldn't be rejecting a news source because it says
something you don't want to hear, would you?

>> notes that the Japanese arrest-to-conviction rate is 98%.  Maybe
>> this is because their police departments are staffed with Oriental
>> Sherlock Holmes's, but I think there's probably a more obvious reason.
>Two reasons:
>1. There is less crime, and more cops, and they have greater time and
>resources to deal with each case individually. NYC cops couldn't be
>bothered to investigate a non-violent robbery, since they have so many
>murders and assaults to deal with.
>2. 98% is not the arrest-to-conviction rate, but the trial conviction
>rate, which isn't so far off the American rate, which hovers around 90%.

These may actually be good points, except that I don't agree that a 98%
conviction rate is reasonably considered close to a rate of 90%.

>> As for Japanese society's incredibly brutal, racist and misogynistic
>> character, the pointing out of which has moved you to cry
>> "stereotype," there is the small but well-documented matter of a
>> little conflict in East Asia in the 1930's and 1940's during which I
>> think this was pretty well established.
>Umm... hate to point this out, but that was 50 years ago. A couple of
>nuclear weapons, a thorough ass-kicking, and 50 years of growth
>supported by the US have been major influences since then.
>Yes, the Japanese were bastards in WWII, and if they were even close to
>the same today, I wouldn't be here, no way, no how. But it's a different

50 years is *nothing* to History, or to a national culture.  Japan had
an extremely polite, extremely low-crime society in 1930, too.  It
doesn't mean a thing.

Do you know any Japanese women who grew up in Japan, then lived in the
U.S., then went back to Japan?  I do.  Believe me, "misogynistic" is a
*euphemism* for the attitude Japanese society has toward them.
 From the catapult of J.D. Baldwin  |+| "If anyone disagrees with anything I
   _,_    Finger |+| say, I am quite prepared not only to
 _|70|___:::)=}-  for PGP public    |+| retract it, but also to deny under
 \      /         key information.  |+| oath that I ever said it." --T. Lehrer

Newsgroups: talk.politics.guns
From: (J.D. Baldwin)
Subject: Re: Phelan-Gottlieb, Inc.
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 16:25:25 GMT

In article <>, Jason Gottlieb
<> wrote:
> > Additionally, the time limit in Japan is 23 days, as mentioned by the
> > LA Times article of 2/27/92, "Victims of a Safe Society," and
> > confirmed to me by people (OK, technically not "people" but lawyers)
> > who have lived in Japan and worked directly with the Japanese justice
> > system.
> This is simply legally wrong. I haven't read the LA Times article in
> question, but if it truly claims that folks can be held 23 days
> without charge or specially obtained warrants, etc., etc., then it is
> wrong.

What do you mean by "specially obtained warrants"?  This sounds like a
loophole big enough to drive the USS Nimitz through.  The point is
that there is no right of habeas corpus (or any equivalent) in Japan,
and you can rot in jail for 23 days or until you see fit to confess
with no opportunity for bail, with no requirement that anyone show
cause for holding you, etc.  If the thin legal veneer over this is
some "specially obtained warrant" (translation:  "some prefecture
attorney had to fill out a form"), then it only confirms my point.

There are no protections against unwarranted search and seizure.
(Yes, there is a technical legal requirement that a warrant be
obtained, but no consequences whatsoever for failure to observe this
legal nicety.)

> > Sometimes the suspects would be turned over with multiple contusions
> > and abrasions, occasionally a fractured skull or a few broken ribs.
> > Inquiries about this state of affairs usually provoked laughter on
> > the part of the Japanese authorities.
> And this is more stereotype.

Actually it was the first-hand account of a person who worked with
this system (from the U.S. military) on a daily basis.  But if
dismissing it as "stereotype," or your other all-purpose rationalizer,
"racism," helps you achieve your rather impressive state of denial,
don't let me get in your way.

It's also worth noting that stereotypes don't usually happen by

>  Does it happen, ever? Undoubtedly. Does it happen always, or a
> majority of the time. It does not seem so, and nobody has ever been
> able to make a case that it has.

"Nobody"?  The on-the-record sources in the L.A. Times stand in stark
contrast to this rather broad assertion.  Last time I brought this up
you asserted that I'd produced nothing but "unsubstantiated hearsay,"
when in fact the L.A. Times article I'd cited corroborated what I'd
been told (by multiple sources) perfectly.  You really have achieved
something unique:  you are able to ignore any source, any fact, any
datum that doesn't confirm your preconceived prejudices.  I suspect
youve reached a sort of Nirvana in this respect.  My congratulations.
 From the catapult of J.D. Baldwin  |+| "If anyone disagrees with anything I
   _,_    Finger |+| say, I am quite prepared not only to
 _|70|___:::)=}-  for PGP public    |+| retract it, but also to deny under
 \      /         key information.  |+| oath that I ever said it." --T. Lehrer

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