Doing the Research the NY Times Won’t Do

In Sunday’s New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal claimed, as the title of her article put it, “More Guns = More Killing.” She based this on evidence that would never be permitted in any other context at the Times: (1) anecdotal observations; and (2) bald assertions of an activist, blandly repeated with absolutely no independent fact-checking by the Times.

There is an academic, peer-reviewed, long-term study of the effect of various public policies on public, multiple shootings in all 50 states over a 20-year period performed by renowned economists at the University of Chicago and Yale, William Landes and John Lott. It concluded that the only policy to reduce the incidence of, and casualties from, mass shootings are concealed-carry laws. The Times will never mention this study.

Instead, Rosenthal’s column proclaimed that armed guards do not reduce crime because: “I recently visited some Latin American countries … where guards with guns grace every office lobby, storefront, ATM, restaurant and gas station. It has not made those countries safer or saner.”

So there you have it: The cock crowed, then the sun came up. Therefore, the cock’s crowing caused the sun to come up. Rosenthal went to Harvard Medical School.

Here’s a tip: High-crime areas are often bristling with bulletproof glass, heavy-duty locks, gated windows and armed guards. The bulletproof glass doesn’t cause the crime; it’s a response to crime. On Rosenthal’s logic, hospitals kill people because more people die in hospitals than outside of them.

(In any event, the Lott-Landes study didn’t recommend armed guards, but armed citizens.)

Rosenthal also produces a demonstrably false statistic about Australia’s gun laws, as if it’s a fact that has been carefully vetted by the Newspaper of Record, throwing in the true source only at the tail-end of the paragraph:

“After a gruesome mass murder in 1996 provoked public outrage, Australia enacted stricter gun laws, including a 28-day waiting period before purchase and a ban on semiautomatic weapons. … Since, rates of both homicide and suicide have dropped 50 percent …,” said Ms. Peters, who lobbied for the legislation.”

“Ms. Peters” is Rebecca Peters, a George Soros-funded, Australian anti-gun activist so extreme that she had to resign from the International Action Network on Small Arms so as not to discredit the U.N.-recognized organization — which isn’t easy to further discredit.

Could the Times’ public editor weigh in on whether unsubstantiated quotes from radical activists are now considered full and complete evidence at the Times?

It would be as if the Times headlined an article, “Abortion Increases Risk of Breast Cancer” with the sole support being a quote from Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry. (Except Terry would have evidence.)

Whether or not the homicide rate went up or down in Australia as a result of strict gun control laws imposed in 1997 is a fact that could have been checked by Times researchers. But they didn’t, because facts wouldn’t have given them the answer they wanted.

Needless to say, the effect of Australia’s gun ban has been extensively researched by Australian academics. As numerous studies have shown: After the gun ban, gun homicides in Australia did not decline any more than they were expected to without a gun ban.

Thus, for example, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology, the homicide rate has been in steady decline from 1969 to the present, with only one marked uptick in 1998-99 — right after the gun ban was enacted.

The showstopper for anti-gun activists like Ms. Rosenthal and Ms. Peters is the fact that suicides by firearm seemed to decrease more than expected after the 1997 gun ban.

But so did suicides by other means. Something other than the gun ban must have caused people to stop guzzling poison and jumping off bridges. (Some speculate that it’s the availability of anti-depressants like Prozac.)

Curiously — and not mentioned by Rosenthal — the number of accidental firearms deaths skyrocketed after Australia’s 1997 gun ban, although the law included stringent gun training requirements.

It turns out, until the coroner has certified a death as a “suicide,” it’s classified as “unintentional.” So either mandatory gun training has led to more accidents, or a lot of suicides are ending up in the “accident” column.

Most pinheadedly, especially for a graduate of the Harvard Medical School, Rosenthal says: “Before (the gun ban), Australia had averaged one mass shooting a year. (Since then,) there have been no mass killings.”

Mass murder is a rare enough crime that any statistician will tell you discerning trends is impossible. In this country, the FBI doesn’t even track mass murder as a specific crime category.

After Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” killers slaughtered the entire Clutter family in Holcomb, Kan., the murder rate in that quiet farming town went up 400 percent in a single year! Was it Holcomb’s big showing at the 4-H club competition that year?

Totally unbeknownst to Elisabeth Rosenthal, Australian academics have already examined the mass murder rate by firearm by comparing Australia to a control country: New Zealand. (Do they teach “control groups” at Harvard?)

New Zealand is strikingly similar to Australia. Both are isolated island nations, demographically and socioeconomically similar. Their mass murder rate before Australia’s gun ban was nearly identical: From 1980 to 1996, Australia’s mass murder rate was 0.0042 incidents per 100,000 people and New Zealand’s was 0.0050 incidents per 100,000 people.

The principal difference is that, post-1997, New Zealand remained armed to the teeth — including with guns that were suddenly banned in Australia.

While it’s true that Australia has had no more mass shootings since its gun ban, neither has New Zealand, despite continuing to be massively armed.

The only thing Australia’s strict gun control laws has clearly accomplished is increasing the amount of violent crime committed with guns immediately after the ban took effect. Of course, Times reporters don’t have to worry about violent muggings, rapes and robberies because they live in doorman buildings.

For those who can’t afford fancy doorman buildings, bad journalism kills.

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  • Mary Sue

    See, this is what happens when people go to Journalism school. Ask any kid at Journalism School why they're there. To a man (or woman), they will say, "I want to make the world a better place."

    The problem is, once they get out there reporting the news for a while, they suddenly latch onto the idea (sometimes this is even implanted before they go out as reporters) that if they want to make the world a better place, they'll have to put their efforts into FORCING it to be a better place, with gun control and the like. It's a short hop from there to totalitarianism, all in the name of "safety".

    And we all know where that leads. Those who would trade liberty for safety deserve neither.

  • AdinaK

    The left has zero interest in telling the truth about gun control, the kiddies be damned. However, others are willing to do the heavy lifting –

    Here too, as the leftist media services the radical designs of Obama and gang –

    Welcome to Obama's America –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

  • I have no name.

    Maybe NYC, and NY, are hurrying us to forget the only thing that produced a nice curve was the extinction of the crime familes. Holder attributed it to what William Jefferson Clinton did by signing more legislation about, men's right, no sorry another gun ban instead. Some how the nation was capitivated by Waco and Ruby Ridge, and he hurried up to sign laws which have had no effect on the curve frankly. In Argentina, and UK, they are prosecuting statisticians for not towing the official line. Our administration is lead by a man who publically admitted that 7th grade math was all he could understand. He called numbers "madness" when confronted during those debates. This man -really does have delusions of grandeur- and is planning to retire in Hawaii which is said to have the fewest number of gun crimes afterall.

  • no name Aussie

    As an Australian this reminds me why I would never live in America. After the mass shooting we haven't had a single mass shooting and I don't think we will and even if we did it wouldn't be with a semi automatic weapon. Your support for the need for these weapons is disturbing and as obvious as it is you can't kill twenty kids with a knife. We have had an issue in the last few years of drive by shootings, luckily not with high powered weapons and I am sure if they had access to them allot of people would be dead. Have some respect for the families of the kids and wake up to yourself. Crime may not go down but there is no need for high powered weapons other than to kill. A mentally disturbed person with a knife causes allot less damage than a military grade assault rifle.

    • john butala

      Wrong . There have been several incidents in China in the past few years where knife or machete-wielding assailiants murdered multiple people in and outside school zones. The second amendment to the constitution wasn’t created for hunting. It was established to help keep citizens armed against future tyranny. Like the tyrant we currently have for president and his minions.

      • no name Aussie… review the stats on this website our homicides races of any kind and gun murders has decreased since the gun buy back. we also had stringent gun laws before the gun buy back. politics aside have had no mass shootings since we removed high powered weapons. Americans have done nothing and it continues to happen, you cannot explain the need for high powered assault rifles not handguns as that's what our buy back was based on. If you arre really worried about a tyrant good luck only having a gun when they have more firepower than any weapon you may have. My point is ther is no need for high powered assault rifles and large magazines if you still need hand guns thats fine but least there wontr be mass shootings like that and that's the topic here not tyrany, think of the families

        • trickyblain

          "…if you still need hand guns thats fine but least there wontr be mass shootings like that and that's the topic here not tyrany, think of the families"

          The worst school shooting in our history was carried out at Virginia Tech by a psychotic man armed with handguns, not "high-powered" rifles, Mate.

          I'm sure the families wish Nancy Lanza had locked up her guns, her son, or both.

        • Mary Sue

          robberies and such aren't gun deaths but they're all UP since you guys got rid of guns.

          Oh wait, I forgot! Only GUN HOMICIDES are IMPORTANT to prevent!

        • Mary Sue

          Newtown wasn't a high powered rifle. That got left in the guy's car and was not used at all. He used handguns.

    • @paulvmarks

      I see – so a person who wants to murder 20 children is going to himself "well I can not murder these kids – because that would involve breaking a regulation by buying a firearm on the black market".

      By the way Julia (and will you please go back to Wales), where are the mass murders of children in "evil" New Zealand? Whereas in gun control central, Chicago, there were 506 murders last year (and that is just the ones they admit to – poison a person over 45 years of age and they "assume" it is death is by natural causes in Obamaville).

      And in ultra gun control Mexico (only one legal gun shop in the whole country – on a military base in Mexico City) the murder rate is sky high. With towns that exist on both sides of the border with Texas having a murder rate on the "sane" Mexican gun control side some TEN TIMES that on the "evil, crazy" gun rights Texan side of town (and both sides of such towns tend to be about equally hispanic).

    • @paulvmarks

      Why do you not have some respect for the dead? After all it was thinking like YOURS that got the children killed.

      The Gun Free School Act – actually encouraging schools to be "gun free zones". This Act told would-be mass murderers (the "crazy not stupid" kind) exactly where a lot of defenseless victims were – in a nice confined space with few exists.

      Go and hang your head in shame "no name Aussie" as you have blood on your hands.

      • no name Aussie

        Ok so your solution is to have guns in school? That is a great idea more guns would have helped would you suggest high powered rifles ? what an absolute joke!

        • @paulvmarks

          "More guns" have already worked. For example a would-be mass murderer went to a church (looking for a nice soft target) and GOT SHOT – not a "liberal" church you see (he should have checked). Nor is it an accident that the States (in the United States) that have the highest rates of legal firearm ownership (and legal concealed carry) have the LOWEST violent crime and murder rates.

          The Andrew Bolt case shows that Oz no more has freedom of speech than it has freedom of arms. But, as a good slave, you do not care that little New Zealand allows more freedom than Comrade Julia does.

        • Kevin Stroup

          Our elected federal officials send their kids to school with armed guards. Funny how you never hear about them being shot up.

        • JacksonPearson

          "what an absolute joke!"
          Would you then suggest using spitballs as a defense against a gun?

    • davarino

      Didnt read the article, did you mate? Ya, it got all complicated and such, with all that logic

    • Mary Sue

      I have a rock that prevents mass shootings.

    • trickyblain

      Assault rifles, by legal definition, have a selector switch that takes them fully-automatic. Therefore, our civilian AR-types are in no way "military-grade" or "assault rifles." As far as "high-powered" goes, I'd ask you to look at the size difference (size of charge, bullet size and weight) between an "evil" .223 round and an "acceptable" 30-06 round. The former could take down a rabbit or maybe a coyote, the later a polar bear.

      My biggest complaint with the anti-gun folks is that they spout so emotively about a subject they really know nothing about.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "As an Australian this reminds me why I would never live in America. "


  • no name Aussie

    yeah we can't read in Australia pretty logical that we haven't had anymore mass shootings though since we actually did something.

    • UCSPanther

      You Aussies are a lost cause, especially with your willingness to bow to the gun control lobby and give up your lawfully owned property, and think it is great and wonderful.

      You are a write-off in my books.

      • No name kiwi

        Amd you're jusrca red necked racist by the sounds of it…. go polish your glock..

    • JayB

      Do you think there will never be a mass shooting again or a mass murder in Australia?

      • no name Aussie

        No I don't think that as you can't prevent it completely. there will be one but least it more than likely won't be with a semi automatic weapon. The only solution you can provide is more guns that is a lost cause as it continues to happen in America more than anywhere else. how about you all carry grenades to throw at suicide bombers as that is your way of thinking as you think a gun can protect you from your government are worried about tyranny. you can have as many hand guns as u need for protection but u don't need semi automatic weapons.
        In Australia we can shoot for hunting purposes and at shooting ranges we don't feel the need to carry guns or have high powered weapons I guess in America you do with people like you I probably would want a gun.

        • Mary Sue

          Sorry dude, but you're ignorant. The majority of the "gun problems" in America are caused by GANGS. Inner-city gangs. Do you understand what that means? And can you fathom why denying law abiding ordinary citizens would have NO benefit, and would in fact assist the gangs?

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "The only solution you can provide is more guns that is a lost cause as it continues to happen in America more than anywhere else. how about you all carry grenades to throw at suicide bombers as that is your way of thinking…"

          You're comment only reflects your way of thinking. Anyone who can't distinguish between a gun and hand grenade is going to have great difficulty following the facts and reasons for ignoring your emotional pleas.

      • no name Aussie

        No I don't think that as you can't prevent it completely. there will be one but least it more than likely won't be with a semi automatic weapon. The only solution you can provide is more guns that is a lost cause as it continues to happen in America more than anywhere else. how about you all carry grenades to throw at suicide bombers as that is your way of thinking as you think a gun can protect you from your government are worried about tyranny. you can have as many hand guns as u need for protection but u don't need semi automatic weapons.

        • Drakken

          Obviously you know jack sh*t about weapons of any type, America is a gun culture and our rugged individualism versus your socialistic hive mentality is a hands down winner, you quote that you haven't had any mass shootings but your rapes, home burglaries, assault are now off the charts, but hey your gun free and that is all that matters. We will keep our guns no matter the type and you can continue to look down your socialistic nose at us armed and free Americans.

          • Jay

            Free americans?????? Hahahahahahahahaha
            Thanks for the laugh

    • Mary Sue

      We haven't had ANY mass shootings at all where I live and people still have guns. You see, I have this rock that prevents mass shootings…

  • tagalog

    This Rosenthal character graduated from Harvard, so she MUST be right. Right?

    • Drakken

      Educated beyond her capability. That is the norm in todays education system.

  • BS77

    The shootings in Aurora and Newton and so many others have a common denominator…..mental illness and extremely dangerous psycho drugs….Prozac, Ritalin, even sleeping drugs (Ambien, Lunesta) etc etc. Young people with serious bi polar and other behavioral disorders get on these prescribed Frankenstein drugs….and act in unpredictable ways. However, these prescriptions are the AMA's answer to mental illness and personality disorders……drugs, drugs and more drugs. The Phoenix, Newtown, and Aurora shooters were all taking dangerous psycho drugs, drugs that have repeatedly been aligned with suicide, homicide and mass shootings and other horrific crimes. How about a commission on these terrible drugs? Instead of blaming the NRA, how about the pharmaceutical companies……?

  • Mark

    I guess so many people in Rwanda were killed by Machetes because there was a lack of guns for the Machete wielders. Or was it because the tribe being hacked didn't have enough Machetes as well, to defend themselves (mutually assured decapitation)? Or was it because the tribe being hacked up didn't have enough, er, guns to defend themselves or police and military — with guns — who could/would defend them? Other than hunting and "sport" it would seem guns (and even knives, machetes, and baseball bats) are good for self defense either on the micro or macro level. And, plainly, do a crime with a gun (knife, machete, baseball bat or a pair of scissors) and you are legally toast. But the law abiding just having one? Legal skewering because someone (a leftist no doubt) says so.

  • rhondajo3

    Gun laws and gun bans are not going to control evil. I don't care if they ban the assault rifle, and it's going to make everyone feel better and safer, but the reality is that banning the assault rifle will not stop evil people from wanting to kill. It will not stop mass murders, unfortunately. I wish it was that easy!

  • Jono

    Whoever wrote this has also done zero research. If anything New Zealand has laws even tighter than Australia with regards to gun control. No one other than the police or the military should be able to carry hand guns or assault weapons.

    • JacksonPearson

      Your opinion is respected, but have you read and understand the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, especially the part: shall not be infringed?

      "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    • Mary Sue

      what if the cops become corrupt?

      • Rhea

        We dont live in fear of that.

        • Mary Sue

          the whole reason the illegal immigrants hate the cops is because where they come from, the cops ARE corrupt. 100%.

          • Rhea

            Probably because your whole country is….

  • JacksonPearson

    There are way, way less people being killed with guns than babies that are being aborted. Also, statistics show, that more cars on our highways and byways have resulted into about 40 thousand deaths per year. But nary a peep from the hypocritical left on banning abortions and/or cars.

    • Rhea

      But there are still a ton of people being killed by guns that shouldn't have. I think THATS what you ought to be concentrating on…

      • JacksonPearson

        Once dead, it doesn't matter how you arrive there. However,
        In the United States:
        Abortion deaths are about 300,000 to 400,000 per year
        Auto deaths are about 40,000 per year.
        Deaths by gun here don't even come close, so to not be a leftist hypocrite, I think that's what YOU should be concentrating on.

      • Mary Sue

        There's a lot of people that die that shouldn't have. Why concentrate only on the shootings?

        • Rhea

          Im not saying to only concentrate on the shootings, there are obviously a thousand different ways people are dying all ober the world that people have very strong opinions about. But when somebody you love more than anything in the world is killed by some crazy nutjob who obtained a gun because he had the RIGHT to have one, you wouldn’t just stand back and say “no I still think we ought to not concentrate on gun laws but worry about bad drivers instead”. Any death that could have been preventable is a tradgedy and if that school shooter the other month was here in new zealand, he would almost 100% not have been able to access a gun of any kind. If he was so hell bent on killing that many children thenmI’m sure he still would have gone to the school. But probably with a machete or crow bar or hammer (and I say thay because I am giving examples of famous attempted killers from nz. Those were our big crimes).

  • Benn

    “Armed to the teeth” “massively armed”.

    What the heck?

    Does the author even know where New Zealand is?

    In New Zealand, will gun ownership is a done thing it pertains to either hunting activities or gun clubs. Gun collecting is tricky because of the restrictions on non reccerational arms. Outside of belonging to a gun club, you can’t own nor possess a hand gun. Outside of target shooting why would you need one? The only persons with side arms are some police (not all) and military personnel in official capacities.

    Otherwise it’s rifles and shotguns for hunting mainly but not able every fireplace. Vast the majority of people do not own firearms and I would wager a significant proportion have never even held one let alone fires one.

    Some of the language is this post is grossly inaccurate to the point it’s fabricating an argument that’s pain wrong. The accusations put forward against the journalist by the author are same misdeeds being perpetrated by the same author. The irony.

    • Mary Sue

      so nobody's ever been able to defend their own life with a gun in NZ?

      • Pedro

        Guns are just not in the equation in nz. I am a kiwi and like the oz i can not see the reason for assult rifles and large mags. Most of my friends have shotguns for ducks and geese and high powered bolt actions for deer, they are like rats in nz. If you want a license in nz you must complete training and pass a police back ground check. The police interview you and your family and your neighbours and if anyone is concerned your turned down for a license. I like it its a good system. handguns do not exist except for specialist target shooters.When you go to a bar you never think if a fight breaks out there might be guns the worst you generally see is a glass or the pool cue. Thing escalate quickly when firearms are thrown in the mix. I believe its in the states national security interests to arm the population but there is consequence to this. I guess the question is if it was your baby shot would you feel the same way. Once you start licensing correctly and moving guns off the streets it would chnage but with the amount of weapons in the states it would be a slow painful transition. The thing is people dont want to take all the guns from my understanding just put a few controls on it.

        • Mary Sue

          so now are there no rapes, stabbings, and robberies in NZ anymore since they did that?

        • Mary Sue

          BTW people get killed at bars all the time in Canada and rarely ever does it involve a gun. Never, in the particular area I am in. You know, people CAN and DO beat other people to death (ever hear of curb-stomping?)

      • Richard

        That's correct. No one has to defend themselves with guns in NZ. But given that carrying a gun in town will quickly summon the Armed Offender Squad, no one needs to have a gun to defend themselves.

        Just to reiterate, this article is completely wrong. New Zealand adopted strict gun laws before Austraila. After the Aramoana massacre in 1990 all military style weapons were banned. Getting a gun licence requires interviews and gun safety workshops with Police and at least two people have to vouch for you.

        • Mary Sue

          so there's no robberies, no rapes, now?

          • Rhea

            Of course there are robberies and rapes!!!! But instead of everybody living in fear of it and feeling the need to be varrying guns all the time, we lock all doors when we’re away, enable alarm systems, dont walk alone at night etc etc. We take precautions to avoid those situations. If by any chance you WANT to own a gun in NZ to make you feel safe etc, then we are completely entitled to apply for one. Unlike america, we just have to go through a process to ensure we are mentally fit to have one and have no criminal convictions so our neighbour over the road isn’t thinking to themselves “oh great, now my schizophrenic neighbour owns an assault rifle”.
            To be clear, in NZ and Aus we are allowed guns. We just have methods of control and I can tell you from somebodywho lives here, I feel much safer for it.

      • Rhea

        A police officer did once in recent years after a drugged up man came at him with a hammer.
        Thats the only one I can think of that is at least semi recent.

  • Catherine

    The incidence of gun homicide in New Zealand is so low (5 times lower than the rate in the US) that for the vast majority, the idea of 'needing' to own a gun for self defense is ludicrous. Gun ownership seems to be a vicious cycle in the US – the more people who own guns, the more people feel the need to own them to 'protect themselves' from everybody else. That's not freedom, it's a burden and a curse.

    • Mary Sue

      so you're completely ignoring rapes, robberies, home invasions and stabbings, because just as long as the gun homicide rate is low, it doesn't matter whether the stabbing and beating to death homicides are up or down?

  • Rhea

    Im a new Zealander and i would like to know what makes you think we are 'massively armed'. I can quite comfortably say that this country truly do believe you Americans are controlled by fear hence the need for a gun in every household almost. The guns we are armed with are rifles for hunting. So only avid hunters own guns. Which isnt a 'massive' number of people by any means. Oh and they need to be locked away in a secure location at all times whilst in a house – not just laying by the bed. The police do criminal checks on the owner plus checks on their referees and so on.

    I dont know why you people are so against gun control – its a precaution which I would have assumed would be a good thing??

    • Mary Sue

      we're against people being made helpless.

      Or were you not aware that in countries with gun control, "hot" burglaries (HOME INVASIONS) are far more common than when the owner is not home?

      • Rhea

        Im sure that’s true – and in that instance, we dont need guns :-) and im sure anyone here would agree that a home invasion whilst nobody is home sure beats a break in whilst you ARE home and both the crim and the homeowner are armed with guns.

  • robert

    Guy's, I"m a candadian and a quick check on google about New Zealand's gun law shows they are not massively armed. Gun laws in New Zealand are worst than here in Canada. Common Ann Coulter, I expected better from you!

  • Julia

    All I'm getting from reading these comments is that American's think theyve got it right when it comes to guns. The facts show how ridiculous the laws are (or lack thereof) and the fact that they hold these guns in such high regard is actually concerning. Linking guns to freedom — REALLY? The rest of the world looks on in awe, but Americans are in their own little world (still wont even embrace the metric system) and to them, everyone else is wrong or inferior.

    Dont waste your time trying to reason with them or give an opinion.

    • Mary Sue

      I'm not an American, but you've surely got the rose colored glasses on, there. Guns can be used to prevent robbery, rape, stabbings, and beatings to death. The Gun is the great equalizer; it makes it so a woman who is 4'9, 110 pounds can keep back a paroled scumbag rapist that is 6'4, 350 lbs.

  • Ghostwriter

    I'll remind those like Julia and no name Aussie is that the Second Amendment to our Constitution gives us the right to bear ams to defend ourselves. I don't carry them myself,that's my choice but I'm not going to force my choice on other Americans. And,to be honest about the metric system,we're perfectly happy with how we measure things with the English system. Please stop trying to force the metric system on us. It's not going to do you any good to scream at us about how we do thing here in America.

  • no name Aussie

    yeah it won’t do us any good by telling you what to do as you will never change. Our rapes homicides and crime in general have not raised since we changed our laws in 97 if you weren’t so american you would know that our population has increased in 15 years and if you take that into account there is not an increase!
    How many mass shootings have you had in the last 15 years as that’s what we’re talking about. Another point does your second amendment state you need high powered rifles? I understand you want to protect yourselves but you don’t need high powered weapons ! Your countries economy health care and gun control is a joke so enjoy your free country with so many things going for it!