Monthly Archives: April 2016

Fact-checking the Claims Behind Article 34

If Lexington is serious about engaging in a town-wide dialog on gun violence, it is imperative that all participants be well-informed, and in possession of reliable, accurate data and statistics.

It was therefore disappointing at the Town Meeting of April 6 to watch Article 34’s proponent distributing pink handouts rife with misinformation, and to have no opportunity for effectively countering or responding to it.

Robert Rotberg’s “fact” sheet contained a number of outright falsehoods and misleading data, and repeatedly mixed “apples and oranges” by conflating general firearms statistics with “assault weapons” data.

In rather poor academic form, Professor Rotberg provided no sources or citations for the claims on his handout (one wonders whether his students were allowed to get away with such omissions.)

Rotberg did face at least one question during the meeting as to the sources for his information, but was able to provide no specifics at the time, merely assuring us that they were “highly reputable gun sites” on the internet, and he would be happy to provide us with specifics at a later time, after the vote was safely taken.  (We have since learned from Rotberg that his “reputable gun sites” includes the online humor magazine Cracked.)

Well thanks to a helpful attendee, we now have a copy of Rotberg’s handout. We think it would be a good idea to give this document the thorough scrutiny, vetting, and fact-checking it deserves.  To this end, we would like to encourage our readers to download this handout and help crowdsource this fact-checking effort (as you can see, our source who provided us with this scan got us off to a head start in this effort by jotting a few notes in the margin.)

Take a look and let us know what you find out.  And please help us raise the bar by providing actual sources to support your conclusions.  (Bear in mind that non-biased research institutions and law enforcement agencies are preferred over satire magazines.)

We weren’t given the opportunity to mount an effective response to this during the meeting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do so now.  Thank you for your help and for your ongoing support.

Harvard Professor Cites “”

Cracked Magazine

Remember this guy from when you were a kid?  Well local anti-gun crusader, renowned scholar, and Harvard professor Robert Rotberg is now citing Cracked as an authoritative source on firearms over in the LexTMMA forums.  This is what a mere $60k in tuition can buy you, folks.

Voting Results

The official vote tally from last night’s town meeting has been published, and is available here.

Article 34 Approved

In case you didn’t make it to tonight’s town meeting, Article 34 was approved in a fairly lopsided vote.  We will post precise totals and roll call as soon as we have them.

The language that passed tonight was a non-binding resolution which called for a town-wide dialog on the issue of gun violence, with the goal of proposing a recommendation to the General Court.

We opposed this resolution as a matter of principle for a number of reasons, but make no mistake, it is very weak tea when compared with Article 34’s original formulation.  That language, which would have imposed a sweeping ban on common firearms and accessories, was defeated, rather anticlimactically, weeks ago.  Rotberg and his allies tried to take a loaf, but had to end up settling for whatever crumbs fell to the floor.

Now that Article 34 has finally seen its day in the dock, we can pause to celebrate the fact that we were able to stop the town-wide ban dead in its tracks.  That is a huge victory, and genuine cause for celebration.  At the same time, however, we also have to realize that the longer struggle will be with us for some time, and we can’t give up that fight.

In short, our so-called “assault weapons” are safe — for now.  But if there’s one thing we learned tonight, it is that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and that the struggle to protect our rights will never end.

Similar local gun measures are breaking out like wildfire across the commonwealth, and throughout the nation as well.  Who knows whether these town-wide “dialogs” that were sanctioned tonight will ever actually materialize.  But if they do, even the present struggle is not over.  As Churchill said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”



Final reminder:  Town meeting tonight, Wednesday, April 6 at 7:30, at Battin Hall in the Cary Memorial Building, at 1605 Massachusetts Avenue between the Town Office Building and the Police Station.

“Gun Safety” Done Properly

If you haven’t done so already, check out this fascinating article from the Globe this past Sunday.  It’s a pretty clear illustration that seriously enforcing existing gun laws can result in a dramatic decrease in violent crime without further eroding the rights of law abiding gun owners. Imagine that!

TMM Asks for Feedback

Friends, Matt Daggett of Precinct 2 has requested feedback on the issue of Article 34, in its current form of

Bad Gun Control Ideas

Did you ever notice how nearly every new call for “gun safety” ends up circling back to the same handful of tired, dog-eared proposals, most of which have been tried in the balance and found wanting, time and time again?

If our town is serious about engaging in a dialog on gun violence, let’s hope we can rise to the occasion and actually think outside of the box rather than falling back to the same old busted ideas that have been failing us for decades –ones that needlessly burden law-abiding gun owners while doing little or nothing to prevent violence.

Specifically, here are five proposals we would do well to avoid. The whole thing is worth a read, but here’s what they say about “assault weapon” bans:

“Assault Weapons” Ban — Democrats pushed through a federal assaults weapons ban under Bill Clinton that lasted from 1994 to 2004. The impact of the ban was negligible at best, and some studies — like that contained in Applied Economic Letters — show an significant increase in gun-related murder rates while the “assault weapons” ban was in place. For example, the study in the November 2013 issue of Applied Economic Letters showed the gun-related “murder rates were 19.3 percent higher when the Federal [‘assault weapons’] ban (AWB) was in effect.” We currently see this same truism playing out at the city level — in places like Chicago — where an “assault weapons” ban is simply correlating with a higher rate of shootings and murder, rather than a reduced rate of either.