April Fool! What a shame that Clinton could not say April Fool and the
NATO bombings in the Balkans would become another bad dream.
The first week of April brings two significant dates — unrelated but
extremely important. The first date, April 6, 1999, is election date in
Missouri. The good citizens of Missouri will go to the polls to vote on
Proposition B, Missouri’s Right to Carry initiative, to determine whether
law-abiding citizens will be able to apply for a permit to carry a firearm
outside their homes after rigorous training and a background check. The
second date is April 9, 1999, the ninety-ninth day of 1999. As I wrote in
Watch out for April 9, fools
two months ago, “those who predicted that the number 9 could also cause
computer glitches are turning out to be omniscient. In the early days of
computing, some programmers, those who appeared not to be fully cognizant
that the year 1999 was fast approaching, used the ’9′ digit or groups of ’9′
as a computer stop sign. This anomaly caused problems when computer clocks
changed from Dec. 31, 1998, to Jan. 1, 1999.”
In the heartland of America, Missourians will decide whether the “show
me” state is going to join citizens in 31 other Right to Carry states.
States where crime has declined, lives have been saved, and citizens have
outperformed their critics.
In the last few weeks the major newspaper in Missouri, the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, has become an unpaid shill for the gun-control folks, who
have chosen the misleading name of “Safe Schools and Workplaces Committee.”
A search of the Post-Dispatch’s web site shows that in the last seven days
30 different articles have appeared on Proposition B, of which 3 are
editorials urging a NO vote and most of the remaining have the same bias.
The coverage of a rally held by the Missourians Against Crime, headlined by
NRA President Charlton Heston is matched by a story titled “Black aldermen,
Proposition B.” In the aftermath of Mr. Heston’s appearance, the
Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star both ran anti-Proposition B
On the other hand a visit by James Brady, former Press Secretary to
President Reagan, to Missouri, elicited a glowing editorial on Mr. Brady by
The Star. The editorial even included lengthy Brady quotes that were full
of factual errors.
When John Lott, the University of Chicago professor who has written
extensively on the benefits of Right to Carry Laws, spoke on the issue on
March 19, 1999 the media again treated his research and comments in a
cavalier fashion. John Lott’s book, More Guns, Less Crime, which is based
on FBI crime statistics, clearly demonstrates that crime rates decline in
states which have Right to Carry laws after demographics and criminal
justice laws are factored.
His research findings are startling: Right to Carry laws cut murder by
8.5 percent, rape by 5 percent, and aggravated assault by 7 percent.
Citizens in those 31 states which allow carrying a firearm for
self-protection outside the home are safer than those in the remaining 29
states. According to Harvard Law School professor, Steve Shavell, Lott’s
research “will or should cause those who almost reflexively support the
limitation of guns in the name of reducing crime to rethink their position.”
Yet the St. Louis Post-Dispatch penned an editorial, “A Lott more
which conveniently overlooked
the fact that no one has been able to dispute his findings.
Gun owners across America expect that kind of media bias. They expect to
be portrayed as the villain when they defend their right to defend
themselves. They expect to see polls such as the poll reported by the
Kansas City Star on February 27, 1999 which showed 60 percent of the
respondents against Proposition B. Now six days to Election Day, the
numbers are too close to call.
Yet, despite the media bias, the grass roots of Missouri are working at a
fever pitch to make sure that Proposition B is a winner next Tuesday. As
Fred Myers, campaign manager for Missourians Against Crime stated, “It’s a
dead heat. Everyone who cares about gun-rights should make every effort to
get out and vote.” And if anyone has friends or family in Missouri, send an
e-mail to remind them of the importance of the election on April 6.
Only three days after the Missouri election comes one of the first
significant Y2K dates, April 9, 1999, the ninety ninth day of 1999.
Mainstream media coverage of Y2K issues is usual when the Administration or
members of Congress make pronouncements. That’s why the announcement by the
Senate Y2K Committee that the Federal Aviation Administration, the Defense
Department, and Health and Human Services would miss the government’s March
31 deadline to prepare computers for the year 2000 millennium bug was
covered by major news outlets. But most often, the issue is left to
reporters who cover computers, national security, and other esoteric issues.
Even the media’s coverage of Melissa, the email virus, has relied
primarily on news service reports. The FBI says it has received reports of
“significant network degradation and e-mail outages” at major corporations
and Internet service providers. Many corporations have responded by shutting
down their servers along with access to email and the Internet, causing
unknown dollars in lost productivity and revenue. According to computer
experts from Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Emergency Response
Team more than 100,000 sites have been effected.
In Portland, Oregon the city shut down its computer e-mail system on
March 29 and is forecasting several days of checking every computer for the
virus. Intel, the nation’s largest computer chip maker, also shut down its
e-mail system. While corporate America is trying to understand the full
import of Melissa, reports of a more sophisticated version named Papa has
surfaced to disrupt Excel spreadsheets. All this is indicative of the
vulnerability of corporate America to computer communications disruptions.
These types of responses by many in corporate America to Melissa
demonstrate again the real liability for nationwide problems as a result of
Y2K glitches. Yet, it may be very hard to determine whether the
ninety-ninth day of 1999 causes computer anomalies. Many companies will be
reluctant to divulge such information since it leads to questions concerning
their Y2K compliance. Governments at all levels may not be able to cover-up
abnormalities in their operations. Or everyone may blame Melissa or Papa
for the April 9 date problem.
But unless cataclysmic stoppages occur on April 9, it is highly unlikely
that mainstream media will cover it. Thus any Y2K problems occurring on
April 9 and following may never be fully disclosed until someone leaks it.
However, we can be certain that if the major national newspapers and
networks don’t report the outcome of Proposition B on April 7, YES was the
winner on Proposition B. And that will not cause any banner headlines in
either the Kansas City Star or the St. Louis Post Dispatch.