Effect Measure

Armed and pedantic

Since I’m a professor I notice stories about professor’s rights. I’m all for having my rights. But there are some rights I don’t think professors need to have or should have:

The Nevada System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents has endorsed a plan that would encourage faculty and staff members to go about their business armed with guns that could be used to thwart an attack like the one that took 32 lives at Virginia Tech in April. According to the Web site of KLAS, a local television station in Las Vegas, the regents approved a plan under which the system would pay a $3,000 fee for each faculty or staff member who wanted to take a 21-week training course in how to use firearms. The plan got mixed reviews from the students KLAS interviewed. (Andrew Mytelka, Chronicle for Higher Education)

What’s the idea here? That armed staff and faculty will be able to intervene if a crazed student starts shooting people? Anyone who thinks that has never been to a faculty meeting. Who’s going to protect the students and administration from a crazed professor? (Since university administration’s aggressions are of the passive variety we don’t have to worry about them). Should we arm students and deans, too? Put guns in everyone’s hands?

When everyone is armed, crazy people and evil people will be armed, too. Many more than are armed now. And they don’t care about dying. I’ll take my $3000 training money in cash, please.

Update (6/29/07, 5 pm): In a comment on the story in the Chronicle, John Kuhlman, Manager of Public Information, Nevada System of Higher Education has said the KLAS story is not correct. Will not correct yet. They haven’t rejected the idea either. They haven’t decided yet because they don’t have “enough information”:

First, the Nevada Board of Regents did not endorse any plan to arm faculty and staff. The regents decided there was not enough information to make any kind of decision on this topic so they directed the campus police chiefs to draft a plan. That plan will be presented to the regents at their August meeting. At that time, the regents may, or may not, implement a plan to arm faculty and staff.

To repeat: No decision has been made that would arm faculty and staff at any Nevada System of Higher Education campus.

I’d speculate this subject isn’t one that will yield to more information. But what do I know? I’m just a professor. Unarmed and pedantic.

Comments

  1. #1 CCP
    June 28, 2007

    21 weeks???
    Here’s how to load it, here’s the safety, here’s the trigger, the bullet comes out of this end, don’t point it unless you’re prepared to shoot it…
    That’s like, what? Fifteen minutes worth of stuff?

  2. #2 Thomas Thurman
    June 28, 2007

    There is a fundamental flaw in all such arguments: they come with a ton of assumptions:

    1) that we can divide humanity into the Good People and the Bad People

    2) that if we concentrate power into the hands of the Good People, then everyone will be safe

    3) that Good People never become Bad People

    4) most importantly, that we (whoever “we” are) can tell who the Good People are

    and these assumptions are never discussed, or even mentioned.

  3. #3 Eric
    June 28, 2007

    CCP: Firearm safety, training and operation is alot more than that.

    Pistols, which I presume is what the administration envisions in this tenured vigilante super faculty, are actually quite difficult to fire with any degree of accuracy. Issues of target identification, maintenance and safety as well as operational effectiveness (when you start shooting, by god you had better be hitting something) are all extremely important concerns that take time, effort and teaching.

    Part of the rate of accidental gun injury in the US is due to the somewhat cavalier attitude that “hollow end towards bad guy, pull trigger, don’t shoot kids, k?” is sufficient gun ownership training.

  4. #4 Nat
    June 28, 2007

    I expect that the average uptake of this idea, if it should ever get off the ground, in Public Health Faculty to be near zero.

  5. #5 Nat
    June 28, 2007

    duh *** will *** be near zero.

    Actually, I would expect it to be near zero in all faculty.

    Except maybe business departments…

  6. #6 bar
    June 28, 2007

    Our experience in Australia is that the crazies and bad guys get guns whether they are legally available or not. Remember,they are bad guys, so they don’t care what the law is.

    On the other hand, the good guys who might have an inclination to go armed in the event that a crazy lets loose obey the law. That’s what makes them good guys.

    The problem is that you must calculate the effect of any legislation. People are not children, from whom you can take a dangerous toy and that is the end of the matter.

    One of Australia’s Prime Ministers (Bob Hawke) put it succinctly. “It is no use enacting a law unless you can enforce compliance”.

  7. #7 gilmore
    June 29, 2007

    Revere wrote: Put guns in everyone’s hands?

    Yes.

    As “bar” points out the Bad Guys are going to get guns. In Arizona it was a 20 hour class to get a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit. It was recently reduced to 8 hours.

    An armed society is a polite society.

  8. #8 Ahcuah
    June 29, 2007

    Of course, it’s much better to put those guns into the hands of cops. Like Bobby Cutts, Jr.

  9. #9 Charles Roten
    June 29, 2007

    In Arizona it was a 20 hour class to get a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permit. It was recently reduced to 8 hours.

    Hmm.

    The laws must have changed.

    Which would not surprise me, as it has been more than 20 years since I moved out of the state. Hopefully NEVER to return, because the climate is right straight out of the classical Christian conception of Hell. With an unacceptably high pollen count, to boot. Goodbye, asthma. :)

    When I was living there, there was no such thing as a CCW permit.

    You carried open, you didn’t carry, or you had better hope the cops liked you.

    Which did sometimes happen: the father of an acquaintance of mine was a prosecutor who was .. ah .. less than popular with a number of very, very bad people. All the police knew he carried concealed. Didn’t matter, because nobody was going to arrest him.

  10. #10 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 29, 2007

    And then again folks look at this from a different perspective .

    The majority of staff and faculty are reasonably sane and most wont take a 21 week course but if only two or three in a building have it, then its a deterrent. The shooters will know they will meet resistance and that buys time for security to get there if something happens. With luck the guy will cap a shooter.

    This sounds like a college offered course. But we wont have colleges and universities unless there is insurance. Our friends who took the hit are not going to be able to pay for liability insurance if there is another terrorist attack on a university and thats what this was. It also means no professors from higher tuitions… No students. So they shouldnt have the right? I guess all of the fine young minds become janitors instead. Janitors live in the poor areas of most towns and they as a result pack to protect. They also likely will still obey the law and participate in a handgun course and one thats less than 21 weeks (Shit, what are they going to teach them, how to parkerize a barrel?)

    As for the right to keep and bear arms Revere, its in the Constitution and limited up until now by the universities and those who would seek to control us by condition. You shouldnt have a weapon, someone might get hurt kind of thinking. I submit you have a higher chance now of getting hurt if you DONT have one. I tend to think that this like other things is evolving to meet societal issues. If the university shooter had been pinned down by even one person packing, the outcome would have been speculatively a lot better. It certainly would have if he had rounded the corner and someone had popped his brains out. It assuredly would have if more than three people had confronted him.

    Our laws in the South are much different than say Boston or New York. There you have the right to submit and possibly be dead and maybe get to do it more than once or twice a week. Here you have the right to go thru a course and carry concealed weapons. Why do we have that now where we didnt before? It was because of the crime rate. Home invasions, car jackings and face to face robberies..Everyday occurences. Dont think its a male macho thing either, its the women who are packing down here.

    Horrible, disgusting are all the descriptives that you could apply to popping someones skull open. You could do and say the same to the families who sent their kids to the university and were killed. These are the universities that removed the right of students and faculty to pack them and now and without a doubt they are completely and totally liable because they failed to protect the students. The students submitted to the rules and the rules got them killed. I wonder what the outcome would have been if everyone in the room was packing and the guy walked in waving a gun? Conjecture of course but he wouldnt have gotten more than 3-5 in all likelyhood.

    The University has already agreed to an out of court settlement with most of the plaintiffs for the death of their children. The same kids we would send out into the world to save it, were slain by it.

    Eric-You obviously never went to a gun safety course. They are all taught not to shoot unless you have a clear target and in the case of close quarters its pretty much point blank anyway. This wouldnt be an accidental death either. It would be completely an act of self defense. I dont know what kind of problem Revere has with it other than he is against weapons. Okay, but we have had them since the first stick was used to bash the brains in out of our fellow monkeys and no one has outlawed sticks. I for one am glad that this guy came out of the darkness with a gun, else he might have come out with five gallons of gas, a box of Ivory Snow soapflakes, a 12 gauge shell and a box of Scotts Miracle Gro. If he had one or two devices you could make from that you could be calling the people in Oklahoma for THEIR opinions on the right to carry a weapon. In fact call the parents of the kids who got killed recently, I think their opinions would more more pro than con for weapons.

  11. #11 Anne Laurie
    June 29, 2007

    An armed society is a polite society.

    … Ask any Iraqi! Or Palestinian! Or Rwandan! Or Columbian!

    Guns are tools, and so are most of the jagoffs defending the Second Amendment more vigorously than all the other nine parts of the Bill of Rights put together. As Revere says, the main danger in giving weapons to professors would lie in making it dangerously easy for them to win arguments with idiots. Or other idiots, if you prefer.

    Ask your local police force what they think of those ever-amusing “Protected by Smith & Wesson” yard signs & bumper stickers. Bragging about the size of one’s gun is like bragging about the size of one’s… well, let’s just say that it’s not only vulgar, it’s an invitation for people to wonder for what one is compensating.

  12. #12 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 29, 2007

    THAT is an opinion Anne. You have been all around the world, what is the first thing that goes? The law. I dont know where you live but most of the cities now in the US are combat zones with the police as you put it undermanned and in many cases outgunned. Its Dodge City and there are those who just dont get it that the Second is there for a couple of reasons. To allow citizens to protect themselves personally, to protect themselves if necessary and later from an overbearing government and to if necessary assist their militias and police forces.

    Run on down to N. Orleans where their weapons were confiscated. Wrongful death result from two of those cases and robbery and mayhem were the others. Simple, wanton up in your face danger. How would you like your death, face down or sunny side up. I have heard all of the arguments for and against, but the bottom line is that the law says your opinion is moot.

    As for the size of weapon it doesnt compensate for penis size Anne and that the old reference to a phallic symbol crap that the elitists always use. Things down South seem to be working just fine and if anyone wants to volunteer to decide which is bigger, by whichever means, feel free to stop by. I dont charge for reloads.

  13. #13 revere
    June 29, 2007

    Randy: But go to Western Europe where you don’t have to worry about guns to the extent you do in the US. They still have crime. But you don’t get shot. What the law says depends on what the law is. And that is what the discussion is about, so it isn’t an argument to say that the law says something different.

  14. #14 M.Randolph Kruger
    June 29, 2007

    No and you are partially right Revere. They DO use guns over there. And when they cant they make IED’s of a large and more explosive nature. They also if they found said representative of a foreign land or a home grown terrorist they could end the problem if necessary on the spot.

    Kind of like our little Korean friend from a few weeks past. If the law fails to protect the citzenry, then the citizenry has to protect itself and the law. I can tell you that the police chief here is elated that there is about a shooting a month of home invaders. The crime rate drops commensurately for a bit. His name is Godwin Anne if you want to do an interview in the bouncing between 1st and 2nd highest murder rate and capital crime city in the nation.

  15. #15 Michael
    June 29, 2007

    The very simple answer Revere, is that a crazed professor will bring a gun to school regardless of the law.

    Did this not occur to you?

    Crazy and evil people arm themselves to do evil regardless of the law. Get it!

  16. #16 PZ Myers
    June 29, 2007

    Yes, crazy evil people will arm themselves no matter the law. But under this law, the high-strung flibbertigibbet weedy professor of 18th century Flemish poetry, who doesn’t know which end of the pistol is which, is going to be walking into a class of English majors with a deadly weapon somewhere on his or her person. It’s an open invitation to a tragedy of errors.

    Seriously, I know college professors. There’s only a handful I’d trust to be competent with a firearm, and I’m not one of them. And I think the ones I’d trust the very least are the ones who’d be quickest to claim competence.

  17. #17 Nomen Nescio
    June 29, 2007

    Seriously, I know college professors. There’s only a handful I’d trust to be competent with a firearm, and I’m not one of them.

    then why should we trust them to teach competently? grade fairly? or even drive safely on the public roads?

    i’ve got a few firearms, and they’re not magic wands. they don’t make me strangely less careful, less responsible, when i pick them up. i do not suddenly develop any more of a temper, or lose any impulse control, because i’m handling them. if anything i might be a bit more careful and thoughtful than usual when i’m around guns, because they’re unusually dangerous items – sort of like chainsaws, in that respect. i don’t own a chainsaw, but i do expect wielding one would make me more than usually detail-oriented, for the same reasons guns do.

    what sort of antisocial person is affected very much otherwise, and by what manner of items might they be so badly affected? you’re claiming that a lot of such people work as college-level faculty; should i drop out of evening school, for my safety’s sake? i’d rather not spend too much time around such strange and implicitly dangerous folks if i can avoid it.

    seriously, if i can’t trust you with a firearm, is there anything left i can trust you with? just how dangerously crazy are you, mr. Myers?

  18. #18 Lulu
    June 29, 2007

    Um, this is an interesting debate, but check out the original Chronicle of Higher Education posting. It turns out the news item had a mistake in it, since corrected by a Nevada official and in turn by The Chronicle.

  19. #19 revere
    June 29, 2007

    Lulu: Got a link. Glad to correct it.

  20. #20 Darin
    June 29, 2007

    Damn, I used to like the UNLV Running Rebels sports. Now, armed staff and faculty will give new meaning to “Running Rebel”. I’m the running part, far away.

  21. #21 Blake Stacey, OM
    June 29, 2007

    PZ Myers:

    Seriously, I know college professors. There’s only a handful I’d trust to be competent with a firearm, and I’m not one of them. And I think the ones I’d trust the very least are the ones who’d be quickest to claim competence.

    Nomen Nescio:

    then why should we trust them to teach competently? grade fairly? or even drive safely on the public roads?

    Um, I’d much rather live with the consequences of an unfairly low grade on a term paper than getting shot.

  22. #22 Eric
    June 29, 2007

    MRK:

    “Eric-You obviously never went to a gun safety course. They are all taught not to shoot unless you have a clear target and in the case of close quarters its pretty much point blank anyway.”

    Take a break from posting your walls of text and actually read my comment. I said, expressly, that gun safety and training courses cover both target identification, safe handling and the like. My post was expressly stating that gun safety courses are not something that can be managed in 8 hours…and that many people disregard them because they think they “know” everything already.

  23. #23 Nomen Nescio
    June 29, 2007

    Um, I’d much rather live with the consequences of an unfairly low grade on a term paper than getting shot.

    you’re still taking it for granted that these people are fundamentally untrustworthy. that’s making me worry, because i’m fairly sure at least some of them have access to sharp and/or pointy things, and you’re giving me no reason to presume they can be trusted with such, either.

    why can i be trusted to race down the roads in a ton of steel at highway speeds, but not trusted with a pistol? abusing either one would be highly likely to wreck and/or end my own life, as well as whoever i went homicidally maniacal against. the gun is no talisman of evil magic to make me less trustworthy than i otherwise would be, and it’s an insult to my intelligence to presume i could not think up some other way to wreak havoc if only i’m denied a firearm.

    or even to assume i could not find (or make!) a firearm, come to that. if you trust me not to do that, why not just trust me to have one of the effing things lawfully, to begin with?

  24. #24 M. Randolph Kruger
    June 29, 2007

    There is Eric a difference between gun safety and gun use. Gun safety courses are for the people who might need the course so they dont shoot themselves or someone else inadvertently. The courses I took in the military and civilian world were full combat types. You are wrong though, if someone cant figure it out after 8 hours on how not to kill themselves or others then they shouldnt have one. But thats okay, most gun safety courses are not pass/fail anyways. The courses I had to take were that you had to hit the target (man sized-silohuette) 100% of the time. That means that you might hit it not necessarily 100% of time in the head, but it better not drift off that black part anywhere. By the time I got thru with the three weeks of intensive training, it was either 100% head shots or 100% kill shots to the chest area.

    Big difference though. Wouldnt work squat against an IED though.

  25. #25 decrepitoldfool
    June 29, 2007

    My father was a college professor (information science), and also a firearm hobbyist of considerable renown – a true expert on guns. At the University Of Iowa in the 1960′s, he was (mis-) profiled by the campus newspaper as “Pistol Packin’ Professor”. But in reality he never packed a pistol anywhere. There were times, when traveling alone, that he kept one in his car but otherwise his guns were locked up safe. He never had one on campus.

    Growing up, I got plenty of instruction in gun operation, maintenance, and safety – surely more than any twenty hour course. But it just didn’t take. Not that I am unsafe handling a gun, but it just wasn’t a subject that interested me very much and the lessons never really became second-nature, instinctive. I still have to hunt around for the safety, and fumble with how the clip goes into the, uh, thing that the clip goes into. OK, it’s been a decade since I last handled a gun or cared to, and can’t even remember the terminology. It was his interest, not mine. (Unfortunately he passed away 20 years ago – I would love to get his reaction to this proposal)

    Quite apart from the complex decision of when to deploy a gun, and at what target, firing a pistol accurately is harder than it looks and requires constant practice. It is of comparable difficulty to hitting a golf ball accurately. Furthermore very few people could swing a good golf game under severe, life-and-death emotional duress. Not many have the depth of personal interest or professional necessity to cultivate such an ability.

    Then there is the issue of keeping track of the gun. Police wear theirs on a holster, and follow rigorous procedures for stowing them when not in use. Professors are more likely to keep theirs in a desk drawer in their offices. One of my friends had a digital camera stolen from her desk drawer recently…

  26. #26 No Nym
    June 29, 2007

    Not to rain on the RKBA parade, but hoping that your average CCW equipped prof is going to be able to successfully engage and stop a crazy shooter using a concealed pistol is, er, a bit optimistic. Let’s say the prof is your typical gun owner. She spends maybe two hours a month at the range, shooting at a fixed target under ideal light with no intervening bystanders.

    Even if she’s a major afficionado, and spends tens of hours a month shooting and reloads her own bullets, she’s still not that well qualified to be dealing with a psycho shooter drama. Your average in-home at seven yards or less burglar? Sure. But telling which of the students is the bad guy? Indoors or out? at any time of day? With multiple dozens of bystanders? Hah. Oh, and now that you have multiple armed students and profs, you’ve just decreased the signal to noise ratio. Is that student with the pistol another helpful hero, or the crazy shooter bastard?

    The MOUT and SWAT training that pros who deal with this stuff get takes dozens of hours a month, and must be sustained indefinitely, to be proficient at this kind of thing. 21 weeks sounds about right (assuming a few hours per week), but what kind of retraining is there? Would we expect the profs to have mandatory quarterly re-qualifications and sustained training? Who is going to pay for that, let alone buy out teaching time for it? *Cops* in the US are infamous for their inaccuracy, and even the best pistols can’t push under 1 MOA. Do you want your daughter’s biology professor to be the one trying to drop the psycho holding her hostage?

    Do profs have a right to carry a pistol? Maybe. Some have argued that the 2nd amendment would be satisfied if everyone had a 1906 Springfield under the bed, and that pistols, having no real military utility, can be regulated as the several states see fit. Certainly, public and private institutions could litigate on this issue and it’s not a slam dunk for RKBA.

    But deep down, it’s simply not that good an idea, in practical terms. Given that the base rate for psycho shooting incidents is so low, and the rate of negligent discharges and accidents is so high, any such measure would on net be expected to produce more harm than good. Besides, the point in all the arguments in favor of the idea is the deterrent effect, not the heroic rescue.

    Now, if you made it a proposal to let profs store *rifles* in their offices, that’s another kettle of fish….

  27. #27 gilmore
    June 29, 2007

    No Nym,

    A mentally ill student has a gun. He is focused on an assault of on campus (LOTS of ammo). Since (where I come from) a student can’t even bring a handgun on school property (EVEN w/ a CCW permit), do you see any sense in having faculity “pack”???

  28. #28 Lea
    June 30, 2007

    FYI commenters. It was corrected at: Um, this is an interesting debate, but check out the original Chronicle of Higher Education posting. It turns out the news item had a mistake in it, since corrected by a Nevada official and in turn by The Chronicle.
    Posted by: Lulu | June 29, 2007 03:11 PM

    Lulu: Got a link. Glad to correct it.
    Posted by: revere | June 29, 2007 03:32 PM

    http://chronicle.com/news/index.php?id=2553?=atnb

    13. First, the Nevada Board of Regents did not endorse any plan to arm faculty and staff. The regents decided there was not enough information to make any kind of decision on this topic so they directed the campus police chiefs to draft a plan. That plan will be presented to the regents at their August meeting. At that time, the regents may, or may not, implement a plan to arm faculty and staff.

    To repeat: No decision has been made that would arm faculty and staff at any Nevada System of Higher Education campus.

    John Kuhlman
    Manager of Public Information
    Nevada System of Higher Education

  29. #29 bar
    June 30, 2007

    I read somewhere that multiple shootings were more likely in a disarmed region.

    In the last few years there have been four or five multiple gun slayings in the USA at educational institutions, on which (I understand) a federal law prohibits firearms. My stats are a bit rusty, but I would have thought that the null hypothesis that this is a coincidence must be a bit thin.

    The gun control people seem to have this image of doddery, gun virgin professors who are pronounced 60′s peaceniks packing heat.

    Look fellas, there are people out there (about 3% – 5% of the population I believe) who are expert with guns. They are survivors. They are also good guys. At the moment we are stopping them from packing a gun because we are afraid of guns.

    As I said, these guys are survivors. At the moment they are the ones who, in mass kill situations, jump out of second story windows because they calculated that was their best chance of survival. The rest of us cower and get killed.

    A right to carry law is not an order to carry law. It is just a permit to survivors, which allows them to defend themselves (and just incidentally, not necessarily out of goodwill, stop those maniacs from killing the rest of us.)

  30. #30 Anne Laurie
    June 30, 2007

    I dont know where you live but most of the cities now in the US are combat zones with the police as you put it undermanned and in many cases outgunned. Its Dodge City…

    …where, IIRC, the Marshalls confiscated vistors’ guns so that the sales of strong drink and fast women could be made in peace and profit. Unless there is a concerted nationwide effort to suppress unpleasant statistics, most US cities, praise Goddess and the Rule of Law, are not Cali, Gaza, or Baghdad. Yes, there are “high crime” areas, but even in those pockets the death-and-serious-injury victims are mostly divided between illicit-business casualties and domestic homicides. Statistically, if you’re not a gang member and you choose your relatives carefully, your chances of dying by violence should be rather less than your chances of dying in an auto accident, and you’re far more likely to suffer a workplace-related cancer than a workplace-related shooting.

    A gun is a tool, a relatively dangerous tool, like a chainsaw. Most of us have absolutely no need to tote a chainsaw to our desk jobs every day, and not that many of us even need to have a chainsaw tucked away in our apartment closet or suburban garage. Drama queens who fantasize that “an armed society is a polite society” are turning their gun into a magical amulet, something every good citizen should have around the house, like a bible or a library card. But if a seven-year-old finds a forgotten bible in his parents’ nightstand, he can’t kill his younger brother by accident, and if a thief steals my library card, the worst he can do would be to run up some embarrassing unreturned-materials fines. I don’t mind rational adults owning guns, but it’s embarrassing that so many otherwise rational adults insist on romanticizing these particular tools into mystical protections against boogeymen and bad fortune.

  31. #31 Victoria
    June 30, 2007

    Anne,

    The veneer that we call civilisation is only paper thin. We as a civilisation have no control as to whether rational adults have access to guns or not. It is a pot luck world. It is just a matter of whether one chooses to own a gun or not. There just is no control. Having said that, when you are faced with a situation beyond your control, where your life is about to be forfeit, and there was no one around to save you, I can bet my bottom dollar that you would wish for a gun.

  32. #32 Lea
    June 30, 2007

    In Utah, of all places you say, the students are allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus. There was a news story about it when the VA shooting took place. It was a very civilized conversation with those who carried the guns and one was left with a good impression and felt no need to change what they did.

  33. #33 revere
    June 30, 2007

    Lea: Nor yet, anyway. Let’s hope they don’t have good cause to rethink it.

  34. #34 Lea
    June 30, 2007

    The Mormon’s of Utah are really into survival and applications for gun permit’s surged after the VA shooting, there were stories about it for days on end.

    Gun permits also surged after a shooting on February 12, 2007 at a small mall in downtown Salt Lake City.

    Sulejman Talovic, an immigrant from Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 18, walked through Trolley Square mall with a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, a .38 and a backpack full of ammunition. In about six minutes, he shot nine Trolley Square customers.
    If it had not been for an off duty police officer, carrying his gun, it would have been alot worse.
    The Ogden off-duty officer involved with the 18-year-old gunman at Trolley Square was Ken Hammond, a six-year veteran of the department.
    The off-duty officer, a traffic cop, from Ogden, north of Salt Lake City, was hailed as a hero. Griener, his boss, said a “significant number” of Ogden police officers carry weapons off-duty. In fact, Greiner said, the wife of the officer involved in the shooting has a concealed weapon permit. The wife, who is not in law enforcement, was at the mall Monday evening with her husband for an early Valentine’s dinner when shots range out.
    The police officer shoved his wife to the side and in plain view of the shooter yelled repeatedly for him to put down his weapons. When the shooter refused the officer shot him.

  35. #35 decrepitoldfool
    June 30, 2007

    Correction noted, Lea; they have not made a decision on packin’ professors. They’re still thinkin’ about it. Got it.

    The fact that news reports of a spectacularly uncommon event led people in Utah to apply for gun permits is indicative in itself. They really ought to also be packing gas masks, and maybe some rope and a stout knife. And when in tall buildings, a parachute. Any of those would statistically prove to be just as useful, in the long run.

    Do you have a disaster bag by your back door? (something you can grab in case of earthquake, etc.) Provisions in your basement? Even a first-aid kit in your car? Have a flashlight in your purse? There are a thousand nonlethal preparations you could make for statistically more common threats.

  36. #36 Anne Laurie
    June 30, 2007

    The veneer that we call civilisation is only paper thin… It is a pot luck world… There just is no control… when you are faced with a situation beyond your control, where your life is about to be forfeit, and there was no one around to save you, I can bet my bottom dollar that you would wish for a gun.

    Victoria: No, I would wish for a bulletproof shield, and heat vision to melt the gun with, and a pony! (Not that he would be much help, but I always wanted a pony.)

    I believe in preparing for life-threatening situations — why else would I be reading this blog? — but we disagree as to the utility of particular tools. I have *been* in life-threatening situations, and I have done what I can to ensure that I’m not involved in any more that I can reasonably avoid. Taking into account both my personal experience and the information I’ve been able to gather, I rate the potential usefulness of a gun as a tool considerably lower than such other tools as first-aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, etc. And since I refuse to believe that “civilisation is only paper thin… There just is no control…” as a matter of principle, I can’t use a gun as a Magical Amulet.

  37. #37 Lea
    June 30, 2007

    Hi decrepitoldfool!! I was thinking about your comment yesterday about your father, sounds like you miss him. The reason I was mulling it over was because the husbands’s father was/is interested in guns, has several and taught his boy’s how to use them responsibly. My husband has continued to be interested in guns and has some old ones that are beautiful, well cared for and respected.

    Anyway . . . my thoughts were on how many people that I’ve read comment’s from here and elsewhere usually don’t follow in the same direction as their parents, which is what you did. But, my husband did in the area of guns. Do you follow what I’m saying? Another example would be, where I’ve read many a times where parents were religious but their child are not.

    Back to topic: Can’t speak for the people of Utah in particular, just know what the Mormon’s think as I’m a proud excommunicated member for 29 years now.

    No, Yes, Yes, Yes, to your questions.
    This world grows increasingly dangerous decrepitoldfool. If there’s an opportunity where a gun would be necessary I’ll be glad to have it with me. Tuesday I’m applying for a concealed gun permit as my taser is too big.

  38. #38 decrepitoldfool
    June 30, 2007

    Hi Lea! Thanks for your kind words. I do miss my father. A lot. It doesn’t seem like 20 years.

    Hope your gun proves unnecessary, or (as often happens) a nonviolent deterrent. And if you ever have to use it, effective. I am not opposed to concealed-carry because it gives criminals something important to think about. My only point was that guns aren’t, pardon the expression, a magic bullet. And that risk assessment should cast a wide net.

  39. #39 M. Randolph Kruger
    July 1, 2007

    Anne-As with our friend Revere I offer for you to come and visit a certain area in Memphis around the airport. Many here were 10-10 and listening in when the gun thing came up after the nutcase Korean went tactical. Since that time and I believe it was April there have been an additional 25 murders in that general area that I transit each and every day. Last night, a 17 year old was thrown out of a car …dead.

    We could argue the point until we are quite blue, but the world you live in might include just continously backing up until there is no place to get away from the problems that are taken care of on the spot with a weapon. All this crap about target practice by cops is only so they can check mark the little box each month so that the cities dont get sued if there is a collateral death or injury. Thats all.

    The submission that a prof couldnt get a shot off and splatter the brains of a perp at nearly point blank range when he/she had a gun to your daughters head is crap too. No one would take a shot in that instance as the immediate effect of doing so would likely get your daughter dead. Big difference in knowing when to hold up four aces and when to play deuces. This is a deuces hand. Not likely to win and if you bluff and lose, then you and the daugher could be dead fast.

    Decrepitoldfool-None of those things that you listed as being something to prepare for generally attacks you in your sleep, rapes your wife and dog, then sodomizes your son. The posit doesnt follow. We are talking about taking someone out that might be out on the far end of the fence that is threatening you or another person.

    Besides the entire last 24 hours in the UK is yet another reason to be packing in the US. So what would you have them do now, outlaw Jeeps and Mercedes?

  40. #40 gilmore
    July 1, 2007

    Drama queens who fantasize . . .

    “a seven-year-old finds a forgotten bible in his parents’ nightstand, he can’t kill his younger brother by accident, and if a thief steals my library card, the worst he can do would be to run up some embarrassing unreturned-materials fines.”

    Now THAT is drama

  41. #41 decrepitoldfool
    July 2, 2007

    Decrepitoldfool-None of those things that you listed as being something to prepare for generally attacks you in your sleep, rapes your wife and dog, then sodomizes your son. The posit doesnt follow. We are talking about taking someone out that might be out on the far end of the fence that is threatening you or another person.

    Randolph, self-defense is fine with me, but just keep your eyes open as to the true proportions of crime and the inherent hazards of weapon-carrying. The perception that crime is just oozing out all over the place is partially driven by news media that trades on such reports. What I posit is that nonlethal preparations for more common hazards have a higher payoff ratio in lives saved to accidental hazard consequences.

    A gun feeds the illusion of being in control, much as being behind the wheel of a car does. People fear airline crashes because they’re not in control, when they should be thinking about car crashes. Risk analysis isn’t built into our lizard brain, fight-or-flight is.

  42. #42 M.Randolph Kruger
    July 2, 2007

    Decrepit-http://www.bestplaces.net/docs/studies/crime1.aspx

    I can assure you that the guy with the gun in this city IS in control. Routinely, car jackings are off the scale. By the way it is federal law that if someone approaches your car with a weapon and puts his/her hands on the sill of the window or touches a door handle you can cap them on the spot. Or, if they try to gain entry in any manner.

    Gangs rule the streets. If BF comes out or a disaster, these people will take over. It is exactly the same scenario of Katrina when the NOPD confiscated peoples weapons without receipt or authorization to do so. They never returned them and two people died as a result of being murdered for their property. Fear? Not really. Just leveling the playing field. You dont go to Mogadishu unless you are packing.

    I dont fear airplane crashes when I am in one because I am not in control, I fear them because I am going to hit the ground at not less than 120 mph all the way up to terminal velocity of 550. Kind of takes that tin can and mushes it up a bit. Car crashes are about the same. Most people survive car crashes now. Airplane crashes are less survivable if you get into a situation. A weapon doesnt feed my illusion of control. The only thing I want on a feed is a belt on an M-60 if I have to go tactical.

  43. #43 revere
    July 2, 2007

    Randy: I guess all yo guys with guns haven’t stopped it. In fact, making guns easy to get may be the problem? I know you don’t agree. Don’t bother to wallpaper me.

  44. #44 Lea
    July 2, 2007

    Well no revere yo, don’t stereo-type us. MRK is a rambo but a good, decent rambo and you know it. I am also a good person, have to take my word for it for now. There was a great deal of thought put into considering the matter of owning and carrying a concealed gun.
    I don’t feel empowered by having a gun, just cautious. And I won’t use it unless absolutely necessary.
    Your side is understood, please for a moment or two believe that there are responsible, smart people that can have guns without going wild.
    I realize it isn’t a cure-all and from what I’ve read (and between the lines) so does MRK.

  45. #45 revere
    July 2, 2007

    Lea: My comment wasn’t about Randy. It was about Memphis.

  46. #46 Nomen Nescio
    July 2, 2007

    revere: but are guns all that easy to get? it’s not like they’ve been any harder to legally purchase, in the USA, ever before. what with a federal criminal background check for each item purchased, records kept at each stage of the distribution pipeline of who bought what when, age limits, random compliance checks on dealers, and on — not even counting state and local restrictions — it’s not exactly a trivial purchase.

    complaining about “making guns easy to get” seems disingenuous when, as far as i know, no (federal-level) law has ever been passed for that purpose or even with that effect. could you elaborate on the matter?

  47. #47 revere
    July 2, 2007

    Nomen: Unlike in other countries, just about anyone of age (or not, if you want a powerful pellet gun) can get a gun in the US, including in Memphis. Even the ones who can’t get one legally can still get one if they want one. If you buy one at a gun show you don’t even need a check AFAIK. The wide availability of guns hasn’t made Memphis safer. If you look at places where guns are hard to get, however, you could argue it has made Memphis more dangerous.

  48. #48 Nomen Nescio
    July 2, 2007

    revere: but the phrasing of “making guns easier to get” hardly brings to mind a present-day comparison with other countries. rather, it naturally evokes an over-time comparison of how domestic laws have evolved. so if you want to argue that the U.S. ought to follow international trends more closely, then that phrasing is at best misleading rhetoric.

    FWIW, background checks are needed every time you buy a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer, with very few specific exceptions. you can buy a gun sans check if you do it from a private citizen who isn’t in the gun-dealing business; in fact, as a non-licensee, us mortals aren’t even allowed to use the National Instant background Check System when we sell firearms, even if we’d like to. however, everyone who sells guns as a business needs a dealer’s license, and must stick to the rules of selling guns professionally, including background checks and avoiding straw purchasers. the BATF has the power to decide who is and is not “in the business” of selling guns, as part of their enforcement role, and they’ve historically been fairly strict about it.

    this matters because people have a common perception that gun shows is where a lot of private, not-for-business firearms transactions takes place. i do not know if that’s true or not; i have no idea if anyone even has gathered statistics on the matter. i do know that renting a table for selling stuff at your average gun show tends to cost quite a bit, and that local gun stores tend to use them as marketing and sales events — but as professionals, they’re still required to do background checks, even then.

    (there’s a criminological study floating around the ‘net someplace, prison inmates were asked where they acquired their guns. most of them claimed to have bought them from friends or family members, and IIRC the next largest category was theft; gun shows came in at a negligible fraction. i won’t reference it, though, because i do not know how credible that particular study was.)

    and using the ease of illegally acquiring guns as an argument for changing the laws so as to make it more difficult to legally acquire guns is not as obvious a connection as all that. you’ll have to be more explicit about how any given, specific law would actually impact people willing to break the law before that argument may be valid, i think. i’m not saying that laws are all worthless because some people break them; i’m saying that the mere passing of new law does not necessarily make the populace as a whole more law-abiding, or the criminal life harder. only specific, well-crafted law is likely to achieve that result.

    finally, trying to correlate gun ownership statistics with crime rates is notoriously tricky. a lot of places with high gun ownership tend to be quite safe, arguably because they’re very rural. so, instead of banning guns, should we be creating population density caps?

  49. #49 revere
    July 2, 2007

    Nomen: I believe the highest firearm mortality rates are in rural areas. These are not homicides but suicides and accidents. Rather than carry on a long argument about gun control, which will not be settled in a comment thread, I’ll only say I was replying to another commenter about car hijackings in Memphis.

  50. #50 Lea
    July 2, 2007

    oops, yikes, oh no, I misunderstood revere.

    excellent points Nomen Nescio.

  51. #51 Lea
    July 2, 2007

    The above wasn’t meant to be sarcastic.