American-like killings in Germany

Don’t overlook the awful news from Germany, in which a taunted and bullied crazy person killed 15 people and self. He started out in his old High School where he gunned down 9 people, so quickly that many of the dead were students found with their head on the desk and their pencils still in their hands. He took off, initiating a huge manhunt, hijacked a car, killed a bunch more people, had a shootout with the police, ran away and finally killed himself.

The weapon was a handgun from his father’s gun collection.

Since the Germans have stricter gun ownership rules than the Americans, and within a forty eight hour period more people were killed in a spectacular shooting spree than in America (by a few), we can now argue that American gun laws should be relaxed. Or at least, that will be the logic coming from the Gun Nuts.

Gun nuts? Care to defend yourselves on this one?

Comments

  1. #1 Crystal D.
    March 11, 2009

    You know what really grinds my gears? The “responsible” gun owners saying that having rules and laws in place regarding gun ownership is restricting them. I was talking with one on the MNA forum only about LICENSING requirements, and he was pissed.

    I mean, seriously, I’m supposed to trust you with a gun if you can’t follow proper channels? This particular persons’ excuse was that his job had odd hours. Please. Do these people really think I’m going to consider them MORE sane if they don’t want to agree to simple laws for safety?

  2. #2 Nathan Myers
    March 11, 2009

    It bears repeating:

    If you’re planning a murder/suicide, be sure to do the suicide part first.

  3. #3 Sevesteen
    March 11, 2009

    I’m a minor gun nut, with a license to carry concealed.

    Spree shootings don’t happen often enough to justify extreme changes in the law in either direction. In the US, they happen overwhelmingly where guns are not allowed–Churches (in some states) schools, malls with “no guns” policies, or states without concealed carry. It would take a constitutional amendment to reduce the number of guns enough to affect spree shootings, and there would be other consequences.

    The number of victims in a spree shooting is directly correlated with the time it takes for the first armed defender to arrive and act. Relative firepower doesn’t seem to be decisive–Look at Jeanne Assam, an armed church member and hero (reported incorrectly by some media as an armed guard) who confronted a gunman. She had a pistol, he had several rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo. She shot him, but his fatal wound was self-inflicted.

    Too many current laws are nonsensical and only affect the law abiding–it is obvious that they aren’t there to solve an actual problem, but to chip away at gun ownership in general, or to “do something” when there has been a tragedy. Those laws need to be relaxed.

    On the other hand, laws that affect criminals seem to be sadly neglected. It is a felony to attempt to buy a gun if you are a felon or otherwise prohibited. We have a background check system to try to enforce this. Less than 1% of the failed background checks are even investigated. That makes me angry–Either they are failing people who shouldn’t fail, or more likely, they are failing to arrest people who belong in jail.

  4. #4 Nathan Myers
    March 11, 2009

    The solution is to make it a felony to fail to investigate a failed background check. Or to fail to investigate such a failure. Ad infinitum.

  5. #5 Roland
    March 11, 2009

    Spree shootings don’t happen often enough to justify extreme changes in the law in either direction

    Same with airplane crashes. A small percent of people who die in transit accidents die in them. Funding the NTSB is like throwing good money in the toilet.

    /asshole

  6. #6 Dan J
    March 11, 2009

    I’m definitely not a “gun nut” (I don’t even own a firearm of any kind). I’m rather liberal in most of my political views, but I often find myself at odds with what most consider to be the views of “liberals” when it comes to gun control.

    • I think prohibition of guns works about as well as prohibition of alcohol or marijuana.
    • I think some current firearms legislation (or enforcement of that legislation) doesn’t make much sense (see Woman claims gun denied in DC because of color in which a woman is denied a permit for a gun: “the .45-caliber semiautomatic was denied because it doesn’t appear on the California Safe Handgun Roster. The roster only lists that model in olive drab green, dark earth or black.”).
    • I really don’t trust our government to be able to protect me in the event that I am faced with imminent, life-threatening danger from an armed assailant. (And because I don’t believe that prohibition works, I believe that danger to be a real possibility, even with a full prohibition of personal firearms.)

    As for shooting sprees such as this in Germany, and many others around the globe, I think we would be much better served if people were educated to a much greater degree about mental illness. The stigma attached to it still prevents many people from seeking treatment for behavioral disorders for themselves or their family members.

  7. #7 Mankel
    March 11, 2009

    To an European (this one at least) all this gun-ownership-as-a-right sounds nuts nuts nuts.

    Best arguments ever:
    -the problem is not the guns, but the nut guys that misuse them (problem: you know the nuts when you hear the shot)
    -if everybody carried a gun, the nut ones wouldn’t dare shooting. (Well, if one does, we can have Tarantino-like scenes for free out of the theater).

  8. #8 Greg laden
    March 12, 2009

    A lot of people in the US carry. But I can’t think of too many examples of some one stopping a shooting spree by pulling out their piene.

  9. #9 Mankel
    March 12, 2009

    What’s a “piene”?

  10. #10 Vasha
    March 12, 2009

    I can’t think of too many examples of some one stopping a shooting spree by pulling out their pie[c]e.

    Sevesteen just named one — Jeanne Assam. But one case isn’t much to base policy on (which applies to arguing anything based on the current case too).

  11. #11 Beowulff
    March 12, 2009

    I really don’t trust our government to be able to protect me in the event that I am faced with imminent, life-threatening danger from an armed assailant.

    … at which point you’re already too late to grab your gun anyway, even if you had one.

    But the gun nuts can relax now, because the spotlight will be away from gun ownership policies for a bit now: the police has announced this morning that they found some violent computer games like Counterstrike on his computer. Sigh.

    At least they also announced that the father is going to be under investigation for breaking gun ownership laws by failing to lock away the gun.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    the father is going to be under investigation for breaking gun ownership laws by failing to lock away the gun.

    That’s reasonable.

    A peine is a piece typed with one finger on a tiny iPhone device.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Arvada was a security guard. Does not count.

  14. #14 Equisetum
    March 12, 2009

    “At least they also announced that the father is going to be under investigation for breaking gun ownership laws by failing to lock away the gun.”

    That’s very big no-no here. He had fifteen guns, and all but the murder weapon were locked up. He’ll probably lose his permit and all of his guns because of this.
    Not that that does anyone any good now . . .

  15. #15 Mankel
    March 12, 2009

    A piene is not a peine. A peine is a comb. ^_^

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    He’ll probably lose his permit and all of his guns because of this.

    The image of the young girls laying with their heads down on the desk, dead of a gunshot wound, their pencil still in their hand doe not lead me to thoughts of some gun nut having his permit nullified. He is an accessory to murder .

  17. #17 Equisetum
    March 12, 2009

    “He is an accessory to murder.”

    Agreed. I didn’t mean for that seem like I’m taking it lightly, or minimizing his responsibility. I’m researching a bit now to see what they can charge him with and what kind of penalties await him. (But I have to leave soon, and don’t know if I’ll get around to finishing or posting.)

    There’s a lot coming out about this kid and his father. His father bought him an air rifle when he was fifteen and taught him to shoot, although it’s illegal for those under eighteen to own one. That’s not necessarily bad in and of itself (although illegal) but the shooter is known to have shot at kids at the playground, and to have shot cats. Everyone in town was afraid of him. So, nothing but red flags, and nobody, including, especially, his family, did anything about it. That might strengthen the case for ‘accessory’.
    (The info I have is what my wife heard on the radio this morning.)

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Equisetum: I’d be very interested to see what you find.

    the shooter is known to have shot at kids at the playground, and to have shot cats.

    That could be a clue.

  19. #19 Sevesteen
    March 12, 2009

    Nathan:

    The failures are known to the authorities–I have no idea why there isn’t more done to investigate them. That’s one of the places where our laws are too lax. Getting severe mental illness into the background check system is another, although there are privacy and due process concerns. (Mental illness is either a lifetime ban or no restriction)

    Roland: General aviation is much more dangerous than commercial–One solution would be to eliminate the “general aviation loophole”, and require all flights to meet commercial aviation standards. That’s the sort of thing I mean by “extreme changes”.

    Greg
    Some media reported Jeanne Assam as a security guard, but she was an unpaid volunteer member of the church. She was aware of the shooting in Arvada the night before. I don’t know if she was usually armed in church, or if it was a response to the Arvada shooting.

    If you remember, I mentioned that spree shootings are most often where guns are not allowed, accounting for few of them stopped by armed law-abiding people. Although spree shooters are often suicidal, they want to take enough victims with them to make a statement. This would be somewhat difficult at a gun shop or police station…

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    I mentioned that spree shootings are most often where guns are not allowed

    Not in any way that matters. It does not matter that guns are not allowed in schools. If guns are allowed or not in schools, a person walking into a school with a gun from the larger society where gun laws are lax, not enforced, and gun ownership taken lightly is the same phenomenon.

  21. #21 DoesNotMatter
    March 12, 2009

    This was done by a deranged piece of shit.

    It was helped, but not soley enabled, by his idiot father who seems to have both indulged his obssesions (Thirty airsoft guns) and been negligent in securing his guns.

    Deranged nutcases will always find a way. Do guns make this easier ? Yes. Would an absence of guns stop this ? No.

    http://www.spiegel.de/jahreschronik/0,1518,331434,00.html

    A flamethower and lance will suffice.

    How I wish for one these fuckers to go where the people can actually shoot back. Yet they always prey where there are no guns allowed.
    Has there actually been a school targeted which has actually problems with guns ?
    I’m not from the US, but some districts (Washington and LA I hear most often in this context) seem to have actually armed gang members in schools.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Any school admins or teachers from NY or LA or other US metro areas out there care to comment on the idea that schools are being patrolled by armed gang members, thus avoiding a Columbine type killing spree?

    I’m not being snarky here. I’m just asking.

  23. #23 Sevesteen
    March 12, 2009

    If guns are allowed or not in schools, a person walking into a school with a gun from the larger society where gun laws are lax, not enforced, and gun ownership taken lightly is the same phenomenon.

    Two separate issues. I’m talking tactics, explaining why there are few citizens stopping armed mass-murdering nutjobs. (another is that if they get stopped soon enough, they don’t get a chance to be mass murderers). Restricting gun availability is a long-term strategy that has been tried elsewhere with at best mixed results.

    Having some areas off-limits to armed law-abiding people while guns are still available to criminals and nutjobs is a middle ground that is worse than either extreme.

  24. #24 David Marjanović
    March 12, 2009

    I think prohibition of guns works about as well as prohibition of alcohol or marijuana.

    In the USA, you’re probably right, because there’s a huge black market.

    Elsewhere, you’re not. Over here, guns are so hard to get that most bank robberies are committed with toys.

    (After all, alcohol and marijuana almost literally grow on trees. Guns don’t.)

    The solution, while difficult to implement, seems obvious.

    I really don’t trust our government to be able to protect me in the event that I am faced with imminent, life-threatening danger from an armed assailant.

    You see, over here, when you call the police they come within five minutes… I’m told that in the USA they come after half an hour, unless it’s a bad neighborhood, in which case they never come at all…

    A flamethower and lance will suffice.

    LOL. Where do you get a flamethrower?

    How I wish for one these fuckers to go where the people can actually shoot back.

    Who will draw faster?

    Hint: not you.

  25. #25 Julie Stahlhut
    March 12, 2009

    Kids and adolescents are not known to have a great capacity for impulse control. Add untreated mental illness and the tendency of crowds of kids to bully the “different” ones, and you have a tinderbox. Add loaded firearms, and you have a time bomb.

    I hope this makes people think twice, three times, and more about “collecting” guns when there are children or teens in the house. It has to be nearly impossible to keep guns completely locked away from a determined 17-year-old. People can and do overcome their own severe anger-management problems, but I wouldn’t trust a bullied high schooler to be able to do it on his own.

  26. #26 Andrew
    March 12, 2009

    Restricting gun availability is a long-term strategy that has been tried elsewhere with at best mixed results.

    That might be a straw argument.

  27. #27 Equisetum
    March 12, 2009

    So far all I can find is that his father can be charged with negligence, but that’s a misdemeanor (I think; German legalese is not my strong suit). He can, as I said, lose his weapons, his permit, and be fined ten thousand euros. That’s just for permitting access to the weapon and the ammo. I can’t find anything in the law that says what happens when a crime is committed with such a weapon, but as I indicated, German lawspeak is a totally different language than everyday German, and I’m also not a researcher, so it’s slow going.

  28. #28 Annie
    March 12, 2009

    –>”Having some areas off-limits to armed law-abiding people while guns are still available to criminals and nutjobs is a middle ground that is worse than either extreme.”

    Are you saying a better alternative is to allow guns in schools?

  29. #29 Frasque
    March 12, 2009

    We’d never be able to keep guns completely out of the hands of people, and we’re never going to be able to detect and help all violence-prone mentally ill people before they hurt someone. I think the only realistic reaction to an event like this is to mourn the dead and move on. Sometimes bad things just happen. Sometimes people die in car crashes, we don’t outlaw cars. Sometimes people die falling off buildings, we don’t stop building skyscrapers. Sometimes people eat too much junk food and die of heart attacks . . . sometimes people just die. It’s sad, but it happens.

  30. #30 Matt Springer
    March 12, 2009

    You are more likely to die from a lightning strike in the US than you are to be shot by a spree killer. In short, horrific though these murders are, I’m no more willing to see it restrict gun rights than I would be to abolish freedom of assembly on the grounds that neo-Nazis use it to incite hatred.

  31. #31 symball
    March 12, 2009

    In the UK guns are banned except for shotguns in rural area’s and very strictly controlled gun clubs. we have had two spree shootings in the last hundred years, hungerford (after which semi automatic weapons were banned) and Dunblane (after which all handguns were banned).

    Unfortunately for americans there are so many guns in circulation you will never be able to remove them from your society. but please stop trying to tell people that the answer is more guns- it just isn’t true. And perhaps someone could find the stats on accidental deaths caused by guns- I’m sure it will be an order of magnitude higher than killings involving legal guns.

  32. #32 Dave
    March 12, 2009

    another sad example Appalachian School of Law shootings, via Wikipedia:
    “On January 16, 2002, ASL Dean Anthony Sutin, Professor Thomas Blackwell, and 1L student Angela Dales were shot and killed by disgruntled student Peter Odighizuwa, 43, of Nigeria. When Odighizuwa exited the building, he was subdued by two students armed with personal firearms.”

    for me this event is linked with the VTU shootings and the police response to the VTU shootings in stark contrast about who can protect whom in such cases and the right to carry “laws” in effect at both universities.

    one sad event from UT in Austin Texas in 1966, from Wikipedia:
    “Once Whitman began facing return gunfire from the authorities and civilians who had brought out their personal firearms to assist police, he used the waterspouts on each side of the tower as gun ports, allowing him to continue shooting largely protected from the gunfire below but also greatly limiting his range of targets. Ramiro Martinez, an officer who confronted Whitman, later stated in his book that the civilian shooters should be credited, as they made it difficult for Whitman to take careful aim without being hit.[16]”

  33. #33 jenkins
    March 12, 2009

    Here are some examples of armed people stopping pienes.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/13/national/main2466711.shtml

    An off-duty police officer having an early Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife was credited Tuesday with helping stop a rampage in a crowded shopping mall by an 18-year-old gunman who killed five people before he was cut down.

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/14817480/detail.html

    There are a few others that I can remember. I just can’t figure out the right google terms.

    But anyway, three points here:

    1. Almost all of these shootings have something in common: prescribed psychotropic drugs. Shall we ban these?

    2. Should the US gun laws be made as strict as those in Germany and Finland? Did the strict gun laws in those countries prevent their attacks? No.

    3. Whenever a shooting spree happens in a country with draconian gun laws, it’s the gun grabbers that have to defend their positions, not the gun nuts.

  34. #34 Sevesteen
    March 12, 2009

    Are you saying a better alternative is to allow guns in schools?

    By law-abiding adults with the proper licensing, which includes background checks, yes. I understand it makes people uncomfortable, but the record of license holders is better than police officers in gun related and measurable statistics–far less likely to shoot the wrong person, less likely to commit a violent crime or felony.

    Rules only work for the people who follow them.

    There has been at least one primary school shooting that was halted when a principal ran to his car to retrieve his gun (parked off school property, because of state law) and held a troubled teen shooter at bay until the teen could be arrested.

  35. #35 windy
    March 12, 2009

    jenkins: Finland doesn’t have “draconian gun laws”. The Finnish school shooters were able to get guns because it’s routine to approve gun permits for smallbore guns.

  36. #36 gary
    March 12, 2009

    ‘Sometimes bad things just happen. Sometimes people die in car crashes, we don’t outlaw cars. Sometimes people die falling off buildings, we don’t stop building skyscrapers. Sometimes people eat too much junk food and die of heart attacks . . . sometimes people just die. It’s sad, but it happens.’

    Frasque, these people didn’t ‘just die’, they were killed. Death isn’t an unfortunate by-product of gun use, it’s what guns are for. Cars are for transportation, skyscrapers for offices, junk food is, in the end, food. But guns have one purpose alone: killing.

  37. #37 Spiv
    March 12, 2009

    Alright, I was going to try to avoid this convo, but being a former atf rep I guess I better chime in.

    First, I’m the kind of FFL who told people looking for a “self defense weapon” they would do better shopping in the team sports section of sports authority for a baseball bat. I also own a variety of firearms, and do not hunt. My father took me to the gun range regularly since I was about 10.

    Distribution of firearms to an unstable 17 year old kid who spent time in a mental health facility is most likely reckless, dangerous, and obviously negligent. Can’t say without knowing for certain just what he was there for, but as a stabbing guess I’d say unchecked violent outbursts of the scary kind mixed with paranoia and anxiety. This puts pops at the long end of responsibility for much of what happened, and he’ll likely get what’s coming to him in more ways than “hey, give up the slugs.”

    I also think arguments like “criminalizing guns just means the criminals are the only ones with guns” is incredibly stupid. If the legal market for firearms shrinks, less make it to the streets. I do, however, obviously think that private firearms ownership should be maintained as a right, partly because I enjoy mine, and partly because I think any tool can be used as a weapon if you hold it wrong. Placing the blame on the tool is lacking responsibility, even if this particular tool does enable its abuser to do more damage faster than many of its competitors.

    So it’s a push pull: how do you get firearms to the people who should be allowed to enjoy them, while still keeping them from the people who have no business being anywhere near them? The answer isn’t surprising: a long arduous legal process of trying to pry just enough freedom away that we get some security from it, without sacrificing both. The problem is, even the best system will have failures.

    This case sounds like one of those: you likely have a perfectly legitimate collector who made a bad decision in an effort to reach out to his troubled son (share a little father son time with common interest). I’ll be the first to agree he probably should have chosen baseball or an old car to work on. But parents are often the best denialists on the planet.

    Sevesteen is correct, there are a lot of useless laws on the books, and much more dangerously laws that aren’t enforced the way they should be. On the other hand I had a few conversations with the parole officers of people who came in hoping to skip the background check. Exception: I did have a guy who legitimately thought his parole had run out, and was hoping to go on a hunting trip with some family. When I figured out what was going on we called his PO together to talk it over and come up with options.

    Equisetum: I believe (and I’m not 100% on this), but in Germany negligence implies the charges can be transferred to the negligent party. Which would certainly make sense in this case.

    Man am I glad I have a totally different job now.

  38. #38 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    The teachers do not want guns in the schools. I just checked with them.

  39. #39 Spiv
    March 12, 2009

    gary: “But guns have one purpose alone: killing”

    Hunting, all manner of target competition, and of course safety in situations that place place an individual at odds with a large wild animal (camping, hiking, etc).

    I enjoy the collecting of historicals, along with long range competitions.

    And anyone who thinks cars are just for transportation clearly has no idea why some jackass would restore a 60′s corvette. I mean it’s lousy on gas, way less safe, and of course much more expensive than just getting a perfectly good hyundai accent.

  40. #40 DoesNotMatter
    March 12, 2009

    I live in Germany, so I will never be able to outdraw an gunman, due to the lack of gun on my part – and being law abiding and all that.

    Best I could hope for is setting up an ambush using an firehose -present in most public building, ie. schools – or tackling from cover.
    Or running the fuck away.

    And I didn’t mean to imply that these schools would be patrolled by their homies but rather that the rather high possibility of being opposed by his victims -and the security guards usually present there- would drive such an cowardly fuck to choose another target or forego the murder part of the murder/suicide.

  41. #41 pifflePrattle
    March 12, 2009

    Who the hell in their right mind would even want to visit, let alone live in a country in which people feel the need to go about their business carrying lethal weapons because everyone else does? America made a big mistake with their right to bear arms idea. Without it guns would not be as easily available to the criminal element world wide. Your precious liberty is slowly forcing the rest of us to follow suite.

  42. #42 dean
    March 12, 2009

    The question I have, but haven’t seen addressed, about having more people with guns around in case of an attack is this:
    How does passing a gun safety course prepare you to be comfortable in using a gun in response to an attack of this type. I grew up on a farm, around guns, learned to use them young, took safety courses, but none of this required me to demonstrate the ability to use a gun calmly while somebody else was shooting at me and others. I would guess this would be true for many people – the training for “calm under fire” isn’t there. And from that, I don’t see how it can be automatically said that more people with guns will automatically reduce risk.

  43. #43 Spiv
    March 12, 2009

    dean: It really does not, IMO. Additionally I think laxing the carry laws to allow more people to be packin’ in everyday situations increases the chance to turn a normal, angry situation into a lethal shootout, even if it is less likely to have a spree. I suspect the number of sprees would go down, but the number of gun related deaths as a whole would go up.

    More road rage, crimes of passion, bar-stupids, etc.

    It just elevates the situation. Carry should be a special permit, just like conceal. Transport has rules already. None of the above would have really helped in this particular case.

  44. #44 Matt Springer
    March 12, 2009

    I’ve rarely seen such densely packed misinformation, pifflePrattle. First, concealed carry has been widely permitted in the US for less than two decades. In those states where it is permitted, on average fewer than 2% of people actually get licenses. Second, most pistols in America are manufactured and designed in Europe – Glocks in Austria, Berettas in Italy, SigSauer in Switzerland and Germany, etc. Third, worldwide prevalence of guns is hardly affected by the US except debatably for the flow into Mexico, because in fact it’s western Europe that’s churning out the pistols and eastern Europe and Africa that’s churning out the AKs. Fourth, liberty actually is a precious thing and needs constant vigilance. You’ll miss it when it’s gone. Fifth, it’s “follow suit”.

  45. #45 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    gary: “But guns have one purpose alone: killing”

    Hunting

    Spiv, I’m ROFLMAO over here. Or do you do “shoot and release” hunting?

  46. #46 DoesNotMatter
    March 12, 2009

    Shoot and release hunting would be illegal in Germany due to animal cruelty laws. (Catch and release angling is).

    @Spiv: I’m a cold, cold asshole. Reinstate duels. Treat all other gun deaths not caused by stupidty (negligent discharge etc.)or lawful action (Cop, homedefense, citzien arrest gone wrong) else as murder punishable by death.

    And remove restrictions on body armour purchases/availability.

    Let Darwin do the rest.

  47. #47 DoesNotMatter
    March 12, 2009

    Only now really seeing this: “taunted and bullied”

    Called loser for having straight F’s and E’s. Not having friends because the few he had were constantly getting peppered by his airsoft guns…

    Orchastrized(sp?) maybe. But his social life was that way of his own making.

    Aside: Why does german media call a 17 year pregnant female a woman and an 18 year male pedo (and this turd as well) a boy ?

  48. #48 Xenia
    March 12, 2009

    I live in Germany and followed the news in this case. Gun ownership laws in Germany are strict. In fact, the guy’s father illegally kept the ammunition locked in the same cabinet with the guns. He will have to take part of the responsibility for the shooting, because he knew his son had mental issues and didn’t lock the ammunition separately.

  49. #49 Spiv
    March 12, 2009

    lol@greg: I do none of the above personally, but I do understand up in those northern states there are legitimate deer population control issues wherein hunting as a sport is a cheap way for the state to “take care of the situation.” Here, deer are dog-sized. The highways do more than hunters could.

    I won’t argue that hunting for food is realistic in the US.

    Again, trying to look at the whole thing from a totally utilitarian brow is missing the whole point of any freedom. Just what are the uses for a car? Transportation of person and materials. Nothing more. Please don’t take away my right to own 3, build my own, and make a toy out of everything that isn’t a daily driver. And a little bit on the daily driver too.

  50. #50 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Spiv: Actually, not really. Sports hunting is kinda sorta population control, but the idea is to keep the population of the deer high enough to make the hunting good, but not so high that endemic disease does not turn into epidemics, herds don’t starve in a bad winter, etc. The system tends to err on the side of too many deer.

    Also, there are quite a few people in this country who do indeed hunt for food. Many people who live in northern Minnesota get most of their meat (half or more, up to 100%) from systematic hunting in which they keep in the range of what the law allows but get every single animal possible. The law, kindly, allows people to have permits that are shot by others who are present. So, Bob and his brothers hank and joe, and Hank and Joe’s wives and three kids over 16 and Bob’s fiance and his fiance’s sister are ten people. They all have to be there in the hutning blinds, and they can get ten people worth of deer (whatever that comes out to) but only four or five of these folks need to be pulling the trigger (more or less). That set of families can get 300 pounds of dressed meat or more (possibly much more).

    In urban areas that border on wild areas, hunting and fishing supplement diets of people living in ghettoized inner city areas to a much greater extent than you might imagine.

    I don’t know what I think about catch and release being not allowed due to animal cruelty laws. An increasingly large number of anglers are a) no longer using lead b) not using barbed hooks c) not using trebles (clipping the third hook) and d) learning to drop a fish off the line before landing it, which works most of the time and e) not using the kind of baits that a fish is likely to swallow.

    I catch and release all the time and I’m pretty sure the fish think it’s fun. Like a scary ride at Disney land. But with fish.

  51. #51 Sevesteen
    March 12, 2009

    How does passing a gun safety course prepare you to be comfortable in using a gun in response to an attack of this type

    It doesn’t, and nothing would. At best it might be less uncomfortable than watching people die and not being able to do anything about it.

    The teachers do not want guns in the schools. I just checked with them.

    Most probably don’t, being idealistic. Unfortunately the question isn’t “will there be guns” but “will the bad guys have all the guns”.

    I think laxing the carry laws to allow more people to be packin’ in everyday situations increases the chance to turn a normal, angry situation into a lethal shootout

    Depends on what you mean by “laxing”, but we are up to 40 states who have objective criteria for licensing–A criminal history clean of felonies or recent violent crimes, and sometimes requiring training. There are another handful of states that issue unless there’s a specific reason not to, and even some of the “may issue” states have counties where you don’t have to be a rich, white campaign contributor to get a license. There’s plenty of history and crime statistics to show that license holders don’t go around shooting people when they get mad. I’m less likely to argue if I’m armed–I simply cannot afford to let a verbal situation get out of hand, and I can’t be the one that “started it”.

  52. #52 Benjamin Geiger
    March 12, 2009

    I’m surprised I’m the first person to bring up Gary Kleck’s work, such as Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America. Notably, he intended to write an anti-gun treatise, but his research made him realize that gun restrictions were more harmful than helpful.

    A police officer gave me this line, and it fits my point of view on gun ownership: “It’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.”

  53. #53 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Most probably don’t, being idealistic. Unfortunately the question isn’t “will there be guns” but “will the bad guys have all the guns”.

    This is where you are wrong at a most fundamental level. There are not bad guys walking around in the schools with guns. You are excluding the obvious and relevant choice: If we say no guns in school, which is what we in fact say, then there will be no guns in the schools 99.99 percent of the time, which is fact the truth.

    but we are up to 40 states who have objective criteria for licensing–A criminal history clean of felonies or recent violent crimes, and sometimes requiring training.

    Number of states with adequate training required: 0

  54. #54 Helter Skelter
    March 12, 2009

    @Symball Gun deaths in the US run around 30k per year. It’s a serious figure, but still a fairly low statistic all things considered.

    According to the Center for Disease Control only a tiny fraction of these are accidental (most are suicide or homicide).

    They have a nice little website that lets you break it up

    http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

  55. #55 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    2000-2005 inclusively, all deaths in the US related to terrorism: 2,927.

    2000-2005 inclusively, number of pages of legislation aimed at terrorism: Thousands

    2000-2005 inclusively, number of dollars spent on the terrorism problem: Five Zillion

    2000-2005 inclusively, number of deaths by violence using a firearm: 173,000

    2000-2005 inclusively, number of pages of legislation produced related to the firearms problem: maybe a hundred or so.

    2000-2005 inclusively, number of dollars spent on the firearms problem: Not much

  56. #56 Sevesteen
    March 12, 2009

    If we say no guns in school, which is what we in fact say, then there will be no guns in the schools 99.99 percent of the time, which is fact the truth.

    Maybe true in grade schools. I’d be surprised if there isn’t an illegal gun one day out of every 5 years in most high schools.

    Number of states with adequate training required: 0

    How much training is adequate? What is the goal of the training–Safety, or something else?

  57. #57 Matt Springer
    March 12, 2009

    “Number of states with adequate training required: 0″

    How do you figure? States with concealed carry keep publicly available statistics on license holders, and they are law-abiding to an almost absurd degree. Negative incidents of any description are nearly nonexistent. There are more than 10 times as many concealed carry permit holders in my state of Texas (about a third of a million) as there are police officers, and yet the yearly number of convictions of license holders for homicide is almost always zero. I’m not sure there has ever been a homicide conviction in Texas involving the concealed weapon itself.

  58. #58 Alex Deam
    March 12, 2009

    If we say no guns in school, which is what we in fact say, then there will be no guns in the schools 99.99 percent of the time, which is fact the truth.

    Maybe true in grade schools. I’d be surprised if there isn’t an illegal gun one day out of every 5 years in most high schools.

    Yes because 99.95% (do the math) of high schools not having guns is so much different to 99.99%, isn’t it?

  59. #59 Alex Deam
    March 12, 2009

    You are more likely to die from a lightning strike in the US than you are to be shot by a spree killer.

    Yeah but you can’t legislate against lightning. Besides: source?

  60. #60 Azkyroth
    March 12, 2009

    People can and do overcome their own severe anger-management problems, but I wouldn’t trust a bullied high schooler to be able to do it on his own.

    Gee, if I didn’t know better, I might think it would be worthwhile to re-evaluate the cavalier infinite tolerance for, and lionization of, bullies and bullying in our culture and our schools.

  61. #61 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Azkyroth: Seriously? I have seen so much anti-bully rhetoric in the schools my daughter has been in that I was starting to feel sorry for the bullies.

    Matt: You could be right, but I’m going on a pretty strong hunch here. Isn’t most training just a few days long?

  62. #62 Matt Springer
    March 12, 2009

    “Yeah but you can’t legislate against lightning. Besides: source?”

    I’m tempted to link “Let me Google that for you”, but here you go:

    NOAA: 62 lightning deaths (average) per year.

    Wikipedia spree killing stats (citing various sources): Varies by year, but generally between 10 and 20.

    And sure you could legislate against lightning. Ban being outside during the rain. It would make about as much sense, anyway.

  63. #63 Serena
    March 12, 2009

    As a teacher, I’d like you to know that I do not want guns in my school. Allowing teachers, principals, deans, etc to have guns in school would NOT make the school safer. Fewer guns = safer schools.

  64. #64 Stephanie Z
    March 12, 2009

    Greg, how much of that anti-bully rhetoric lays out in any way what bullying is? I think part of the problem is that it’s really hard to get a bully to self-identify as such.

  65. #65 Sevesteen
    March 12, 2009

    Yes because 99.95% (do the math) of high schools not having guns is so much different to 99.99%, isn’t it?

    My mistake was English, not math. I was trying to point out that 99.99 was a number so low as to be very unlikely.

    It appears that even I am wildly optimistic, according to the US Department of Justice:

    “Between 1994 and 1996, the percentage of 12th grade males reporting carrying a gun to school in the past 4 weeks increased from 4.8 percent to 6.3 percent or approximately 1 in 16.1 In addition, 12.7 percent of students ages 12 to 19 reported knowing a student who brought a gun to school.”

    http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/gun_violence/sect05-c.html

    Even assuming that they all brought their guns the same day, it works out to a lot worse than 99.anything% gun free.

  66. #66 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Stephanie, it is all about how to spot the bully and what do do about them, or just “being a bully is bad do don’t do that.”

    Bullies never self identify as bullies. If they knew what they looked like, they would die of shame.

  67. #67 threalMe
    March 12, 2009

    …test…srry…TOR browzr..germany…;-)
    Guns don’t kill ppl: PPl w/gunz kill ppl…

  68. #68 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Sevesteen: Over-reporting, probably exaggerated, but these data are over ten years old. Steps have been taken to reduce the number of guns in the schools.

    By the way, see this:

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=10881

  69. #69 threalMe
    March 12, 2009

    Greg: I think part of the problem is that bullies are already dying of shame–the proverbial “dying on the inside” and no one notices until too late. Not only was I a bullied kid,by BOTH females and males but also knew many bullies–indeed, became friends with them–out of fear.I “toughened up” as the old saw goes. Much later awakened to it being a problem in my life at large.

    As per female bullies–who use both violence and sexual situations to bully,they are the most difficult problem ( a whole new topic for sure) and the most unadressed factor of the bullying debate.

    The male bullies that I grew up with are all dead now, or at some point became incarcerated for acts of violence–either against themselves(drugs/alcohol abuse), or others (homicide, other brutality)

    So the problem that I see on bullying is two fold: we need to adress female bullies more vigorously as they are more often than not the eones in charge of children 2) encourage a wider debate about htis double standard og boys needing to shut up/toughen up. The biggest roadblock in the debate? So called modern feminism which views males as 1) property 2) males 3) second to the needs of women–no different than Catholics.

    Steph: bullies sledom identify themselves. Now shut the f@ck up with all the questions, or…*POW! if you get my meaning…

    And then, even without the guns, we still have the knife rampages in th schools and elsewhere:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/23/creche-killings-belgium

  70. #70 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    In my daughter’s grade school and middle school, the sex ratio of bullies has been about 50:50.

  71. #71 Greg Laden
    March 12, 2009

    Note to everyone on this thread who is not my facebook friend: You are missing quite the philosophical discussion on this topic…

  72. #72 Matt Springer
    March 13, 2009

    “You could be right, but I’m going on a pretty strong hunch here. Isn’t most training just a few days long? ”

    One full day. Honestly that’s probably longer than it needs to be, though I’m glad it’s thorough. The law is not difficult: you cannot draw your weapon under any circumstances except “when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary …to prevent the other’s imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.” That and a few other ancillary and common-sense rules (no drinking, no going into places which prohibit guns, you are legally required to back down from any argument, etc) are all you need. Of course the class spends hours pouring over the details of the statutes and going over possible scenarios and prior case law, but the fundamental thrust of the law is clear: either you’re about to die or you can’t even indicate you possess a weapon.

    The test assumes you already know how to shoot, and in fact prohibits the instructor from “helping” you. It’s an easy proficiency test, but defensive shootings essentially never happen past about 10-15 feet and the test assesses your proficiency at up to 45 feet.

  73. #73 Greg Laden
    March 13, 2009

    I’m not as worried about the law as much as I’m worried about the enculturation and limbic training . That takes more than one day. Even a full day.

  74. #74 Sevesteen
    March 13, 2009

    I really hope the numbers of kids taking guns to school is wildly overstated, and my gut feeling says those numbers are high, but they were the first I found, and from a government source. I think that even in a relatively small, low-crime town like mine, there’s an illicit gun in school at least a couple times a year, so 99.99% is also grossly wrong.

    There is not nearly enough unbiased study of gun issues. I’ve tried to dig into statistics, and while the pro-gun side does cherry pick the data they talk about a bit, it is nowhere near the level of downright deception shown by the anti-gun groups.

    I don’t think concealed carry makes a huge difference in crime. The studies that show an increase in crime have pretty specific claims, to the point where they appear to have adjusted the questions until the answers supported their conclusion. The studies with methods that appear most credible to me show a small decrease in violent crime associated with licensing, after controlling for related trends.

  75. #75 SteelRat
    March 13, 2009

    As an Australian I am very happy with my country’s gun control laws – the probability of gun crime in Australia is much lower than the USA just because it is so much harder to acquire a weapon (we rounded up a good number of our guns and destroyed them). People still do stupid things but they don’t do them with a weapon of mass destruction.

    Just making guns harder to buy in the US isn’t going to change anything though because there are just so many guns already in circulation. There is an arms race in your country that almost forces you to own a gun to protect yourself from your heavily armed neighbours (and your neighbours need guns to protect themselves from you!).

    Maybe if you traded all your guns in for Tasers and every man, woman and child was carrying 50,000V on their hips people would achieve the self defence they desire without the huge death rate*.

    * 9/11 was a tragedy that killed 3000 people but approximately 8000 US citizens are murdered with handguns EVERY YEAR? The first was used to justify the invasion of two different countries (as good a reason as any) but the second is ignored?

  76. #76 Azkyroth
    March 13, 2009

    Azkyroth: Seriously? I have seen so much anti-bully rhetoric in the schools my daughter has been in that I was starting to feel sorry for the bullies.

    I have no idea where your daughter is going to school, but when I was actually in school, physically defending oneself was treated equivalently to attacking someone without provocation, “I didn’t see it so I can’t do anything” might as well have been the only words in the English language the average supervisor understood, and “well, if you’d just stop getting good grades, being indifferent to TV and clothing fads, and talking like you’ve ever opened a book in your life, they’d leave you alone” was what the average administrator considered a reasonable solution. Based on that experience, while I realize that there are logical and moral problems with it, I have to admit I “like the sound of” making failure on the part of school personnel to intervene to prevent bullying a capital crime.

    As for lionization, DoesNotMatter’s uninformed speculations about the relationship between the unstable individual in question and his classmates are a perfect example.

  77. #77 DoesNotMatter
    March 13, 2009

    @Azkyroth

    Have you just accused me of gloryfiyng that piece of shit ?

    His social isolation was his own fault. There wasn’t a meeting where the youths in the area said “Den Tim, den hassen wir jetzt” (The Tim, now we hate him). He worked hard to be as despised as he was.

    As for the whole guns murder people debate: People murder people. Do some people murder because a gun enables them do to so ? YES. But most gun related murders would happen even in a world without guns since the sudden absence of guns wouldn’t change human nature.
    Gang members would murder each other. Perhaps a bit less innocent bystanders, yes.
    Deranged spouses would still kill their family.
    And suicide is not murder. It’s suicide. Yes, the two have the same root, even more obvious in german (Mord vs Selbstmord).

  78. #78 Rr
    March 13, 2009

    DoesNotMatter & Azkyroth, his social isolation may have been his fault, but where do we draw the line? Where does mental abuse end and it being their own fault start? Do both exist simultaneously? I don’t have much information about this unfortunate event, but it seems to me that he had some… problems with his head, as well as being treated in a very unfortunate manner by at least one of his parents. Bullying is never right, but it’s venting. He very likely wasn’t working hard to be hated, just that it was a side effect of not being able to care/comprehend about a lot of things.

    I apologise for the vague and confusing text, not entirely sure how to phrase my thoughts. I suppose I’m trying to say that you seem to ascribe a lot more intent to the guy than what I think he had. I doubt he wanted to be where he was, he just didn’t know how else to get out of there. This of course in no way excuses his actions, but I do wonder how we can prevent this sort of stuff from happening again from a human point of view, rather than gun law restrictions (since a lot of other people are more fit to discuss the latter).

    I was the opposite to this kid in school, I even had people fighting over getting to be my best friend, but does that make the abuse I suffered from a very young age my own fault anyway? I didn’t try to escape it, I thought I deserved it and that it was my fault. I didn’t magically get unstuck at 18, a lot of scarred people don’t magically stop being children when they become legally adults. Learned helplessness is a bitch, and once you’re stuck there you are unlikely to be able to get out of it by yourself.

    Mentally healthy individuals do not bully. I would have to argue that feeling pity is worthless, everyone has problems of their own, and what we do to help both the victims of the bullies, as well as the bullies, is more important than throwing blame, shame and pity. We no longer can help the people in this case, but hopefully even more people will now realize that warning signals are important to take seriously.

  79. #79 threalMe
    March 13, 2009

    “In my daughter’s grade school and middle school, the sex ratio of bullies has been about 50:50.”
    I am sure this ratio is about the same everywhere, and thank you for that acknowlegement.

    On the other hand, one cause of the ongoing social dysfunction surrounding znd infiltrating discussions of violence and bullying that I forgot to mention is that ::appparently:: there are schools like wherever Azkyroth went, where acts of female violence, intimidation, and other socially maladaptive behavior was interpreted as positive attention directed at Azkyroth, and not violence at all.

    Azkyroth is a big fan of female bullies.

  80. #80 Stephanie Z
    March 13, 2009

    threalMe, surely you can find someone better than Azkyroth to make a target for that rant, or maybe just skip it altogether. Nobody’s arguing.

    In fact, I’d suggest that male targets of bullies often have a tougher time, since they’re more likely to be told to toughen up and deal with it and because the range of “acceptable” behavior for them hasn’t broadened out at the same rate it has for females. They’re also likely to get stiffer penalties for fighting back when they don’t feel supported by peers or teachers/administration. There often just isn’t any way for them to win.

  81. #81 Azkyroth
    March 13, 2009

    @Azkyroth

    Have you just accused me of gloryfiyng that piece of shit ?

    His social isolation was his own fault. There wasn’t a meeting where the youths in the area said “Den Tim, den hassen wir jetzt” (The Tim, now we hate him). He worked hard to be as despised as he was.

    Compare the following statements:

    Only now really seeing this: “taunted and bullied”

    Called loser for having straight F’s and E’s. Not having friends because the few he had were constantly getting peppered by his airsoft guns…

    Orchastrized(sp?) maybe. But his social life was that way of his own making.

    “well, if you’d just stop getting good grades, being indifferent to TV and clothing fads, and talking like you’ve ever opened a book in your life, they’d leave you alone”

    (…)

    On the other hand, one cause of the ongoing social dysfunction surrounding znd infiltrating discussions of violence and bullying that I forgot to mention is that ::appparently:: there are schools like wherever Azkyroth went, where acts of female violence, intimidation, and other socially maladaptive behavior was interpreted as positive attention directed at Azkyroth, and not violence at all.

    Azkyroth is a big fan of female bullies.

    Where in anything I’ve posted in this thread did you find any reference to gender? Have you been taking your meds?

  82. #82 threalMe
    March 14, 2009

    Azkyroth: are you still on crack? Or rare you still desperately seeking some?And for a guy who talks about “meds” as much as you do, can I presume you have some daily experience? Please share, dear handi-capable one!

    Az, I didn’t find your zombie like and castrated version of masculine agreement with female bullies in this post per se –yet: I am basing my conclusion on EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION I have ever had with you–a cheerleader for old guard 90′s identity fascio-feminism. You, a cuckolded and desperate male in search of affirmation via fauxminist rubber stamping–and I do mean stamping in your case, with or ithout a rubber. You like that, from them–if I read your other comments correctly over the last few years.

    What a mindleess douche…

  83. #83 therealMe
    March 14, 2009

    Steph: you better knock it off… I don’t wanna hav-ta……

    But s/th you don’t know: going back to discussions from years ago, I have found that Azkyroth somehow tries to attach itself to my shooting star in a contrarian way–always making excuses for female bullies, and female pedophiles–so much so that I have concluded that it is a) a masochist b) a fauxminist psychophant c) a personality devoid of real world experience, and willing to commit itself to anything that s/th with a vagina tells it to do, or say out of sheer curiosity, or desperation for affirmation as \”male”.

    Sure, their are many other such useless members out there–PZ, EdB. Pal, etc, but it is Az that haz routinely sniffed at my e-farts in order to affirm itself–I is just noting that here.But for context, you can see it (Az) over at PZ’s dungeon and other places, struggling to make sense of my thral-ing world full of strippers whory horny waitresses, and wage gap discrepancies–and falling limp.

    But for you, Steph, just for questioning my “aw-THORIT-AY” ….
    POW!

  84. #84 threalMe
    March 14, 2009

    Steph: “I’d suggest that male targets of bullies often have a tougher time, since they’re more likely to be told to toughen up and deal with it and because the range of “acceptable” behavior for them hasn’t broadened out at the same rate it has for females. They’re also likely to get stiffer penalties”
    i am not sure if you are being anti feminiSS or not, but to say tha word “BROAD-ening” next to the phrase “STIFFER PENaltiees” I can only presume that you don’t know how HARD or how LONG us wiminz haz fighted to get rid of labels like “broad” or what a stiff journey it haz ben fer us to get away from paternostrifictationz…we feel at times, stiff-led butt remainz vociferous, and voicetatious….

  85. #85 Azkyroth
    March 14, 2009

    Ah, I see, you’re a sniveling weakling who thinks assertive women seeking equality are “bullying” you.

  86. #86 Turning Winds Page
    January 14, 2011

    It just goes to show how a simple bullying can trigger a troubled teenager into doing such crimes. Also parents who own guns should always keep in mind that it’s never too safe to have guns at home, especially when you have a troubled child in your care. This should serve as a lesson for everybody.