You have probably heard about the shooting in Pittsburgh. The details are still sketchy, but word on the street is that the shooter, who killed three cops, was upset about a law placing some restrictions on gun ownership. He was also upset about secret government activities that “they are not telling us about.”

Do what extent does Gun Nut = Paranoid Maniac who should not be trusted near firearms?

UPDATE:

Police chief Nate Harper says the motive for Saturday’s shooting isn’t clear. Friends say the gunman recently had been upset about losing his job and that he feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

Neighbors said the shooting began at about 7 a.m. and that two officers were shot almost immediately.

“When I looked down I saw two police officers laying in the street,” said Don Sand, who lives across the street and was awoken by the sound of gunfire.

A short time later, more officers, SWAT teams and other law enforcement arrived and a third officer was shot, Sand said.

“They couldn’t get the scene secure enough to get to them. They were just lying there bleeding,” Sand said. “By the time they secured the scene enough to get to them it was way too late.”

Gail Moschetti, who lives diagonally across the street from the Poplawski house, said she heard hundreds of shots as she and her husband took refuge in their basement. Tom Moffitt, 51, a city firefighter who lives two blocks away, said he came to the scene and heard “hundreds, just hundreds of shots.”

source

How many more out of control shooting events do we need before we simply place severe restrictions on gun ownership?

For a long time I was willing to take the rights of gun owners seriously. But most gun owners seem to want not even the most sensible and basic restrictions, and continue to argue that they should be left entirely unregulated, as events such as this one continue to happen, and possibly increase in frequency. Obviously, these NRA-symps cannot be trusted to make the kind of important decisions that need to be made.

Gun nuts: If you don’t start getting real, your worst fears may well be realized as we sane people come to take your guns away forever. Start making sense or get out of the way as the rest of us march forward towards a more civilized world.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    April 4, 2009

    Are you sayin’ that hands can, indeed, be cold and dead if necessary?

  2. #2 Sevesteen
    April 4, 2009

    Most gun nuts (myself included here) aren’t asking for totally unregulated guns. The problem is that the people who go around shooting other people aren’t likely to obey the rules on guns either, and the people who do obey gun laws will also obey murder laws almost all the time.

    At least one source says that the shooter was dishonorably discharged from the military, which if true would make him ineligible to posses guns–like the vast majority of murderers.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    April 4, 2009

    Did you see the news footage BTW? Somebody was firing a LOT of rounds (could have been the police).

  4. #4 D. C. Sessions
    April 5, 2009

    I get a lot of the “gun grapevine” stuff second-hand, and if you took even a little of it seriously you’d think that the BTF was already going house-to-house confiscating guns and ammo. Between the usual rumor-mill echo chamber effect and the NRA’s “get them juiced and generous” fund (and hair) raising tactics, I’m not really surprised that cases like this happen.

    And, yes, it’s damned irresponsible.

  5. #5 Hume's Ghost
    April 5, 2009

    http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2009/04/richard-poplawski-was-pittsburgh.html

    His self-described best friend promotes all kind of far right extremist hate material on his MySpace page (e.g. Turner Diaries, Protocols of Zion, etc.) and has been saying Poplawski thought he was going to have his guns taken away from him. Another friend says he feared “Zionist” control of the government.

  6. #6 Lassi Hippeläinen
    April 5, 2009

    Another friend says he feared “Zionist” control of the government.

    But Obama is a Muslim!

  7. #7 Spiv
    April 5, 2009

    And what law would you propose that would have prevented this person from owning firearms, but still allow sane, controlled collectors to own?

    Thus far it sounds like the guy was dishonorably discharged, and possibly a paranoid schizophrenic. Both already make gun ownership illegal. Perhaps you should be bitching about enforcing the laws that already exist, or perhaps actually taking care of our mentally ill (which to me is the most shameful situation in the United States.)

  8. #8 XD
    April 5, 2009

    At least one source says that the shooter was dishonorably discharged from the military, which if true would make him ineligible to posses guns–like the vast majority of murderers.

    Vast majority? Do you mean that some murderers are actually allowed firearms??
    8-O

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    April 5, 2009

    Perhaps you should be bitching about enforcing the laws that already exist, or perhaps actually taking care of our mentally ill (which to me is the most shameful situation in the United States.)

    I am totally bitching about that. That may well be all that is needed. Of course, most laws are redundant with prior laws. Laws get passed for other reasons than any need for them.

  10. #10 NewEnglandBob
    April 5, 2009

    Of course, taking care of the mentally ill means getting many right wing nuts off the streets. That won’t go over well with the fundies and the fascists.

  11. #11 Spiv
    April 5, 2009

    NewEnglandBob: It also means getting many of our homeless off the streets, and getting some 40% of people out of jail who likely would not have committed the crimes they had with proper treatment. I guess it’s just easier to lock them up and forget about them.

    It turns out the problem the right-wingers have with mental illness is that they don’t believe in it. To them everything is just the result of crappy parents who didn’t whip their children’s ass enough, so the kid grew up “weird” or “out of control.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had otherwise sane people try to explain to me that depression, autism, schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, OCD, or even tourette’s are just the result of crappy parenting.

    I guess it just doesn’t fit into their image of things gawd would do to people.

  12. #12 Crudely Wrott
    April 5, 2009

    It is not the lack of severe restrictions that result in these incidents.

    It is the simple fact that some people can’t cope; some people think that drama is their only recourse; that bloodshed is the only way to draw attention. (And yet most shooters finish by finishing themselves, fearful of any just retribution.)

    If more severe laws restricting gun ownership could reduce these types of embellished suicides, then so would more restrictive laws concerning knives, sticks and stones.

    Shall we? Who wants to tell me what tools I may keep in my kitchen, in my shop, in my garden shed? Who then will tell me that I must have a reason of compelling personal, community or national security before I can enroll in a class of self defense or go for a black belt.

    If I am a mason, will I not be able to pick up a brick without state supervision?

    Capable and responsible people, the vast majority that never makes the six o-clock news, demonstrate the utter futility of laws that restrict the ownership of everyday weapons. Including sticks and stones, knives and guns, there are more weapons than there are people. If lax enforcement of their ownership were critical due to endemic murder, then why is the human population increasing by leaps and bounds?

    Dogmatism, jingoism and the paranoia that they spring from are the real culprits. They should be the focus if reason would prevail.

    *how dare you call my hammer an evil weapon when I just built your house with it?*

  13. #13 Sevesteen
    April 5, 2009

    Vast majority? Do you mean that some murderers are actually allowed firearms??

    Somewhere around 90% of murders are committed by people who, prior to the murder, have lost their right to possess guns due to a conviction or involuntary mental health commitment.

  14. #14 Wayne Conrad
    April 5, 2009

    “Do what extent does Gun Nut = Paranoid Maniac who should not be trusted near firearms?”

    That depends upon how you define “gun nut.” It’s possible to define “gun nut” as a paranoid manic who should not be trusted near firearms, in which case your question is a tautology.

    For many of those who define themselves as “gun nuts,” however, the data shows that they can be trusted near firearms. For example, in states which have enacted conceal carry laws, people who have gone to the trouble to get conceal-carry permits are arrested or convicted for crimes at a lower rate than the general population, and, if I’m not mistaken, than even the police. So, if those who carry sidearms daily are “gun nuts,” then at least those gun nuts can be trusted. “Gun nuts” love to tout this as evidence that all people in the gun culture are law-abiding and peaceful, but it’s worth being aware of the bias built into it: People who get conceal-carry licenses must be fingerprinted and pass FBI and state screening, so you start out with people who are already law-abiding, the criminal element not likely to even try to obtain a license. And a sterling citizen, once having obtain the license, is not likely to change into a criminal.

    Even among those who don’t obtain state licensing, however, the gun culture doesn’t match the stereotype you see on the news or in movies. The news latches on to the skinny end of the curve, the whack-jobs, those who went off the rails, or those who seem likely to, because that sells. “Forty marksmen met for a match with family in tow, all of them with loaded firearms. Nothing bad happened. Everyone had a good time.” doesn’t sell. “Thousands of people carried sidearms for their own protection. None of them committed a crime.” doesn’t sell.

    What the public sees on TV are the bad nuts. They don’t know that the bad nuts don’t represent the gun culture at large. Rather, the bad nuts represent people who need mental health care. Overall, the difference between a “gun nut” and a “non gun nut” is that the “gun nut” owns and uses firearms. Other than that, there isn’t much of a difference.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    April 5, 2009

    “Most” is hardly a relevant term here, Wayne. Perhaps those of us that to not feel the need to have a firearm at hand at all times no longer car about “most.”

    No, I don’t think that “most” matters at all. Not even a little.

  16. #16 Roland
    April 5, 2009

    Somewhere around 90% of murders are committed by people who, prior to the murder, have lost their right to possess guns due to a conviction or involuntary mental health commitment.

    Assuming this is true, the only solution is to get rid of the guns.

  17. #17 JThompson
    April 5, 2009

    Most people don’t use household chemicals to blow up buildings. But most isn’t good enough anymore! Not after Oklahoma City! We should outlaw diesel fuel and fertilizer!
    Guns are the left’s version of the “helping terrorists” from the right.

    The answer to gun violence is neither right nor the left’s.
    Arming absolutely everyone is a good way to have shootouts because he “stepped on my foot” or “looked at me in a funny way”.
    Banning guns entirely won’t make a bit of difference. The guns used in most crimes are already illegal. It’s a joke to get ahold of an illegal firearm and would continue to be a joke even if all guns were banned. The only difference would be being the only one having a boomstick would make a criminal even MORE dangerous.

    Even if all that weren’t true, there’s still that pesky 2nd amendment. If we start throwing out amendments we don’t like the right wing gets to do it too. So while we throw out the second amendment, they can maybe toss the first or fourth. (It isn’t like they haven’t tried.)

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    April 5, 2009

    We should outlaw diesel fuel and fertilizer!

    Why did the gun nuts oppose tagons? Is there a rational explanation for that?

    Guns are the left’s version of the “helping terrorists” from the right.

    Pretty much. Is that a problem?

    The answer to gun violence is neither right nor the left’s.

    Essentially, that is correct, but ….. it is usually the beginning of an argument that asserts that it is. From the right or the left.

    The “its to late to ban guns becaues they can get them anyway” is not a valid argument and never was. Guns can be taken out of circulation and they do get old, lost, broken. The process may take a long time but it is worth it and it can be done. I’ve never accepted that argument, which is really nothing other than a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Even if all that weren’t true, there’s still that pesky 2nd amendment. If we start throwing out amendments we don’t like the right wing gets to do it too.

    I go back and forth on that. All the ammendments have been and need to be reinterpreted at one time or another.

  19. #19 Joe
    April 5, 2009

    Greg bin Laden: good luck to you sir, you clearly have no grip upon reality and your ideas will get many innocents killed for nothing. We will not become helpless in our cities (Charles Bronson made a film career on the concept), with cops who have no legal obligation in the courts, in US history, to protect our lives, but get to the binghamton scene in 2 minutes and then wait 5 hours to enter the building. To stereotype us with this Jew hating, emotionally retarded punk is insane, nevertheless THEY DID GO TO TAKE HIS GUNS. What the justification was is debatable, but given the nanny state city I’m assuming the worst.

    http://www.opednews.com/populum/diarypage.php?did=12781

    “Friend Says Pittsburgh Gunman Opposed “Zionist Control Over Our Government”"

    similar to obama’s position: his state dept. under anti-Semitic Hillary has really screwed the liberal Jews (& their Israel) who voted for her, and by default, him.

    “he wasn’t involved in any gangs, any militias..thought that it was being distorted by the, you know, zionist control of the government, and he didn’t believe in that. Uh Also, I don’t think that the way he went about solving it was the right way to do it though.”

  20. #20 Prince
    April 5, 2009

    Why should a single rare event that never happens force the vast majority of law abiding citizens to curtail their right? This guy was a sicko.

  21. #21 Deen
    April 5, 2009

    Why should a single rare event that never happens force the vast majority of law abiding citizens to curtail their right?

    How many single rare events does it take to become a problem then?

  22. #22 Walt
    April 5, 2009

    Obama the Muslim is not controlling a zionist state, you mo-rahn.

  23. #23 Wayne Conrad
    April 5, 2009

    “Most” is hardly a relevant term here, Wayne. Perhaps those of us that to not feel the need to have a firearm at hand at all times no longer car about “most.”

    No, I don’t think that “most” matters at all. Not even a little.

    Greg, Were you replying to someone else and got the names mixed up? I didn’t use the word “most.”

    I’m sorry to see the left vs. right thing started by some others. When the name-calling starts, any opportunity for actual discourse pretty much ends. Statements of fact: “Reliable studies show that people who vote X-ways are more likely to support Y” may be useful in these kinds of discussions. Statements that start out like: “You leftists” or “Those conservatives” are unlikely to yield fruit. Unless rotten tomatoes is what we’re after.

  24. #24 Jason Thibeault
    April 5, 2009

    Might I point out that gun laws are much more restrictive up here in Canuckistan, though guns *are* available and certainly aren’t banned outright, and while gang violence is “pretty bad” by Canadian standards in Toronto, you don’t hear of shooting rampages up here nearly as often as in the States. Certainly we aren’t in a “nanny state”, but at the same time one doesn’t have to own a gun to stay safe in this country. Oftentimes one doesn’t even have to lock their doors. (Though I lived in Toronto briefly, so I still do, out of habit.)

    Greg bin Laden

    I’m sorry. I tuned you out after this, Joe. Can you try again, without triggering my “obvious troll is obvious” defense mechanisms?

  25. #25 Steve Ulven
    April 5, 2009

    Hmmm… Looks like someone just got done watching Alex Jones’ “The Obama Deception.”

  26. #26 Sevesteen
    April 5, 2009

    Why did the gun nuts oppose tagons? Is there a rational explanation for that?

    What’s a tagon?

    The “its to late to ban guns becaues they can get them anyway” is not a valid argument and never was. Guns can be taken out of circulation and they do get old, lost, broken. The process may take a long time but it is worth it and it can be done. I’ve never accepted that argument, which is really nothing other than a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Banning guns will quickly reduce the guns that aren’t a problem–law abiding gun owners will by definition turn ours in, but we aren’t the ones who shoot people.

    Criminals won’t turn theirs in. Those lost to the police will get replaced, likely by the same people who smuggle drugs in. Halfway decent guns last tens of thousands of rounds, so wearing out isn’t going to be a problem.

    I go back and forth on that. All the ammendments have been and need to be reinterpreted at one time or another.

    By legal means, not by whim–That’s the whole point of the constitution.

  27. #27 Greg Laden
    April 5, 2009

    Do you honestly believe that the gun factories produce firearms that they place into the hands of criminals? Fine. Close the factories down then.

    I’m pretty sure that is wrong, though. I’m pretty sure that the criminals do not manufacture the guns themselves, and that most guns spend part of their lives in legal hands.

  28. #28 george.w
    April 5, 2009

    Would ‘gun nuts’ – the law-abiding kind, not the tinfoil hat kind, have any objection to every gun being registered, tracked, routinely inspected to make sure it’s in the possession of the right person? Why?

    As for gun laws having no real effect, the person who breaks into your house today is far less likely to be packing than in the old days before simply carrying a gun in the commission of a crime added something like 10 automatic years onto the sentence.

  29. #29 Sevesteen
    April 6, 2009

    A large fraction of guns in the US (I think it is most, but I’m not 100% sure) are imported. How are you going to shut them down? (Especially if you close ours first…) We can stop legal imports, but we haven’t managed to control illegal drugs (not that we should try) what makes you think we’d do better with guns?

  30. #30 Azkyroth
    April 6, 2009

    with cops who have no legal obligation in the courts, in US history, to protect our lives,

    I see this idea thrown around a lot, mainly by right-wing gun-fetishist types. Does anyone have a reliable reference for this claim, and, assuming it’s not a complete fabrication, does it actually mean anything other than “you can’t sue the police if they don’t come through to your satisfaction”?

  31. #31 Adam
    April 6, 2009

    But there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. It is monstrous if the state fails to protect its residents against such predators but it does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or, we suppose, any other provision of the Constitution. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order. Discrimination in providing protection against private violence could of course violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But that is not alleged here. All that is alleged is a failure to protect Miss Bowers and others like her from a dangerous madman, and as the State of Illinois has no federal constitutional duty to provide such protection its failure to do so is not actionable under section 1983.
    – Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982)

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    April 6, 2009

    Regarding the issue of hanging on to our guns so we are ready to overthrow the government when the government gets too annoying: I think there are a lot of problems with that argument, and many of the key arguments are addressed here: Tin Revolutionaries.

  33. #33 Azkyroth
    April 6, 2009

    its failure to do so is not actionable

    In other words, despite the efforts of Gun Fetishists and/or Bigells to imply that the government’s official policy and accepted views are that the cops only have to protect you if they feel like it, my interpretation was correct.

    (Though this is kind of silly given that among the express purposes of the constitution’s existence were to “establish justice” and “ensure domestic tranquility.”

  34. #34 Manifest Destiny
    March 25, 2010

    These guys assume you are out to get them, so if you go out to get them theyll bite back. If you take a swat team to the door of gun owners in America to take their guns away youll likely find many more “maniacs” that you are creating.