Gun control anyone?

I dare you to tell me that this is not an argument for stricter control over access to firearms:

The identities of the two ninth-grade students found dead in a Lakeland park were released Wednesday, and authorities said they were both shot in what appears to be a case involving suicide.

Deputies found the two Tuesday evening “on the ground with apparent gunshot wounds,” the sheriff said in a news release. Deputies recovered “a long-barreled weapon” near one of the bodies, he said.

strib

Here‘s the facebook page related to their death.

Comments

  1. #1 Renolds
    October 13, 2010

    I live in Britain, teenagers still commit suicide despite tight gun control. This isnt a good argument for it.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    October 13, 2010

    Renolds, and how is the fact that teenagers are very prone to suicide and can often pull it off an argument for lose restrictions on guns?

  3. #3 Rob
    October 13, 2010

    At least the person who owns the gun should be charged with homicide.

  4. #4 davelong
    October 13, 2010

    I live in Britain. This is a good argument for gun control because firearms are actually designed to kill people (or other living things) quickly and efficiently. Knives, pills, bridges or high buildings are all popular ways to kill yourself, but they are less efficient and therefore (arguably) harder to steel yourself to use. After all, while many teens say they want to die, how many say they want to die slowly and painfully, or live out a long life as a quadriplegic?

  5. #5 Kirk
    October 13, 2010

    I don’t see this as an argument for either looser restrictions or tighter restrictions. It appears to me to merely be a news story about a couple of kids who used a gun as a tool to aide their suicides.

  6. #6 Renolds
    October 13, 2010

    Its not an argument for loose gun control. I’m just saying it would have happened with or without it.
    People can commit suicide in hundreds of different ways.

  7. #7 davelong
    October 13, 2010

    A US statistic, admittedly dating back to 2001:

    Suicide by firearms was the most common method for both men and women, accounting for 55% of all suicides.

    http://www.familyfirstaid.org/suicide.html

  8. #8 ahamblin
    October 13, 2010

    It is a news story that could be used as evidence for such an argument, but it is not an argument.

  9. #9 Rose Colored Glasses
    October 13, 2010

    For $10 at a discount drug store anyone can buy 1,000 aspirin. That’s enough to kill one kid and all his friends. Is this an argument for stricter aspirin control?

    Anybody can buy muriatic acid by the gallon, and there are lots of sources for iron sulfide, which combine to make a very quick and deadly suicide, and may kill first responders as well.

    I’d listen to anyone about gun control after we’ve tackled the problem of disarming the police.

  10. #10 Stephanie Z
    October 13, 2010

    As I documented here, attempted suicide by gun is about three times as likely to succeed as attempted suicide by the next most effective method. The fact that it was a gun makes a difference.

    Also, let’s not do that stupidly dishonest thing where we pretend that guns are just like something else that we don’t regulate very strictly (usually cars; apparently aspirin in this case). First off, we do regulate most of those things. Secondly, and most important, those other things serve a purpose aside from putting holes in things. Bloody holes in this case.

    Those kids were attending my junior high. I happen to know from experience that it’s survivable, even under ugly circumstances, if something doesn’t come along to make not surviving terribly convenient.

  11. #11 TheBrummell
    October 13, 2010

    If the goal is to reduce the teen-suicide rate, then restricted access to the most effective (i.e. successful on first attempt) methods seems like a quick way to make a difference, at least in the short term. Taller barriers and perhaps some nets for tall bridges, for example.

    However, is it any less politically charged (in the UK, the USA, or anywhere else) to look to demand-side factors (rather than supply-side) and spend money and effort on reducing those things that make teenagers want to end their lives?

    Honest question, I’m not trying to derail this conversation. Do proposals like better access to well-trained counsellors (e.g. through specific increases in school budgets) face big challenges?

  12. #12 Stephanie Z
    October 13, 2010

    TheBrummell, the biggest challenge that most of those things face right now is that U.S. schools are funded by property taxes. As the number of people paying those goes down, and it has, school “basics” are in jeopardy.

  13. #13 =^skeptic cat^=
    October 13, 2010

    but how are we supposed to overthrow the illuminati space-lizards if we’re not allowed to stockpile deer-rifles in our outhouses next to the moonshine still?

  14. #14 Methodissed
    October 13, 2010

    Though I favor gun control (to a point), I don’t think this case is a good argument unless you are advocating a prohibition on all firearms. The article said it was a long barreled weapon which means a rifle or shotgun. I strongly identify as a liberal and I own a shotgun for home protection. That’s quite reasonable and clearly a constitutional right.

    In the U.S. our problem is loose restrictions on handguns, assault rifles, and our dangerous conceal and carry laws.

    This story sounds more like a case of shitty parenting, i.e., how did these kids get their hands on the gun?

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    October 13, 2010

    Methodissed, do you leave your shotgun or rifle with ammo available where teenagers can get to it? As has been suggested, the owner of the gun is responsible for these deaths, plain and simple. If you left your car running and unlocked and some kids grabbed it, drove off, and got in a fatal accident you would be held responsible in this state. However, owing to the insane power of the gun lobby, it is unlikely that letting some teenagers walk of with your rifle and kill themselves will be considered even a minor problem. But it should be.

    I do agree, though, that handguns are the main problem and ownership of them simply should not be allowed, ever, by anyone.

  16. #16 Methodissed
    October 13, 2010

    Great question. I live alone. If I had kids in my house, I’d take precautions for their safety.

    I agree with your views on prohibiting handgun ownership, especially in our over-populated world. There is simply too much risk to innocent bystanders. Conversely, a shotgun in my home is reasonably safe – unlike stray bullets, shot is not a significant threat to my neighbors.

  17. #17 SimonG
    October 13, 2010

    Suicide is frequently impulsive. If there’s no ready means at hand people will often give up the idea for a while, which opens up the possibility of them getting help. Guns, unlike many of the other methods mentioned allow for that spontaneity.

    Sure; if someone is sufficiently motivated they’ll find a way but at least if we don’t make it easy for them the odds of them making it through their depression improve.

    It might be that permitting gun ownership is still a net good. But those who defend it should be honest enough to recognise and accept the costs.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    October 13, 2010

    I’m just betting that the gun lobby keeps the details of where the “long gun” came from out of the news.

  19. #19 Jim Thomerson
    October 13, 2010

    I had a 22 and went out in the pasture with it without supervision long before I was in the 9th grade. When I was in high school there were a fair number of long guns in student’s pickup trucks in the parking lot. Only gun accident I remember was my cousin shooting himself in the foot one time. It is a culture thing. I grew up around guns, as did my friends, and it wasn’t an issue.

  20. #20 itzac
    October 13, 2010

    Short of banning guns altogether or confiscating them from the parents of teenagers, gun control doesn’t solve this problem. Teenagers are impulsive, but probably patient enough to gain access to their parent’s guns and ammo, regardless of how well they are secured. I’m with Methodissed on this one.

  21. #21 Methodissed
    October 13, 2010

    >>Suicide is frequently impulsive. If there’s no ready means at hand people will often give up the idea for a while… < <

    That’s a good point. I worked professionally as a paramedic for many years and saw many botched suicides, especially with overdoses and razor blades. The only botched attempt with a gun happened because he decided to shoot himself in the feet and “work his way up” (with 22 caliber bird shot).

    Not surprisingly, after a blast to each foot he changed his mind. :-)

  22. #22 Neil
    October 13, 2010

    Those who say that this isn’t an argument for gun control should look at the evidence. Australia introduced much tighter restrictions on guns after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. A recent review of the effects showed that gun suicides dropped 74% – by about 200 lives a year – and suicides in other categories failed to rise. Apparently many suicides are impulsive: given the means, people go ahead, but in their absence they think better.
    If you want to check the Australian data, it is in the American Law and Economics Review.

  23. #23 Stephanie Z
    October 13, 2010

    Teenagers are impulsive, but probably patient enough to gain access to their parent’s guns and ammo, regardless of how well they are secured.

    Source? There’s actually a fair amount of literature on what makes suicide more or less likely. Want to look at it instead of guessing?

  24. #24 sailor
    October 13, 2010

    “For $10 at a discount drug store anyone can buy 1,000 aspirin. That’s enough to kill one kid and all his friends. Is this an argument for stricter aspirin control?”
    A lot of people are resuscitated after taking aspirins. Sure aspirins kill if you digest them and if they stay down there long enough and if no one finds you. But often some of the above does not apply. I know several people who have been rescued from asprin overdoes – gun shots wounds – No.

  25. #25 Zane
    October 13, 2010

    I’m a cheerful antipodean gun nut (mainly black powder long arms and cannon and so forth), but I also lost a close friend to a shotgun suicide back while I was in school. So yeah, I like guns, but I’ve personally felt the results of gun suicide, so the while no guns is theoretically best, some of us otherwise rational people do like them and have passably rational reasons for using them, the compromise has to be graduated gun licencing, psych test as part of the licencing procedure, harder to get licences for more concealable and higher rate of fire weapons, and mandatory weapons lockups with weapons and bolts and ammo in separate lockups. Nobody ever gets a licence to carry, and throw the book at anyone storing their weapons inappropriately. (In my country, anyone who lists ‘home defence’ as a reason for wanting a firearms licence tends to fail the ‘psych/fit and proper person’ definition of the application…)

  26. #26 Methodissed
    October 13, 2010

    >>In my country, anyone who lists ‘home defence’ as a reason for wanting a firearms licence tends to fail the ‘psych/fit and proper person’ definition of the application…<<

    I’m not sure what to make of that comment. In the U.S. you don’t need a license to own a shotgun, so I may be missing your point. As noted above, I keep one exclusively for home defense. Does that make me a psycho?

    I tend to think of it in economic terms. Robberies and assaults happen. Granted, the probability is low, but the potential costs are extraordinary, i.e., permanent disability/loss of life.

    People make monthly life insurance payments for the low probability that they’ll die prematurely. I prefer to have a gun around to slightly improve my odds. Like insurance, it’s a small investment with the potential of a huge payoff – in this case to me rather than my beneficiaries.

  27. #27 mikev6
    October 13, 2010

    A quick scan shows a number of studies on the correlation between gun ownership and suicide.

    From this study, having a gun in the house increases the chances of suicide by 2 to 10 times but locking up the gun helps. Far more people try pills or cutting, but the success rate is much lower.

    And it would appear that the “they would just find another way” doesn’t hold either – the per capita suicide rate goes up for states with higher rates of gun ownership.

    I guess my question is: if this type of data isn’t sufficient for supporting tighter gun controls, what would be sufficient data?

  28. #28 gwen
    October 13, 2010

    Studies have also shown that teens who attempt suicide and are unsuccessful, rarely attempt a second time. With a gun, there is rarely a second chance.

  29. #29 jaf
    October 13, 2010

    @mikev6: just some conservative rhetoric about rights and freedoms (while they take away some of your other rights, such as access to real healthcare).

  30. #30 mikev6
    October 14, 2010

    I prefer to have a gun around to slightly improve my odds.

    The same authors of the suicide study I referenced earlier also did one on homicide.

    Having a gun in your home increases your chance of becoming a homicide victim.

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    Jim [19]: It wasn’t an issue when I was a kid eitehr. I regularly played with my great granddady’s rifle, which was a single shot Springfield 1861, and my father’s shotgun was off limits but sitting right there in the corner of the closet. There was a low caliber pistol laying around as well.

    Also, when my family went on a trip, when I was little, I was stuffed in the back of the station wagon with the luggage. Our cars had no seat belts anyway, so getting in a regular seat may have been more dangerous. And so on.

    The apartment building next door burned old engine oil now and then for heat and the black soot covered our laundry. The boats down on the river dumped their garbage overboard, like we dumped our fish cleanings in the lake, and the trash collected from people’s houses was put on a barge and dumped in the Hudson River trench 100 miles south of NYC. And so on.

    But eventually, car crashes and gun shots got classified as health risks, the EPA was invented, and the last vestiges of the middle ages waned and we got civilization. I’m not quite sure why everyone is not on board with that.

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    Itzac [20]: I don’t understand, or accept, the argument that 99.99 percent ‘control’ on guns = 0% control, but 100% would do something. (or replace 99.99 with 50% if you like, same issue).

    It doesn’t at all follow that your training in the subject would implore you to be a supporter of EP.

    That’s just wrong. Things can be locked up and kept out of reach. If you are really correct, then the guns need to be locked up at the police station or gun club.

    The issue here is indeed about patience. You are not giving merit to the conflict between impulse and patience.

    Have you ever talked anyone out of killing themselves? I’ve done so many times. What do you say to make that work? A lot. Then some more. Then some more. Hardly matters what you say as long as time goes by. That is what works. Locking up the guns is the same.

    Sorry, but saying that leaving a loaded gun on the kitchen table is the same as having the unloaded gun witha gun lock in a locked case with the ammo locked somewhere else, in a home with a depressed teenager, is blindingly stupid. Perhaps you are not saying that, but I’m pretty sure this does map on to your comment without damaging the meaning of your comment.

  33. #33 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    Zane [25]: Cannons? Cool!

    In my country, anyone who lists ‘home defence’ as a reason for wanting a firearms licence tends to fail the ‘psych/fit and proper person’ definition of the application…

    … unless the weapon is a cannon of course, because that would work!

  34. #34 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    I’m not sure what to make of that comment. In the U.S. you don’t need a license to own a shotgun, so I may be missing your point. As noted above, I keep one exclusively for home defense. Does that make me a psycho?

    Methodissed: Exactly the point . Americans are generally phscho about this whole “they’re going to come into our homes and [fill in the blank]” thing, compared to people in other countries.

    I assure you , there are people living in places where they really do come into your home and take all your stuff quite often. Many of my colleagues and friends in South Africa have been home invaded, and they all have strategies to deal with it. Guns are NEVER part of that strategy for the people I know. Too dangerous and ineffective.

    If the main reason you have a gun in your house is to protect you from people who may invade your home, you’re probably doing it wrong.

  35. #35 itzac
    October 14, 2010

    I mostly agree with you, Greg. I also found Neil’s post quite convincing.

    I was thinking that in a home with a gun culture, teenagers are probably quite familiar with fire arms, and will likely know everything they need to know to gain access to the weapons. Combinations locks probably help a lot, but if you don’t use them often enough and you need to have them written down, your kid will probably know where you keep them. If you use them often enough that they’re memorized, either those are opportunities for the kid to sneak a peak, or he knows them because you’ve told him.

    I certainly was not arguing for perfection. I do believe that gun control would help a great deal in cutting down violent crime in the U.S. I just wasn’t convinced there was much you could do to prevent this sort of situation.

  36. #36 MadScientist
    October 14, 2010

    I’m always in favor of very strict gun control and also very strict regulation of ownership although I’m against the prohibition of handguns. Having said that, many of the handgun deaths each year are suicides. I think the challenge is discovering who is suicidal and trying to help them. Not all can necessarily be helped, for example see Virginia Woolf. But perhaps more can be helped, especially the victims of bullies since they are very likely not suffering a mental illness such as the gamut of clinical depression so the success rate may be high.

  37. #37 Brian G.
    October 14, 2010

    What about the obvious societal connection between bullies and the gun culture?

  38. #38 Lynn
    October 14, 2010

    Their names are Jacob Campbell and Lisa Grijalva, 14 years old and 15 years old. They were in the ninth grade. They had texted their good-byes to many friends soon before their deaths.

  39. #39 Birger Johansson
    October 14, 2010

    To prevent kids (and thieves) getting access to (useful) handguns, didn’t Smith & Wesson work on a system with electric fingerprint identification for handguns? And didn’t NRA get bats*¤t crazy about it, threatening with a boycott of Smith & Wesson?

  40. #40 IanW
    October 14, 2010

    Guns don’t kill people – bullets do. Let people have all the guns they want; just don’t allow ‘em any bullets!

  41. #41 Julie Stahlhut
    October 14, 2010

    Ugh. When I was in my teens, my best friend’s cousin committed suicide with a handgun. From the description of how it happened, it was both impulsive and planned — impulsive in that this person committed suicide while angry, but planned in the sense that this was a person with a long history of depression who chose to keep a loaded handgun at home.

    Suicide is very rarely mentioned in discussions of gun control. While it’s neither possible nor desirable to protect everyone from himself, I wish people would think about this long and hard when making the decision to keep firearms in their homes.

  42. #42 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    Julie, actually, it is a social norm these days to protect children from themselves, and then when someone is no longer a child, sometimes then as well. Prisons, housing adults, have special rooms and procedures to deal with those they think may be mentally ill and thus dangerous to themselves or others, for instance. So, even though a lot of people may prefer a system where whatever happens to you out of your own stupidity is your own fault, that is not in fact how our species tends to operate, or our society.

    Birger: Thus demonstrating how the gun crazies act crazily.

  43. #43 Mu
    October 14, 2010

    In most states the legal age for a person to have unsupervised access to guns is 18. So the whole thing was already covered by existing laws. Someone was already obligated to protect the kids.
    You sound like Mayors Bloomberg and Daley who need to make guns illegal everywhere since for some reason their New Yorkers and Chicagoans keep shooting each other despite the ban on owning guns. Which they cannot enforce without dropping all pretense of protecting the 4th amendment.

  44. #44 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    It is very common for the nature of the weapon itself, its correct identification as well as its origin and chain of possession from source to the scene of the event, to never be reported. Remember this?

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/11/quentin_patrick_the_newest_pos.php

    I think we still do not know if that was an “auto” or not (nor did we agree on what an auto is).

    Mu, I sound like a person who is fed up with children killing themselves and each other because boys must have their toys.

  45. #45 mad the swine
    October 14, 2010

    I’m not sure what to make of that comment. In the U.S. you don’t need a license to own a shotgun, so I may be missing your point. As noted above, I keep one exclusively for home defense. Does that make me a psycho?

    Yes.

    If you have fantasies about holding off a gang of violent, heavily armed criminals with your shotgun, you are a psycho.

    If you have fantasies about shooting a single thief or rapist who happens to break into your house, you are a psycho.

    If you believe that your own life and property are so important that you’re willing to end another human life to preserve them…. you are a psycho. The fact that much of humanity shares in that violent psychosis does not make it sane or normal.

    I assure you , there are people living in places where they really do come into your home and take all your stuff quite often. Many of my colleagues and friends in South Africa have been home invaded, and they all have strategies to deal with it. Guns are NEVER part of that strategy for the people I know. Too dangerous and ineffective.

    Greg, can you share some of those strategies, for the benefit of the irredeemably violent in this thread? If we’re talking about Africa, where murder, mutilation, and rape are used to terrify civilian populations while UN peacekeepers do nothing, ordinary people must have many excellent strategies to protect themselves without the use of lethal force.

  46. #46 Erin R
    October 14, 2010

    This might be too personal, and might not be applicable to everyone, but I feel it supports the argument.

    Throughout most of high school and college, I was depressed. During that time, I tried to kill myself twice and contemplated it heavily other times. The first time was pills, but that was unsuccessful- my gag reflex stopped that form happening before I could take too many. The second time I tried to hang myself, and my mother found me making the noose.

    Every time I was on a rooftop, I contemplated jumping. But then, there was always someone with me (It wouldn’t be fair for them to watch it). On occasions when there was someone with me, I was afraid that the attempt wouldn’t be successful and I would somehow live as a paraplegic, or paralyzed, or comatose… which terrified me more than living as I did at the time. I thought of throwing myself in front of trains, but then the driver would feel guilty. I almost drove off a bridge, but my survival instinct kicked in. I thought of using pills again, but I was worried that if it wasn’t successful, it would cause brain damage.

    The point is: if I had a gun, I wouldn’t be here today. I would have used it. I didn’t have a gun, I’m alive, and I’m glad I am. I’ve talked to several others who feel the same way.

  47. #47 Glennis
    October 14, 2010

    By the comments expressed on this site, there must be many people who are unaware of the United States Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights. They also seemed to be unaware of the logical reasons (at least in the U.S. culture) that make it well worth the suicide risks to have concealed carry. I truly feel sorry for people who can’t think any better than is displayed by the majority of postings on this website. Many of you need to grow up.

    No amount of laws will keep criminals from having guns. Police can’t protect everyone every minute of every day, people need to take some responsibility for themselves. Look at the provable facts that always accompany enactment of concealed carry laws verses states in the U.S. without them. My family (and yours) are safer overall because of recent widespread recognition of these facts. Australian statistics are an outstanding confirmation of this.

  48. #48 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    Erin R: WIN, thanks for posting that.

    Glennis: FAIL: But thanks for posting it anyway.

  49. #49 Mu
    October 14, 2010

    Greg, how about being fed up because boys can’t lock up their toys (a point I absolutely agree with)?

  50. #50 safer anonymous!
    October 14, 2010

    “If you believe that your own life and property are so important that you’re willing to end another human life to preserve them…. you are a psycho.”

    Wow. Does this sentiment apply only to a person willing to defend herself with an equalizing weapon, or would it apply to one who managed to successfully fight a rapist or home invader and fatally injure him with her bare hands? Count me as a psycho then, because I do think that my life, and the lives of family members who depend on me, are more valuable than the life of a violent predator, and I’d fight him just as I’d fight for my life against an attacking lion. That’s human nature, not a defect. Any of our ancestors who responded to attack by a dangerous predator by falling to their knees and begging for mercy were weeded out of the gene pool.

  51. #51 Stephanie Z
    October 14, 2010

    Glennis, source? I found a fairly complicated picture when I looked at the specifics for concealed carry (which, I just discovered, I never did put source links in for, although they’re all public; time to fix that).

  52. #52 My Brother Died by the Bullet
    October 14, 2010

    By the comments expressed on this site, there must be many people who are unaware of the United States Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights.

    Perhaps they are just unaware of your stupid-ass interpretation of it.

  53. #53 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    Mu, that would be reasonable. Reason, however, seems to have little to do with this discussion!

  54. #54 itzac
    October 14, 2010

    By the comments expressed on this site, there must be many people who are unaware of the United States Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights.

    Or perhaps there are many people who don’t hold the constitution (a human work) as sacred and believe that, as a document that provides a method for amending itself, it could do with some amending.

  55. #55 The NRA
    October 14, 2010

    Most of what you hear about guns on TV and radio, and most of what you read about guns in prominent magazines and newspapers, is distorted to the point of lying, by writers who have a prejudice against private ownership of guns by the American public.

    Most journalists today write as if the NRA–usually lumped in with the Tobacco Institute–represents only the commercial interests of “merchants of death” who don’t care how many lives are lost–particularly the lives of our young people–just so long as they get to keep selling their product.

  56. #56 rob
    October 14, 2010

    i heard about this on the local news. i immediately thought it was a double suicide. made me a little sad to read here that i was right.

    reading the pro-gun comments made me think of this:

    you can have my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead teenager’s hands.

  57. #57 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    “it could do with some amending.”

    Especially considering that it is hundreds of years old and the technology for any given modern firearm is decades old.

  58. #58 KristinMH
    October 14, 2010

    @safer anonymous, where do you live? Do rapists and murderers frequently break into your home and attack you?

    I’m not being facetious, I seriously want to know. Crime rates have never been lower in North America, so if you live in the US or Canada your fear seems overblown, but if you live in Zimbabwe or somewhere currently undergoing a zombie apocalypse I can see how you might feel you need a gun.

    If, as I suspect, you’re American, you’re in much greater danger of being raped or murdered by a family member or acquaintance than by a random marauder. Possibly with the help of that gun you keep in the house, the one that makes you feel so safe. Or you or one of your loved ones, in a temporary fit of depression, bad luck, or pain will take their own life with it. Or you’ll accidentally kill yourself while cleaning the gun, or one of your kids will play with it and accidentally kill someone.

    All of these scenarios are much more likely than you fending off raping, murdering zombie hordes. So what’s the gun for again?

    Oh right, it makes you feel safe. Never mind it puts you (and others) in greater danger.

  59. #59 P. Locans
    October 14, 2010
  60. #60 buffy
    October 14, 2010

    Just as a point of information before this discussion goes too far: Guns to NOT work on Zombies. Let’s get our facts straight, or there may be unintended consequences!

  61. #61 Stephanie Z
    October 14, 2010

    P. Locans, you do know that, for the site you linked to, the primary researcher is listed as:

    James D. Agresti, the president and primary researcher, holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and has worked as a designer of jet aircraft engines, a technical sales professional, and chief engineer of a firm that customizes helicopters. He is also the author of Rational Conclusions, a highly researched book evidencing factual support for the Bible across numerous academic disciplines.

    Emphasis mine.

  62. #62 safer anonymous!
    October 14, 2010

    KristenMH – Your aggressively inaccurate armchair psychologizing is precisely the sort of thing that makes me unwilling to tell Internet strangers where I live. Am I likely to be attacked in my city? Not as much as some other people, but that’s irrelevant to the point that IF I were attacked, thinking that my life was worth fighting for would not make me evil or deranged (aka “psycho”). That’s also completely separate from the question of what tools, if any, I might use to fight for my life.

    I do, as you suspect, think that we should preserve the right to keep weapons for self-defense. Maybe you live in a place where the police can always arrive quickly and are always on your side. That’s not true for all Americans now, and there are reasons to fear that it will be even less true in future. Also, rural Americans use guns not only to protect their relatively isolated homes, but to put valuable meat on the table and occasionally to defend against nonhuman threats or put down a suffering animal. If you were ever to encounter a rabid wild animal or your neighbor’s pack of livestock-killing dogs miles away from any armed government agents who might help you, you’d want to have a handgun too.

    When anti-gun activists speak of these tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners as if they are untermenschen because they aren’t quick enough to adopt a dogmatic gun-phobia that imposes few costs on people who live in a nice suburb and get their meat from a grocery store, it doesn’t give the flyover folks confidence that they can trust you to regulate their lives with their best interests at heart.

  63. #63 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    Not as much as some other people, but that’s irrelevant to the point that IF I were attacked, thinking that my life was worth fighting for would not make me evil or deranged (aka “psycho”). That’s also completely separate from the question of what tools, if any, I might use to fight for my life.

    That’s just simply not true. There are lots of examples of psycho people surrounding themselves with the trappings of their paranoia.

    That’s not true for all Americans now, and there are reasons to fear that it will be even less true in future.

    What, because ‘they’ elected Obama?

    If you were ever to encounter a rabid wild animal or your neighbor’s pack of livestock-killing dogs miles away from any armed government agents who might help you, you’d want to have a handgun too.

    As someone who has actually been face to face with wild rabid animals, which you have not, I can say that a gun would have been nice but was not totally necessary. You exaggerate the need.

    Anyway, no one is trying to take the guns away from hunters. I don’t want your birding gun or your deer rifle. I just want you to lock the fucking things up.

    I do want your handgun, though.

  64. #64 Stephanie Z
    October 14, 2010

    safer anonymous!, you’ve got to be kidding! If I’m going to face an unpredicable animal or a bunch of them at once, I want a shotgun. A handgun will help very little in either situation, no matter how good it feels on your hip. So you haven’t encountered either of those situations either?

    And gun phobia? Really? The best shots I know are people who are decidedly in favor of better gun control. Me included.

  65. #65 safer anonymous!
    October 14, 2010

    No, Greg, because “they” are responding to a tanking economy by cutting way back on public services like police. Or maybe because “they” are trying to distract attention from a tanking economy by whipping up fear and hostility towards unpopular small minority groups, who might someday find they have urgent need to defend themselves. Weirdly, you are trying to whip up fear and hostility towards a “minority” group that is estimated to include up to 50% of the American population. Just a hint – it is hard to persecute people who outnumber you.

  66. #66 Jim Thomerson
    October 14, 2010

    When I was in high school, and out in the woods on a weekend, I was threatened by a person with a rifle, who thought I was unarmed. I showed him my rifle, and we parted amicably.

  67. #67 Greg Laden
    October 14, 2010

    I was once threatened (and shot at) by a guy with a rifle while walking around in the woods. Then the guy I was with, fresh back from Nam and with considerable training, was suddenly sitting on top of the guy with a knife to his throat. No further shots were fired.

    Yes, folks, for every story where some dick has a gun, there is a story where some guy does not and no one was killed anyway.

  68. #68 DuWayne
    October 14, 2010

    First I would just like to address this notion of the U.S. being such a safe, nonviolent place to live. I am being values neutral about guns in this comment, as I have a decidedly pro stringent gun control – but right to own under very strict licensing rules, sort of attitude. My feelings about gun control are entirely separate from the idiotic fucking notion that the U.S. is particularly safe, except in aggregate.

    Looking at the U.S. as a whole and declaring fears of violence as overblown is just flat fucking stupid – at best exceedingly ignorant. It also reeks of oblivious privilege. Sorry if that isn’t a very nice way to put it, but it is true. How safe living in the U.S. happens to be is entirely dependent on where in the U.S. you happen to reside.

    Where I live right now is safe to the point that I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about locking my doors at night. I do, because there is the odd spate of B&Es to contend with and better safe than sorry, but the odds are pretty good that I could leave the doors unlocked every night for years and never have a problem. Where I lived before I moved back here is not safe.

    Keeping in mind that we’re talking about Portland, OR here, I lived in a neighbourhood that had forty some odd shootings within a fifteen block radius in the less than two years we lived there. One of them happened directly in front of me, with a woman who happened to be in the wrong place getting hit in the leg. And that was fucking Portland. Try living in Washington DC, or Philly. You could also try the completely fucking useless pit that is Los Angeles.

    In virtually all large urban centres there are neighbourhoods that are exceedingly dangerous. Less than twenty miles from here, there was a small shootout last night, that included automatic weapons – and Kalamazoo (I live in Portage) MI isn’t exactly thriving urban centre.

    As far as suicide by gun goes, guns make suicides far more likely to succeed. More than half of all successful suicides in the U.S. are committed with guns. Males in particular are far more likely to use a gun (hanging is second). That would be why while females attempt suicide at a significantly higher rate than men, men actually succeed at a significantly higher rate than women. Guns also make it far easier for a person to follow through with suicidal thoughts.

    While I will not argue for taking away guns wholesale, I do support very strict gun controls. That would include rather strict laws about restricting access to guns in homes with minors. I get very irked with folks who’re all about no guns anywhere. I get even more irked with fucking idiots who believe that any restriction on firearms somehow infringes on their inalienable rights.

  69. #69 Stephanie Z
    October 14, 2010

    DuWayne, I think one of the things you’re running into in people who are talking about the U.S. being safe is that they’re talking to people who have no intention of acknowledging that the places you talk about exist, except as places where “they” have the lives “they” deserve. It is suburbs, exurbs and rural areas that hold most of the people worrying for their safety.

    There’s also the fact that by comparison to both the U.S.’s own history and many other parts of the world, even most of those places you refer to are quite safe.

  70. #70 Jim Thomerson
    October 14, 2010

    Greg, in 1952, Nam veterans with knives were not available, so a boy had to defend himself the best he could with nothing but his 22.

  71. #71 KristinMH
    October 14, 2010

    Buffy:

    Guns do NOT work on Zombies

    Really? Wasn’t “Woody Harrelson shoots zombies” the whole premise of “Zombieland”?

    Duwayne:

    Listen, I live in an “emerging” area of Toronto, and I know what you’re saying, but I don’t think (and I don’t think you’re arguing this) that what your neighborhood that has 40 shootings/month needs is more guns. I can understand how living there, you might feel much safer with a gun, but adding guns to that area is not going to do anything good.

    There are situations and places where having guns around is appropriate. If you, like safer anonymous, frequently deal with rabid murderous zombie rapist dogs, you probably need a gun. If you (to take a less extreme example) are a forester and live in a shack in the woods like one of my uncles did, you need a gun because, like my uncle, you may have to shoot bears who stick their heads through your window when you’re cooking your breakfast. If you live in an urban area in a developed country you probably don’t, and if you do have one it will most likely do more harm than good.

  72. #72 safer anonymous!
    October 15, 2010

    I do? Wow. I had no idea my life was so exciting. Your arguments might work a lot better if you would leave out the straw men and ad hominems. I can be convinced that I am wrong about the costs and benefits of some activity; I cannot be convinced that I am evil, stupid, and crazy.

  73. #73 VikingMoose
    October 15, 2010

    ugh. so sad. comfort and condolences to family, friends, and loved ones.

    There’s a bunch of things hier that need discussion – access to guns. availability of guns. teen suicide. all of it.

    this is awful.

    Renolds – I think that’s a straw man – it’s blurring the issue of suicide and that of the problems with guns in the US society.

    We have to deal with loonies like the NRA who deny the role of guns in violent crime in our cities.

    I don’t know the circumstances around the tragic suicide, but I would really like an open dialogue about each serious problem – suicide and guns in society.

    (yes, in theory, I’m for the 2nd amendment, but c’mon, hier. when i lived in phila, there’d be gunshots every night)

    Henry Rollins sings it best: “a gun in your hand makes a fool out of you/ a gun in your hand makes a target out of me/ … freedom?… you’re dying for it” (from 1994: Civilized off of the Weight LP)

  74. #74 PicassoIII
    October 15, 2010

    *sigh*
    Even the Green candidate for Rahmbo’s old Congressional seat in Chi-town supports concealed carry.
    http://www.votesmart.org/npat.php?can_id=110927#20724
    I’d hardly consider myself a gun nut (i prefer a 90lb Akita for home defense), but i am cuckoo for the Bill of Rights.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/4/881431/-Why-liberals-should-love-the-Second-Amendment
    The ‘it ain’t 1776 anymore’ meme is covered, point #3 from Kos, well worth the read.

  75. #75 Stephanie Z
    October 15, 2010

    PicassoIII, where are you seeing the “not 1776″ meme around here? We’re talking about things being well-regulated.

  76. #76 Jake
    October 15, 2010

    Re: Comment #18

    I’m just betting that the gun lobby keeps the details of where the “long gun” came from out of the news.

    How would they go about that?

  77. #77 Jake
    October 15, 2010

    Re: Comment #30

    I prefer to have a gun around to slightly improve my odds.

    The same authors of the suicide study I referenced earlier also did one on homicide.
    Having a gun in your home increases your chance of becoming a homicide victim.

    Did the study find that “having a gun in your home” was correlative or causative in this case?

  78. #78 PicassoIII
    October 15, 2010

    Stephanie,
    Quoting Greg:
    “Especially considering that it is hundreds of years old and the technology for any given modern firearm is decades old.”
    Another variation would be that 1700s english is different from modern english, often pertaining to the definition of ‘militia’ (also covered @ Kos). Funny that there seems little problem understanding the meaning of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc. Amendments two centuries hence.
    The blog’s author and several others here mentioned a preference to do away with personal gun ownership altogether (handguns in the Greg’s case).
    I vehemently disagree.
    As a Chicago resident there are still too many hoops and fees if i choose to exercise the 2A right. It is not an anachronism for those who are only a generation or two separated from the horrors of Soviet or Nazi totalitarianism. My dads family witnessed both up close and personal.
    Or may just happen to need to travel through less safe neighborhoods on occasion. A few years back while ‘rescuing’ a bud whose car had broken down in a pretty bad one, i literally had a chicago cop say “If you have a gun, put it in your lap”.

  79. #79 Stephanie Z
    October 15, 2010

    Jake, it only takes a minute or so to find the article:

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/full/92/12/1988

  80. #80 Stephanie Z
    October 15, 2010

    No, no, PicassoIII. Well-regulated is well-regulated. No complaining about those regulations, now. It’s in the amendment.

    By the way, we are actually still debating the finer points of what the First Amendment says as our understanding of speech changes. Hate speech–and the understanding that some forms of speech may constitute terrorism even if not directed at a specific individual–have been pretty hotly debated around here too. That’s a very new thought, although it seems to have been overlooked by the writer of that post, as were concerns about corporate speech.

    Really, the poster at Kos had some problems with the idea of advancing technology. There are plenty of firearms that are not allowed to be privately held without a great deal more paperwork than you’re complaining about. The writer seems to have simply decided that military-scale weapons don’t count somehow, despite the fact that they did when the Bill of Rights was written.

    Perhaps instead of worrying about finding cops who will endorse your political views, whether the advice helps or not, it’s time for you to invest a bit in Chicago, so it isn’t quite as dangerous to you and others, no?

  81. #81 Ben Zvan
    October 15, 2010

    Okay…I got a little tired of reading the same old drivel about wild animals and self defense in the comments so I skipped to the bottom to add my own.

    I grew up with guns in the house. My dad built several guns. I had to learn “the rules” before I could even handle a BB gun. ( 1.Treat every gun as though it is loaded. 2.Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. 3.Be sure your backdrop will stop your bullet.) I have a huge respect for the craftsmanship, power, and danger that guns represent.

    I am a hunter, I own guns, and I have a permit to carry. I believe the owner of the gun is very much at fault here and I’m in favor of more gun control to a point.

    Right now, it’s easier to get a rifle or shotgun than to get a driver’s license. There’s a background check, but there’s no safety or proficiency requirement. I think that’s irresponsible. I would be thrilled if the current permit to carry class was required for all permits to acquire, including long guns.

    When there was a possibility that a teenager would come to live with us for a short time, I took stock of my gun storage and bought cable locks for everything that wasn’t in a locked case or safe. I don’t see any reason for that not to be a federal requirement of ownership with fines and an increased liability as incentive for compliance. It’s already a requirement in California, though I don’t know how well enforced it is.

    So yeah…this is a tragedy. Teenagers are often irrational and do stupid things. They need whatever help we can give them to not do those things.

  82. #82 PicassoIII
    October 15, 2010

    Stephanie,
    Invest more than the thousands a year already donated to the Greater Food Depository? Sure i’d like to volunteer some more science tutoring too, but with a combined income under 6 figures and a 3 week old at home i’m pretty much at the limit of both now.

    Also, i completely agree with the poster on military firearms. It’s about the right of revolution again, something i hold increasingly dear the more i learn about my family history (or read Lysander Spooner).
    I understand this comes off as extreme, so be it. I trust the monopoly on deadly force held by the government a little less every day. See the proliferation of paramilitary tactics in the War on Drugs.

    As for needing to interpret 1A? WTF!
    Just moving goalposts, ‘popular’ speech needs no protection.

  83. #83 PicassoIII
    October 15, 2010

    Ben,
    Sounds reasonable enough to me, but at what price. Of course the situation is reverse in IL. A drivers license is little more than a Cracker Jack box prize and costs about the same (next to nothing). Procuring a gun of any reasonable quality, registering it then getting the class would be a pretty penny for someone making say minimum wage. Those that would need them for self defense most likely.

  84. #84 PicassoIII
    October 15, 2010

    BTW Stephanie i didn’t look for any officers to support my point of view. I was agnostic on 2A back then and after cruising by us a few times the cops approached us.
    They were very curious what 2 ‘white guys’ were doing in K-town, after dark, and if we knew exactly where we were.
    My buddy was serving his rookie year for the CPS …. where he spied one of his student’s mom working a corner one day (if that fleshes out the situation a bit).

    Oh, the ‘militia’ is to be ‘well regulated’ not the ‘right of the People’.
    Just to review the actual text…..
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    Note ‘keep AND bear’ …. so at this point Chicago with it’s ‘home only’ rule is still out of line.

  85. #85 Stephanie Z
    October 15, 2010

    PicassoIII, I have no clue what you’re trying to say about the First Amendment. As for your “well regulated” bit…um, sure. A militia will be well regulated if the people within it aren’t. Now who’s trying to split hairs over language?

  86. #86 PicassoIII
    October 16, 2010

    Stephanie,
    Speech is speech, it is ALL protected, however ugly or meanspirited it may be. Full stop.
    ‘Yelling fire in a crowded gathering’ is the most overused excuse for trying to squelch what somebody disagrees with.
    For those of age, there are no limits. Unless it’s literally lying to cause a sure loss of life. And yes, the Bush admin’s subterfuge to justify Iraq II (*cough* Cheney *cough*) comes close enough for government work.
    Remember ‘Citizens Untited’ also allowed organized labor to have a public ‘say’. And we should be no fans of public sector unions. Like prison employees in CA opposing Prop 19.
    There ARE problems with ‘Corporate Personhood’. They are NOT fixed with playing with the 1A. It is one of the most perfect and timeless of statement of human rights.

    And lets not forget the wisdom of the founders (sorry) in making guns 2A. It IS the citizen’s insurance policy against ‘the man’, a tyranical governance. Note that goes beyond current government, federal and state. This could include private entities with the ‘muscle’ of a government IE the right to deadly force.
    I’m a big fan of ‘castle doctorine’ too.

    You may not care to participate in 2A’s ‘priviliges and immunities’. But, you are a already member of the ‘militia’.
    “(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and …. citizens of the United States and female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/311.html

    Yes Stephanie, according to the social contract you and i live under, we have a certain right to deadly force.
    Be it the citizens on the wrong side of the ‘Whiskey Rebellion’ (who were mostly pardoned) or the old dude that wasted a home invader.
    http://www.examiner.com/crime-in-chicago/man-killed-by-elderly-army-vet-had-lengthy-criminal-record

  87. #87 Dogmatic Dick
    October 16, 2010

    Speech is speech, it is ALL protected, however ugly or meanspirited it may be. Full stop.

    Not true. Full stop.

  88. #88 Greg Laden
    October 16, 2010

    If the second amendment was fully implemented as the gun nuts seem to want it to be, and everyone could have a gun with zero regulation of any kind and using the gun to shoot people that they think to be threatening, and whereby such “self defense” shootings would generally be applauded rather than investigated carefully, I would feel very threatened by all those gun nuts, and I’d buy a gun and shoot every one of them dead, in order to protect myself and my family. And it would be my right to do so. I would demand sainthood, in fact.

    Oh, and PicassoIII, send me the name and address of your closest loved ones who happen to be small females. Like a daughter, wife, whatever. I’m going to follow that person around all day every day for a month explaining to her how, the moment I get her alone, I’ll rape, torture and kill her.

    And then, if anyone tells me to stop doing that, I fully expect you to shoot them as I’m sure you’d risk your life to defend my right to free, unfetters, full stop speech.

    Glad to be on the same page. That is all. Full stop.

  89. #89 scidog
    October 16, 2010

    i’m sure everyone would be for turning guns into razor blades as long they are the last person to hand over their weapon.

  90. #90 Ben Zvan
    October 16, 2010

    My carry pistol was $800. An extra $100 for a safety and proficiency class doesn’t seem like an unreasonable requirement. The pretty penny is really in procuring a gun of reasonable quality.

  91. #91 VikingMoose
    October 16, 2010

    “whereby such “self defense” shootings would generally be applauded rather than investigated carefully, I would feel very threatened by all those gun nuts, and I’d buy a gun and shoot every one of them dead, in order to protect myself and my family”

    this is the exact race to the bottom that the idiots who say “an armed society is a polite society” that would happen. (well spake, Sir!)

    Greg – after the Va Tech shooting, i remember some morons saying that if students were armed, the bloodbath would be prevented, whereas I feel that if we were walking across the quad, saw shooting, and we didn’t know who the “good guys” and “bad guys” were, we’d just be shooting…

    guns may be a nice shield against having to deal with societal issues, but further inclusion may exacerbate the problems. Let’s focus on the social problems that end in violence first…

  92. #92 Jim Thomerson
    October 16, 2010

    Here is a link to Texas self defense law. I hope you will read them and decide not to move to Texas, as it is getting too crowded here already.
    http://www.self-defender.net/law3.htm

  93. #93 Ben Zvan
    October 17, 2010

    “I feel that if we were walking across the quad, saw shooting, and we didn’t know who the “good guys” and “bad guys” were, we’d just be shooting…”

    That’s an excellent point. In Minnesota, the requirement for self defense is very specific. The person being defended must be an unwilling participant in a conflict in which they have legitimate fear for their life. If you come around the corner and see people beating or shooting each other to death, you have no idea if they are unwilling participants and cannot legally do anything about it.

  94. #94 Ben Zvan
    October 17, 2010

    “If you believe that your own life and property are so important that you’re willing to end another human life to preserve them”

    My life or the life of a loved one? Yes. My property? No.

  95. #95 Christopher
    October 19, 2010

    Greenwood teen faces involuntary manslaughter charge after shooting in car

    By Associated Press

    3:26 PM CDT, October 18, 2010
    GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — Greenwood Police Chief Henry Purnell says a teenager faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter after an accidental shooting on Monday.

    Purnell says the 17-year-old suspect allegedly was loading a gun as he was riding in a car. Purnell says the gun discharged, striking the driver, 22-year-old Antron McGee. Purnell tells The Greenwood Commonwealth that McGee died later at a hospital.

    Purnell says there was a group of people in the vehicle, riding around with weapons. He says others could also face charges, and the investigation continues.

    Purnell says the suspect doesn’t have an attorney yet.

  96. #96 Jake
    October 22, 2010

    Jake, it only takes a minute or so to find the article:

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/full/92/12/1988

    Stephanie, I wasn’t so much asking for my own benefit, as for the benefit of everyone reading… who (unlike each of us) may not have made their minds up yet.

    From the above-linked article (thanks, btw):

    Conclusions. Although our study cannot determine causation, we found that in areas where household firearm ownership rates were higher, a disproportionately large number of people died from homicide.

    (emphasis not in original)

  97. #97 dhex
    October 23, 2010

    you can have my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead teenager’s hands.

    to be fair, that hardly sounds challenging.

    Greg – after the Va Tech shooting, i remember some morons saying that if students were armed, the bloodbath would be prevented, whereas I feel that if we were walking across the quad, saw shooting, and we didn’t know who the “good guys” and “bad guys” were, we’d just be shooting…

    more seriously, the issue is that it may have helped or may have made things worse. no guarantees – there have been school shootings stopped by armed citizens, after all.

    the thing that makes this so culturally GAH GAH GAH GAH GAH is that the most visible drivers of this particular “discussion” are both fuckfaces.

    the gun nuts tend to be dogmatic about the magical powers of protection (too much john woo, too little gary kleck), and the ladenites (to use a handy example) tend to be all DEAD CHILDREN! DEAD CHILDREN! like that’s an argument rather than penny dreadful security theater.

    both are obsessed with safety, but in a way that has very little to do with reality. and they feed off of each other, even though this is a dead issue a la gay marriage. culture trumps volume, and restricting the rights of adults based on the actions of teenagers is misguided (if genuine) or just more security theater (a la the brady campaign).

    i think kleck is more right than wrong, and at the very least, the equation isn’t as simple as more guns = more crime or less crime or even the same crime. culture trumps weaponry.

    And it would be my right to do so. I would demand sainthood, in fact.

    i know you’re some kind of “science bro”, but i don’t think you quite understand the intricacies of self-defense laws as they vary from state to state. or even the concept, really. you probably don’t wish too, because this makes you very angry and you get to be abusive toward strangers who don’t think as you do.

    and that’s cool, too. gotta have hobbies and shit.

  98. #98 Duane
    October 23, 2010

    there have been school shootings stopped by armed citizens, after all.

    Name them. Provide references.

  99. #99 Stevo Darkly
    October 25, 2010

    Duane:

    I am sure any informed and interested source that goes into details will be disregarded as “biased,” but this is the incident that immediately leaps to mind:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_High_School_shooting

    http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/Pearl,_Mississippi::sub::Pearl_High_School_Shooting

    More details:

    http://www.davekopel.com/2a/othwr/principal&gun.htm

  100. #100 Stevo Darkly
    October 25, 2010

    Duane, there’s a fairly famous incident in Pearl, Mississippi, that springs immediately to mind, but my comment is being held for moderation (probably because it contains multiple references, and thus, multiple URLs, and therefore probably triggered the “potential spam” filter). Hope you’ll be patient in awaiting responses.

  101. #101 Duane
    October 25, 2010

    The shooter killed several people and was leaving in a car when the school principal caught up with him, wielding his own 45, which probably played no role in the incident at all. So that would be a lie.

    Do you have any actual examples?

  102. #102 Stevo Darkly
    October 26, 2010

    Sorry, Duane — if you’ll reread the links provided, you’ll see that the principal, Myrick, used his .45 to subdue the shooter Woodham. There is no ambiguity about the fact that Myrick used his gun.

    You also missed this in the more detailed third link:

    Woodham … shot until he heard sirens, and then ran to his car. His plan, authorities subsequently learned, was to drive to nearby Pearl Junior High School and shoot more kids before police could show up.

    But Myrick foiled that plan. He saw the killer fleeing the campus and positioned himself to point a gun at the windshield. Woodham, seeing the gun pointed at his head, crashed the car. Myrick approached the killer and confronted him.

    In short, your “probably” conjecture is contradicted by the information already provided.

    Do you have any actual leg to stand on?

  103. #103 Stevo Darkly
    October 26, 2010

    Here’s another example. (I hope a law school counts as a “school.”)

    Instructive is what occurred in 2002 at another Virginia college. At Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Nigerian immigrant Peter Odighizuwa began a rampage, shooting to death a dean, a professor, and a student, and wounding three students. Upon hearing the gunfire, law students Tracy Bridges and Mikael Gross, independently, dashed to their cars to retrieve their own handguns. Bridges returned with a .357 magnum and Gross a 9 millimeter to find Odighizuwa exiting from a campus building. From different angles both Bridges and Gross leveled their weapons at Odighizuwa. Bridges yelled to the killer, “Drop your gun!” Odighizuwa did so and several students then pinned him to the ground. End of rampage.

    Please note that these incidents of defensive gun use in school shootings are not easy to dig up, because they seem to be under-reported. Apparently it is a commonly held review that the defensive use of a gun during such shootings is an unimportant detail that may be … overlooked. From the same source as the above:

    Odighizuwa’s shooting spree was widely reported. It was also widely reported that he was subdued by Appalachian students. What went mostly unreported, however, was the fact that gun-toting students were responsible for Odighizuwa having a sudden change of attitude. John Lott John Richard Lott Jr., a well-published researcher and writer on gun issues, said that in a Lexis-Nexis search he found that only four of 208 stories mentioned that Bridges and Gross had guns. Other researchers had similar results. On the other hand, many of the stories did mention that Odighizuwa was distraught over failing grades and faced cultural differences. Psychoanalysis of the perpetrator was evidently more important than a clear narrative of events.

    I’ll post the URL of the source of the above information separately. It may be held up in the spam trap, and I don’t want that to delay the substance of the information I am providing to you. You can also look up this source yourself by Googling for “Making Our Schools Safe” by Roger D. McGrath, Ph.D., available online at The Free Library Dot Com.

  104. #104 Stevo Darkly
    October 26, 2010

    Source of the quoted material in my last post:

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Making+our+schools+safe%3A+the+Virginia+Tech+shooting+rampage…-a0164255784

    (Also in my post above, “commonly held review” should have been “commonly held view” — sorry about that.)

  105. #105 Stevo Darkly
    October 26, 2010

    Oh, one last comment for tonight: I don’t really trust John Lott as a source, but as noted, other researchers also found similar results (with regard to under-reportage of defensive gun use in school shootings).

  106. #106 Greg Laden
    October 26, 2010

    Apparently it is a commonly held review that the defensive use of a gun during such shootings is an unimportant detail that may be … overlooked.

    Interesting that you should say that. It probably isn’t true (I’ll count it as your biased conjecture). But what IS true is that when there is a shooting, like the one cited here, reporters have a very hard time finding out where the gun came from. It is my habit to contact reporters writing about these stories and ask them this, and every single time so far that is what I’ve found.

    Apparently, finding out that the gun was not properly locked down in some gun-nut’s home is not something “they” want us to know about.

    Regarding these school shooting stoppages: Yes, they are interesting example, and important considering the topic at hand. The key features of these events seem to be:

    1) They are very rare.

    2) They tend to NOT involve guns that are carried by the individuals involved. They are guns packed in the glove compartment of someone’s car in the parking lot

    3) One needs to consider what guns in glove compartments generally end up being used for. I know lots of people who keep handguns in their glove compartments. Generally nothing ever happens with them. But I’d love to know how many glovebox guns are used in, say, bar shootings and that sort of thing. How many of the illegal guns on the street were obtained because someone with a rock broke into a car and took them. How many accidental shootings or suicides involved the glovebox guns? In other words, it may or may not be a good idea for people to be toting guns in their gloveboxes. I’d love to see an analysis of that.

  107. #107 Jake
    October 26, 2010

    1. “They are very rare.”
    Agreed.

    2. “They tend to NOT involve guns that are carried by the individuals involved. They are guns packed in the glove compartment of someone’s car in the parking lot”
    That is precisely because the areas in question are “gun free” zones… which usually only means that no law-abiding person will have one on them should the need (God/FSM forbid) ever arise. For some strange reason, it doesn’t seem to deter the people who bring them onto campus to shoot people. Maybe the signs need to be bigger and/or more numerous, I don’t know. I’d love to see an analysis of that, by the way… how many school shooters just didn’t see the signs.

    3a. “One needs to consider… Generally nothing ever happens with them.”
    Agreed.

    3b. “In other words, it may or may not be a good idea for people to be toting guns in their gloveboxes.”
    *Completely* agree. I’d much rather be able to carry my gun on me (or even just take it into the building with me and leave it in my office) than leave it in my car. But that is presently as close to my person as state law will allow me to bring it. :-(

  108. #108 Greg Laden
    October 26, 2010

    Jake, even if one could demonstrate that guns are mostly carried by law abiding citizens and that if all of those citizens, when in schools, carried them that this would prevent school shootings, I would still be against it.

    Why?

    For the same reason I’m against the death penalty.

    If some asshole with a gun started shooting kids in a school, and a teacher whipped out her 45 and blew his head off, I’d be happy that happened.

    When they pumped lethal fluids into Timoth McVeigh’s body and killed him, I grinned.

    But I don’t want that teacher carrying a gun and I don’t want the state to execute it’s prisoners, because I want to live in a civilized society.

    I want my society to be better, more ethical, more moral, more thoughtful, more just, and more progressively transformed than its very citizens. I want to live in a society where people who blindly and blithely and often inarticulately rant that carrying machines designed primarily to kill other humans is some sort of right, or even responsibility, when it really is just a sport, a hobby, a game with toys, are looked at for what they are: Immoral and dangerous misanthropes. Or at best selfish boys playing with their stupid toys.

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