… So, if a teenager eggs your car, you can blow his head off as he tries to run away.

a driver enraged after his Mercedes was splattered with eggs on Halloween fatally shot a 17-year-old in the neck and leg as the teen tried to run away.

Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones says the driver confronted the teen and fired 10 shots at him around 8 p.m. Sunday. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office says the teen, Tivarus King, died as he was being taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

source

Gun control anyone?

Hat Tip: Jaf

Comments

  1. #1 khan
    November 1, 2010

    Greg, is this one of your regular trolls?

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    November 1, 2010

    khan, I’d say it’s the solo right-wing loon troll. It’s the combination of the paranoia, the incoherence, and the need for an unearned title on his name.

  3. #3 HP
    November 1, 2010

    Iraq under Saddam Hussein had the highest rate of home assault rifle ownership in the world. Somehow, it didn’t stop Saddam from ruling the country as a dictator. And it didn’t stop GWB from blowing the place to hell when it came time to.

    Guess what GWB did as soon as the Ba’athist regime fell? And you know what? After we took away their guns, they continued to mount an insurgency. Because guns, in the grand scheme of things, count for shit in open warfare. But if your goal is to kill innocent kids, they work wonders.

    Hell’s Bells, in the vast majority of wars fought in the last fifty years, guns were nothing but a prestige item. Guns are for show, not for blow. Most wars today are still fought with machetes. (Pro-Tip: Hamstring or Achilles tendon. Then kill at leisure.)

    Do you really think that your measly collection of personal weapons is going to protect you from tyranny? Try facing down an A-10 with your crappy little assault rifle. You wanna fight the oppressor? Have lots of kids and teach them the chemistry of rapid oxidation.

    You wanna fight tyranny? Ballots, not bullets.

  4. #4 tideliar
    November 1, 2010

    Theoretically, to stretch the argument…if the kid had a gun he could have shot back and “defended” himself…

  5. #5 Aaron
    November 1, 2010

    I just wonder what sort of gun control would have stopped someone with the money to drive a Mercedes from having a gun? I don’t have a gun because I can’t afford it (I drive a 20 year old Mazda).

  6. #6 Ken
    November 2, 2010

    What’s the problem? Why more gun control? the criminal will go to jail for a few years to pay for his crime.

    Oh ya right, nevermind, my bad, the kid will be dead for ever.

  7. #7 jaf
    November 2, 2010

    Guns sure make it easier to kill people.
    Also think about this, he was so enraged he fired 10 shots. Some of them missed. How many people need to get caught in the crossfire before we start to care?

  8. #8 Niall
    November 2, 2010

    I have to somewhat agree with the right winger’s conclusion, but not at all how he got there… And I like to think myself as a liberal…

    A gun, like many other things in life is a responsibility, and not everyone is responsible. We cannot practically forbid the entire public from having “Arms” then we can forbid the public from having babies, or drinking alcohol, smoking pot, driving a car or taking bad house loans. All of which can have devastating consequences if done irresponsibly.

    About 29,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to guns. 40,000 people die due to car accidents. 1750 children die each year from abuse or neglect.

    And these pale to some of the others –
    Alcohol – 85,000 – 40,000 drunk driving deaths.
    Tobacco – 425,000
    Adverse reactions to prescription drugs – 32,000

    Do we outlaw Alcohol? Wait… tried that…
    Tobacco? Good luck.
    Mandatory sterilization for the abusive and/or stupid? Right… (speaking of Nazis)
    Outlaw Pot? Oh wait we have… Doesn’t seem to help much…

    On one hand some rich moron shooting a stupid kid for egging his car is a tragedy and a horror. A 90 lb woman shooting a sadistic rapist… not so much so… (250,000 – 750,000 rapes per year in the U.S… shall we outlaw penises? We are #9 per capita for rapes in the world!)

    What would help all of this? Having people be more responsible for their actions. How to achieve that is what should be argued here… Not what a person should or should not have.

  9. #9 itzac
    November 2, 2010

    I’m not sure if the King is a troll or a poe. HP, I’m not sure about your Iraq story. According to Al Franken in “The Truth, with Jokes,” the Iraqi army was disbanded but was not disarmed. Which I assumed to be part of why a heavily armed insurgence was able to form so rapidly.

  10. #10 Stephanie Z
    November 2, 2010

    Niall, so you’re saying high per capita gun ownership doesn’t deter rape?

  11. #11 Niall
    November 2, 2010

    Stephanie –

    To tell the truth, I don’t know… but you should open the question further… Does high gun ownership per capita deter crime overall? (rapes, murders, armed robberies, jay-walking, etc)

    It might… it might make it worse… I haven’t seen the studies.

    What I am saying more is the gun is a tool, as are tazers, swords, knives, spears, crossbows, sticks, rocks and fists.

    Mind you I am not saying that we should legalize all these things or not. Personally I am very much in favor of restricting handguns in certain areas for all but those who are registered for them and have proved themselves responsible.

    But what is the right thing to do for the best of us all, that is not an ideal, but a practical solution? Outlawing guns will never work. Neither will handing everyone a bazooka… There must be a middle ground…

  12. #12 megan
    November 2, 2010

    I’m all for laws to make it hard for crazies and idiots from owning or carrying guns but gun control wouldn’t have stopped someone intent on having a loaded gun in a car. A person following the rule of law and knowing what’s a self defense situation wouldn’t have shot the kid. Just used a tire iron.

    Britain is doing everything so citizens can’t have anything dangerous, yet a woman walked into a MP’s office smiling and gutted him with a KITCHEN KNIFE……….probably from Walmart or box Brit store. And because they’re crappy made, she stated she brought TWO encase the first one broke.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11667620

    Gun control for citizens is already good. Don’t need less or more. Distributors and manufacturers need the restrictions.

  13. #13 gwen
    November 2, 2010

    We have one of the highest gun violence levels in the industrialized world. If the NRA had it’s way, my brother with a mental age of 4, would be able to walk in and buy a gun..no questions asked. According to the NRA, someone obviously mentally ill and hearing voices, would also be able to walk in and buy a gun. We need some sensible gun laws. We can track cars, we should be able to track guns. We can license the ability to drive, we need to be able to license the ability to own guns. We should be at LEAST as serious about gun ownership as we are about car ownership. On that point, gun owners should also be required to have insurance. Gun owners are more likely to have a family member killed by the gun than a self defense shooting.

  14. #14 MadScientist
    November 2, 2010

    Oh no, back to the old “guns don’t kill people, people do”. Well, gun control is partly about trying to keep guns out of the hands of triggerhappy morons like the one in the story. Gun control as advocated by Federal agencies was never about taking guns away from everyone (unlike some state enacted laws). In fact the earlier voluntary gun control did no such thing – you just had to fill out some forms and hand your weapon to the FBI to do a few ballistics tests and record some information, but I remember the NRA and other groups were whining about that and lying about what the FBI wanted. Basically the NRA wants completely unregulated gun ownership.

  15. #15 stripey_cat
    November 2, 2010

    Megan, Timms is still alive. He was able to go and hide in the loos from his assailant. If she’d had a gun, he’d probably be dead.

    All the gun nuts here: Europe has exactly the sort of gun restrictions you say would never work. You can get hold of gun permits for target shooting, historical reenactment, vermin control and game-shooting, but you have to show that a) you can store them safely, b) you aren’t visibly frothing at the mouth, and c) that you do actually plan to do the sport you’re claiming the permit for. Some people do argue about the details (in the UK, you can’t get licences for pistols because of the concealed carry risk), but it more-or-less works. Carrying anything in public will bring down an armed response unit. And, what do you think? Our rates of gun crime are comparatively low.

    One notable exception is Switzerland, where there is a conscript militia; all militia reserves (in practice, any male under 30 who is neither a pacifist, who would be allowed alternative service, or unfit for service) have rifles at home. However, ammunition is tightly controlled and you still need permits for carrying weapons. The overwhelming majority of gun deaths are suicides (a few hundred annually, which is significant given the size of the population).

    Allowing people to carry guns means that when someone snaps and loses their temper, rather than throwing a punch, or chucking whatever heavy object is to hand, they have a lethal weapon.

  16. #16 Cullen
    November 2, 2010

    You’re many of you forgetting the reason why so many of the Gun Rights people see this as so important. The premise is that a gun is not intended for self-defence, hunting or sport. A gun is the primary means for the normal citizenry to defend themselves from tyranny. The right to Keep and Bear Arms is fundamental to freedom(tm) according to them.

    It’s the dichotomy of so many “strict Constitutionalists” – they seem to find no problem in trimming a little fat off the First Amendment (Separation of Church and State, Freedom of Expression – those aren’t ‘real’ rights after all), but ghod save anyone who touches the Second as ‘that’s all that keeps us free.’ Who cares how many young lives must be thrown on the fire to keep us free.

    Oh, and Right Wing Troll #1 King Alfonse – get stuffed with your drive-by trolling. At the very least stick around to defend your ridiculous premise if you want even a glimmer of hope to have anyone take you seriously.

  17. #17 Cullen
    November 2, 2010

    Stripeycat – nicely said. I would have quoted you before if not for simulpost. You’re absolutley right. I’m an American living in England for the past 9 years; I love the fact that most of the cops, to say nothing of the average citizenry, aren’t armed with guns – you see armed police, other than at the airport, and you leave the area as something heavy is either about to or just has gone down. Sure, casual violence is higher – rates of violent assault, robbery, rapes, muggings are all higher than the US per capita – but you’re also a hell of a lot more likely to live through the experience. We had 19 tenagers knifed and killed in London in 2009. This was front page news and a massive uproar was made about it with popular movements reducing the amount of knife crime, and talking about increased police powers to stop and search. Some American *cities* have that rate of homicides in month.

    Murder is still very much a big deal here and the rate of murder is dramatically lower than the US. For all of Western Europe, you’ve a population demographic largely similar to the US – around 350m people. Guess what? Due to much more highly controlled guns, there are a *lot* less murders around here. We’re still free. We still vote. We still enjoy a free press – I’d argue a more free press than in the US as we have fewer corporations controlling large blocks of news both on- and off-line. And despite the rantings of the raving loonies in the US, socialised health care hasn’t resulted in all of us being thrown into debtors prisons, Nazi-style tyranny, being forced to kill granny, or dying en-masse of easily curable diseases.

  18. #18 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    I’m a liberal against gun control. Gun control is about as effective at preventing people from acquiring guns as the war on drugs is for drugs. And guns aren’t “consumed” like drugs… there are TONS of guns in the US, and they aren’t going to just “go away” through legislation.

    Prosecute that driver for murder. Maybe gun control would have stopped this crime, maybe not (obviously, if someone wants a gun in the US, they can get one legally or not, probably about as easily as getting a bag of heroin). But weird, random shootings like this are pretty damn rare- much more common is criminals using illegally acquired guns to commit crimes.

    I’m against gun control (in the sense of banning handguns, but I’m for things like background checks, ballistics recording, etc.) because I believe it’s ineffective. If we were a different country, and there weren’t millions and millions of guns already out there, I might believe gun control could be effective. But in America? Guns are too easy to get. Banning firearms is as effective as banning drugs.

  19. #19 sailor
    November 2, 2010

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, guns just make the little holes they die from.
    There are always going to be homicidal people, let them have at a crowd with a cutlass and it will be maybe one dead, seven wounded. Same scenario with a gun eight dead.
    But should a lot of people’s right to bear a gun be cut off because it kills 20,000 people? (I have assumed they managed to kill the other 9000 with a cutlass.
    It always seemed to me some kind of registration for guns, such as we have for cars, might make people a little more responsible and also makes murder weapons easier to trace.

  20. #20 Joel
    November 2, 2010

    I think the problem is what happens to people when they carry handguns.
    Just as when you give people power and authority over other people, their personality changes and they do things they would not otherwise. When people carry handguns it changes them. Somehow it suddenly makes sense to use deadly force for a problem that could be solved with $5.00, 15 minutes and a car wash.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    November 2, 2010

    Also think about this, he was so enraged he fired 10 shots.

    This also tells us something else: This was a bad-ass extra scary gun. At least, ban those sorts of firearms.

  22. #22 Lew
    November 2, 2010

    Itzac [10], no, I think the gun owership in Iraq was high before Gulf War II and probably GW I.

  23. #23 salmo
    November 2, 2010

    iiandyiiii – Do you think that drug use would stay the same as it is now if all drugs were freely available in stores with a minimum of fuss?

  24. #24 Ellen
    November 2, 2010

    Niall: Your blithe conflation of reproductive rights and the ownership of deadly weapons causes me to question your self-designated label of “liberal.”

  25. #25 Andrew G.
    November 2, 2010

    I’m an American living in England for the past 9 years; I love the fact that most of the cops, to say nothing of the average citizenry, aren’t armed with guns – you see armed police, other than at the airport, and you leave the area as something heavy is either about to or just has gone down.

    Not only that, but the police themselves actively object to any attempt to arm them routinely.

    Sure, casual violence is higher – rates of violent assault, robbery, rapes, muggings are all higher than the US per capita

    That depends quite a bit on whose statistics you believe. Official police statistics in both countries put the rate of robbery as being very similar (about 130-140 per 100k), but in England 75% of robberies are unarmed compared to 41% in the USA, with weapon usage being 42% firearms, 8% knives for the USA compared to 2% firearms and 15% knives in England. (I’m not counting Scotland and Northern Ireland because they have their own separate statistics. Also, “mugging” other than snatch theft is counted as robbery, and there’s no significant difference in statistics on location of robbery, i.e. home vs street etc.)

    On the other hand, crime victimization statistics do show a much (about 2.5x) higher estimated rate of robbery in England compared to the USA. I’m a bit skeptical of these figures for England since they’re based on a very small sample size (only around 200 people); also, the comparison if taken at face value would imply a huge difference in reporting rates, with ~80% of US robberies being reported to police but only ~25% in England. This difference strikes me as a bit implausible so I suspect a methodological issue is involved somewhere.

    Regarding rape, the most recent figures seem to show England and the US running about the same both on reported crime rates and on victimization surveys. That seems to be a change from the last time I looked at the stats (several years ago) when the US was running about 2x higher than England.

    but you’re also a hell of a lot more likely to live through the experience.

    In fact, after correcting for population size, at least 4 times as many people are killed in the USA in the commission of a robbery or theft as in England. (The upper bound on this ratio is uncertain because the US homicide statistics have much larger “Other” and “Unknown” categories than the English ones do.)

  26. #26 Mu
    November 2, 2010

    Too bad Greg, high capacity magazine bans start at 11. 10 is legal even in CA, NY, NJ.
    And, as usual, the big question isn’t answered in the story: Did the person own and carry the gun legally in the first place. The issue isn’t more gun laws, the issue is enforcing the ones we have. While there is no question that there are gun crimes that wouldn’t happen if we made access to guns harder, most gun crimes are committed with illegal guns in the first place. All you need to do is get the gangs to peacefully drop their guns into the “no questions asked” bin at the police station and you won’t have any more guns on the street.
    What, that’s not realistic? No problem, call out the National Guard, surround the Bronx and start searching house to house. Might eliminate a lot of drugs that way too. Oh wait, that pesky constitution thing about needed reasonable cause? Well, most of them are off-color anyway, that cause, isn’t it?
    There’s no practical solution to the gun crime problem that’s constitutionally compatible, not even talking Heller.

  27. #27 Greg Laden
    November 2, 2010

    And, as usual, the big question isn’t answered in the story: Did the person own and carry the gun legally in the first place.

    I may contact the reporters covering this and ask for followup. I often do this. There never is followup. Its like someone gets to them.

  28. #28 David Marjanović
    November 2, 2010

    I just wonder what sort of gun control would have stopped someone with the money to drive a Mercedes from having a gun? I don’t have a gun because I can’t afford it (I drive a 20 year old Mazda).

    Over here in Austria, guns are so hard to get – legally or illegally – that most bank robberies are committed with toys or other fakes.

    And in the US at least, a significant source of illegally acquired guns seems to be theft/robbery from law-abiding gun owners…

    I agree with iiandyiiii that European-style gun control* wouldn’t work very well if implemented in the US overnight because the black market for guns is so unusually large there. This should be dealt with first.

    * That’s a very broad cover term, BTW. Different countries have different laws and implement them to different degrees… for instance, to get a gun license in Austria, you need to pass a psychological test, but the correct answers are (illegally) available somewhere on the Internet; if you can learn those answers by heart and write them down at the test, you pass.

  29. #29 TheBrummell
    November 2, 2010

    I noticed the 10 shots thing, too. But I know of no widely-available (in the US) handguns that hold exactly 10 rounds – I know of only revolvers (6, rarely 7 shots) and semi-automatic pistols (12-15). Presumably the Mercedes driver had a semi-automatic pistol, and despite his rage he did not empty the magazine.

    One wonders what made him stop pulling the trigger – the sight of blood, perhaps?

    How many killings such as this one are the first occassion the gun-wielder ever fired in anger? How many gun-based killings are the killer’s second such event?

  30. #30 MadScientist
    November 2, 2010

    @iiandyiii: How would you define “illegally acquired firearms”? According to the DoJ, a large percentage of weapons used in fatal shootings (excluding suicides) were taken by someone known to the owner. The vast majority of weapons used in fatal shootings are legitimately acquired.

    @sailor: You’re parroting the NRA lie that gun control = taking away guns. That would be a “gun ban”, not “gun control”, although some contemporary gun ban lobbies like to call it “gun control” (to the delight of the NRA). You also have a specious argument about people resorting to things like a cutlass if they happened to not have access to a gun. Personally I find it so much easier to use a gun to kill people rather than a knife or sword and it’s much safer for me too because I don’t have to get near someone to shoot them. In places like the UK which have a general gun ban (though you can apply for a restricted weapons license for various things as stripey_cat mentions) I don’t see knives and other weapons filling the gap to keep the homicide rate up, so even if it were true that people wanted to push a gun ban I don’t see any evidence anywhere to support the claim that other weapons will take the place of guns. In some places where it’s common for people to carry around machetes there may indeed be higher rates of assaults with those tools, but I can’t imagine the general populace of the USA walking around with machetes slung by their hips (or cutlasses for that matter).

  31. #31 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Salmo @24: I’m sure drug use would go up if they were freely available in stores. I don’t advocate that for guns or drugs. I don’t have a problem with background checks, waiting periods, ballistics logging, and probably lots of other “gun control” measures. I just think banning handguns would be counter-productive, largely because anyone who wants a gun can get one (just like drugs).

    TheBrummel @30: There are plenty of handguns with 10-shot magazines (and pretty much every number from 5-20 or so). Alternately, he may have had a higher capacity gun and only loaded 10 shots.

  32. #32 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    MadScientist- cite please!

    This link http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/guns/procon/guns.html states that the top two ways criminals get guns are “straw purchases” and corrupt gun dealers. Both involve law breaking. “Straw purchases” involve having a buddy with no criminal record buy the gun legally, then give the criminal the gun. The purchase is legal, but giving the gun to the criminal buddy is not. Corrupt gun dealers may have the paperwork of a legitimate business, but do not follow federal law in their dealings.

    Obviously, it’s easier than it should be for criminals to acquire guns. I support prosecuting corrupt gun dealers, closing the gun show “loophole” (which bypasses certain laws like background checks and waiting periods), and certain other measures. I just believe outlawing handguns would be the wrong move.

  33. #33 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    MadScientist: you said “fatal shootings”, while I am talking about guns used in crimes. I would not be surprised if a large fraction of fatal shootings, even a majority, are accidental and not of a criminal nature. If true, this is tragic, of course, but almost all accidental shootings could be avoided by using things like gun locks, gun safes, proper training and education, or just common sense.

  34. #34 sailor
    November 2, 2010

    “@sailor: You also have a specious argument about people resorting to things like a cutlass if they happened to not have access to a gun. Personally I find it so much easier to use a gun to kill people rather than a knife or sword and it’s much safer for me too because I don’t have to get near someone to shoot them.”
    Not so specious – I have had friends who survived such attacks when people went deranged, since it was in a country where guns are at last nominally controlled they survived. My point was that in a country where everyone has a gun, at least ten times as many will die when someone goes crazy.

  35. #35 Stephanie Z
    November 2, 2010

    iiandyiiii, a very small fraction of fatal shootings are accidental. Far more are suicide.

  36. #36 itzac
    November 2, 2010

    To those arguing that gun control doesn’t stop people from getting guns illegally, it would if gun control laws were more homogeneous. It’s easy to get guns in New York because people travel to neighbouring states and buy them legally there.

    Homogenize gun laws and prohibit carrying guns, concealed or otherwise. If the time should come to overthrow an oppressive government, you have my permission to ignore that prohibition.

  37. #37 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Stephanie @36- Ok. Doesn’t change my argument at all with regards to criminals acquiring guns.

  38. #38 Stephanie Z
    November 2, 2010

    No, iiandyiiii, but it does suggest your opinion isn’t much supported by research.

  39. #39 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Stephanie, if you’ve got a link, please post it. I never stated an opinion about the fraction of fatal shootings that is suicides. And as far as I can tell, it’s irrelevant to what I’m talking about, which is criminals using guns for criminal activities.

  40. #40 darwinsdog
    November 2, 2010

    But I know of no widely-available (in the US) handguns that hold exactly 10 rounds – I know of only revolvers (6, rarely 7 shots) and semi-automatic pistols (12-15).

    There are 10 shot .22 rimfire revolvers, but I agree with you that the weapon was probably an auto-loader and that the shooter did not empty the magazine. Two hits out of ten, and one to the leg, indicates that the shooter was indeed in need of gun control. He was a piss poor shot.

  41. #41 Stephanie Z
    November 2, 2010

    iiandyiiii, look it up. It’s not hard. Google “gun fatality statistics” or something and educate yourself before you start opining on how we should handle this problem. You’re doing the same thing Niall did: telling us what solutions should be on and off the table without doing the most basic work first. Also like him, you’re making up facts to support your positions.

    Get evidence-based or get out.

  42. #42 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Stephanie- what facts did I make up?

    I did the google search you recommended, and by http://washingtonceasefire.org/resource-center/national-firearm-injury-and-death-statistics you are correct. But I never said you weren’t!

    Specifically, which of my arguments do you believe are invalid?

  43. #43 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Stephanie:

    I found it! You were probably referring to my “I wouldn’t be surprised” statement @34. I’ll admit I was way off- it was a guess, and I thought accidental deaths were more common than they are in relation to other fatal shootings.

    But my principal argument is about how criminals acquire the guns they use, which I DID support with facts (a link to a PBS article). I still think my argument is valid.

  44. #44 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Here’s another link:

    http://www.policeissues.com/Sources.pdf

    The table on the third page supports my argument that increasing the difficulty of LEGALLY acquiring firearms would not have a significant affect on gun crime because most criminals acquire guns ILLEGALLY. That table (with admittedly old data, from the 80s and 90s) shows a very low percentage of criminals acquired their guns by legally buying them at a gun store.

  45. #45 Tualha
    November 2, 2010

    When a loon uses his car to attack people, we don’t say “Oh we must give everyone a psych test before we let them own a car!” This is not a good argument in favor of gun control. If this person had anything in his record indicating he would do something like this, the existing gun control laws should have caught it. If not, the only kind of gun control that would have prevented this is a wide-ranging prohibition. Which would work about as well as alcohol prohibition and the War on Drugs.

  46. #46 rob
    November 2, 2010

    the first comment on the article Greg linked to is:

    “Another punk off the streets. He didn’t deserve to die, but that’s the chance to take when you vandalize the property of a stranger. Hopefully his little criminal buddies will learn a lesson from this.”

    the person who wrote that is probably going to vote today.

  47. #47 David Marjanović
    November 2, 2010

    a wide-ranging prohibition. Which would work about as well as alcohol prohibition and the War on Drugs.

    Again, why does it work over here?

    Get rid of the black market (somehow), and then try it.

  48. #48 Tualha
    November 2, 2010

    I neglected to mention that the right to own and bear firearms has been part of the US Constitution for a couple of centuries now, and that amendment’s unfortunately ambiguous phrasing has been interpreted as an individual right in a couple of recent Supreme Court decisions. So blanket prohibitions are pretty much out of the question for the foreseeable future.

  49. #49 Michael
    November 2, 2010

    If he instead had ran the kid over with his car would you be calling for car control?

  50. #50 Greg Laden
    November 2, 2010

    Tualha: “When a loon uses his car to attack people, we don’t say “Oh we must give everyone a psych test before we let them own a car!””

    I’m glad you agree that both cars are dangerous and guns are dangerous.

    Did you know that the other day some asshole ran over an elderly woman not far from here, and took off at high speed.

    Since we pretty much can match drivers to cars, or at least owners to card, it did not take long to find out who most likely committed that crime.

    Yeah, I’ll take a situation where guns are as well regulated as cars.

    By the way, in the US, if you own a car you also need to own a certain amount of insurance, often required by the state. That includes liability insurance in case you accidentally kill someone. That is one way in which society acknowledges that cars are dangerous, and that driving is dangerous, and that drivers are dangerous (no, let’s not argue over whether it’s the car or the driver that runs you over).

    Yeah, I’ll take that with guns …. required liability insurance. And permits that cost a non-trivial amount, the funds from which go towards promoting gun safety, and so on and so forth.

    Yeah, Tuahla. … we’re on the same page here. Treat guns like cars.

  51. #51 GaryB
    November 2, 2010

    Michael, a car has a specific purpose that has nothing to do with killing. A gun has as its purpose, killing. Controlling a tool used to transport people and goods is different than controlling a tool used to kill other people. We do however, control vehicles with a licensing and insurance system.

  52. #52 Tualha
    November 2, 2010

    Greg Laden @51: Perhaps you are unaware that there are already many thousands of laws in the US regulating the ownership and carrying of firearms? Guns are, indeed, quite well regulated.

    The suggestion of mandatory liability insurance has merit. Casually googling, I see it has already been floated. Unfortunately, in today’s polarized climate, it seems unlikely a workable compromise will be reached.

    GaryB @52: Lawful firearm owners do not own firearms in order to kill other people. They own firearms in order to defend themselves and their families. In the great majority of cases (>95%), this does not entail discharging the firearm at all, let alone lethally. Most violent criminals have enough sense to run away or surrender when confronted with an armed victim; so usually, demonstrating that one is armed is sufficient to end an attack. I’m not sure of my source, but check works by Don Kates; in particular, Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptics Speak Out.

  53. #53 Tualha
    November 2, 2010

    Perhaps I should mention that my interest in this issue is political, not personal; I do not own a firearm and I prefer not to. I would like my fellow liberals to get their heads out of their asses on this issue and look at the evidence (i.e., Don Kates, Gary Kleck, and possibly John Lott in spite of his sockpuppetry, but I haven’t read his work). It is costing us a great many votes for no good reason, and given that the left wing generally has the facts on its side more often than the right wing, it pains me to see so much foolish rhetoric being expended in support of this single, untenable position.

  54. #54 sailor
    November 2, 2010

    “When a loon uses his car to attack people, we don’t say “Oh we must give everyone a psych test before we let them own a car!”

    Well you may be able to OWN a care in your yard, but if you want to drive it you have to register it, insure it and pass a driving test. I imagine if the same rules were applied to guns it would make a difference.

  55. #55 Mu
    November 2, 2010

    I imagine if the same rules were applied to guns it would make a difference.
    Because the felon who’s risking 5 years mandatory by having his girlfriend do a straw purchase for him won’t carry the gun without his gun license?
    I’ve yet to see any proposal how to solve the problem in a constitutionally acceptable manner. Most of the illegal guns are purchased legally (the “corrupt gun dealer” is a myth, dealers who have guns traced back to them are heavily “inspected” by the feds and shut down on short notice). You can “homogenize” the gun laws, but that doesn’t help you as long as Heller and McDonald give you a basic right to guns, however regulated. As long as guns flow into the market, a certain percentage will be diverted to people who don’t care about laws; look how far the war on crack with it’s draconian sentences has gotten us.

  56. #56 Greg Laden
    November 2, 2010

    Tualha 53: Many thousands of laws? Like, what, 80 thousand? Seriously? That’s a lot, you should let people know about that, because at the moment I’m pretty sure you’re the only one. (Maybe only 50 thousand … one thousand per state perhaps?)

    Guns are, indeed, quite well regulated.

    … ah … no, not really. It would only take one law, one good law, at the national level that was not gutted by the puppet-masters at the NRA and no passed with a sunshine clause.

    The suggestion of mandatory liability insurance has merit. Casually googling, I see it has already been floated. Unfortunately, in today’s polarized climate, it seems unlikely a workable compromise will be reached.

    Welcome to my blog, where actual ideas with merit about gun control and regulation are regularly floated by me and several commenters even as the usual NRA screaming orifices arrive on the scene to keep the issue polarized.

  57. #57 Tualha
    November 2, 2010

    Sailor, most of those rules are applied to guns, in nearly every state. You usually have to register it, just to own it. You have to pass a background check – in all states, that one’s federal. There’s often a waiting period. If you want a concealed-carry license, you usually have to pass a safety course.

    Please don’t uncritically accept the gun-banners’ rhetoric claiming that guns aren’t regulated. They’re quite heavily regulated. You can confirm this with ten minutes’ googling.

  58. #58 Greg Laden
    November 2, 2010

    The specific things on the table in these discussions we’ve been having are:

    1) Limiting the kinds of guns people can keep in their houses

    2) Requiring that guns in the home be locked up properly, not doing so a serious infraction, the misuse of a firarm (including your teenager’s suicide no matter how badly you feel about it) being a felony.

    3) Taking steps to stem the illegal distribution of firearms, including making anyone responsible for any felony commited with a gun they “own” (on paper) … which would bring gun laws in line with car laws, actually.

    4) Recognizing and acting on the fact that one of the largest and most intractable (so far) causes of death for young people in this country is firearms.

    5) When it comes to arguments like “there are already too many” or “criminals would still do what they want” either a) apply that logic to ALL laws in all circumstances, or b) shut. up.

  59. #59 Stephanie Z
    November 2, 2010

    What did you say without evidence, iiandyiiii? See point 5 from Greg in comment #59.

    Tualha, people may want guns to try to protect themselves. That doesn’t mean it works. See this: http://quichemoraine.com/2010/06/gun-protection-best-case-scenario/

  60. #60 Tom Zych
    November 2, 2010

    I withdraw the claim about thousands of laws; the figure 20,000 is often quoted, but I now find this number has never been well supported. A recent study by the Brookings Institute sets the number at 300. However, I still maintain that firearms are heavily regulated, at least as much as cars, though in different ways.

  61. #61 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Stephanie:

    I think I agree with Greg’s point 5… I don’t think I have a problem with applying the logic to all circumstances, when applicable.

  62. #62 Warren
    November 2, 2010

    10 shots sounds like a 9mm or thereabouts, the typical “piece” packed by raving jackaninnies who masturbate over Soldier of Fortune magazines. If he didn’t have a firearm, he would just as surely have been willing to use his lockblade, switchblade, hunting knife, bali-song, shuriken, nunchaku, hob-nailed boots, crowbar, fists, or even his car – whatever he had on hand to wreak violence.

    The thing about a 9mm is that it has pretty good stopping power. One shot center-of-mass would generally be enough to drop anyone. This clown was not only over-armed – he was a lousy shot to boot.

    Full disclosure: I’ve got a .45 auto and a .22 for defense, and a .22 target pistol as well. I’d say the fact that I’ve never even had to draw them – let alone use them – suggests more about my ability at self-control than this yahoo’s actions can ever suggest about gun control.

    Something like real firearm responsibility, I think, has to happen (in this nation) from the ground up. Individuals must first be taught the value of nonviolent means for conflict resolution, and others must become convinced that criminal activity is not a desirable way of living. This would, I feel, lead to something more like a mutual detente. It can’t be imposed from the top down.

    Looked at another way, we can no more force gun control on the US than we can force democracy down the throats of foreign powers. If the people are not ready for it, they will not accept it.

  63. #63 iiandyiiii
    November 2, 2010

    Stephanie:

    If you were in charge, what would you change about gun laws? If I were, I would eliminate the gun show loophole, require ballistics “fingerprinting” of all guns, strongly enforce (and improve accuracy for) background checks and waiting lists, align insurance/accountability law in the way Greg suggests in #3, and MOST IMPORTANTLY apply progressive economic policies as well as vastly improved education to give poor kids a no doubt, actual chance at a life outside of crime and scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  64. #64 Tualha
    November 2, 2010

    @62: Ah, I see an actual right-wing gun nut has reared his head. Here’s a hint, King: you are not helping your cause, here. That sort of rhetoric doesn’t go over well with liberals. You’re just revealing your own incredible cluelessness.

    True: the Constitution doesn’t use the phrase “separation of church and state”. So? How do you interpret “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”? Is there any remotely rational way to interpret that, which does not equate to separation of church and state?

    Marxists? A tyrannical takeover? I presume you are repeating the usual Tea Party rants. This does not speak well of your critical thinking ability. Try reading something you disagree with for once in your life. You may be surprised.

  65. #65 Claudio
    November 2, 2010

    Cars are designed and built to move people around, guns are meant to kill people. If you want to count my apples, don’t show your oranges.

  66. #66 Brett
    November 2, 2010

    Greg, this is a long post, but it seems that you are a little inconsistent on some points, forget the xkcd slogan “Citation needed”, and demonstrate a complete lack of reason on other points.

    1: Auto accidents as a cause of fatality in the United States is still much higher than homicide, with or without a gun, for “young people” (15-24) going by the most recent census data I could find, from 2000. Shouldn’t we be “recognizing and acting” on that finding first? I’ve been driving for awhile and it doesn’t seem anyone has changed the rules much from when I first started driving to curtail this phenomenon… http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus/129_death_and_death_rates_by_age.html
    Please give citations for your opinions and discuss them in the proper context. In this case auto fatalities have come up a bit, and it is problematic (dishonest?) that you do not address the fact that they are still responsible for a higher rate of death in “young people”. Certainly a cogent discussion of responsibilities relating to both of these, what I consider “situational weapons”, is a good idea. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the declarer to provide citations, which I haven’t seen much of on this forum in general.

    2: Your position that parents of teens that die by suicide from guns obtained from the parents should result in felony charges is utterly ridiculous. What about rope? What about cars (again)? This is just a knee-jerk reaction without reason or without sympathy. Guns could be properly locked, but to a teenager committed to suicide this will prove possibly a passing obstacle, or no obstacle at all if they choose another means.

    3: Your number 5 point in post 59 is ridiculously facile, indicating either intellectual laziness or something more sinister. Nothing is black and white except the colors themselves. Thankfully you are not in the legislative or judicial branch, (or executive for that matter!) because I have a feeling I would not like many of the laws you were a part of forming. The fact that we have such an intricate system of controlling rights obviates the idea that the rationale for one law should apply to all (or any) others. Each needs to be carefully considered in the proper context.

    -Brett

  67. #67 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    Brett:

    “Auto accidents as a cause of fatality in the United States is still much higher than homicide” As I said.

    But what do you mean we should act on this first? Do you honestly expect a proposal that we wait until the problem of auto accidents as a health risk is solved THEN look at other issues would be taken seriously? Wow! Lame, transparent, value-free NRA rhetoric. I hope the rest of your post has something worthwhile in it, or I’m going to be pissed off.

    Your point two is incorrect, it is not a knee jerk reaction, is similar to laws elsewhere that seem effective, and your comparisons are stupid. Rope is not a boy’s toy designed to kill. Dad’s guns are boy’s toys designed to kill.

    Let me try to put a human face on this so even you can understand, though I doubt it will help much. This happened to someone I know recently: She attempted suicide, very effectively, but with no gun she fucked it up and lived. She was institutionalized right out of the emergency room, got more treatment, etc. and was on the way to recovering at home when her mother casually mentioned that she was buying a pistol for “protection.” The girl told her mother: “I don’t approve of you getting a gun, but if you do, do NOT tell me where it is kept. If that gun had been available to me last year, we would not be having this conversation.”

    Kids like that need to be protected from mothers like that.

    And amoral shits like you. You clearly don’t get how dangerous a situation this is. In short:

    Guns could be properly locked, but to a teenager committed to suicide this will prove possibly a passing obstacle, or no obstacle at all if they choose another means.

    That is the most ignorant thing I’ve read all day and it’s a midterm election! Abysmally stupid and ill informed. How dare you suggest at the beginning of my post that I need to give YOU citations, when you make statements like this?

    inre your point 3: Yes, yes, a gun nut such as yourself would not like to be told to shut up when you come to the table with the same old polarizing reactionary “cold dead hands” rhetoric. Tell me something I don’t know.

    Uh uh… the rest of your comment did not add value the the conversation at all. I think your rock is waiting for you to crawl back under it.

  68. #68 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    Funny thing about automobile deaths. They are about half, per capita, of what they were 35 years ago. Why? Because we regulated seat belt use and installation of airbags, and we did it despite the fact that the population wasn’t remotely ready to wear seat belts. This would be why anyone arguing against Greg’s point #5 is talking bullshit.

    iiandyiiii, if I were in charge, I’d keep researching the issue but with a much better staff than I have now. I don’t make policy based on hunches. I’d also keep giving people an opportunity to explain to me how guns are more valuable than Jarts, but I’ve been doing that for a while now, and I haven’t found a convincing argument yet.

  69. #69 Brett
    November 3, 2010

    Greg,

    A point by point commentary.

    First point, again a facile approach to an argument, instead of having a cogent conversation about it as I suggested. You never mentioned that auto accidents were a “higher” cause of death in the young in the United States, I did. Irresponsible and a lie. You passingly noted that both cars and guns are dangerous in post 51. I could passingly note that water and guns are both dangerous.

    Typically in a wealthy country (like the US) we primarily focus our research, policy, and funding on the highest causes of death first, and then secondarily approach the rest. That is why diabetes (kills a lot) http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/#deaths is much more funded than say, Reye’s disease (a potential congenital disease hard to diagnose) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reye%27s_syndrome. Maybe this system is not familiar to you. If not, then you have nothing clinically relevant to say. With funding data! http://report.nih.gov/rcdc/categories/Default.aspx

    Regarding my point 2. Actually ropes are more a boy’s toy than many. I used to have a rope swing. Whether they are designed to kill is up to debate, as is whether guns are designed to kill. Also hanging/strangulation is a close second to firearms for suicide in the US as of 2005 http://www.suicide.org/suicide-statistics.html. Not sure I follow the “toys” designed to kill meme that follows here. That seems an oxymoron from the get-go. Laws from elsewhere similar to that you propose seem effective? Where and why? I am truly interested to investigate this assertion. Also, again, cite your postulations with evidence based data.

    I appreciate you putting a human face to this issue, and feel sympathy despite my “amoral nature”, but anecdotal evidence is a contradiction in terms. Thanks for the thought.

    I’m not sure why you think my post was “abysmally stupid and ill informed” since I actually made rational arguments about the opinion sections and provided data for, well, the data. If this is your approach to influencing others in the world to be as thoughtful as you then I fear you have failed. Especially with all the vitriol, which seemed unnecessary in this context.

    I also feel that you did not adequately address my third point, considering your blanket view that one law should be influential to all laws, and perhaps missed some of your references to this point, for example your “cold dead hands” statement. I made no indication that I was either in favor or against the second amendment and its current interpretation. Rather I made a fairly pointed argument against “blanket law interpretation” that you seem fond of.

    I have no rock to crawl under because I do not fear the light of truth when questioning another person’s motives, including my own, by myself or others. Finally I’m not an NRA nut, I’m a young microbiology graduate student who doesn’t like guns, but also doesn’t like intellectual dishonesty. I will not apologize for that.

    -Brett

  70. #70 Tim DeLaney
    November 3, 2010

    When the Second Amendment was written, most people lived in a rural setting. It made sense for a farmer to arm himself because there was no way to contact law enforcement in an emergency. Even today, I would support the right of somebody in a remote area to own, and even carry, a gun.

    But this is not rural 1789 America. It makes sense today to severely restrict the carrying of loaded guns in many places today. As an example, try to assert your Second Amendment right to carry a gun on an airliner, and you’ll soon find yourself in deep doo-doo. The same is true — or ought to be — in any crowded urban setting. Do we want, for example, to protect the right of a citizen to carry an assault rifle to a political rally?

    Greg made a great point when he advocated holding a person responsible for what happens to his legally acquired gun. This is exactly why every deadly firearn should be registered.

  71. #71 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    Ah, actually, you are correct, I had not mentioned out loud that I knew the widely known fact that has been on the table for this entire conversation (which transcends several posts) and that one must know to even be admitted to this conversation that the number one cause of death is auto accidents in many categories. I thought I had in this thread. I did acknowledge it indirectly.

    If you really think my arguments are facile, then why are you arguing?

    “Typically in a wealthy country (like the US) we primarily focus our research, policy, and funding on the highest causes of death first, and then secondarily approach the rest. ”

    No we don’t. We have a mixed strategy. Some causes are hard to move beyond a certain point (like diabetes). We don’t wait for the unmovable wall to move before going on to the next problem.

    Ropes are not manufactured for the purpose of killing people. A better rope does not have better killing power, in rope-world. Honestly, you call my arguments facile yet you spout the samo-samo about how toasters kill and ropes kill and people kill and guns sit there all innocent? Give me a break.

    “anecdotal evidence is a contradiction in terms.” A contradiction in terms? What does that mean? This makes no sense.

    An individual anecdote can explain what the thick headed are missing. See Stephanie’s and other posts regarding the numbers of suicides. That apparently is not getting through to you.

    I actually made rational arguments about the opinion sections and provided data for, well, the data.

    I must have missed that. Perhaps the rational data driven post was caught in he spam filter or something.

    “your blanket view that one law should be influential to all laws, and perhaps missed some of your references to this point,” I do not know what this means.

  72. #72 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    Also hanging/strangulation is a close second to firearms for suicide in the US as of 2005

    Bullshit. Firearms accounted for 52% of 2005 suicides. Hanging and strangulation accounted for 22%. That’s nothing like close.

  73. #73 Mark
    November 3, 2010

    Sounds to me like we need more egg control.

  74. #74 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    Oh, I missed that. You are saying that because a lot of kids hang themselves by the neck until dead, it is OK that we let a bunch of other kids blow their heads off with daddy’s pistol?

    And, by extent ion, and you are making this argument explicitly (and seemingly without shame) we should just as justifiable implement “rope” control as more effective gun control?

    SO, what happened to this other argument that forms the backbone of your rejection of better gun laws: That we deal with the foremost problem first.

    Teen Suicide is an issue to deal with, yes? (or do you deny that?)

  75. #75 BigJ
    November 3, 2010

    Brett – “whether guns are designed to kill”

    I know I’m a little late to the conversation, but arguments about guns not being designed to kill drive me nuts. What do you think they are designed for? If they are supposed to intimidate, why are most matte black (most useful for stealth)? Shouldn’t they have big neon signs that say “This is a gun, be afraid”?

  76. #76 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    The problem is, when push comes to shove, if you need a gun to shoot someone you need it a lot more than you need a car to go to the grocery. Shooting people in self defence or in defence of your family or whathaveyou is a more fundamentally important thing to be able to do. Paying cops to shoot people that need to be shot doesn’t get you around any ethical compunctions you may have about shooting people. Arguing that nobody ever needs to be shot means you haven’t seriously contemplated being a victim in the moment of sexual assault or homicide or any crime of violence. Some people, when they are engaging in certain violent behavior, need to be stopped in the act. To the extent we organize society so that can’t happen, we are ethically the worse for it, and that’s before we consider utility. That is to say, firearms serve a legitimate function because shooting people is legally and ethically the correct response to violence that threatens the life of the victim. What makes a firearm dangerous is what makes it nearly irreplaceable in this function. A 5’1″ 105lb woman fending off a 6′ 220lb man has essentially no hope without a weapon. The dynamics of that kind of situation, factoring in body weight, strength, the surprise of violence mean that whatever she is to use must be extremely effective while minimally relying on her ability to out muscle her assailant. A 5lb trigger is hard to argue with when viewed in this context. It is a tool of equality at the most fundamental level of human interaction – who can harm whom. I’m not going to defend all uses of firearms. Clearly there is a set of tradeoffs, but for every image of an innocent shot because of misuse of a firearm, one can also conjur an image of the police tying the hands of a victim who would otherwise have a fighting chance. In that latter case, for all our good intentions about public well being and lowering the incidence of “gun crimes”, we’d be accomplices to some pretty horrific events.

  77. #77 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    So, Jason, you’re willing to trade a little over one gun death added for each injury avoided? Because in cold, hard numbers, that’s what you’re proposing.

    Well, actually, you’re proposing that women be scared enough by the threat of rape to give you what you want, but some of us are braver and smarter than that.

  78. #78 BigJ
    November 3, 2010

    JasonL:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but consider that, in your scenario, a bottle of pepper spray might be more effective than a firearm. Small caliber handguns are difficult to use effectively without training and are not guaranteed to bring down an assailant with one or two shots. Pepper spray, on the other hand, is relatively easy to carry in a safe manner, easy to use, and can be at least as effective as a small caliber handgun at providing the victim a chance to escape.

  79. #79 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    StephanieZ: I’m not quite following your calculus. I aknowledge a set of tradeoffs in the abstract, but I don’t think the numbers are all that clear. A gun death may either be legitimate or not, depending on the circumstances. The specific trade isn’t clear at all, because we’d have to assume no substitution effects if there were a policy shift. We’d also have to assume a level of compliance by violent offenders.

    I’m not at all suggesting that women be scared into supporting any particular policy. I’m suggesting that a policy of no firearms would have the effect of exacerbating an already large defecit faced by victims of violence.

  80. #80 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    BigJ: pepper spray is horrifically unreliable both in effect on various people and in the inadequacy of the delivery system. It is very easy to spray yourself or get CS from your hands into your own eyes.

    There are classes where you can weigh these sorts of things in confrontations with the big padded guy. Done right, these are instructive about what works and what doesn’t.

    I do believe that any handgun owner should have training.

  81. #81 Jennifer
    November 3, 2010

    As a woman who never outgrew her annoying childhood habit of being one of the smallest people in the room, I am very glad to live in the one country where I have the right to self-defense. Pretty much any healthy male over age 10 is strong enough to kill me with his bare hands if he chose to do so, and I can’t fathom how people — who are sincerely convinced they care about humanity and don’t want to see innocent people being hurt — nonetheless insist it should be illegal for me to own the one weapon capable of knocking out the size advantage any attacker would have over me.

    That said, women who don’t trust themselves to handle the responsibility of gun ownership are certainly free to refuse it.

  82. #82 Jimbo
    November 3, 2010

    There is no reasonable argument for the right to own a firearm except for the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution, and people who try to justify it in any other way are being moronic. There are, however, a number of fantastical, and childish, justifications for it. For example, that you might suddenly find yourself in a shootout and use it to become a superhero. These ridiculous ideas of self defense (you’ll rarely, if ever have the time to shoot back before you know, you die) lead people to try justifying gun ownership in a variety of ways which are unwarranted.

    The only reason people need is the 2nd Amendment, plain and simple. You aren’t going to “save the day” or even “save your own day” with a firearm. In fact, you’ll more likely end up doing what the scumbag in this article did, murdering a misbehaving child.

    Any PERSON, Jennifer, who needs a gun to defend himself/herself in public has watched way too much NCIS.

  83. #83 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    Jennifer, I’m a small woman and a damned good shot. I trust myself with a gun just fine. I also happen to know that they’re much more dangerous to me than they are likely to save me from anything. I simply won’t be scared into irrationality on the subject, despite having been sexually assaulted myself.

    And no, a gun wouldn’t have saved me then, just as it wouldn’t have been useful in defending against the guy I fought off. He was a “friend,” like the vast majority of rapists are. Even if I’d been close to a gun at the time, which I wasn’t because we were hanging out on a couch, I wasn’t going to be able to use it against someone I knew before he was going to be able to take it away from me if he wanted to.

    A gun may make you feel better. It doesn’t make you safer.

  84. #84 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    Jason, see the post I link to in comment #60. Feel free to do your own calculations, but the numbers are pretty damned dramatic.

  85. #85 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    I’d suggest that the entertainment industry projects the opposite incorrect image – that women are just fine because they can develop super ninja powers.

    The 2nd amendment is pretty clear, but in the spirit of musty old paper preventing us from being modern in our regulations and so forth, I don’t think it is a particularly compelling argument to use with someone who sees themselves as progressive.

    There is a non-zero, large even, number of defensive uses of firearms. Again, if the police can effectively use firearms so can anyone else. I can tell you with complete confidence that with rare exceptions, police don’t train very well or often with their firearms. Yet, somehow they manage to navigate dicey situations without killing everyone in sight (for the most part). To the extent there is a problem with police shooting innocents, it’s only the rare bird I hear suggesting that all police should be disarmed.

    Regardless, the original point was that cars and ropes have nonviolent uses and so are okay, but firearms are made to kill and should be considered differently. This only holds if you view shooting someone in self defence as an illegitimate act. If it is legitimate, then you are back to dealing with a legitimate tool being sometimes used for illegitimate purposes, and the argument can proceed from there.

  86. #86 Wow
    November 3, 2010

    > Britain is doing everything so citizens can’t have anything dangerous, yet a woman walked into a MP’s office smiling and gutted him with a KITCHEN KNIFE……….probably from Walmart or box Brit store.

    But you don’t get anyone killed in “cross-stabbing”.

  87. #87 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    Regarding anecdata about survivors of violent attacks, there are people who feel they would have been better off. To these victims, it isn’t innoculation against harm but a fighting chance. It’s the person who was able to get away on the couch and run into the bedroom only to be followed with no way to get away or stop the attack. I’m not going to compare notes, but will suggest that victims themselves have varying opinions on what would or would not have helped in given situations, as do criminologists and police. The question is, do we have the choice or not?

    Concerning the link in 60, I’d have to look carefully at what is being counted as a Firearm Death in that initial 31,000 figure. Does this figure account for people that were shot for legitimate reasons? Additionally, the methodology is loaded. We very quickly discount the perspective of 76,000 people who would probably suggest they like their outcome. Why is the measure of injuries to deaths using the same tool more salient?

  88. #88 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    Of course there are varying opinions. That’s why turning to the data is useful. People also feel that saying, “Bless you,” has a helpful effect against sneezing and that plastic toys with long, ratty hair bring luck.

    So, Jason, you’re saying 76,000 smiles is worth 27,000 deaths?

  89. #89 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    I’m saying that I draw a distinction among deaths. Some are accidental discharges, some are negligent homicides, some are homicides, and some are justified self defense.

    I’m probably also saying that “smiles” is an ethically questionable way to look at people who would otherwise have been victims of a violent crime. There is a non zero replacement rate among the 75,000 where another death would have occurred, and it would have been the innocent.

    All cards on the table, I am willing to endure an injury or death rate reasonably far above zero to preserve a fundamental right of self defense. There is a rate that would be too high, but I would view all mitigation strategies imaginable before I said, “Nope, you just don’t have any right to fight effectively for your own life.”

  90. #90 Garrett
    November 3, 2010

    JasonL “Shooting people in self defence or in defence of your family or whathaveyou is a more fundamentally important thing to be able to do.”

    The sign of a sick mind. You should get help, son.

  91. #91 Carlisle
    November 3, 2010

    All cards on the table, I am willing to endure an injury or death rate reasonably far above zero to preserve a fundamental right of self defense.

    This makes as much sense as a fish with a bicycle.

  92. #92 P. Locans
    November 3, 2010

    Jennifer, where in the above threads does someone say you should not have a right to bear arms?

  93. #93 Warren
    November 3, 2010

    King Alfronzies:

    Didn’t know that about the 40-cal and stopping power. The biggest problem I have with my .45 is ammo availability – there was a serious run on it around here a couple years ago when Various Individuals became convinced that Obama was going to send the army around to everyone’s door and take away their shootin’ iyerns, presumably immediately prior to turning the US into a Socialist Islamocracy. As near as I can tell, they’re still buying it by the pallet, since it’s nowhere to be found.

    Revolvers – yeah, still more reliable than autos. My Bersa (the .45) hasn’t choked on me yet, but the .22s both have an unfortunate tendency to stovepipe with any round but Stingers. Annoying, and not optimal behavior.

    ==

    I was thinking about the discussion here, and discussions I’ve seen elsewhere, and more than a few thoughts have occurred to me.

    To begin, why are we focusing on how teenagers are killing themselves, instead of asking why? Along these lines, the recent spate of gay (or possibly gay) teen suicides is something worth looking at.

    Of the five or so young men who killed themselves over that four- or six-week period, to the best of my knowledge, only one used a firearm. (One jumped off a bridge, and I believe the others hanged themselves.) This suggests that a youth intent on suicide will, in fact, do it by any means necessary.

    Having said that, I’m acquainted with suicidal ideation myself. In my darkest moments it actually supplied me with a cold sort of comfort – I knew if things ever got too much for me to take, it would be pretty easy to put a stop to all of it. I owned firearms then, too.

    My point is that firearms do not a priori contribute to suicide, and that firearm ownership – even by someone given to suicidal impulses – does not necessarily equate to suicidal behavior.

    I realize this is anecdotal, but I believe it’s significant. It makes more sense, to me, to deal with the situations that lead to suicidal ideation.

    ==

    I also wonder whether there’s some cognitive dissonance afoot here. I’m disturbed, for instance, by the growing prevalence of backscatter/full-body airport “security” scanners. I’m not willing to put up with the hassle and surrender of privacy because there’s a slim chance that a fellow-passenger might be a murderous psychopath. By the same token, I’m not prepared to be afraid of all Muslims because of the actions of a few. I believe most well-balanced, liberal-minded people would agree with me.

    Put a gun crime into the mix, though, and suddenly it seems as though at least some of those same liberal-minded individuals are willing to presume that all firearm owners are murderous psychopaths because of the actions of a few; or are willing to subject everyone to invasive behavior on the off chance that there’s a gun-totin’ nutjob walking down the street.

    These same liberal-minded people seem to want to act as parental authorities over other, self-actualized, independent adults, asserting that individual decisions done legally, without any criminal behavior undertaken, are somehow morally repugnant – in much the same way that other individuals want to try to tell consenting adults what they can and cannot do in bed, or whether they can or cannot get married.

    I realize that gay marriage is not the same as purchasing a handgun (whether for self-defense, target shooting, or with criminal intent); however, the urge to dictate to others that they cannot get married – or own a gun – comes from precisely the same emotional space, I think. Just as the urge to disarm a country by force of law comes from the same emotional space that protests a mosque being built in lower Manhattan, or just as some individuals seem to think that invading sovereign nations to force them into a democratic model is somehow a justifiable action.

    Hence, my query about cognitive dissonance. Of those who object to firearm ownership in the US, how many of you are also of the belief that not all Muslims are killers; or that backscatter scanning is unnecessary and invasive; or that our invasion of Iraq in 2002 was the wrong thing to do?

    And, if you hold those beliefs, how do you reconcile them with the implicit arguments that gun owners are murderous psychos, or that it’s acceptable to use force of law to remove their property from them?
    ==

    As for the concept of gun control in general, I still believe it’s something that has to happen from the ground up. It seems to me that the only current way we’ll be able as a nation to separate citizens from their weaponry is by force – that is, the cops (or the feds) showing up and actually physically taking the firearms away. Yes, there will be some who voluntarily turn in their weaponry; but there will be others who don’t feel it necessary to do so, and others still who will refuse to do so.

    Thus a top-down solution will not work. In order to disarm the nation (or most of the nation), a paradigm shift will have to happen, one that has firearms cast in the light of being undesirable, inferior, or otherwise to be spurned. Make them uncool, and you can be reasonably sure that most people simply won’t even buy them any more.

  94. #94 Jennifer
    November 3, 2010

    Jennifer, I’m a small woman and a damned good shot. I trust myself with a gun just fine. I also happen to know that they’re much more dangerous to me than they are likely to save me from anything. I simply won’t be scared into irrationality on the subject,

    Really? How do you “know” this? Perhaps I shouldn’t ask, as I don’t know the particulars of your situation and it’s certainly possible you personally would be in danger if you had a gun: if, for example, you are depressed and suicidal, I’d definitely recommend you watch yourself around guns, and most medications and household cleansers as well. If you’re a clumsy “butterfingers” type, or really do have twitchy fingers, a gun again might be best avoided.

    In my own case, however, I know that I’ve never held, fired or had a gun that was dangerous to me; at least, no more of a danger than things like my kitchen knives and red-hot stove burners and plug-in electrical devices. All of these could cause me serious harm or even death if used incorrectly, but I know they’re much more useful to me than they are likely to be dangerous to me. I simply won’t be scared into irrationality on the subject.

  95. #95 Scotlyn
    November 3, 2010

    JasonL, did you hear yourself say this?

    Paying cops to shoot people that need to be shot doesn’t get you around any ethical compunctions you may have about shooting people.

    I was under the impression that even in gun-happy US, people pay for a court system to decide who “needs” to be executed, and that it was the police’s task to deliver criminals up to the courts, together with suitable evidence, for such decisions to be made.

    Or perhaps the hundreds of fictional US “cop” tv shows and movies in which the dramatic device of a policeman shooting a criminal provides a more audience-satisfying conclusion than an arrest has actually shaped your perception of reality?

    As an American living in Europe long-term, I agree with those who have expressed delight at their great fortune to live under tight gun regulation – for lots of reasons, not the least of them is that inane discussions and arguments like the ones on this thread don’t even occur to anyone to start.

  96. #96 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    JasonL, at no time, under no circumstances, do I want you to own, let alone carry around with you a firearm of any kind.

    You are proof perfect that although I loath the concept of taking away the right to bear arms, it is not a good idea. There are too many wackos out there. Like you.

  97. #97 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    Jason, of those 31,000 deaths, all of 200 were justifiable homicide. This data is available. You’re just not interested in looking at it when you could be coming up with reasons for not taking the analysis seriously or doing your own replacement analysis. Also, it’s worth noting that “violent crime” is a set of categories of crime. It does not indicate that any violence happened during the course of the crime, despite the emotional value you appear to be attaching to the phrase.

    Warren, the data on suicide is also available. Gun suicides succeed at approximately three times the rate of the next most effective method–not all methods, just the next most effective one. The rest of your comment is dealing with straw liberals, so I won’t bother.

    Jennifer, good luck being as exceptionally immortal as you think you are, particularly since you appear unable to see relative danger. Really, though? That looks much better on a teenager. They’ve got the excuse that their cognitive processes haven’t fully developed.

  98. #98 dhex
    November 3, 2010

    defensive gun usage encompasses more than just justifiable homicides. how much more depends on whose numbers you want to believe but

    This makes as much sense as a fish with a bicycle.

    i don’t necessarily agree with jason’s phrasing, but the basic idea that you have a right to defend your person seems less nutty than fish riding in the tour de france, no?

  99. #99 Jennifer
    November 3, 2010

    Jennifer, good luck being as exceptionally immortal as you think you are, particularly since you appear unable to see relative danger. Really, though? That looks much better on a teenager. They’ve got the excuse that their cognitive processes haven’t fully developed.

    Your dismissive handwave is not the same thing as an answer to my question. Can you address is again, or do you need to rely on strawmen like “Good luck being exceptionally immortal?” I wrote nothing which a reasonable, honest person would construe as belief that I am either immortal or immune to injury.

  100. #100 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    I suppose that’s the unbridgeable gap then. It is a first principle that you have the right to kill someone trying to kill you. If you have a family, you probably even have an ethical obligation to act to prevent harm from coming to them. If we are in disagreement that this is a legitimate use of force, that would be the root of the problem. To me, it’s a horrible inversion to place the death of a violent attacker over the life of the innocent they attacked. This would seem to be uncontroversial.

    Concerning the police. Here, they have guns. They have them because there is a general sense that they might need to use lethal force. My point was that if you are comfortable with armed police on the grounds that lethal force without jury may be required, it’s unclear to me where there would be a distinction about the ethics of lethal force once you remove the badge. Armed police is tacit acknowledgement that lethal force can be justified. It is a profoundly odd thought that self defence would be excluded from similar justification.

    Concerning the acceptance of injury to preserve a right of self defence, we accept non zero death and injury for hundreds upon hundreds of other activities that are to me far less fundamental. Again, if there’s no agreement that self defence is a legitimate act, there’s no common ground.

  101. #101 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    Greg: thanks for the thought. It is useful to hear that asserting a right of self defence is so far out there from certain perspectives that I’m seen as an unstable loon. I generally don’t incite that kind of reaction.

    Stephanie, I’ll look into the dataset you linked. If you note, I only suggested in the above post that the differentiation on that other blog was unclear in that I couldn’t tell what was wrapped into “Gun Deaths”. I first saw the argument this morning and responded with first blush comments. I’ve not had an opportunity to go over the underlying data.

  102. #102 Stephanie Z
    November 3, 2010

    dhex, catch up on the link at comment 60 and all the rest of the discussion around it, then join the conversation with something more than saying we should look at more than just one stat.

    Jennifer, “Really?” Yes. Or did you mean how I know? I did the analysis. I linked to it as well. Applying it to me simply means that I don’t think there’s any magic or special status that accrues to me to make me immune from my own analysis. If you think you’ve got something that makes you immune to being one of the 20% of adult women who experience a depressive episode, by all means, sneer at those who experience it. If you think you’re immune to your gun behaving badly, by all means, sneer at those who experience accidental shootings. If you think that being around you is such a treat that no one who could get a hold of your gun would ever be tempted to shoot you, think again.

  103. #103 Warren
    November 3, 2010

    Stephanie Z:

    “Warren, the data on suicide is also available. Gun suicides succeed at approximately three times the rate of the next most effective method–not all methods, just the next most effective one.”

    I don’t believe I asserted anything to the contrary. All I said was that I’m not certain the presence of a firearm is a de facto consideration in the decision to commit suicide. It might make it a lot more convenient, but I don’t think it affects the decision of a really committed person.

    The success rate for gun suicides is surely directly related to the amount of physical trauma a gun inflicts, coupled with the speed – that is, once the trigger has been pulled, there’s essentially no time for others to effect a rescue. This may not be the case with something slower, such as hanging, when a rescuer might have a window of several minutes to offer useful aid.

    Interestingly, the CDC reports that suicide by firearm among 10-14 year olds was on the decline from 1992 to 2001, with suicide by suffocation on the rise – to the point that suffocation-related suicides were actually above gun-related ones. (I don’t know if they considered autoerotic asphyxiation as a factor or not.)

    Over that same period, gun deaths among teens from 15 to 19 were also on the decline, while suffocation deaths were on the rise.

    I can’t begin to guess why the gun stats would be going down, with suffocation going up, unless it has something to do with the aforementioned autoerotic situation – or possibly a reduction in firearm availability in homes. Maybe the guns are being locked away more safely, or trigger locks are being installed and are working; or maybe parents just aren’t buying guns like they used to.

    However, this doesn’t seem to change the fact that a committed teen will kill himself if he chooses to do so, by any means available to him. Thus, I’m not sure that talking about successful suicides (as opposed to attempts) is anything much more than hair-splitting.

    Full report here:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5322a2.htm

    Additionally, Info Please seems to indicate that (up to 2003) the death rates by firearms seem to have been holding relatively steady, after undergoing a decline:

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0764212.html

    This would suggest that something changed. I don’t know when the use of trigger locks became widespread, but I believe it was after 2003, so I don’t think that would be a factor. Maybe background checks?

    These stats, however, just deal with gun deaths in general, not suicides specifically.

    What I seem to be unable to find is how suicide methods have changed in the last century. I don’t know if the percentage of gun suicides has gone up, down, or held steady since 1900, and I don’t know how those numbers compare to other methods.

    “The rest of your comment is dealing with straw liberals, so I won’t bother.”

    Is it? So there are no liberals* that (1) want to see firearms taken away from law-abiding US citizens; and (2) feel it’s inappropriate to consider all Muslims a threat because of the actions of a few?

    Somehow, I doubt that.

    ==

    * I classify myself as a liberal, for the record – actually, I’m socialist and proud of it!

  104. #104 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    “I generally don’t incite that kind of reaction.”

    Jason, most people who are highly obnoxious think this about themselves, perhaps because of a bit of denial and because those around you are more polite than you give them credit for.

    I agree with the questions above: You seem willing to justify that a certain number of people die (due to gun accidents, easy suicides, etc) so you can have your fucking toys. that pretty much makes you a selfish, inconsiderate, dangerous nut case.

  105. #105 JasonL
    November 3, 2010

    We are all nutcases. We accept a certain number of deaths for cars that go faster than safety maximizing would suggest. We accept a certain number of deaths so people can eat things that are bad for them. We accept a certain number of deaths because we want household cleaning agents. Obviously, that list keeps going. It’s feels like a red herring to treat guns as uniquely subject to a Death Calculation or whatever we want to call it. Risk is, and even granting the premise, we strike a balance in favor of permitting toys all the time.

    I of course would dispute the toys premise. None of these other things touch on something as fundamental as the right of self protection. If we implement a 35 mph speed limit, we are guilty of restricting mobility and commerce to some degree. If we implement a ban on private firearms, we are accomplices in every crime in which a private party would have justifiably chosen to fight. Is there really no legitimate action of self defence? It’s all toys?

    Finally, the casual treatment of that population who deterred a violent crime (murder, assault, forcible rape as I recall from Stephanie’s link)with a firearm is sort of shocking. They don’t enter the calculation at all. They are spoken of as though they are all sitting around telling jokes. These are murders, assaults, and rapes that didn’t happen, and that probably should count for something. How to weigh it against a suicide is going to be tied to one’s view of choice and moral agency, but in any reasonable comparison those deterred events have to count at least a little.

  106. #106 Jake Boone
    November 3, 2010

    Greg,

    You’ve certainly shown that the JasonL in your head is a terrible, violent, dangerous person, but I’m not seeing how your charges are supported by the things that the real JasonL has actually said. Unless you and he have history somewhere else, I suspect you may be putting words in his mouth based on what you expect to see, instead of what’s really there, ’cause I’m having trouble coming up with any other explanation that would make your reaction seem at all reasonable.

    Perhaps this “conversation” has indeed progressed past the point where people look dispassionately at facts to try to get to the truth of the matter (whatever that truth may be). If so, that would be a shame.

    Is there any chance of closing off the vitriol spigot and having a rational discussion at this point, or is it simply a lost cause?

  107. #107 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    JasonL:

    “We are all nutcases. We accept a certain number of deaths for cars that go faster than safety maximizing would suggest.”

    I agree with you there.

    “We accept a certain number of deaths so people can eat things that are bad for them.”

    This, you will need to explain.

    “We accept a certain number of deaths because we want household cleaning agents. ”

    There is a federal law that makes it a felony to ignore the safety instructions on household cleaners. I’ll bet you didn’t know that. If a child dies because she drinks the draino, the parents can be charged. This is fairly new.

    I’m saying that similar regulations and laws should be in place for guns. You are saying not, apparently.

    “If we implement a ban on private firearms, we are accomplices in every crime in which a private party would have justifiably chosen to fight. ”

    Try making an argument like that stick in a tort case. You won’t get far.

    “I of course would dispute the toys premise.”

    Yes, I know you would. You don’t want to admit that your need for these toys is primary, because it makes you into some kind of monster. Nobody wants to admit that about themselves.

    “Finally”

    I doubt that.

    “These are murders, assaults, and rapes that didn’t happen, and that probably should count for something. ”

    Of course it counts for something. But I can’t believe you are insisting that this count at the same time you are tossing away the lives of thousands of teenagers who killed themselves easily (but otherwise likely would not have) because daddy needed to play with his toys and did not lock them up properly.

    Yes, indeed, the word monster does keep coming to mind here.

  108. #108 Warren
    November 3, 2010

    I doubt you meant it to come across this way, Greg, but by referring to firearms as “toys”, you’ve suggested a mindset similar to the one I brought up in comment #96:

    “These same liberal-minded people seem to want to act as parental authorities over other, self-actualized, independent adults, asserting that individual decisions done legally, without any criminal behavior undertaken, are somehow morally repugnant[.]“

    By demeaning firearms as playthings (which, as you know, they assuredly are not), the implication is that you’re somehow the parent who has the right – and duty – to discipline a wayward child.

    Again, I don’t believe you intended to be read in that fashion, but I hope you can understand how such an implicit tone might get some people’s hackles up.

  109. #109 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    Jake:

    “You’ve certainly shown that the JasonL in your head is a terrible, violent, dangerous person, ”

    “In your head” may be the operative term here. I didn’t say any of those things. I don’t thing you have to be a terrible violent dangerious person to kill someone with a firearm that you shouldn’t be using, or to leave one around so some visiting teenager can kill himself with it, etc.

    “I suspect you may be putting words in his mouth based on what you expect to see, instead of what’s really there”

    No, actually, that is what JasonL is doing, and a couple of others (more so than JasonL) up stream, assuming the usual polarized positions. As I’ve said. Many times.

    “Is there any chance of closing off the vitriol spigot and having a rational discussion at this point, or is it simply a lost cause?”

    This post is the 45th post on this blog on this topic. See:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/politics/gun_ownership/

    Again and again NRA symp gun nuts show up with the assumption of the usual polarized argument. Me and regular cementers such as Stephanie, Sailor, others who would prefer there to be legal and reasonable gun ownership are often assumed to be interested in banning all guns now no matter what, get yelled at for a while, then the NRA puppets go away, only to come back and do the same thing next time.

    For instance, I’ve asked several times that the public routinely be told the source of the gun used in various shootings, and this has led to the assumption that I want to ban all guns. That’s like saying that if I want to know who left the keys in the car at the mall, the car stolen and run over someone, that I want to ban all cars. It is a stupid assumption to make, but the NRA symps and gun nuts are generally just that … utterly stupid. I’ve proven that 45 times.

    This particular thread and the last few, by the way, have actually involved more useful and reasonable discussion than the earlier threads. I think some of the NRA puppets are afraid to come back.

    Now, I have a question for you: What is the link between you and JasonL that leads to your somewhat strange and enigmatic defense of him? What is YOUR unrevealed conversation?

    So no, the answer to your question

  110. #110 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    “By demeaning firearms as playthings”

    I am not demeaning firearms as playthings. That’s absurd. I’m just overtly stating a truth you know, and other gun owners know. Guns are fun. That is why you want to own them and use them and play around with them.

    “Again, I don’t believe you intended to be read in that fashion, but I hope you can understand how such an implicit tone might get some people’s hackles up.”

    That’s interesting, because if your interpretation (that I demean guns) gets hackles up, knowing what I really mean (that all this bluster about the constitution and protection is a bunch of hoooey and all people are really doing is playing with things that should NOT be thought of as toys, and in the process killing innocent … and sometimes not so innocent … children and others so they can have their fun) should REALLY get hackles up. But it is a little subtle so I’m sure my very insulting point is missed on most of the gun nuts.

  111. #111 Warren
    November 3, 2010

    This comment wasn’t directed at me, but I caught it anyway:

    “I’ve asked several times that the public routinely be told the source of the gun used in various shootings, and this has led to the assumption that I want to ban all guns.”

    This seems like a perfectly reasonable request to make. We’re willing to hold dog-owners responsible if their unleashed pets harm or maul others; it’s just as reasonable to know where a gun used in a crime came from.

    Some of the assumptions about polarization might come from the reality that the entire topic is badly polarized, and the use of inflammatory language (“…leave [a gun] around so some visiting teenager can kill himself with it”) doesn’t do much to reduce the intensity.

    While I’ll absolutely agree that irresponsible gun owners are detestable, and those who use guns in crimes are vile, I believe it’s valid to take exception to the insertion of phrases such as the foregoing. It strikes me as fomenting anger where it’s not necessary for reasoned, measured discussion.

    This, too, wasn’t directed at me, but I felt it was worth highlighting:

    “I can’t believe you are insisting that this count at the same time you are tossing away the lives of thousands of teenagers who killed themselves easily (but otherwise likely would not have) because daddy needed to play with his toys and did not lock them up properly.”

    In comment #106 I included a link to CDC stats that seem to indicate gun suicides are actually on the decrease in youth populations aged 10-19, and are in fact supplanted by suffocation deaths in ages 10 to 14. That is, more youths aged 10 to 14 are killing themselves by means other than firearms.

    This appears to undermine the parenthetical inclusion in your statement.

    This was directed at me:

    “I’m just overtly stating a truth you know, and other gun owners know. Guns are fun. That is why you want to own them and use them and play around with them.”

    Yes, firearms can represent fun; plinking at cans or target shooting can be an entertaining pastime. However, your comment might point back to the suggestion made upthread that you’re essentially putting words in others’ mouths.

    You don’t actually know why I keep firearms. If I really enjoyed playing with them, odds are I’d be at the shooting range every weekend. (I don’t even have a membership there, or with the NRA, in the latter case because I do not agree with their “cold dead hands” politics.) I keep them for self-defense. More accurately, I keep them in case the day ever comes that I might require them for self-defense.

    My plastic phaser is a toy; my .45 is not. I play with one; I keep the other safely tucked away for home protection. I have the ability to differentiate between a toy and a lethal weapon.

    “That’s interesting, because if your interpretation (that I demean guns) gets hackles up [...]“

    That wasn’t my interpretation. My interpretation was that when you describe firearms as toys, you are implicitly setting yourself up to be the wise, all-knowing parent who is ever, indisputably, and infallibly in a position to correct wayward children whose choice of firearm ownership falls into the “naughty” category in your worldview. (Did I not express that lucidly enough in comment #111?)

    In so doing, the discussion with other rational adults gets short-circuited; instead the discussion is re-framed in such a way that anyone who engages in any sort of disagreement with you, regardless of how rational they might be, is perforce implied to be an irresponsible, childish ninny. That is not argument in good faith.

    That said, this has been an interesting exchange, and I appreciate your willingness to host it, even when it seems to go off the rails a bit.

  112. #112 Scotlyn
    November 3, 2010

    For home defense purposes I keep a dog. Friends of ours keep geese, which have proven to be startlingly effective on a couple of known occasions.

    I have no idea what actual stats are, but it would be interesting to compare dog ownership v gun ownership both in terms of effectiveness in actual deterrence and in terms of amount of actual violence or injury (on all sides) resulting from encounters between home owners and home invaders with criminal intent.

  113. #113 Scotlyn
    November 3, 2010

    On second thoughts the dog is home defense strategy no. 2. Strategy No. 1 is the cultivation of excellent relations with my neighbours.

  114. #114 Kolohe
    November 3, 2010

    most people who are highly obnoxious think this about themselves, perhaps because of a bit of denial and because those around you are more polite than you give them credit for.

    Yes, sounds about right.

  115. #115 Jake Boone
    November 3, 2010

    “Me and regular cementers such as Stephanie, Sailor, others who would prefer there to be legal and reasonable gun ownership are often assumed to be interested in banning all guns now no matter what [...]”

    Ah, okay. So what do you consider “legal and reasonable,” then (feel free to construe the “you” as singular or plural, depending on how much consensus you’ve all reached so far)? From the current post (I have not read the previous 45), there seems to be the implication that, whatever the particulars of the “gun control” you favor, it would have somehow stopped this man (assuming the police are correct in their theory; the linked article suggests they don’t actually have a suspect yet) from possessing a firearm. If you’ve already covered your suggested policies in one of your earlier posts, could I trouble you for the link?

    “Again and again NRA symp gun nuts show up with the assumption of the usual polarized argument.”

    Fair enough. I think I can understand the frustration that would cause. I’ll endeavor to avoid falling into the trap of assuming you’re saying what I’d expect the “run-of-the-mill gun control proponent” to say.

    “Now, I have a question for you: What is the link between you and JasonL that leads to your somewhat strange and enigmatic defense of him? What is YOUR unrevealed conversation?”

    My connection with JasonL is that of someone who’s seen his posts on other web fora. I’m defending his statements because, in my opinion, he generally comes across as an honest debater (in sharp contrast to my impression of, for example, King whatshisname above), and I find that he usually has well-thought-out reasons for his positions, despite the fact that I disagree with at least some of the ones of which I’ve become aware.

    Unless I misremember, I believe that he lives across the country from me, so it’s not like we’re drinking buddies or anything. I just appreciate honest, open debate about big issues like this one, and I was hoping to see some of that here; I generally learn something by watching.

    (I realize this may come across as a rather lionizing little essay, but all I’m really trying to say is that I respect the guy’s opinions, and I’m reasonably confident that he’s not just an “NRA puppet.” I also realize that my opinion naturally won’t hold much weight with anyone here, but I felt I should say it anyhow.)

    Anyway, I try to stay in the “my opinion is subject to change if that’s where the evidence leads” mindset. I don’t always accomplish that goal, but I’m trying. Some actual debate (sans vitriol) would be welcomed.

  116. #116 dhex
    November 3, 2010

    “Is there any chance of closing off the vitriol spigot and having a rational discussion at this point, or is it simply a lost cause?”

    do you practice writing that with a straight face, or you do just cut and paste between giggle fits?

  117. #117 dhex
    November 3, 2010

    that pretty much makes you a selfish, inconsiderate, dangerous nut case.

    sigh. as a great man once said:

    “Is there any chance of closing off the vitriol spigot and having a rational discussion at this point, or is it simply a lost cause?”

  118. #118 Warren
    November 3, 2010

    Scotlyn:

    “Strategy No. 1 is the cultivation of excellent relations with my neighbours.”

    A reasonable strategy inasmuch as it supports neighbors looking out for one another, but in many (likely most) cases, burglaries and home invasions aren’t perpetrated by neighbors. In those cases I suspect your dog is the preferable strategy. ;)

  119. #119 J sub D
    November 3, 2010

    I guess this wouldn’t be the best place to push my proposal that felons, even those convicted of violent crimes, who have exited the criminal justice system (incarceration, probation, parole) should have the right to bear arms (that is, have an assault rifle in the home, carry a concealed weapon, etc.) just like everybody else. I call it the presumption of rehabilitation.

    I’m a bleeding heart liberal that way.

  120. #120 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    “it would have somehow stopped this man (assuming the police are correct in their theory; the linked article suggests they don’t actually have a suspect yet) from possessing a firearm. ”

    Straw man. That is not a requirement of my argument. Part of what I would like to see happen is a less gun-happy culture, and by less gun happy I don’t me (necessarily) fewer legally owned and operated guns. I mean a culture where the idea of pulling a pistol out to “defend yourself” is NOT the first thing one thinks of, and thus, something like this insane event would be less likely.

    Do you not understand that there is a spectrum, with you on one part of it and not too far away the nut who shot the egger, and not too far away from that, the crazy old man down the street from me who shot a teenager dead a couple of years ago, etc.?

  121. #121 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    Warren, the last robbery around here was apparently my neighbor (who has moved) being robbed by my other neighbor (who has moved … hopefully they did not move to the same neighborhood!).

  122. #122 mg
    November 3, 2010

    Well, he’ll think twice about throwing eggs next time.

  123. #123 Greg Laden
    November 3, 2010

    Or he’ll just use a gun next time. See the problem!!!!!??????

  124. #124 scidog
    November 4, 2010

    the tipping point on the number of handguns out there was reached some time ago and those who have one want to be the last to give their weapon up,not the first or the 100,000th but the last.

  125. #125 Jake Boone
    November 4, 2010

    “Straw man. That is not a requirement of my argument.”

    Then I’ve clearly misunderstood the point of the last sentence of the original post:

    “Gun control anyone?”

    I took that to mean that you believed this crime would have been prevented had we had more and/or different gun control laws in place than we have currently. Obviously, if I’m incorrect, you meant something else, but I’m not clear on what that might be. Could you clarify?

    “Do you not understand that there is a spectrum, with you on one part of it and not too far away the nut who shot the egger [...]”

    I think a spectrum — by which I mean a one-dimensional line segment — might be a bit too simplistic for a reasonable analysis. Perhaps instead, a two-dimensional map, with the x-axis labeled “pro-gun” and the y-axis labeled “violent.”

    You might (or you might not) place yourself somewhere in the lower left-hand quadrant*, where both of those axes are in the negative numbers. I’d be in the lower right-hand quadrant, where the pro-gun axis is in the positives, but the violence axis is in the negatives. Our shooter from the article would be somewhere in the upper right-hand quadrant.

    In such an analysis, however far away from you I’d be placed, I’m at least equally far away from the shooter. Likewise, I suspect that at least a couple of other people in this thread are also in the lower right. Please don’t assume we sit in the upper right quadrant, just because we’re somewhere on the right-hand side of the map.

    * For the record, “left” and “right” here were chosen only because of the way coordinate systems are generally depicted. I’m not intentionally implying that there’s any correspondence with the way “left” and “right” are used in political discourse.

  126. #126 Brett
    November 4, 2010

    Wow. I had hoped that my followup would at least be picked apart in a bit more rational manner than before, but reading the current comments I understand why that didn’t happen. Greg seems to categorically dismiss anyone with an even slightly differing opinion to his. This is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, but I’ll just touch on a few, without the (obscenely) extended response, as I am pressed for time. Greg, email me with the specific points and I will address each in turn should you wish to actually convert me to your ideological stances, or simply desire a productive debate. Or not, as you will.

    First, wrestling with our sense of reality should be a daily required phenomenon. Apparently Greg thinks that this is not a virtue. By debating in a rational manner we can more closely approach a truth based on its merit, not merely the vehemence of those who propose to know it.

    Second (but related to the first), ad-hominem attacks are not arguments. A majority of Greg’s responses to others include them, and then when calling out supposed “straw-men” arguments it becomes apparent that he is hypocritical (there are debating rules after all, according to him). Those who effect positive (in the humanistic sense) policy changes are very useful to an evolving society (which we are). My personal opinion on the matter is that vitriol and ad-hominem attack are not conducive to converting people with a differing view. It seems to me that if Greg desired policy changes he would try to win others over. Apparently I was wrong.

    Third, I agree that suicide is a problem in general, and is especially disconcerting when analyzing statistics for young people. Guns are not the cause of suicide. A person’s mental state is. I shouldn’t have to cite data for that assertion. As I said, a teen committed to suicide doesn’t need a gun. Here, committed implies that it will happen no matter what. Not sure what got lost in translation. Try reading a dictionary.

    Fourth, anecdotal evidence is always a contradiction in terms. It can help to support actual data by driving the point home, but on its own can not withstand scrutiny. It actually makes my head hurt to realize Greg hasn’t come to this conclusion previously. Maybe he believes in UFOs and astrological predictions? There is certainly plenty of anecdotal evidence for those.

    Finally, Greg’s complete dismissal of my final point previously also disappointed me. I stated it very clearly. In post 59 point 5 Greg advocates that in cases in which “there are already too many” or “criminals would still do what they want” and subsequently suggests that this same logic should be applied to all laws, or to shut up. He seems to have less than a basic grasp of checks and balances, judicial law, or legislative action, not to mention human rights. This ignorant, “knee-jerk” reaction, is one that sums Greg up for me in total. Also his disciples that follow his same prerogative. Try having your own opinion time to time.

    -Brett

  127. #127 Warren
    November 4, 2010

    Greg:

    “Warren, the last robbery around here was apparently my neighbor [...]“

    :D Okay, I did say probably on that one. Besides, you know that’s anecdotal…

  128. #128 Greg Laden
    November 4, 2010

    “Could you clarify?” .. I did, in the comment you seem to be ingoring. Are we now left with sophistic remarks in which literary devices will be teased apart? Why don’t you go to the title of the post, ignore the intended irony, and ask me what I meant about that?

    “by which I mean a one-dimensional line segment — might be a bit too simplistic for a reasonable analysis. Perhaps instead, a two-dimensional map, with the x-axis labeled “pro-gun” and the y-axis labeled “violent.””

    I agree.

    Brett: what a bunch of silly hogwash. Please get back on topic, or at least, if you are going to go off topic, be briefer about it!

  129. #129 Warren
    November 4, 2010

    J sub D, your point of view might bear more weight if there were a preponderance of evidence that we have an effective, dependable rehabilitation system in place for prisoners. Given that many prisons seem more focused on punishment than rehabilitation, I’m not sure that’s a valid conclusion.

  130. #130 Jake Boone
    November 4, 2010

    “‘Could you clarify?’ .. I did, in the comment you seem to be ingoring.”

    If I’m ignoring any of your comments, I’m not doing it on purpose. Likewise, my intent is not to engage in any semantic games. Are you referring to #59, where you list some things that are “on the table” from previous conversations? If so, I didn’t assume that “on the table” and “Greg’s opinions” were necessarily the same thing.

  131. #131 Greg Laden
    November 4, 2010

    Straw man. That is not a requirement of my argument. Part of what I would like to see happen is a less gun-happy culture, and by less gun happy I don’t me (necessarily) fewer legally owned and operated guns. I mean a culture where the idea of pulling a pistol out to “defend yourself” is NOT the first thing one thinks of, and thus, something like this insane event would be less likely.

    Do you not understand that there is a spectrum, with you on one part of it and not too far away the nut who shot the egger, and not too far away from that, the crazy old man down the street from me who shot a teenager dead a couple of years ago, etc.?

  132. #132 Warren
    November 4, 2010

    Greg:

    “[T]here is a spectrum, with you on one part of it and not too far away the nut who shot the egger, and not too far away from that, the crazy old man down the street from me who shot a teenager dead a couple of years ago, etc.”

    Sure there is, and it’s not just gun-owners that are on it. You’re getting into discussion of mental unbalance and misanthropy in general, which is no more relevant to firearm ownership than it is to ownership of any other kind of weapon.

    To be fair, though, here’s a little story. I mentioned upthread all the local terror that Obama was going to take away everyone’s phallic symbols firearms the day after he took office.

    One of the gun shops here was selling Israeli-made AK-47 clones (rigged so they wouldn’t fire full auto), and one of his customers said he was planning to come back later that day and buy ten of them, at $500 a pop. He wanted to be able to defend himself against the Big Bad Fed.

    It’s those gun owners, above all others, that make me feel I need protection. They scare me a lot more than random burglars, muggers, etc. And this town is absolutely crawling with them.

  133. #133 Greg Laden
    November 4, 2010

    Warren, I have similar feelings.

  134. #134 jose
    November 13, 2010

    “Gun control freaks scare me sometimes. They make me wonder what their plans are for us after they disarm us.”

    How about living happier and safer and a little less paranoid, like, you know, the rest of the industrialized world?

  135. #135 jose
    November 13, 2010

    I’m sorry, but the idea of buying guns to defend oneself against the government is just hilarious.

  136. #136 John
    December 12, 2010

    This is a sensative issue, this is why we live in the USA and get arguments for all sides. My point is alittle more broad. 1. Our Law Enforcement cannot control all of the crime nor take care of the law abiding public, case in point the gang problems in our cities. Police give up when there is gang involvement its to large to controll. 2nd we need to take care of our own. Belive me when I tell you during a home invasion you need to protect yourself and family. Weather you do it with a gun or not is your peragative. Just remember thieves will always have guns, will you? Stick to the gang issue in the US its out of control, look at Arizona they need military help with the cartels, waht message is being sent to all of the ethnic gangs? There are rumors they (gangs) are joining forces to move more product (drugs). As our economy gets worse crime is on the rise, when was the last time you noticied your police force getting larger? If the lawless played by the rules we would not need to arm ourselves—-they don’t.

  137. #137 Canadian Capitalist
    February 15, 2012

    I’ve lived with firearms all of my life. I shot my first ruffed grouse at the age of 12. My brother and I constantly occupied ourselves with target practice using pellet guns. When we became of legal hunting age we would go right from high school (with the 4×4 pickup I worked for)to the river marsh to hunt ducks. There was three of us that hunted together all the time which meant there was always three twelve guage shotguns in the window rack, no case or trigger locks and the door was never locked. At times we would take our guns right into school so we could work on them in “Woodworking Class”. There was probably about a dozen of us hard core hunters that brought their guns to school to work on. Machine Shop and Wood Working always required projects and we had them with our guns.
    WHAT THE F _ _ K changed in life today???? I’ll tell you what changed…more liberal influence, people got soft and pathetically stupid. We became infected with multiculturalism and political correctness. The liberals guaranteed the vote by allowing a deluge of “non-traditonal” immigrants. They brought with them a hate filled philosophy and destructive culture that knew only the “GUN” The phony liberals knew that these primitive tribes could not be allowed firearms but they couldn’t discriminate by preventing them from owning weapons so they tried to take them from all of us. Register first and confiscate later.
    With respect to “packing”. The only person that ends up dead is the one that deserves it…nobody else. Legitimate firearm’s owners are the safest most trustworthy members of society there are. The world is a different place, this country is a different place. At one time we didn’t have to worry about our neighbors because we were all Westernized…unlike today we don’t know what culture wants to do what…to us. Pack to survive.
    Canadian Capitalist

  138. #138 Greg Laden
    February 16, 2012

    You must be from Alberta.