Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

According to nutty gun-lover Ted Nugent, school shootings like Virginia Tech could be avoided if we all toted guns, and has the anecdotes to prove it! There are so many gems in this piece. For example:

Already spineless gun control advocates are squawking like chickens with their tiny-brained heads chopped off, making political hay over this most recent, devastating Virginia Tech massacre, when in fact it is their own forced gun-free zone policy that enabled the unchallenged methodical murder of 32 people.

No one was foolish enough to debate Ryder truck regulations or ammonia nitrate restrictions or a “cult of agriculture fertilizer” following the unabashed evil of Timothy McVeigh’s heinous crime against America on that fateful day in Oklahoma City. No one faulted kitchen utensils or other hardware of choice after Jeffrey Dahmer was caught drugging, mutilating, raping, murdering and cannibalizing his victims. Nobody wanted “steak knife control” as they autopsied the dead nurses in Chicago, Illinois, as Richard Speck went on trial for mass murder.

Not sure what scares me more. That people like Ted Nugent are famous enough to be listened to or that people will actually listen. I’m too pissed to comment further.

UPDATE: I emailed CNN a comment in response (I tried very hard to be civil)

I am a student at a large university. An America where I felt so unsafe as to feel compelled to take a loaded gun to school to “protect myself” is not an America I would want to live in. We are a violent enough culture as-is, with thousands of people killed yearly in gun-free and non-gun free zones. Mr. Nugent relies too much on anecdotal evidence instead of real statistics, and frankly I’m saddened to see him taking advantage of this situation to blame the people who instituted law to protect people from the guns he loves so much. Many of those “cowardly activists” are the parents of people who lost children in Columbine.

Comments

  1. #1 Pro Choice Gal
    April 20, 2007

    I thought liberals were pro choice?

    If you want to carry a gun, do so.

    If not, don’t.

    Pro choice.

  2. #2 Orac
    April 20, 2007

    Actually, in medicine we have say that emanations like this are the result of two neurons connected by a spirochete.

  3. #3 Shelley
    April 20, 2007

    Heh. Well, that could explain it as well….

    I hope theres no Kevlar-free zones in the America that Nugent proposes.

  4. #4 Shelley
    April 20, 2007

    I thought liberals were pro choice?
    If you want to carry a gun, do so.
    If not, don’t.
    Pro choice.

    Pro choice gal: Wonder if you also extend the same courtesy to the VT’s choice to kill 32 people.

    What an awful argument.

  5. #5 Roy
    April 20, 2007

    I… I can’t get past that first line.
    I mean… if you’ve cut the head off, then the chicken can’t squawk anymore, right? So… urm… is he trying to say that gun control advocates are… staying silent?

    Gah.

  6. #6 Shelley
    April 20, 2007

    The fact that Ted Nugent thinks that a chicken with its head cut off can squawk makes his opinions about guns much more understandable.

    There’s that one neuron again…I think I hear it……

  7. #7 Maureen Lycaon
    April 20, 2007

    Ahh, good ol’ Ted Nugent . . . he’s a one-man freak show. You know how he bragged about dodging the Vietnam draft, right?

  8. #8 Gerard Harbison
    April 20, 2007

    Let me see if I get the logic here.

    Guns were banned on the VT campus. Mr. Cho ignored the ban and killed 32 people.

    The solution is to institute more gun bans.

    Is that it?

  9. #9 lesser being of leisure
    April 20, 2007

    “Not sure what scares me more. That people like Ted Nugent are famous enough to be listened to or that people will actually listen”

    No kidding!

  10. #10 bigTom
    April 20, 2007

    “anecdotal evidence instead of real statistics”
    To the average CNN viewer (and probably reporter as well) that probably sounds like so much gobbledy-gook. You’ll need to use framing to translate (no dumb down) that into something they can understand.

  11. #11 Jim RL
    April 20, 2007

    These right-wing rambo fantasies would be funny if they weren’t so sad. They set up unrealistic dreams of chaotic fire fights. What if not just one, but two conservative heroes bring guns with them. What if the police get there and find two or three people shooting at each other? More guns would’ve made the situation more chaotic and could have easily led to more unnecessary deaths.

    Quite frankly I’d be happier if just two less guns were on campus that day.

  12. #12 Skip
    April 20, 2007

    I highly suggest you people READ the statistics of what happens when you disarm a country. Think..SUDAN where the only ones that are legal to carry guns are wholesale killing off the ones that can’t. The only ones stopping them or even slowing them down are the illegal gun owners.

    Ted Nugent may not be the most politically correct or smartest by education but he IS right.

  13. #13 Jon H
    April 20, 2007

    “gun free zone” seems to be the new word the NRA is pushing. Some woman was on the BBC who had been at the Killeen, Texas restaurant shootings in 1991, and she was pushing the same point.

    The idea is that the killers seek out these ‘gun free zones’ and avoid ‘gun zones’.

    This is plainly false.

    The killers seek out target-rich environments, often indoor gathering places like cafeterias or the library. I don’t think VT or Columbine would have turned out any different had students and teachers been carrying guns. The killers *want* to die, and the gun that eventually brings them down is the one in their own hand. Why would packing be a deterrent?

  14. #14 Aaron
    April 20, 2007

    I fail to see an argument from the anti-gun side here. Just bashing on Nugent. No actual statistics or anything, just making fun of someone who has presented an arguement, and speculation that provides the assumption that gun bans work. Gun bans don’t work. Chicago and DC are great examples of extremely violent areas that do not allow conceiled weapons. Seattle, where I live, is not nearly as dangerous, yet has little in the way of gun restrictions. Gun bans only take the guns away from the law-abiding. I wish we lived in a world where the 125 million guns in the US could just disappear, but even with the best possible ban, they wouldn’t. It’s not possible. Criminals will always have weapons. Disarming the law-abiding does not help prevent crime. It should. But it doesn’t.

  15. #15 Charlie (Colorado)
    April 20, 2007

    I’m pretty sure that this is the first time Ted Nugent has been considered in the light of the scientific validity of his opinion.

    That said, the argument either way runs into real problems: take the side of gun control and you run into things like the town that requires gun ownership by all households and hasn’t had a violent crime in twenty-plus years. On the other side, you have occasional random mass murders and the obvious truism that if you don’t have guns at *all* it’s hard to have gun crime. The Roman Republic had no gun crime problem at all. Look at Europe, and you’ve got the Swiss, with a low murder rate and nearly 100 percent gun ownership, and Britain with a near-complete ban and a rate of violent crime that has grown to be much higher than the US — since the ban was passed.

    It might be worth considering whether the gun really isn’t correlated to the crime at all.

  16. #16 Bob Abu
    April 20, 2007

    Here in New York City, a few years ago, they instituted a law against marijuana. Now, you can’t get it anywhere.

    Banning guns, and taking the guns away from those who legally have them now, will work like magic, it will bring peace and tranquility and even love to the good old USA.

  17. #17 David McCabe
    April 20, 2007

    First time reading your blog, Ms. Batts. This is my impression:

    Ted Nugent is an uncouth redneck who started his blog post with a stupid mixed clich metaphor. What of it? Maybe you’re “too pissed to comment further” because you haven’t actually thought any further. That, at least, is what the reader is left with from your scorn-and-run post.

    As much as I share your distaste for Nugent’s style, I have to say, this post is a lot of self-righteous squawking.

  18. #18 kemibe
    April 21, 2007

    Nugent has the right idea but fails to extend his theory far enough. Forget guns; if we could all carry around tactical nukes, no one would dare fuck with anyone else and the homicide rate would drop to zero, as would burglaries, carjackings, bank robberies — crime in generalwould disappear. Use your heads!

    The lib nanny-staters will whine that there would be a massive number of deaths from the accidental detonation of these devices or their acquisition by nutbags, but they’re alarmist morons who ignore the fact that the devices will come with easy-to-follow instruction manuals. And I repeat one more time for the idiots: If everyone were armed with a nuclear weapon, no one would dare fuck with anyone else. Would you try to mug a guy with a neutron bomb slung over hsi shoulder? Case closed.

    I hate it when people fail to see how easy the path to a crime-free citizenry really is. If people don’t understand that the key to preventing deaths resulting from the availability of automatic weapons, nukes, is to make them more powerful and more readily available.

    Say, anyone know where I can order some plague bacteria? My neighbor’s dog keeps shitting in the petunias.

  19. #19 Ian
    April 21, 2007

    Gee Skip:
    “I highly suggest you people READ the statistics of what happens when you disarm a country. Think..SUDAN where the only ones that are legal to carry guns are wholesale killing off the ones that can’t. The only ones stopping them or even slowing them down are the illegal gun owners.”

    That’s an interesting choice of example, since most of the killing in Sudan is being done by non-government Militias (ergo: they must have an entrenched right to bear arms).

    I think if you look at the stats from any of the 37 countries that make up the OCED, you’ll find a significant difference in handgun ownership and a significant difference in the numbers of “deaths by firearm”.

    I will, however, concede the point that “gun control” (i.e.: registration, licensing & restriction) is unlikely to have much effect.

    I offer for your consideration the idea (just a “soft” generalization here) that the problem is not “guns” (although access to firearms adds a volatile fuel to the fire), the problem is the United States is a culture of fear. You are governed by fear, managed by fear, live in fear. You are taught to believe you need to protect yourself from “the others” (which seems to include the very people you?ve elected to serve you) and a gun is the tool you need to do that.

    “God made men, Col. Colt made them equal”.
    “Peace through superior firepower”
    “If you’re not with us, you’re against us”

    Look at your male cultural icons, Cowboys and Cops, and in how many movies are people glorified for doing exactly what Seung-Hui Cho did?

    From Shane to Die Hard, teach people if they get trampled on, get a gun..fight back..be a hero

    (Even Harry Callaghan got his coffee spilled by those punks he shot)

    So, for my 2 yen worth you could address this problem by eliminating the obscene number of handguns and assault rifles in the hands of the American citizenry or, as a country, you might make an attempt to grow out of your adolescence.

    Thanks for letting me vent…

  20. #20 Terry
    April 21, 2007

    For starters, I am a 32 year law enforcement veteran,with a college degree, a democrat, and long time member of the NRA. When a senseless tragedy like the recent one in Virginia strikes, emotions run high and rhetoric sometimes shrouds the common sense behind the words. Mr Nugent makes the correct statement that gun free zones don’t work. Gun free couuntries don’t either. Withing the last two days the mayor of a major Japanese city was shot by a local crime lord. Japan has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world. At the same time, they have had three political figures assassinated in modern times with various forms of cutlery. The Virginia Tech shootings also points up that the police won’t be there to save you. They were only a half mile away when the second shooting started. I agree with Mr. Nugent that self defense is a must for survival, and many people have decided that they are not going to be victims. If you choose to be a victim that is certainly your right. It is also the right of others not to be. It is simply not possible to confiscate every gun in this country or any other. You can make a gun out of a couple pieces of pipe and a nail. If a maniac so bent on human destruction can’t find a gun, he can find the instructions on the web to make a bomb out of ordinary items found in anyones kitchen, and take out a couple of hundred people and the building they are in. Utopia does not and will never exist. This terrible tragedy in Virginia comes on the heels of other recent school shootings. This rash if you will, strikes at the heart of our need to protect or most precious asset, our next generation. Because of this we tend speak with emotion rather than logic. Instead of name calling, shouting and meaningless poking of holes in the air, there is a real need for logical, cooler heads to come together and find a working solution to securing our schools. We are not the only country with this problem. Russia had a major tragedy in 2004 when terrorists took over a school wounding over 700, killing over 350, including 172 students. Canada recently had a shooting at a university campus. Virginia authorities need to be commended for continuing their efforts to unravel the mystery as to why? Perhaps this will provide insight to prevent another such incident. Further, it is obvious that many issues played a part in this senseless incident. Obviously the mental health laws need to be revisited. It is almost universal, across this country, that if someone is mentally ill, it is tough to do anything about them till they commit a crime. All mental health commitments, whether, in house or outpatient need to be reported for background checks for gun purchases. Currently only in house commitments are apparently being reported in Virginia. Probably other states as well. Background checks do work if the information is there. How many times, when something such as this happens have to we hear the terms of loner, quiet, uncommunicative, sullen, wrote strange things, and stalked women. Then everyone says they can’t figure out what set him off. these people are walking time bombs. Anything can set them off, real or imagined. Everyone usually sees the signs, but won’t take the time to follow through. The police in most jurisdictions are over worked and often work with limited resources. If at first nothing appears to be getting done about such and individual, don’t hesitate to follow up with authorities. Make people aware of the problem. Don’t turn your back and think it is nothing. A magistrate is not the last word. If it is your school, your place of employment or your neighborhood, you have a right to see to it that it is safe for yourself and your family.

    Safe, responsible gun ownership, is what honest citizens practice. They aren’t out shooting up the neighborhoods. I have never seen an honest citizen commit a felony gun crime. However, I have had armed citizens assist me in the past, some at my request, and some volunteered. Hang in there Ted, no question you are getting the attention of a lot of people and that is good for the debate.

  21. #21 Science Avenger
    April 21, 2007

    Mr. Nugent relies too much on anecdotal evidence instead of real statistics

    I agree with the abstract sentiment Shelley, but this isn’t global warming, much less evolution, where the evidence is solidly, if not entirely, on one side of the argument. This is an issue where data that can withstand the slightest statistical scrutiny is rare, at least what I’ve seen in the popular media.

    I have no love whatever for guns. The only one I own was a gift and I haven’t shot it in years. Here in Texas, that practically makes me a Commie. I got interested in the subject for two reasons: First was my anecdotal experience of being frequently in the presence of arsenals of friends and such that would make your stereotypical Frenchman pee his pants, and yet no one I’ve ever known has ever been involved in a shooting of any kind. Secondly, I consistently saw completely tortured logic and abuse of statistics from the gun control people. For sure the pro-gun guys have their share of goofy arguments, but they are usually philosophical (radical libertarianism, rigid contructionism). The idiotic statistical arguments always seemed to come from the left, such as a gun in the home being 43 times as likely to kill a family member as a criminal, or England having a lower gun homicide rate than the U.S., and other such twaddle.

    I’m an actuary. I like data and I know what to do with it. So give me some that takes into account sociological and other critical variables necessary to draw a solid conclusion. Don’t tell me gun control works because England has a lower gun homicide rate than the U.S. That sort of analysis would earn one an F in introductory statistics. Give me some data where the people actually know WTF they are doing. Do it, and you will get a very loud statistically informed ally in your cause. I’ve never seen any that warranted the smug dismissal of the alternate view that I see so often in these discussions, but I can be persuaded.

  22. #22 Baratos
    April 21, 2007

    The idiotic statistical arguments always seemed to come from the left, such as a gun in the home being 43 times as likely to kill a family member as a criminal, or England having a lower gun homicide rate than the U.S., and other such twaddle.

    But England DOES have a lower gun casualty rate than the US. And so do the following: Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Austrailia, New Zealand, France, Norway, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and a few others I cant remember. When you plot the percent of households with guns, and then lay it over a plot of gun fatality rates, all the nations remain in the same order. I got all that from here:
    http://pearlyabraham.tripod.com/htmls/myth-guns2.html

    Oh, and I would like to point out before you go there that the site appears quite old, from the 90s in fact.

  23. #23 Lauren the Fish
    April 21, 2007

    I am always disappointed when I observe scientists abandon logic in favor of dogma.

    Law-abiding citizens do not represent a danger to others.
    Law-abiding citizens obey gun prohibitions.
    Law-abiding citizens do not use guns to commit crimes.
    Psychopathic criminals represent a danger to others.
    Psychopathic criminals do not obey gun prohibitions.
    Psychopathic criminals use guns to commit crimes.

    IF
    an entity enacts gun prohibitions
    THEN
    Psychopathic criminals’ not obey the prohibitions, and will be armed.
    Law-abiding citizens will obey the prohibitions, and will not be armed.
    THEREFORE
    Law-abiding citizens will be defenseless and at the mercy of psychopathic criminals.

    As I pointed out elsewhere;
    …while it’s impossible to know what would’ve transpired if the VA Tech campus didn’t prohibit carrying guns, this is certain: Cho might’ve had second thoughts. He might’ve reconsidered.
    And if just one student or teacher he encountered had been carrying a pistol, the body count would’ve been lower.

    So to restate: If the school didn’t prohibit guns, the death toll would not have been any higher – but it definitely could have been lower.

    Therefore, prohibiting the possession of guns by noncriminals does absolutely nothing except to put all law-abiding citizens at increased risk of injury or death at the hands of armed criminals.

    I have been unsuccessful in finding anyone to refute this. Anti-gun people cannot formulate a rational response to this other than to concede – and this their ideology prevents them doing, so they simply go silent.

  24. #24 Albatrossity
    April 21, 2007

    Nugent is clearly a self-serving ass, so let’s get that out of the way immediately. Then let’s get to the point.

    I also work on a college campus. If you have forgotten what it was like to be 19 or 20, and how volatile your feelings were during that time period, then head to a college campus and refresh your memory. Issues revolving around girlfriends, boyfriends, jobs, grades, roommates, parking, sports teams, overdue assignments, etc have clouded the judgement of just about everyone on every campus. The notion that I should feel safer if some proportion of those folks were packing guns is ludicrous.

    The second point is to get some perspective on this issue, which is difficult to do when we are so close to a tragedy. But ask yourself “How common is this sort of thing?” Does it happen daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? NO. Why do you think that might be the case? Perhaps it is because college campuses in this country are gun-free zones. Do we want to test this hypothesis? Speaking only for myself, I’d have to vote an emphatic NO!

    The rush to turn this country into an armed camp is frightening. If you all really want to live in a country like that, I hear that there are lots of empty apartments in Bagdad.

  25. #25 Science Avenger
    April 21, 2007

    Jon H said: I don’t think VT or Columbine would have turned out any different had students and teachers been carrying guns. The killers *want* to die, and the gun that eventually brings them down is the one in their own hand. Why would packing be a deterrent?

    Of course it would have turned out differently. Had the teacher at the door been armed, the conflict might have ended right there. Once you assume all the armed potential victims are as good a shot as the attacker, and willing to shoot back once they see what is happening, just do the math. It obvious it would likely have turned out very differently.

    But who cares? That’s the wrong question. The relevant question is “Would fewer innocent people have died at Va. Tech all year were they all armed?”, not just that day. After all, we couldn’t know when an attack was going to happen, so everyone would have to be armed 24/7 to make sure they were all armed during an attack.

    All college students? All armed all the time? OK, maybe college has changed a lot since I was there, but no fucking way. That would be madness.

    It seems to me there is a fallacy of false choices going on here: Everyone armed vs nobody armed. How about “only the most trustworthy, coolheaded, dependable members of society armed”? Say 10% of the populace. Now how does that play out? It seems to me if we are going to realistically address the issue of guns for defense of a group, that is the sort of scenario we should consider, not these polar extremes.

  26. #26 Till
    April 21, 2007

    Terry,

    you know of course that the crime rate in Japan is only a fraction of that of the USA? Saying that gun control makes a country unsafe because there are still shootings in these countries is as inane as saying police doesn’t reduce crime because there is still crime in cities with police.

    of course the fact that Japan, Australia, the countries of the EU etc. have vastly better crime statistics then the USA doesn’t mean that guns generally makes a country unsafe (which is something that I don’t really belief) – but it invalidates the argument that a country need guns to be safe.

  27. #27 Redneck32
    April 21, 2007

    Guntown usa. Kennesaw,Ga. look it up if you haven’t heard about it. Where it is illegal not to own a gun with a few exceptions. Three murders since 1982. I challenge anyone to find me a liberal town or city with “gun free zones” to better this. Libs will never make sense to me. It is not about being a “rambo” or a hero in a gun battle. It is about protecting yourself and lives of whom you love. You are all for killing one life for saving another with abortion rights. So why is this any different? You have all been brainwashed by the chastisement of America by the U.N. and the spineless,passifists liberal Democrats that think peace is possible here on earth and can create paradise where it will never exsist.

  28. #28 Lauren the Fish
    April 21, 2007

    Please allow me to expand on my previous, in order to address the most egregious fallacies introduced so far. The same points have been raised elsewhere and disposed of, which is no less appropriate here.

    First, understand, FWIW, that I am a small-L ‘liberal’, though anti-PC. I reject faulty reasoning and ideological dogma from left and right alike. I am not a gun owner, I have never hunted, I belong to no gun organizations, pro or con. I am an aging hippie pacifist – but I am also a realist.

    Oh, and by way of a bit of ad hominem lagniappe, Ted Nugent is indeed a testosterone-poisoned clown. But he, just as the proverbial broken clock, is right on occasion.

    Let me exemplify the mythology which underlies the primary objection with quotes lifted from previous commenters;

    These right-wing rambo fantasies would be funny if they weren’t so sad. They set up unrealistic dreams of chaotic fire fights. What if not just one, but two conservative heroes bring guns with them. What if the police get there and find two or three people shooting at each other? More guns would’ve made the situation more chaotic and could have easily led to more unnecessary deaths.

    • • • • • • •

    I also work on a college campus. If you have forgotten what it was like to be 19 or 20, and how volatile your feelings were during that time period, then head to a college campus and refresh your memory. Issues revolving around girlfriends, boyfriends, jobs, grades, roommates, parking, sports teams, overdue assignments, etc have clouded the judgement of just about everyone on every campus. The notion that I should feel safer if some proportion of those folks were packing guns is ludicrous.

    Classic strawman.
    Let me do a little cut’n'paste of my own words posted in another venue. (I believe if I must plagiarize, I should at least plagiarize from the best.)

    Now we come to today’s supremely idiotic offering, courtesy of Rob, at post #5:

    “Just imagine a whole school full of teenagers packing heat. Shots ring out somewhere, and suddenly everyone is brandishing a gun and looking to be a hero. Who is the actual shooter? Who do you shoot at? Instead of 33 dead, it would have been 3333.”

    Well, that’s idiotically false.

    The anti-drug crusaders use an identical, equally fallacious argument: “If drugs were legal, everyone would be using drugs.”

    Bullshit.
    FACT: Every place where carrying a gun is legal, the number of people who actually do so is quite small. And without that campus prohibition on guns, still only a small number would be motivated to or have need to do so. This has been proven time and again. But ideologues don’t believe in evidence, since they already know they’re right. So they continue to parrot blatant falsehoods.

    As a matter of personal experience, I was living in Florida when their concealed-carry law was passed. The predictions were of massacres galore, that every fender-bender or fistfight would erupt into gunfire.

    It didn’t happen. It never happens. Bad actors don’t bother with complying with the mandatory safety course and stringent restrictions that accompany a concealed permit, only law-abiding citizens, the very people you don’t have to worry about.

    I moved to Texas and was here when I got to witness the exact same sequence of events. The Lege considers legalizing concealed-carry, the anti-gun ideologues trot out the exact same false predictions of Dodge City everywhere, and when the law takes effect and a few citizens avail themselves of it, absolutely nothing happens – except for an indeterminate number of violent crimes are thwarted by armed, responsible citizens. Why can’t the crimes deterred be counted? Because they don’t occur.

    • • • • • • • •

    20 – Ben F

    “My own feeling is that a great number of people carrying guns are ill prepared to use them and are likely to make a situation worse rather than better.”

    And here’re the fatal flaws in that argument:

    (a) A “great number of people” do not take advantage of concealed-carry laws. A very small number does. And this is proven fact.

    (b) Those who take advantage of concealed-carry are NOT “ill-prepared to use them” OR “likely to make a situation worse.” In order to obtain a carry permit, the prospect is required to learn how to handle a gun safely. They are also heavily drilled on the great responsibility that carrying entails – and also made aware of the dire penalties for abusing the carry privilege. These factors are the primary reasons why, doomsayers’ predictions to the contrary notwithstanding, cases of permitholders committing any offense with their licensed pistols are incredibly rare.

    Apparently you think the typical permitholder is spooked by handling their gun, or clumsy, or reckless. This isn’t so, and the virtual nonexistence of mishaps and permit abuse prove it.

    I would call that a watertight refutation. Does someone believe otherwise?

  29. #29 Kagehi
    April 21, 2007

    As sad as it is, I have to agree with the gun advocates here. Not in that they are right that owning guns is a good thing, just that its doesn’t make a fracking difference from the perspective of what the criminals are likely to do. That said, its also possible for the situation in VT to be *every* different in that having a lot of people with guns can escalate things as well. Mistakes can be made, untrained non-cops (and even some times trained cops) can mistake someone grabbing for a cell phone as someone reaching for a gun, etc. Since its not possible to *know* if someone is or isn’t a lone gunman, anyone waving a gun “might” be helping them, so its not unreasonable that you get the defenders being shot at by *other* people trying to defend them. The pro-gun side *never* considers the worst cases scenario, since doing so would call into question why they think the best outcome is the most likely. Same for the anti-gun types, who like to imagine that if no one could own a gun, even the criminals would somehow magically fail to get them.

    No, the problem lies someplace else. And one key problem is that the people that look someplace else babble about “violent culture” and other crap that also makes no sense, in that their “sources” of it invariably end up being a laundry list of games, movies, TV or what ever, that *other* countries are also watching, and yet are not having the same problems *while* watching. The issue is *why* its a problem for the US and what social concepts need to shift to defuse the problem. Banning movies isn’t going to solve the problem any more than banning guns, if the problem is a psychological element that exists “beneath the surface” of **both**.

    Personally, I think the issue is the same as with a lot of our other problems. Ignorance leads to people thinking the world does or should work they way *they* want it to, which leads to delusional thinking, which leads to an inability to tell the real from the imaginary. We spend nearly 16+ years shielding kids from reality and letting them watch junk like Power Rangers, while “protecting” them from stuff that we think “might” have negative effect on them, then wonder why, once they start watching the real things, they can’t deal with them. Sure, this is also anecdotal, but both of my nieces used to watch horror movies, TV shows like the Werewolf one that was on for a while, what we laughably call NC17 cartoons and movies, and we dealt with them by **telling them** it was fake and make believe. Obviously we went slightly wrong, since they are only agnostics, but heh.. lol Still, neither of them joined gangs, got into cults, shot at puppies, or any of the other crap you get from these nuts that can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, think Rambo is a documentary and invoke/blame Jesus as an excuse for all the insane BS they do.

    Frankly, I think the problem is that something close to 50% of the US fundamentally can’t tell, as the old joke about one of our prior leaders went, that Murphy Brown is *not a real person*!, or that half the stuff they see on TV is made up. They have no clue that the reason stuff like Ghost hunters in on Sci-Fi, instead of CNN is because its BS, and are so logic impaired that they can’t figure out why some of use get pissed when The Pet Psychic or Speaking to the Dead, it placed on what are marginally supposed to be science channels. Zombies and demons are real to these people, so instead of laughing at the bad special effects or just reveling in the bad plot, they are cringing in their seats and imagining the damn things actually outside the window.

    By comparison, I might be wrong, but I somehow seriously doubt that the number of fools in any of the countries listed as having lower gun crime, let alone lunatic madmen like at VT, have more than 10% of their populations that suffer from this kind of thinking.

    Worst thing is. As a reaction to *precisely* this kind of event and the imaginary connections people make between them and movies, games, etc., we are pushing for even “more” restriction on who has access to content, what parents can show their kids that society finds “acceptable” and even more dumbed down content on TV for them that is even less devoid of both reality *and* the over the top fiction that old cartoons once had, which even the most dense person would have had a hard time believing to be real. I.e., our made up stuff is becoming less made up so kiddies don’t try truly stupid things that they wouldn’t have, for the most part, tried anyway, and the real stuff is getting bent into junk that is even less real, so they are not traumatized by having to learn what “is” real and what isn’t.

    You want a correlation, consider that the more we do this, the more cases of VT style insanity we have gotten, never mind other social delusions. The problem is imho, that its real easy to point at dozens of people getting shot as a sign of the inability of people in the US to think rationally, but the invention and wide acceptance of something as insane as Scientology is shrugged off as, “Not one of the symptoms of the problem.” Its like we are trying to treat the symptom of a cough, caused by a cold, by assuming it *must* be Hepatitis, so more extreme measures are needed to isolate everyone. All anyone sees in the cough, everything else, including blood work, other symptoms, etc. are all ignored. Same imho, with the rise of delusional thinking in the US since at least the 1980s or so, when the first attempts where made to “Sanatize” TV, movies, games, etc. on the basis that exposing kids to unreality would impair their ability to handle the real world.

    As far as I can tell, its the opposite that is true, since what really happens is that unrealities and fictions that are considered “acceptable”, get promoted as real, other fictions are never encountered or dealt with, or worse, enforce the *acceptable* unrealities, and no one learns to questions *if* anything is real or not. But heh, its just one opinion…

  30. #30 Science Avenger
    April 21, 2007

    Baratos said: But England [and other countries] have a lower gun casualty rate than the US… When you plot the percent of households with guns, and then lay it over a plot of gun fatality rates, all the nations remain in the same order.

    Of course it does. But that tells you exactly squat. The question is: if you tried to remove the guns from the U.S., how much would the TOTAL casualty rate decline? Some of those casualties would have happened anyway, because the attacker would have chosen the next best weapon. Some would get the guns anyway. Some of the guys who killed themselves with the gun will have jumped off a bridge instead.

    Focusing only on gun deaths treats those events as accidents, and we know that the vast majority are not. People die at the hands of guns primarily because the person firing the gun wants them dead (or at least severely harmed). Removing the guns won’t remove that desire, it only takes away the best option to exercise it, and in some cases, the best method of protection. We have to know those proportions to know whether the effect of gun control laws are going to be desireable. Sloppy cross-cultural comparisons don’t cut it.

  31. #31 Bob Abu
    April 21, 2007

    Alexander Cockburn comments on VA Tech

    http://counterpunch.com/

    The Virginia Tech terrible massacre should prompt a radical review of the utility of SWAT teams which now infest almost every community in America. Each time there’s a hostage taking or a mass murderer on the rampage, one sees the same familiar sight: overweight SWAT men, doubled up under the weight of their costly artillery, lumbering along in their body armor and then hiding behind trees or cars or walls while the killer goes about his business. SWAT teams perform most efficiently when shooting down unarmed street people menacing them with cellphones.

    The answer is to disband SWAT teams and kindred military units, and return to the idea of voluntary posses or militias: a speedy assembly of citizen volunteers with their own weapons. Such a body at Columbine or Virginia Tech might have saved many lives. In other words: make the Second Amendment live up to its promise.

  32. #32 Bob Abu
    April 23, 2007

    Bad enough he’s apparently a mass murderer but there are many unanswered questions in this case.

    Cho�s two very short plays that are circulating around the internet, were horribly written. One wonders how he made it to his senior year at Va Tech. I thought that used to be a good school. And he’s an English major? They got some explaining to do there at Va. Tech

    Have the standards declined that much? Maybe he was a minority quota student or something?

    Okay, I know, I know, I should talk and I don’t speak the English to good myself. And as they say “everyone’s a critic’ and people are piling on now that he’s a mass murderer but take a look at his shit and see what I mean

    http://news.aol.com/virginia-tech-shootings/cho-seung-hui/_a/mr-browstone-page-1/20070417142109990001

  33. #33 elspi
    April 23, 2007

    Do less guns mean less crazy people with guns?
    Duh

    http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2007/04/gun_control_in_australia.php

  34. #34 Kagehi
    April 23, 2007

    The answer is to disband SWAT teams and kindred military units, and return to the idea of voluntary posses or militias: a speedy assembly of citizen volunteers with their own weapons.

    Umm, no it isn’t. Mobs do more damage than SWAT teams. The *real* problem is that these people are poorly trained in how to deal with anything “other” than violent conflicts, are equipped, if at all, with stuff only designed to kill people in large numbers, etc. While the real military is developing robots, tossable cameras you can throw in like a baseball, non-lethal systems to cause apponents to disengage in the conflict and run, etc., almost none of it perfected, SWAT and every other police force is 20 years behind *that*. If the military is using something that can see through a wall, penetrate it and take out one verifiable target (example, not real tech really), then SWAT would have advanced at that point of using armor piercing rounds with an inaccurate rifle. We don’t train people to properly deal with these situations as something that must be “stopped”. We train them to deal with them as hostage situations, and in hostage situations you negotiate in an attempt to get them to give up, then move if that fails.

    We are using the wrong resources, in the wrong situations, with the wrong training to handle them. SWAT is dedicated to hostage situations where armed strikes *may* become necessary. They have no clue how to effectively handle crowd control without dropping into conflict mode or how to deal with a situation like VT, where the intent isn’t the hold people hostage, but kill as many people as possible. And even if they did, the response would be hazardous if then misapplied to a regular hostage situation. You don’t use a hammer to drive screws. But police have neither the equipment, the personnel or the proper training to have specialists for “every” type of situation. A bunch of redneck idiots going, “Get yer gun, there is a guy shooten people in the school!”, are hardly going to be any better trained, equipped or competent at handling it.

  35. #35 Bob Abu
    April 24, 2007

    We can Thank G_d there were no “armed rednecks” at Virginia Tech.

    There’s no telling how many people might have been killed.

  36. #36 Terry
    April 24, 2007

    Dear Till,

    Sorry I didn’t get back to this blog sooner, but I work long hours,and my time is not always my own. Let’s stick to the gun issue. If you want to bring in burglary, home invasion, robbery, narcotics and drugs, you are going way off the course here. England, which prohibits handgun owner ship and almost all long guns, has a home invasion rate that makes the USA look like a bunch of pikers. In case you missed the article on the shooting of the mayor in Japan, it was noted that gun running is a major crime there. When you are as close to these issues as a lot of us are, on a daily basis, one thing is for sure, the lack of guns owned by the public, on a per capita basis, has not slowed the crime rate anywhere you look. Our own Washington DC is a classic example. No handguns, and the highest murder rate in the nation.

    Terry

  37. #37 Lucia Rotger
    April 26, 2007

    Mr. Lauren The Fish: Here is your refutation that nobody has ever been able to provide: Your argument comes down to ‘you may be killed in a shooting if you are unarmed’. This statement is undeniably true; by way of flawed logic you imply that being armed is safer than being unarmed; you want us to imply the statement ‘if you are armed you may not be killed’ from the first. That doesn’t follow. Now let’s leave your statement alone as it’s pointless and let’s work with human nature: First, how exactly does being armed make you more secure? In a shooting, if you brandish an arm you’ll become a target and certainly have more chances to be killed (Again, it can’t be implied that being unarmed is safer). Second, bearing arms is a kind of arms race (yes, I am not an American and I don’t believe in the right to bear arms). When the state of everyone being armed is reached the security deposited in firearms vanishes. So how is your argument valid? Only if not everyone bears arms, which is not very democratic to say the least. You base your safety in a measure that is useless if everyone adopts it. And that’s were you, the fearful, the advocates of the right to bear arms, would push for something deadlier than pistols, as I said, an arm race. Oh, by the way: Prove me wrong.

  38. #38 lc
    April 27, 2007

    Lucia: where’s your evidence? Might want to consider that before you ask it of someone else!

    and Ted Nugent is OK. He is just very expressive and enthusiastic!

    btw: having dispatched many a chicken to the pot – they certainly can squawk without heads!