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Jul 26 2012

Do I have to axe?

There are a number of people in the news lately accidentally shooting themselves in the foot, or in the butt, or accidentally shooting whomever is next in line at the grocery store.  Then of course we have some orange-haired joker going off on Batman with real 3D effects.  Whenever this sort of thing happens outside of Texas, it seems to prompt people to start talking about gun control again.

One thing you have to understand is that here in Texas, we teach ‘abstinence only’ sex education.  That means we don’t teach sex education at all.  There are literally teenagers here who do not know that medical tests have indicated a definite correlation between sexual activity and an increased probability of pregnancy.  Some students in this school of hard knock-ups don’t learn their lessons very well either, since we lead the nation in REPEAT teen pregnancies.  However one of our local newspapers has reported that things might not be as bad as they seem -since teen pregnancies drop off sharply in those 25 years old or older.

Ya’ll think I’m making this up, don’tcha?

Yeah, rather than arm our populace with information, we actually expect teenagers to resist one of the strongest biological drives the human body has.  Then when the graph is charted, we display it upside-down and brag about our success rates.  It’s better than having our kids know how to be and stay healthy, right?  Because teaching the next generation about responsible reproduction and disease prevention would be sinful.

Anyway since we don’t have any affordable health care either, and we’re in a record drought -NOT brought on by climate change, nor by an omnipotent god who doesn’t answer our governor’s rain-dances, then we kinda need population control.  Death penalty offenses only kill off a couple people per month.  Accidental shootings can work a lot faster -especially when you risk grabbing your hidden piece instead of your wallet -or whatever other hidden piece you were reaching for.

That’s really my biggest problem with guns.  I don’t want laws restricting anyone’s right to own or purchase or even carry whatever idiotic thing they wanna buy.  The problem is that a man with gun tucked in the front of his pants is likely to go off half-cocked.

See if you carry a gun with the intention -or even desire- to eventually use it against another person, you’re treated as a responsible citizen -even when you bring your gun to the movies, the park, or into Walmart.  But if I carry a viking bearded axe into any of these same places -for any of the practical reasons I might have an axe, I would automatically be treated as a madman.  Why?  Because you can’t hide a battle axe in your pants and you can’t use it to kill ten people from fifty feet away.   Tell me that law makes any sense.

When I first moved to Texas from Arizona, the police took away my 18″ bowie knife.  When you get used to wearing one of those on your hip everywhere, you’d be surprised how much you miss it.  You can use a giant Rambo knife for practically everything, you know?

And this is an important point:  If you do use an axe as a weopon, you’re not likely to kill anyone accidentally.  It takes strength and whole-hearted total committment to kill someone with an axe.  Any humanity you still have in you might just stay your hand.  I’m speaking from experience here.  But with a gun, it always gives 100% of it’s rage whether your heart is in it or not.  That’s what Obiwan meant when he said that blasters were clumsy and random.  Of course I’d say the same thing about a light saber too.  I’d rather have my axe.

88 comments

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  1. 1
    JustKat

    “But if I carry a viking bearded axe into any of these same places -for any of the practical reasons I might have an axe, I would automatically be treated as a madman.”

    Good point – I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

    Not a gun person myself.

    1. 1.1
      jnorris

      Don’t Boy Scout get to carry hatchets as part of their uniform. IIRC they used to. Join the Scouts and carry your bowie knife or machete.

      1. Marcelo

        He can’t. The Boy Scouts don’t accept atheists.

      2. JohnnieCanuck

        In Canada, where atheists are accepted as Boy Scouts, you had to reach a certain level before you were allowed to have a sheath knife. All this is from fifty years ago, mind. There was a maximum length, maybe six inches. Not quite in the same ball park with an eighteen inch sword/knife.

        I still have my official Boy Scout hatchet, with its belt mountable leather cover, all one pound’s worth of it.

        Wouln’t surprise me with all the modern terrorism fears and our zero tolerance rules, Boy Scouts aren’t trusted with sharp tools anymore.

  2. 2
    Mr. Dave

    I’m a bigger danger after eating at a taco truck than I am with a bowie knife.

    1. 2.1
      BCat70

      What if you eat the taco WITH the knife?

  3. 3
    Drew

    “But if I carry a viking bearded axe into any of these same places -for any of the practical reasons I might have an axe, I would automatically be treated as a madman”

    This reminds me of last spring I walked into a hardware store carrying my axe looking to get it sharpened (not viking). I thought it was very odd that people were staring at me like I was a crazy person because I carried an axe into a hardware store. The thing that was even more odd: I asked one of the women behind the service counter whether they offered a service to sharpen axes and she looked at me with a very quizzical look and said no, in a way that asked “why would you need to sharpen an axe? and why would we do it here?” ended up just buying a file and doing it myself.

  4. 4
    bbgunn

    When I first moved to Texas from Arizona, the police took away my 18″ bowie knife.

    Being the smartass I am, I probably would have told the Texas police that it helps me remember the Alamo.

    1. 4.1
      JSC_ltd

      +1 Internets for you.

      1. jo1storm

        +2

  5. 5
    shockna

    I’m fine with gun ownership, but people buying should be required to learn how to actually use the goddamn things (and prove they’re not mentally ill) if they’re going to buy them.

    And that learning should include the discipline to know when it’s appropriate to use it.

    Responsible gun ownership should be like a more modern (and much easier) form of martial arts mastery. Not only should it cover the training, but it should also include a monk-like belief in only using the weapon in self-defense. This is why I’m disgusted by people who go around bragging about their gun ownership like it makes them a “badass”, and why I stopped going to indoor shooting ranges (To get the hell away from idiots like that).

    1. 5.1
      kim

      I’m fine with gun ownership, as long as they’ve had safety training and put some thought into why they want that gun. My brother and his wife have a number of guns, some working some as antiques. They’ve been to the range and know what they do. They have a gun safe as big as a fridge bolted to the basement floor to keep them from being stolen or someone coming across them accidentally (they don’t have kids but have friends that do). All of them were legally and ethically acquired.
      I think some people get a gun because they think it is going to make them as good as a police officer in responding to a threat. They forget about the screening, training and guidance that a police officer gets before going out in the field armed. (I know, not all officers should be accepted.) The approach that a gun is all one needs to protect oneself is flawed. They need to start with the minimum needed to resolve the situation.

  6. 6
    feloniuspope

    I’m a gun owner myself (my Mosin-Nagant is probably my favorite) and a supporter of the Second Amendment. What frightens me, though, is that here in Arizona you can carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

  7. 7
    kieran

    Sorry, I’m Irish. I find it hard to understand the need to carry a gun. I can understand a farmer having a gun, sometimes it’s the only way to scare off the birds or kill some vermin, I can understand someone owning a gun to go hunting, it works and you get food out of it but I can’t get my head around needing it for protection. Even the best trained professionals can screw up, how’s someone numpty who carries one think they will be able to do better?

    1. 7.1
      shockna

      For those of us who aren’t morons and have actually trained, it’s because “can screw up” does not equal “will screw up”.

      Used successfully, it turns potentially devastating and/or fatal harm into minimal or nonexistent harm. Used unsuccessfully, you’ll likely end up with a slightly worse version of what you’d have if you weren’t carrying.

      That’s a trade off that I’m personally willing to take, should the need ever arise (So far, it hasn’t, and I’m hoping it never does).

      1. Matt

        The issue is that we only have your word for it, no one wants to be seen as a fuck up. Even the best, well trained individuals can make critical mistakes. You only have to look at the military when there are incidents of friendly fire.

        Humans make mistakes, but they tend to be more dangerous when those mistakes are coming out at 100 rounds a minute.

      2. thebigJ_A

        You’re right, “can screw up” means “can screw up”. And when you screw up with your gun, you just murdered a little girl, or your kid, or a stranger.

        And you’ve got your examples all wrong. Used unsuccessfully, fatal harm is a very likely result.

        Leave the guns to the people who need them. The military, the police (in certain circumstances).

  8. 8
    Corvus illustris

    “… you can’t use [a battle axe] to kill ten people from fifty feet away.”

    Tell this to the Franks. Maybe not fifty feet, but still forty per the entry “Francisca” in Wikipedia. BTW, Drew, taking an axe to a hardware store around where I live wouldn’t raise half an eyebrow.

  9. 9
    Ned Champlain

    I honestly have no problem with people owning fire arms. I do have a problem the mental attitude of “I can be the hero”.
    I always ask the question, “When do you shoot?” I have yet to hear a reasonable answer.

    1. 9.1
      jacobfromlost

      It’s interesting what you say about the “I can be the hero” mentality.

      After the shooting, I was browsing a thread elsewhere for gun enthusiasts. The main comment was pretty reasonable–he said that even if he HAD gun in that theater, the only thing he could have done was take cover with his loved ones and watch over them. Shooting in the dark was not an option, and the only possibility of using the gun would be if the shooter came so close that using the gun would be a last resort (and even in that case it probably would have done nothing since the guy was covered in armor).

      The discussion had several responses that included several people claiming if EVERYONE had a gun they could have all shot at him.

      Others chimed in that that was crazy. They’d be shooting each other and innocent bystanders in the dark, tear gas-filled room.

      And this is the kicker: one poster then said that if a crazy person was on a rampage, it would be ok and “authorized” to kill innocent people (“collateral damage”, they called it) in order to stop the murderer! That idiocy was countered quickly on that board, but I wonder if that kind of stupidity isn’t more widespread than I would hope. What does that kind of thinking imply? That everyone in the audience should have been packing heat, and shooting randomly into the dark in hopes of hitting the shooter…whether innocents be hit or not? Even though hitting him would have had no effect since he was covered in armor? Good grief. (Note: it is indeed illegal to randomly kill innocent people even if there is a murderer on a rampage in the vicinity randomly killing innocent people. Why that would need to be pointed out to anyone is beyond me.)

      1. Corvus illustris

        Craziness of this kind also erupted after the Virginia Tech shootings. “Oh, if only the students had been armed, they could have shot the shooter.” Yeah, try a few Gedankenexperimenten with armed students in the mix and see how many more students get hit. (The guy with the chalk in his hand at the blackboard is dead meat in all cases. The job from which I retired makes me take that fact rather personally.) Then when the trained emergency people show up, at whom do they shoot first? Yet state legislators from the Neander valleys of every state in the US rushed to pass laws voiding the usual academic regulation that only peace officers may carry artillery on campus.

        The VT hero was the professor who improvised a way to bar the door to his classroom–a passive defense–and saved his students, IIRC dying in the process.

  10. 10
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I’ve got a small automatic knife(“switchblade”) with a 3.5″ blade on it. It is illegal for me to carry it, or really to even own it. If I am caught, I will be charged with possession with intent to sell, for absolutely no reason I can comprehend. I can apparently carry a larger “spring-assist opening” knife, or a fairly large fixed-blade knife, or a FULLY LOADED SEMI-AUTOMATIC HANDGUN on my hip.

    … and I do. :)

    The laws are stupid and senseless. We need better ones, and soon.

  11. 11
    L.Long

    Although I practice with my 5 throwing axes, knives, and stars, and 5 bows, I am an expert shot with rifle and pistol. After seeing me shot I was asked about my guns. I said I do not have any guns because 1..they are friggen LOUD!! and 2..when you are done shooting the bullets are all gone, with my bows etc I can go get the arrows and start over.
    But I agree if I went down the street carrying by bow and axes I would be arrest or at least by bows taken, and they would not ask for the gun. The laws on weapons is totally crazy. If I saw someone carrying a Norse ax I would probably ask him to handle it. But When I see someone with no weapons showing I keep an eye on them cuz they are probably packing.

  12. 12
    julial

    Doesn’t it seem likely that multiple unintended pregnancies are selected for in the absence of education? All you silly intelligent, educated folk are simply being out-bred. I see the same selection pressure in the common embarrassment parents feel in having the ‘talk’ with their adolescents. Those smart folks who do chat with their offspring are simply less represented in the next generation.

    I used to be against gun ownership. However I found out that the person most likely for a gun owner to kill is himself, then a family member. But please, not in public where I may be present. Do it in private.

  13. 13
    kraut

    The answer is simple: damage against property is considered a more serious crime than damage to people.

    Imagine the damage to a movie theater you could do with an axe – try the same damage with a gun..

  14. 14
    mck9

    Then when the graph is charted, we display it upside-down and brag about our success rates.

    It would be more effective to hang it sideways. A rising curve rotated 180 degrees is still a rising curve.

    Or you could plot the graph with time increasing from right to left.

  15. 15
    Michelle

    I am from Australia so bear with me; I understand that Americans have a right to carry a gun and in many places it is easy to aquire one, but like Irish kieran above, unless you are on a farmer going out to shoot a pest (something I have done in my life) or similar tasks I can’t see why anyone would want to carry a gun around with them on a day to day basis.

    What purpose does it serve?

    What threats exist in day to day life in America that carrying a gun reduces?

    I understand that hunters, farmers and people who use the local shooting range would have a gun at home.

    My question is, quite seriously as this is something I have never been able to understand, why would any person carry a gun around on a day to day basis? ie: on your belt, concealed under a jacket or in a handbag or in your glovebox etc.

    I have visited some parts of America and while bits of it were dangerous, they were no more dangerous than some parts of Australia are and I in no way felt that carrying a gun (that I am quite qualified to use) would in any way have enhanced my safety. While I know there are more dangerous parts than I visited, I assume the kind of places I went were the same places that the large numbers of Americans around me frequented on a regular basis – not particularly dangerous ones.

    So what am I missing?

    1. 15.1
      SPACKlick

      No American, but from some old economics books:

      Right to concealed carry laws deter crime because the potential mugger can’t tell when picking a target if the target is armed. these laws only have this effect if a significant number of individuals both do carry a concealed weapon and are willing to use it to shoot the mugger.

      Displayed carriage laws, where the weapon must eb visible at all times, protect the person wearing the gun but make it easier for the would be mugger to pick a weak victim, and so have limited net effect on crime, concentrating the crime they do leave on the unarmed.

      The real thing with guns is castle laws and other property protection laws. If someone breaks into your property and causes you to feel threatened you can deter them with the weapon, but that would require far more competence than is usually shown on both parties.

      1. Charly

        I would really like to see some evidence showing, that carrying concealed weapons somehow provides net benefit in mugging/robbing/homicide reduction. Could you point me to some? I never found any.

        Aa far as I remember from the last time I checked the statistics, in virtually ALL US states the numbers for these crimes were higher than in any state in EU. And in EU, where I live, is weapon carrying very strictly regulated. I might for example get into trouble for carrying my Leatherman Wave (a tool knife I regularly use for work) if I encounter a cop in a bad mood, simply because it has a blade that can be open with one hand.

        1. kyoseki

          I believe that in states that have gone from no concealed carry to concealed carry (like Florida and uh, Wisconsin? Minnesota? One of the two), not very much changes at all – generally the crime level continued to match the national level – I know Greg Laden had a post on the issue before he got booted.

          You don’t get guys blowing someone away for looking at them funny and you don’t get heroic gun owners saving lives with their magnificent shooting skills.

          1. Michelle

            What about states with strict gun laws (assuming there are any of those)?

            Does the gun death rate change?

          2. kyoseki

            Not really.

            California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and it’s only marginally behind Arizona (where you can basically own what you like) in terms of firearms murders per 100,000 people (oh, and it’s ahead of Texas);

            Rates of gun crime;
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state

            Severity of firearms laws:
            http://www.bradycampaign.org/stategunlaws/

            The Brady campaign put California #1 in the nation when it comes to gun laws, but our firearms murder rate is even higher than the national average (3.37 firearms murders per 100,000, compared with 2.84 for the nation as a whole).

            Texas, by contrast, gets a whopping 4 points from the Brady guys and yet has a firearms murder rate per 100,000 of 3.19.

            Most of the really high states on the list are the bible belt states, which also have lax gun laws, but I suspect you’d see a much stronger correlation with religiosity and overall poverty rates.

          3. kyoseki

            Ok, so I did some quick comparisons using readily available numbers, ranking firearms murder rate per 100,000 population (FBI figures for 2010) against a few things as far as I can tell this pretty much rings true.

            1: Ranking it against Brady score yields a very low positive correlation, R2 = 0.003 (tbh, this is kind of unfair since the Brady numbers are largely subjective, but it serves to illustrate that states with strict gun laws don’t correlate with low numbers of firearms murders).

            2: Ranking it against gun ownership rates (taken from a BRFSS poll posted in the Washington Post – although this is from 2001, which isn’t great) actually shows a weak NEGATIVE correlation, R2 = 0.008 – states with higher rates of gun ownership actually have fewer firearms related deaths, now this was fairly old data, so things may well have changed (although one would assume that the distribution among the states probably hasn’t changed much), I’ll try to find better numbers.

            3: Unsurprisingly, ranking it against the 2010 (ie. the same year as the gun deaths) poverty rate shows a reasonable positive correlation, R2 = 0.33, certainly a lot stronger than either of the other two.

            Now admittedly, I’m hardly an expert on statistics, I’m just doing straight linear correlations, but insofar as I can tell, poverty has a lot more to do with murder than firearm availability.

          4. Michael Guthrie

            WEll in the EU Switzerland REQUIRES all males to get military training with a specific smg and to carry one around at all times

        2. Gillmore

          I have been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    2. 15.2
      DaveL

      While I know there are more dangerous parts than I visited, I assume the kind of places I went were the same places that the large numbers of Americans around me frequented on a regular basis – not particularly dangerous ones.

      So what am I missing?

      There are indeed some environments in the U.S. where concealed carry can enhance your safety. My wife got her permit because her job required her to make housecalls in impoverished neighbourhoods in Detroit. A friend of mine got his because of his contractor business boarding up foreclosed properties in the same city (where he has had the experience of being actually shot at). The NRA regularly publishes real-life stories of law-abiding citizens using their guns in self defense, and the overwhelming majority from my state occur in a few known high-crime areas. As risk of crime victimization increases, there must exist some threshold beyond which carrying a gun makes you safer than not having one.

      However, there’s a huge geographical disconnect between where this credible threat exists and where the bulk of concealed-carry permit holders live and work. While I support the right of informed, law-abiding adults to carry for protection where they reasonably believe it enhances their safety, I can’t escape the conclusion that the majority of those who do carry vastly overestimate their risk of violent crime victimization, underestimate the risks of carrying, or both.

      1. thebigJ_A

        Yeah, ’cause the NRA’s a good, unbiased source…

        /sarcasm.

        There are rough neighborhoods everywhere, even Australia and Ireland. You’re not making a valid point claiming that rough neighborhoods in America are somehow different.

        As to your anecdotes, the gun makes the holder *feel* safer, sure, but it just makes them more likely to be shot, or (worse) shoot someone else.

        1. DaveL

          Credible estimates place instances of defensive gun usage along the lines of 65,000 per year in the U.S., so it’s not just anecdotes. The NRA source was mentioned to underscore the point that even when selected and presented in the most favourable light, the aforementioned geographical disconnect remains.

          But the NRA’s bias doesn’t obscure an inescapable mathematical fact – that there must exist some threshold of violent crime risk above which personal firearm possession increases one’s safety. Ample data from the National Crime Vicitimization Survey compare resistance with a firearm to a wide range of self-protective measures, from resisting with other weapons to running away. Of these, resistance with a firearm comes out head-and-shoulders above the rest in effectiveness and effect on personal safety. If this weren’t the case one would wonder what the point was of arming police officers.

        2. DaveL

          Also, I never claimed the rough neighbourhoods in the U.S. were different somehow. I’m sure there are places in other countries where carrying a firearm for self-defense would in fact be a rational act where the benefits outweigh the risks. That civilians are banned from possessing firearms doesn’t change that fact.

        3. skeith

          right, except in UK & similar countries – tell us about the knifings, #/m, where even the UK media call it an epidemic…

      2. Ysanne

        Might I also point out that in countries with strict gun laws (e.g. Germany) not only the law-abiding but also your run-of-the-mill criminal, petty or violent, doesn’t have access to a gun?
        Mainly they wouldn’t exactly know how and where to get one, and even if they did, they’d have a difficult time carrying it with them in order to have it handy when needed.

  16. 16
    B-Lar

    This was an awesome post. It made me think of Bunraku
    which is an awesome movie. http://vimeo.com/28693387 for the opening sequence.

  17. 17
    David B.

    “Anyway since we don’t have any affordable health care either, and we’re in a record draught”

    I’d close the window, those things can give you a nasty chill.

    1. 17.1
      jacobfromlost

      Chilled beer comes in through the window?

      1. Kate from Iowa

        Where. The. Fuck do you live, because is Jason from lost is right, I’m coming to stay for a while!

        1. Kate from Iowa

          Ugh. Damned autocorrect. JACOB from Lost.

  18. 18
    Mike

    I live in the US. I used to live near DC. There once were two incidents of vandalism by middle school kids in the neighborhood. 12-13 year olds. Half the god damn street started walking around with fucking firearms talking shit about how they would shoot anyone who came on their property and blah fucking blah. I got to hear about and see everyone’s favorite firearm (and hear how horribly racist they are)

    The whole situation was one mistake by machismo-drunk, racist idiots away from a dead kid.

    THAT is what happens when you arm a bunch of people and teach them that they have a duty and a right to act as though they have any fucking reason to need or use the damn thing (pried from their cold dead hands and so forth). And at least one of these people was a veteran, so by all the idiotic qualifiers I see in this thread he was certainly very well trained with his stupid firearm.

    In my experience, people with firearms who talk about how they “know how to use them correctly” in these discussions are like those people you knew in college with sports cars that drive around at 150 MPH on back streets, but it’s ok because they “know how to drive” unlike those OTHER assholes that drive around at 150 MPH.

    1. 18.1
      kyoseki

      Clearly we should ban sports cars, after all, you don’t NEED to do 150mph.

      1. Ysanne

        Actually, if the only thing a sports car could do was driving in backstreets with 150 mph, then it would be sensible to ban them, yes.
        Fortunately it’s possible to stick to the speed limit.
        In contrast, guns exist for the sole purpose of shooting and killing living beings.

  19. 19
    left0ver1under

    A lot of gun nuts equate safety and guns to safety and cars. That claim only stands up in one way.

    Incompetent gun owners often kill innocent bystanders without hurting themselves, or rarely they do self harm.. It’s even rarer for the incompetent to do the world a favour and only kill themselves by accident.

    1. 19.1
      J. Goard

      That’s just about the opposite of the truth, there, LO1U. The biggest risk by far of civilian gun ownership seems to be the increase in successful suicides. Other than homicide and suicide, gun deaths are small enough to qualify as things that we don’t need to have a “national conversation” about. When you see a stat about children killed by guns, always keep in mind that this number reflects, first, teen suicide, and second, homicide by teen gang members — NOT an epidemic of 5-year-old Billy shooting his little brother playing with Daddy’s gun.

      Now, the suicide issue is serious (including the gun aspect, but not exclusively), and I wouldn’t want to make light of it. A lot of us take our own mental health for granted, let alone the mental health of our loved ones, and we’re simply not prepared to notice the warning signs for clinical depression or other problems that can easily lead to a suicide attempt. Many currently healthy and happy people have a suicide attempt in their past, so I can see the point in redirecting suicide methods that usually work (guns) to ones that usually fail.

  20. 20
    Bronze Dog

    Texan non-gun owner, here. I’ve had a very safe life so far, though I’ve stayed mostly in safe places. I’m more worried about gun nuts overreacting than I am regular criminals. The political situation in wingnuttia has me pretty worried about far right stochastic terrorism and irresponsible gun owners drawing weapons at the slightest hint of opposition.

    Earlier commentators brought up firing blind. Yeah, if an attack like the theater one occurred here, I can imagine it turning into a big meat grinder. Everyone fires blind, and then turn on each other, thinking they’re all in league with the original shooter because they don’t have the power of hindsight to know it was a lone attacker or a group.

    Going back to the original post, AronRa has a good point about the ease of killing with a gun. It’s easy to kill someone accidentally, and I imagine the ease also makes it seductive.

    There are probably lots of gun nuts out there who are absolutely dying for an opportunity to play hero and kill the bad guys to the point that they’ll probably end up killing an innocent because they were shoehorning events into their hero narrative. Of course, the temptation will show up in the heat of an argument, since pulling the trigger is one quick, easy way to end the conflict, and our society is doing a poor job of teaching people how to deal with adversity.

    1. 20.1
      petejohn

      There are probably lots of gun nuts out there who are absolutely dying for an opportunity to play hero and kill the bad guys to the point that they’ll probably end up killing an innocent because they were shoehorning events into their hero narrative.

      I spend some time once and awhile perusing Roger Ebert’s blog, and he’s been writing about the Colorado shooting a bit lately. There’s one commenter over there, evidently a friend of Ebert’s, who is literally every single stereotypical thing a right-winger typically is: a devout Christian, creationist (though he claims to be an intelligent design advocate and bristles when called a creationist), gun guy, Obama-hater, Palin-worshiper, and Tea Partier.

      He tried to argue in one of those threads that he believed conceal-carry and trained gun ownership could come in handy in a sticky situation, and one commenter called him on it. He wrote something to the effect of “If I’m ever in that sticky situation too, please don’t try to play hero. You’ll shoot someone you’d rather not shoot.”

      The other guy says it’s none of the critic’s business what he does and he’ll protect his family any way possible, thank you very much, even acknowledging in this situation with the guy being heavily armored it wouldn’t have done much. But presumably one can’t know the dude is armored and whatnot until the gunfight at the OK Cinema began, which leads me to believe this guy would’ve started dukeing it out with the shooter in that theatre.

      I can kind of see where he’s coming from. He’s got a gun, family is there, and shooterman is unleashing hell. And if he’d said “We’re getting out of here, and if this guy comes near me I’ll protect myself” I think I would’ve been relatively okay with that. But he seemed okay with the idea of going all John McClane and shooting it out with shooterman, and it would be PERFECTLY safe for everyone else involved because he was well trained. Well, no, see I disagree. The only thing worse than being caught in a situation where people are getting mowed down by a shooter is getting stuck between two dudes with guns dueling it out Wild West-style. I’m okay with the type of hero who cleverly and safely get the fuck out of there and take some folks with them.

  21. 21
    1415dr

    AronaRa needs to use his powers of observation wisely. His logic is so brilliant that he actually convinced me that people should be able to carry battle axes into grocery stores. That’s something I never considered in my life before I read this. Mind. Blown. I will start the National Battle Axe Association and being lobbying right away. Our motto will be “From my cold steel gauntlets.”

  22. 22
    Kimpatsu

    But with a gun, it always gives 100% of it’s rage…
    Unfortunately, not 100% of its grammar…

  23. 23
    dalemacdougall

    As a Canadian who has lived in the US for about 12 years I don’t have much hope that things will ever change in this country. Despite the fact that Canada, Australia, Ireland, etc, etc haven’t been overrun by criminals and have much less gun violence with stricter gun laws, it just doesn’t matter.

    The right to their precious instruments of death, enshrined when guns could fire about 50 yards accurately at 2 rounds per minute, is much more important than someones right to live a life unaffected by gun violence.

    So next month there will be another work place, or school, or random spot in public mass shooting. And the month after that another, and then another……..

    Watching gun advocates try to deflect the conversation about their inherent dangers and the innocent deaths they cause is like looking at theists try to cover up all the problems of religion by saying they do good charity work sometimes.

    The brother of my neighbour, who is a coworker of my son, was shot in the stomach a couple of months ago. I don’t think I’d be making that statement if I lived in any other first world nation.

  24. 24
    Monado

    The thing that astonished me is that everyone I talked to about it in the U.S. knew one or two people who had been shot (and sometimes killed). I knew one or two people (over the last forty years) who died in motorcycle accidents–no one who had been shot.

  25. 25
    coragyps

    Here in the barrens of West Texas, a huge number of ‘ol boys have “concealed carry” permits – including the otherwise pretty bright PhD chemist that works with me. These people work in areas such as accounting, counter sales, dentistry….. all sorts of trades that seem to me to be less risky than cooking meth or smuggling bales of marijuana for Los Zetas.

    If you are really interested in your own safety out here, snake-proof spats and portable tow-behind lightening rods would be a helluva lot better investment. Well, and wearing seat belts.

  26. 26
    petejohn

    I believe that the right to possess and carry a baseball bat is God-given right for all Americans, except the Muslim ones. Baseball is a popular game, and has been a passion of mine. But I’m also aware that with that right comes a responsibility. I store my bat safely in my house, and I regularly clean and practice using my baseball bat so that if a time comes to protect myself, I can.

    Some of you liberul socialists may be wondering why I would need to have any kind of reason to protect myself. It’s simple. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can actually be a serial killer. Or have mean thoughts. Or have voted for Obama even though he was born in the foreign land of Hawaii. I have an obligation to protect my right to bare a bat, and an obligation to protect my family. You can pry my bat from my cold, dead hands. If enough licensed bat carriers had been in that Colorado movie theatre, then that man would’ve been stopped as he was swarmed by well-trained, responsible bat owners who take the power of a bat seriously.

    1. 26.1
      Rory

      Who do you think you are, some kind of batman?

      1. petejohn

        I am Gotham’s reckoning.

  27. 27
    Tiktaalik

    When the Credit Card Reform Act went through (one of the first Obama signed) it included a rider that made it legal to carry a firearm in a National Park in accordance with state law. In Colorado, where I live, that means you can open-carry a loaded firearm, concealed carry with a permit, or carry it in your vehicle any which way you please.

    Some people have taken advantage of this to access hunting areas that were previously difficult to access by crossing park land carrying their firearms. However – the law did not include anything but firearms. So, bowhunters cannot cross that same piece of property. Nor can anyone carrying a slingshot. Yep, it’s illegal to carry a slingshot (or a potato cannon!) but legal to open-carry a firearm in a park campground.

    Try explaining that to people sometimes. (From both sides: “You mean I can’t carry my bow but my friend can carry his rifle?” and “Why is that man camping next to my family wearing a firearm on his hip and can’t you do something about it?”)

  28. 28
    Mr. Creazil

    According to Justice Scalia, axes can be banned because they are too intimidating and the 2nd Amendment doesn’t cover them. Rocket launchers are fine though, he’ll allow those.

  29. 29
    Mak, acolyte to Farore

    Naturally, it’s because swords and axes don’t carry romantic notions of cowboys shooting up black hats and scary brown people, which this country has some kind of weird boner over.

    Before I moved south, I never thought twice about carrying a knife or sword around exactly because people were already allowed to carry around guns, so restricting blades didn’t make sense. Boy, was I naive.

    There wasn’t a law against it, but there was sort of an urban legend where supposedly you weren’t allowed to carry something over five inches long (either concealed or unconcealed, depending on who you asked) and it was widespread enough that I ran the risk of being harassed by the police for it even if there wasn’t a law. Fortunately I wasn’t, probably because I was seen as some harmless little white girl at the time. I don’t think I could pull that off now, and anyone who isn’t white, or otherwise looks “nonstandard” or the slightest bit intimidating, almost certainly couldn’t.

    It really doesn’t make sense that guns can be carried around–including into bars, where I live– and nobody bats an eye, but bows of any sort are banned within town limits, even though they carry the same sort of risks that guns do (albeit without the rapid fire and the ability to be stopped by, yanno… wood); and knives, swords, and other bladed weapons carry the risk of harassment or arrest and confiscation, if it ain’t outright illegal. Even buying/collecting bladed weapons flags you as some sort of goony nut half the time.

  30. 30
    Mike de Fleuriot

    Once again it boils down to education. If you educate your public properly, then there will not be a need for these things, either guns or sex eduction. So one has to ask what is the main reason for not educating people, and the only thing that comes to mind is that an educated public will have negative results on the control that religion and politics has over people.

    But as I think most people will agree, America has a long way to go before such education is no longer needed. They will most likely have to pass though a total theocracy before they can solve these issues. Lucky for the rest of the world, there is the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to keep the rest of the world safe from the coming Religious America.

    1. 30.1
      emptyknight

      Oceans are less comforting when you start thinking about aircraft carriers, stealth bombers, ICBMs, and the fact that the sun never sets on American military bases.

    2. 30.2
      Mak, acolyte to Farore

      Don’t get too comfy. Ask Uganda how well protected they are from American fundie infiltration.

  31. 31
    Josh

    Speaking as a firearms owner I have to say the things I have heard from other firearms owners since the Aurora shooting have scared me. This includes the reaction of several of my family members to the incident. I feel like a lot of firearms owners have a superman complex in their view of self defense. Their train of thought becomes

    “If I (or someone like me) were there I would have stopped the bad guy.”

    People look at the situation in the aftermath and try to armchair quarterback what the victims should have done. But it is never that simple. If you actual try to rebuild a scenario you can actually see the problems you would have.

    My brother told me a story where two teens had threatened him with a knife outside of a bar one night. He told me how the event took place and mentioned that he had drawn his pistol, keeping it concealed under his folded arms, as the teens approached. He now extols the idea that the gun saved his life.

    Using the best information I had about the event my martial arts instructor and my friend played through the scenario for over an hour using a rubber knife and an airsoft pistol. I would say better than 75% of the time the attacker with the knife got away either unscathed or minimally wounded. On the other hand in the position of defending with the gun from the given scenario we ended up dead or severely wounded 75% of the time.

    I think another issue with a lot of gun owners is the Maslow’s hammer problem. If the only tool you have is a hammer, you treat everything as a nail. Out of all the possible threats you could face in your daily life very few of them would require the use of a firearm. There are times that bringing a gun into a situation only makes it worse for you, and this is definitely the case when considering legal troubles.

    I train in martial arts and with firearms, but I would much rather a situation not occur where I would have to use either. For some people they act like a gun is a trump card. Pull it out and automatically win the game. But it isn’t a game, and pulling that trump card has the chance of ending a life. That is not a responsibility to be taken lightly or with careless disreguard for anothers life just because they are a “criminal.”

    As rational thinkers if we need to be sure to use our reason and logic in difficult self defense situations. Not keeping rational in the few seconds to minutes of an attack can end up meaning a life of trouble afterwards.

    Before carrying a gun I would much rather carry a retractable baton. I feel ike it would be of more use in wider range of situations. Or a nice ax would be cool too. Always did fancy a sledge hammer too!

  32. 32
    aronra

    Believe or not, the one weopon I kept with me for years -and which I have had to draw a couple times when faced with other armed adversaries- was a heavy oaken leg from a huge antique dining table. It just felt like it had the right weight, shape, and hardness to do the job. And regardless what state jurisdiction I was in, cops never questioned me about why I had that in the cab of my truck.

    1. 32.1
      Josh

      A club or staff of any sort is pretty decent defense against a group or an individual armed with a knife. You can keep at a distance that still allows you to attack without having to get your arm within striking range.

      My only problem is where I live (Connecticut) there are rules about carrying any sort of batton. Even if it is just an old stick or table leg they can consider it a weapon and you can get in trouble. My dad used to keep a framing hammer under the seat of his truck and a cop gave him a lot of trouble about it.

      I do think it is strange that I can’t carry what amounts to a stick, but I can carry a gun. As you stated about the ax, if you swing it you know your intended target. Projectile weapons are meant to be used impersonally and at a distance. when using a club or blade you have definite intent to hurt the person you are attacking. No one has ever been wounded in a drive by sword fight. Because if anyone was stupid enough to get close to a sword fight they deserve what they get.

      1. Corvus illustris

        This notion that any stick is a weapon may be common to all the 13 original colonies. I got some grief when I was living in NJ about a baseball bat in the car (y’ever heard of the national pastime, officer?). But of course they are right: a stick is really a weapon, while a firearm is only a required accessory to your membership in a well-ordered militia.

  33. 33
    Michael MacKenzie

    I do the next best thing to wielding a battle axe – I wield a claymore. Here I was thinking that people kept their distance before.

  34. 34
    Richard Simons

    L.Long @11

    But When I see someone with no weapons showing I keep an eye on them cuz they are probably packing.

    I can’t imagine living in such a hell-hole.

    I get the impression that fear is now be one of the dominant American traits: fear of your neighbours, fear of drugs, fear of cops, fear of people with opposing political views, fear of terrorists, fear of Muslims. It is both sad and troubling to see.

  35. 35
    robertbaden

    It’s not legal to carry a knife here in Texas, either. Of course, if you have any knowledge of history you’ll know who those weapons laws were aimed at.

  36. 36
    Adalberto Striegel

    Good article, I think you made your point well.

  37. 37
    Colleen

    I can see both sides of the gun debate, but it boils down (for me) to the fact I live alone, am female (therefore not as strong as a man), and am a looong way from help. I know for a fact items have been stolen from the barn and the shop, therefore people with ill intent roam my land. If I woke up one night, and heard someone in my house, they could do me serious harm before police could arrive. I would rather have a gun, vocalize the fact, and let the intruder leave, if they so choose. If the do not leave, I would defend myself to the best of my ability. I may not be successful, but I would rather have that option, than none.

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