Quantcast

«

»

Apr 11 2013

How many more rounds?

This is a powerful short ad by Moms Demand Action. It asks a question I’ve asked a number of times already, but the only answers I’ve ever gotten involve so much fetishizing of guns and so much misinterpretation of the Second Amendment that if there was a legitimate argument in amongst the dross, I certainly missed it.

I’m going to rip off John Oliver a little bit here, by mentioning the fact that every time there’s a failed terrorism attempt of any sort, the security theatre ratchets up. Someone tries to smuggle in a shoe bomb, we all have to take off our shoes. Someone figures out that you can take a couple of liquids into a plane and mix them there to make a bomb, then you’re not allowed to take any liquids through security. All it takes is one person failing at doing damage to a plane, and you’re willing to forego any and all vestige of personal liberty for some false sense of security.

But one shooting after another — 3300+ since Newtown, in fact — and the media squashes any discussion of guns, blustering and projecting in whatever ways they can, misdirecting people’s rage onto video games and pharmaceuticals and anything but those things that you hold in your hand and point at a person and pull a trigger to put a hole in them at range.

18 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    You just have to think fourth-dimensionally.
     
    Game: The Best Ammendment
     
     
    Hmm. I may have learned the wrong lesson trying for a high score…

  2. 2
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Can I get the kids from kindergarten right now and hug them?
    Thankfully I live in a country where, although certainly not as good as they could be, gun laws are a bit more sensible. Hell, I think poiltics discussed them more seriously here after Newtown than in the USA

  3. 3
    embraceyourinnercrone

    I don’t know what the answer is. While I am happy to see my Governor(Malloy) and representatives (esp. Chris Murphy) pushing the State and Federal proposed gun laws, sometimes I think everyone is concentrating on one issue (large magazines) and letting the other ones get swept under the rug.

    Yes the issue of large magazines should be addressed and has bearing in the case of situations like Sandy Hook and other mass shootings. But the vast majority of people who die from gunshot in the US, are in shooting incidents that are NOT mass shootings.

    Many of the people killed by guns are killed by hand guns, by people they know, by accident or in disagreements or family violence situations which are made lethal by the presence of a hand gun.

    Rick Warren’s son killed himself with an unregistered handgun bought on the internet.

    Three of the children in these stories were using, or the victims of hand guns (one was shot with a .22 caliber rifle)

    http://www.wbbjtv.com/news/local/Woman-Reportedly-Shot-by-her-2-Year-Old–202025261.html

    http://news.yahoo.com/boy-4-accidentally-kills-tenn-deputys-wife-204026525.html

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_jersey&id=9057965

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/09/3970868/3-year-old-dead-after-shooting.html

    What they all have in common is a gun left loaded and accessible in the vicinity of a small child.

    One has to have training and licensing to drive a car, one has to register a car, pay taxes on it, and have insurance for it. Why don’t we have the same rules for operating a weapon?

  4. 4
    Marcus Ranum

    Well, we can say that society allows people dangerous amusements such as scuba, hang-gliding, atv riding, horseback riding, cycling, archery, woodworking, etc. There are casualties every year in these pastimes. They can all be enjoyed more or less safely (or dangerously, if you will) My justification for owning guns is that they are entertainment for me; I keep them secured and separated from the ammunition, and I don’t even allow children in my house. As far as the danger of them hurting someone else, it’s probably more likely that my horse will stomp on someone. Shall we restrict horse-ownership?

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable for society to require people to take courses and pass certification in basic care before being allowed to own a horse, operate an atv, use a table-saw, have a child, hang-glide or scuba dive. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for society to require that dangerous entertainments be practiced in a way such that they are less likely to hurt others – perhaps I should not be allowed to have my table saw in my woodshop on my property; I should have to travel to a licensed woodshop where I will be watched by my old highschool shop teacher. Certainly I shouldn’t be allowed to practice archery unless I am in a safe arrow-proof facility. etc.

    I don’t think that the vast load of gun excuses are very good; hysteria about government take-over and whatnot is ridiculous. And I recognize that guns are a very dangerous entertainment. However, I have only come near to shooting myself by accident once whereas I have had several extremely close calls with power tools. (I had a piece of lucite explode off my table-saw and, if I hadn’t been wearing appropriate safety gear – a kevlar/denim jacket – might have wound up with a cut artery)

    At what point is it appropriate for society to say I cannot pursue happiness in liberty on the basis that I am presumed to be irresponsible without having actually been irresponsible?

  5. 5
    Kevin

    The other day, my local rag had a story in it about a student (?) who went on a rampage…with a knife.

    He stabbed about 20 people, some in the face, before he was subdued by faculty and a cop with a taser.

    No one died.

    Give that kid a gun…well, let’s not, shall we?

  6. 6
    Kevin

    Marcus: At the point at which your “hobby” is shown to be harmful not to yourself, but to others.

    Sky dive off all the bridges you want — as long as you’re careful not to splat yourself on top of a hiker in the canyon below.

    Need I go on?

    We don’t let people keep poisonous snakes as pets. We don’t let people keep tigers and other large cats, either. We don’t let people joyride in ATVs on city sidewalks.

    When the potential to harm others outweighs the benefit for your personal “enjoyment” of hearing loud booms and seeing tin cans explode — that’s when we step in.

    Get it? No…probably not.

  7. 7
    Marcus Ranum

    Marcus: At the point at which your “hobby” is shown to be harmful not to yourself, but to others.

    Based on – what? Population statistics? See, there’s a problem with that – my guns locked in a safe bolted to a concrete floor, how are they a threat to others? What population statistics conclusively demonstrate is that guns that are not well controlled are dangerous, when they are in the hands of people who are using them inappropriately. The danger my guns represent to society at large is the chance of a firing range accident. And, yes, ATV owners don’t drive down the sidewalks – any more than responsible gun owners go shooting up shopping malls. See how that works? (By the way, we recently had a rather horrible accident in which an ATV on a trail hit some pedestrians. Do you support a ban on all ATVs? I’d support mandatory training, helmet laws, and marked trails.)

    I think that strong regulation on guns is a very good idea. I’d like to see it mandated that all guns live in a safe all the time, unloaded, or in a secure vault at a certified and regulated range, and that there be licensing criteria before you’re allowed to operate a gun. Hell, I’d like to see the same for ATVs, skydiving, archery, and (especially, having acquired one of my horses from an abuser) horse ownership. We’re all OK with requiring motor vehicle users to get a license and demonstrate basic proficiency; that kind of thing makes total sense. One of the other things I do involves dangerous chemicals like nitrocellulose, ether, cadmium bromide, and KCN and in order to be able to purchase them from Fisher Scientific I had to demonstrate that I had proper safety gear and understood how to handle it without killing myself or some first responder who walks into my facility.

    The problem is that guns are a reasonable form of entertainment, yet they are dangerous. You were dismissive (and I don’t think realistically so) of the potential danger to others that many hobbies represent to bystanders. The problem is not well-handled guns at shooting ranges, it’s illegally handled guns being used inappropriately. It is unfair to tar us all with the same brush – effectively criminalizing a perfectly reasonable hobby – because of the actions of criminals. I, for one, get sick and tired of people assuming I’m a potential criminal, or that I just leave loaded guns lying around for kids to shoot themselves, or whatever absurd fantasies they have. The fact is that the vast majority of gun owners appear to be fairly responsible and many of us try to go pretty far above and beyond that, thank you very much.

    Get it? No…probably not.

    Demonize and jump to conclusions about strangers much? It’s a poor substitute for argument.

    I understand the issues extremely well; perhaps you owe me the benefit of a doubt.

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    Shorter form: you haven’t shown that my hobby is harmful to others. You’ve assumed that because criminals use guns in an inappropriate manner that I’m going to act like a criminal – that’s not a very fair assumption. Show how my guns are going to harm someone. Do, please, go ahead.

    I do you the courtesy of assuming you’re not a drunk driver, child molester, or narcotics dealer until I learn otherwise. Why not offer me the same in return?

  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    Give that kid a gun…well, let’s not, shall we?

    He’s not getting any of mine unless he comes here with thermite and blows the hinges off my safe.

    If you’re going to hold me accountable to your imaginings of possible harm would you mind if I assume that you’re a potential drunk driver and proactively reduce your right to drive based on my imagining that you may be a drunk driver?

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    I absolutely approve of Marcus’ recommendation of stricter gun control. If the people who love guns so damned much would all treat them with the level of respect that Marcus does, there wouldn’t be a problem.

    The real problem here, then, is the existence of gun lobbies and gun culture where your identity and your manliness are both tied into guns. It’s absurd. Climb a mountain or take up wrestling if you want a hobby to burnish your reputation as a traditionally-manly man.

  11. 11
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Marcus

    Well, we can say that society allows people dangerous amusements such as scuba, hang-gliding, atv riding, horseback riding, cycling, archery, woodworking, etc. There are casualties every year in these pastimes.

    As others have said, the dangers of somebody else getting hurt by them is much less likely.
    But, yeah, if you have training and a safe storage system, we might say that you’re one of those people who handle guns safely so that usually no bystanders get hurt.
    Let’s make that law. Background checks, mandatory training (to be repeated anually), gun safes, bi-anually checks in those.
    That gets the issue of accidents.
    It doesn’t solve a different problem: suicide and murder, especially domestic violence.
    While you can say that the problem of suicide is on the gun-owner alone faces, it is also true that most people who are saved from a suicide attempt and get help then do not finally decide to kill themselves. Add guns to the attempt and there is no more help possible*.
    The second one affects women disproportionatly and is difficult to solve with gun regulations. While you can probably prevent a formerly responsible gun owner from killing 30 people in a mass shooting by limiting rounds, ammo, number of guns, there hardly ever is a news report here of a husband killing his wife without the report involving a totally legal handgun. That doesn’t mean that only violent, prone to murder men own guns, it means that in the heat of an argument (or the despair of a serperation) there is a dangerous weapon at hand.

    *This is also one of the reasons men have much higher suicide rates: While women commit about times as many attempts as men, they usually use “softer” methods, typically overdoses.

  12. 12
    Marcus Ranum

    The real problem here, then, is the existence of gun lobbies and gun culture where your identity and your manliness are both tied into guns. It’s absurd. Climb a mountain or take up wrestling if you want a hobby to burnish your reputation as a traditionally-manly man.

    I agree completely. “Car culture” is also a problem, no? And, because of their utility and importance to our society, society has worked to (try to) deal with it in a way that doesn’t treat everyone with a car as being potentially guilty of the offenses of a few. If some asshat is demonstrating their ‘drifting’ technique on city streets they eventually wind up getting caught, spending a lot of money on fines and/or losing their license. But we don’t take away everyone’s cars as a consequence of the actions of a few: we regulate them sensibly, educate, and enforce. I’ve often wondered why cars don’t come with governors that cap their top speed at 70, for example… Or why tobacco is sold at all. Or why the sale of alcohol (which is a threat to society at large, in the terms other posters in this thread that put forth) isn’t banned outright.

    One of the things I find depressing is the states where trigger locks and slide locks are provided with guns is that nobody uses them. :( Unless your kid is Richard Feynman, they’re not going to shoot themself with an appropriately locked gun even if you don’t have a safe. A decent safe costs about as much as a pricy high-quality gun; if you have more than 2, it’s a good investment (if only because it’s a good way to fight rust and dust)..

  13. 13
    Marcus Ranum

    As others have said, the dangers of somebody else getting hurt by them is much less likely.

    Yes, they’ve said that. And it’s true. But perhaps that’s because there aren’t millions of people riding horses, ATVs, or practicing archery or using table-saws, etc.

    Let’s make that law. Background checks, mandatory training (to be repeated anually), gun safes, bi-anually checks in those. That gets the issue of accident

    It might help. I hope it would. Slide-locks are a really good thing because they implicitly force you to clear the gun and make sure there’s nothing in the chamber when you store it. (All my guns have the slides locked back when I store them in the safe, or the bolt removed if it’s a rifle. It’s just good safety. The only near FAIL I’ve had in a couple years involved a rifle with a tubular magazine that can’t be removed and a friend that handed it to me loaded..)

    I wouldn’t agree with annual training because, if you’re shooting a fair bit, you’re going to be under the eyes of a range officer. I think it would be awesome, for example, if a range officer could write someone on the range a ticket to send them to remedial training. I’ve seen some pretty dumbass actions at ranges (which is why I shoot on my own range, now – I trust my fellow shooters about as far as I can throw them. but I don’t automatically assume they’re malicious, like some of the commenters in this thread appear to.)

    It doesn’t solve a different problem: suicide and murder, especially domestic violence.

    Yes.Well, nobody’s committing suicide with my guns unless they can get into the safe. Nor is anyone getting murdered with them. That leads you back to the position of the earlier poster: arguing that something I enjoy should be regulated further because of someone else’s actions. I’m not going to try a slippery slope argument there; I think it’s immoral since it amounts to treating me like a potential suicide-enabler or murderer when I have shown absolutely no inclination toward either of those things. Yes, there are people who do show those inclinations but they’re not me. Don’t punish me for thier actions.

    While you can probably prevent a formerly responsible gun owner from killing 30 people in a mass shooting by limiting rounds, ammo, number of guns, there hardly ever is a news report here of a husband killing his wife without the report involving a totally legal handgun.

    First off, I don’t agree that it’s automatically appropriate to assume that all responsible gun owners are going to become “formerly responsible” all of a sudden. The vast majority start out responsible and remain responsible.* I’m a little bit stung by the way you just sort of slipped that massive assumption into your argument.

    Again, your raising the “husband/wife” dynamic: thanks a lot. First off, I’m single. There are no women (battered or otherwise) in my house. Nor are there kids. Oh, wait — you’re back to proposing to regulate my actions because of what some criminal who is not me is doing? Presumably on the moral grounds that I am going get married a 3rd time and shoot my as-yet-unselected wife (or husband)?

    Thanks for criminalizing me for something it hasn’t even occurred to me to do, yet! It’s a bizzare variant of “do you beat your next girlfriend?” I’ve never encountered before.

    But, wait, I know what you’re going to say: “I’m talking about some other guy. All the other guys who do that, constantly.” Well, your problem is them not me – I’m not them and I don’t deserve to be treated like a wife-killer. I’ve had 2 so far, in fact, and they’re both alive and well last time I checked. Please stop criminalizing me for things I haven’t done.

    it means that in the heat of an argument (or the despair of a serperation) there is a dangerous weapon at hand.

    Yeah, in the heat of an argument, I can see it:
    “OK MOTHERFUCKER come DOWN TO THE VAULT with me and I’m gonna OPEN THIS COMBINATION LOCK, then assemble a gun, get ammunition out of the other room, load up, and – if you’re not 2 counties away talking to the cops, I’m gonna SHOOT YOUR ASS”

    Oh, wait, I forgot – you’re blaming me for those other guys again. You’re assuming I’m like them: that I have a loaded gun in my sock drawer where I can get to it drunk. Thanks for demonizing the vast majority of decent people. I get that kind of shit for being an atheist (from christians) and a socialist (from right-wingers) and now for being a gun owner… Thanks. Thanks so much.

    While women commit about times as many attempts as men, they usually use “softer” methods, typically overdoses.

    I bolded this because it’s really the most important point you made. Since suicide is a real problem for women, are you calling for making alcohol and barbituates illegal? Or painkillers? Because by the logic you’ve been advocating above, you should be assuming that everyone who has painkillers or sleeping pills, alcohol or barbituates is potentially going to commit suicide or enable a suicide. Instead we have a very similar problem to that which we have with guns: regulation of the dangerous bits, rules against sharing them and distributing them to defeat those regulations, and education and outreach. We don’t have people on blogs talking about “former responsible sleeping pill users” or assuming that the vast majority of people who use these dangerous items are suddenly going to use them to commit suicide or kill someone else.

    I get that you don’t appear to like guns. But you’re unreasonably tilting your moral landscape based on what appears to be your personal preference. And I really don’t appreciate it when people assume that I’m going to turn killer because of something I own.

    (*Another law I would approve of is to not make guns inheritable. You need to declare them and transfer them when someone wills them, as well as giving them. That would have the effect of creating a paper trail and bringing “grandfathered” guns back into regulation)

  14. 14
    Marcus Ranum

    What puzzles me is how people make moral arguments to me about someone else’s actions.

    It’s an absurd equivalency (which is the point) but that’s exactly the same argument that some people make “gay marriage will destroy straight marriage” – the reason most moral and rational people reject that is because we acknowledge that a gay married couple does not affect a normally married couple in the slightest. The guns I own do not (and will not) affect national murder statistics, either!

    Please don’t criminalize people based on potential crime that they may commit. That’s absolutely bizzare but that’s what I keep hearing in this thread.

  15. 15
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Marcus Ranum
    You’re producing a lot of straw there

    Yes.Well, nobody’s committing suicide with my guns unless they can get into the safe. Nor is anyone getting murdered with them.

    This is not about YOU. Stop making it about YOU.

    That leads you back to the position of the earlier poster: arguing that something I enjoy should be regulated further because of someone else’s actions.

    Well, people’s fu to drive at 120 miles per hour is regulated too because somebody else killed/died in an accident before.

    I’m not going to try a slippery slope argument there; I think it’s immoral since it amounts to treating me like a potential suicide-enabler or murderer when I have shown absolutely no inclination toward either of those things. Yes, there are people who do show those inclinations but they’re not me. Don’t punish me for thier actions.

    Again, it’s not about YOU. It’s about a societal problem. And yes, in society we regulate and restrain people’s freedoms for the benefit of everybody. If you don’t like that principle there’s always Somalia.

    First off, I don’t agree that it’s automatically appropriate to assume that all responsible gun owners are going to become “formerly responsible” all of a sudden. The vast majority start out responsible and remain responsible.* I’m a little bit stung by the way you just sort of slipped that massive assumption into your argument.

    Good thing nobody did then. Nobody said anything about “all”. The only place that massive assumption exists is in your head.
    You can try to argue this two ways:
    Either you can go for the “no true Scotsman” and declare that somebody who goes on a killing spree was never a responsible gun owner in the first place, or you can admit that sometimes people who were at some point responsible gun owners turned into murderers. Lots of murders and killings are commited with legal guns by people who were considered “responsible gun owners” the day before.

    Thanks for criminalizing me for something it hasn’t even occurred to me to do, yet! It’s a bizzare variant of “do you beat your next girlfriend?” I’ve never encountered before.

    Get over your prosecution complex. Nobody did. If you don’t understand statistics and probabilities and why we’re still regulating things that might happen though they haven’t happened to you in person that’s your problem. I guess we also shouldn’t regulate drunk-driving before
    the person in question had an accident. Stop treating me like a killer!!!

    I bolded this because it’s really the most important point you made. Since suicide is a real problem for women, are you calling for making alcohol and barbituates illegal? Or painkillers? Because by the logic you’ve been advocating above, you should be assuming that everyone who has painkillers or sleeping pills, alcohol or barbituates is potentially going to commit suicide or enable a suicide.

    Bullshit. There’s a big fucking difference between all those things and guns and that is that their primary purpose isn’t killing sombody. Oh, and have you also noticed that those painkillers and barbituates are heavily regulated? Somehow you just can’t get them just because you’re a nice responsible person. Why does everybody treat me like a drug addict???

    We don’t have people on blogs talking about “former responsible sleeping pill users” or assuming that the vast majority of people who use these dangerous items are suddenly going to use them to commit suicide or kill someone else.

    Wrong. We talk also about alcoholics and addicts. Most of those people fully qualify as “formerly responsible alcohol/ sleeping pill users”.
    But well, if your fun is much more inportant than the life of some poor sod who’s just desperate…

  16. 16
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    @Marcus Ranum #12:

    why cars don’t come with governors that cap their top speed at 70

    Some do.
    Article: Wikipedia – Speed Limiter
     

    Or why tobacco is sold at all.

    Marketing, lobbying, lawyering, obfuscation, and scientific misconduct. See also: Climate change denialism.
    Grandfathered past the FDA, until it was granted limited authority in 2009. Sales to new users are basically illegal, since they’re “virtually all” underage.

    Article: Wikipedia – Youth Smoking Statistics
    Article: CDC – Tobacco Factsheet
     

    Or why the sale of alcohol isn’t banned outright.

    Video: Dr. Phillip Frana – Nectar of the Gods – Alcohol, Religion, and Arkansas Drinking Culture
    Video: Ken Burns – Prohibition (3 episodes)

  17. 17
    Donovan

    I think a great pro-gun-control ad would show young black men and Muslim men in anti-gun-control commercials. Just show one Muslim dude holding his 45 revolver, just like the white, god-ah fearin’ Christian men do in countless ads right now, talking about how he can defend his family and his culture thanks to American law. Show a young black man wearing the fashion of the day firing off a few rounds and explaining that the police had better not try to take his legally acquired guns.

    It’s very telling that the NRA isn’t being more culturally diverse in their message. I suspect we’d have serious gun control discussions within a week and bills in a month.

  18. 18
    John Horstman

    @embraceyourinnercrone:

    One has to have training and licensing to drive a car, one has to register a car, pay taxes on it, and have insurance for it. Why don’t we have the same rules for operating a weapon?

    Because cars didn’t exist when the US Constitution was written, so nobody added an amendment guaranteeing towns, cities, and states the right to form car-possessing militias (like, say, the NYPD or my own WI State Troopers) without federal interference that has been self-servingly and disingenuously misconstrued as an absolute guarantee that any individual person may legally purchase and possess enough vehicular power to level every person in a mid-sized school.

    (So I had to cheat and write that with guns first in order to make sure I could get the absurdity correct, then change it to cars.)

    @12: Car culture is a huge problem, and we should restrict driving and car ownership far more than we already do. I think that was supposed to be satirical, but you’re going to need to come up with an example that actually absurd and not simply contra-normative. Also, gun prohibition wouldn’t work like drug prohibition (which, I should point out, no one here actually suggested, making your comparisons to drug prohibition somewhat false equivalencies). With drug prohibition, we’re talking about banning something that almost anyone can brew up or grow in hir basement. Very few people have the technical ability and equipment to manufacture a Glock pistol or Kalashnikov rifle in their basements (that said, I did make a rial gun that can embed pennies in wood and I’ve helped build a couple of compressed-air guns/cannons). We’re moving away from drug prohibition because we really can’t hope to ever regulate something people can make themselves with little effort and few functioning brain cells (seriously, if potheads can manage to grow their own pot, pretty much anyone can). Guns – at least the kind we’re talking about – really require industrial production machinery. They’re actually possible to regulate with significant success. 3D printing may change that calculus soon, but not yet.

    @13:

    That leads you back to the position of the earlier poster: arguing that something I enjoy should be regulated further because of someone else’s actions.

    I enjoy masturbating. While I myself would only ever masturbate responsibly, I recognize the fact that there are people who don’t (exhibitionists, child abusers, etc.). Because of this, I’m willing to accept limitations on my masturbation (only in private, which I might point out is actually WAY more restrictive than the statutes governing possession of guns, though to be fair a little less restrictive than the statutes governing firing of guns) and on sales and distribution of pornography and sex toys to mitigate the harm caused by some other masturbators. There exists someone who likes both drinking and driving cars. Hir driving abilities are so good that when mildly intoxicated, ze is still a FAR better driver than most people on the road. However, because generally allowing people to drink and drive creates an extremely dangerous transportation system – because most people cannot be expected to make good decisions about their own driving, especially once they are intoxicated, it is reasonable to ban drunk driving, even though there are people who can do it without endangering others. It’s not just about individual behavior; when we lack evaluative criteria that can accurately discriminate between people who are dangerous with respect to a particular behavior versus those who are not, it’s often the best decision to simply ban the behavior, or to at lest ignore issues of individual freedoms and instead focus on what works better systemically.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>