Women in Secularism 2 »« [Lounge #394]

Every man thinks he’s Clint Eastwood

Sam Harris has really done it now. He’s stepped into the gun control debate with The Riddle of the Gun, and he’s taking the side of Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. And he’s also making a series of logic-defying assertions that have no credibility at all. I’m not even going to try to work through them all; this subject is clearly a bit of an obsession with him. But throughout, he takes a very personal and rather paranoid view of the world and makes it a justification for individual self-defense, which I think is his big mistake. For instance,

…if a person enters your home for the purpose of harming you, you cannot reasonably expect the police to arrive in time to stop him. This is not the fault of the police—it is a problem of physics.

Hmmm. If I’m on a crowded street, and the person behind me pulls a knife, I can’t expect the police to stop him in time, either — it is a problem of physics.

If the guy in the house across the street has a sniper rifle aimed at my bedroom window, waiting for my silhouette to cross his scope, I can’t expect the police to stop the bullet in time — it is a problem of physics.

If a disgruntled student rolls up to my front door in a tank, I can’t expect the SWAT team from Minneapolis to get all the way here in time — it is a problem of physics.

What I see over and over again in Harris and rabid defenders of gun ownership is something other than just merely seeing guns as a tool: it’s the cult of the rugged individual, the lone cowboy on his own in hostile territory, where the only recourse is to be quick on the draw. What’s the answer to any trouble? Why, you take care of it yourself, usually by killing the troublemaker. It’s a simple, quick solution that doesn’t require any thinking at all.

He takes a complicated problem — that an individual wants to do him great harm (something I have no trouble believing) — and reduces it to a simplistic scenario — the hostile bad guy is in his house, with a gun! — that can only be resolved by his personal decisiveness and training in firing right back at him.

Do I need to point out that in his scenario, he has already lost, no matter how well-trained he is with a firearm? He is having a gunfight in his home, with his family around him. Imagine yourself in your bedroom, pulling a pistol out of a bedside drawer, loading it, and calmly taking a few shots in the direction of the hallway, without the presence of an intruder to complicate and make even more dangerous the situation. This is not an action without consequences and without risk. But this is the preferred nightmare of the gun fanatics.

I prefer a multi-layered defense that relies on the cooperation of a community. I don’t want a gun put in my hands, because by the time the gun would be useful there have been multiple catastrophic failures of the whole system. An intruder should not be in my house. How about better locks, a security system, and regular police patrols in my neighborhood? An intruder should not be heavily armed. How about serious gun control that limits access to guns and monitors those who do have them? The intruder should not be vengefully gloating about the glory of shooting someone. How about changing the culture to stop worshipping gun violence, to stop thinking that killing an enemy resolves a problem rather than amplifying it?

I know already what response that will get: that it’s a starry-eyed optimistic dream. But what they won’t care about is that Harris’s dream of battling an evil-doer to the death with his well-practiced expertise in firing a gun is just as pie-in-the-sky, and that even in its most benign outcome, is still a horror and a nightmare.

This is my dismissal of the whole gun debate: that the answers the gun advocates propose all amplify the problem. The problem is the ready availability of guns and the willingness of self-righteous people (because, really, even the people gunning down school children are steadfast in their confidence that what they are doing is both right and necessary, as much so as the homeowner defending himself against a burglar) to resort to violent action to resolve conflicts. But they don’t bother to recognize that by the time deadly force is needed, it’s too late.

I promised I wouldn’t get sucked into a line-by-line dissection of Harris’s post. Fortunately, Eric MacDonald has exposed many of the logical fallacies in his argument, and Sean Faircloth has the facts and numbers that show his rationale is bogus.

I just want to emphasize that it’s a huge mistake to make the debate about the physics of the ultimate confrontation. The debate should be about how to make those gun-on-gun confrontations less likely.

Comments

  1. says

    I have been puzzled and dismayed to see John Lott resuscitated as the pro-gun point man in the newsmedia. Expect to see him cited with great confidence by gun lovers because of his supposed credibility. If anyone argues over gun control with you by quoting Lott, be ready to point out that his scholarship is shoddy and his reputation was shot full of holes when he could not defend his results (except by creating sockpuppets to speak on his behalf). See what Alex Seitz-Wald says about Lott in his Salon article.

  2. Ogvorbis says

    Then again, …if a person enters your home for the purpose of harming you, you cannot reasonably expect to have your handgun loaded and ready to fire in your hand. This is not your fault—it is a problem of physics.

    The wild west fantasy of granny with a shotgun chasing off the bad guys is so ingrained in US culture. Sad.

  3. kevinalexander says

    I would be easy to refute Sam if he were paranoid about space aliens. Actually you wouldn’t have to refute him, you could just laugh at him.
    The scenario that his paranoia feeds on is not impossible, it’s just way less likely to happen than that one of his kids, if he has any, finding the loaded gun in the nightstand and shooting himself with it.
    Sam reminds me of a fellow that I knew who refused to use his seatbelt. He had a vision in his head that his car would go out of control on an icy road and plunge into a lake, himself trapped by his seatbelt. You couldn’t argue stats with him. You couldn’t say that he was thousands of times more likely to just run into something in which case his seatbelt would save his life. He pays for his icy road vision with the fines he gets for not wearing and he may someday pay with his life.

  4. Doug Little says

    What I see over and over again in Harris and rabid defenders of gun ownership is something other than just merely seeing guns as a tool: it’s the cult of the rugged individual, the lone cowboy on his own in hostile territory, where the only recourse is to be quick on the draw. What’s the answer to any trouble? Why, you take care of it yourself, usually by killing the troublemaker. It’s a simple, quick solution that doesn’t require any thinking at all.

    Hollywood has a lot to answer for.

  5. Ogvorbis says

    For every man who thinks he’s Clint Eastwood four words “Play Misty for me”….

    Or just watch Paint Your Wagon.

  6. says

    Harris’ argument doesn’t even pass the “physics” test.

    In the scenario of an armed robber intent on doing you personal harm, you’ve already lost as soon as the “activity” begins.

    Someone breaks into your home…quick, where’s the gun? Is it loaded? Is there a trigger lock? Sorry, TOO LATE. It’s a problem of physics. That person — intent on doing you harm and armed — has already taken control of the situation.

    I haven’t looked at Sean’s post, but I can predict what the statistics say:
    1. That guns in the home are far more likely to harm someone within that household than any intruder.
    2. That the problem of armed intruders entering an occupied home is vanishingly small, unless you’re a drug dealer or owe a drug dealer some tremendous amounts of money.

    In short, Sam is offering a solution for which there is not a problem, and one that doesn’t work in any event due to the “laws of physics”. Unless you’re content to stand guard all night at your house with a loaded gun, safety off, cocked and ready to fire. In short, unless you’re a paranoid nutjob.

    Sam: don’t be a paranoid nutjob.

  7. coragyps says

    My wife is considerably less than enthusiastic about proposals from the NRA and our Texas governor that she be trained in firearms so that she can pack a pistol to her second-grade class.

    Weapons-grade stooopid doesn’t even describe that…….

  8. unbound says

    Saw the title and immediately thought, “Every man wants to talk to empty chairs?”

    On subject, there are so many complications with everyone having guns. Just look at the Sears tower incident last year where the trained police shot more innocent bystanders than the criminal. Imagine what a horrific mess it would be if everyone there had a gun.

    Imagine you are sitting in a cafeteria and shooting erupts on the other side. You wipe out your automatic pistol and shoot…who?

  9. dianne says

    Why would I be expecting someone to enter my house for the purpose of harming me? It’s more likely that no one will enter my house without my permission and far more likely that if anyone does manage to enter without my permission he or she would much rather steal my computer and wallet and leave without violence than would be seeking to harm me. Therefore, my best bet would be to get out and avoid the confrontation, not seek a confrontation in the hopes that I can get my violence in first.

  10. Anthony K says

    I hold Sam “We Should Profile People Who Look Like Ben Stiller at Airports” Harris personally responsible for the next Trayvon Martin case.

  11. Ogvorbis says

    Just shoot everyone. If everyone has a gun, they all deserve it.

    Isn’t that how the thinking goes?

    Kill them all. God will know his own.

  12. robro says

    richard — hahahah. Scariest movie I ever saw. And I saw it with a new girl friend who started calling me repeatedly at all times through the day.

  13. robro says

    Appropriately enough, the banner ad I’m seeing is for “Concealed Carry”…apparently a magazine for those who like to hide their gun inside their pants, as opposed to Poncho who wore his outside his pants.

  14. Anthony K says

    as opposed to Poncho who wore his outside his pants

    For all the honest world to feel. Thanks for the earworm, robro. I love that song.

    PS. It’s Pancho.

  15. says

    This summer, I went out to the garden to tend my potato plants when a man emerged from the garage. I didn’t recognize him at first, but he was the oft estranged husband of a neighbor (a “lives a mile away” neighbor; we’re very rural here) and claimed that he got drunk and had settled in to sleep in the garage after he had a fight with his wife. He also has a record for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

    I, because I was out there to garden, had a watering can.

    If he had a gun and intended me harm, I would have been killed. But if I had a gun…what good would it have done me under those circumstances? I would have had to take it out gardening with me, loaded. That’s absurd and dangerous.

    As it turned out, he didn’t seek to physically harm me. He just robbed me, having scoped out what was in the garage and my level of isolation. There are a lot of things that could have been done to prevent that crime. Me shooting him would have only made things much, much worse.

    Reality is so much messier than fantasy hypotheticals.

  16. says

    Well, I must note that home invasions of what appear to be random targets (ie: not drug or gang related, no previous relationship between invaders and victims) do take place. Of course A: it’s one of those terrifying-but-rare phenomena that gets played up into a risk bigger than it objectively is, and B: unless you already had your gun loaded and in-hand, you wouldn’t likely get a chance to use it.

    Bottom line: Could everyone please stop taking Sam Harris seriously as a spokesperson for rationality? ‘Cuz…..fuck.

  17. robro says

    Sam decides to clean his gun and make sure it’s ready in case an intruder enters his home. The gun accidentally discharges killing himself or someone near and dear to him. Or, his uncle comes over and they get in an argument. The uncle finds the gun and shoots the entire family. It’s a matter of physics…well, more precisely, statistics. Accidents and being shot by someone you know happens a lot more often than some stranger using a gun to harm someone.

  18. mbrysonb says

    I’m with Doug. Vivid Hollywood tales (both of ‘pure evil’ villains out to kill us and of heroes successfully using incredible levels of violence without unintended consequences) are a big part of the problem: this is where many get the notion that killing is what needs to be done and that ‘good guys’ blazing away with a gun can really be safe for family members, pets and the general public. Of course that intruder is likely to be a wife or son or daughter coming in late or sleep-walking or drunk, or a pet for that matter– and you’re likely to be confused, sleepy, stunned, clumsy, and make bad mistakes. But the real world facts (just statistics) get ignored here in favour of heroic fantasy.

  19. says

    Yeah, but it’s the illusion of self-control. It’s why people are more casual about getting in their car and driving a thousand miles than getting in an airplane and letting a pilot fly you a thousand miles: guess which one is riskier, and guess which one causes more fear?

  20. kyoseki says

    Guns are not going away any time soon and contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of industrialized countries have not banned the things, they’ve simply enacted stricter licensing & regulation, which most mainstream gun owners are generally ok with.

    If the CNN poll I saw yesterday is to be believed, 15% of people want all guns banned, 15% of people want no restrictions, 70% are ok with the idea of rules and regulations governing the things. Of course, it’s the 30% on the fringes who are doing the bulk of the shouting in this discussion.

    Better (mandatory) training would get rid of the Hollywood idea of guns & self defense, it needs to be drilled into people that they aren’t Jason Bourne and right now we’re sorely missing that aspect of gun ownership.

    As I effectively proposed in the Breitbart thread;
    The NRA was founded to train civilians in the use of arms, instead it’s become a mouthpiece for the firearms industry, I think it should go back to it’s original purpose.

    Put firearms into tiers, every tier should require mandatory (and significant) training and rely on obtaining the tier below, which will a: get rid of the image of gun owners as a bunch of irresponsible redneck fuckheads and b: turn knowing how to correctly use a firearm into a point of pride and personal responsibility – you could even require that someone have passed a tier X amount of time before the next tier can be acquired – you can only own a semi automatic rifle, for example, if you’ve already passed the semi automatic handgun tier two years previously and have had no firearms related incidents.

    You want to own a gun for personal defense? Fine, you have to carry it around with you everywhere you go in the home, if it’s not within arm’s reach, it should be in an approved and bolted down safe – I know guys who have loaded guns stashed around their home “just in case”.

    Enact stricter licensing and storage requirements and everyone can continue to own whatever they want to own without idiots fucking things up for everyone.

    Mostly I’d love to see the NRA try to weasel out of the idea that gun owners shouldn’t be forced to know what the fuck they’re doing.

  21. md says

    But what they won’t care about is that Harris’s dream of battling an evil-doer to the death with his well-practiced expertise in firing a gun is just as pie-in-the-sky, and that even in its most benign outcome, is still a horror and a nightmare.

    Here’s a nice map of some of those pies in the sky. Though, I do agree it would be a horror to deal with an armed intruder.

    http://www.cato.org/guns-and-self-defense

  22. Acitta says

    Your post articulately states what I was thinking when I read Harris’ article. I hereby appoint you an honourary Canadian.

  23. nightshadequeen says

    Frankly, if I, for whatever reason, thought it was likely that people would invade my home at night to kill me, I’d hide first. Or, I don’t know, quietly leave the house via a window or something.

  24. carlie says

    Do I need to point out that in his scenario, he has already lost, no matter how well-trained he is with a firearm? He is having a gunfight in his home, with his family around him. Imagine yourself in your bedroom, pulling a pistol out of a bedside drawer, loading it, and calmly taking a few shots in the direction of the hallway, without the presence of an intruder to complicate and make even more dangerous the situation. This is not an action without consequences and without risk.

    No kidding. Here’s a police officer who shot and killed his own son, thinking he was an intruder.

    And here’s another guy who shot and killed his own son as an intruder.

    And this is from South Africa, a man who shot and killed his daughter, yep, thinking she was an intruder.

  25. says

    This is the very essence of mythical, magical thinking: Evil is coming for me, the embodiment of Good, and there are only two possible outcomes. Either I’m left vulnerable and I end up a Sacrifice, or I’m armed and because of that talisman, I end up an Evil-vanquishing Hero. Mythical, magical thinking, not rational, scientific, practical thinking.

  26. says

    md:

    Here’s a nice map of some of those pies in the sky. Though, I do agree it would be a horror to deal with an armed intruder.

    http://www.cato.org/guns-and-self-defense

    Could you explain this nice map to me? What do “female”, “pizza delivery driver”, and “animal” mean in this context? Are these what needed to be shot for protection or who has the guns? (I’m assuming that they’re who needed to be shot, since animals can’t carry guns.)

  27. says

    Wow. Within the space of a few short paragraphs are so many examples of sloppy reasoning:

    Most of my friends do not own guns and never will. When asked to consider the possibility of keeping firearms for protection, they worry that the mere presence of them in their homes would put themselves and their families in danger. Can’t a gun go off by accident? Wouldn’t it be more likely to be used against them in an altercation with a criminal? I am surrounded by otherwise intelligent people who imagine that the ability to dial 911 is all the protection against violence a sane person ever needs.

    What does this last claim have to do with any of the preceding sentences?

    But, unlike my friends, I own several guns and train with them regularly. Every month or two, I spend a full day shooting with a highly qualified instructor. This is an expensive and time-consuming habit, but I view it as part of my responsibility as a gun owner.

    So poor people shouldn’t be able to own guns.

    A world without guns is one in which the most aggressive men can do more or less anything they want. It is a world in which a man with a knife can rape and murder a woman in the presence of a dozen witnesses, and none will find the courage to intervene.

    So it’s only his guns that would provide you the impetus to intervene, even with others, in a situation in which someone’s being attacked with a knife? Good to know.

    [I]t seems to me that there is nothing irrational about judging oneself to be psychologically stable and fully committed to the safe handling and ethical use of firearms—if, indeed, one is.

    Can’t find any holes in that.

    ***

    MacDonald:

    Besides, speaking about “good, trustworthy, and well trained people” with guns is arguably an incredibly self-serving judgement about Harris himself.

    And given his suggestion that the gun problem is largely confined to places like “Detroit, Oakland, Memphis, Little Rock, and Stockton,”his previous writing about Muslims, and his noting of the importance of expensive expert training, I wouldn’t be too eager to accept his dog-whistly self-assessment or argument about who should own guns, especially if I were a black or Muslim person.

    It’s so strange, when you think about it. What he claims to fear in (his vision of) Islam and to like in (his vision of) Buddhism and Jainism is reversed when he talks about himself or “people like him.”

  28. robro says

    Kyoseki — Sure, training would be a great step. After all, you must pass at least two tests to drive a car because driving is lethal. Also good would be background checks and waiting periods so people can’t buy guns when they’re mad enough to go kill someone.

    But some rationality in what guns are available would also be good. No one needs a semi-automatic assault weapon that’s apparently easily modified to be fully automatic. Not one needs 100 round magazines, or even 50 round mags. At least, no one in every day life who just likes to shoot or hunt. If we’re going to allow people to own such things, they should be required to store them and use them only at a licensed firing range.

    The current situation is as crazy as letting people carry around personal nukes, the only difference being the scale of effect.

  29. Rob Grigjanis says

    Yosemite Sam Harris.

    “Jesse James? Ha ha ha! Phooey. Why, everybody knows me. I’m Yosemite Sam, the meanest, toughest, rip-roarin’-est, Edward Everett Horton-est hombre what ever packed a six-shooter!”

  30. says

    In strong agreement, generally, but a bit dubious about the recommendation for “regular police patrols in my neighborhood.”

    I’m under the strong impression that the overwhelming evidence supports the hypothesis that random police patrols are a colossal waste of resources, but a great way to score political points. The chances that a wandering cop happens upon a (detectable) crime being or about to be committed seem to be tiny, and I think the crooks know this rather well.

    Nick Davies has written quite a bit on how other approaches to policing turn out to be vastly more effective.

    Not fully aware of the best evidence on this, though, so interested if anyone can support or refute this.

  31. says

    I wonder how many of those arguing that they need a gun to defend their home have actually invested anything into securing their homes: floodlights, alarm systems, bars in the windows, etc. That’s what businesses do to prevent burglaries. Since their argument hinges on there being a significant probability that someone will be trying to break in, the expense and inconvenience seems worthwhile.

  32. says

    If the CNN poll I saw yesterday is to be believed, 15% of people want all guns banned, 15% of people want no restrictions, 70% are ok with the idea of rules and regulations governing the things. Of course, it’s the 30% on the fringes who are doing the bulk of the shouting in this discussion.

    This is so much bullshit.I’ve been watching American news channels since Newtown, and not once have I seen a journalist, pundit, or interviewee calling for a complete ban on guns. Not one blogger or even commenter have I seen calling for a complete ban. And the closest I’ve seen to anyone who wants no restrictions is that nutcase on CNN (and in the vid clip I’ve seen, even he didn’t specifically say there should be no restrictions, I’m just guessing that would be his position). Almost every pro-gun-control advocate (e.g. the Giffords the other day) has prefaced their statements with multiple disgusting abject disclaimers about how they aren’t against guns per se, and they’re honest gun owners themselves and they’re 2nd amendment supporters, oh yes, they just think guns should be kept from “the wrong people”.

  33. gregoryhilliard says

    Right after the most recent school shooting, a gun-rights advocate (read: nut) explained that because a criminal would never wait for you to protect your family or get your gun that you should always wear a sidearm at home.

  34. says

    @Mellow Monkey Caerie

    I’m trying to figure that out too. It seems its related to what happened? Ie a pizza delivery guy needed to fend off a robbery (I’m assuming female and senior are similar)? or someone in the woods had to fend animals? If you click on the little thingies on the map it gives a little story. I’ve seen dates from 2005-20011 so I don’t think this map does anything to dispel the idea that these events are rare.

  35. prospect151 says

    I read Sam’s original article and subsequent FAQ and found myself agreeing with his explanations.
    I come here and read PZ’s article and agree with PZ’s side more.

    In the end, what we need are common-sense solutions to lessen violence, specifically gun violence in this case. And it’s so easy to resort to vilification – do you think Sam is honestly paranoid? No, but he’s very interested in the topics of defense, and chooses to write about them.

  36. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I am surrounded by otherwise intelligent people who imagine that the ability to dial 911 is all the protection against violence a sane person ever needs.

    Via a friend whose mother worked in law enforcement I once got to talk to someone who was ex-law enforcement and had gone into private security consultation. According to him there was one key rule of security that everyone has to consider and work off of

    A: Security is theater

    If someone wants to do harm or wants to break the law they can find a way, you can set up some reasonable road blocks but that is deterrence not prevention. For example look at anti-theft detection in big stores. While some higher end stores use very sturdy magnetic tags that clerks have to be removed many stores use a simple magnetic sticker or only tag some of their merchandise. In many many stores the incidence of false positive on the alarm so outweighs actual shop lifting that clerks choose to ignore it and not investigate. And even if it was a positive what are they do to? most stores have a policy that loss of property is not worth risking a clerk’s health over, so they shouldn’t engage. Most of these scanners are really really easy to circumnavigate. But that’s not the point of the scanners really. The point is to have a nice visible reminder of people “DON’T SHOP LIFT”. They’re probably not there to stop someone who goes in determined to shoplift, they’re there to deter someone who might have an impulse to shoplift. It’s to create the illusion that shop lifting is difficult or impossible.

    On the greater scale home security works in this way. We rely on the fact that people expect the ability to call 911 or that law enforcement exists to deter burglary. It’s an agreed upon lie that keeps us safe because it generates a barrier to casual law breaking.

  37. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    do you think Sam is honestly paranoid?

    Yes. Yes I do. Because he ignores experts and abandons reason for batshittery on some pet topics. And he gets defensive and mad at people who try to point this out to him.

    No, but he’s very interested in the topics of defense, and chooses to write about them.

    If he was really interested he would choose to READ about them. Creationists are very interested in evolution and write about them. They’re ignorant as Harris is though.

  38. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    But some rationality in what guns are available would also be good. No one needs a semi-automatic assault weapon that’s apparently easily modified to be fully automatic.

    I’m fairly ignorant on guns save what I get from osmosis from real gun nut relatives, but isn’t any modern weapon that is not a shot gun or revolver technically “semi-automatic”?

  39. says

    Anthony:
    I hold Sam “We Should Profile People Who Look Like Ben Stiller at Airports” Harris personally responsible for the next Trayvon Martin case.

    To paraphrase a relevant tweet that made the rounds: “Remember when the #NRA said Trayvon would still be alive if he had a concealed 9mm? Me neither.”

    I have not yet read Harris’ post (‘cos meh), but the thing that really bothers me about the pro-gun, anti-reg, yippie kai yay, motherfucker dudebros is the pretty blatant racism of their position.

  40. sirbedevere says

    Given that Harris bought into the old “terrorist who needs to be tortured because he knows the location of a ticking time bomb” fantasy, should we be surprised that he also goes for the equally implausible “armed intruder who breaks into your home but lets you get your gun” cliché?

    I was a fan of Sam Harris when The End of Faith came out. He’s become nothing less than an embarrassment now.

  41. md says

    MellowMonkey, Micheald,

    Yes, what Micheald said. Click on the mapmarks and read the event summary. Shame they didnt link to the relevant news reports. For those I suggest looking up the names and towns when they are given if you’d like to investigate the individual events.

  42. kyoseki says

    But some rationality in what guns are available would also be good. No one needs a semi-automatic assault weapon that’s apparently easily modified to be fully automatic.

    Well, it’s not “easy” per se, it can be done, but it radically increases the chance of the gun going off accidentally. Effectively it involves filing down some internal components to make the thing “bump fire” – the vibration from the last round getting fired causes the sear to release and allow the next round to be fired.

    The same modification, incidentally, can be made to semi automatic handguns.

    Although it’s worth pointing out in both cases that this is hardly ever done, yes, it’s possible, but I don’t see it as a basis for legislation.

    It’s also worth pointing out here though that “assault rifles” are a red herring in my estimation, if one hadn’t been present at Newtown, the situation would have been identical to the Dunblane massacre, where the shooter still killed 16 children and their teacher, the only reason the casualty count was smaller is because Dunblane is a much smaller school than Newtown.

    Not one needs 100 round magazines, or even 50 round mags. At least, no one in every day life who just likes to shoot or hunt.

    I agree, but reducing magazine capacities doesn’t really do much to reduce casualties – the idea is that forcing someone to reload more often gives victims a chance to escape or tackle the shooter, but in actuality, this simply doesn’t happen – the Aurora shooter, for example, had enough time to switch weapons twice and reload three times without anyone stopping him.

    That said, I’d shunt high capacity magazines into the same category as suppressors/silencers are in now, you can buy them, but they’re all tracked individually by the ATF.

    If we’re going to allow people to own such things, they should be required to store them and use them only at a licensed firing range.

    This presents other problems though, not the least of which is presenting thieves with a target that consists of nothing but high value weapons.

  43. says

    In strong agreement, generally, but a bit dubious about the recommendation for “regular police patrols in my neighborhood.”

    I’m under the distinct impression that the overwhelming evidence supports the hypothesis that random police patrols are a colossal waste of resources, but a great way to score political points.
    The chances that a wandering cop should happen upon a detectable crime being or about to be committed seem tiny, and I think the crooks know this rather well.

    Nick Davies has written quite a bit about how other approaches to policing turn out to be vastly more effective.

    I’m not fully aware of the best evidence on this, though, so interested if anybody can support or refute this.

  44. says

    I own several guns and train with them regularly. Every month or two, I spend a full day shooting with a highly qualified instructor.

    Criminals commonly call ahead to schedule their home invasions so you can clear your schedule and be on the alert for them.

  45. says

    Bah. Blockquote fail.

    Anthony:

    I hold Sam “We Should Profile People Who Look Like Ben Stiller at Airports” Harris personally responsible for the next Trayvon Martin case.

    To paraphrase a relevant tweet that made the rounds: “Remember when the #NRA said Trayvon would still be alive if he had a concealed 9mm? Me neither.”

    I have not yet read Harris’ post (‘cos meh), but the thing that really bothers me about the pro-gun, anti-reg, yippie kai yay, motherfucker dudebros is the pretty blatant racism of their position.

  46. md says

    Regarding Sam being paranoid, that seems a bit unfair. He says his life has been threatened and given the position he takes on some positions and the likely enemies he makes, it seems plausible.

    Does anyone have any evidence he might be making these threats up?

  47. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    He’s stepped into the gun control debate with The Riddle of the Gun, and he’s taking the side of Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.

    Colour me completely unsurprised that this fuckwitted arsehole has proven once again that he’s a fuckwitted arsehole.

  48. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Sam Harris, Wayne LaPierre, and their ilk share something in common with many of those who commit firearm related violence: the empowerment they get from using a gun. Gun possession is like a fetish to them.

  49. kyoseki says

    I’m fairly ignorant on guns save what I get from osmosis from real gun nut relatives, but isn’t any modern weapon that is not a shot gun or revolver technically “semi-automatic”?

    Semi automatic means that firing the weapon causes the action to cycle and load the next round into the chamber. Their rate of fire is equivalent to a revolver (where pulling the trigger causes the next round to be loaded), but their main “advantage” is that they have larger magazine capacities and can be reloaded more quickly.

    A lot of precision rifles and hunting rifles are bolt action, which means the next round must be loaded manually. There’s things like lever action rifles out there as well, but those are primarily used by wild west enthusiasts, they’re not something in common usage.

    There are, incidentally, semiautomatic shotguns which are used primarily for duck hunting and skeet shooting (for hunting/skeet, they’re limited to 3 round capacities, for defense, that can go up to 8 rounds).

    The most common type of firearm owned in this country (by a HUGE margin) is a semi automatic handgun, which, in confined spaces, isn’t significantly less dangerous than an “assault rifle”.

    Unsurprisingly, semi automatic handguns are the most commonly used weapon in gun crime (6500 murders last year compared to 350 for rifles of any type).

  50. nightshadequeen says

    Honestly, assuming all of the dangers Harris talks about are real….

    That’s an argument for wearing a bulletproof viest everywhere, not a gun.

  51. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Tony

    I don’t think for Harris it’s the fetishization. It’s that he’s basically really really racist and fears different people.

  52. says

    Ing:

    Most of these scanners are really really easy to circumnavigate. But that’s not the point of the scanners really. The point is to have a nice visible reminder of people “DON’T SHOP LIFT”. They’re probably not there to stop someone who goes in determined to shoplift, they’re there to deter someone who might have an impulse to shoplift. It’s to create the illusion that shop lifting is difficult or impossible.

    They also block off the “I forgot I had it on me”, and the “oops… I forgot to pay” defenses. Deliberately ripping off a tag or squeezing around a security scanner is very difficult to explain away.

  53. w00dview says

    One of the most bizarre arguments following the Newtown shooting was the claim by NRA spokespeople that the schools should have armed security to prevent future shooting. So let me get this straight: the people who think restrictions on guns will lead to tyranny are also suggesting a solution that one would find in some fascist dystopia in a science fiction novel? I mean, what kind of childhood would you have when you see armed soldiers around every corner to make sure you are “safe”. And how is this solution seen as protecting liberty while more stringent regulations on gun ownership is somehow brutally authoritarian? These people have pretty messed up priorities when it comes to freedom.

  54. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Sidenote: I think many people confuse semi-automatic (which is common and itself doesn’t seem to be a problem) with assault rifles and sub-machine guns

  55. kyoseki says

    This is so much bullshit.I’ve been watching American news channels since Newtown, and not once have I seen a journalist, pundit, or interviewee calling for a complete ban on guns.

    Ok fine, being gracious enough to allow people to own muskets doesn’t count as a complete ban, I suppose.

  56. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    the empowerment they get from using a gun. Gun possession is like a fetish overcompensation for self-perceived inadequacies to them.

    That’s every gun nut I know, anyway.

  57. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    They also block off the “I forgot I had it on me”, and the “oops… I forgot to pay” defenses. Deliberately ripping off a tag or squeezing around a security scanner is very difficult to explain away.

    Yes but like I said, someone dedicated can easily spot the flaws and holes in most systems. Places like bookstores and low end department stores like TARGET seem to have such a high rate of false positive that that you could get away with it just by looking at the clerk confused for a second before they wave you on. Plus most stores don’t actually HAVE a security on hand most of the time, and it’s not like most employees are going to try to restrain someone. They make a note of it and I imagine if they can get the security footage for when they file the claim.

  58. Pierce R. Butler says

    unbound @ # 10: … the Sears tower incident last year where the trained police shot more innocent bystanders than the criminal.

    Link, please – my search failed to find anything about this other than a crazed-gunman incident in a Loop office building a few blocks away, and the story of the FBI entrapping those dumbass jihadi-wannabes from Miami with a fake bomb-Sears-tower plot.

  59. viggen111 says

    You know, you are also over-simplifying the issue. The second amendment is the Sword of Damocles in the US constitution and it was thought up by a bunch of men who just fought a war to oust what they thought was an unjust government. The whole point is that an informed citizenry has the right to choose their government and the government has enough trust in the citizenry to leave the power of main force in the hands of citizens. The solution is not to get rid of guns; that is a superficial bandage for a complicated problem which is no better than the thinking you are deriding. The solution is in education and culture: we need to strengthen education enough that people can approach these things logically enough to be trusted with their civic duty as citizens of _this_country_ and we need to (somehow) encourage a culture where people of differing background and thought processes communicate enough that people they don’t know can act as a safety mechanism against the kind of thinking and violence you are so set against. Our government is a heartbeat from becoming a fascist hell mainly because the people here are incapable of making civic-minded choices and believe that imposing their will on others is a good solution to the problem -without realizing that every rule imposed is another step toward that fascist hell and the point where the second amendment actually has its true purpose. The problem here is not guns, it’s people. Giving up your right to guns is as much as giving up your ultimate say in how you are governed –the peaceful resistance thought process of the ’60s is naive and stupid because it relies on who you are rebelling against having enough of a conscience to not pull the trigger, which is not historically always true. If you want to think about how this country was born, the founding fathers would want assault rifles in the hands of the citizens so that the citizens have the option to stand against a government gone wrong and so that the government cannot just mow everybody down who stands up to say “No, I don’t agree.” Mechanized warfare has done a really bad thing to us, but we all need to know it clearly. And, pretending like sticking your head in the sand will make it all go away so that you don’t have to shoulder your particular responsibility for it is nonsense. Glorifying violence is dead wrong, but stripping everyone of the capacity to make choices is not the answer. If your idea of gun control is strong education and only giving guns to people who are responsible with respect to what our country is, I might come to agree with you.

    No, I don’t think my thinking is anachronistic; I think it’s being aware of the day when it might be needed again… times of war follow times of peace, even when the people who must fight have been removed from fighting long enough to forget how. And, war happens when people stop being able to communicate enough with each other to see eye-to-eye or find a way to sub-humanize those who disagree with them, which is happening right now. If you think god-fearing people have not sub-humanized you, you’re an idiot and if you think throwing flowers and talking high-minded thoughts in a debate will stop them from shooting you for it outright, you’re doubly so. Keep in mind the alarming regularity with which people like you use the words “Taliban theocrat” and stop to think about what that actually means. Every household should have a gun, if only as a graphic reminder that you never want to have to use it and every household should know enough to not want to use it.

  60. kyoseki says

    Sidenote: I think many people confuse semi-automatic (which is common and itself doesn’t seem to be a problem) with assault rifles and sub-machine guns

    Well this is a part of the problem.

    An actual military “assault rifle” is capable of burst fire – three rounds with one squeeze of the trigger.

    What’s generally being termed an “assault rifle” in the media (and legislature) is what New Zealand terms a “military style semi automatic” rifle – it looks like the military weapon and it fires the same cartridge, but internally the workings are different, so it’s not just a case of swapping a couple of parts and bingo, you have a machine gun.

    At longer range they are more dangerous than handguns, which really aren’t all that accurate beyond about 25 yards, but in terms of rate of fire, reload speed and the lethality of the cartridge, it’s pretty much a wash in my estimation.

  61. kyoseki says

    Link, please – my search failed to find anything about this other than a crazed-gunman incident in a Loop office building a few blocks away, and the story of the FBI entrapping those dumbass jihadi-wannabes from Miami with a fake bomb-Sears-tower plot.

    It was actually the Empire State Building.

    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/24/shooting-reported-outside-empire-state-building/

    Note that the “some may have accidentally been shot by police officers” eventually became “everyone was shot by police officers”.

  62. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Re: the NRA’s call for armed guards at schools:

    There was an incident where a pair of guys up to no good showed up at an American school that did happen to have an armed guard.

    This incident happened on April 20, 1999, in Littleton, Colorado. At Columbine High School.

    (Please, spare me from having to tell you how that turned out)

  63. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    The whole point is that an informed citizenry has the right to choose their government and the government has enough trust in the citizenry to leave the power of main force in the hands of citizens.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shays%27_Rebellion

    I think the government at the time would be surprised at your reading.

    The Boston elites were mortified at this resistance. Governor Bowdoin commanded the legislature to “vindicate the insulted dignity of government.” Samuel Adams claimed that foreigners (“British emissaries”) were instigating treason among the commoners, and he helped draw up a Riot Act, and a resolution suspending habeas corpus in order to permit the authorities to keep people in jail without trial. Adams even proposed a new legal distinction: that rebellion in a republic, unlike in a monarchy, should be punished by execution. The legislature also moved to make some concessions to the upset farmers, saying certain old taxes could now be paid in goods instead of hard currency.[8] These measures were followed up by one prohibiting speech critical of the government, and offering pardons to protestors willing to take an oath of allegiance.[25] These legislative actions were unsuccessful in quelling the protests,[8] and the suspension of habeas corpus alarmed many….

    … Delegate Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut argued that because the people could not be trusted (as exemplified by Shays’ Rebellion), the members of the federal House of Representatives should be chosen by state legislatures, not by popular vote….

  64. dereksmear says

    Once again, I think you are being very unfair to Harris. He does not think he is Clint Eastwood. He thinks he is

  65. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Every household should have a gun, if only as a graphic reminder that you never want to have to use it and every household should know enough to not want to use it.

    You’re an idiot.

  66. iamamk says

    Delurking to tell the following story…
    I’m an academic living in Oxford. Peaceful, innocuous, harmless, weak.
    In October a person broke into our home, whilst we were in. Until then we religiously turned out the lights of any room we weren’t in to save electricity. The thief climbed in through our bedroom window, thinking nobody was in…
    I was in the kitchen cooking. My wife was in the front room. She saw him first. He encountered her first. Before then, he thought the house was empty. At that moment, he thought she was the only person in the house.
    “Hello, can I help you?”, that’s what my wife said. You don’t expect an intruder to be wondering around the house. She thought he was a lost student who’d somehow found his was into our apartment. It’s not rational, but that’s what she thought. People are not Bruce Lee.
    He ran away.
    He was a thief. He wasn’t a murdered. He wasn’t a rapist. He was *just*a*thief*.
    He ran away.
    He didn’t just run away. He was *terrified*. He turned. He fled. Out through the window and way. We lost a Kindle, but that’s all.
    He ran away.
    An intruder is terrified. They don’t want to meet anybody. They think the house is empty. They’re not brave. They’re not a murdered. They want to make an easy profit and get out. They’re scared. They’re timid.
    This intruder shat his pants and left his mark. Literally. He’s a person to be pitied.
    Yes, retrospectively we’re scared. Yes, we’ve had extra locks placed on the windows. Yes, we’ve each had nightmares. Yes, we don’t feel happy being along with the windows open. Yes, we’ve both woken up convinced we’ve seen hands coming though the window. Wes, we’re scared that we’ll see a person in the corridor. Yes, we’re human.
    The person who broke in was also human.
    Guns didn’t even feature in this. This wasn’t a life-or-death situation. This was a person in a desperate situation, scared to death, quite literally shitting his pants.
    Anybody who thinks this is the sort of situation that requires guns is an idiot.
    To pull a gun on somebody means you want to kill them. Over what? Possessions? A Kindle? He can keep the Kindle. His life is worth more than a Kindle! The idea that a thief is free-game is appalling. Sure, it’s upsetting. But that doesn’t justify threatening to kill somebody.

  67. says

    @MD
    Shrugs I don’t see that the map is very useful. Compared to the total number of thefts, assaults etc the number of times a gun was useful seems quite small (the map has events from over almost a decade (reports from 2004-2012 that I’ve seen so far). I don’t deny that having a gun for self defense can’t lead to positive outcomes I deny that that’s the common outcome.

    I’m also amused one of the events tagged rape involved the victim getting the gun away from the assailant and shooting him. Good for her but it doesn’t really help the idea that bringing a gun isn’t going to be taken and used against you.

    Probably has gotten threats and if he’s having anxiety over it I wouldn’t blame him for it. I’m just not convinced this is the best response to them.

  68. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    To be honest a better security measure is to get a dog. Even a small one. They provide both deterrence and alarm and complicate matters enough to deter most burglars.

  69. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    At longer range they are more dangerous than handguns, which really aren’t all that accurate beyond about 25 yards, but in terms of rate of fire, reload speed and the lethality of the cartridge, it’s pretty much a wash in my estimation.

    But what size rounds do they use? I was under the impression that in general all rifle rounds were usually greater than handgun rounds?

  70. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    viggen111:
    <blockquoteThe second amendment is the Sword of Damocles in the US constitution and it was thought up by a bunch of men who just fought a war to oust what they thought was an unjust government.

    The Second Amendment is no longer necessary.
    What reasons exist that people *need* to have guns?
    How is a handgun, shotgun, or even a semi automatic rifle going to protect a homeowner from an unjust government that has the technology of today?

  71. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Well I borked that up just fine.
    viggen111:

    The second amendment is the Sword of Damocles in the US constitution and it was thought up by a bunch of men who just fought a war to oust what they thought was an unjust government.

    The Second Amendment is no longer necessary.
    What reasons exist that people *need* to have guns?
    How is a handgun, shotgun, or even a semi automatic rifle going to protect a homeowner from an unjust government that has the technology of today?

  72. OlliP says

    I read a story in a Stockholm (Sweden) newspaper about 2 years ago about a woman who woke up in the middle of the night and there was a man with a knife standing in the bedroom. It was a hot summer and she had had the window open for the night. She screamed bloody murder and the intruder ran away, through the same windown if I remember right.

    An interviewed police officer instructed people to keep their windows locked if they live on the first floor. Funny that, no gun needed even against an armed intruder. Had the lady had a gun, it would have been life or death for the intruder too, forcing him to attack the woman.

  73. kyoseki says

    But what size rounds do they use? I was under the impression that in general all rifle rounds were usually greater than handgun rounds?

    The AR 15 typically uses 5.56mm rounds, whereas common handgun calibers start at 9mm and up.

    The 5.56 (or .223) round is a much smaller diameter but travels faster, so when it hits a target it typically goes straight through leaving a small hole, larger caliber handgun rounds, particularly hollow points are much more likely to expend all of their energy within the (euphemistically named) target, causing significantly more damage.

    I’ve seen arguments for/against AR type rifles in urban situations because people reckon the 5.56 round has less of a chance of overpenetration, at least once it’s hit a target, but honestly I don’t know the details on that point, I think the FBI has done studies and I know there’s a few web pages out there that show the penetration characteristics in ballistic gel.

    AK pattern rifles use a 7.62mm round, which does a fair bit more damage than the AR round, but is less accurate over distance (which isn’t typically a factor in mass shootings anyway), the AK series in general have a reputation for being less accurate overall than the AR series (not that I own either).

    Basically, getting shot by any bullet isn’t going to hurt, but once you’re into the common semi automatic calibers, they’re not drastically different in terms of lethality.

    You can get larger and more dangerous rounds in precision/hunting rifles, but the rate of fire is typically much lower (and anything over, but not including, 50 caliber is controlled by the National Firearms Act).

  74. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    was thought up by a bunch of men who just fought a war to oust what they thought was an unjust government.

    Who then almost immediately called for the death penalty for people who would view them as an unjust government and try the same thing.

  75. allegro says

    How is a handgun, shotgun, or even a semi automatic rifle going to protect a homeowner from an unjust government that has the technology of today?

    Magical thinking. The End.

  76. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Kyoseki

    Thank you. It seems that rate of fire should be the deciding factor in whether such weapons should be legal. Though personally I think many hand guns themselves are just as dangerous, due to their use in such shootings.

  77. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    viggen111:

    If you want to think about how this country was born, the founding fathers would want assault rifles in the hands of the citizens so that the citizens have the option to stand against a government gone wrong and so that the government cannot just mow everybody down who stands up to say “No, I don’t agree.”

    [emphasis mine]

    You win the Stupid Statement of the Day Award.
    In this masturbatory fantasy you have, I suppose you think the government is going to send agents *marching* to your home to mow you down, rather than using tanks or aircraft or drones.

    By Dog, gun nuts do not make sense to me.

  78. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Tony

    And as I pointed out we have historical precedence to think that, no they were not too keen on the idea of any yokel being able to stand up to the government. I seriously question why someone would think that a bunch of people who didn’t think the common person should be trusted with voting (thus the indirect elections and electoral college) would be ok with them marching on the government. Cause you know…they weren’t

  79. Beatrice says

    Though personally I think many hand guns themselves are just as dangerous, due to their use in such shootings.

    Bar shootings, what could have been a fist fight ending up with a shooting, domestic violence ending in a shooting…. aren’t all those usually committed by hand guns?
    Also, accidents because of unsecured weapons, kids getting hold of guns and similar – mostly hand guns. No?

  80. Pierce R. Butler says

    kyoseki @ # 66: It was actually the Empire State Building.

    Thanks for clarifying that – all these giant suit-hives look alike to me.

    And as for the ESB – the situation would never have gotten out of hand if Clark Savage, Jr., still had his office and lab space up there on the 86th floor!

  81. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Beatrice

    and most armed crime IIRC.

    I’d like heavier regulation and testing of all fire arms and either much stricter criteria or restriction on concealable hand weapons and high rate weapons.

  82. kyoseki says

    @Ing

    Thank you. It seems that rate of fire should be the deciding factor in whether such weapons should be legal. Though personally I think many hand guns themselves are just as dangerous, due to their use in such shootings.

    Agreed.

    That’s what I’ve been arguing for a while now, a semi automatic handgun is just as dangerous in a mass shooting situation as an “assault rifle”, so banning the latter isn’t going to do anything significant to curb the number of casualties in these incidents.

    Additionally, assault rifles aren’t used in the bulk of “regular” shooting incidents, so a ban won’t curb those either.

    The big problem we have is that semiautomatic handgun ownership is protected by a Supreme Court decision, so while we can ban other types of firearm, the main culprit will remain at large. Changing that would require a repeal of the 2nd Amendment and that’s not happening any time soon.

    As I say, I think the real key to this problem is mandatory training for everyone, get rid of the Jason Bourne mentality and force people to accept the idea that owning a gun isn’t an instant “I win” button.

    Even the NRA *should* be on board with this idea, it was their original mandate and if they want to continue in their paranoid delusion that an armed populace can overthrow the government, they should be forcing that populace to at least know which end of a gun the bullet comes out of.

  83. bcmystery says

    As a man with a small penis, I, too, have compensated with study, practice, and careful attention to my technique. I don’t know from guns, but I am here to tell you all these tongue kegels have made a world of difference in terms of my confidence and performance.

  84. nightshadequeen says

    The whole point is that an informed citizenry has the right to choose their government and the government has enough trust in the citizenry to leave the power of main force in the hands of citizens.

    I don’t believe any gun can take on this fellow

    Fact: You don’t have “the power of main force”. At all.

    The solution is not to get rid of guns; that is a superficial bandage for a complicated problem which is no better than the thinking you are deriding.

    How is getting rid of guns not a solution to gun crime? If your answer is something along the lines of “but only criminals will have guns!” then please answer:

    1. Assuming you have a gun: Would rather keep it unloaded (and have to take time to load) or loaded (and risk it going off by itself).
    2. Do you live alone? Do you live with kids or pets? If your answers are no and yes, respectively, would you rather keep your gun locked up (and have to fumble with a lock) or out in the open (and risk someone accidentally setting it off?)
    3. Of that last ten policemen/women you’ve seen: What side did they carry on? What weapons are they carrying?
    4. How fast can you draw?
    5. How fast can you reload?

    The solution is in education and culture: we need to strengthen education enough that people can approach these things logically enough to be trusted with their civic duty as citizens of _this_country_

    Gun ownership is not a civic duty.

    The problem here is not guns, it’s people.

    Name one thing that is a) as easy to get as a gun, b) as easy to use, and c) as deadly.

    Giving up your right to guns is as much as giving up your ultimate say in how you are governed

    I’m…laughing at you.

    Seriously laughing at you.

    Mate, if the government wanted to kill you, you wouldn’t have a chance. Tell me this – are you using a desktop or a laptop? Does your home have central air? Do you go around everywhere with a gas mask on? Do you drive? Do you shop for groceries?

    (Trust me, this is relevant).

    Do you own a tank? Anti-aircraft guns? Aircraft?

    Every household should have a gun, if only as a graphic reminder that you never want to have to use it and every household should know enough to not want to use it.

    Then why own the gun?

  85. cswella says

    Ok fine, being gracious enough to allow people to own muskets doesn’t count as a complete ban, I suppose.

    Keep going back to that strawman…

    Pretty much all of the “pro-ban guns” positions I’ve seen and been a part of concern guns/accessories that make it overkill for any reasonable use of firearms. Talking about extended magazines and guns that toe the line for fully automatic. I’m perfectly fine with hunting rifles/shotguns and pistols.

  86. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    The idea that a pack of civillians – no matter how fired up – can outfight the American military (or, shit, an average police SWAT team) is absurd.

    In modern warfare, there are exactly two situation where a small number of people owning rifles and assorted handguns can go toe-to-toe with a modern organized military, to wit:

    (1) Snipers.
    (2) Guerilla warfare.

    I would point out that the Continental Army during the Revolution used both techniques (for given values of eighteenth-century “sniping”) to great effect against the British. To the infuriation and crying-foul of the British, I might add. Because the Americans weren’t playing fair. In most of the battles the Americans went up against the British in “standard” battles, the Americans got their butts kicked, because until the late stages of the war (and then, only some units) the Continental Army was a semi-organized militia/rabble and the British Army was a disciplined, well-trained, well-equipped, cohesive unit. The leadership of the Continentals realized this and used what they had (i.e. pluck, knowledge of the terrain, and willingness to bleed the British dry) as advantages.

    The modern US Army – all organized militaries – recognizes the dangers of snipers and engages in regular anti-sniper behavior. And the remaining option, guerrilla warfare, depends on the knowledge base of the fighters being unequal. That is, it is unlikely that it would be terribly useful in a homegrown citizenry-vs-government fight, given that the government soldiers, being American, would know – on average – as much as the citizenry. This is not the situation in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Americans are more ignorant than the Afghan and Iraqi citizenry.
    Or, allegro said. Magical thinking. Nothing else.

  87. md says

    I seriously question why someone would think that a bunch of people who didn’t think the common person should be trusted with voting (thus the indirect elections and electoral college) would be ok with them marching on the government. Cause you know…they weren’t

    “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244)

    “The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…” (James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 [June 8, 1789])

    “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials.” (George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426)

    Would you like more, Ing? I’ve got more.

  88. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @md

    Talk is cheap. Their response to people saying “that’s a good idea” was “execute them for treason”

  89. nightshadequeen says

    In modern warfare, there are exactly two situation where a small number of people owning rifles and assorted handguns can go toe-to-toe with a modern organized military, to wit:

    (1) Snipers.
    (2) Guerilla warfare.

    And that’s assuming said military has enough morals to not, you know, firebomb everything.

  90. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I mean FFS, the militia of the states was NOT the idea of protecting yourself form the gov, as we clearly saw in Shays Rebellion where right after the damn war people did go to arms to protect their property from Gov+banks and the Gov response was to suspend the standards of due process

  91. kyoseki says

    Keep going back to that strawman…

    His argument was that nobody was proposing a ban, in fact, I’ve seen quite a few people make the argument that the only weapon the 2nd amendment applies to is muskets, so it’s hardly a straw man if people are actually making the argument, is it?

    Pretty much all of the “pro-ban guns” positions I’ve seen and been a part of concern guns/accessories that make it overkill for any reasonable use of firearms. Talking about extended magazines and guns that toe the line for fully automatic. I’m perfectly fine with hunting rifles/shotguns and pistols.

    Fully automatic weapons have been regulated since the National Firearms Act of 1934 (and as I say, converting a semi automatic rifle to full automatic is possible, but very dangerous and very rarely done).

    Extended magazines are rarely a factor in spree killings when reloading times are quick and the shooter has a backup firearm (the only instance where magazine size was a factor was Tucson, where the shooter was armed with a single gun and dropped the second magazine, whereupon he was tackled) – the Aurora shooter had enough time to switch weapons twice and reload three times without anyone tackling him.

    Reduced magazine capacities also will not change anything to curb regular shootings, since those are invariably one on one with only a handful of shots fired.

    You say you’re ok with pistols, but pistols are invariably the weapon of choice for murder, suicide and spree killings, banning anything other than those *may* reduce the overall murder rate by 1-2% assuming people only had access to weapons other than handguns (as in Australia) but it won’t really have a significant effect other than annoying responsible gun owners and making some people feel warm and fuzzy.

    It takes considerable political capital to enact any kind of gun legislation, I don’t want politicians wasting it with pointless legislation that doesn’t address the root cause of the issue.

    Mandatory background checks for all gun purchases is a good idea
    Mandatory safety & proficiency training for all gun purchases is a good idea
    Mandatory registration of all new firearms sales isn’t a bad idea but difficult to enact
    Forcing people to safely store firearms is a good idea, but difficult to enact
    Tracking ammunition purchases isn’t a bad idea, but difficult to enact

    Banning online ammunition sales is a waste of time (just track them as above)
    Restricting ammunition sale amounts is a waste of time
    Reducing magazine sizes and banning assault rifles is a waste of time
    Banning “bullet buttons” is a waste of time (it’s band aid legislation on top of bad assault weapons legislation).

    At any rate, that’s my take on the legislation currently being proposed.

  92. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    nightshadequeen:

    And that’s assuming said military has enough morals to not, you know, firebomb everything.

    Indeed. Once the soldiers say, “Fuck this, I’m calling in an airstrike,” it’s all over.

    Same goes for drones.

    (Isn’t it interesting how a lot of the OMGGOTAKEEPMAHGUN types seem to act like the USAF doesn’t exist? Maybe they think that their AR-15 can take down an F-22.)

  93. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    The reality is that without a change to the SCOTUS no good action can be made

  94. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    What we should do is make sure the subject stays alive and active so it becomes a point future SCOTUS candidates will have to answer

  95. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Seriously I question the supremacy of the SCOTUS and 2nd Amendment protects guns now and for eternity while abortion rights are still constantly curtailed despite SCOTUS ruling

  96. kyoseki says

    Isn’t it interesting how a lot of the OMGGOTAKEEPMAHGUN types seem to act like the USAF doesn’t exist? Maybe they think that their AR-15 can take down an F-22

    Funny you should mention that, one of the big reasons constantly being parroted when California banned 50 caliber rifles and handguns was that “one of these can take down a plane!”

    … of course, one of those has NEVER taken down a plane and any conceivable instance where it would, also applies to any other rifle or handgun, but this logic is apparently lost on the legislature.

    The worst part is that they specifically banned the 50 BMG round (the most common 50 caliber rifle round), but Europe has already dealt with this and invented the 510 DTC Europ round, which is, to all intents and purposes, completely fucking identical, but it has a different name so it’s not illegal.

    This is the problem with letting people who don’t understand firearms enact firearms legislation.

  97. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Wars of attrition are far different than fighting your own gov.

    No one in any of those wars thought they could WIN, the goal was to survive and make occupation too costly to continue. You can’t really do that when it’s home base

  98. md says

    Always strikes me as disconcerting when devoted anti-fascists start talking bout the superiority of the American military.

  99. alkisvonidas says

    I can only imagine [he writes, with evident relish and pride] the mirth it has brought gun-rights zealots to see “automatic” and “semi-automatic” routinely confused, or to hear a major news anchor ominously declare that the shooter had been armed with a “Sig Sauzer” pistol. This has been more than embarrassing. It has offered a thousand points of proof that “liberal elites” don’t know anything about what matters when bullets start flying.

    This one deserves a name. The Gunslinger’s Reply, perhaps?

  100. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @MD

    It’s reality you fucking idiot. There is literally nothing stopping you form being declared an enemy combatant and disappeared.

    What would even happen if you managed to fight off and kill the initial wave sent for you? You’re not a cop killing terrorist on American soil

  101. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    MD you’re profoundly dishonest and stupid. Go away so real people can discuss this.

  102. says

    The idea that a pack of civillians – no matter how fired up – can outfight the American military (or, shit, an average police SWAT team) is absurd.

    Nonsense. Haven’t you seen that documentary, Red Dawn?

  103. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @PZ

    Even there, I have to point out. OCCUPYING FORCE. Where do these idiots expect the US military to withdraw TOO in face of domestic gorilla warfare? Canada?

  104. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    What? A 50-caliber weapon can take down an airplane?

    If the pilot holds the plane steady, maybe. And raises the nose so that the shooter can aim at the gas tank. And the shooter has diamond-tipped bullets. And is mounted on a unicorn.

  105. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Esteleth

    And Kasumi overloads the shield generator first

  106. md says

    Ing,

    Can you imagine any situation in life in which you would fight, risking death, and believe yourself morally justified?

    Have you observed moments in history when this has occurred and you’ve sympathized?

    John Brown and Geronimo failed, but aren’t you glad they had guns?

  107. kyoseki says

    Even there, I have to point out. OCCUPYING FORCE. Where do these idiots expect the US military to withdraw TOO in face of domestic gorilla warfare? Canada?

    Give me half an hour and I’m sure I can find someone who thinks this is all a NAFTA plot being orchestrated by those dastardly Canadians.

  108. says

    Linked to it some days ago in the Lounge, noting that he apparently likes the taste of his foot, that’s why he puts it into his mouth that often.

    Imagine yourself in your bedroom, pulling a pistol out of a bedside drawer, loading it, and calmly taking a few shots in the direction of the hallway, without the presence of an intruder to complicate and make even more dangerous the situation. This is not an action without consequences and without risk. But this is the preferred nightmare of the gun fanatics.

    Yeah, there’s always that little problem in that scenario: If you store the weapon securily you have a good chance it won’t be any use the time you get to it. If you don’t store it securely, there’s a good chance your kid hurts themselves or a family member.
    Apart from the nasty facts that
    A) the intruder is most likely your kid sneaking in.
    B) the reason actual burglars carry weapons is the fact that they have a good reason to shoot first…

    Just shoot everyone. If everyone has a gun, they all deserve it.

    I remember a friend having the signature “Wouldn’t the world be a nice, quiet place if everybody’s throat was cut”.

    +++

    A world without guns is one in which the most aggressive men can do more or less anything they want. It is a world in which a man with a knife can rape and murder a woman in the presence of a dozen witnesses, and none will find the courage to intervene.

    Yes, that’s why western Europe has such high levels of crime. Daylight rape is happening all the time, in town squares until the police shows up. Then they shoot everybody.
    And that’s why a knife made you the top-dog before they invented guns. Really, you can look that up in any history book.

    iamamk
    Yes, all of that.
    I’m sorry you had to deal with this.
    Similar thing happened to friends of mine: the thiefs thought the house was empty while my friend was typing some stuff in the attic. Finally the dog woke up and barked, the thieves ran. they lost 200 bucks and a wristwatch.
    If we add guns to the scenario we quickly end up with somebody losing their life.

    bcmystery

    As a man with a small penis, I, too, have compensated with study, practice, and careful attention to my technique. I don’t know from guns, but I am here to tell you all these tongue kegels have made a world of difference in terms of my confidence and performance

    And here’s a shiny new internet all for you.

  109. jnorris says

    According to the gun nuts on Facebook I’m safe from attackers with assault rifles, I have five hammers in my home.

    https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/c0.0.403.403/p403x403/553333_191092704362502_40322799_n.jpg

  110. allegro says

    md, have you ever tried living in the present? It might give you a more realistic perspective.

  111. Rip Steakface says

    nightshadequeen,

    Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Viet Cong.

    None of which really defeated the American military (the Viet Cong came closest, but they had support from our enemies), so much as hamstrung them and were an incredible annoyance. The biggest help they had was using weapons given/sold to them or stolen from the superpowers – we armed bin Laden and Hussein in the first place and the Soviets supported North Vietnam.

    If there were any sort of armed rebellion to depose the US government, it would require some kind of rogue military support. Otherwise, it would be trivial for the government to crush any significant, organized resistance. The best you could get is assassinating leaders, who can obviously be replaced. Organized resistance – the kind that could take and hold cities, and actually help in overthrowing governments – would be annihilated in air raids, tank warfare and obviously at sea.

  112. md says

    Nonsense. Haven’t you seen that documentary, Red Dawn?

    Naw PZ, just watched the Afghanis against the Soviets and now us. Not much more than long rifles, RPG’s and horseback.

    If we can all just rally round Chuck Hagel and maybe get the defense budget a good bit trimmed things will really start to even up.

  113. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Ing:

    gorilla warfare

    BEST. TYPO. EVER.

    Obligatory.

    PZ:

    Nonsense. Haven’t you seen that documentary, Red Dawn?

    …which totes features foreign invaders.

    In any case: WOOOOOLVERIIINEEES!!!

    MD:

    devoted anti-fascists start talking bout the superiority of the American military

    For the record, not only am I an anti-fascist, I am a pacifist. Rather strictly, too. In my spare time, I volunteer for an alternatives-to-violence org, and I have from time to time seriously considered “discounting” the Pentagon’s budget (as a proportion of the US federal budget) from my taxes – and yes, I know that this is wildly illegal and that I could, if I did this, go to prison. As a research scientist, I have made the decision to never work on a project – no matter how interesting-sounding and possibly yielding valuable insights – funded by DOD. And yes, I know that I am potentially severely hampering my career. And that I am definitely labeling myself a crank.
    If I talk about how powerful the military is, it is not – nor should it be – construed as “Esteleth thinks the military is good,” but as “Esteleth is well aware of what the military is capable of and is horrified by it.”
    In closing, fuck you.

  114. Rip Steakface says

    Guess what, md.

    RPGs are restricted as a destructive device (thank the Emperor). Given that pretty much no civilian has access to anti-tank weapons (the closest thing being anti-materiel rifles), a civilian rebellion would have a hard time with anything tougher than the average soldier. Sure, if they have chemists and explosives experts, they could try to bake up some home-made explosives they could use in IEDs, but that’s why access to those chemicals is (mostly – still pretty easy to make mustard gas) restricted too.

    Either way, the Afghanis had the advantage of being in their home country. An anti-government resistance would have this advantage negated because the government would be in its home country.

  115. kyoseki says

    Just FYI, civilians can still get access to destructive devices, but the paperwork is Biblical.

  116. Holms says

    I would agree a reduction in gun ownership and heavy restrictions of what may be purchased for home defense (small caliber pistol, semi-automatic at most, no: extended clip / sound suppressor / various other modifications), but not a total gun ban. I think the reasoning behind such a ban to be far too idealised to be of practical benefit.

  117. zmidponk says

    I haven’t read the entire comment thread, so sorry if this is repeating somebody, but the immediate thing that sprung to mind when reading Harris’s scenario is ‘how do you know the person is there to harm you?’ I mean, yes, I can picture scenarios where it’s pretty obvious that’s what they’re there for (such as a guy busting in, gun in hand, in which case, the problem becomes how do you manage to get to your gun before he shoots you), but, especially if you live in more rural communities, where doors are typically left unlocked, an ‘intruder’ could simply be, say, a drunk guy looking for the party in the next street who’s stumbled into the wrong house.

  118. dianne says

    Oooh, have we gotten into the “we need guns to protect ourselves from the government” argument? That’s always a fun one. Here’s the problem: Small arms, even automatic weapons, aren’t much use against tanks, drones, and fuel air bombs. If the government wanted your guns, they’d just go get them and anyone who said “Over my cold, dead body” would find that those conditions were perfectly acceptable to those taking them. Guns don’t protect you from tyranny. Voting protects you from tyranny. As evidence, consider that the party of the 1% wants to restrict your vote*, not your guns. Because that’s what really scares them: an informed population that can vote them out.

    *Well, maybe not md’s vote, if he or she is, in fact, a wealthy white man as I suspect.

  119. kyoseki says

    Voting protects you from tyranny. As evidence, consider that the party of the 1% wants to restrict your vote*, not your guns. Because that’s what really scares them: an informed population that can vote them out.

    Indeed.

    I’ve always found it amusing how “conservatives” are perfectly happy to surrender just about every right apart from the right to own guns.

  120. allegro says

    Oooh, have we gotten into the “we need guns to protect ourselves from the government” argument? That’s always a fun one. Here’s the problem: Small arms, even automatic weapons, aren’t much use against tanks, drones, and fuel air bombs. If the government wanted your guns, they’d just go get them and anyone who said “Over my cold, dead body” would find that those conditions were perfectly acceptable to those taking them.

    What I find even more amusing is that these are the same guys who go nuts when it is suggested that we spend less on the US military because being the biggest, baddest military strength in the world is the only thing standing between us and name-the-evil-doers-du-jour. Now, they argue they need their guns to shoot at our own soldiers because our government is to be feared.

    Dissonance much?

  121. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    some quick history here on the racist roots of gun control, in case anyone’s interested. md

    Why should they be? The question is, what should be done now? After all, the very presence in the USA of a considerable African-American population has extremely racist roots. Does that mean they should be got rid of?

  122. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Interesting how Schroedinger’s Thief is totally reasonable position to take vis a vis gun “rights”, but Schroedinger’s Rapist is misandry. I wonder what the difference could possibly be . . . .

  123. caveatimperator says

    In an environment with strong gun control, the “armed thief breaking in” scenario becomes a lot less likely. If guns are hard to acquire legally, is some small-time burglar who breaks into random people’s apartments really going to go through the trouble of getting a handgun on the black market? The question answers itself. If you can’t get a gun to protect yourself, an amateur assailant probably can’t either.

  124. kyoseki says

    In an environment with strong gun control, the “armed thief breaking in” scenario becomes a lot less likely. If guns are hard to acquire legally, is some small-time burglar who breaks into random people’s apartments really going to go through the trouble of getting a handgun on the black market? The question answers itself. If you can’t get a gun to protect yourself, an amateur assailant probably can’t either.

    This argument really only holds true if guns were never in ready supply originally (such as in the UK).

    In Mexico & Brazil, for example, it’s very difficult to obtain a gun legally, but they’re still readily available on the black market and so their murder rate is commensurate with that.

    Better firearm tracking & registration and better storage of firearms would go a long way to starving the black market of illegal guns, but as long as people want them, someone will supply them.

  125. says

    I’ve seen quite a few people make the argument that the only weapon the 2nd amendment applies to is muskets, so it’s hardly a straw man if people are actually making the argument, is it?

    @kyoseki
    Give me 5 well-publicised examples of the argument “because the 2nd amendment only applied to muskets*, all guns should be banned”.** You should show some intellectual integrity and admit that, in fact it is the middle 70% that is dominating the debate, not those with extreme positions.

    *I’ll even throw in “because the 2nd amendment only applied to well-regulated militias, all guns should be banned” for good measure.
    **The argument that “because the 2nd amendment was written at a time when muskets were cutting-edge technology and therefore, it is absurd to let it totally dictate 21st century policy or to insist on having no regulations”, does not qualify, since that argument is a 70%er, not a 15%er one.

  126. md says

    Why should they be? The question is, what should be done now?

    The reason to read history, beyond the sake of knowledge for its own sake, is to see if it informs the present. You know this, of course. Gun control in those days was popular because of a demonization of motive not linked with actual observed behavior. Not much has changed.

    What should be done now? Im assuming you mean what should be done about gun violence. How about taking a hard look at the recidivism statistics and incorporating that into prison sentencing? How about re-prioritizing prison terms away from non-violent drug offenders towards violent criminals?

    How about quit demonizing the 70-80 million legal gun owners who hardly commit crime each year and maybe they’ll quit legally buying so many guns?

    How about reconciling how Mexico has extreme gun control laws with the fact that you don’t want to go on an aimless backpacking trip across their no doubt beautiful and rugged backcountry? Oh, thats me projecting.

  127. says

    This argument really only holds true if guns were never in ready supply originally (such as in the UK).

    Wrong. With open borders across most of Europe, getting guns would not be that much of a problem. And evodently violent criminals, especially neo-nazis often have large arsenals of illegal guns.
    But your run-off-the-mill thief isn’t interested in murder or, for that matter, spending a long time in prison. Around here they also don’t face much of a chance of either a house-owner or the police killing them.
    Not getting killed is among the top priorities of everybody, but if it’s hardly a concern you don’t have to engage in an arms race or shoot first. Having a weapon would make it much more likely for the police to shoot you. It would also mean a lot longer prison sentence.
    Why should a thief do that?

  128. dianne says

    In Mexico & Brazil, for example, it’s very difficult to obtain a gun legally, but they’re still readily available on the black market and so their murder rate is commensurate with that.

    Mexico’s illegal firearms are mostly obtained from the US, so stricter gun control laws in the US could help Mexico’s murder rate quite a bit. If you look at where Mexico’s murders mostly occur, the states with the highest murder rates are generally the northern states. Mexico City, for example, has a murder rate of 9 per 100,000 versus Chihuahua’s 111 per 100,000.

    Brazil, I’m not so sure about. You may have a case there.

  129. tulse says

    some quick history here on the racist roots of gun control

    And don’t forget that gun control is also profoundly classist as well. That’s why I support that most worthy charity, Arm the Homeless, to ensure that every American, regardless of their means, can exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. (And you’d be surprised how much more effective panhandling is when one is packing…)

  130. allegro says

    md:

    How about quit demonizing the 70-80 million legal gun owners who hardly commit crime each year and maybe they’ll quit legally buying so many guns?

    Who is “demonizing” legal gun owners, historically (since this is such a thing for you) or today? Serious question. How are gun owners being demonized?

    From there, you are saying that this demonization is the reason people are hoarding guns? Why would this be so?

  131. dianne says

    tulse: I propose a further charity: Arm the prostitutes. Fewer prostitutes would be disappearing if they were armed, right? Also helpful for johns who refuse to pay.

    So…why isn’t the NRA into this sort of thing? Surely homeless people are at greater risk of being victims of crime than suburbanites.

  132. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    In Mexico & Brazil, for example, it’s very difficult to obtain a gun legally, but they’re still readily available on the black market and so their murder rate is commensurate with that.

    And you know where those guns come fom, right?

  133. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Ing:

    Seriously I question the supremacy of the SCOTUS and 2nd Amendment protects guns now and for eternity while abortion rights are still constantly curtailed despite SCOTUS ruling

    Difference being–many American have no problem controlling the bodies of women.
    Many American have a *huge* problem whenever you talk about gun control.

  134. md says

    The problem is the ready availability of guns and the willingness of self-righteous people (because, really, even the people gunning down school children are steadfast in their confidence that what they are doing is both right and necessary, as much so as the homeowner defending himself against a burglar) to resort to violent action to resolve conflicts.

    emphasis mine

    Ahhh, PZ, you rascal, you just had to do it. Just noticed this nasty little clunker. Because all that is necessary to determine what is moral, what is reasonable, and what is legal is that one possesses “steadfast…confidence that what they are doing is both right and necessary”.

    Gotcha PZ, you believe the schoolteacher that slighted you and the kids that laughed are no different, morally, than the intruder threatening you and your family in your home.

  135. magistramarla says

    I’ve recently been watching some marathons of the old show MacGyver on TV.
    Full disclosure here: Richard Dean Anderson has always been the one actor who would seriously tempt me to cheat on my hubby. He’s played someone who is very smart (MacGyver) and a man in uniform (Stargate) while being incredibly handsome. Of course, I’m married to a very smart, incredibly handsome military officer with science degrees, so go figure!
    Anyway, I’ve always loved the premise of MacGyver. The hero refused to carry a gun and could always think his way out of bad situations using his Swiss Army knife and things that he found in his environment, using a great knowledge of science. My kids grew up watching the show and adoring MacGyver. When I’ve mentioned it to my daughters lately, two of them have decided that they should find it on Netflix to show to their own kids. I want my grandsons to get acquainted with this peace-loving hero who uses science to do good.
    My hubby and I think that it’s a good time to re-boot the show. We’re thinking that MacGyver’s son should be a former Navy Seal with all of the heroic skills, but his Dad’s distaste for guns and violence. There should be a new start-up of the Phoenix Foundation as a force for good in the world that hires the young MacGyver.
    Too idealistic? Maybe, but I would watch the show, especially if they could get Channing Tatum to play the young MacGyver!

  136. dianne says

    So…I’ve been trying to think of what would happen if the US government became a dictatorship. How are the guns supposed to help? The most likely scenario I see* is that the government starts going after people that they know or suspect have guns with tanks, drones, and maybe air to surface missiles. Not sure how a firearm is supposed to help in any of those situations. But maybe they don’t know about the weapons. Ok, then, the owners either have to keep hiding them (making them useless for defense) or use them in acts of rebellion. That might work…some. They might be able to take over, say, a town or maybe a rural district. Great. But what does the US have more of than any other country in the world (besides guns per capita and serial killers)? Nukes. Boom. Bye-bye rebellion.

    *Actually, I think it most likely that the government would ignore the gun nuts, at least initially. As noted above, they aren’t really that big a threat and might even be a help to the government: Nothing motivates people to feel that a “strong government” is a good thing like a massacre and if some nut with a gun could be provoked into a particularly spectacular one, well, 9/11/01.

  137. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    @147:
    I wonder if enough people would watch an updated McGuyver. Our gun and violence loving culture seems to crave more guns and more violence. Not less. And not a pacifist protagonist.
    (I would watch it though.)

  138. BeyondUnderstanding says

    I don’t know PZ, I think claiming Harris is “taking the side of Wayne LaPierre of the NRA” is a bit disingenuous. Believe me, reading his article definitely caused a few facepalm moments when he talks about his personal need for a gun and the whole gun vs knife absurdity. However, the entire purpose of his article is trying to find a center amongst extremes. That the knee-jerk reactions of both advocates (no regulations!) and the opposition (prohibition!) shutdown a needed discussion on gun-control. He admits he doesn’t know the answer (hence the title) to our country’s gun problems, but that neither side adds much in realistic approaches.

    From the article:

    I do not know how we can solve the problem of gun violence. A renewed ban on “assault rifles”—nearly the only concrete measure that anyone is talking about—will do very little to make our society safer. It is not, as many advocates seem to believe, an important “first step” in achieving a sane policy with respect to guns. It seems likely to be a symbolic step that delays real thinking about the problem of guns for another decade or more. By all means, let us ban these weapons. But when the next lunatic arrives at a school armed with legal pistols and a dozen ten-round magazines, we should be prepared to talk about how an assault weapons ban was a distraction from the real issue of gun violence.

  139. dianne says

    However, the entire purpose of his article is trying to find a center amongst extremes. That the knee-jerk reactions of both advocates (no regulations!) and the opposition (prohibition!) shutdown a needed discussion on gun-control.

    False equivalence.

  140. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    md,

    You still haven’t explained why the “racist roots of gun control” are relevant to the question of gun control now, unless you’re claiming that gun control advocates now are on average more racist than gun control opponents – and I think even you would have difficulty taking that claim seriously.

    How about taking a hard look at the recidivism statistics and incorporating that into prison sentencing?

    OK, but why only sentencing? Why not look at what might reduce recidivism?

    How about re-prioritizing prison terms away from non-violent drug offenders towards violent criminals?

    Good idea; and with many fewer people in prison, more resources could go into reducing recidivism.

    How about quit demonizing the 70-80 million legal gun owners who hardly commit crime each year and maybe they’ll quit legally buying so many guns?

    Assuming they are being demonized, why has lead or would lead to them buying more guns? Given that over the past couple of decades, the NRA has managed to swing American public opinion and laws in favour of gun ownership, while gun owners have kept buying more and more, and increasingly lethal guns. Oh, and are you implicitly admitting here that more guns is a bad thing?

    How about reconciling how Mexico has extreme gun control laws with the fact that you don’t want to go on an aimless backpacking trip across their no doubt beautiful and rugged backcountry? Oh, thats me projecting.

    No, that’s you being stupid. Where do you think most of those guns are coming from?

    Finally, given the evidence, that I’ve cited several times, that at least in rich countries, more guns are highly correlated with more gun deaths, and also to some extent with more homicides overall, how about working on reducing the number of guns in private hands in the USA? You know, so they kill fewer people.

  141. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    @150:
    From Sam Harris’ article-

    Most liberals responded derisively to the NRA’s suggestion that having armed and vetted men and women in our schools could save lives. Some pointed to a public-service announcement put out by the city of Houston (funded by the Department of Homeland Security), in which the possibility of having guns on the scene was never discussed. Several commentators held up this training video in support of the creed “More guns are not the answer.” Please take a few minutes to watch this footage. Then try to imagine how a few armed civilians could respond during an attack of this kind. To help your imagination along, watch this short video, in which a motel clerk carrying a concealed weapon shoots an armed robber. The situation isn’t perfectly analogous—the wisdom of using deadly force in what might be only a robbery is at least debatable. But is it really so difficult to believe that the shooter might have been helpful during an incident of the sort depicted in Houston?

    He is on the NRA’s side. He wants more guns to stop gun violence.
    Yes, he does support gun control, but the idiocy of thinking armed security in schools is the answer to gun violence is ridiculous on several levels (especially since he even admits that mass shootings in schools are rare. The problem is gun violence in society, of which school shootings are only a part of–a horrible part.)

    Also, I’m really uncomfortable with how he’s trying to shift the focus onto inner city African American criminals.

  142. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    BeyondUnderstanding:
    Also, the vast majority of people arguing for gun control are not asking to BAN guns.

  143. says

    dianne

    So…I’ve been trying to think of what would happen if the US government became a dictatorship. How are the guns supposed to help? The most likely scenario I see* is that the government starts going after people that they know or suspect have guns with tanks, drones, and maybe air to surface missiles.

    Well,IMO the most likely scenario would be that they do what every sensible dictatorship does: Get the people with the guns on your side. Give them something. Feed their sick little power hunger and give them some honoured neighbourhood watch, border patrol (am i right that this is already happening?) and such and in no time it’s their dictatorship.

  144. says

    Funny how in the 200 some years since 2nd Amendment was passed no country has created a constitution wiith a right to bear arms. And when the Americans got the chance to create a constitution for post WW2 Japan they didn’t give the Japanese such a right.

    The American Revolution shares a lot with the Soviet-Afghan War. Both saw a colonial power, troubled by problems elsewhere, concede to an insurgency supported financially and militarily by their colonial rivals. Unlike the Afghan war however the American war included direct military support from the armed forces of a foreign power, in this case France and Spain. It wasn’t just a handful of plucky citizens with guns defeating a much larger power.

    And if we’re going to talk about armed irregulars standing up to government tyranny we need to mention the various Native American tribes. They sure did well, didn’t they?

  145. BeyondUnderstanding says

    dianne,
    What’s the false equivalence?

    Should I have said one side says “more guns” while the other says “no guns”?

  146. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    md:
    Why is owning a gun so all fired important to you? I get the impression that you feel it is up there with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  147. dianne says

    Gileill: Sounds like the likely plan to me. There always has been a little fascist undertone to the pro-gun movement anyway and they’d be delighted to be able to “patrol” with impunity. Ok, they almost can now, but people make such a fuss when you kill an unarmed teen.

  148. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    BeyondUnderstanding:
    Do you have a citation to support your belief that most of the people shouting for gun control are asking for Firearm Prohibition?

  149. kyoseki says

    Mexico’s illegal firearms are mostly obtained from the US, so stricter gun control laws in the US could help Mexico’s murder rate quite a bit. If you look at where Mexico’s murders mostly occur, the states with the highest murder rates are generally the northern states. Mexico City, for example, has a murder rate of 9 per 100,000 versus Chihuahua’s 111 per 100,000.

    Well, the main reason for this I would wager is the fact that the northern towns are more heavily involved in the drug trade, so while it is their proximity to the US that’s a factor, it’s not because it puts them closer to the source of the guns.

    Additionally, while it’s often repeated that “90% of the guns traced in Mexico were sold in the US” what’s not reported is that the majority of the guns seized aren’t actually traced;
    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20110209-mexicos-gun-supply-and-90-percent-myth (I have no idea of the reliability of StratFor, but the numbers he talks about are from the GAO).

    Brazil, I’m not so sure about. You may have a case there.

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/20/international/americas/20brazil.html?_r=0

    Nearly 80 percent of the weapons manufactured in Brazil, which has the second largest arms industry in the Western Hemisphere, are exported, mostly to neighboring countries like Paraguay and Colombia. Many are then smuggled back into the country. Other guns used to commit crimes come from police and military arsenals, either stolen or sold by corrupt soldiers and officers.

    Right now, the US both wants guns and has the capacity to manufacture them (even AR/AK type weapons are manufactured in large quantities by domestic/boutique manufacturers), so even a ban on the sale of them is unlikely to have a significant impact on the gun supply.

  150. kyoseki says

    Give me 5 well-publicised examples of the argument “because the 2nd amendment only applied to muskets*, all guns should be banned”.** You should show some intellectual integrity and admit that, in fact it is the middle 70% that is dominating the debate, not those with extreme positions.

    Oh, so now it has to be 5 examples?

    I can’t just point to the hugely obvious and talked about example of Piers Morgan & Alex Jones both ranting at each other?

    You will notice that I did say “shouting” in my original post.

    The people doing the largest amount of SHOUTING are the people on the fringes.

  151. BeyondUnderstanding says

    @153
    What I got from the article wasn’t that he was advocating for armed guards in schools, but that if the main goal was to prevent these particular incidents (of a lone gunman shooting up a gun-free zone) that an armed person with gun training would be the best option for stopping it in time. He doesn’t seem to actual consider this as a viable option. In fact, he doesn’t seem to think there is a solution to these particular incidents at all.

    Preventing low-frequency events like school shootings is probably impossible.

    I agree that most are not calling for an outright ban on all guns, however the media does focus their attention on banning certain types of guns, like “assault weapons” or “semi-automatics”.

  152. says

    Well, the main reason for this I would wager is the fact that the northern towns are more heavily involved in the drug trade, so while it is their proximity to the US that’s a factor, it’s not because it puts them closer to the source of the guns.

    Just wanted to point out that proximity to the U.S. is also the reason they are more heavily involved in the drug trade. So it’s not reasonable to say that you should blame gun violence on the drug trade AND NOT on proximity to the U.S.

  153. kyoseki says

    Wrong. With open borders across most of Europe, getting guns would not be that much of a problem. And evodently violent criminals, especially neo-nazis often have large arsenals of illegal guns.

    That’s a fair point, but the central issue is that with a country that’s already awash with guns, criminals feel a greater need to carry them. The UK was never awash with guns, so criminals there typically don’t escalate to lethal force.

    Banning (or even enacting strict controls on) the guns will not have a significant effect on the prevalence of arms within the criminal community – but I feel that this is something of a red herring anyway (I’ve never agreed with the idea that “criminals will always be able to get guns, therefore we shouldn’t control them”).

    If you look at the FBI figures, you’ll see that a minority of gun homicides occur during the commission of another felony (rape, robbery etc), although I will admit that there’s a fairly large “unknown” component here;
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-12

  154. md says

    OK, but why only sentencing? Why not look at what might reduce recidivism?

    Sure Im for rehabilitation, as long as we’re honest about what works and what does not. Jesus is big in the prison rehab industry, to not much effect that I can see.

    unless you’re claiming that gun control advocates now are on average more racist than gun control opponents

    more racist…well im not sure how one would quantify it. Nor am I totally conceding the point, yes I do believe that much of what drives gun control advocates, particularly regarding assault rifle bans, is that mainly rural whites collect these things and its a symbolic political victory over those bitter clingers. They simply are not used much in crime compared to handguns. Combine this with most liberals aversion to ‘stop and frisk’ in urban areas where most gun violence occurs (not that I am arguing for or against it) and yes, I think tribalism enters into it.

    Assuming they are being demonized, why has lead or would lead to them buying more guns?

    Well see OP and mine at #146, PZ defines the problem as the self-righteous willing to use guns to solve problems and includes a description that includes both a schoolshooter and someone defending their home. I call that moral equivalence and an unfair demonization. What do you call it?

    Why has it lead to more? Im not sure, perhaps they believe an unsympathetic government is coming to strip them, or perhaps its something less, they figure they’ll be grandfathered into any new laws so better buy them now.

    Oh, and are you implicitly admitting here that more guns is a bad thing?

    Ive never denied the facts around stolen guns and, yes I do think that people shown to be negligent with guns in storage etc ought to be held liable. I dont really want to argue what ought to construe negligence right now.

    Where do you think most of those guns are coming from?

    Yes ive read about the Fast and Furious scandal too.

    Finally, given the evidence, that I’ve cited several times, that at least in rich countries, more guns are highly correlated with more gun deaths, and also to some extent with more homicides overall, how about working on reducing the number of guns in private hands in the USA?

    That is arguable to a point, which you’ve conceded in another thread I believe. Gun ownership has continued to go up dramatically in these past decades in the US, while murder has dropped. We both know many factors are at work here and its extremely difficult to tease out cause and effect. TBS, I am not arguing the increase in gun ownership has led to a decrease in murders.

    But to answer your question about guns. How, and to what extent? There are by some estimates 270 million guns in the U.S. in around 80 million adult hands. What is the optimal number of guns in private hands? Is it 0? 100 million? 250 million? Are you opposed to stop and frisk in NYC, but ready to stop and frisk and disarm the entire country? Are you in good faith arguing for just an assault rifle ban, and will stop there if that’s achieved, or will you move on to handguns next after the next statistically rare, but sensational for ratings, school shooting?

  155. dianne says

    @161: So Brazil is similar to the US in terms of being a large, relatively rich country that makes a lot of guns and exports them to neighboring countries. They’d likely benefit from gun control regulations as well.

    I went to the GAO material for the statistics. The link you gave has some interesting assumptions in it. It’s true that only a minority of the guns are traced, but 87% of those that are traced are traced back to the US. Is there any reason to believe that the guns that are traced are an atypical subset that is not representative of the overall supply of guns in Mexico? As far as I can tell in a brief scan of the report, the primary difference between a traced and non-traced gun is whether or not the police in Mexico bothered to submit information to the US ATF and the ATF had the resources to trace it. Might have missed something skimming the article though.

  156. kyoseki says

    Just wanted to point out that proximity to the U.S. is also the reason they are more heavily involved in the drug trade. So it’s not reasonable to say that you should blame gun violence on the drug trade AND NOT on proximity to the U.S.

    I think you’ll find that I never said that the proximity to the US wasn’t a factor, in fact I said the opposite, for exactly the reason that you state.

  157. md says

    Why is owning a gun so all fired important to you?

    I don’t actually own any, Tony, so I can’t speak from experience. What can I say, I like freedom. I dont smoke and think bars should be dens of tobacco, alcohol, and vice, incidentally.

  158. dianne says

    Oops, I did miss something. Figure 8, which shows the number of firearms confiscated and number traced to the US, by state. There is significant,albeit not perfect, overlap between the two.

  159. kyoseki says

    So Brazil is similar to the US in terms of being a large, relatively rich country that makes a lot of guns and exports them to neighboring countries. They’d likely benefit from gun control regulations as well.

    They do have gun control regulations, quite a lot of them in fact, but they’re not overly effective it seems.

    I went to the GAO material for the statistics. The link you gave has some interesting assumptions in it. It’s true that only a minority of the guns are traced, but 87% of those that are traced are traced back to the US. Is there any reason to believe that the guns that are traced are an atypical subset that is not representative of the overall supply of guns in Mexico?

    Well, from a quick look at the Wikipedia, it appears that a lot of guns seized are fully automatic weapons that are primarily imported from south east Asia – the US not being a source of these weapons since they’re already heavily restricted here.

    While I’m sure that a lot of the semi automatic weapons that are showing up down there have been bought by straw buyers in the US (which is why I’m happy to support registration and background checks on all gun purchases), I don’t think it’s a fair assumption to make that even the bulk of the weapons seized come from here. Even half of the gun records submitted for tracing by the ATF didn’t come back with any record of sale here;

    Of these 7,200 guns, only about 4,000 could be traced by the ATF, and of these 4,000, some 3,480 (87 percent) were shown to have come from the United States

  160. dianne says

    @171: A more updated set of data is referenced here. The ATF estimate quoted in this article is 68% of guns in Mexico come from the US. This is, of course, a lower number than 87%, but still represents the majority of guns in Mexico, suggesting that reasonable gun control laws in the US would greatly improve the situation in Mexico. Additionally, the data seems to be more complete for later years, so is probably more reliable.

  161. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Evidently, Sam wants to move into political punditry.

    If he writes something interesting and wonderful – he still seems to be a wonderful man when not commenting – I hope I hear about it, but I’m instituting a new rule, naming it after him:.

    The Harris Rule – Anyone who defends the use of torture is womeone whose opinion on any subject can be shown any respect.

    Sammy! We hardly knew ye!

  162. magistramarla says

    @169
    I totally disagree with you.
    Your freedom to own a gun should not be more valuable than children’s and teachers’ freedom to go to school in safety.
    Also, I happen to enjoy going to a bar for a drink and some enjoyable company, but I do not want to be exposed to the second-hand smoke of others. They can smoke all they want in their own homes or out on the patio of the bar. I’ve been to bars in Texas, where I could not stand to stay long enough to visit with my friends without having an asthma attack. Now that we are living in California, where smoking is banned in bars, I’m able to happily join the party.
    Sometimes being a part of a civilized society means being willing to postpone your own gratification for the good of others in your surroundings.

  163. nightshadequeen says

    @md

    What can I say, I like freedom.

    *rolls eyes*

    md, please take yourself down to a firing range and fire a few guns. Feel the damn recoil, see how good you are at aiming, and see how fast you are at reloading.

    And then come back here and defend why owning a gun is a “freedom”.

    *sigh*

    Guns just make it so the person most willing to shoot wins. Unfortunately, the person most willing to shoot is probably not the person who’s right.

  164. says

    Oh Peez, Peez, Peez… so right, and so wrong.

    You’re engaged in a nasty piece of unconscious victim-blaming: how about better locks, a security system, buy a dog, stop wearing tight dresses… do you see where I’m going here? And the people who are most vulnerable to crime are the ones who usually have the least options, as opposed to the middle-class white guys like yourself and Sam Harris. Check your privilege Peez. :)

    Now, as for the rest? In a perfect world, there’s no need for guns because world peace and everyone gets a unicorn and/or dragon on their 16th birthday rather than a driver’s licence. In a better America that could exist, there are many many fewer guns like in the rest of the civilized world, along with the commensurate drop in gun deaths. In the America that does exist, an argument can be made for some individuals to own guns for self-defense until politicians find the spine to get most of the guns out of the hands of civilians. As a culture we need to do better.

    Now back to Sam Harris: telling HIM to get a better security system is reasonable, and unnecessary because I’m sure he’s got a very nice home with a very nice security system, likely in a gated community with its own security people on duty. I’m sure Wayne LaPierre lives in an even nicer home, in an even nicer community, and ironically is almost completely isolated from the problems he’s helped create. And those yahoos with 20 guns and thousands of rounds of ammo? The main reason anyone would rob them is for their guns!

    As for me, I carried a handgun for self-defense, and I still believe I acted reasonably under the circumstances. I’m also privileged enough to have been able to move out of those specific circumstances… and the gun was sold less than a month later. Because for us non-nut gun owners who don’t think we’re Clint Eastwood, having a gun for self-defense just makes your fear something you can’t ignore, and it is depressing and exhausting.

  165. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    md:

    What can I say, I like freedom. I dont smoke and think bars should be dens of tobacco, alcohol, and vice, incidentally.

    Advocating for gun rights does not follow from “I like freedom”.

  166. kyoseki says

    @171: A more updated set of data is referenced here. The ATF estimate quoted in this article is 68% of guns in Mexico come from the US. This is, of course, a lower number than 87%, but still represents the majority of guns in Mexico, suggesting that reasonable gun control laws in the US would greatly improve the situation in Mexico. Additionally, the data seems to be more complete for later years, so is probably more reliable.

    Fair enough, but there’s still a lot of unknowns here.

    What proportion of the guns seized were those 99,000?
    Did the Mexican authorities categorize weapons by type and only submit records for those suspected of coming from the US? (eg. were they primarily interested in semi auto rifles and didn’t submit requests for handguns and fully automatic weapons that likely came from elsewhere?)
    What proportion of those guns were a part of operation gunrunner?

    At any rate, this is rather a side point, I’m perfectly willing to believe that a large number of the assault rifles showing up down there are coming from here, which is why I’m totally OK with the idea of background checks on all buyers along with recording who bought what, so that if the gun shows up at the scene of a crime, whether it be here or in Mexico, someone should be on the hook for it.

  167. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Wait!
    I got mine. Screw everyone else.
    MD, are you a libertarian?

  168. kyoseki says

    Your freedom to own a gun should not be more valuable than children’s and teachers’ freedom to go to school in safety.

    This is an extremely spurious argument to make, since it can be applied to just about anything. It’s not so much an argument in favor of banning something, so much an argument on ensuring that it’s regulated to the point where it’s only used by responsible individuals.

    Also, I happen to enjoy going to a bar for a drink and some enjoyable company, but I do not want to be exposed to the second-hand smoke of others. They can smoke all they want in their own homes or out on the patio of the bar. I’ve been to bars in Texas, where I could not stand to stay long enough to visit with my friends without having an asthma attack. Now that we are living in California, where smoking is banned in bars, I’m able to happily join the party.

    Again though, this is the difference between making cigarettes illegal and simply making it illegal to use them around other people.

    Simply owning a gun isn’t a problem, it’s how it’s used that’s the issue.

  169. nightshadequeen says

    In the America that does exist, an argument can be made for some individuals to own guns for self-defense until politicians find the spine to get most of the guns out of the hands of civilians.

    I don’t see how this follows.

    In particular, if there’s a bullet heading my way, I don’t think I can pull out a gun and fire before it hits me.

    Let’s assume that there exists someone in the world that a) has a gun and b) would like to kill me with it. Given that this someone is likely to fire first (likely before I even see them), I can’t see how a gun will help me.

  170. md says

    I’ve been to bars in Texas, where I could not stand to stay long enough to visit with my friends without having an asthma attack. Now that we are living in California, where smoking is banned in bars, I’m able to happily join the party.

    I get sunburned easy. Until the government dims the sunrays to calibrate precisely with what my melanin can handle, my right to be free from skincancer is being abused.

    I get asthma too. I like smokeless bars too, but the government does not exist to make the entire country more comfortable for you, or me. There are other people in this country with different preferences who also have rights.

  171. nightshadequeen says

    I get sunburned easy. Until the government dims the sunrays to calibrate precisely with what my melanin can handle, my right to be free from skincancer is being abused.

    The sun…is not a person.

    Oh, and see “banning of CFCs”

  172. unclefrogy says

    I would agree that the idea that having a gun in the house would be a good thing to have for self-defense is a phantasy. unless you keep it loaded and within reach the whole time your in the house it is going to be just something else of value for an intruder to steal when they come in when you are out.

    For a while my neighborhood was not what could be called optimal and I found it gave me a far better sense of security to keep a bull terrier inside all the time a better option but had he had other drawbacks. (he was subject to gas)

    guns for self defense argument is most of the time rather dumb.

    uncle frogy

  173. says

    nightshadequeen,

    You seem to think “some individuals” refers to you in particular, and it very clearly doesn’t. You don’t want a gun? Don’t get one. You aren’t going to fire then gun? PLEASE don’t get one, that would be dumb! I’m not sure where you live where you expect to be shot at by a sniper, but I’m guessing you’re not going to be able to fight back in that case.

  174. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I see that md is comparing smoking people to the sun.

    No wonder I ignore him.

  175. nightshadequeen says

    Joe, I’m arguing that the advantage almost always is in the hands of the person who fires first, which almost by definition not the person playing defense.

    No sniping needed.

    You aren’t going to fire then gun? PLEASE don’t get one, that would be dumb!

    I’m arguing that a bullet would hit me before I could fire, making a gun for self defense not particularly useful.

  176. kyoseki says

    Joe, I’m arguing that the advantage almost always is in the hands of the person who fires first, which almost by definition not the person playing defense.

    Guns for self defense are only of any use if you’re paying attention and see a threat that cannot be avoided by retreating (which is why I’m completely in favor of training & the abolition of “stand your ground” laws).

    … the fact remains that there are circumstances where being armed is better than not, what needs to happen is to train people to separate those circumstances from the majority of shootings that could have been avoided.

  177. nightshadequeen says

    Not sure if this is behind a firewall or not:

    After we adjusted for confounding factors, individuals who were in possession of a gun were 4.46 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.16, 17.04) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Individuals who were in possession of a gun were also 4.23 (95% CI=1.19, 15.13) times more likely to be fatally shot in an assault. In assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, individuals who were in possession of a gun were 5.45 (95% CI=1.01, 29.92) times more likely to be shot.

    Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault. By: Branas, Charles C., Richmond, Therese S., Culhane, Dennis P., Have, Thomas R. Ten, Wiebe, Douglas J., American Journal of Public Health, 00900036, Nov2009, Vol. 99, Issue 11

    Link: http://ehis.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=091447e6-389a-4735-8395-1b0dceb60745%40sessionmgr12&vid=2&hid=3&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=47508719

  178. Anthony K says

    Since md has made this conversation even dumber than usual, let me say that as a smoker and a public health worker, I fully support smoke-free bars.

    Even here, where the weather kicks you in the teeth eight months out of the year, the discomfort I suffer when I step outside for a puff is minimal compared to the enjoyment I get from socialising with those of my friends who find second-hand tobacco smoke nauseating.

  179. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    What can I say, I like freedom. – md

    Crap. You don’t give a shit about the freedom not to be shot, or poisoned by secondhand smoke.

  180. kyoseki says

    Crap. You don’t give a shit about the freedom not to be shot, or poisoned by secondhand smoke.

    I’ve always wondered whether you could shoot a smoker and claim it was self defense? ;)

  181. nightshadequeen says

    It is odd… some anti-gun folks can’t imagine a single use for a firearm, and the gun nuts imagine way too many increasingly improbable uses.

    Shooting people?
    Hunting?

  182. Anthony K says

    I’ve always wondered whether you could shoot a smoker and claim it was self defense? ;)

    “I saw him coming from twenty years away, and I knew I had to act to save my life, officer.”

  183. md says

    MD, are you a libertarian?

    Sure, I read them, but not any more and probably less then pundits of other political persuasians. The only consistent pattern one could hypothesize from my voting has been against incumbents. I believe i’m a registered Democrat, though.

  184. Gunboat Diplomat says

    Maybe Mumia Abu Jamal wouldn’t have been shot if he didn’t carry a firearm. Maybe MOVE wouldn’t have been firebombed by the police in 1985 if they hadn’t been armed. Maybe more students would have been killed at kent state if they’d had guns with them. And if the Branch Davidians at WACO had let the ATF walk in and arrest them all perhaps there’d have been a lot less deaths.
    Do you see a problem with this line of reasoning? That we should give up a single right to resist oppression – even if it currently appears ineffective – in order to placate the oppressors?
    You might argue that such state sponsored massacres are comparatively rare (domestically, at least), that most deaths by firearms take place between private individuals. Well so what? Gun deaths generally are comparatively rare so you can’t dismiss one rare occurrence and then rely on another. If you do you’re making a political trade off. You’re saying x number of people MIGHT not be killed in exchange for a historically important political right, which will probably become a very important right in the future too (unless you have the myopic Panglossian view of history espoused by Fukayama or Pinker).
    If you believe the American state is a neutral arbiter in society and that its attempts to assert a monopoly on deadly force is done fundamentally to protect the people then this isn’t a problem and makes sense.
    If however you see the American state as an institution dedicated to the maintenance of a ruling class with its oppressive system nationally and internationally its clear gun control furthers the maintenance of the status quo.
    Because oppression isn’t just about murder or violence (as I’m sure many feminists here would agree with). Its also about the structure of society and its economy, the underlying threat of violence, a massive and inhumane prison system and the encouragement of feelings of helplessness in the oppressed about their ability to fight back.
    This issue is a political one, not a health and safety issue.

  185. cm's changeable moniker says

    So…I’ve been trying to think of what would happen if the US government became a dictatorship.

    Comprehensive gun control laws faster than you could say “constitutional amendment”. They aren’t stupid, you know. ;-)

  186. mythbri says

    Do you see a problem with this line of reasoning? That we should give up a single right to resist oppression – even if it currently appears ineffective – in order to placate the oppressors?

    Do me the favor of not assuming that I want to ban all guns, and I’ll do you the favor of not assuming you shouldn’t own one.

    Increased gun control wouldn’t “placate the oppressors”. It would do a little to placate me, though.

    Were all twenty of those children at Sandy Hook “the oppressors”? How about the seventy people who were killed or wounded in Aurora? Those were “the oppressors”, too?

    Doesn’t seem to me as though “the oppressors” are the ones who are dying.

  187. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    md,

    Most of your #166 is evasion, and I think that will be obvious to most people. For example:

    more racist…well im not sure how one would quantify it. Nor am I totally conceding the point, yes I do believe that much of what drives gun control advocates, particularly regarding assault rifle bans, is that mainly rural whites collect these things and its a symbolic political victory over those bitter clingers. They simply are not used much in crime compared to handguns. Combine this with most liberals aversion to ‘stop and frisk’ in urban areas where most gun violence occurs (not that I am arguing for or against it) and yes, I think tribalism enters into it.

    Answer the fucking question. Are you claiming that gun control advocates are more racist than gun control opponents. If so, on what grounds. If not, what was the point of your link to the “racist roots of gun control”, other than a bit of well-poisoning?

    That [in rich countries, more guns correlates with more gun deaths, and total homicides] is arguable to a point, which you’ve conceded in another thread I believe. Gun ownership has continued to go up dramatically in these past decades in the US, while murder has dropped.

    No, I haven’t. I’ve never argued other than that homicide numbers are multi-factorial, but the evidence that more guns contribute to more gun deaths and ttotal homicides is quite sufficient for any rational and decent person.

    But to answer your question about guns.

    But you don’t.

    How, and to what extent? There are by some estimates 270 million guns in the U.S. in around 80 million adult hands. What is the optimal number of guns in private hands? Is it 0?

    Yes. See, that’s how to answer a question without evasion or dishonest quibbling.

  188. kyoseki says

    After we adjusted for confounding factors, individuals who were in possession of a gun were 4.46 (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.16, 17.04) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Individuals who were in possession of a gun were also 4.23 (95% CI=1.19, 15.13) times more likely to be fatally shot in an assault. In assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, individuals who were in possession of a gun were 5.45 (95% CI=1.01, 29.92) times more likely to be shot.

    This is a perfectly valid reason to NOT own a firearm for self defense, particularly if you don’t know how to use it (and I’m still amazed at some of the things I’ve seen people do at gun ranges), but it’s still an issue of individual freedom and personal responsibility.

    For example, in purchasing a motorcycle, I may have an expectation of the open road and the wind in my … helmet, but the reality is that I’m more likely than not to end up dead or at least moderately injured at some point within the first few years – this is, however, still my choice.

    If I may strain the analogy a little further, the key here lies not in banning motorcycles or even specific types of motorcycle, but educating people as to their correct usage and instilling a higher degree of respect for the things.

    Training goes a long way to dispelling the myths involved (in both activities) and toward reducing the likelihood of injuring either yourself or someone else (and I’ve seen some GNARLY crashes involving speeding or inept motorcyclists hitting other people).

    The UK has actually had pretty good success with comprehensive tiered training for motorcycles, the motorcycling community even polices itself to some degree, with irresponsible or inept people being largely derided by those who take them seriously – I feel that mandatory tiered training on the firearms front would have a similar effect.

  189. dianne says

    Shooting people?
    Hunting

    Getting cool high speed shots of milk bottles being destroyed?

  190. dianne says

    For example, in purchasing a motorcycle, I may have an expectation of the open road and the wind in my … helmet, but the reality is that I’m more likely than not to end up dead or at least moderately injured at some point within the first few years – this is, however, still my choice.

    In at least some places, there is a legal requirement that you wear a helmet. This is a restriction of your freedom, but also cuts down on the risk of your experiencing brain injury if you have a bad crash. Why is this an acceptable restriction and requiring, for example, that any firearms be stored in a locked container and unloaded an unacceptable restriction? And as with a driver’s license, why not require a gun license that is only obtainable after passing a background check, weapons training course, etc?

  191. kyoseki says

    In at least some places, there is a legal requirement that you wear a helmet. This is a restriction of your freedom, but also cuts down on the risk of your experiencing brain injury if you have a bad crash. Why is this an acceptable restriction

    I actually don’t like the idea of helmet laws, but I’d never ride without one.

    and requiring, for example, that any firearms be stored in a locked container and unloaded an unacceptable restriction? And as with a driver’s license, why not require a gun license that is only obtainable after passing a background check, weapons training course, etc?

    I don’t believe I’ve ever made the argument that they shouldn’t be, in fact, I’ve been consistently pushing for training & regulation throughout this discussion.

    What I don’t like is the argument that banning certain types of firearm (like banning certain types of motorcycle) will have a significant impact on the mortality rates thereof, particularly when you aren’t talking about actually removing existing ones from circulation, but simply stopping the sale of more.

    People should be allowed to own whatever the hell they like, but the more dangerous it is, the more training and paperwork should be involved.

  192. dianne says

    I don’t believe I’ve ever made the argument that they shouldn’t be, in fact, I’ve been consistently pushing for training & regulation throughout this discussion.

    I believe that puts you in the “radical gun control” category according to the NRA. Welcome to the dark side. Cookies are on the left.

  193. Suido says

    Ah, the old freedom thing. I don’t live in the US, so apparently I don’t have freedom… you know what I have? The freedom to live life without a gun. 28 years and the most serious violence I’ve seen was a couple of school fights. I live in a country where ANY shooting makes national news. I love my freedom .

  194. kyoseki says

    I believe that puts you in the “radical gun control” category according to the NRA. Welcome to the dark side.

    Oh, I’m aware of that, but as I say, they’re part of the 15% on the fringe.

    I know I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s something like 100 million gun owners in the country, whereas the NRA only has 4 million members (and I’m not one of them).

    Cookies are on the left.

    No thanks, trying to cut down, but if there’s a nice scotch kicking around anywhere…

  195. John Morales says

    kyoseki:

    Oh, I’m aware of that, but as I say, they’re part of the 15% on the fringe.

    You contend they only have a small degree of influence over public policy by virtue of their purported fringe status?

  196. kyoseki says

    You contend they only have a small degree of influence over public policy by virtue of their purported fringe status?

    Not at all, but only because of laziness on the part of most everyone else.

    It’s kind of like the political primaries, those are decided by the nut jobs on the fringes because nobody else can be bothered to vote in the things.

  197. Suido says

    @198

    I really dislike that you chose such a good strategy game as your nym.

    No one should be stupid enough to say that gun control isn’t a safety issue. No one.

    Your stupidity reflects badly on anything you’re associated with.

  198. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @Esteleth #94

    The idea that a pack of civillians – no matter how fired up – can outfight the American military (or, shit, an average police SWAT team) is absurd.
    In modern warfare, there are exactly two situation where a small number of people owning rifles and assorted handguns can go toe-to-toe with a modern organized military, to wit:
    (1) Snipers.
    (2) Guerilla warfare.
    I would point out that the Continental Army during the Revolution used both techniques (for given values of eighteenth-century “sniping”) to great effect against the British. To the infuriation and crying-foul of the British, I might add. Because the Americans weren’t playing fair. In most of the battles the Americans went up against the British in “standard” battles, the Americans got their butts kicked, because until the late stages of the war (and then, only some units) the Continental Army was a semi-organized militia/rabble and the British Army was a disciplined, well-trained, well-equipped, cohesive unit. The leadership of the Continentals realized this and used what they had (i.e. pluck, knowledge of the terrain, and willingness to bleed the British dry) as advantages.
    The modern US Army – all organized militaries – recognizes the dangers of snipers and engages in regular anti-sniper behavior. And the remaining option, guerrilla warfare, depends on the knowledge base of the fighters being unequal. That is, it is unlikely that it would be terribly useful in a homegrown citizenry-vs-government fight, given that the government soldiers, being American, would know – on average – as much as the citizenry. This is not the situation in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Americans are more ignorant than the Afghan and Iraqi citizenry.
    Or, allegro said. Magical thinking. Nothing else

    You’re ignoring the main political and military significance of an armed citizenry which is in a civil war. In civil wars the state military forces typically split, because the military to a greater or lesser extent is representative of society and its divisions. A fragmented military is far less capable militarily and the more military force which is used against their own population the more societal divisions sharpen and the military further fragments. The US, like most stable regimes, tends not to murder too much of its own population too often as things can get very out of control very quickly, as we’ve seen recently in Syria.
    Basic weaponry such as rifles become extremely important in civil war situations. Its not the end of the matter by a long shot but it’s a prerequisite for resistance (or strife depending on your perspective).
    Relying on the goodwill of the military is the road to Pinochets coup in Chile, the My Lai massacre, Srebrenica in 95 or countless other situations.

  199. says

    I get asthma too. I like smokeless bars too, but the government does not exist to make the entire country more comfortable for you, or me. There are other people in this country with different preferences who also have rights.

    That is easily the stupidest thing I’ve read this year. And a fine example of what is wrong with the US when it comes to thinking about gun violence.

  200. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @Suido #212
    Well I suppose Gun control is a health and safety issue to a similar extent it’s a sporting issue. It’s an aspect which is used as a political argument by one side but it’s not why its such a recurrent issue. The Leviathan demands a monopoly on violence and the second amendment threatens that – it always has, even as the state has been supported by most gun owners historically.
    Its certainly an historical curiosity that the main political divisions in the US the “left wing” support this state monopoly while the right wing – especially the more nutty elements – oppose it. As former radical myself it’s a bit sad to see that.
    Also my nym is based on the imperial policy not a game. Ironically ofc.

  201. says

    I’ve written a bit recently (tooting my own horn! toot toot!) about the contradictory (and ludicrous) narratives gun nuts set up to justify gun possession/ownership/make-you-safe-ness. More guns make you safer, because any person with a gun can get to it and take out the correct target without hurting anyone else, even if it’s a chaotic situation (which, of course, means that the police and military are the safest professions you can have). If a criminal knows that the person they’re planning on attacking may have a gun, they will behave in a perfectly rational way, weighing the potential risks, and decide against it (even though it’s people, not guns, that kill people). We can’t outlaw guns because criminals will find a way to get guns anyway (because when you become a criminal, you get your secret password and directions to the Black Market mailed to you, along with your domino mask and big canvas bag with a dollar sign on it). And besides, anything can be used as a weapon, like scissors or a fork, so a person who is determined to kill will do so with whatever’s available (so why do civilians need to be armed? Isn’t self-preservation enough to make you determined to kill your attacker with whatever you have in your pockets? And if they’re determined to kill no matter what, how will knowing that a civilian is armed stop them?). But these same super-intelligent, crafty, determined killers can’t come up with a way to prevent an armed civilian from taking them out with a single shot and a clever quip, with no collateral damage (like, say, attacking a school full of children unlikely to be armed; or attacking a theater in a concealed-carry state that has a no-guns policy, and do so in the dark, while wearing body armor, and after throwing out tear gas canisters to blind any would-be Dirty Harries)?

    Every gun-nut justification is self-defeating, and rests on the same kind of concept of the world as conspiracy theorists: I have something special (a gun, secret knowledge) that prevents me from becoming a [victim, sheeple] like the rest of you rubes.

  202. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Even in a civil war situation, the way small arms in the hands of civillians is useful is via sniping and guerrilla warfare.

    Which, incidentally, raises an interesting question: if DC decides to declare martial law, who do you think they’re declaring it on? Why? Who rises up and who submits?

    (Suspecting that this is going to turn into a rehashing of the Civil War…)

  203. Suido says

    Well, you suppose wrong. Your premise that gun control is purely a political issue is wrong. It’s simplistic thinking in a complex world. Trying to discuss gun ownership while deliberately ignoring the thousands of people who die as a consequence of gun ownership is callous and blinkered.

    It’s almost like you’re trying to ignore data that contradicts your opinion. And you wouldn’t do that, would you?

  204. says

    If it’s civilians vs. the military, run. Guess what? No matter what guns you have, the military has better ones. So unless you’re advocating deregulation to the point where the average civilian can purchase drones and tanks and rocket-propelled grenades, the argument is a non-starter. No amount of Wal-Mart riflery will keep you alive in the event of a war with the military.

    As to the Kent State claim above, the guardsmen shot in response to thrown rocks. Why on Earth would you think that people throwing high-speed bullets would have resulted in fewer deaths? It would have resulted in, at the very least, crossfire (which seems like a rather life-endangering thing indeed) and probably would have prolonged the violence considerably. It also would have resulted in the loss of any moral high ground, and instead of the “Kent State Massacre,” we’d be talking about the “Kent State Riots.” The idea that the National Guard would be somehow cowed by a few students with handguns (or rifles, or mortars, or whatever) is absurd in the extreme. Unless the idea is that enough of the 2,000 students in the protest would have been armed to overwhelm and completely destroy the 77 guardsmen…in which case, I suspect they would have sent in more guardsmen to begin with.

  205. Suido says

    GD’s civil war premise is that some of the military will defect to the civilian side, (with their toys, natch). So it won’t be civilians vs military, it’ll be anti-gov civilians and military vs pro-gov military and civilians. Then GD said that if civilians don’t have guns, no resistance is possible and military personnel won’t have anyone to defect to. So the noble civilians would be doomed to endless tyranny. This was a non-sequitur when GD wrote it, and didn’t get any better through my re-write.

    One word on guns being necessary for resistance: Gandhi.

    Gah, why did I let myself get dragged into the political side of this. COMPLEX SYSTEMS, PEOPLE.

    Analysis in isolation is futile. Lay down your arguments. Analysis in isolation is futile. Submit to the tyranny of holistic thinking.

  206. kyoseki says

    GD’s civil war premise is that some of the military will defect to the civilian side, (with their toys, natch). So it won’t be civilians vs military, it’ll be anti-gov civilians and military vs pro-gov military and civilians.

    One thing this argument (and I realize you’re not the one making it) neglects is the high level of information integration in the current US military. Any defecting forces will lose access to things like GPS, AWACS and all that other fun crap that 90% of the heavy equipment relies on.

    Unless, of course, anyone thinks NORAD (in Colorado) and the main AFSPC base (in Los Angeles) are likely to side with the upstarts.

    Losing that infrastructure completely negates air superiority, you wouldn’t be able to launch a single missile. That, in turn, completely negates naval superiority, so any insurrection is pretty much fucked from the get go unless foreign military forces get involved.

  207. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    It would be fair to describe me as a gun enthusiast. I love to shoot. I have a pellet trap set up in my tiny studio apartment, next to my monitor so I can plink with my air pistol while I watch a movie. While at the moment I only own a .22 rifle and it isn’t even in working order (though it is semi-automatic, and 30 round magazines are available), I’ve had about a half dozen guns in my life and I will probably buy at least a few more over the course of my lifetime. I even sometimes fantasize about insurrectionist or apocalyptic scenarios where owning a good rifle could be the difference between life and death. I am an anarchist at heart, and I believe that for every problem that can be solved in a top-down fashion, there is the potential for a better option from the grass roots.

    But my fantasies are just that, and back here in the real world there are preventable homicides happening. I can’t come up with a single practical objection to a national licensing and registration system, or legislation that would hold gun owners responsible if their weapons are stolen and used in a crime due to their negligence, or waiting periods, or closing the gun show loophole. I’m pretty sure all of those things would produce positive change while not impeding anyone’s second amendment rights (by any reasonable interpretation). I’m not a fan of “assault weapons” bans that generally seem to be based more on the form of the weapon than the function, and I share Kyoseki’s skepticism about the effectiveness of magazine limits (unless maybe the limit with 3-5) even in mass shootings, but most of the proposals I’ve heard wouldn’t seriously impact my ability to enjoy recreational shooting either.

    On the NRA, while have never been and never will be a member I’ve known quite a few people who paid dues despite being in favor of increased gun control. Why would they do that? Well around here at least (I get this impression this is true in most of the country) the gun clubs require you to be an NRA member to use their facilities or participate in competitions. It’s really quite a racket they’ve got going.

    I do think Gunboat’s observation about the military splitting during a civil war is worth bearing in mind, though I don’t think it makes the point they think it does. After all, if soldiers are defecting en masse it seems like they might bring a little hardware with them. Maybe even a few spare rifles! And really even if the military in your area is still made up of loyalists surely any self respecting guerilla band with hunting rifles should be able to liberate a few M-16s in short order?

    I’ve read quite a bit on firearms and quite a bit more on revolution. Anyone who thinks that a few AR-15s more or less could make or break an insurrection in present day north america is need of a serious reality check. Not to mention remedial history.

  208. Suido says

    @Kyoseki

    Yep. That was the point of the snarky parenthetical comment about toys. I’d be seriously surprised if the highly-dangerous-if-in-the-wrong-hands hardware didn’t have remote deactivation software installed. Of course, any good ol’ boy citizenry with a screwdriver should be able to bypass that, right?

    But yes, lack of satellite access would also be a bit of a problem. Don’t ya hate it when your missile’s targeting system doesn’t work? That wouldn’t happen with ol’ reliable muskets, nosirree. We got sharpshooters that use rifled barrels, even. Those gubmint forces better watch out.

  209. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I get asthma too. I like smokeless bars too, but the government does not exist to make the entire country more comfortable for you, or me. There are other people in this country with different preferences who also have rights.

    I encourage you to spend as much time around smokers as possible.

  210. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    I honestly haven’t anything to add, being one of those horrible evil liberals who don’t think you need 30 rounds to take down a deer, but I just have this really intense curiosity to meet BCmystery for some odd reason. *coughs*

  211. StevoR, fallible human being says

    Every man thinks he’s Clint Eastwood.

    I don’t.

    Always known I’m just me instead.

  212. StevoR, fallible human being says

    For better or worse. Can’t be but who I am. I try to be someone worthwhile, good and still me.

    Sometimes feel like a vase inside a hessian sack that’s been struck with a sledgehammer.

  213. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @Tom Foss

    Why on Earth would you think that people throwing high-speed bullets would have resulted in fewer deaths?

    That would indeed seem to be an unlikely outcome. Which is why I argued the opposite.

  214. thecalmone says

    @227 spamamander – A friend of mine, gun enthusiast and hunter, has been trying to shoot a deer for years and has never bagged one. He does the whole thing: wears the camo gear and rubs himself with deer poo, but so far zilch. They are always too quick and too far away.

  215. Muz says

    I’m a little late, but it is always interesting that in the myth the outsider group, bravely resisting government authority with their god given rifles, are always the good guys. They’re never neo nazi separatist assholes or something.

    As others have mentioned, the implied right to overthrow the government isn’t that at all. It’s a right to civil war, coz that’s really how any such situation would play out, at “best” (if it really were to escalate into anything likely to cause any sort of actual power shift).
    Most likely, I think, is the Remember Ruby Ridge Rangers get squashed, their spiritual supporters make a lot of grumpy noises. But in the end they don’t do anything because, well, the jack booted thugs of legend haven’t come and taken away their guns yet (because we all know that’s how you tell). Just keep right on listening to Alex Jones or whoever and be ignorantly, civilly disengaged. A gun grants you that right.

  216. mittens says

    I would have to disagree, with some of the points here.

    For one, criminals dont just magically appear in your room, they have to break a lock or a window… usually that makes a lot of noise … its physics. Also these days people set up sensors etc.

    I dont think anyone is thinking of rugged cowboys in this debate, people are thinking of their own saftey.

    As a woman in a rape culture guns make me feel safe.

  217. Matt Penfold says

    As a woman in a rape culture guns make me feel safe.

    Why ? Does not seem very rational to me, unless you think a potential rapist will wait while you get the key to your gun cabinet, unlock it, assemble the gun and then find the key and unlock your ammunition cabinet and load the gun. It is odd. No one who claims they need a gun for self-defence ever explains just how they will get an intruder to wait whilst they do this.

  218. Matt Penfold says

    Oh, and given most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, it is not clear how having a gun will help there either.

  219. says

    PZ Myers wrote:

    I prefer a multi-layered defense that relies on the cooperation of a community….

    I know already what response that will get: that it’s a starry-eyed optimistic dream.

    The thing is, many of us already live in countries that mostly operate on those principles, such as most of Europe. Sure, it’s not perfect, we get shootings too, but our societies are definitely not the scary place that people in the US seem to think theirs is. And the statistics show it. For the US to reach a similar level of safety, then, shouldn’t be a starry-eyed optimistic dream, but be entirely within the realm of the possible. It’s been done before.

    Of course, it will take much more than just changing the gun regulations to get there. It would require changes in health care, social safety net, reduction of poverty and inequality, etc. It’s quite likely that in the current cultural and political climate, it would be impossible to get much of that done. But instead of throwing up your hands and claiming it’s a pipe dream, as some people seem to do, you could also work to change the culture and political climate. You might fail, but it seems worth trying to me.

  220. says

    @Gunboat Diplomat in #198

    If however you see the American state as an institution dedicated to the maintenance of a ruling class with its oppressive system nationally and internationally its clear gun control furthers the maintenance of the status quo.

    There’s just one problem with this theory. Lax gun regulations are the current status quo, and it has been maintained by the ruling class and the establishment for years in the form of the Republican party, the NRA and weapon manufacturers, Fox News, etc. And not just maintained, but expanded. Clearly, for years, all those guns suited the establishment just fine.

    Personally, I think that a situation where almost everyone is armed and afraid of their neighbors, is an excellent situation for a would-be dictator. When people are afraid of each other, they won’t join together to resist you. After that, it’s just a matter of redirecting all that fear to your political enemies (like repeating over and over that the islamist secularist socialist communists will take over your country any day now) and suddenly you’d have all those guns aimed at your political enemies at very little expense.

  221. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    You’re ignoring the main political and military significance of an armed citizenry which is in a civil war. – Gunboat Diplomat

    So you’ll doubtless be able to point us to cases where an armed citizenry has had political and military significance in a civil war, in a state with a military capability comparable to that of the present-day USA.

  222. nightshadequeen says

    One last stupid quip before I head off for class:

    For those who warn about bringing knives to gunfights: wouldn’t it be a better idea to just run the other way?

  223. md says

    You’re ignoring the main political and military significance of an armed citizenry which is in a civil war. – Gunboat Diplomat

    So you’ll doubtless be able to point us to cases where an armed citizenry has had political and military significance in a civil war, in a state with a military capability comparable to that of the present-day USA.

    Gunboat Diplomat, you’ll appreciate this bit of history.

    Nick, if only they hadn’t given them up things might’ve been different.

  224. Gregory Greenwood says

    Gunboat Diplomat @ 213;

    You’re ignoring the main political and military significance of an armed citizenry which is in a civil war. In civil wars the state military forces typically split, because the military to a greater or lesser extent is representative of society and its divisions. A fragmented military is far less capable militarily and the more military force which is used against their own population the more societal divisions sharpen and the military further fragments. The US, like most stable regimes, tends not to murder too much of its own population too often as things can get very out of control very quickly, as we’ve seen recently in Syria.
    Basic weaponry such as rifles become extremely important in civil war situations. Its not the end of the matter by a long shot but it’s a prerequisite for resistance (or strife depending on your perspective).
    Relying on the goodwill of the military is the road to Pinochets coup in Chile, the My Lai massacre, Srebrenica in 95 or countless other situations.

    Firstly, the liklihood of such a civil conflict befalling the contemporary US is rather small.

    Secondly, even if such a conflict came to pass, there is no guarantee that the military would be significantly divided, in which case wannabe citizen-warriors with a massive John Wayne complex will just get themselves killed in droves for no benefit.

    Thirdly, even if the military was significantly divided, when dealing with a force possessing the firepower of a modern state the practical contribution of largely untrained civilians with handguns would be questionable at best.

    At the end of the day, civilians with pistols or even a rifles just aren’t much of an argument against main battle tanks, helicopter gunships and aircraft carriers. Why should we sit back and watch the large numbers of very real deaths and injuries that are caused by such lax firearm laws occur every year in the name of some civil war scenario that is not only unlikely at best, but whose outcome probably wouldn’t even be significantly impacted by a citizenry armed with what amounts to little more than peashooters in relative terms?

  225. alwayscurious says

    Gun ownership makes more practical sense for people in the middle of the wilderness, where the next nearest neighbor is a quarter mile away or more, and round-trips into town take all day. That’s not really the case for most Americans these days.

    Besides, let’s say Americans were all armed in case of government overthrow. How effective will most of the civilians-turned-soldiers fight? Without regular practice, they won’t be able to aim the gun to hit a target much less maintenance afterwards (as would be required for any civil strife lasting more than a day or two; and ammo too! Remember that ammo would need to be stockpiled as well). At present, the idea of a large, effective, civilian militia in a first world nation is a joke to me.

  226. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    md,

    All your link demonstrates is that you are an ignorant idiot. You quite evidently know fuck-all about the circumstances of the Russian Civil War, and the article you link to contains some prize drivel, for example:

    This was, of course, when we were free under the Tsar.

    You think Tsarist Russia was a free country?

    If it had not been for Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds, history would have gone quite differently.

    Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds? I’m amazed that even you are enough of a fuckwit to take this garbage seriously.

    You will note, also, that I specified a civil war in a state with a military capability comparable to the present-day USA – because that’s the subject under discussion.

  227. nightshadequeen says

    I wonder if enough people would watch an updated McGuyver. Our gun and violence loving culture seems to crave more guns and more violence. Not less. And not a pacifist protagonist.

    Hum. Does Batman count as pacifist? Guy won’t kill, but seems to have no problem stringing people up by their ankles.

    From: Willingness to shoot: Public attitudes toward defensive gun use by Cao, LiqunView Profile; Cullen, Francis TView Profile; Barton, Shannon MView Profile; Blevins, Kristie RView Profile. American Journal of Criminal Justice : AJCJ27. 1 (Fall 2002): 85-109.

    A survey of 539 residents of Cincinnati is used lo examine the willingness to use guns in self-defense against crime. Support for using deadly force against lawbreakers is largely contingent upon the threat of physical harm. In contrast to previous research, firearm owners and non-owners do not differ in their willingness to shoot offenders or in their support for using violence for defensive purposes. Such findings question the distinctiveness of these two groups. Support for firing at criminals, however, did have a cultural component. Willingness to shoot is positively related to childhood socialization into a gun culture and to holding violent attitudes. It also is positively related to the belief that crime is rising, perceived risk of victimization, being nonwhite, and being male.

    From The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Uses: Results From a National Survey by Hemenway, DavidView Profile; Azrael, DeborahView Profile. Violence and Victims. 3 (2000): 257-72.

    Using data from a national random-digit-dial telephone survey of over 1900 adults conducted in 1996, we find that criminal gun use is far more common than self-defense gun use. This result is consistent with findings from other private surveys and the National Crime Victimization Surveys. In this survey, all reported cases of criminal gun use and many cases of self-defense gun use appear to be socially undesirable. There are many instances of gun use, often for intimidation, that are not reported to the police and may not appear in official crime statistics.

    Of the 1905 respondents to the survey, 23 reported a self-defense gun use in the past 5 years. Six of these respondents were police officers and 2 were in the military. One respondent reported the most recent incident as having occurred 6 years ago. These 9 respondents were excluded. That left 14 civilians who reported 54 total incidents of self-defense gun use in the past 5 years. Of the 14 civilians (Table 2, TableS), 3 claimed a total of 40 self-defense gun incidents, while the remaining 11 claimed 14 total incidents.

    One hundred and twenty-two (122) respondents reported a hostile gun display. Of these, 10 were police officers, 2 were security guards, 3 were in the military, 1 was a private investigator and 1 an arson investigator. In addition, 2 respondents indicated that the most recent gun display took place outside the U.S., and 1 that it took place 8 years ago. Three people provided insufficient information about the most recent event to adequately categorize it (between them, these 3 individuals reported 16 total hostile gun displays). Excluding these 25 individuals leaves 97, who reported 240 hostile gun displays.

    Of the 97, the most recent event for 31 appeared to be witnessing a hostile gun display. These 31 respondents reported a total of 112 events (of which a single respondent, a paramedic, reported 50). For another 8 respondents, the most recent incident involved the police or a civilian displaying a gun against them in the belief that the respondent was a criminal. Eliminating these 39 respondents leaves 58 who reported 112 hostile gun displays.

    For 21 of these 58 individuals, in the most recent incident the gun was displayed during a planned crime (Table 2, 4). These crimes were primarily either robberies by strangers, which often occurred at work (e.g., restaurants, convenience stores), or assaults by acquaintances, including ex-boyfriends. According to respondents, the police were almost always notified.

    For 24 respondents, the most recent hostile gun display took place during an argument which escalated into gun use (Table 2, 5). These respondents reported a total of 55 hostile gun displays in the past 5 years. The majority (58%) of the most recent cases involved family or acquaintances.

    [Yes, I know that random-digit excludes people who don't have landlines]

    To people who ask how one would defend against a dictatorship without guns: I don’t know about you, but I’d go after infrastructure, especially oil pipelines.

    Suido

    GD’s civil war premise is that some of the military will defect to the civilian side, (with their toys, natch). So it won’t be civilians vs military, it’ll be anti-gov civilians and military vs pro-gov military and civilians. Then GD said that if civilians don’t have guns, no resistance is possible and military personnel won’t have anyone to defect to. So the noble civilians would be doomed to endless tyranny. This was a non-sequitur when GD wrote it, and didn’t get any better through my re-write.

    On the topic of the military splitting anyways: Even if I had a tank behind me, I don’t think I’d like to go up against a tank with a .22.

    Much rather prefer my chances against a (coal-bearing) railroad with, I don’t know, a large sledgehammer.

    Any defecting forces will lose access to things like GPS,

    Wait, how does this work? I thought GPS was a combination of 24 satelites (which would be turned on and off for everyone) and local processing?

  228. Matt Penfold says

    Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds? I’m amazed that even you are enough of a fuckwit to take this garbage seriously.

    From what I remember, the Whites during the Russian civil war were supported by a number of countries, one of which was the US. In fact in 1918 Wilson even dispatched a couple of expeditionary forces to aid the Whites.

    MD, can you explain why you are referring us to a source that is so obviously flawed ?

  229. Ogvorbis says

    Much rather prefer my chances against a (coal-bearing) railroad with, I don’t know, a large sledgehammer.

    You can actually disable a coal-fired steam locomotive with a sledge hammer. You can also disable a diesel-electric locomotive with a sledgehammer. You can also disable the brake components of a freight train (coal cars, for instance) with a sledge hammer.

    A main battle tank? Well, you might be able to take out the thermal imaging or laser sighting system, but the MBT could still fight effectively, though not as efficiently. I suppose you could take out the headlights, but those aren’t used much in actual combat.

    I’d rather take on the train, too.

  230. nightshadequeen says

    @Ogvorbis

    I was actually referring to taking out the tracks*, not the train itself, but yeah :D

    *I’m assuming the train is defended by soldiers with guns, but it’s a bit difficult to defend large amounts of track, and trains kind of have issues running if a track segment was gone.

  231. Matt Penfold says

    Wait, how does this work? I thought GPS was a combination of 24 satelites (which would be turned on and off for everyone) and local processing?

    The GPS satellites are under the control of the US Government. At the moment the signals from them are not enciphered. However the facility to encipher the signals exists, and then could only be read by equipment with the capability to decipher them. Only the US military has such hardware.

  232. chigau (無味ない) says

    There are a lot of really cool articles at Pravda
    “Global warming, the tool of the West”
    “Why Americans cannot discipline their children”
    it’s better than The Onion

  233. Matt Penfold says

    I’m assuming the train is defended by soldiers with guns, but it’s a bit difficult to defend large amounts of track, and trains kind of have issues running if a track segment was gone.

    Experience during the Second World War showed that simply blowing up sections of track was not very effective in hindering rail movements. Too easy to repair, and often there are other routing options available. Much better to target tunnels, bridges and marshaling yards.

  234. Ogvorbis says

    I was actually referring to taking out the tracks*, not the train itself, but yeah :D

    *I’m assuming the train is defended by soldiers with guns, but it’s a bit difficult to defend large amounts of track, and trains kind of have issues running if a track segment was gone.

    No sure how a sledge hammer would help disable the tracks. Now, a big wrench and a spike puller, and you could do some real damage, but a sledge hammer against even something as light as 90-lb rail? It’d just bounce off.

    Railroads, in every war in which they have been used, have proved far more resilient than anyone in the military was willing to believe. Railroads are fragile, but they can also be repaired very quickly. Railroads suffer train wrecks with alarming frequency (the ones we hear about are the ones that impact towns or kill people). And the damage done by a couple of 1,000 pound bombs is far less then the damage done by a 10,000 ton freight leaving the tracks at 30 mph.

    Pipelines, now, much more fragile. Especially if you can leave the pumps on but block the pipe.

  235. nightshadequeen says

    Stolen Gun Control by Robert W. Helsley, Arthur O’Sullivan from Journal of Urban Economics. Volume 50, Issue 3, November 2001, Pages 436–447. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/juec.2001.2227

    Cook et al. [5] report that about 567,000 guns are stolen in the U.S. each year, with 90% of these taken from households. They also report that about one in seven residential burglaries results in gun theft, with an average take of 1.9 guns, and that in almost half of the burglaries involving guns the only items stolen are guns and money. Cook et al. [5] conclude that a majority of the transactions supplying guns to criminals involve stolen guns, and Wright and Rossi [20] suggest that up to 70% of the guns used by criminals are stolen guns.

  236. nightshadequeen says

    No sure how a sledge hammer would help disable the tracks. Now, a big wrench and a spike puller, and you could do some real damage, but a sledge hammer against even something as light as 90-lb rail? It’d just bounce off.

    Railroads, in every war in which they have been used, have proved far more resilient than anyone in the military was willing to believe. Railroads are fragile, but they can also be repaired very quickly. Railroads suffer train wrecks with alarming frequency (the ones we hear about are the ones that impact towns or kill people). And the damage done by a couple of 1,000 pound bombs is far less then the damage done by a 10,000 ton freight leaving the tracks at 30 mph.

    Ah, okay.

    Makes sense.

    The GPS satellites are under the control of the US Government. At the moment the signals from them are not enciphered. However the facility to encipher the signals exists, and then could only be read by equipment with the capability to decipher them. Only the US military has such hardware.

    Wouldn’t any defecting military also have that hardware, too?

    (Unless most of the military doesn’t have the unlock code and the unlock code is only ssh’ed to known loyal units when the encryption is activated)

  237. Matt Penfold says

    and Wright and Rossi [20] suggest that up to 70% of the guns used by criminals are stolen guns.

    But if gun owners are so responsible, how can their guns get stolen ?

  238. nightshadequeen says

    But if gun owners are so responsible, how can their guns get stolen?

    Yeah, it seems like there’s nice loop-effect: Criminals steal guns and use them, non-criminals get scared and buy more guns, which then proceed to get stolen, which increases gun crime, etc.

  239. jgc1 says

    Funny how well that starry-eyed optimistic dream seems to be working in other nations with greater restrictions on access to handguns and assault rifles…

  240. Ogvorbis says

    But if gun owners are so responsible, how can their guns get stolen ?

    Well, that would explain why the NRA fights any law that would require reporting stolen guns. If they’re never reported, they were never stolen. And the ones that are stolen are obviously stolen from those horrible liberals who don’t know how to lock up a fire arm.

  241. Matt Penfold says

    Wouldn’t any defecting military also have that hardware, too?

    Not if the key was changed.

  242. md says

    You think Tsarist Russia was a free country?

    They were free enough to own guns. Not all the freedom necessary for human dignity, but a crucial part, and a freedom promptly dispensed with after the revolution to rid the world of inequality.

    You will note, also, that I specified a civil war in a state with a military capability comparable to the present-day USA – because that’s the subject under discussion.

    You will note the parameters of discussion were set impossibly narrow. I widened them. No other state has ever had a military capability comparable to the US. So lets take a holistic, multi-factorial approach to with-straining it through clear constitutional instruction on the declaration of war, civilian government oversight of the military, a culture continually nurtured to be skeptical of the need of large standing armies during peacetime, a defense budget proportional to the actual intended purpose of defense of the nation, instead of the role of heavily armed international mega-charity it currently occupies, and a populace educated that the greatest dangers of tyranny have historically shown to be either from one’s own government gone awry or from some highly motivated faction within who manages to capture sovereignty, as the Pravda link reminds us, and finally if all those failsafes fail, as some of them currently are in the case of the U.S., those willing civilian volunteers able to take up arms and fight back, like those in Libya and Syria, and hang on and keep hope alive, until someone else will supply them with reinforcements. Think of this as a Total Cultural Solution.

    Washington’s clandestine support of and for the Reds?

    Yea sounds a bit suspect. Private American money supporting Trotsky, sure.

    But the relevant bit, which you don’t contend, is this:

    Moscow fell, for example, not from a lack of weapons to defend it, but from the lying guile of the Reds. Ten thousand Reds took Moscow and were opposed only by some few hundreds of officer cadets and their instructors. Even then the battle was fierce and losses high. However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed. The Soviets promised to leave them all alone if they did not intervene. They did not and for that were asked afterwards to come register themselves and their weapons: where they were promptly shot.

  243. Ogvorbis says

    Wouldn’t any defecting military also have that hardware, too?

    Not if the key was changed.

    Which would give a huge advantage to whichever side secured the facilities with the permission codes and transmission facilities. Or destroyed the same.

    Either way, in a high tech civil war in which the military split sides, what the military thought was worth fighting for and what the civilians thought worth fighting for would be very different.

  244. Matt Penfold says

    I see MD can offer no explanation as to why he linked to such a flawed website. It would be reasonable to assume therefore that he knew it was flawed and he intended to push a dishonest source.

  245. David Marjanović says

    Clint Eastwood?

    Near the end of A Fistful of Dollars, Clint Eastwood confronts the bad guy, who has already drawn and is known as an excellent marksman. He just walks toward him, slowly. The bad guy shoots, and nothing happens. Again and again, the bad guy shoots, and nothing happens. When the bad guy’s gun is empty, Eastwood throws the front side of his poncho over his shoulder, revealing an enormous iron plate with six indentations very close together – right over his heart. He’s completely unharmed.

    I like that scene.

  246. Matt Penfold says

    Near the end of A Fistful of Dollars, Clint Eastwood confronts the bad guy, who has already drawn and is known as an excellent marksman. He just walks toward him, slowly. The bad guy shoots, and nothing happens. Again and again, the bad guy shoots, and nothing happens. When the bad guy’s gun is empty, Eastwood throws the front side of his poncho over his shoulder, revealing an enormous iron plate with six indentations very close together – right over his heart. He’s completely unharmed.

    I like that scene.

    I expect some gun-nuts think it was a documentary on how to protect yourself.

  247. Ogvorbis says

    Matt:

    I also notice that MD claims that Russians being allowed to own fire arms proves freedom. Then, in the same comment, supporting the idea that the masses being armed will help in a civil war, he quotes this:

    However, in the city alone, at that time, lived over 30,000 military officers (both active and retired), all with their own issued weapons and ammunition, plus tens of thousands of other citizens who were armed.

    as if the Tsarist officers, retired and active, who were living in Moscow, were somehow part of the masses.

  248. Matt Penfold says

    History would seem to be something MD knows nothing about, at least not the Russian Civil War. I am hardly an expert, only having read Orlando Figes on the subject but even that is enough to know he pushing total bullshit.

  249. chigau (無味ない) says

    There is also an article at Pravda about how things were better under the Soviet Union.

  250. vaiyt says

    They were free enough to own guns. Not all the freedom necessary for human dignity, but a crucial part,

    Only in your America-centric view. Newsflash, bub, the rest of the civilized world doesn’t consider guns a super speshul blessing of God, given to the white hat guys, without which nothing can exist but tyranny.

    Do you think the rest of the world is too stupid to figure out that much? Or do you think everywhere works just like America or wants to work just like America? Fuck you.

  251. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    md,

    You further confirm your ignorant idiocy.

    They were free enough to own guns.

    Just not to choose their rulers, have a free press, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial, freedom from arbitrary arrest… In other words, a clear demonstration that the freedom to own guns gets you nothing whatsoever in the way of other freedoms.

    You will note the parameters of discussion were set impossibly narrow. I widened them. No other state has ever had a military capability comparable to the US.

    To a situation in which both civil government and the armed forces had collapsed following military defeat and occupation of a considerable part of the country, by an enemy that was itself then defeated, producing a power vacuum with few parallels in modern history. The army disintegrated, with the soldiers going home and taking their weapons with them – those were the bulk of the weapons used in the civil war.

    But the relevant bit, which you don’t contend

    No source is given. When the article is as full of crap as I demonstrated it was, nothing it says should be taken seriously. If you can produce any actual evidence of such an event taking place, I’ll consider it.

    instead of the role of heavily armed international mega-charity it currently occupies

    That characterization is a truly remarkable combination of stupidity and mendacity.

    and finally if all those failsafes fail, as some of them currently are in the case of the U.S., those willing civilian volunteers able to take up arms and fight back, like those in Libya and Syria, and hang on and keep hope alive, until someone else will supply them with reinforcements. Think of this as a Total Cultural Solution.

    No, I’ll think of it as the fuckwitted bullshit it undoubtedly is. In both Libya and Syria, it has been splits in the military plus foreign intervention that made effective resistance possible.

  252. Muz says

    You think Tsarist Russia was a free country?

    They were free enough to own guns. Not all the freedom necessary for human dignity, but a crucial part, and a freedom promptly dispensed with after the revolution to rid the world of inequality.

    Somewhere up the page I alluded to the idea that arms freedoms are a distracting sort of right that appears sufficient even if the others start to disappear.
    Can’t say I was really expecting gun rights folks to agree so readily. Usually this notion gets some dispute.

  253. nightshadequeen says

    A little bit of derail:

    Arg, why is it so hard to find a study on self-defense during rape/attempted rape that a) isn’t behind a firewall and b) doesn’t restrict their interview subjects to just women who were successful in avoid rape or women who survived?

  254. vaiyt says

    A world without guns is one in which the most aggressive men can do more or less anything they want.

    “God made Man, Colt made them equal” is a myth. Guns favor those who are likely to draw first – that means the paranoid, the murderous and the trigger-happy.

  255. nightshadequeen says

    Not a scientific article but:

    Dr. Carl Bell, an African American psychiatrist widely recognized as the foremost authority on firearms violence in the black community, observes, “The misconception that most blacks are killed by whites or gangs or by strangers in the commission of a crime needs to be replaced with the knowledge that most blacks are killed by someone that they know, in the home, as the result of an argument, with a handgun that was bought to protect them from criminals.” In fact, it is 21 times more likely that a household gun will be used to kill a family member during an altercation than to stop a criminal intruder.

    CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE: THE BLACK COMMUNITY CANNOT IGNORE THE GUN CONTROL DEBATE
    Santiago, Roberto; Lowe, Walter. Emerge. 10 (Sep 1990): 36.

  256. nightshadequeen says

    From samizdat2003‘s link:

    Melinda Herman told police she started shooting the man when he opened the door to the crawl space. The man pleaded with her to stop, but she kept firing until she had emptied her rounds, she told police. She then fled to a neighbor’s house with her children.

    Chapman said the hospital asked him not to comment on Slater’s condition, but he said he is not certain Slater will survive. Authorities have a warrant but haven’t formally arrested Slater yet. They plan to charge him with burglary, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and aggravated assault, Walton County sheriff’s Capt. Greg Hall said.

  257. Pteryxx says

    275
    nightshadequeen

    10 January 2013 at 12:09 pm (UTC -6)

    A little bit of derail:

    Arg, why is it so hard to find a study on self-defense during rape/attempted rape that a) isn’t behind a firewall and b) doesn’t restrict their interview subjects to just women who were successful in avoid rape or women who survived?

    Well it’d be hard to interview the women who didn’t survive… /snark

    nightshadequeen, did you see that gun research is restricted in the US?

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/25/the_nras_war_on_gun_science/

  258. nightshadequeen says

    Well it’d be hard to interview the women who didn’t survive… /snark

    nightshadequeen, did you see that gun research is restricted in the US?

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/25/the_nras_war_on_gun_science/

    Well, yeah, it’s hard to interview a dead person, but most studies don’t even acknowledge that. It’s all “These people successfully resisted; this percent via force, this percent via talking, etc.”

    re: Salon article.

    “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

    They’re so transparent….

  259. nightshadequeen says

    RESISTING CRIME: THE EFFECTS OF VICTIM ACTION ON THE OUTCOMES OF CRIMES
    Jongyeon Tark; Kleck, GaryView Profile. Criminology42. 4 (Nov 2004): 861-909.

    Reiss and Roth (1993) speculated that victims who use guns are likely to have had more warning time to plan a response than other victims, because the ability to get to a weapon might itself be a product of greater lead time (see also Thompson et al., 1999). The greater time to respond might itself produce better outcomes independent of the gun use. Because no researcher has ever measured lead time, this notion remains an unsupported speculation.

    That’s an interesting idea.

    (I’m ignoring the rest of the study – dear authors, please do not declare that “resisting an attack almost never increases risk of injury” if you’re going to restrict your analysis to a database that only looks at victims who survive)

  260. Pteryxx says

    Just saw this research that Libby Anne unearthed:

    One article published in 2011 by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (which isn’t indexed by PubMed) had several damning things to say. The article, written by David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health, summarized the scientific literature on benefits and detriments of keeping a gun at home. He writes:

    For most contemporary Americans, scientific studies indicate that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit. The evidence is overwhelming for the fact that a gun in the home is a risk factor for completed suicide and that gun accidents are most likely to occur in homes with guns. There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes.

    On the benefit side, there are fewer studies, and there is no credible evidence of a deterrent effect of firearms or that a gun in the home reduces the likelihood or severity of injury during an altercation or break-in. Thus, groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics urge parents not to have guns in the home.

    Abstract of that study is here: http://ajl.sagepub.com/content/5/6/502

    Via Libby Anne: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/01/the-intersection-of-guns-gender-and-violence.html

    Probably, since most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, it’d be even more difficult for them to pull a gun and be willing to use it on someone they trusted than for the aggressor to use a gun on someone they already consider a target.

  261. David Marjanović says

    Comments 216, 237, 256 and 259 FTW.

    AFAIK, pravda.ru has nothing to do with the actual newspaper, it’s just a conspiracy-theory site.

    But, unlike my friends, I own several guns and train with them regularly.

    Why several??? How many can one person possibly need for self-defense? …Even Yosemite Sam only ever uses two at once and doesn’t seem to have any others.

    Giving up your right to guns is as much as giving up your ultimate say in how you are governed –the peaceful resistance thought process of the ’60s is naive and stupid because it relies on who you are rebelling against having enough of a conscience to not pull the trigger, which is not historically always true. If you want to think about how this country was born, the founding fathers would want assault rifles in the hands of the citizens so that the citizens have the option to stand against a government gone wrong and so that the government cannot just mow everybody down who stands up to say “No, I don’t agree.”

    Where to begin…

    – The idea behind the 2nd Amendment pretty clearly is the Founding Fathers’ aversion to having a standing army, because, in the history they knew, standing armies had provided a constant opportunity for rulers to oppress people. Rather have the entire male population be the army in wartime and simply go home, unpaid, in peacetime, they thought. …Well, the US now has a standing army, because fighting a modern war without professionals is just laughable. There’s no more militia (not even a draft), so no more reason for the 2nd Amendment as far as I can see.

    – Under Saddam Hussein, every man who considered himself one had an AK-47. Fat lot of good it did them. The army had bigger and better guns and remained loyal, never mind the Republican Guard and the palace and body guards and the fact that Saddam never spent 2 nights in a row in the same p(a)lace.

    Every household should have a gun

    That’s just stupid.

    some quick history here on the racist roots of gun control, in case anyone’s interested.

    …Please do remember that the US isn’t the only country in the world, nor the only country where gun control has ever been proposed. Just saying.

    Welcome to the dark side. Cookies are on the left.

    *steal*

    I see MD can offer no explanation as to why he linked to such a flawed website. It would be reasonable to assume therefore that he knew it was flawed and he intended to push a dishonest source.

    Alternatively, he had no clude, didn’t bother trying to find out because it fit his preconceived notion so well, and is now too embarrassed to admit his mistake…

    …which is the very mindset that is the greatest danger to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ever. Sounds grandstanding, but I’m serious; think it through, and I’m sure you’ll agree.

    I expect some gun-nuts think it [A Fistful of Dollars] was a documentary on how to protect yourself.

    That’d be actual progress, you know: the scene makes clear that a gun wouldn’t have helped (didn’t help, in fact, because Eastwood’s character does carry a gun which he later uses). Wearing a bulletproof vest all day may be stupid, and it may not help a lot, and I have no idea what the thing costs (or what a gun costs for that matter), but at least it doesn’t endanger other people.

  262. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    David:

    Why several??? How many can one person possibly need for self-defense?

    Moar gunz=More manly?
    1 gun= I have a little power and a bigger dick
    2 gunz= I have a little bit more power and several extra inches
    A semi automatic= I am BMOC with donkey dick.

  263. dianne says

    Moar gunz=More manly?

    That’s what the guyz with gunz are hoping you’ll believe. Actually, the correlation is more inverse.

  264. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    But, unlike my friends, I own several guns and train with them regularly. – Sam Harris

    Why several??? – David Marjanović

    Duh! So he can take down several Moooslemterrists simultaneously.

  265. vaiyt says

    A little over two years ago, two shanty towns which were highly entrenched positions of criminal gangs in Rio de Janeiro were invaded by a joint operation of the police and army. The criminals had assault rifles, grenades, even anti-air guns. The army sent a bunch of APCs – no tanks, no aircraft, no missiles, no drones. Just APCs. They rolled over all resistance.

    That was a bunch of people who were well armed, prepared to kill and had turned their home into a fortress; they stood no chance against a military with a small fraction of the American budget. To the Americans who are planned an armed uprising: good luck.

  266. kyoseki says

    A semi automatic= I am BMOC with donkey dick.

    In that case the vast majority of gun owners are whatever the fuck a BMOC with a donkey dick is.

    The most common type of firearm in civilian possession in the us is a semi automatic pistol.

    Please, please PLEASE learn the difference between firearms so you can, at least, carry on an educated discussion.

    Here’s the California handgun safety study guide, PLEASE read it;
    http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/pdfs/firearms/forms/hscsg.pdf

    … as for owning several guns, I own several guns for the same reason I own several bicycles, each one fulfills a different purpose, the same gun you use for self defense isn’t the same gun you might use for skeet shooting or IPSC competition, for example.

  267. Suido says

    Bah, this conversation took a left turn into my field of professional expertise while I was sleeping.

    Much rather prefer my chances against a (coal-bearing) railroad with, I don’t know, a large sledgehammer.

    A sledgehammer, wielded accurately, could disable an old railway line. Remove the clips and spikes, knock the rails of the sleepers, job done. Really easy to fix, as mentioned, but a sledgehammer could do the job because it’s basically how they were built. A modern railway, with continuously welded rail, you’ll need a cutting torch to damage that. As with before, it’s really easy to fix. You’ll derail a maximum of one train, each time. If cutting equipment not available, you’ll need to try something different.

    If there aren’t any tunnels or bridges readily available, your best bet would be to dig under the ballast and destabilise the foundations. If we’re talking about coal trains, find a place where there’s already lots of coal in the ballast. This will indicate an already bumpy area. Add water for increased effect. No guarantees, but a bumpy ride can cause derailments. Also easily fixed, just by slowing the train down. Again, you’ll stop, at maximum, one train for each attempt at disabling the railway.

    So you’re back to bridges and tunnels, and even bridges are pretty easy to fix these days with pre-cast slabs + cranes. Oh, and they’ll be guarded.

    If you really wanted to disable a rail network, as a civil engineer I’d have to recommend cutting off the fuel source. This may be difficult. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that military types get twitchy if their fuel supplies are endangered. Possibly even more twitchy than a commuter seeing the price of petrol increase by 10c per litre.

    Steering back towards the subject, I don’t see how citizens having small arms is going to improve the odds of defeating the powers that be, even in situations like sabotaging rail networks.

  268. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s post like this that have me coming here less and less. A sad state of Pharyngula.

    Whereas if you don’t like what happens, why can’t you shut the fuck up and go away? What makes you think your OPINION means anything, when the regulars like it?

  269. Lofty says

    Does this mean we will get less replies from the ericyoungstroms of life? One can only hope.

  270. says

    Hey FYI Janine… I am not the only ATHEIST that thinks/does this. The Sam Harris hate, the extreme feminism and now the anti gun stance….. There are other blogs with less dogma to deal with.

  271. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Hear that pz ? More posts like this one!

  272. says

    From an Atheist that meet him at a rally… “i met PZ at the rally, he was a bloody gerbil. I will never forget i walked up and asked him sir are your ready ? he was next to speak . He looked me up and down disgusted as if i had spit on him. I won’t forget his disdain anytime soon.”

  273. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I flip it to you RED! What makes your or ANY opinion here valid or of worth?

    I know enough not to tell PZ how to run his blog. You don’t. PZ doesn’t like fuckwitted idjits, including the regulars, telling him how to run his blog. Makes your OPINION trash, and your cogency trash if you don’t know that. Welcome to reality, where your OPINION is not sacred to other people…

  274. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Someone needs to draw PZ as a Don Blueth style snobbish gerbil

  275. mittens says

    only women should be allowed to have guns.. because of *trigger warning* rape culture and ALL men are mysogonist creeps

  276. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Hey FYI Janine… I am not the only ATHEIST that thinks/does this. The Sam Harris hate, the extreme feminism and now the anti gun stance….. There are other blogs with less dogma to deal with.

    There are legitimate reasons to question Sam Harris and be disturbed by what he stands for. If that is “hate”, so be it.

    Please, let us know what is the proper amount of feminism one can have.

    Seems that most want a restriction of assault guns, high capacity rounds and ammunition. That is not anti-gun, that is restriction. Big difference.

    Also, it seems that you are still around.

  277. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    According to an idiot on the internet PZ has offended THE Atheist. Shame on him…and pitty on this poor hard of thought individual who is forced to read blogs he hates. Tell me young hobbleminded padawan, is it a man with a white streak and moustache in a green lab coat or a scary blond woman in a jump suit holding you captive? Have you considered building some robot friends to help you cope in these hard times?

  278. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Only the first paragraph is by ericyoungstrom. The rest is me.

    Oh, yeah, nice story there. Who was the nameless atheist?

  279. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    I wonder if these dumbasses realise that by informing PZ they are offended by his posts, they’re actually increasing the chances of him doing more of them? Because, as far as I can tell, offending dumbasses is his raisin date.

  280. Suido says

    Words of wisdom from eric:

    It’s post like this that have me coming here less and less. A sad state of Pharyngula.

    Ah, it’s some specific posts that are discouraging you.

    From an Atheist that meet him at a rally… “i met PZ at the rally, he was a bloody gerbil. I will never forget i walked up and asked him sir are your ready ? he was next to speak . He looked me up and down disgusted as if i had spit on him. I won’t forget his disdain anytime soon.”

    Wait, what? You don’t like PZ? If you don’t like PZ, why did you used to come to his site, and why are you so upset that he’s posting things you don’t like to read? Consistency, you’re doing it wrong.

    nb Google search revealed no matches for the above quote. Not even after I fixed all the punctuation. And stripped it down to keywords. Amazing.

  281. says

    Uh.. RED! Did I tell PZ at any point how to run his blog? No I didn’t. Once again the congregation of the gospel that is the church of PZ has ran off into LEFT field with bull$hit. Add this to the mountain of evidence that is why less and less atheist are coming here.

    Congrads everyone of the flock of PZ… You have run off anyone that would question or and reason to debate because it make pale the light that is your PZ…… You are all sounding a lot like a religion….. This Atheist is out!

  282. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    You first post was at #292.

    You said this.

    It’s post like this that have me coming here less and less. A sad state of Pharyngula.

    This does not sound you you wanted to have a debate. It sounds like a kiss off.

    But, hey, you wanted to show off just how much you dislike this blog.

    Also, you did not get around to explain what would be the proper type of feminism that you would tolerate. I would hate to lose a well reasoning atheist ally like you.

  283. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Suido, It wasn’t ME It was another friend that happened to meet PZ, he posted this to me on FB….. Reading comprehension is your friend.

    You really should read your last words for ironic effect. Suido did not say you said it. Just that the story could not be found with a search.

    Thumbs up!

  284. Rey Fox says

    Add this to the mountain of evidence that is why less and less atheist are coming here.

    Funny, I’m pretty sure that the traffic here has been climbing for some time.

  285. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Did I tell PZ at any point how to run his blog? No I didn’t.

    Yes you did. You implied less posts on gun control would keep you here. Like anybody cares what you think, but we do care about you lying. Arrogance and lies. Typical of MRA fuckwits and liberturds.

  286. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You have run off anyone that would question or and reason to debate

    you want to debate? Say “this is what I believe, and this (link) is the EVIDENCE to back that up”. Liberturds and MRA fuckwits offer nothing but OPINIONS, especially whiny OPINIONS. Which is all you have done to date. That does tell us a lot about you, whether you think so or not. Time to remind you of the first rule of holes. When in over your head, stop digging. Stop digging.

  287. says

    Uh.. RED!

    This ^ alone points out that you have the reading comprehension of a dirt clod. The nym is Nerd of Redhead. That you derive “Red” out of that shows what a muddle your thought processes happen to be. Given that, what on earth makes you think you could fashion any sort of argument which would not only make sense, but manage to be valid?

  288. Cyranothe2nd says

    @319–Urg, reading that Fidalgo piece was painful. And then he turned off comments, so no one can criticize his bullshit baiting and strawmanning. Keep being classy, Paul.

  289. mittens says

    >> “I prefer a multi-layered defense that relies on the cooperation of a community. I don’t want a gun put in my hands……”

    lolz.. one thing is for sure, PZ is no Clint Eastwood, its not surprising he wants a “multilayered” approach… ie other people to do his share of the “dirty work”. With police (Clint Eastwoods) patrolling his area constantly and taking guns away from ‘the people that shouldnt have them’.

    How exactly do you go about gun control, taking away weapons from criminals ??
    Its quite easy to make one, import one, or easily make many other type of weapons…

    Its time to grow a brain and start using it. :3

  290. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Anthony

    Actually you can’t because it appears there are no comments.

    Not that I want to talk to that asshole anyway. Yes Sam Harris is very much my enemy thank you, I’m very sorry so many others of this inclusive secular movement don’t care how hateful and hurtful he is but that’s how it is.

  291. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    @311:
    On what basis did you determine that fewer and fewer people are coming here?

  292. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Kyoseki:
    Also, my point #286 was that for some gun owners, more guns or bigger/more powerful guns is a symbol of masculinity (strength/power as well). One hangun makes you Spider-Man. A semi-automatic makes you Superman. Though I prefer my dick analogy better since there is already a penis subtext to firearms.
    For the point I was trying to make, why do you feel I need, need, need to educate myself?

  293. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    ericyoungstrom:
    What gives you the impression that people here are arguing from an anti gun position, rather than a stricter gun laws position?

  294. Matt Penfold says

    How exactly do you go about gun control, taking away weapons from criminals ??
    Its quite easy to make one, import one, or easily make many other type of weapons…

    Quite possible in the same way other countries have managed it.

    Why did you ask such an idiotic question ?

    Its time to grow a brain and start using it. :3

    First true thing you have said. However you should have grown a brain BEFORE commenting here.

  295. Rodney Nelson says

    Fidalgo writes a provocative post on Sam Harris but doesn’t want anyone to comment on it. Another FTB blog I won’t be visiting again.

  296. says

    Our forefathers made it quite clear their intent with the 2nd Amendment: The citizens should be able to defend themselves from a tyrannical government with equivalent weaponry. The 2nd Amendment was intended so that the citizen was always capable of overthrowing a government that is no longer serving the will of the people. Now, does YOUR right to feel safe from a scary looking rifle trump my RIGHT to carry said rifle in defense of myself, my family or my country? NO, it does not. First of all, most of what are being referred to as ‘assault’ weapons are NOT assault weapons at all. But is sure does sound scarier than just ‘rifle’ or ‘firearm’ doesn’t it? Next, this so-call “gun-free” zone (created to make people feel safer than they actually are) was a prime target, made so by the very law intended to make the school safer. Gun-free just means that law-abiding citizens are unarmed. Seriously, do you think a sign, or a law for that matter, stops this type of thing from happening?

  297. Matt Penfold says

    Seriously, do you think a sign, or a law for that matter, stops this type of thing from happening?

    Laws do not stop such things happening, but they can reduce the volume of such things happening.

    Can you explain why you asked such a stupid question ?

  298. Matt Penfold says

    Fidalgo writes a provocative post on Sam Harris but doesn’t want anyone to comment on it. Another FTB blog I won’t be visiting again.

    He has since written a follow up post about how people will not bother trying to understand the earlier post, and whilst he initially allowed comments he has since closed them after getting about 5, nearly all critical of his reasoning.

    He does not seem to quite understand the concept of blogging.

  299. says

    The citizens should be able to defend themselves from a tyrannical government with equivalent weaponry.

    So I guess that means you would advocate for the right of law-abiding citizens to own tanks and nukes and such then?

    First of all, most of what are being referred to as ‘assault’ weapons are NOT assault weapons at all.

    So what are they instead? Defensive weapons? You mean you can use them to parry and deflect bullets?

    Seriously, do you think a sign, or a law for that matter, stops this type of thing from happening?

    No, it won’t stop it – but do you seriously think that it wouldn’t happen less often if guns were a lot harder to get?

  300. says

    Gun-free just means that law-abiding citizens are unarmed.

    lol. no.

    while I was home for christmas, there were two hostage situations at banks. The first one was committed with a toy gun and a bag of flour disguised as a bomb; the second was committed with a kind of gun that can’t fire deadly ammo, only pepper-spray and noise-makers.

    In the long run, proper gun regulation (guns aren’t banned back home) leads to criminals not being able to get their hands on guns, either. The problem with the US is that this would be a extremely long run, since the US is largely wilderness with less than one cop per square mile, where illegally owned guns could continue to be smuggled about from asshole militia-type to asshole militia-type; especially when that one cop per square mile is one of the militia-type assholes.

  301. says

    The citizens should be able to defend themselves from a tyrannical government with equivalent weaponry.

    nukes and supersonic bombers for everyone! I call dibs on everything stored in/under North Dakota.

  302. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Our forefathers made it quite clear their intent with the 2nd Amendment: The citizens should be able to defend themselves from a tyrannical government with equivalent weaponry. The 2nd Amendment was intended so that the citizen was always capable of overthrowing a government that is no longer serving the will of the people. Now, does YOUR right to feel safe from a scary looking rifle trump my RIGHT to carry said rifle in defense of myself, my family or my country? NO, it does not. First of all, most of what are being referred to as ‘assault’ weapons are NOT assault weapons at all. But is sure does sound scarier than just ‘rifle’ or ‘firearm’ doesn’t it? Next, this so-call “gun-free” zone (created to make people feel safer than they actually are) was a prime target, made so by the very law intended to make the school safer. Gun-free just means that law-abiding citizens are unarmed. Seriously, do you think a sign, or a law for that matter, stops this type of thing from happening?

    Are you sure you checked off all the talking points? Might want to go back and make sure you’ll get full credit.

  303. nightshadequeen says

    Drayton:

    Do you seriously believe that all civilians should have their own private nuke?

    …Excuse me while I go build a large bomb shelter.

    First of all, most of what are being referred to as ‘assault’ weapons are NOT assault weapons at all.

    Hun, if you need an AK-47 to take down a deer, you’re a sucky hunter.

    Gun-free just means that law-abiding citizens are unarmed.

    70% of all guns used by criminals are stolen; 90% from households like yours.

  304. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Drayton Toups, you do realize that some of those framers of the Constitution wanted white male citizens armed because they were afraid of slave uprisings.

    Those damned tyrannical slaves.

  305. nightshadequeen says

    Incidentally, how easy would it be to switch out jet fuel with regular gasoline?

    …eh, that would mean trying to access a base (difficult/impossible).

    (…something makes me think the FBI’ll be showing up near my place soon :D)

  306. David Marjanović says

    Hey FYI Janine… I am not the only ATHEIST that thinks/does this. The Sam Harris hate, the extreme feminism and now the anti gun stance….. There are other blogs with less dogma to deal with.

    Extreme feminism: the opinion that women are, extremely, people.

    Seriously, dude, you have me giggling at my own joke, you’re that ridiculous. Go ahead, defend Yosemite Sam Harris’s “arguments”.

    From an Atheist that meet him at a rally… “i met PZ at the rally, he was a bloody gerbil. I will never forget i walked up and asked him sir are your ready ? he was next to speak . He looked me up and down disgusted as if i had spit on him. I won’t forget his disdain anytime soon.”

    Are you sure this big-A Atheist didn’t just misinterpret PZ’s face? That beard sometimes hides most of it, you know.

    Even absent a beard, I’ve known people who always look as if they’re just about to cry, no matter how happy they are. It’s just the shape of their face. I also know someone who always looks like they’re smiling a bit, even when they’re sleeping.

    Our forefathers made it quite clear[,] their intent with the 2nd Amendment:

    On what basis do you disagree with comment 285?

  307. Matt Penfold says

    Incidentally, how easy would it be to switch out jet fuel with regular gasoline?

    In theory a jet engine could run on the type of gasoline used in cars, and early jet engines used a fuel that was a mix of gasoline and kerosene. However given the complex nature of modern jet engines, and the advanced electronic control systems they contain that any attempt to use gasoline in a modern engine would be a failure.

  308. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    What? Civilians should have access to equivalent weaponry as the government?

    So…you have a helicopter gunship? An F-22 (and a maintenance crew, I suppose)? Drones? Aircraft carriers? Nukes?

    Please tell me where you live so I an avoid you.

  309. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    To everyone going on about their sacred patriarch slave holding rich selfish debt dodging fucks please explain why if the jack holes wanted people to fight oppressive gov one of the first things they did was put down a populist rebellion made up of the folk who fought for them and got screwed over? And then why did they restructure the gov to give people less direct involvement?

    Seriously the FF where a bunch of hyper rich asses who didn’t give too many shits about your freedom compared to their bottom line.

  310. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    And please remember actions speak louder than words. The propaganda drum beats of liberty they vomited forth don’t matter if they turn around and do the same shit they where protesting.

    How much did life for the average slub improve after the succession anyway. Probably increased the life span of the slave trade.

    So yeah American “freedom” can eat me

  311. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    For those who do not know what Ing is taking about, look up Shays’ Rebellion.

  312. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Americans don’t know shit about their own history but still buy into manifest destiny propaganda. You wouldn’t need to be told to love your country so much if it was half as great as it is claimed to be

    Truth is you’re probably a lot less free than many other developed nations

  313. says

    Just came across something Judge Napolitano contributed to the discussion the other day:

    Here’s the dirty little secret about the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment was not written in order to protect your right to shoot deer, it was written to protect your right to shoot tyrants if they take over the government.

    It’s hard to believe that someone who’s supposed to be an expert on the Constitution thinks it says you have a right to shoot anyone. Where does it say that?

    But even if he’s right, and you really have a right to shoot a tyrant, then we really need to solve this one little problem: Who gets to decide who is, or isn’t, a tyrant?

  314. Matt Penfold says

    MD,

    We are still awaiting your explanation as to why you posted a link to a site about the Russian Civil War that was so flawed, so rather than posting more links maybe you could deal with your previous failings first. As things stand your silence must be taken as admission your part you have no defence.

  315. says

    It’s about balance. Having a gun in the house serves a degree of protection with a degree of risk. We weigh those two and make our decision. Sam has come down on the side of having a gun while acknowledging the tradeoffs. So be it.

    His decision and writings don’t deserve anywhere near the ire cast down upon him by us liberalati.

  316. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I love that

    It’s about balance and weighing opinions it’s not objective…but your weighing of Sam US just wrong.

    Go fuck yourself

  317. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    His decision and writings don’t deserve anywhere near the ire cast down upon him by us liberalati.

    Us???

  318. Matt Penfold says

    His decision and writings don’t deserve anywhere near the ire cast down upon him by us liberalati.

    Depends how much you care about stopping people being killed versus people being able to feel important because they have a gun. You clearly do not value life quite as much as we do.

  319. Matt Penfold says

    Rationalist Missionary is yet more evidence that anyone who who calls themselves a rationalist in their ‘nym is being less than honest.

  320. nightshadequeen says

    FORUM: RETHINKING THE SECOND AMENDMENT: Gun Regulation, the Police Power, and the Right to Keep Arms in Early America: The Legal Context of the Second Amendment

    NAME: ROBERT H. CHURCHILL

    Restrictions on who could carry a gun.

    Noting that “in every free state, allegiance and protection are reciprocal,” Maryland instituted a test oath in 1777 and barred those refusing from the basic civil liberties of voting, holding office, serving on juries, suing, and keeping arms.

    New Hampshire’s proposed language, “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such are or have been in Actual Rebellion,” provided the broadest protection, suggesting that the right to keep arms expired only when an individual committed an overt act of levying war. The Massachusetts and Pennsylvania proposals were slightly narrower, recognizing the power to disarm criminals and those engaged in riot, affray, and other breaches of the peace. The dissenting minority of the Pennsylvania convention proposed “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people, or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury [*169] from individuals”

    Restriction on where guns could be used

    American jurisdictions also regulated the places in which guns could and could not be used. By 1770, the shooting of guns was prohibited in the cities of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. The colonies of Pennsylvania and New York extended this prohibition to all other towns and boroughs. Delaware also prohibited the firing of guns within built-up areas, [*163] but made an exception for “days of public rejoicing” Colonial legislatures also tried to protect the highways from stray gunfire. Massachusetts banned the shooting of guns on Boston Neck. Rhode Island banned the placement of shooting ranges lying across a public highway. Pennsylvania banned gunfire “on or near any of the King’s highways” The legislature noted, however, that the fine did not extend “to any person carrying a gun on the public highway” New Jersey also explicitly protected the carrying of guns on the highways.

    Finally, colonial and state legislatures placed certain uses of guns completely out of bounds. New Jersey forbade the setting of gun traps triggered by a trip wire and prohibited “all shooting matches for lucre of gain except on days of public training” Maryland fined militiamen who used public arms for “hunting, gunning, or fowling” Massachusetts regulated the manner of keeping arms as well as the manner of using them. As a precaution [*164] against the accidental wounding of firefighters, the state prohibited the storage of loaded guns in any house within the town of Boston.

    At least some of these laws, including the prohibition of storing loaded guns in Boston, provided for the confiscation of the gun as penalty.

    Restriction on what you could use guns for

    Colonial and state governments thus did not hesitate to regulate the use of guns in order to promote public safety and to protect private property. This robust use of the colonial and early national states’ police power to regulate the use of guns both conforms to Novak’s vision of the police power and stands in stark contrast to the refusal over the course of two centuries to use that power to regulate the ownership of guns by members of the body politic. Faced with clear threats to public order and safety, state legislators did not hesitate to curb “dangerous” uses of guns.

    There is little evidence that the framers of the Second Amendment were concerned with recognizing an individual right to keep arms. On the whole I concur with David C. Williams in his assertion that the framers of the amendment were concerned primarily with the constitutional organization of political violence rather than individual rights. n92 Nonetheless, an informed American citizenry accustomed to a legal right to keep arms appears over time to have fashioned its own interpretation of the amendment’s text. Given the evidence presently available, it is not possible to determine how widely such an interpretation was held.

  321. Matt Penfold says

    Except the evidence comes down to: owning a gun puts both you and your neighbors in more danger.

    I doubt Rationalist Missionary cares much for evidence.

  322. nightshadequeen says

    Here’s the dirty little secret about the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment was not written in order to protect your right to shoot deer, it was written to protect your right to shoot tyrants if they take over the government.

    New Hampshire’s proposed language, “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such are or have been in Actual Rebellion,” provided the broadest protection, suggesting that the right to keep arms expired only when an individual committed an overt act of levying war

    Nope.

  323. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

  324. says

    I do not agree with anyone that wants to restrict my right to own and carry a firearm. But that’s what the 1st Amendment is for; I don’t have to agree, I just have to deal with it. I do not feel the need to disparage anyone’s character just because they do not agree with me. I will, however, use my firearm to protect any one of them if the need arises (providing that their superior moral standards allow me to save their life at the expense of another). They have their right to their own opinion. I’ll protect that right as well. All I want is the same courtesy. Every right is precious, even the ones that you may take for granted.

  325. Rodney Nelson says

    It amazes me that people still trot out the wheeze “gots ta have guns ta perteck me from the gummint.”

    In 1943 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto tried to keep the Germans from taking victims to concentration camps. Several thousand Jews armed with pistols, rifles, Molotov cocktails and a few automatic weapons took on a reinforced SS Panzergrenadier brigade. It’s estimated that some 15,000 Jews died in the fighting (mainly by being stuck in burning buildings) while German casualties were officially around 100 killed and wounded (the Polish Underground believed the number was closer to 300). Most of the Jewish survivors went to the Auschwitz and Treblinka camps. When armed civilians take on soldiers, the civilians lose big time.

  326. Matt Penfold says

    Toups,

    You inability to explain why you asked such a stupid question is noted. Your silence is a tacit admission you know you were being dishonest, but lack the moral strength to admit it.

  327. dianne says

    I will, however, use my firearm to protect any one of them if the need arises

    Or maybe shoot one of them, perhaps accidentally. There are no instances that I can find of an untrained civilian with a gun stopping a mass shooting. There are a few instances of trained off duty police or military personnel being able to shoot a shooter, possibly decreasing their body count, but none of civilians, as far as I know. I do know of at least one instance of an unarmed couple managing to disarm a man with a bottle of gasoline and a lighter, but that’s it. If you were in a theater in Aurora when the shooting started, you’d likely shoot a bystander, not the shooter (who, IIRC, was wearing a bullet proof vest anyway and setting off smoke bombs, making shooting him without hitting anyone else or even with hitting anyone else extremely challenging.)

  328. Matt Penfold says

    Or maybe shoot one of them, perhaps accidentally. There are no instances that I can find of an untrained civilian with a gun stopping a mass shooting. There are a few instances of trained off duty police or military personnel being able to shoot a shooter, possibly decreasing their body count, but none of civilians, as far as I know. I do know of at least one instance of an unarmed couple managing to disarm a man with a bottle of gasoline and a lighter, but that’s it. If you were in a theater in Aurora when the shooting started, you’d likely shoot a bystander, not the shooter (who, IIRC, was wearing a bullet proof vest anyway and setting off smoke bombs, making shooting him without hitting anyone else or even with hitting anyone else extremely challenging.)

    Not to mention that when you get civilians shooting at each other, it becomes very difficult for anyone arriving on the scene to work out who is who. Which could well mean more civilians shooting at each other, and the police turning up and not having a clue who is the “bad” guy. But of course in the heads of the like of Toups they are would-be heroes riding to the rescue.

  329. dereksmear says

    To be honest, I think one thing that is missing from Harris’ article is a defense of racially profiling white guys. After all, Adam Lanza and James Eagan Holmes were white kids.

  330. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Why is it that the people who bring up how guns are needed to protect their homes and protect against the government ignore the fact that the framers were also afraid of slave uprising and attacks by Native Americans, usually by settlers moving onto their lands.

    Let us ignore the situations these people were living under.

  331. dianne says

    Which could well mean more civilians shooting at each other, and the police turning up and not having a clue who is the “bad” guy.

    Well, isn’t any civilian who shoots another a “bad guy” more or less by definition? They may not have been the person who started the shooting, but they are contributing to the body count.

    But maybe he would have assessed the situation and decided not to fire for fear of doing that very thing. Several people at the scene of Rep Gifford’s shooting had guns with them, but did not fire for fear of adding to the chaos and injury or death toll. Instead, a number of people stopped him by hitting him on the head with a folding chair, tackling him, or stealing the ammo that he dropped. They prevented further deaths, not some imaginary “hero” with a gun.

    Of course, it could have gone differently.

  332. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Drayton Toups, I have not insulted you. Why do you ignore what I said about the fear of slave uprisings and and Native American attacks on people settling on their lands. I ask because you claim it is clear what the framers meant.

    Also, are you so insecure that a person insulting you is reason enough not to answer the legitimate challenge to you?

  333. dianne says

    @370: That is kind of the other elephant (pardon the reference) in the room. Nearly all mass murderers are male and most are white. Harris recently called for increased surveillance of people who he thought might be Islamic during airport security checks because he believes them more likely to commit acts of terrorism. Where is his call for increased scrutiny of white men, who are more likely to commit mass murders? At the very least, they should undergo more intense background checks before purchasing guns, no?(Not that that would really likely help. See Nancy Lanza.)

  334. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Well, isn’t any civilian who shoots another a “bad guy” more or less by definition? They may not have been the person who started the shooting, but they are contributing to the body count.

    They would be the good guys. Ask Wayne LaPierre.

  335. says

    @Nightshadequeen. If you knew what you were talking about you would know that the average “Hunting” rifle used for game (.308 Remington 700..) is actually MORE powerful than the semi-automatic (non-assault) AK47, both of which are legal. So, taking a deer with an semi-auto Ak with one shot would be MORE difficult, requiring more accurate shot placement. Your assumption is just a symptom of your brainwashing by the media. In addition, your response to my statement “Gun-free just means that law-abiding citizens are unarmed.” missed the point entirely. Try again.

  336. says

    @Janine..I’m getting to the responses just as fast as I can. :) BUT..I think you need to go back and RE-READ my comment. The insult remark was directed to Matt, not you. But as long as I’m here, If I could go back in time, I’d arm every single native american with the best weapons available and die right along side of them. The same goes for the travesty of slavery. I’d arm every last one of them and fight along side to assure their freedom and repatriation if they so chose. I can’t change what happened, but I can help keep it from happening again. That will require tools, tools which some people see as unneeded. Ask an Native American or kidnapped African slave if he’d like to have a firearm to defend himself with…you know what the answer would be.

  337. says

    Your assumption is just a symptom of your brainwashing by the media.

    What brainwashing by the media? From where I sit, the US media seem to give the NRA more respect than proponents of gun regulation. Certainly more respect than it deserves.

  338. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I know it was directed at Matt.

    So, you would fight against the people who had the wisdom to make sure that citizens could defend against tyrannical governments.

    You are a bundle of contradictions.

  339. dianne says

    Ask an Native American or kidnapped African slave if he’d like to have a firearm to defend himself with

    Actually, quite a number of NA tribes did have guns to “defend themselves with”. Often supplied by Europeans who wanted to make trouble between the tribes and the local settlers. It…didn’t work out well for the Amerind, for the most part.

  340. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    One have to wonder if the second amendment absolutists would have anything to do with the pre1970′s NRA?

  341. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Except indians and slaves don’t get that right because they don’t count. So again explain how the founding fatheads where willing to promote armed indirection against their tyranny.

    Why do these people just ignore Shay ?

  342. dianne says

    Why time travel?
    Arm them now.

    Interesting point, but I’d rather be armed with a lawyer. They’re more effective against the US government than a gun.

  343. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Also don’t ffucking dare compare your selfish ass to entire nations that faced systematic enslavement and extermination.

  344. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Drayton:

    I do not agree with anyone that wants to restrict my right to own and carry a firearm.

    Why do you need a firearm?

    Every right is precious, even the ones that you may take for granted.

    The “right” to own a gun is not essential. In fact, it is more a privilege. There is no longer any reason that anyone *needs* to own a gun.

    When it comes to a list of human rights that are essential, try reading The International Declaration of Human Rights. Curiously, no mention is made of owning a gun as a right (and yes, I’m aware that owning a gun is in the US Constitution and the IDHR isn’t a governing body.)

  345. Tony the Queer Shoop (proud supporter of Radical Feminism) says

    Drayton:

    Does your need to insult me in some way make you feel better?

    You are in the wrong blog if you’re worried about your tender fee fees being offended at insults. If you say stupid shit (and you can cover an entire first floor apartment with the shit you’ve spewed), you’re likely to get insulted here.

  346. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    If must be fucking nice to be so divorced from history that lying shitheads like Larry Ward could say that slavery would not have happened if slaves were armed.

    Armed militias were wanted by the southern states in order to suppress slave uprising! Those framers from the southern states were afraid of this!

    And yet this get ignored.

  347. kyoseki says

    @Tony

    Also, my point #286 was that for some gun owners, more guns or bigger/more powerful guns is a symbol of masculinity (strength/power as well). One hangun makes you Spider-Man. A semi-automatic makes you Superman. Though I prefer my dick analogy better since there is already a penis subtext to firearms.
    For the point I was trying to make, why do you feel I need, need, need to educate myself?

    … because you sound like a Creationist arguing against biology.

    “Handgun” and “semi automatic” are not mutually exclusive terms, in fact, most handguns ARE semi automatic.

    Ignorance is never a good thing, even if it’s a subject you dislike.

  348. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Chigau, even if we grant that he’s correct about that – not a given – that fact (and subsequent facts about post-Civil War events) is one of the things fueling the gun nuts.

    A lot – if not the majority – of the gun nuts who go on about the need for everyone to be armed are curiously silent on the topic of minorities being armed.

    Did the NRA say that Trayvon Martin should have been packing heat, for example?

  349. chigau (無味ない) says

    Esteleth
    I am hoping the time-travelling Drayton Toups @ 377 reads the gun-appreciation-day story and comments.
    I have gotten the distinct impression that only white people men are meant to stand their ground.

  350. dianne says

    mythbri: Isn’t this more or less the scenario the NRA favors? A “good guy” with a gun stops a bully from harassing him. Why don’t they consider him a hero? Or maybe they do. Nothing like a little violence to solve one’s problems, right?

    Also I note that he stopped shooting when a teacher talked him down. If the teacher had a gun, he might have used it to kill a troubled 16 year old instead of talking him into surrendering and maybe giving him a chance to make restitution and go on with his life. If the kid thought the teacher had a gun, he might have shot him preemptively. I don’t see how adding another gun to this equation would have helped.

  351. Matt Penfold says

    @ Matt. I did not respond because your question did not warrant a response. Does your need to insult me in some way make you feel better?

    It seems you are rather stupid. Stupid enough that you are unware quite how stupid you are,

    If you could not answer my question, it would have been better if you just admitted you could not explain why you made such a stupid comment. We agree, I am sure, that it was a stupid comment on your part. After all, you know that the evidence contradicts you, and I am sure you were not being dishonest, which leaves only your being a bit stupid when you made it.

    Of course, if you want to continue to claim that I was being rude when I asked why you made a stupid comment then it falls to you to explain why you made a dishonest one.

  352. Gunboat Diplomat says

    @365 Rodney Nelson

    It amazes me that people still trot out the wheeze “gots ta have guns ta perteck me from the gummint.”
    In 1943 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto tried to keep the Germans from taking victims to concentration camps. Several thousand Jews armed with pistols, rifles, Molotov cocktails and a few automatic weapons took on a reinforced SS Panzergrenadier brigade. It’s estimated that some 15,000 Jews died in the fighting (mainly by being stuck in burning buildings) while German casualties were officially around 100 killed and wounded (the Polish Underground believed the number was closer to 300). Most of the Jewish survivors went to the Auschwitz and Treblinka camps. When armed civilians take on soldiers, the civilians lose big time.

    You’re using the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as a reason civilians shouldn’t have guns? Holy crap! I think I’ve seen you before. You were at Harpers Ferry in 1859 before things kicked off telling John Brown not to bother with his raid because he had no chance. You were in Dublin in 1916 warning of the dangers of taking on an empire already at war. And of course you were also in the Viet Congs headquarters on the eve of Tet in 1968 shouting not to proceed as no military objectives would be met at great cost in lives.

    History is littered with military disasters and symbolic and political victories.

    But hey, if your current career doesn’t work out you could get a job in PR for the Borg: “Resistance is futile”

  353. John Morales says

    GuDip:

    You’re using the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as a reason civilians shouldn’t have guns?

    No, you fool. He’s using it as a reason why “gots ta have guns ta perteck me from the gummint.” is a wheeze.

    (You even quoted him!)

  354. nightshadequeen says

    Drayton

    I have posted fucktons of evidence in this thread that your gun ownership makes things more dangerous for both you and people around you. I have provided fucktons of evidence that you are misinterpreting the second amendment. Please address my evidence.

    If you knew what you were talking about you would know that the average “Hunting” rifle used for game (.308 Remington 700..) is actually MORE powerful than the semi-automatic (non-assault) AK47, both of which are legal.

    Hun, I’m referencing the magazine sizes – if you can’t take down a deer with less than two bullets, you fail.

    Your assumption is just a symptom of your brainwashing by the media.

    …you have no clue how stupid you sound right now.

    Dearest, I think I can outthink you even after not sleeping for thirty-nine hours. If you’d like to prove me wrong, please…try actually doing so. With quotes and evidence, that’d be nice.

    I’m waiting. With actual fucking studies.

    In addition, your response to my statement “Gun-free just means that law-abiding citizens are unarmed.” missed the point entirely. Try again.

    Do you deny that 70% of the guns used by criminals are stolen, and 90% of those guns come from households like yours? Link

  355. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Not suprisingly, GB proves how stupid it is….
    *looks at Pullet Patrol™ shakes head, looks at snail shakes head, finally pond scum and nods*

  356. nightshadequeen says

    It’s like…they’re allergic to evidence or something. I haven’t even seen someone post that flawed Kleck study yet.

  357. Pteryxx says

    *headshake*

    http://www.salon.com/2013/01/11/stop_talking_about_hitler/

    The NRA, Fox News, Fox News (again), Alex Jones, email chains, Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, Gun Owners of America, etc., all agree that gun control was critical to Hitler’s rise to power. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (“America’s most aggressive defender of firearms ownership”) is built almost exclusively around this notion, popularizing posters of Hitler giving the Nazi salute next to the text: “All in favor of ‘gun control’ raise your right hand.”

    In his 1994 book, NRA head Wayne LaPierre dwelled on the Hitler meme at length, writing: “In Germany, Jewish extermination began with the Nazi Weapon Law of 1938, signed by Adolf Hitler.”

    And it makes a certain amount of intuitive sense: If you’re going to impose a brutal authoritarian regime on your populace, better to disarm them first so they can’t fight back.

    Unfortunately for LaPierre et al., the notion that Hitler confiscated everyone’s guns is mostly bogus. And the ancillary claim that Jews could have stopped the Holocaust with more guns doesn’t make any sense at all if you think about it for more than a minute.

    [...]

    The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

    *double headdesk*

    http://gawker.com/5975171/armed-men-roaming-streets-of-portland-claim-they-are-trying-to-educate-the-public

    On Wednesday, Drouin, 22, and his friend Steven M. Boyce of Gresham decided to “educate the public” on their Second Amendment rights by walking around Southeast Portland with their AR-15s slung over their shoulders.

    Their provocation — which they recorded (see left) — soon elicited nearly a dozen 911 calls to police from citizens who remember the December 11th shooting at nearby Clackamas Town Center all too well.

    Portland has a ban on carrying loaded firearms in public places, but citizens with concealed handgun licenses — like Boyce and Drouin — are exempt.

  358. cm's changeable moniker says

    I don’t know. If they’d given those slaves three-fifths of a gun, things might have been very different. /sarc

  359. chigau (無味ない) says

    cm
    If they had given each slave a slightly different three-fifths of a gun…

  360. kyoseki says

    ^Yeah, the FPSRussia thing is very strange.

    From what I’ve read (though, the internet rumor mill being what it is, it could well be bunk), he was tied to a chair and shot in the back of the head, so something very strange must happened, it doesn’t appear to be a simple home invasion robbery type thing.

  361. kyoseki says

    Ok, yep, looks like the early reports that he was tied up were bunk, however, there doesn’t appear to be any sign of a struggle and he died from a single gunshot to the head.

  362. Pteryxx says

    Following up on nightshadequeen’s 256:

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/01/phil-gingrey-adventure-outdoors-gold-standard

    “ATF has established that a very small percentage of retail gun dealers—about 1%—are responsible for approximately 57% of the illegally-possessed guns nationwide,” the city explained in its lawsuit. “The Defendants are among this small group of gun dealers who arm illegal gun possessors. As such, the Defendants cause, contribute to and maintain a public nuisance within the City of New York.”

    The city specifically singled out Adventure Outdoors for selling guns to what are known as “straw purchasers.” Based in part on the work of two investigators the city hired, the complaint charged that “upon information and belief, Defendants intentionally or negligently sell handguns to prohibited persons through ‘strawman’ purchases, in which an individual legally able to buy a handgun purchases the gun from a licensed gun dealer, intending to transfer it immediately to a prohibited person.”

    No wonder nobody’s lining up to steal merchandise from gun stores… between gun show loopholes, theft from households, and negligent or complicit dealers, there’s no need to bother.

  363. derpderpderpderpderp says

    Am I too late for this circlejerk? Too bad this blog doesn’t use threaded comments so I could actually answer each inane comment in a reasonable fashion.

  364. John Morales says

    [meta]

    polyderp, your trolling is feeble.

    (But your inability to note the comment numbers and the comment hyperlinks is not)

  365. derpderpderpderpderp says

    @John
    Yeah, I read the comments here often, so I’m familiar with the numbering. I still contend that it’s a ridiculous means of effective communication on a 400+ comment post. If I decide to argue with post #3 for example, what are the chances that Ogvorbis is anywhere near this thread, as that comment was written days ago?

    I don’t know that I’d call my comment trolling, more like venting. I love this blog, and the comments (usually), but it’s very difficult to argue a minority position here.

  366. John Morales says

    Polyderp, your contention is particularly stupid since the chances that Ogvorbis is anywhere near this thread are independent of whether the comments are threaded or not.

    This is the topic:
    “Sam Harris has really done it now. He’s stepped into the gun control debate with The Riddle of the Gun, and he’s taking the side of Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. And he’s also making a series of logic-defying assertions that have no credibility at all. I’m not even going to try to work through them all; this subject is clearly a bit of an obsession with him. But throughout, he takes a very personal and rather paranoid view of the world and makes it a justification for individual self-defense, which I think is his big mistake.”

    If you want to argue a minority position, do it.
    If you merely want to chat, take it to the Thunderdome.

  367. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    I love this blog,

    Please do not turn this into a HOUSE OF LIES

  368. chigau (無味ない) says

    derp
    What do you think the chances are that Ogvorbis could be arsed to respond to you?
    Whatever the format?
    Your claim to be familiar with how commenting goes here is … not correct.
    We all know how to bookmark and use ctrl-f.

  369. says

    I think calling yourself “derpderpderpderpderp” implies that you aren’t going to answer any questions in a reasonable fashion, no matter what the format.

  370. cm's changeable moniker says

    This came up on another blog today:

    The eighth-grade students gathering on the west lawn of the state capitol in Sacramento were planning to lunch on fried chicken with California’s new governor, Ronald Reagan, and then tour the granite building constructed a century earlier to resemble the nation’s Capitol. But the festivities were interrupted by the arrival of 30 young black men and women carrying .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns, and .45-caliber pistols.

    The 24 men and six women climbed the capitol steps, and one man, Bobby Seale, began to read from a prepared statement. “The American people in general and the black people in particular,” he announced, must

    take careful note of the racist California legislature aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless Black people have begged, prayed, petitioned, demonstrated, and everything else to get the racist power structure of America to right the wrongs which have historically been perpetuated against black people The time has come for black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late.

    Seale then turned to the others. “All right, brothers, come on. We’re going inside.” He opened the door, and the radicals walked straight into the state’s most important government building, loaded guns in hand.

    It was May 2, 1967, and the Black Panthers’ invasion of the California statehouse launched the modern gun-rights movement.

    [...]

    The Panthers’ methods provoked an immediate backlash. The day of their statehouse protest, lawmakers said the incident would speed enactment of Mulford’s gun-control proposal. Mulford himself pledged to make his bill even tougher, and he added a provision barring anyone but law enforcement from bringing a loaded firearm into the state capitol.

    Republicans in California eagerly supported increased gun control. Governor Reagan told reporters that afternoon that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/09/the-secret-history-of-guns/308608/?single_page=true

    I thought that was interesting.

  371. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I will, however, use my firearm to protect any one of them if the need arises (providing that their superior moral standards allow me to save their life at the expense of another). – Drayton Toups

    Talk is cheap.

  372. Anri says

    If I decide to argue with post #3 for example, what are the chances that Ogvorbis is anywhere near this thread, as that comment was written days ago?

    Well, you seem to have 4 primary options:

    1) Shrug and go back to lurking,
    2) Continue complaining about the situation,
    3) Pick a more recent comment,
    4) Comment as you like and see if anyone else on the blog responds.

    To put it another way, if you feel you have a good point of opposition to something that was said earlier, post it, post your response and see if anyone salutes.
    Good points often lead to good discussions.
    Good discussions often lead to good threads.
    Good threads tend to get revisited.

    Failing that, you can always take your post to the Thunderdome.

  373. im says

    I am mostly anti-gun but I don’t like the way you treated rationalist-missionary guy. He didn’t even contradict us. I’ve noticed that time and time again, liberals, atheists, and SJ types have the correct moral opinions and the correct facts, but are just as bad as conservatives at not being able to imagine the opposing side having reasons for their beliefs.

    I agree that the evidence shows that the costs of having guns is more than the benefit. And a majority of pro-gun types are real assholes, or armchair badasses, or both. But the idea that it could be the other way is not so beyond the pale.