Are Australians militaristic fascists now, too? »« [Lounge #418]

If they use guns, it’s not terrorism

One or a few people shot up a Mothers’ Day Parade in New Orleans — nobody was killed, but 17 were injured.

It’s strangely quiet out there. The news has been non-stop “Boston terrorism!”, “Lone wolf terrorism!”, “Oh, woe, what shall we do about terrorism?” for the last few weeks, but guns blasting a parade, and…hush. I don’t know whether they’re waiting to see if the gunmen were foreigners (in which case it will be more non-stop wailing), or whether they’d rather not tag raging use of guns for their designed purpose, lest someone criticize home-grown gun culture again.

Comments

  1. anteprepro says

    Terrorism is any violence when the culprit looks foreign. Terrorism is destruction of property when the culprit ideology isn’t conservative enough. Terrorism is using weaponry against Americans that right-wingers only salivate over when it is being used against other nations. Sticklers may say terrorism is supposedly any violence done to incite fear, to send a message. But if you listen to the term in the political sphere, we apparently don’t care if fear was their intent. If fear is the consequence, then it is terrorism enough. Specifically, if it provokes fear from the Republican punditocracy, it is terrorism. What’s to fear if it is white people exercising their 2nd amendment rights? What’s to fear if it is a red-blooded American wingnut who took the talking points too far? And then there’s the flip side: What’s not to fear if it is an Other attacking from within? What’s not to fear if it is dangerously close to that fear of all chickenhawks: A War At Home? What’s not to fear if it is Godless Amoral Libruls Behaving Badly?

    Ultimately, the terrorism label is applied as somewhat of a morbid, political game. And, as with all such games, conservatives have home field advantage.

  2. DrVanNostrand says

    Glenn Greenwald often points out that the popular definition of “terrorism” also has a strong racial component, with any violence committed by brown people/muslims being almost automatically defined as terrorism. As Nidal Hasan proves, people have no problem considering gun violence by Muslims to be terrorism.

  3. iskenderoglu says

    Oh dear. Guns do not have a single designed purpose, any more than a sharpened stick does, or that higher-tech Clovis point/foreshaft/mainshaft arrangement. In either case, the tool may be used to get edible animals, discourage varmints, fend off attackers, or simply for boys to play or practise with.

    I agree that we now have a monumental problem regarding guns and how people misuse them. It isn’t a monoculture. I dream of a day when humanity stops squabbling and, with a combination of sensible regulation and effective education, brings about peace and prosperity. Also beer and calamari for all.

  4. yoav says

    The racist fucks have been crawling all over the comments to the linked article.

  5. anteprepro says

    Oh dear. Guns do not have a single designed purpose, any more than a sharpened stick does, or that higher-tech Clovis point/foreshaft/mainshaft arrangement. In either case, the tool may be used to get edible animals, discourage varmints, fend off attackers, or simply for boys to play or practise with.

    I’m going to restrain the urge to tear into you for reiterating such a pathetic talking point, under the assumption that you are simply not aware that this specific form of evasion isn’t exactly new.

    Here’s some food for thought: “Get edible animals” is a subset of “Kill shit”. “Discourage varmints” and “fend off attackers” is a subset of “Intimidate due to ability to kill shit”. Playing around with weaponry is does not magically turn weapons into toys. Especially when the primary form of play is simulating killing shit. Virtually every peripheral usage that can imagined for a gun hinges upon its primary function: Killing shit.
    So killing people with guns isn’t “misuse”. It is damn near the main fucking reason they exist. Sophistry and handwringing and these same, old tired fucking word games about “other uses” for guns never provides even the flimsiest of cover for that.

  6. kyoseki says

    I would say it’s still too early to make these kinds of judgments.

    Terrorism is a better described as a motive rather than a method, so it’s really the ultimate purpose of the attack that determines whether or not it’s terrorism.

    If, hypothetically, it turns out that the perpetrators happen to be gang members and the purpose of the attack was effectively territorial, does that qualify as terrorism? Possibly, but in that case ALL gang activity, which is typically territorial, would qualify as terrorism, no?

    Seems the FBI are considering it to be “street violence” related, whatever that means.

  7. iskenderoglu says

    #5. ;et me guess. You’ve never lived on a farm, nor in a place where other people’s job was to shoot at you.

  8. anteprepro says

    ;et me guess. You’ve never lived on a farm, nor in a place where other people’s job was to shoot at you.

    I should’ve just told you to fuck off. Really, I just gotta learn to go with my gut. 3 post rule be damned.

  9. jagwired says

    iskenderoglu @7,

    What does that have to do with guns having another purpose besides putting enough holes in living things that they cease to be living things?

  10. Amphiox says

    The “playing and practicing with” is playing at and practicing the killing of shit.

  11. anteprepro says

    I would say it’s still too early to make these kinds of judgments.

    Terrorism is a better described as a motive rather than a method, so it’s really the ultimate purpose of the attack that determines whether or not it’s terrorism.

    As far as I can tell, this part of PZ’s point. It was also too early to make these judgments during the Boston bombing, but people were FAR more likely to assume “terrorism” despite, you know, having no idea why it was done, or by who. For whatever irrational reasons, regardless of motive, bombing is automatically considered more terrorist-y than shooting. Just like being Muslim while committing mass violence is more terrorist-y than being Christian while committing mass-violence. Just like being a foreign attacker is more terrorist-y than being a domestic attacker. That is what this is about, if I read PZ correctly: the double standards. The arbitrariness of the terrorism label. The transparent fact that we are frequently seeing an “I know when it see it” standard in regards to what is called terrorism and what is not, and that the standard is ridiculous and biased.

  12. iskenderoglu says

    @9 & 10,

    Some of the pheasant I’ve eaten has been roadkill. Other times I’ve had to pick out the BB’s and put them on the side of the plate. Unapologetic carnivore here.

    The most recent relevant training I had included some legalisms. When using justified deadly force, your aim should be to stop the attack. If that means killing a human, so be it. Better to find other ways, but it isn’t always possible.

    Show me a boy who has never thrown a stone, and I will wonder why. The kids in the middle east are pretty accurate when they throw for effect. The dogs know this, and will keep their distance if you pick up a rock.

  13. says

    @iskenderoglu @7:

    And why would you want to use handguns for hunting or for vermin control? They are tools designed for one purpose: put holes in other people within a certain distance. And that is rarely useful for discouraging attacks – the demographics show that people who pull guns in a confrontation are far more likely to get shot.
    _
    I also observe the incredible sexism inherent in your line “simply for boys to play or practice with”.

  14. Knabb says

    DrVanNostrand @2

    I’d also note that there is a second racial component, and that is in those targeted by terrorism. Boston is a city with a white population that is very much a majority, New Orleans…less so. Any violence performed against a mostly non-white population (or one perceived to be so) is probably not going to be called terrorism. This case is an example of that, as was the attack on a Sihk temple last August.

  15. anteprepro says

    What does that have to do with guns having another purpose besides putting enough holes in living things that they cease to be living things?

    I really hope it was supposed to be a “b-b-but, SELF DEFENSE!” angle, in bizarre ad hominem form.

    It always surprises me when people try the “guns have other uses” schtick but consistently fail to come up with uses compelling enough to ignore that it is primarly a weapon. I mean, “Animal Killing Tool” and “Human Killing Tool Only To Be Used If They Started It ” hardly act as concealment. “Toy That Is Incidentally Violent” is just hilarious. “Device of Intimidation Via Means of Obvious Potential for Killing” is just plain poorly thought out. And the only other use I’ve ever really seen is “Totally Just For Decoration Guys”, an excuse that evokes the completely plausible scenario where people should be allowed to have a functioning firearms entirely because apparently a major function of such weaponry is to be featured prominently in the world’s most dangerous stamp collections. Think about the decor, people!

    The “guns have other uses” invokers really don’t think through just how all of the other uses relate to the violence. They just can’t come up with uses that properly divorce themselves from it. They lack the imagination. And they can’t just bring themselves to cite the Simpson’s episode where Homer uses his gun to turn off lights and open beer cans as an example of “other uses”.

    I’d also note that there is a second racial component, and that is in those targeted by terrorism. Boston is a city with a white population that is very much a majority, New Orleans…less so. Any violence performed against a mostly non-white population (or one perceived to be so) is probably not going to be called terrorism.

    Holy fuck, I hadn’t thought of that, but that might indeed factor into this.

  16. borax says

    Just saw this and flipped to MSNBC, then CNN, then HLN, and then (shudder) FOX. None of them have any coverage. After the Boston bombing, all the networks had 24/7 coverage. What gives?

  17. iskenderoglu says

    I also observe the incredible sexism inherent in your line “simply for boys to play or practice with”.

    Meh. Tell me more about demographics…

    FWIW, in our teen years, my sister was a better shot than I was. This leads to a major reason for burning up ammo: practice. Very few people can put a hole in a the widest aspect of a barn door, much less a deer or person, with a long or short barrel, unless they have made useful habits of quiet well-timed action.

  18. says

    @kyoseki @6:

    I thought the distinction in the FBI statement was the idea of terrorism being part of an organized campaign of violence in support of some goal, without regard for the safety of non-combatants. So if this is a single act, it wouldn’t be terrorism, and gang violence wouldn’t be terrorism as long as the gangs weren’t making a habit of targeting people other than their rivals. But PZ is quite right that the labels applied to and news coverage of violence are very inconsistent.

  19. Amphiox says

    Road kill properly prepared can indeed be delicious. But @12 have no relevancy to anything being discussed on this thread.

    Using it on a farm is still using it to kill shit. But the American West used a system to accommodate that. Anyone could keep their guns on their own farms, but if they went into town the local Sheriff confiscated all their guns and kept them locked up to be returned only when they left town.

    If you are in a situation where others are shooting at you, then he’ll yes those guns are being used to kill shit. And in defending yourself with another gun you are also using it to threaten to kill shit. You certainly aren’t trying to shoot the bullets coming at you out of the air with your own.

    But here your gun is but a bandaid, and a suboptimal one at best. You will be outnumbered, outgunned, and your foes will have initiative and surprise. Use your gun as a temporary stopgap if you must, but that is all it will ever be.

    Far better in the long run to remove the guns from those who are shooting at you.

  20. Amphiox says

    In addition to the sexism of the “boys practicing”, I note that when casting about for an example of legitimate targets to shoot and kill in self-defense, the first one he went to was middle eastern children throwing stones.

    See, the three post rule works! After one post we only knew he was a gun nut. After two, we knew he was also sexist. After three we now know he is racist too.

  21. says

    @iskenderoglu:
    Then you should go and think about why you said “for boys to play and practice with” and “Show me a boy who has never thrown a stone”. Conciously or not, your are perpetuating sexist stereotypes.
    _

    Meh. Tell me more about demographics…

    In the US at the present time, people who have guns in their possession are ~4.5 times more likely to get shot in an assault than people who don’t. Guns do not protect people from getting shot, and merely escalate things. Here’s a reference, which Google would have provided for you:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759797/ .

  22. anteprepro says

    Some of the pheasant I’ve eaten has been roadkill. Other times I’ve had to pick out the BB’s and put them on the side of the plate. Unapologetic carnivore here.

    The most recent relevant training I had included some legalisms. When using justified deadly force, your aim should be to stop the attack. If that means killing a human, so be it. Better to find other ways, but it isn’t always possible.

    Show me a boy who has never thrown a stone, and I will wonder why. The kids in the middle east are pretty accurate when they throw for effect. The dogs know this, and will keep their distance if you pick up a rock.

    ….are you trying to write a fanfiction version of The Road . If so, not half-bad. If not, I am vaguely concerned…

  23. says

    @myself @21: If I have misunderstood iskenderoglu’s line “tell me more about demographics” and he actually meant “more boys than girls play with guns” or something similar, my mistake. But, while true, a statement like that merely reflects gender stereotyping and pervasive sexism.

  24. iskenderoglu says

    Far better in the long run to remove the guns from those who are shooting at you.

    A squintillion times yes. Show me sensible steps in that direction, starting from the present umm, interesting situation in the US, and I’ll be tempted to subscribe to your newsletter.

    As I said at first, it isn’t a monoculture. All guns are not the same, nor are the reasons people have for keeping and carrying them. For example, plinking and varmint control with a .22 rimfire is somewhat like using an X-Acto knife. Sure, you could poke holes in somebody with one of those, but that’s not what it’s meant for.

  25. iskenderoglu says

    when casting about for an example of legitimate targets to shoot and kill in self-defense, the first one he went to was middle eastern children throwing stones.

    See, the three post rule works! After one post we only knew he was a gun nut. After two, we knew he was also sexist. After three we now know he is racist too.

    Bullshit.

    Rock-throwing kids may be found wherever, and they are mostly boys. I emphatically don’t advocate shooting them. The point you missed is that humanity has been in the rock-throwing business for a long time. For example, the sheepdogs in eastern Turkey were bred to deal with big cats, kind of like junkyard dogs, but not fenced in. That has to do with some of the reasons the kids get good with thrown rocks.

  26. jagwired says

    iskenderoglu @12

    That’s nice that you eat meat, but you missed the point that anteprepro was making in response to your initial “guns have multiple uses” comment. The point is: guns are only useful for killing shit. The fact that the Clovis people had a multipurpose tool 10,000 years ago is about as relevant as you being a carnivore.

  27. says

    Guns do not have a single designed purpose, any more than a sharpened stick does

    Bull-fucking-shit. Unless you intend to equivocate to the point of complete inanity, firearms very much do have a more specific designed purpose than a sharpened stick. A firearm has a single purpose: to put apiece of metal into a target at long range and with a high degree of accuracy, with the specific intent of harming or killing the target.

    That’s what it was made for, what it was used for, what it’s sold for, to this day. Pretending anything else simply dishonest. While you might use a gun for something else, everything else that you might conceivably use a gun for is derived from this central purpose.

    And you know it.

    Some of the pheasant I’ve eaten has been roadkill. Other times I’ve had to pick out the BB’s and put them on the side of the plate. Unapologetic carnivore here.

    And occasionally I will sleep in a sleeping bag rather than a bed. What the fuck does that have to do with anything?

  28. jagwired says

    A squintillion times yes. Show me sensible steps in that direction, starting from the present umm, interesting situation in the US, and I’ll be tempted to subscribe to your newsletter.

    For the porpskillionth time, Australia has already shown us how it can be done.

  29. iskenderoglu says

    A firearm has a single purpose: to put apiece of metal into a target at long range and with a high degree of accuracy, with the specific intent of harming or killing the target.

    Then why, out of tens of thousands of rounds I’ve fired in a lifetime, have only a handful of them been aimed with intent to damage, harm, or kill? I’ve been lucky in that respect; happy not to be carrying a killer’s baggage.

    You might as well say that the “central purpose” of tai chi is to put down an assailant. Mercifully and with compassion, but still put him down. The practice has other personal benefits; you will notice it is not regulated as strictly as machine guns, rocket launchers, and other military tech.

  30. iskenderoglu says

    Australia has already shown us how it can be done.

    OK, sure. How will that scale up an order of magnitude for the US? How it can be accomplished in our political landscape?

  31. consciousness razor says

    And occasionally I will sleep in a sleeping bag rather than a bed. What the fuck does that have to do with anything?

    Is it made out of guns by any chance?

    I mean, it’s conceivable there are guns designed for that. I suppose the chances are much higher if you’re in the U.S….

    Then why, out of tens of thousands of rounds I’ve fired in a lifetime, have only a handful of them been aimed with intent to damage, harm, or kill?

    Because you practice shooting a lot? And so what if you do? Your purpose is not to be confused with the purpose of the tool you’re using.

    The practice has other personal benefits; you will notice it is not regulated as strictly as machine guns, rocket launchers, and other military tech.

    Do you think gun regulations should be just the way they are?

  32. consciousness razor says

    OK, sure. How will that scale up an order of magnitude for the US?

    Laws don’t need scale according to population.

    How it can be accomplished in our political landscape?

    One way is to get people like you to see how harmful your confused apologetics can be.

  33. says

    Then why, out of tens of thousands of rounds I’ve fired in a lifetime, have only a handful of them been aimed with intent to damage, harm, or kill? I’ve been lucky in that respect; happy not to be carrying a killer’s baggage.

    Because you’ve been practicing. Are you really, honestly, seriously going to claim that the purpose of your gun is to put a slug into an inanimate target? If so, I know that you’re a dishonest shit, unworthy of any serious conversation.

  34. stevem says

    re iskenderoglu:

    So what, exactly, is the point you are trying to make? Guns are made with one purpose; to kill. Your point about .22 rimfire being like an X-acto blade only says they are not all 100% effective at killing whatever in a single shot. But the purpose is still just one; to kill what it is aimed at; be it just a squirrel or someother small creature. What other “purpose” does it have instead?

    And then when called out as sexist; on your statement about “…for boys to play with”, your only reply was “my sister played with guns too”. If you say ‘guns can be toys for boys to play with’, that is still a sexist statement whether you’ve seen girls playing with them or not. Never mind, what exactly are they playing when using guns for play? They’re playing at killing. Whether they play it is a lion or a deer or a badguy; it is still killing. And target practice too. Practice accurate aiming to hit what you’re trying to kill. That is the point everyone is trying to make; guns are for killing, no other purpose

  35. iskenderoglu says

    There is some serious equivocation here, in the proposition that all guns only purpose is killing shit, or fucking shit up.

    Yes, the purpose of my old bull-barreled rimfire target rifle was punching holes in paper at a distance of 50 feet. That was the manufacturer’s intent, and that’s how I used it. It’s history now, cleared out of the house for reasons, including a worn chamber.

  36. consciousness razor says

    Then why, out of tens hundreds of thousands of rounds notes I’ve fired played in a lifetime, have only a [relative] handful of them been aimed with intent to damage, harm, or kill have others listen to them?

    What would you say the purpose of a musical instrument is? Is it for practicing by myself? Also, what is the purpose of practicing?

  37. consciousness razor says

    Then why, out of tens of thousands of rounds I’ve fired in a lifetime, have only a handful of them been aimed with intent to damage, harm, or kill?

    No, you don’t understand. They can have all kinds of purposes. Like turning off lights, opening beer cans, comprising a very weird sleeping bag, etc. That isn’t the point.

  38. Tapetum, Raddled Harridan says

    iskanderoglu – generalizing from tai chi to include other martial arts – excepting those that have become straight up competitive sports, yes, martial arts are about killing. What I learn and what I teach are designed to make an opponent disabled or dead in the most efficient manner possible with the least damage to me. The fact that I get a lot of other benefits from the practice and the fact that I’ve never been in a fight outside of a dojo in my life and hope I never am are completely irrelevant to the fact that my chosen art is meant to be lethal. An awful lot of damage is done to the practice of martial arts because a lot of people ignore or forget this.

    And if we ever develop a recurring problem with rogue martial artists rampaging through crowds, or theaters, or schools, killing and maiming people, then comparisons will be a bit more apt.

  39. consciousness razor says

    Whoops, wrong quote (my emphasis):

    There is some serious equivocation here, in the proposition that all guns only purpose is killing shit, or fucking shit up.

    Or practicing killing of shit. Or making others believe killing shit is likely to happen, to threaten or coerce them, etc., even if it doesn’t in fact turn out to be the case.

  40. anteprepro says

    Then why, out of tens of thousands of rounds I’ve fired in a lifetime, have only a handful of them been aimed with intent to damage, harm, or kill? I’ve been lucky in that respect; happy not to be carrying a killer’s baggage.

    So, in other words, you use your gun as either Killing Practice Tool or Needlessly Harmful Toy. Uses that have already laughed it in regards to poor job they do at putting distance between the gun and its purpose of killing. I would consider it arguing in circles if I actually had the impression that you were trying to convince anyone aside from yourself.

    I said it before in my borked blockquote, and I will say it again: Please, where are the innovative uses of guns? Where is gun as can-opener? Gun as lockpick? Gun as musical instrument? Using a gun for these purposes might actually qualify as distinct uses. Using a gun for target practice and intimidation are so fucking tied in to using it to kill shit that I am baffled that you are continuing to pretend that shooting non-living objects for edutainment purposes is somehow a distinct form of usage. A distinct enough form of usage to not consider a gun to be primarily a weapon. Akin to saying that, because you can sharpen a sword, a sword is not primarily a weapon, because look at how much time I spend sharpening it.

  41. unclefrogy says

    I really do not think some of the people who disagree are that far apart in the “gun debate” as much as they are talking at cross purposes. The argument about the have other uses is trying to say that they have other uses besides murder terrorists type mass attacks.
    I do not hear anyone trying to deny that they are weapons. All firearm training treats firearms as highly dangerous deadly weapons and the decision to use them as a serious one.
    The anti gun argument consists of a heavy emphasis on no killing of anything at least as presented. there for tries to paint pro-gun owners as being pro-killing.

    as an aside not as a de-rail but there are some who hunt with hand guns. It requires more hunting skills as the range is far closer than the typical long gun with a scope would allow.
    there is never going to be any agreement or progress when all the arguments are black and white at least not soon. I am not sure what I would do if it was up to me to proclaim the solution.

    The Big Easy seldom gets a fair deal in much of anything. sad really

    uncle frogy

  42. iskenderoglu says

    Practising music is building bodily familiarity. I don’t play the piano, but in neurological terms, I’ve read that virtuoso pieces are elaborate conditioned reflexes. Human nerves don’t fire fast enough to close the sensorimotor loop on such complex activities.

    Various musicians practise their art for different purposes. Some do, in fact, play for their own amusement in solitude, others work in ensembles. Some quit their day jobs and fill the seats in big rooms. At the end of the day, in many cases, the practice is its own reward.

  43. anuran says

    Not quite. If you’re a “Real American” – Western European or Christian African American at a stretch – you aren’t a terrorist no matter what weapon you use. If you’re a Muslim you’re a terrorist. Period.

  44. anuran says

    And yes, I realize what I just said. If you’re a Muslim you give up your White privilege as far as America is concerned.

  45. omnicrom says

    There is some serious equivocation here, in the proposition that all guns only purpose is killing shit, or fucking shit up.

    Do us one better then. Find us a purpose for a gun besides shooting things. The primary purpose of a gun is to cause injury, a practice rifle’s purpose may be for training but the training’s purpose is to have better control over causing injury. You can fire into the air to intimidate people, but as pointed out the reason a gun fired into the air is intimidating is because it implies that the gun can be used to cause injury. Can you find us a use for a gun that is not based on the object’s value as a weapon?

  46. iskenderoglu says

    @omicrom #47,

    Few non-shooters realize what consistent accuracy demands. In a biathlon, for example, the weapon serves as a test of self-control. I’ve had a lot of fun with cross-country skis, but never with a rifle on my back and a target at the end of the run. Maybe next life around…

    @anuran #46,

    The Muslims I have met have been genuine people, honoring their tradition of hospitality, and good at tailoring their conversation to their audience. Good listeners, in other words. Most I like, some I don’t, and most of them, I never met. I regret that some of my fellow US Americans are yahoos who don’t realize that.

    @ all,
    It would be better if we dropped the word “terrorist” from our collective vocabulary, since it has become a snarl word, mostly applied in service of an agenda I don’t favor.

  47. jagwired says

    Yes, the purpose of my old bull-barreled rimfire target rifle was punching holes in paper at a distance of 50 feet. That was the manufacturer’s intent, and that’s how I used it. It’s history now, cleared out of the house for reasons, including a worn chamber.

    So the enjoyment you get from rapidly shooting a lot of holes in an inanimate object from a distance is worth the risk that some child will get torn apart by a semiautomatic rifle. It doesn’t really matter that the particular rifle you used for target practice may not have been too deadly, if other people insist on using the more deadly versions for the same reason as you (the wonderfully relaxing sport of rapidly putting holes in things from a distance). Can’t we, at the very least, make sure the hole making device the vast majority of gun nuts are using is as impotent as the one you used to shoot? Better yet, can we just make a simulation… like maybe an arcade game or something?

  48. anuran says

    omnicrom:
    I have used guns for many years. I have never killed anything with them or “fucked shit up” with them.

    I have punched holes in pieces of paper. I have knocked over steel plates. I have done training with Simmunitions. I have even used them in self defense a couple times. The fact that I had a gun and the criminals (two burglars, one attempted mugger and a group of Skinheads who objected to the color of my date) believed they might get hurt if they continued brought about the best of all possible results. They ran away without anyone getting hurt.

  49. anteprepro says

    The argument about the have other uses is trying to say that they have other uses besides murder terrorists type mass attacks.
    I do not hear anyone trying to deny that they are weapons

    You mean aside from the person saying that their “other uses” include hunting, practice, playing, and intimidation? I seemed to have missed the part where he acknowledged that guns are totally weapons and totally dangerous among all the minimization. Unless the acknowledgement of that was the allusion to Self-Defense, that sacred gun fetishist institution.

    The anti gun argument consists of a heavy emphasis on no killing of anything at least as presented. there for tries to paint pro-gun owners as being pro-killing.

    You say “heavy emphasis on no killing” like it is a bad thing. Also, thanks for the dishonesty, but I for one don’t imagine pro-gun crowd isn’t necessarily “pro-killing”: they are just apologists for something dangerous, for whatever (invariably inane) reason. I don’t imagine that every person who owns a gun, or even every gun fetishist, loves killing stuff for the lulz. I doubt many of the “anti-gun” crowd here does. But their love of guns, for whatever out of myriad reasons, blinds them to the fact that their excuses against gun control are pathetic and ultimately selfish. It’s all about personal emotional attachments, about a false feeling of security, about playing with toys. These are the things that are supposed to outweigh the harms caused by guns. The minimization of guns done by those ostensibly defending them contrasts nicely with the statistics regarding those harms. It makes it seem like the reasons for clinging onto guns are so trivial and petty in comparison to all those additional accidents, suicides, and murders we have over those other Western industrial nations who actually bothered to somewhat regulate guns. No, the pro-gun isn’t pro-killing. They are simply indifferent to it.

  50. omnicrom says

    Few non-shooters realize what consistent accuracy demands. In a biathlon, for example, the weapon serves as a test of self-control. I’ve had a lot of fun with cross-country skis, but never with a rifle on my back and a target at the end of the run. Maybe next life around…

    So sport? But that is still based on the gun’s ability to accurately poke holes in people at far distances. The fact is that sport shooting, while possibly recreational, is still built on a gun’s traits as a weapon.

    Also if you’re in favor of sport shooting fine. That doesn’t mean there’s any reason to be against Gun Control if all you use a gun for is hobby shooting. Let’s drastically cut back on the availability of guns but let sport weaponry be kept and maintained and temporarily lent by shooting ranges and other accredited hobby organization.

  51. anteprepro says

    Said in response to omnicrom:

    I have used guns for many years. I have never killed anything with them or “fucked shit up” with them….I have even used them in self defense a couple times. The fact that I had a gun and the criminals (two burglars, one attempted mugger and a group of Skinheads who objected to the color of my date) believed they might get hurt if they continued brought about the best of all possible results. They ran away without anyone getting hurt

    omnicrom had said:

    Find us a purpose for a gun besides shooting things. The primary purpose of a gun is to cause injury, a practice rifle’s purpose may be for training but the training’s purpose is to have better control over causing injury.You can fire into the air to intimidate people, but as pointed out the reason a gun fired into the air is intimidating is because it implies that the gun can be used to cause injury. Can you find us a use for a gun that is not based on the object’s value as a weapon?

    What do the kids say? FAIL?

  52. iskenderoglu says

    So the enjoyment you get from rapidly shooting a lot of holes in an inanimate object from a distance is worth the risk that some child will get torn apart by a semiautomatic rifle.

    There’s that equivocation again. How does a bolt-action smallbore rifle contribute to the risk of some kid being shot with a semi-auto?

    “Rapidly” had nothing to do with it in my case. That kind of target shooting goes at a sedate pace, in single-shot mode.

  53. anuran says

    iskenderoglu, I feel exactly the same way about the Muslims I know personally including the one I’m married to. I’m simply expressing today’s default American position. It holds that terrorism is a crime which is committed by Them where all Muslims are assumed to be Them. Other “Thems include hippie eco-freaks, Black activists, gawdless libruls and Occupy Wall Streeters who hate Jeebus and Capitalism. Christians are “lone nuts” or “tax protesters” or “White separatists”, never terrorists.

  54. anuran says

    No antepepro,, you stupid fuckstick. Go back to elementary school and learn basic reading comprehension.

    I used a gun in self defense. I didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t hurt anyone. I didn’t destroy anything. If I hadn’t had one I would have been in a fist or knife fight with a racial terrorist gang. Or I would have been fighting off night-time home invasion robberies with my bare hands. Maybe you fancy those odds, in which case, go for it. I’ll get out the popcorn and watch while they beat you to death.

    And yes, I did call the police. They didn’t show up for quite a while.

  55. anteprepro says

    I want to develop a real life version of Bomberman. Make sports stadiums everywhere, where people come and see heavily armored men set bombs, blow up barriers, disqualify anyone who gets hit by a blast, and grant victory to the last man standing. The coaches could make bank, the players would be glorified as part athlete part soldier, and when everybody is insisting on getting bombs in order to play at their schools, or at their YMCA, or in their backyards, I can look at the looks of terror and disgruntled outrage and laugh. Because, you see, I could sputter out in dishonest, defensive bluster! How dare you put safety above the recreational choices of the masses? How dare you prevent people from having fun with something that might be potentially dangerous? How dare you try to regulate sporting equipment? Regulate something that is only for people with the interest to have a little, tiny bit of fun every so often? You suppress the game? You crack down on people who are only using these explosive devices as perfectly harmless toys? Oh, you will regret that. NRA, I summon thee! Defend my right to freely dispense equipment for The Most Dangerous Games!

  56. anteprepro says

    I used a gun in self defense. I didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t hurt anyone. I didn’t destroy anything. If I hadn’t had one I would have been in a fist or knife fight with a racial terrorist gang.

    lolwut? Do you know how bolded words work? Do you know what I was trying to express by bolding those particular phrases? I’ll spell it out for you, but I doubt you will read it properly since you are 0 for 2 so far: OMNICROM ALREADY SAID SCARING PEOPLE IS A FUNCTION OF A GUN BEING A WEAPON. YOU SCARING PEOPLE OFF IS NOT AN EXAMPLE OF A NEW NON-WEAPON USE OF A GUN.

    Also: fuckstick? Really?

    I’ll get out the popcorn and watch while they beat you to death.

    Classy. Fucking internet tough guys.

  57. consciousness razor says

    There’s that equivocation again. How does a bolt-action smallbore rifle contribute to the risk of some kid being shot with a semi-auto?

    The risk is still there with your target rifle. It’s capable of causing severe injuries and death. It’s a deadly weapon. So, I want your target rifle heavily regulated, just like any other weapon.

  58. anuran says

    OK, facts for the data-challenged. It won’t do shit for the bigots like antepepro, omnicrom et al, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them. We have forty years of solid, academic, peer-reviewed, multi-source, robust data on the use of firearms in self defense. It started with Wright and Rossi back in the 70s and has continued. Kleck’s work won Criminology’s highest award; the President of the Association was personally anti-gun and titled his address “Appreciation of a View I Have Opposed” or something very like that.

    Choose your research. We have large-sample randomized surveys. We have the NCVS. We have the UCR. We have NIJ’s studies. We have independent academic research, much of which passed the hurdles necessary to get NSF grants. The results are pretty much all the same. When firearms are used in self defense they are almost never fired. When they are fired, it is very, very rare that anyone dies. Generally (better than 90% of the time) the attacker is deterred and retreats.

    You may like guns. You may dislike them. If you want to pat yourself on the back and consider yourself mentally and morally superior to Rush Limbaugh or your average teabagger that shouldn’t matter. What is well-established after all this work is that they fulfill that function very effectively. And they do so without anyone getting injured in the overwhelming majority of cases.

  59. anuran says

    Good Lord, antepepro, is it possible that you’re actually stupider than Michelle Bachman? You can’t read simple declarative English prose. All you can do is cram your finger up your boogervault up the the fourth joint and go “Hur, hur hur. Lolwut!”

  60. anteprepro says

    There’s that equivocation again. How does a bolt-action smallbore rifle contribute to the risk of some kid being shot with a semi-auto?

    When the FREEEEDOM to use your teeny-tiny super-harmless guns that don’t hurt nobody nosiree is used as the political excuse for no regulation on any guns, whatsoever, including semi-autos. I’m afraid that equivocation is pretty much the fault of the American gun lobby. Apologies, I suppose.

  61. jagwired says

    @54

    Yeah, it would be equivocation if that’s the only part of my comment you read. Try reading the rest now. It would be wonderful if everyone was using your bolt-action small bore rifle for target practice and if that rifle wasn’t also deadly if shot at a human.
    @56

    I’ll get out the popcorn and watch while they beat you to death.

    Oh, you’d like to watch someone get beat to death? Would you now, psycho? So glad you love your guns.

  62. anteprepro says

    Good Lord, antepepro, is it possible that you’re actually stupider than Michelle Bachman? You can’t read simple declarative English prose. All you can do is cram your finger up your boogervault up the the fourth joint and go “Hur, hur hur. Lolwut!”

    Macho man, scholar, and bearer of a masterful wit. I will have to make a note to purchase your first novel as soon as it is published. I could not bear to miss such a literary treasure.

    (Side note: Apparently people who are not gun apologists are “bigots”. If a master of the English language says it, it must be so. I submit myself for flogging.)

  63. anteprepro says

    Oh, you’d like to watch someone get beat to death? Would you now, psycho? So glad you love your guns.

    Shut your mouth, you gunophobe! Don’t you know that guns scare intruders, ergo guns for everyone! SCIENCE! ENGLISH! You sully the good name and insult the face of a Man of Universal Greatness! Do not make my mistake! Don’t earn his ire, the wrath of Six-Pack Shakespeare, the anger of the Pusillanimous Philosopher, the contempt of Shotgun Socrates! The stinging of his rapier wit will leave on the ground, gasping for air. And the impact of a punch to the gut will leave your entrails on the floor. Weep now for your mistakes or learn to live with your pain. Make your peace now!

  64. iskenderoglu says

    …let sport weaponry be kept and maintained and temporarily lent by shooting ranges and other accredited hobby organization.

    One problem with that is a bit like the tragedy of the commons. The club may have skilled armorers, but their workload may not let them give each piece the same care and attention that would come from an individual owner/custodian. In my state, the law requires secure storage for firearms in the home, and has done for many years.

    A more philosophical problem with keeping sporting arms at the range or club is that it puts more faith in an “accredited organization” than in responsible individuals. I believe that to be an authoritarian fantasy, in Bob Altemeyer’s sense of the word “authoritarian:” one who believes submission to authority is best for all.

  65. anteprepro says

    A more philosophical problem with keeping sporting arms at the range or club is that it puts more faith in an “accredited organization” than in responsible individuals. I believe that to be an authoritarian fantasy, in Bob Altemeyer’s sense of the word “authoritarian:” one who believes submission to authority is best for all.

    Trusting an “accredited organization” more than individuals is authoritarianism? Trusting an “accredited organization” means that believe that submission is best for all? Quite a dichotomy there. I assume this means that any trust of credentials, preference of accredited over non-accredited, any belief that formal organizations are even marginally more trustworthy than any given person off the streets, makes one an authoritarian as well?

  66. consciousness razor says

    A more philosophical problem with keeping sporting arms at the range or club is that it puts more faith in an “accredited organization” than in responsible individuals.

    It has nothing to do with putting faith in anything or anyone.

    There’s no such thing as a responsible (or irresponsible)* individual, abstracted away from the rest of society. Having an organization like that is one way to establish which kind of social conditions need to be met (between the rugged individual and everyone else) to fulfill one or more of the society’s needs. I don’t trust gun clubs to be especially “responsible,” compared to any one person. But they are there, and we as a society can use them.

    *It’s odd how much this term gets introduced when it comes to guns. It’s as if the problem were simply that murderers are “irresponsible.” Is some guy who killed his wife an “irresponsible gun owner”? What does that even mean? He’s a murderer, for fuck’s sake.

  67. jagwired says

    Shut your mouth, you gunophobe! Don’t you know that guns scare intruders, ergo guns for everyone!

    Yeah, I know, and next he’ll be telling us something ridiculous like: we should be giving the gunz to the toddlers… maybe even some pretty pink rifles for the little girls.

    One problem with that is a bit like the tragedy of the commons. The club may have skilled armorers, but their workload may not let them give each piece the same care and attention that would come from an individual owner/custodian. In my state, the law requires secure storage for firearms in the home, and has done for many years.

    Oh noez! the guns won’t be all shiny? We better let everyone take care of their own assault rifles then. I’m sure anuran’s “good guy” statistics above will keep us safe from those irresponsible bad guys.

  68. Monocle Smile says

    it puts more faith in an “accredited organization” than in responsible individuals.

    Uh, what? I don’t see how this is a problem. An awful lot of ideas end up terrible when you leave them to “responsible individuals.” Take education, for one. What would happen if we just left the education of children up to their parents? Would the world EVER learn anything or get better?

  69. mildlymagnificent says

    A more philosophical problem with keeping sporting arms at the range or club is that it puts more faith in an “accredited organization” than in responsible individuals. I believe that to be an authoritarian fantasy, in Bob Altemeyer’s sense of the word “authoritarian:” one who believes submission to authority is best for all.

    Nonsense. It’s about making only those laws you have the power to enforce, rather than grandiose gestures that have little to no chance of real effect. When everyone’s responsible, no-one’s responsible.

    How do you have any oversight of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of households holding guns in the legally correct manner – all day, every day? Simple. You can’t. When you make just a few organisations responsible for such matters, you have the chance to a) make the requirements more specific, probably more expensive, maybe more onerous and b) make it more likely that the responsible authorities have a real chance of keeping an eye on the safety, storage and handling of the weapons and ammunition in question.

    As for danger. We once went to a special open night at a friend’s gun club (they were serious types – international competition and all that). They were doing initial training of our kids and a few other novices using air guns. Strange to say, despite the fact that the whole objective of the evening was to produce neat little bits of paper showing how well (or not) these lessons were going, there were extremely strict rules about where and how any and all of us not handling guns at the time were to (not) move around or observe the activities. Because even the smallest, least powerful gun with the least possible dangerous ammo was a deadly danger to everyone.

  70. lochaber says

    Welp, I’m not much for guns, but there are a handful of ‘non-killing-shit’ reasons for using them. maybe handful is exagerating, there are a couple.

    I remember seeing one of these in an east coast maritime museum as a kid:

    http://www.cannonsuperstore.com/lyle_cannons.htm

    At the museum, they had stated that it was the only cannon created with the intention to save rather then take lives.

    I also believe that occasional ‘safe’ avalanches will be triggered via shooting snowbanks with rifles. or something.

    And then I think there was that guy in the Darwin awards who used a firearm to put a hole in a muffler…

    For what it’s worth, I still hold that guns are designed to kill things by punching holes in them at a distance. Every now and then, models are developed more for sport/practice then the initial intentions, similar to, say, how fencing is more of a sport now then part of infantry training.

    Furthermore, although I subscribe to the belief of guns being designed to kill/break shit, I do think there are (albeit, rare) occasions where that is okay (say, hunting, and (unfortunately) self defense)). Claiming a gun is intended for target practice, and that either the gun or the practice has nothing to do with harming something at a distance is low-grade sophistry at best.

    Also, being accurate with a handgun takes quite a bit of training/practice. A rifle, not so much- as long as you know some of the basics, it’s pretty easy to hit a stationary human-sized target at typical engagement distances.

  71. lochaber says

    ack, sorry for the double-post, I forgot about using firearms to detonate bombs (or attempt to detonate suspected bombs) at a distance, but again, that’s basically a specialized niche of ‘damaging shit at a distance’

  72. unclefrogy says

    like I said black and white arguments back and forth talking past each other deliberately not trying to understand the others point.
    boring boring boring I have heard it many times,
    in the end there will likely be no new regulations, again.!
    uncle frogy

  73. gmacs says

    Find us a purpose for a gun besides shooting things. The primary purpose of a gun is to cause injury.

    A very interesting and awkward vase?

  74. kyoseki says

    (sorry for the delay, was hosting a dinner party :D)

    For whatever irrational reasons, regardless of motive, bombing is automatically considered more terrorist-y than shooting.

    Bombing is generally, by it’s nature, indiscriminate, it’s invariably intended to kill as many random people as possible, unlike shootings, which are generally more targeted in nature, therefore the means & motives when it comes to both bombings and random shooting can be inferred from their particular mechanics.

    This wasn’t a bombing, therefore it’s more likely to be a targeted (or mostly targeted) attack, consequently it’s more than likely a gang related shooting or an attempted murder, either way, it’s not terrorism.

    It may still prove to be terror related however, but right now, it probably has a different motive.

  75. thumper1990 says

    Silly PZ, don’t you know it has to be a bomb to be terrorism?

    In fairness, they don’t know it is terrorism yet. Were the gunmen aiming at the crowd, or someone in the crowd? New Orleans has a pretty nasty gang problem, doesn’t it?

    I’m not saying it isn’t terrorism. Just don’t jump to conclusions.

  76. carlie says

    I assume this means that any trust of credentials, preference of accredited over non-accredited, any belief that formal organizations are even marginally more trustworthy than any given person off the streets, makes one an authoritarian as well?

    I, for one, welcome having a surgeon who has responsibly learned his craft on his own rather than someone who mindlessly submitted to the tyranny of Johns Hopkins.

  77. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I’ve been at a couple of climate-change-related events for a few days, so maybe this has already been discussed, but AFAIK it’s another strange internet quietness: Texas fertiliser plant blast: Criminal probe launched*. Admittedly, there’s no specific evidence yet that Brice Reed was responsible for the explosion, but imagine the reaction if his name had been Mustafa Al-Baghdadi.

    *Yes, even if it was an industrial accident, there should be a criminal probe.

  78. rickmcwilliams says

    I have seen a tiny bit of the bad side of gun users. I have been intimidated by a person with a gun two times. I have been shot by a gun one time. It was one of those harmless .22 . I was riding alone on a motorcyle on a highway by a lonely farm in the desert. I must have looked like a varment. The bullet went through three layers of leather jacket, my shirt and penetrated my skin and rib muscles and was deflected by a rib and almost exited. The spasm from the hit was tremendous. I did not hang around to find out what another hit would be like. I continued for several miles before attending to the wound. I massaged the bullet out by the path it came in and filled the wound with antibiotic jelly. No big bleeding and a day of rest and I was back on my trip.

    Tell me about “responsible” gun owners. Sorry about an off topic reply.

  79. says

    “Rapidly” had nothing to do with it in my case. That kind of target shooting goes at a sedate pace, in single-shot mode.

    Ask Lee Harvey Oswald how sedate a pace a bolt-action rifle can be fired at…

  80. iskenderoglu says

    It’s a big world, with a long history, and plenty of headlines to read. If daggers had been kept out of the senate, Julus Caesar might be alive today… oh, wait. In more recent news, there is that study from Pew Research: gun homicide is less frequent than ten years ago, but public perception differs.
    .

    I assume this means that any trust of credentials, preference of accredited over non-accredited, any belief that formal organizations are even marginally more trustworthy than any given person off the streets, makes one an authoritarian as well?

    Your assumption is unfounded. Some rod and gun club off in the woods is a far cry from a medical school or hospital.

    .

    Thanks for chewing. Gotta go. Reddit won’t read itself, you know.

    -Sanderson

  81. bullet says

    I actually live in New Orleans. These parades (second lines) happen all the time – almost every weekend for a big chunk of the year. Violence is extremely common. It’s usually gangs, and those guys are shooting at specific people. They just don’t care who else they hit.

    I don’t know that this was the case in this specific shooting, but this kind of thing has been going on down here for a very long time. That this one made national news is an anomaly. I had a friend leave a message for me asking if I was ok and I had to call him back and ask him why, what happened. He says, “The parade thing,” and I’m like, “Really? That’s it?” Seriously, it didn’t even faze me. Some black kids shot up another back street parade – welcome to New Orleans.

    Next Sunday they’ll have another parade. Somebody might get shot. It probably won’t make the news where you live. So that’s why it isn’t terrorism. I guess.

  82. anteprepro says

    Bombing is generally, by it’s nature, indiscriminate, it’s invariably intended to kill as many random people as possible, unlike shootings, which are generally more targeted in nature

    Quibble: In theory, mass shooting could more targeted. In practice, it quite often is not. Just like bombings, the specific targets are indiscriminate, random people, and the only target is an area. But that isn’t true of shootings in general, so I see your point.

    In more recent news, there is that study from Pew Research: gun homicide is less frequent than ten years ago, but public perception differs.

    You are just fucking hilarious. The Pew Study? Says that gun homicide rates have dropped since 1993 but people aren’t aware of that. The data? Still says that the U.S. has a gun homicide rate comparable to Argentina, Costa Rica, Barbados and Uruguay. Still have over ten times the gun homicide rate of most European countries, 6 times the rate of Canada, and almost 100 fucking times the rate of gun homicide in the UK, Japan, and Poland. Oh, but our homicide rate was cut in half over 20 years! La-de-freakin-da.

    Your assumption is unfounded. Some rod and gun club off in the woods is a far cry from a medical school or hospital.

    Are you stupid or just a dishonest asshole? Here’s what you originally responded to:

    Also if you’re in favor of sport shooting fine. That doesn’t mean there’s any reason to be against Gun Control if all you use a gun for is hobby shooting. Let’s drastically cut back on the availability of guns but let sport weaponry be kept and maintained and temporarily lent by shooting ranges and other accredited hobby organization.

    So, if we were in a bizarro world where America dared to practice gun control, as was stipulated by omnicrom, and guns were exclusively for sporting and were exclusively maintained by gun sports organizations, you think that it would remain just a “rod and gun club off in the woods”, with no level of ensuring that the organization meets certain standards? You think the sole owners of guns in this hypothetical wouldn’t be subjected to a level of scrutiny comparable to schools and hospitals? Really? Or were just ignoring the inconvenient detail that the “accreditation” involved when more stringent than it is in our current bleak shitscape known as reality?

    But here’s the ultimate question: Stupid or dishonest asshole? Make your identity known.

    Some black kids shot up another back street parade – welcome to New Orleans.

    Just what this thread needed: racism.

  83. bullet says

    I’s not racism. It’s what happened. And it’s what happens a lot. When black people kill other black people it can’t be terrorism. Or even newsworthy, unless it just happens to coincide with and can be compared to a series of events in which a lot of white people died.

    There’s racial prejudice and privilege in action, here. Just not where you think.

  84. says

    Few non-shooters realize what consistent accuracy demands. In a biathlon, for example, the weapon serves as a test of self-control. I’ve had a lot of fun with cross-country skis, but never with a rifle on my back and a target at the end of the run. Maybe next life around…

    Gah!! Seriously? Why don’t you get this. The logical comparison to this would be, “Its really hard to stab something just right, every time, so I know I will hit a major organ, so I practice hours on end, with a sword. So, isn’t it just real obvious that I use it for something other than killing people?” No, no, no, no, no. If your “use” involves getting better at succeeding at the items original purpose, it no more logically follows that somehow it isn’t the same purpose, than if you where bloody practicing war maneuvers, but “didn’t intend” to go to war, or practicing surgery, but “don’t plan to perform it”, or any other bloody case where you are “practicing”, with the logical purpose of using a tool “as intended”. If. as you have said, you do in fact use it for such a purpose, even if its only on animals, then the assertion that said practice is in no way at all related is even more bloody stupid.

  85. Ichthyic says

    Reddit won’t read itself, you know.

    There’s your problem, right there.

    Reddit should simply be abandoned for the crap hole it is. It will only corrupt your tiny mind.

  86. Ichthyic says

    It was one of those harmless .22

    When I was a teenager, my pop showed me just how damaging a 22 rifle can be.

    people forget that unless it’s a tiny pistol, typically a 22 makes up in velocity what it lacks in weight.

  87. lochaber says

    .22 is often scoffed at, but people have been killed and seriously wounded with them numerous times. According to wikipedia, they are even used by some police snipers.

    Also, Christopher McCandless (the guy who died in a bus in Alaska – from ‘Into the Wild’) brought down a moose with a .22. A lot of people thought that wasn’t possible, and he was just some dumb kid who killed a deer and claimed it was a moose in his diary, until they found the spot where he butchered it, and the bones were definitely moose bones.

  88. lopsided says

    Maybe people are mass-shooting-outed. Maybe I’m just speaking for myself. I’m so fucking sick of it and I’ve argued and tried to get things changed a hundred times and nothing works. I’m fucking tired of talking about it.