I get email — gun-fondler edition


So, so tired of the gun-fondlers in my in-box…their arguments are so bad, so stupid, so off, and they don’t see it. It’s like the creationists who write to me with their sloppy reasoning and wacky assumptions — they aren’t persuading me, they’re just convincing me how wrong they are.

Here’s the latest.

Dear Dr. Myers:

I have e mailed you before to present the other side of the issues you talk about on your blog. I would like to try to explain the concept of how firearms prevent crime.

Yeah, he’s mailed me multiple times. Every time I start reading them, go “gaah, what an idiot”, and trash them without reply. Since he’s not going away when I ignore him, time to let everyone else laugh at him.

Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease? But not only that, doesn’t the fact they have a gun contribute to that feeling of well being? I would venture to say the chances of the place becoming a crime scene, at least while the police are inside, are close to zero. Another example is that of an armored car. The little “ports” you see on them allow the guys inside to stick their guns out if anyone was to try something. There are also warnings on the vehicle “do not approach”. It is essentially the threat of looking down “the business end” of a gun that is the true deterrent. Wouldn’t you agree that the chances of an attempted robbery are close to zero with an armored car because of guns and the possibility of being shot? Again guns are preventing crime.

Did he just compare trained police officers with responsibilities, a uniform, and a specific role in the community to random jerkwads with a pistol tucked in their pants? That the police dissuade crime is their job; I would not feel more at ease in a restaurant if everyone was sitting there, armed. Quite the contrary.

If most of us are unarmed, relying on a few delegated officials to suppress crime, it’s true, we’re less likely to have crime scenes erupting all over the place. If everyone’s carrying a gun, we’re more likely to have criminal activity that turns into a blazing bloodbath. Not interested. Not convinced at all.

And then he goes on to suggest my daily life would be improved if I were living in the equivalent of a fucking armored car? This guy is nuts.

Now let’s take this a step further to the ordinary citizen. Do you think a criminal is going to try to commit a crime somewhere he might get shot by a law abiding citizen carrying a concealed gun? A criminal, who by definition has no regard for the law, will go and commit crimes in “Gun Free Zones” like churches, schools, hospitals and other places the local authorities deem should be “Gun Free”. Look where mass shootings like Sandy Hook and Aurora took place. Also look at places like Chicago that have a lot of gun violence, because, until recently, law abiding citizens have been unable to carry concealed firearms to defend themselves against criminals. Criminals know where they can commit gun crime without fear of being shot. I’d be willing to go so far as to say that men can be “taught not to rape” if there were the probability of being shot by the woman!

Right. Let’s trade gun-free schools, churches, and hospitals for places where we all walk in fear, just so these obsessed kooks can strut about with weapons. How about instead if we regulate guns more tightly, cut off the killers at the source, and have fewer guns in our communities? That would also reduce the problem. And that’s his solution to rape? Make women carry firearms around and shoot people? Fucking barbarian.

But oh, I forgot — this is all about giving gun-fondlers carte blanche to cling to their object of affection everywhere they go.

Of course there are no statistics on crimes that have not been committed. It is not known exactly how many crimes have been prevented by law abiding citizens carrying concealed guns. The best way to extrapolate how many crimes have been prevented is to look at the crime rate, which has been steadily falling since enactment of concealed carry laws. Just try to “think like a bad guy” with this. Our elected officials can enact all the gun control legislation they want, but that is NOT going to stop criminals one iota.

They do love that fraud, John Lott. Lott is the primary source for this claim that concealed carry laws and an armed populace reduce crime. He’s been exposed as a phony way back in 2002.

Earlier this year, Lott found himself facing serious criticism of his professional ethics. Pressed by critics, he failed to produce evidence of the existence of a survey — which supposedly found that “98 percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack” — that he claimed to have conducted in the second edition of “More Guns, Less Crime”. Lott then made matters even worse by posing as a former student, “Mary Rosh,” and using the alias to attack his critics and defend his work online. When an Internet blogger exposed the ruse, the scientific community was outraged. Lott had created a “false identity for a scholar,” charged Science editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy. “In most circles, this goes down as fraud.”

My correspondent is not only making a bad argument, it’s a dishonest one.

You suggest keeping a telephone by your bedside. Fine and well. By the time the police arrived, you could very well be dead. 1500 feet per second is the response time that I advocate in dealing with someone who has broken into my house. Often, just showing the gun to a perpetrator is enough to diffuse the situation.

Oh, god. The 1500 feet per second bullshit. If I’m at the point of having to outrace a goddamn bullet, it’s too late and a gun isn’t going to help. What I have to do in these situations is make it so hanging around isn’t cost effective anymore, and knowing that the police are on the way is a good deterrent.

Besides, the speed of my signal down the fiber optic line to my house is 300,000,000 meters per second. I win on that facile and stupid comparison.

Gun control advocates are quick to blame guns for high murder rates. But let me ask you; when a kid throws a rock through your picture window, do you blame the rock? Or do you blame the kid?

Does he think rational gun control advocates imagine that guns are floating about autonomously blasting away at people? Of course not. We know that the problem is that guns are in the hands of the weapon wankers. When a kid throws a rock through a window, the plan is to tell him to stop throwing rocks.

Also, you know rock throwing isn’t as casually lethal as firing a gun, right? Right? I’m not so sure these guys are that clever.

Expanding from our local communities and states to that of a National level, to namely our Armed Forces, who, with other tools use GUNS to prevent the invasion of foreign powers unfriendly to us. It is the presence of GUNS and the threat of retaliation by us that protects and defends the sovereignty of The United States. It is the presence of the very GUNS you despise that affords you the freedom to be a godless liberal. GUNS also afford you the freedom to post mindless ejaculations on the internet.

Again, this buffoon is trivializing the specific purpose and specific training of police and military forces to equate them to his fellow gun-lovin’ goons. No, I don’t rely on armed guards to be able to post on the internet, you goddamned thimble-witted gun-waving dogma-loving right wing ideologue. Fuck off and stop sending me your feeble parroting of NRA bullshit.

Comments

  1. says

    Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?

    Actually, it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t trust cops to shoot straight either – it’s a testament to their incompetence with firearms every time you read about how they gunned down someone, using hundreds of rounds in a city street shoot-down. That doesn’t make me confident at all! That makes me think the only difference between the cops and the other gun-toting gomers is that the cops feel even more justified in drawing a gun and shooting someone. Rational citizens are not comforted by the presence of cops – not in the slightest.

  2. Michael says

    As a Canadian, I find the American fascination with guns puzzling. The only difference between our cultures that I’ve been able to determine is that we don’t have a constitutional right to bear arms. I suspect that if you made it a constitutional right to wear clown shoes, that millions of people would walk around looking ridiculous and causing accidents.

    Perhaps you need to make it a constitutional right to carry swords? A given person couldn’t hurt as many people in the same amount of time, and they could be disarmed by someone with superior skill without serious injury. Plus it would look way cooler.

  3. says

    PZ:
    I can’t imagine what your inbox looks like the morning after you blog about gun control.
    “You now have 600 messages from GunHole, 755 messages from HolyGun, and 243 messages from random gun strokers”.
    Do you even *have* a delete key anymore?

  4. says

    Michael:

    A given person couldn’t hurt as many people in the same amount of time, and they could be disarmed by someone with superior skill without serious injury.

    I’m rather surprised none of the gunholes in the recent threads brought up the “but..but..but…swords are deadly” “”””line of reasoning””””. Those arguments are so fucking ridiculous.

  5. lochaber says

    They just don’t get it. If every gun owner is so damned responsible and reasonable, then why not require mandatory safety classes and training? Why the resistance to background checks and gunsafes?

    Prior marine here, and as much as I am critical of the corps, I felt that firearm safety/training is the one thing they did do rather well. I’m appalled whenever I hear about these people in positions of authority (using your pistol as a laser pointer, for fucks sake?!), or with concealed carry permits (shooting your ass or a fellow shoppers ass in checkout because you fumbled your wallet) involved in unsafe handling.

    And how do these people think muggings happen, someone across the street yells at them to ‘draw’?

    And another person who gets stressed/nervous in the presence of cops. Who knows when they are going to decide to beat the fuck out of someone. And as Ranum said, even if there is a shootout, I’m more likely to be hit by the cops then the supposed criminal

  6. scott says

    I might take their assertions about armed civilians stopping crime more seriously if there was a significant training requirement to carry a gun. But they fight that like it was made of spiders. Then ignorant idiots treat their toys like toys and, quelle surprise, someone gets shot.

    There are people who have that training and carry concealed, and they’re not the problem; they respect the responsibility and shut up about it. It’s the yahoos who bring their AK-47s to Target because they fearhope someone will “try something” that worry me.

  7. Wylann says

    Cops certainly don’t get an automatic pass from me. I read too much news. Thugs with carte blanche to do violence. Why would that make anyone feel safer?

  8. says

    If you want evidence of crimes not being committed when guns aren’t all around (double negative looking for something that isn’t happening!)…try looking at pretty much every other 1st world country in existence who don’t have the gun-fetish 2nd amendment. Sure, they aren’t the YOU-ESS-EH (hoorah…?) but then again maybe that’s the point. It’s almost as if its impossible for anywhere else on the planet to exist to these people, places where guns aren’t the norm…and yet ‘the bad guys’ aren’t taking over. Aren’t running roughshod over everyone because they are the only ones with the guns…OMG it can be done! FFS.

  9. kraut says

    http://phys.org/news/2014-01-restrictive-concealed-weapons-laws-gun-related.html#nwlt

    “Mark Gius from Quinnipac University, published in Applied Economics Letters, suggests that this is in fact not the case, research shows that in states with more restrictive concealed carry weapons (CCW) laws there is actually an increase in gun related crime.”

    What is it that all other countries in the western world that have strict gun laws, i.e. Germany, England, Canada, France etc. have lower murder rates related to firearms than the US. Is it because the US society is more violent than any other society? And that therefore it makes sense to be armed?

  10. bcmystery says

    I’m with Marcus Ranum when it comes to idea of feeling safe around cops—and I’m a white guy. I can’t imagine what dealing with cops must be like for POC in this country. I guess I’m glad you feel safe around them, PZ, but to me, they’re just gun strokers with more than average organization.

  11. sunsangnim says

    You know where I feel at ease? In countries where people don’t obsess over guns. I’m currently in Vietnam and lived in Korea for a couple years. We’ve had several mass shootings or attempted mass shootings back home in the US over the past couple weeks. When was the last time these things happened in countries with strict gun control? Nobody fetishizes guns over here. Nobody worries about violent crime. It’s kind of nice.

  12. says

    Perhaps you need to make it a constitutional right to carry swords

    A sword is an “arm” so it’s probably covered. Lacking a well-funded sword lobby, however, there are fairly restrictive rules in various jurisdictions regarding knives and swords. I remember one of my college viking reenactment group got arrested in Massachusetts for carrying a double-edged bladed weapon longer than 4″ – a measurement that was handily exceeded by his viking-style sword.

  13. says

    @11 Apparently, no, we aren’t.

    The thing I don’t get is why it’s harder to get a drivers license than to buy a gun. I grew up in a rural area where a gun rack in the back window of the pickup and a rifle were the norm. I took gun safety training so I could hunt legally and was astonished when the instructor told us stories of adult people who aren’t safe to hunt with. He told a story of one of his friends who would drink and toss his hat in the air and shoot it. He said “I don’t go hunting with that guy anymore”. We take a lot of steps as a society to prevent folks like that from driving drunk, but we can’t do the same for guns? We just have to try to avoid them?

  14. A. Noyd says

    As someone who has been falsely arrested, no, I do not feel more at ease with cops around. Cops are there to serve the interests of authority, not of the people. If I wasn’t a scrawny white woman, the cop might have used his “crime preventing” gun to blow my brains out, too.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    lochaber (#5)

    And how do these people think muggings happen, someone across the street yells at them to ‘draw’?

    I was thinking something similar about rape. The letter writer imagine rapists strip off their pants at 30 feet away and then start running at you erection-first while hollering and beating their chests?

  15. Russell Neches says

    I hate to tell you this, PZ old boy, but you are sadly, totally mistaken. The speed of light in a vacuum is indeed very nearly 300,000,000 m/s, but fiber optic cables are made out of glass, which as a typical index of refraction of about 1.5. Thus, the speed of your signal down the fiber is a mere 200,000,000 m/s. Clearly, this changes everything.

  16. mfd1946 says

    The stupidity of these gun fanatics, for whom opening fire is the cure for all problems, is indistinguishable from evil.

  17. lakitha tolbert says

    @10 bcmystery : Thank you for saying this. As a WoC, Ive become increasingly terrified at the idea that there are people who have no qualms about turning this country into a place where its “open season “on PoC. I don’t want to die in general but I certainly don’t want to be killed because some random White person got scared or angry because I wandered into their twitchy -fingered orbit.

    I’m also a law abiding citizen whose never committed a crime more serious than running a stop sign and that does not stop me from being terrified in the presence of the police. No! Their presence isn’t soothing to me.Unlike those fools in the emails, I don’t have the luxury of thinking I ‘ll survive any encounter, no matter how innocuous, with them.

  18. Nemo says

    Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?

    No.

  19. says

    ‘nother victim of false arrest here.

    No, cops being around makes me distinctly uncomfortable.
    Unlike a criminal, a cop could ruin my life for the hell of it while facing virtually no risk of prosecution whatsoever.

  20. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?

    And yet another “no”. But not because I’ve had any seriously negative dealings with the cops. In every situation where the police and I have had to interact it’s come out fine for me. Though I will say that the cop and prosecutor who surreptitiously showed me the knife they’d found when they arrested the guy they thought might have robbed me doesn’t give me any more confidence. They didn’t tell me what to do, but it was clear that I was suppose to describe the knife that was used to rob me using what I’d just seen. Nevermind that I couldn’t for the life of you tell anyone what it looked like exactly. And nevermind that it’s very likely that the accused was indeed my assailant, that bit of skullduggery was disconcerting.

    But all that aside, if it didn’t work out, what would I do about it? There’s a power imbalance between citizens and the cops which makes me very nervous indeed. A person with my resources has little to no recourse should I run into a bad cop who wishes to do me harm. I treat them like I would anything that’s unpredictably dangerous: keep my distance unless there’s a pressing need not to.

  21. says

    I don’t trust cops to shoot straight either – it’s a testament to their incompetence with firearms every time you read about how they gunned down someone, using hundreds of rounds in a city street shoot-down. That doesn’t make me confident at all!

    Cops make me uncomfortable too, we have our share of terrible ones up here north of the border and there have been plenty of terrible incidents. However, like many other things when it comes to guns, I have to wonder if this is largely an American thing as well, at least when it comes to police officier freaking out and spraying bullet everywhere. I remember reading some news stories a year or two ago reporting that only 85 bullets were fired by German police in 2011 (found something about it: http://www.thewire.com/global/2012/05/german-police-used-only-85-bullets-against-people-2011/52162/). I realize they deal with far less gun crime in general, but still that is quite a difference, considering police in the US seem to regularly fire that many at a single suspect.

  22. unclefrogy says

    these gun loving guys watched too many westerns and crime shows on TV when they were kids. the true nature reality is not found in Hollywood.
    I may be mistaken but I don’t seem to remember any notable police chiefs advocating a more armed civilian population as a way to reduce violent crime’
    I am pretty sure most police are pretty nice people all in all. They have very stressful work lives and that has to cause problems in their ability to cope with things in a rational way sometimes. You never know if this is the time he makes a big mistake. I do not feel all that safe or calm around cops and I have noticed how relaxed every thing becomes when they leave.
    uncle frogy

  23. jagwired says

    Expanding from our local communities and states to that of a National level, to namely our Armed Forces, who, with other tools use GUNS to prevent the invasion of foreign powers unfriendly to us. It is the presence of GUNS and the threat of retaliation by us that protects and defends the sovereignty of The United States. It is the presence of the very GUNS you despise that affords you the freedom to be a godless liberal. GUNS also afford you the freedom to post mindless ejaculations on the internet.

    Derp, let’s bring the Cold War into our local communities and even our own houses. Nothing makes us feel safer than mutually assured destruction.

  24. shawnthesheep says

    I feel far more at ease when the police in the restaurant aren’t carrying guns, like the overwhelming majority of police in the UK and Australia.

  25. kyoseki says

    The US is the only industrialized country where firearms ownership is considered a constitutionally protected right. Most European countries with high rates of firearms ownership mandate pretty strict training requirements in order to own guns, similarly “self defense” is not considered a valid reason for firearms ownership, whereas in the US, it’s considered (for right or wrong) of paramount importance.

    This is worth noting because it does represent a significant hurdle to any proposed firearms legislation (whether you agree with the idea or not is irrelevant, unless you can repeal the 2nd Amendment or significantly change the make up of the Supreme Court, you have to deal with the fact that an individual’s right to own firearms cannot be arbitrarily legislated against).

    Most of the gun owners I know would love to see better training requirements for firearms ownership, I know I would (and fuck, even those Citadel imbeciles who wanted to build a fucking castle in Idaho mandated safety & proficiency requirements that would be wildly unconstitutional if the government did it), but the problem stems from the fact that as soon as training requirements become allowable, certain jurisdictions would make them prohibitively awkward.

    For example, until the DC vs Heller ruling, in order to own a handgun, Washington DC required a training program that wasn’t available within 300 miles of DC, which was considered an onerous restriction on a Constitutionally protected right.

    The NRA has taken a (fairly ridiculous) hard line stance against these kinds of things because they believe that just as one side (and there are plenty of organizations to the right of the NRA) would like to see handguns available in your local liquor store, the other side would make recovering the Golden Fleece a prerequisite for firearms ownership.

    The solution, I feel, is something that will annoy just about everyone:
    Make firearms training mandatory for everybody, not just firearms owners.

    Whether you feel the 2nd Amendment mandates firearms ownership as a bulwark against government corruption or to allow the citizenry to act in defense of that government against a foreign power (I don’t personally agree with either statement, but again, personal beliefs are irrelevant), the fact remains that you have to know what the fuck you’re going with a firearm before you’re any use to anyone.

    If you never want to own a gun, then you can always elect NOT to exercise it and so free yourself of the training requirement (consider it conscientious objector status), but as it stands, the 2nd Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, applies to absolutely everyone, but there’s nothing in it that says you’re exempt from training to fulfill it’s requirements.

    The other oft-cited objection I’ve heard from gun guys, which is that those training programs can’t be entrusted to state & local governments for the reasons previously stated, is similarly easily overcome:
    Make the NRA run them.

    The NRA (who, lest we forget, were founded as a training organization) already run a number of courses on firearm safety & proficiency that are actually pretty comprehensive, having them oversee the training requirements would help assuage any fears of government incompetence or interference (and, I feel, would really REALLY annoy the board members) whilst also helping to change attitudes from “I want to own a gun” to “I’m willing to shoulder the responsibility of owning a gun”, which is a fundamental change that really needs to happen here.

    So there you go, in a nutshell; Make training mandatory for everyone and make the NRA run it (with Federal oversight to make sure it’s not just a rubber stamp).

    There, that idea ought to annoy everybody, have at it.

  26. kyoseki says

    I feel far more at ease when the police in the restaurant aren’t carrying guns, like the overwhelming majority of police in the UK and Australia.

    How do you feel about UK police (such as the Airport Police, SCO19 or the Diplomatic Protection guys) walking around with machine guns?

  27. beanfeast says

    Russell Neches,

    The speed of light in a vacuum is indeed very nearly 300,000,000 m/s, but fiber optic cables are made out of glass, which as a typical index of refraction of about 1.5. Thus, the speed of your signal down the fiber is a mere 200,000,000 m/s. Clearly, this changes everything.

    Perhaps PZ should consider upgrading to copper which has a signal propagation speed of about .75c, rather than continuing to use a media that is clearly unsuitable for optimum law enforcement responsiveness in the event of a home invasion, with its signal propagation speed of a mere .66c.

  28. sarah00 says

    +1 to feeling less safe when I see cops with guns.

    I remember going to some chain-diner/restaurant with a friend when I was visiting her from the UK. There was a table of police officers near our table, every one of them carrying a gun. It was disconcerting to say the least. The casualness of them, the fact no-one paid them any attention.

    The police are there to protect people. I don’t know how we can equate protection with being allowed to summarily execute people they don’t like the look of. They are carrying a deadly weapon FFS!!!! The idea that guns protect is the biggest lie that’s been told.

  29. voidhawk says

    What a sad, paranoid, outlook on life:

    “Another example is that of an armored car…”

    Isolated, fearful, unable to interact normally with others, seeing the world through a narrow steel porthole, unable to leave the roads…

  30. says

    Make firearms training mandatory for everybody, not just firearms owners.

    Errr…. Why? I’m perfectly in favor of making such training mandatory for anyone who wants to own a gun; I’m also fine with the NRA running it (I think their training standards must have been developed before the lunatics took control of that particular asylum, as their programs in this respect are pretty good).

    I just can’t understand why you’d want to make it something you have to opt into (since most people, I think, don’t really care about owning guns), rather than out of?

    Derp, let’s bring the Cold War into our local communities and even our own houses. Nothing makes us feel safer than mutually assured destruction.

    Some gun fanatics seem to think that way. If you’re up to feeling instantly queasy, google “home carry” (short version: “never ever put your gun away for any reason”).

  31. coldthinker says

    Before the internet, I sometimes told my European right-wing friends and relatives (like my father) that in the USA, the country they admired so uncritically, there really are gun-loving people like this.

    Nobody then believed me. I was just “unfairly reviling the US” — because common sense tells nobody could really think like that, Americans are reasonable people, you know.

    Now, partly thanks to the internet, my right-wing father has turned around and decided to never set foot on the US again, it’s way too extreme far right anarchy for him. But still, most of my European right-wing friends seem to think these gun-lovers are at most an infinitesimal minority, and making fuss about them is just “unfairly reviling the US”.

    I suppose they need more internet.

  32. chigau (違う) says

    On The Internet … No One Can Hear You Scream …
    .
    .
    .
    unless you type
    AAARRRGGGHHH

  33. kyoseki says

    Errr…. Why? I’m perfectly in favor of making such training mandatory for anyone who wants to own a gun; I’m also fine with the NRA running it (I think their training standards must have been developed before the lunatics took control of that particular asylum, as their programs in this respect are pretty good).

    I just can’t understand why you’d want to make it something you have to opt into (since most people, I think, don’t really care about owning guns), rather than out of?

    The problem, legally speaking, is that you can’t mandate that only those who wish to exercise a constitutional right be subject to training that others don’t.

    Legally speaking, it’s a bit like mandating literacy tests for exercising your right to vote.

    … at least, that’s my understanding of it.

  34. marko says

    In my isolated, largely gun free bubble in Scotland, I generally feel comfortable and safe in restaurants, cafes or anywhere really – even in the presence of the police, who are also not carrying guns. Oddly, I very rarely, if ever, consider the possibility that I might be gunned down at any minute and don’t feel the need to carry a similarly destructive weapon to protect myself.

    Could you protect your second amendment rights using a catch 22 gun license policy? It seems that the people you don’t want carrying guns are the people who are itching to get their hands on them; So, every American has the right to carry a gun, but if you want to, you are too dangerous to be allowed one and should be denied a license.

  35. Muz says

    These sorts are great. I find their particularly broken comprehension of society most fascinating of the lot. They must cause criminologists no end of forehead slapping injuries (to say nothing of most people).
    It’s their weird presumption that there’s these things called Criminals who are like a tribe or even a sub species of humanity.
    They’re a lot like vampires really. They lurk out in the dark waiting for the almost electromagnetic repellant force of crucifixes…sorry, guns to be reduced in any place, whereupon they strike. They spend an awful lot of time on the internet doing homebrew demographics on news reports and doing density maps of the gun quotient in a given area.
    Well, it’s either that or relying on a supernatural gun sense, as to your pleasure.

    It’s this kind of logic that allows these particular thinkers to skirt areas where both gun numbers and gun crime is high, the density of them apparently doing little to keep the peace, by saying “Well it’s all criminals shooting each other”. How convenient. A nice comforting myth that avoids thinking about icky social problems in a sophisticated way.

    By all means think like a “bad guy” but maybe have a look at, y’know, data when you do, instead of stroking your ego about how great your ‘received from NRA pamphlet’ intuition is.

  36. Dunc says

    How do you feel about UK police (such as the Airport Police, SCO19 or the Diplomatic Protection guys) walking around with machine guns?

    Pretty damn nervous. Those guys often don’t keep their fingers far enough off their triggers.

  37. says

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I still get a bit freaked out when I see firearms on British police, whether it’s the automatic long arms the airport cops carry, or the very occasional sidearm. I saw a pair of uniformed cops in the high street a few months ago on what appeared to be a routine traffic stop carrying sidearms, which wigged me out no end. I wish I’d enough of my wits about me to take a picture or make further investigations, because that is something you don’t typically see out here in the sticks.

  38. slowlearner says

    Another Brit here, and when I’ve visited the US I was very wary of police, just as I am when I’m around armed police at home.

    Oddly enough I’m less concerned by actual soldiers wandering around, because I’ve seen how much trouble squaddies can get in for an Accidental Discharge, whereas I’ve never really seen a policeman get in trouble for shooting someone…

  39. Lofty says

    I hear the good ol’ US of A is a very friendly place. Every day you could be caught in the “friendly fire” between “responsible” gun fondlers.

  40. DBP says

    Here is an article on politifact related to a bit of gun apologia I often hear.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jun/24/blog-posting/social-media-post-says-uk-has-far-higher-violent-c/

    Basically, the gist is that there is more violent crime in the UK, therefore gun control failed. No one is afraid of being shot to death by a possible victim or unarmed cops so criminals run the street committing more “violent crimes” than are committed in the US. Interestingly, the version I hear says that British laws are more narrow as to what constitutes “violent crime,” making it seem like there is less violent crime than there really is meaning there are astronomically more violent crimes in the relatively gun free UK. Turns out, pretty much every crime against an individual’s person seems to be a violent crime in the UK. Which is the exact opposite of the narrative I hear.

    I’d like to add that I do in fact own three firearms, so I’m not blatantly anti-gun ownership. All rifles, all three military antiques. I’ve never had ammo for two of them, and I keep a trigger lock on all of them (including the ones without ammo) as well as keeping them in a gun locker bolted to the floor and wall. The ammo I do have is in a separate safe bolted to the floor. I think anger management classes should be a requirement for gun ownership, but I have no idea how legal that would be to impose.

    Errr…. Why? I’m perfectly in favor of making such training mandatory for anyone who wants to own a gun; I’m also fine with the NRA running it (I think their training standards must have been developed before the lunatics took control of that particular asylum, as their programs in this respect are pretty good).

    I just can’t understand why you’d want to make it something you have to opt into (since most people, I think, don’t really care about owning guns), rather than out of?

    I would point out that not everyone who wants to avoid guns gets the opportunity. On top of that, I think mandatory training would help build a culture of responsible use and would provide more pairs of eyes to keep track of irresponsible use. Though, I could see universal gun training as a way of potentially normalizing gun ownership and further trivializing the experience of being around killmachines (they are already nothing but toys to many gun owners).

  41. marko says

    I’d be willing to go so far as to say that men can be “taught not to rape” if there were the probability of being shot by the woman!

    It’s education Jim, but not as we know it.

  42. robinjohnson says

    I would venture to say the chances of the place becoming a crime scene, at least while the police are inside, are close to zero.

    I can think of a dozen examples of crime scenes that would never have become crime scenes if the police hadn’t been there do commit the crime.

  43. Alfie Kirk says

    There does seem to be this weird assumption that any given “bad guy” – criminal, whatever – you encounter is out to take your life and everything you hold dear.

    I guess these people might exist, but I doubt many people come across them. By my estimation, the majority of criminals are probably more interested in your property than your life, and I suspect they’re as eager to avoid confrontation as you are – it hardly benefits someone breaking into a house to have a body count and the Law that much more interested in them than they would have been if they’d just nicked a few valuables. This all the truer in a country where the Police carry firearms regularly.

  44. Anton Mates says

    But not only that, doesn’t the fact they have a gun contribute to that feeling of well being? I would venture to say the chances of the place becoming a crime scene, at least while the police are inside, are close to zero.

    That’s interesting, because here in Washington, a guy walked into a cafe and murdered four armed police officers. Their guns did not deter him, and their training did not grant them magical Matrix powers that would let them outdraw an asshole with surprise on his side.

  45. Andrew says

    So many people seem to think that a gun is a magic talisman that will make bad people go away. If you pull a gun on an assailant, they won’t necessarily back down. You should only reach for a weapon in self-defense if you’re confident in your ability to wield it and readily willing to kill someone with it.

    @#2 Michael:

    Attitudes towards guns weren’t always so crazy in the US, regardless of the 2nd amendment. In the 1950’s people were much more in favor of restrictions and prohibition of firearms. It seems that following the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and Watergate, people became steadily more paranoid and distrustful of authority.

  46. marko says

    There does seem to be this weird assumption that any given “bad guy” – criminal, whatever – you encounter is out to take your life and everything you hold dear.

    I have never quite got why so many people seem to believe they can outdraw and outgun these hardened bad guys anyway. I’m reminded me of the quote from Carlito’s Way “You are gonna wave that thing at the wrong guy he’s gonna take it from you and bury it up your ass, guaranteed.”

  47. carlie says

    Just try to “think like a bad guy” with this.

    Ok: Yay! I get to carry more weapons to intimidate people with when I rob them and I won’t get in trouble for it!

    The problem, legally speaking, is that you can’t mandate that only those who wish to exercise a constitutional right be subject to training that others don’t.

    But you can test someone in a way that requires prior training: e.g., driver’s license.

  48. carlie says

    Oh, wait, I get it – it would have to be a privilege rather than a right for that comparison to apply.

  49. roadrocket says

    Whenever I read about how gun advocates claim gun ownership for self-protection against, for example, burglars, I cannot help but think back to that day in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan, surrounded by his superbly-trained Secret Service security detail, was attacked by John Hinckley, Jr., who was able to fire six shots (explosive tipped bullets, yet) in 1.7 seconds, not directly hitting Reagan, who was injured by a ricochet, but striking four others. All that firepower and training the Secret Service had could not stop the crime. How would anyone expect a normal person with limited training to do any better when confronted with an intruder? Nonsense.

  50. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    I do not, and presumably never will, be able to wrap my head around the weird idea, so prevalent on the right and particularly amongst gun-fondlers (love that, btw PZ; much better than “gun-assholes”), that the population is split into “criminals” and “law-abiding”.

    A criminal, who by definition has no regard for the law…

    A criminal is, by definition, someone who has committed a crime. It is not some mythical sub-species of humanity who has no regard for the law and runs around repeatedly committing crimes in a serial manner. And they even fail to acknowledge that crimes are not all the same. I, for example, speed a lot; in the past I have stolen things, I drank underage, I smoked underage, and over the course of my life I have taken a lot of illegal drugs; which means that technically I’m a criminal by the proper definition of the word. But I would never even countenance shooting someone, nor does it mean that I have no respect for the law in general. And I would also like to point out that before I comitted those crimes I was a law abiding citizen, and the same can be said of any criminal. Personally I’d say I was a law abiding citizen now.

    It’s just such a weird, illogical, childishly simplistic way of looking at the world; I genuinely can’t wrap my head around it.

  51. says

    When I moved to Canada at 9 from the UK, I remember being utterly terrified of the police, though I was white and had done nothing wrong warranting their attention; just the fact that they walked around with guns was so terrifying, so bizarre, that it gave me nightmares. I refused to pose for a picture with a Mountie in his red serge uniform on Parliament Hill, because I didn’t want to be that close to a gun.

    (slightly graphic description of shooting in this para)
    I grew up, of course; in fact, in the Canadian army, I was a small arms instructor in my unit, and on the shooting team. I enjoyed shooting. At targets. Paper targets. I enjoyed teaching other people to shoot paper targets. I think I still doubt whether I could point a firearm at someone and pull the trigger, though, because I’m very, very aware of what it can do. Life in the military, you’re going to see people get shot, or hit with shrapnel, because training accidents happen. I saw one, saw someone more or less shoot off the outside half of his foot because he thought that blank ammo didn’t have much charge in it, so he ripped off a three- or four-round burst of blanks with the FN pressed up against his boottop. The first two tore his foot apart, the others just moved a bunch of dirt around, but he was out of the army, and on a cane forever more.

    As to whether it’s a minority of USans, you’d actually be surprised. From the University of Sydney:

    Percentage of US households owning firearms: 33% (ownin handguns 21%; long arms much higher)
    Percent of Canadian households owning firearms: 16% (owning handguns 3%, long arms MUCH higher)

    The crime rate in Seattle is about 1.4 times that of Vancouver overall, but the crime rate involving firearms is about 6 to 7 times higher than that in Vancouver, a city with very similar geographic and demographic measures.

    From CNN:

    Percentage of US guns held by the 20% of owners who hold the highest numbers: 66%

    There are about 300 million civilian-owned firearms in the US, owned by 100 million Americans, roughly. But of those 100 million, 20 million of them own 2/3 of the firearms.

    So you have 80 million USans who own about 100 million firearms.

    And you have 20 million USans who own about 200 million firearms.

    And you have another 200 million USans who own 0 firearms.

    Meaning the real gun-fondler lobby is, actually, about 7% of the country. The rest of those who vote so steadily against gun control are, I suspect, more or less just another part of the monocolor abortion that is the Republican party: “Well, I don’t agree with your gun policy, but I do agree with your killing Blacks and starting wars and repressing women and gays policies, so I guess it’s a net positive for me, okay, you’ve got my vote!”

    Your country is a bizarre, bizarre place, where facts are hunted, furtive things, hiding in plain sight where the mass media can safely ignore them. Or something.

  52. says

    Thumper, you have to put on your RepublicanRed-tinted glasses. I’ve got a browser app that does it, here, let me show you:

    Now let’s take this a step further to the ordinary white citizen. Do you think a criminal Black guy is going to try to commit a crime be Black somewhere he might get shot by a law abiding white citizen carrying a concealed gun? A criminal, who by definition has no regard for the law his white betters, will go and commit crimes be Black in “Gun Free Zones” like churches, schools, hospitals and other places the local authorities n****r-loving politicians deem should be “Gun Free”. Look where mass shootings like Sandy Hook and Aurora took place. Also look at places like Chicago that have a lot of gun violence, because, until recently, law abiding white citizens have been unable to carry concealed firearms to defend themselves against criminals Blacks. Criminals Blacks know where they can commit gun crime without fear of being shot.

    See? All you have to do is recognize that for these people, there is a crime in common law called “being Black”, and those filthy Blacks go around committing it EVERY DAY, RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN. That they view George Fucking Zimmerman as a hero should say it all.

  53. says

    Crap. I borked it, inevitably. unstrike everything between “ordinary” and “criminal” exclusive of those words; same again with “law abiding” and “criminals” down further.

  54. A Masked Avenger says

    Did he just compare trained police officers with responsibilities, a uniform, and a specific role in the community to random jerkwads with a pistol tucked in their pants? That the police dissuade crime is their job…

    Your trust in cops is touching. I work in law enforcement, and pass a (slightly) more stringent qualification every year than municipal police do, above the 90th percentile. I can tell you firsthand that the average cop barely passes, often on the second or even third try (they’re only supposed to be given two), where a passing score requires them in effect to hit no more than three bystanders for every ten rounds fired.

    The case in NYC was par for the course: a murderer left the Empire State Building with a gun in his pocket, and police opened fire and shot nine bystanders. (Many were reportedly hit by ricochets or shrapnel rather than directly, so “shot” is just the slightest exaggeration–but it pithily expresses the menace these cops posed.)

    As someone who works in law enforcement, with the people who train the cops, I assure you that if a cop pulls out his sidearm I fear for my life if I’m anywhere but behind him or her.

    Your easy trust of these Barney Fifes is a function of myth coupled with privilege. As a middle class white man, a professor in a university town, living in a decent neighborhood, you interact relatively rarely with cops. When you do, they treat you with respect instead of suspicion. They’re vanishingly unlikely ever to draw down on you. This makes it easy and comfortable to believe the myth, part civic-minded and part television inspired, that these are champions of justice who are also highly professional operators qualified to perform feats of marksmanship whenever duty demands it.

    Nothing I’ve said is a characterization of ALL cops. However it’s a more realistic picture than the one you subscribe to. On average, you should expect that they will automatically suspect minorities, the poor, etc.; that they will quickly resort to violence believing it justified by their victim’s “obvious” guilt; that they will assume deadly threats by default and respond with overwhelming force, and that they will deploy force unskillfully to the danger of all around them. A significant minority will be actual criminals (in my city, many are in the drug trade), and all of the rest will turn a blind eye to it because arresting your coworkers is a career-ender.

    The main upside to this picture is that if a cop kills someone, especially if they’re brownish, the prosecutor will avoid charging him, and juries will usually believe his version of events. I.e., that he thought in good faith your wallet was a gun, or that you “lunged” at him, or that you suffered from that cop-invented medical condition known as “excited delirium.” Juries share your faith in our highly trained, professional members of the thin blue line, you see.

  55. otranreg says

    Expanding from our local communities and states to that of a National level, to namely our Armed Forces, who, with other tools use GUNS to prevent the invasion of foreign powers unfriendly to us. It is the presence of GUNS and the threat of retaliation by us that protects and defends the sovereignty of The United States.

    So oblivious, so ironic. The thought of what the rest of the world thinks about this apparently hasn’t sparked through his star-stripey noodle.

  56. says

    I’m VERY nervous around guns and cops.
    And we’re talking here about German cops and me being a white woman.

    +++

    I’d be willing to go so far as to say that men can be “taught not to rape” if there were the probability of being shot by the woman!

    Yep, works out perfectly, especially in all those cases the perp is her partner, boyfriend, acquaintance, somebody already in her home, she is intoxicated, asleep in her bed, a child, an elderly woman, a disabled woman, ie in 90% of all cases…
    Now, let’s move to the small percentage of stranger rapes:
    I once narrowly escaped one. I made it to my car before her made it to me (btw, an old Peugeot 106. It’s two biggest safety features were an airbag and being too slow for speeding. No armour attached).
    The fact that he was really going after me was clear the moment I dashed for my car and he tried to reach me before I did so. Every moment prior to that I would have been shooting at what would appear to be some random guy.

  57. throwaway says

    our Armed Forces, who, with other tools use GUNS to prevent the invasion of foreign powers unfriendly to us. It is the presence of GUNS and the threat of retaliation by us that protects and defends the sovereignty of The United States.

    Guns and other military equipment which lead to arms races. Yeah, hmm, there’s one analogy he forgot to mention.

    If the amount of force you need to overcome resistance is great, and if the risk of personal harm is statistically greater, all that is going to happen is fewer questions being asked before shots are fired. If I don’t know if you have a gun, that’s not going to deter me if my intent is nefarious in the first place. I would shoot first and minimize all risk of retaliation.

  58. Dunc says

    A significant minority will be actual criminals (in my city, many are in the drug trade)

    Yeah, just to pick up on this… I know quite a few people who have been busted for drugs. Sometimes quite significant quantities of drugs. In every single instance, the majority of the evidence has mysteriously disappeared in between being seized and being logged. I’ve known people who were busted with multiple kilos of weed who ended up being charged with the possession of less than an ounce.

    No prizes for guessing where it all goes…

  59. dmcclean says

    A criminal, who by definition has no regard for the law, …

    This, in my opinion, is the central flaw. Many (possibly most?) crimes are crimes of opportunity. They are committed because people get tempted/drunk/angry/etc.

  60. robinjohnson says

    #49, Andrew:

    It seems that following the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and Watergate, people became steadily more paranoid and distrustful of authority.

    So how come the people crying loudest for their rights to carry automatic pistols in Walmart are the same people who are happy for the authorities to clamp down on civil rights?

  61. brianpansky says

    I’d be willing to go so far as to say that men can be “taught not to rape” if there were the probability of being shot by the woman!

    i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: why do people think that increasing the violent potential of all people would favor potential victims? it seems obvious to me that the rapist has the element of surprise and also first-strike capability (they can either point the gun and threaten, or even shoot the victims hands to prevent gun use).

  62. says

    robinjohnson

    So how come the people crying loudest for their rights to carry automatic pistols in Walmart are the same people who are happy for the authorities to clamp down on other people’s civil rights?

    I’ve added a bit that causes it to make sense. As long as the clampdowns are on those people (POCs, sexual minorites, liberals, atheists, etc.) they’re all in favor. It’s only when it affects them negatively that you see them whining.

  63. John Kruger says

    Either you care about empirical data or you don’t. If guns make us safer, what should we predict about murder rates in the US compared to other less heavily armed countries? Lower crime rates with higher fatalities in the US would mean the premise is wrong, end of story. Your fantasy scenario is not a substitute for actual statistics. I can play too, your teenage child sneaks into the house and you mistake them for an intruder, now they die with a 1500 ft/sec response time. Not too hard to justify what you want with fiction, eh? The facts are clear, more guns makes more people die.

    If a kid throws rocks and break things it is his fault, but is it smarter to try and make sure he does not have access to rocks or to ensure he has the right to an assault rifle? Some people are more concerned with their beliefs than how true they are and end up making spectacular reasoning face-plants in the process of rationalizing them.

  64. says

    brianpansky

    i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: why do people think that increasing the violent potential of all people would favor potential victims?

    Well, it’s Gun Fondler Logic™
    You know, if upstanding citizens can’t have guns anymore, then only criminals will have guns.
    This means that if all upstanding citizens have guns, criminals will apparently go unarmed.

  65. jamessweet says

    Just wanted to add my voice to the many saying, “Nope, the presence of an armed cop does not make me feel safer.” I don’t really trust cops to begin with, and the random presence of guns in totally unnecessary places makes me nervous (not that I am uncomfortable with guns per se, but the incongruity of somebody sitting in a restaurant with a loaded gun is very off-putting)

  66. Phillip Hallam-Baker says

    I should find some of my gun nut email some time. I am sure I kept a copy somewhere. It was back in the days of Usenet and the gun.nuts got bored of agreeing with themselves in talk.politics.guns and went out on a roadshow. talk.politics.british was their first stop.

    Long story short, one of the guys proclaiming how gun ownership makes you safer was Timothy McVeigh. A few weeks later he went and murdered almost 200 people in the Oklahoma city bombing.

    The US should end the war on drugs and start a war on guns. I find it rather unsurprising that we now have two young black men murdered by white people in Florida for wearing a hoodie under the ‘stand your ground’ aka legalized lynching statute. The racist intent behind the legislation is rather obvious.

    When I see a person carrying a gun I see a soldier and if he isn’t a soldier in one of our armies and he is carrying a gun on our territory then he is an enemy soldier. If a person is carrying a gun they don’t need the jackboots or the swastika, the gun implies the rest of the uniform.

  67. says

    A criminal, who by definition has no regard for the law, will go and commit crimes in “Gun Free Zones” like churches, schools, hospitals and other places the local authorities deem should be “Gun Free”.

    Except when they don’t.

    Look where mass shootings like Sandy Hook and Aurora took place.

    Look where mass shootings like Ft. Hood take place.

  68. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    You know, if upstanding citizens can’t have guns anymore, then only criminals will have guns.
    This means that if all upstanding citizens have guns, criminals will apparently go unarmed.

    It’s a zero-sum game, you see. Somehow.

  69. says

    Did he just compare trained police officers with responsibilities, a uniform, and a specific role in the community to random jerkwads with a pistol tucked in their pants? … I would not feel more at ease in a restaurant if everyone was sitting there, armed. Quite the contrary.

    The New York shooting (where cops shot indiscriminately and injured innocent bystanders) is but one example of “professional cops” unable to shoot straight. The only time they do seem to shoot straight is from point blank range at people handcuffed in the back seat (e.g. Jesus Huerta) or when trying to murder someone who killed one of them (e.g. Christopher Dorner).

    That the police dissuade crime is their job;

    Not that they do it particularly well, or that many do.

  70. says

    I haven’t seen this posted yet, but apparently the most rigorous study of gun ownership vs. violent use of guns indicates more guns == more gun violence. Seems this runs kinda counter to the narrative gun folks assert as fact. I wonder if they will, in all their logic and rationality, reconsider their position in light of the new data?

    Kind of clever, using gun-related suicides as a proxy for gun ownership, since Congress long ago capitulated to the NRA and removed funding for gun-related research and data collection.

  71. ledasmom says

    Michael @ 2:

    Perhaps you need to make it a constitutional right to carry swords? A given person couldn’t hurt as many people in the same amount of time, and they could be disarmed by someone with superior skill without serious injury.

    I like to bring up the Wolverhampton machete attack of 1996, in which a man with a machete attacked a group of parents, teachers and young children. Seven people were injured but none killed.
    In the Dunblane school attack of the same year, a man with several guns killed seventeen people before killing himself.
    Selected examples? Yes, and there have been attacks with knives where multiple people were killed (several school attacks in China, for instance). I certainly don’t think anyone should be running around schools with knifes. But even a relatively strong person is unlikely to be able to kill many people with a knife if there is any determined opposition; that the attack in Wolverhampton wasn’t worse was partly due to the efforts of a 21-year-old teacher, not unusually strong, not particularly trained in defense against machetes. Every time we have a school shooting (every time. In what world is it reasonable that I should have to write “every time”?) we are told that it wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been more people with guns. I think I prefer the sort of weapons you don’t have to counter with guns.

  72. dianne says

    Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?

    No. I feel less at ease when there are people around carrying guns. I’d be much happier with them being police officers than random idiots with guns, but even so, if there are police officers there then there are people with guns there and that means that the bullets could start flying. Not something that makes me relaxed.

    Also, as far as I know, there are ZERO examples of a mass shooting being stopped by a random civilian with a gun. There have been examples of people shooting a shooter after s/he was done and leaving, examples of off duty police and military shooting shooters, etc, but, as far as I know, no examples of random civilians shooting people. If you want to be able to use your gun properly and have a chance of doing some good with it, join the police or military and learn to do it right. If neither will accept you, take a hint!

  73. dianne says

    Yes, and there have been attacks with knives where multiple people were killed (several school attacks in China, for instance).

    25 people died in knife attacks over 2 years in China. 26 people died in a single incident in Sandy Hook by shooting. I’d rather risk a knife attack.

  74. ledasmom says

    dianne @ 77: Yes, definitely.
    I do want to emphasize that by mentioning “determined opposition” in my comment @ 75 I’m not trying to suggest that anybody who didn’t intervene at Wolverhampton or at other attacks should feel guilty; the teacher in question was badly injured – one of her arms was nearly severed. But at every school shooting I’ve heard of there were teachers and students who were equally brave, and they died.

  75. says

    Michael, speaking as a gun-owner, in Texas no less, I am no less puzzled than you over American gun politics. The strange thing is that as 2nd amendment rights become more certain in the courts, with the Heller and McDonald decisions, and as states have been quickly dropping regulations, the fear and paranoia over gun control is only increasing.

    Texas, perhaps ironically, long has had more conservative laws than some states. “Conservative” in the old-fashioned sense. It’s illegal, for example, to openly carry pistols in public. I suspect the next Republican governor will make it a point to eliminate that law. Because: guns!

    All that said, the world could have been spared a war and some ugly years if only the last Democratic governor of Texas had been a little more pro-gun. Heck, we might not even have the TSA. I’ll happily trade a little more gun regulation, for less security theatre in airports and the ability to take a pocketknife with me when I travel. That was a tragic election. God I miss Ann. Now I’m rambling. Sorry.

  76. countryboy says

    The idea that concealed carry deters anything strikes me as stupid. If you want guns to be effective that way they should be highly visible. Actually, I’m not so sure that would work either, there are still too many meatheads that would shoot themselves and innocent bystanders.
    I would be very pleased if one would have to prove proficiency to own a firearm and qualify annually. I used to be very very good with weapons and enjoyed competitive shooting. As my physical condition deteriorated with bad knees and arthritis I got less and less range time and finally took my weapons to the gun shop and sold them. Yeah, I approve of background checks and, IMO, police officers don’t shoot for proficiency near enough and the acceptable minimum scores are way too low.
    In all, the guns themselves are not the main problem, it’s the American attitude, a nation of savages with an inflated sense of their own abilities and little contact with reality.

  77. says

    For fuck’s sake, one of the reasons I own a gun is I don’t trust the cops. No, it’s not because I’m worried about burglars or any of that shit. Jackasses from the city like to drop off their unwanted pets around here, and occasionally we get a problem with feral dogs forming packs. Technically, it’s the cops’ job to handle such situations, but let’s be realistic – I’ve never once encountered a situation so bad that calling the cops didn’t make it worse. The last thing I need around here is some mouth-breather with a badge accusing me of resisting arrest when I point out what he shot wasn’t a feral dog but the neighbor’s horse.

    Gun safety classes should be mandatory. Some days I go as far as thinking that basic gun safety training should be part of mandatory school curriculum.

    If you like guns so much, why the objection to ensuring they are being used properly? If nothing else, learning how to properly handle a gun reduces wear and tear on both yourself and the firearm. I’ve shot both a pistol and a shotgun without having my grip correct, and let me tell you, it HURTS. A basic safety and usage class is in your own best self-interest. That it also happens to be good for society at large is an added bonus.

  78. says

    @33 —-Errr…. Why? I’m perfectly in favor of making such training mandatory for anyone who wants to own a gun; I’m also fine with the NRA running it (I think their training standards must have been developed before the lunatics took control of that particular asylum, as their programs in this respect are pretty good).

    I just can’t understand why you’d want to make it something you have to opt into (since most people, I think, don’t really care about owning guns), rather than out of?—–

    Just because you don’t own a gun doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter one, and it would be best if you knew how to respond should such a situation occur. For example, several years ago I was camping, and the drunk idiots who’d camped nearby left a loaded handgun behind when they left. Being familiar with firearms, I was able to unload it, safety it, and stow it away until the park rangers arrived to claim it, thus preventing any of the myriad children running about from getting their hands on it, and I was able to do so in a manner that minimized compromising evidence left on the gun should it have been left behind due to having been used in commission of a crime (admittedly, having a sister who is absolutely fascinated with forensics was more helpful to that last bit than the gun safety classes).

  79. brucegorton says

    The thing that gets me with the whole gun debate is this:

    I have no problem with people who want guns because they like guns. Seriously, a sword is a deadly weapon designed specifically to hurt people, I own two of them because I think they’re pretty.

    Somebody wants a gun for the same reason? Hey, we all have things we find attractive and that’s perfectly fine.

    When Americans say “self defense” what they really appear to mean is “stalking a black teenager down a dark street and then shooting him if he turns around”. Heck you even see this in American foreign policy – America defends itself by blowing up and/or torturing random people in or frome roughly the right geographic region for its prejudices and calls it ‘national defense.”

    The people who like guns, well that’s fine, its the ones who are all about “self-defense” who worry me.

  80. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Concealed carry doesn’t make everyone safer by making muggers more cautious. Are you really expecting logical behavior from criminals? The thought that someone might have a gun makes the muggers more nervous and more likely to use pre-emptive violence. They might even start carrying guns, themselves, and shooting at any provocation.

    A New York City story, told me by one of the victims: A small group of pedestrians was robbed by a fellow who demanded their wallets. They wanted to just give the cash, and keep the wallets. The robber had no time for that, and took the wallets and left. A little later they were stopped again. It was the same robber, giving their wallets back, emptied of the cash. They thanked him, and went on being New Yorkers.

    Now, run that story again, with concealed carry.

  81. grillparzer says

    “I would venture to say the chances of the place becoming a crime scene, at least while the police are inside, are close to zero.”

    As an ex-cop who has had a restaurant become a crime scene while he was eating (in uniform with his police car parked in front), I’m willing to speculate the chances are higher.

  82. says

    As an ex-cop who has had a restaurant become a crime scene while he was eating (in uniform with his police car parked in front), I’m willing to speculate the chances are higher.

    Yes, but you weren’t in Guntopia, where you?

    I’ll bet you were in some country that obeys the rules of reality.

  83. Andrew says

    @#64 robinjohnson:

    See #56, it’s those uppity black and brown people that the law used to keep in check, that people feel they need to protect themselves from.

    Actually there’s more to it than that, and the causality isn’t so cut and dried. But there was an upsurge in violence in the 60’s and 70’s, probably due to the aforementioned crises in leadership and exposure of society’s shortcomings with the civil rights and women’s rights movements.

    Not saying the 1950’s was perfect, clearly it wasn’t from an equality point of view.

  84. gussnarp says

    What’s mind boggling about his Chicago example is that guns are everywhere in the neighborhoods where most of the murders are committed. No one trusts the police, instead they get their own guns to protect themselves, which then get turned to retribution when someone else guns them down, because the guy out hunting a victim has his gun ready and the guy defending himself does not. Guns are not hard to get in those neighborhoods, they’re cheap and easy to come by. It’s trivial for someone with a little money and a car to drive to the suburbs and buy some guns, have some friends buy some guns, and bring them back into Chicago to sell or give to friends and neighbors to protect themselves. So what you have is neighborhoods that look exactly like this clown wants America to look like (except not white): police not relied on, everyone armed for self protection. And the result is murder rates so high that they make Chicago in general’s murder rate exceptional even though very few murders are committed in most of the city.

    It’s not because they’re black. It’s because they have too many guns and believe in handling justice and defense themselves, just like the gun fondlers.

    citation: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one

  85. robinjohnson says

    Am I the only one who switches off as soon as a seemingly constructive comment includes a phrase like “As a gun-owner myself”?

    Gun owners aren’t just part of the problem; they are the problem.

  86. mnb0 says

    “Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?”
    No. But I’m not an American, I’m Dutch. If I see armed police officers in a restaurant it makes me suspect that there might be a shoot out coming. That’s the only reason I can imagine that Dutch police officers will bring guns to a Dutch restaurant.

  87. vaiyt says

    @sarah00

    The idea that guns protect is the biggest lie that’s been told.

    What are guns supposed to protect people from? Oh, yeah, other people with guns.

    @clueless gun fondler

    when a kid throws a rock through your picture window, do you blame the rock? Or do you blame the kid?

    The correct response to a child throwing rocks at your window is to throw rocks back at them. If everyone carried rocks to throw at unruly children, our windows would be safer.

  88. marko says

    The correct response to a child throwing rocks at your window is to throw rocks back at them. If everyone carried rocks to throw at unruly children, our windows would be safer.

    Perfect.

  89. dianne says

    If I were a burglar in the process of robbing a house and the owner started waving a gun at me I’d
    1. Shoot him with my legally obtained gun before he could do more than wave the thing around (hey, he threatened me)
    2. Shoot him with one of his other guns, which I have already collected because guns are valuable and they may well be the loot I broke into his house to get
    3. Walk up to him and take it away. Because someone waving a gun around doesn’t know what to do with it and is likely to be quite dangerous. The gun’s safer in my hands.

    Then again, I have two speeding tickets and will admit to the occasional jaywalking offense and am therefore, presumably, a “criminal with no respect for the law” and “law abiding citizens” should be carrying guns to protect themselves against me. Because criminal/law abiding are absolute categories.

  90. says

    But let me ask you; when a kid throws a rock through your picture window, do you blame the rock? Or do you blame the kid?

    I blame the kid. But I don’t see how the outcome would have been better if the kid had fired a gun instead.

  91. ledasmom says

    But let me ask you; when a kid throws a rock through your picture window, do you blame the rock? Or do you blame the kid?

    The solution to bad kids throwing rocks is good kids throwing rocks. We apologize for the other twenty windows that were unfortunately shattered in the process.

  92. says

    Also, I’m not admitting to anything firm, but it’s possible that when I was living on the street when I was younger, I may have engaged in a little bit of what some might uncharitably have called burglary. What can I say, a girl’s gotta eat.

    And I’ll tell you this for nothing: the most certain way to make sure I’m not going to burgle your house is be there. I don’t care if you’re armed or not, I sure as hell do NOT want to be in a house where the occupants are home. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m way past the point I could be charged for any of this, so let’s be clear: the one time I was in a house and someone came home, I booked before the garage door closed, let alone anyone got into the house. And any times after that when I did it, I was very careful to have a solid idea of whether anyone was home or not before I entered any more houses.

    That, and/or have a dog. It’s just not worth burgling a house with a dog; easier to get their neighbours. You never know whether the dog is a barker or a biter, and the empirical method requires a braver person than most burglars are. If they were braver, they’d be robbers, not burglars. Vastly more lucrative per incidence, if you’re smart about where you do it. I never did, because I’m all too aware of what a crapshoot it is trying to intimidate a random person sufficiently to get them to fork out.

    It’s a crap way to make a living, anyway. People rarely have stuff that’s both valuable, portable, and resellable, and finding what little there is in a big house can be a pain in the ass. It’s not an efficient crime.

  93. marko says

    I blame the kid. But I don’t see how the outcome would have been better if the kid had fired a gun instead.

    I don’t know why we are blaming the kid or the rock, it is the kid’s right to carry a rock if they so wish, and if sometimes a rock gets accidentally thrown at a window we need to live with that. The window should have taken reasonable precautions to protect itself.

  94. dianne says

    People rarely have stuff that’s both valuable, portable, and resellable

    Guns are valuable, portable, and resellable. I’d prefer to burgle the (empty) house of a gun owner rather than the (empty) house of a non-gun owner myself.

  95. Carlos Cabanita says

    They should spend some time in Europe. Pass monts or years withgout worrying about guns or even mentioning them. See police erresting citizens without taking their guns out of the holster. Then maybe they can conclude that the rest of the world is crazy about everyone owning private human-killing devices, not the USA.

  96. says

    … a survey — which supposedly found that “98 percent of the time that people use guns defensively, they merely have to brandish a weapon to break off an attack”

    Unless, of course, the criminal brandishes his gun first to break off your defense.

    Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?

    This sentence is a pretty good indicator of the simplistic, childish level on which these people think — cops are always a reassuring presence, the good guy will always outshoot the bad guy, and criminals always cave in the minute a good guy shows his gun. Just like you see on TV. (And this blather-point contradicts the one where people have to carry their own guns because they can’t trust the cops to do the right thing.)

  97. says

    dianne – you’re right, of course, but living in Canada, I’m in that spot where less than 3% of Canadian households own handguns, so finding one would have been beyond surprising. And longarms are basically useless for crime in the city, certainly in Canada; carrying one would stand out some – and they’re fairly rare too, less than 1 household in 6, and most of those rural.

    (NB: completely nongraphic mention of sexual abuse in Scouting in the next para)
    Until I joined the army, I actually never knew a person or household who owned handguns in Canada. When we’d lived with the Travellers for a bit in the UK, there’d been a couple of the men in the group who had pistols, but that was a pretty rare thing even with them. The only family I knew that had and used any firearm at all was a fellow I knew in Scouts, a friend, who was tragically killed by his father by complete accident while they were both hunting – a ricochet – when he was 15. I felt so awful for this father, a man I knew and respected – who’d been the only Scoutmaster* in my troop who wasn’t later arrested for having child porn on their computer – and who was a truly decent bloke who just had the worst, most awful accident. It really broke his heart.

    He was so careful with his firearms, always kept them locked up, breech blocks separate and also locked, ammo offsite and also carefully stored, just…everything you want in the responsible gun owner. He’d taken me shooting a couple of times, too, at the range, and invited me hunting, but I couldn’t see myself shooting animals, so I politely declined, and he said he understood.

    I don’t hate or fear guns; as I said, I used to be a small arms instructor, and on the shooting team. I enjoyed very much the physical and mental challenge of being a good shot. But I wouldn’t have a firearm in my home for love nor money. Even if I were somehow to become rich and took up target shooting, as I’ve thought about doing (maybe archery, I’ve been pretty good at that too), I’d keep my weapons on-site at the range, not in my home. The numbers on the people who are killed or maimed every year in the US by firearms owned by them or their families are just too horrifying. Far more people are killed with their own weapons than are ever defended by them. I can’t understand how any atheist, at least theoretically a person who might be expected to be rational, can fail to recognize these simple facts.

    * If you’re unaware, I’m trans; at the time, the world (mistakenly) thought me a boy. I have since corrected that mistake. :)

  98. says

    It is the presence of the very GUNS you despise that affords you the freedom to be a godless liberal.

    No, it’s the presence — and actions — of disciplined, trained, professional security forces — using guns AND A VARIETY OF OTHER TOOLS — that afford us our freedoms.

    This guy’s blithering about how the very presence of guns makes life wunnerful, is just another example of the essentialist magical thinking of the gun enthusiast. And who the fuck wants to give a gun to someone whose mind is dominated by irrational magical thinking? The Supreme Court recently said it was perfectly okay to have laws to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

    PS: the way this GUY writes GUNS in CAPS reminds me of how the word LORD is always in CAPS in the BIBLE. Yet another sign of religious thinking.

  99. David Marjanović says

    I can’t imagine what your inbox looks like the morning after you blog about gun control.
    “You now have 600 messages from GunHole, 755 messages from HolyGun, and 243 messages from random gun strokers”.
    Do you even *have* a delete key anymore?

    Day saved.

    I remember reading some news stories a year or two ago reporting that only 85 bullets were fired by German police in 2011

    …That’s juuuuust a bit more than one bullet per million people.

    The solution, I feel, is something that will annoy just about everyone:
    Make firearms training mandatory for everybody, not just firearms owners.

    Whether you feel the 2nd Amendment mandates firearms ownership as a bulwark against government corruption or to allow the citizenry to act in defense of that government against a foreign power (I don’t personally agree with either statement, but again, personal beliefs are irrelevant), the fact remains that you have to know what the fuck you’re going with a firearm before you’re any use to anyone.

    If you never want to own a gun, then you can always elect NOT to exercise it and so free yourself of the training requirement (consider it conscientious objector status), but as it stands, the 2nd Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, applies to absolutely everyone, but there’s nothing in it that says you’re exempt from training to fulfill it’s requirements.

    The other oft-cited objection I’ve heard from gun guys, which is that those training programs can’t be entrusted to state & local governments for the reasons previously stated, is similarly easily overcome:
    Make the NRA run them.

    The NRA (who, lest we forget, were founded as a training organization) already run a number of courses on firearm safety & proficiency that are actually pretty comprehensive, having them oversee the training requirements would help assuage any fears of government incompetence or interference (and, I feel, would really REALLY annoy the board members) whilst also helping to change attitudes from “I want to own a gun” to “I’m willing to shoulder the responsibility of owning a gun”, which is a fundamental change that really needs to happen here.

    So there you go, in a nutshell; Make training mandatory for everyone and make the NRA run it (with Federal oversight to make sure it’s not just a rubber stamp).

    There, that idea ought to annoy everybody, have at it.

    Everybody? I quite like it.

    Though, I could see universal gun training as a way of potentially normalizing gun ownership and further trivializing the experience of being around killmachines (they are already nothing but toys to many gun owners).

    Normalizing, yes, if that hadn’t already happened. Toys? Treating training as srs bzns instead of as a game could well have the opposite effect; do soldiers or veterans commonly regard guns as toys?

    which means that technically I’m a criminal by the proper definition of the word.

    See, the people you’re talking about freak out at this bit of introspection. They can’t do it. They can’t live with the idea of being criminals, however technically so – so they soothe their nagging consciences by engaging in the idea that what they have done doesn’t count because it’s not the heart of a criminal that’s beating in their chest.

    I’m VERY nervous around guns and cops.
    And we’re talking here about German cops and me being a white woman.

    I get somewhat nervous on the extremely rare occasions when they notice me. And not only don’t I look Turkish or Arab, I don’t even look like a woman!

    I know quite a few people who have been busted for drugs. Sometimes quite significant quantities of drugs. In every single instance, the majority of the evidence has mysteriously disappeared in between being seized and being logged. I’ve known people who were busted with multiple kilos of weed who ended up being charged with the possession of less than an ounce.

    No prizes for guessing where it all goes…

    My mind is boggled.

    Jackasses from the city like to drop off their unwanted pets around here, and occasionally we get a problem with feral dogs forming packs.

    My mind is boggled even further.

    Technically, it’s the cops’ job to handle such situations, but let’s be realistic – I’ve never once encountered a situation so bad that calling the cops didn’t make it worse. The last thing I need around here is some mouth-breather with a badge accusing me of resisting arrest when I point out what he shot wasn’t a feral dog but the neighbor’s horse.

    My mind has just impacted the desk at rather high speed.

    Now, run that story again, with concealed carry.

    Robber comes, mows them all down before they can draw the guns they might have, picks up their wallets, takes the cash, and leaves the wallets with the corpses.

    Actually there’s more to it than that, and the causality isn’t so cut and dried. But there was an upsurge in violence in the 60′s and 70′s, probably due to the aforementioned crises in leadership and exposure of society’s shortcomings with the civil rights and women’s rights movements

    and the lead in the gasoline.

    I don’t have time to contribute to this discussion. I am too busy marking my territory. That’s what we atheists do.

    *imagines Lynna doing a ballet pose to piss at a tree*

  100. David Marjanović says

    the word LORD is always in CAPS in the BIBLE

    ONLY, to be fair, when it’s hiding the FACT that the original text has YHWH there. And even then, AFAIK, it’s only the KJV that does this (probably the NKJV too).

  101. ChasCPeterson says

    No prizes for guessing where it all goes…

    Everybody knows cops have the best dope. It’s been true for a long time (viz. ‘Fletch’ (1985))

    occasionally we get a problem with feral dogs forming packs.

    This happens commonly in rural areas. It’s become a problem for endangered desert tortoises near towns here in the Mojave. (It’s also why I now carry a slingshot when I’m out in the desert alone.)

    Robber comes, mows them all down before they can draw the guns they might have, picks up their wallets, takes the cash, and leaves the wallets with the corpses.

    …and also takes the guns, sells them to another criminal who Dremels the serial numbers off and resells them for use in subsequent crimes.

  102. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @robinjohnson

    Gun owners aren’t just part of the problem; they are the problem.

    This is a stupid thing to say. Responsible gun owners who own long guns for the purpose of hunting or target sports, treat said guns with the respect due to lethal weapons, and ensure that all firearms and ammo are securely stored aren’t a problem.

    Idiots who think that guns are toys, wannabe heroes who think they can take down a bad guy with their .22 pistol in a crowded mall, people who carry a loaded gun in their pocket because they can, proponents of concealed and public carry, morons who keep a loaded handgun in the bedside drawer where their kid can find it because they’re unreasonably scared of home invasions; those are the problem. Lumping every gun owner into one category is inaccurate and does you and the pro-regulation movement no favours.

    (I am not a gun owner, and I am pro-regulation)

  103. anteprepro says

    Tolkien has Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs.
    Rowling has Wizards and Muggles.
    And gun-fondlers have Criminals and Responsible Gun Owners.
    Fantasy races: For when you need a supplement for your regular racism!

  104. latecomer says

    ” the 2nd Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, applies to absolutely everyone, but there’s nothing in it that says you’re exempt from training to fulfill it’s requirements.”
    An argument that I hear a lot is that the 2nd Amendment says explicitly “Shall not be abridged”, therefore any gun control laws are automatically unconstitutional. These people are complete fucking morons because none of our rights under the constitution have ever been absolute and not even the most conservative judge would deny that. Not to mention the idea that anybody should be able to own any kind of weapon they want is completely asinine.

  105. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Marjanovic

    See, the people you’re talking about freak out at this bit of introspection. They can’t do it. They can’t live with the idea of being criminals, however technically so – so they soothe their nagging consciences by engaging in the idea that what they have done “doesn’t count” because “it’s not the heart of a criminal that’s beating in their chest”.

    Indeed, but I think that’s a consequence of their weird binary view of humanity as “criminal” and “not criminal”, rather than the cause of it.

    – There are Criminals and Good Law Abiding Citizens
    – Criminals are Bad People
    – I am not a Bad Person

    – Therefore, despite the fact I never pay my taxes and have illegally modified my AR-15 to be fully automatic, I am not a Criminal

  106. thelifeofbrine says

    “Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease? But not only that, doesn’t the fact they have a gun contribute to that feeling of well being?”

    Says somebody who has obviously never been harassed by the police. I stop for breakfast at a local taquaria that is frequented by the cops and every time I run into them I react with the same fear that I do when I run into a spider, and I am probably less likely to be harmed by the spider.

  107. eveningchaos says

    Let me address this guy’s scenario about armored car drivers deterring violent crime and theft from said cars. Back in the summer of 2012, here in Edmonton of all places, one Travis Brandon Baumgartner, an employee of G4 security shot and killed his coworkers while on duty and stole several hundreds of thousands of dollars. G4 is an awful company who, if I am not mistaken, is the worlds largest employer of people. So even “trained” professionals are not exempt from the gun-nut syndrome. Same goes for Sammy Yatim who, while armed with a penknife, alone on a Toronto city bus was shot some 9 or 10 times and then was tasered in that order by a Toronto police officer. Surprisingly the officer in question was charged with 2nd degree murder. Mainly because the event was captured on a cellphone camera, but we’ll have to see if a conviction results.

    I don’t feel safe with anyone being armed with guns in any situation! If we cant trust those who are trained and given these special roles as protectors, I certainly will not trust every Tom, Dick and Harry packing heat.

  108. says

    @89 —

    Am I the only one who switches off as soon as a seemingly constructive comment includes a phrase like “As a gun-owner myself”?

    Gun owners aren’t just part of the problem; they are the problem.—

    I’m the owner of several swords, bows, knives, vehicles, and thanks to a recent carpentry project, a miniature catapult.

    As long as the above are treated with respect and used responsibly, as well as kept secure and properly maintained, owning them is not a problem.

    The same is true of my firearms.

    Just as we deny the ‘right’ to operate a vehicle to those whose use of them does not meet certain safety standards and demand certain training and licensing before making such an allowance, I believe we should deny some people the ‘right’ to own firearms.

    I am perfectly willing to accept restrictions on my firearms, just as I am willing to accept restrictions on my vehicle.

    I am not, however, willing to have the simple fact that I own a vehicle used to consider me a contributor to our country’s serious drunk driver problem. For the same reason, I am not inclined to have the fact I own firearms used to consider me a contributor to this country’s serious gun fondler problem.

  109. llamaherder says

    The presence of police officers makes me extremely nervous. The power to end a life with the twitch of a fingertip is not something I want anywhere near me.

    I actually enjoy shooting guns as a recreational activity. The idea of keeping them around in case I need to kill someone, however, falls way outside my comfort zone for a multitude of reasons.

  110. robinjohnson says

    Thumper, #107:

    This is a stupid thing to say. Responsible gun owners who own long guns for the purpose of hunting or target sports, treat said guns with the respect due to lethal weapons, and ensure that all firearms and ammo are securely stored aren’t a problem.

    They all think they’re the responsible ones!

    I can just about stomach people having guns for hunting – guns that are designed for hunting, and not for killing people, which means no handguns or automatic guns of the kill-as-many-people-as-possible-before-you-get-shot-yourself design. (Especially in the States where, I gather, some people really do rely on hunting for food – in the UK, it’s a rich kids’ sport.) Still, plenty of people on threads like this, who say perfectly rational things about other people’s guns, love to spout “personal defence” and other bullshit excuses when it comes to their own.

    WithinThisMind, #113, a case in point:

    I’m the owner of several swords, bows, knives, vehicles, and thanks to a recent carpentry project, a miniature catapult.

    Well that’s fucking reassuring.

  111. anteprepro says

    WithinThisMind, I agree with your sentiment. I really do. The comment you replied to was definitely over the top. Merely possessing a gun doesn’t make a person The Problem. But for the love of Raptor Jesus, did you really have to analogize guns to cars? One of the most frequent and infuriating analogies used by gun-fondlers in their myriad of “guns don’t kill people” and “but FREEEEEEDOM” arguments? One of the analogies that we have to dissect time and time again in order to explain the subtle nuances of why guns are uniquely dangerous to ideologues who are deadset against having any novel ideas creeping into their rock-hard skulls? Please, for the love of my blood vessels, avoid comparing guns to cars, I beg of you!

  112. llamaherder says

    The definition of a criminal he uses is nonsense.

    Criminals commit crimes because there’s something in it for them – not because they have no regard for the law.

    The people stealing music are not the same people who carry a gun into a church. Opening fire in a church goes way beyond the word “criminal.”

  113. llamaherder says

    Everyone is a responsible gun owner until they’re not.

    The only time we find out someone wasn’t a responsible gun owner is when someone gets shot.

  114. lochaber says

    I don’t know, I think there is some validity in comparing guns to cars-

    Cars are almost a necessity for most people in the U.S., are highly regulated and tracked, have strict limitations on their use, require insurance and proper training, and permission to use one can be revoked. Also, their are different varieties/classes of automobiles, which require differing amounts of training and insurance.

    Guns are not a necessity for most people (although, many seem to think they are, and I’ll grant that they are a necessity for some poor rural hunters, but that’s a failing of the social safety nets…), are not as highly regulated, don’t require insurance (and they really fucking should), don’t require training to acquire, and about the only people who can’t legally own firearms are felons.

    Frankly, I think I’d like to see private ownership of both banned. Both are highly dangerous, a frequently misused, and there are better options if we act as a society instead a bunch of wanna be action-hero individuals.

  115. says

    Here’s another story about
    “feeling safe with cops around”

    The sheriff’s report on the sex crime investigation indicated that one of Vitte’s children told a social worker that his father had pushed him and shoved him and punched him at least once.

    The trooper’s children also said they had seen their father punch holes in walls and doors when he was angry and drag their mother into another room to yell at her.

    His wife, his ex-girlfriend and the boy he spanked have all taken out protection orders against Vitte, but those were modified to allow him to continue carrying a firearm as a state trooper.

  116. latecomer says

    I think people need to lay off the gun collectors and hunters and other gun owners who aren’t doing anything wrong. So what if a guy has a lot of guns and other weapons? Some people like collecting weapons. It doesn’t make them inherently dangerous. If they have the money And time to collect weapons, then it’s probably more likely to be responsible anyway. And so what if a guy wants to have a weapon on him while he’s in public? I’m more concerned with whether a guy is trained to use a weapon, which is why I support tougher regulations for concealed carry.

  117. anteprepro says

    Locaber, that is fantastic! I agree, but I think when a gun fetishist brings up the analogy, the answer that you give is exactly what they want. Because then they thump their chests about FREEDOM and how we filthy librulz would even have Big Gubmint take away people’s precious automobiles! And by god, as much as we have a fanatical gun lobby in this country, there are a far greater number who are absolutely obsessed with cars. Bringing “sure, take away the cars too” into the gun control argument would create an incredible, hilarious shit storm. It might actually be a brilliant move, come to think of it. Shift the Overton Window. “Oh, so you don’t want us to take away all of your cars and guns? Well, I guess we will just settle for a few gun control measures then. Compromise!”

  118. says

    Merely possessing a gun doesn’t make a person The Problem.

    Actually, to a significant degree it does. If I’m carrying a gun with the intent of using it to protect myself — because I believe I have no other good way to do so — then I am very likely to draw it preemptively, because I know that if someone I’m having trouble with has a gun, I can’t wait for him to draw first. (And I won’t really KNOW he has a gun until it’s too late.) And regardless of my original intent when I went out carrying my gun, that tactical necessity and the underlying fear would indeed make me The Problem if anything out of line happened, because I’d very likely feel I have to draw my gun before I’m really sure I need it.

  119. anteprepro says

    I think people need to lay off the gun collectors and hunters and other gun owners who aren’t doing anything wrong.

    Again, imaginary mental divide between Criminal and Responsible Gun Owner at work here. How do you propose we distinguish between the Bad Gun Owners and the Good Gun Owners? Do the former make their guns glow purple, and the others make their guns glow yellow? Or do the Bad Gun Owners have lightning powers? Or do they just have different skin colors? Inquiring minds.

    So what if a guy has a lot of guns and other weapons? Some people like collecting weapons. It doesn’t make them inherently dangerous.

    No, it’s just that THE WEAPONS are inherently dangerous. Hence why they are WEAPONS. By god, our fucking culture. Imagine a guy with an active landmine collection, and you might get a better feel for how ridiculous gun apologia seems from the outside.

    And so what if a guy wants to have a weapon on him while he’s in public?

    Because there is no such thing as wannabe cowboys with an itchy trigger finger, or accidental discharges of guns. Nope. Just good guys and bad guys all the way down. And if they don’t have the evil magical aura of a bad guy, what’s there to fear?

  120. says

    I think people need to lay off the gun collectors and hunters and other gun owners who aren’t doing anything wrong.

    What, exactly, are we doing to them that we need to stop doing?

  121. says

    Again, imaginary mental divide between Criminal and Responsible Gun Owner at work here.

    It’s not an imaginary divide; it’s just that we can’t see exactly where the divide is until it’s too late.

  122. lochaber says

    Raging Bee>

    we are being great big meenies because we want them to have their firearms regulated, safely stored, and not used in an irresponsible manner.

  123. anteprepro says

    True facts, Raging Bee. Be careful about spreading too many of them around. Gun fetishists tend to be allergic.

  124. says

    And so what if a guy wants to have a weapon on him while he’s in public?

    What if the public want to be able to go out in public without having to worry about strangers with guns all around them possibly causing needless injury and death for some totally unpredictable reason?

  125. Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy says

    I actually know one–and I think only one–person who has needed a gun to protect himself against something other than other humans with guns: he was visiting Svalbard, and there was a significant chance of encountering a polar bear.

    Polar bears are not common on most of the planet, and American cities and suburbs do not contain significant numbers of dangerous carnivores. I don’t need or want a rifle to deal with feral cats, raccoons, or rats.

  126. latecomer says

    “. How do you propose we distinguish between the Bad Gun Owners and the Good Gun Owners? ” You can’t distinguish between them based on sight which is why I support tough regulations on who is allowed to own a weapon and on the type of weapon. If they have not done anything yet to indicate that they aren’t responsible, then I think we shouldn’t worry about them.

     “Imagine a guy with an active landmine collection, and you might get a better feel for how ridiculous gun apologia seems from the outside” I don’t support having active landmines. If we’re talking about people owning military equipment then that is where I would cross line. Other than that it doesn’t bother me. And I’m not a gun apologist. I’m just protesting against what I see as paranoia towards guns and their owners.
    ” Because there is no such thing as wannabe cowboys with an itchy trigger finger, or accidental discharges of guns. ”
    And I never said that all gun owners were responsible. I don’t think that guns should be allowed everywhere, like bars for example, but like I said before, I support tough regulations requiring people to be mentally and physically proficient before being able to walk around with a weapon. If someone does something negligent or criminal, then the proper punishment should be enacted, providing ample incentive for other people to be responsible.

  127. David Marjanović says

    Tolkien has Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs.
    Rowling has Wizards and Muggles.
    And gun-fondlers have Criminals and Responsible Gun Owners.
    Fantasy races: For when you need a supplement for your regular racism!

    QFT.

    Indeed, but I think that’s a consequence of their weird binary view of humanity as “criminal” and “not criminal”, rather than the cause of it.

    – There are Criminals and Good Law Abiding Citizens
    – Criminals are Bad People
    – I am not a Bad Person

    – Therefore, despite the fact I never pay my taxes and have illegally modified my AR-15 to be fully automatic, I am not a Criminal

    Point taken! Maybe it’s a feedback loop.

    Merely possessing a gun doesn’t make a person The Problem.

    Actually, to a significant degree it does. If I’m carrying a gun with the intent of using it to protect myself — because I believe I have no other good way to do so — then I am very likely to draw it preemptively, because I know that if someone I’m having trouble with has a gun, I can’t wait for him to draw first. (And I won’t really KNOW he has a gun until it’s too late.) And regardless of my original intent when I went out carrying my gun, that tactical necessity and the underlying fear would indeed make me The Problem if anything out of line happened, because I’d very likely feel I have to draw my gun before I’m really sure I need it.

    QFT.

  128. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    I see a place that’s crawling with cops, I don’t feel all safe and happy, even up in Soviet Canuckistan. Especially with the cops in my (adopted) city! There’s a reason that despite a Tim’s being on the ground floor of my building, I’ve been in maybe three times in four years.

    Interestingly, in my hometown, there was a knife attack at a college a couple days ago. A few students were injured by another student who had a machete, but they’re expected to recover fully, and the assailant was subdued by unarmed fellow students before the cops arrived. *glances at US college shootings* Yeah, there’s a pretty huge difference.

    Raging Bee @ #129 nails it perfectly.

  129. anteprepro says

    You can’t distinguish between them based on sight which is why I support tough regulations on who is allowed to own a weapon and on the type of weapon. If they have not done anything yet to indicate that they aren’t responsible, then I think we shouldn’t worry about them.

    Only make sure that the people who use guns violently once don’t get to do it again! Quite the regulation there. I’m sure that passes for progressive in some parts of Amurka!

    I don’t support having active landmines. If we’re talking about people owning military equipment then that is where I would cross line. Other than that it doesn’t bother me.

    While you are blatantly missing the point, care to tell me WHY you feel this is such an important distinction?

    And I’m not a gun apologist. I’m just protesting against what I see as paranoia

    One: Your perception is wrong.
    Two: Your accusations of paranoia are incredibly ironic.
    Three: If it quacks like a duck…

    And I never said that all gun owners were responsible. I don’t think that guns should be allowed everywhere, like bars for example

    But what about people having THE FREEDOM to carry around their guns in public? Huh. What if he really really wants to? You and your paranoia, restricting responsible gun owners from having their guns with them when going to favorite eating establishment that just happens to serve liquor!

  130. A. Noyd says

    latecomer (#131)

    If someone does something negligent or criminal, then the proper punishment should be enacted, providing ample incentive for other people to be responsible.

    Except, incentive like that won’t work. Criminals would already be deterred by punishment, if that were the case. In fact, criminals often bring guns along to help them get away with crimes. And negligent people are negligent because they don’t have the self-awareness to realize or accept their own incompetence. Otherwise such deterrents as “accidentally shooting a child to death” or “blowing your own dick off” would already deter them.

  131. latecomer says

    “Only make sure that the people who use guns violently once don’t get to do it again! Quite the regulation there. I’m sure that passes for progressive in some parts

    I don’t care if its progressive or not but I’m not sure what the problem is. If a person gets their license to carry a weapon around and then they do something violent or negligent, then there are laws in place to prevent that person from owning a weapon again, serving as an incentive for others to follow. It’s no different from laws requiring people to drive responsibly.

  132. latecomer says

    “While you are blatantly missing the point, care to tell me WHY you feel this is such an important distinction?”

    If I’m missing the point tell me how. My opinion on people having large collections of weapons can be summed up in 5 words: ” I don’t give a fuck”. If they’re not military grade weapons then I don’t think that they’re that much of a threat. Also they tend to live far away from urban areas anyway. As far as I’m concerned, there are more important things to worry about.

  133. latecomer says

    “Criminals would already be deterred by punishment, if that were the case.” I realize that criminals won’t be deterred but I’m not worried about them. Gun control laws are really more helpful in my view for creating a safer environment from people using guns irresponsibly like George Zimmerman. If you’re talking about gun violence in general then gun control might make it harder but it won’t really t much help in decreasing them. For that you would have to get to the root of the problem. Poverty for example.

  134. brianpansky says

    I’m not sure what the problem is. If a person gets their license to carry a weapon around and then they do something violent or negligent, then there are laws in place to prevent that person from owning a weapon again

    in what universe is the event of doing “something violent” not a problem?

    you do realize that school shootings are often enough first-offenders, right? am i missing something?

  135. kyoseki says

    Mass shootings are a problem anywhere that guns are present, Norway has far FAR stricter gun laws than the US is ever likely to see, but there was a major massacre there a couple years ago resulting in something like 77 dead.

    The difference, of course, is that Norway doesn’t have a huge murder/suicide rate outside of these mass shootings.

    Legislation aimed at stopping or reducing the carnage of a mass shooting (assault weapons bans, magazine capacity restrictions) are generally ineffective at stemming other causes of firearms deaths which make up the vast VAST majority of them – they’re not even particularly effective at reducing casualties during mass shootings, for example, the Norwegian shooter used a firearm that wouldn’t have been covered by the proposed Assault Weapons Ban because it was considered a hunting rifle (it was, in fact, one of the rifles explicitly protected by the ban despite being functionally identical to an AR-15, which should give an idea just how useless that ban would have been).

  136. says

    Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease? But not only that, doesn’t the fact they have a gun contribute to that feeling of well being? I would venture to say the chances of the place becoming a crime scene, at least while the police are inside, are close to zero.

    Leaving aside your adolescent Pulp Fiction fantasy (where you’re presumably Travolta or Jackson), the latest one-on-one killing – of a man who was texting with his daughter during movie previews – was perpetrated by a retired police officer who most likely thought that carrying his weapon into the cinema would make him (and probably others) safer.

    And that – the fact that someone with decades of firearm experience & training lost his shit over nothing and killed a man – more or less destroys your argument wholesale. If we need to protect ourselves from former cops, for fuck’s sake, where does it end? You literally want everyone to be strapped?

    Just re-imagine the scenario: the ex-cop’s still pissed off by the guy texting but he’s not carrying a lethal weapon. Do you honestly think he’s still going to kick off a fight with a guy decades younger than him? Or do you think he’ll perhaps shut up and deal with the mild annoyance (it’s still previews, remember) or ask nicely for the guy to be quiet? Even if he does start a fight, do you think anyone’s going to fucking DIE?

    When there’s a “1500 feet per second” mistake, there’s no “sorry I gave you a black eye” or “sorry I acted like an ass.”

    I’m dumbfounded that someone could still posit a scenario like the quoted passage above, a fortnight after a fucking cop shot a guy at the fucking movies.

  137. says

    @115 —Well that’s fucking reassuring.—

    Last year, 34,080 people were killed in automobile accidents. Do you own a car? Do you think you are one of the ‘good drivers’ and it’s all the other ‘maniacs’ on the road you need to watch out for?

    There are responsible drivers and irresponsible drivers. We have a system of licensing and ticketing that is used to try to prevent people from becoming irresponsible drivers, and to prevent irresponsible drivers from driving. We should, at the very least, have a similar system for firearms.

    But the fact that 34,080 were killed in automobile accidents last year no more makes everyone who owns a vehicle a problem anymore than the 12,000+- killed last year by firearms makes everyone who owns a firearm a problem.

    What it does mean is that for both vehicles and firearms, we need to do a better job of keeping the irresponsible people from having access.

  138. John Horstman says

    Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?

    Huh. I never feel less safe than when there are police officers around. Beyond the fact that they’re the primary enforcement agents of a deeply corrupt state, police officers very likely directly kill more people than people who aren’t police officers (hard data are impossible to obtain, as law enforcement agencies specifically do not track the relevant data set and suppress attempts to compile it). The police don’t prevent crime, they actively commit a big chunk of it.

  139. John Horstman says

    @anteprepro #122: I’m in favor of restricting cars at least as much as guns, if not far more. Cars cause one hell of a lot more environmental degradation than guns, and close to as many deaths per year here in USA.

  140. says

    @118—-
    Everyone is a responsible gun owner until they’re not.

    The only time we find out someone wasn’t a responsible gun owner is when someone gets shot.
    —-

    Everyone is a responsible drinker until they’re not.

    The only time we find out someone wasn’t a responsible drinker is when they assault or kill someone while under the influence.

  141. A Masked Avenger says

    Raging Bee, #123:

    If I’m carrying a gun with the intent of using it to protect myself — because I believe I have no other good way to do so — then I am very likely to draw it preemptively, because I know that if someone I’m having trouble with has a gun, I can’t wait for him to draw first.

    Not if you have the slightest training, you won’t. In every jurisdiction in the United States, doing what you describe would be a crime. The details differ in the various laws: some states have brandishing laws; some classify it as assault; etc. But it is illegal to use, or threaten to use, a firearm on another person unless specific conditions are met.

    You must reasonably believe that:

    1) The assailant intends to cause grave bodily harm or death. (Rape is included in the definition of grave bodily harm, or else it is added to the list, depending on the jurisdiction.)

    2) The assailant is able to cause grave bodily harm or death. This might be because he has a gun, or a baseball bat, or is bigger and stronger than you, or is known to you to be a skilled fighter, etc.

    3) The assailant has the opportunity to cause grave bodily harm or death. In other words, he must not only have a baseball bat, but he must be able to get to you with it.

    Depending on the jurisdiction, there’s a fourth criterion:

    4) You must be unable to flee.

    Jurisdictions that have the fourth condition require you to run away, and it is a crime to use or threaten to use a firearm unless you have tried and failed to run away, or are unable, for example because you have been cornered.

    The absence of the fourth condition is what is known as “stand your ground.” It says that you may use deadly force if someone has the intent, the ability, and the opportunity, to cause you grave bodily harm or death, without the necessity of first running away. The condition forces the victim to prove that flight was impossible, in order to claim self-defense. Some states have a version of this condition that shifts the burden onto the prosecutors, by requiring flight only if it can be done “in complete safety,” where the prosecutor must prove that the victim could have fled in complete safety. Many states have qualify this condition by eliminating the requirement to flee in one’s own home; that’s known as the “castle doctrine.”

    In every jurisdiction in the United States, by the way, you lose any claim of self-defense if you provoked or escalated the confrontation in which you were forced to defend yourself.

    Yes, I realize that didn’t help Trayvon Martin any. The issue there was whether Zimmerman “provoked” the confrontation in which Martin apparently lashed out at Zimmerman. I don’t remember whether the jury was properly instructed on this point, but it was up to the jury to decide whether following a young man around, and challenging his right to be there, was “provocation.” The law is ambiguous on this point, unfortunately. Use of “fighting words” is clearly recognized as provocation. Almost everything else is left to the jury to figure out.

    My point is not to defend carry for personal protection. It’s to clarify an obvious misconception about what the law expects of every gun owner. Any gun owner with even a modicum of training is expected to know this, and will not preemptively draw down on people who argue with them just in case the situation might escalate.

    I sympathize with your misconception, by the way. Before entering law enforcement, before my first experience with a handgun, I imagined similar things about what an armed person was likely to do. I feared to be armed, thinking it might embolden me to do such things. Now I can report by experience that I am very conscious of the horrifying possibility of either killing someone, or being killed, as well as the inevitable aftermath. While I am by nature a smartass, on occasions when I’m armed I am the most scrupulously polite person you have ever met. You could safely piss on my shoe while telling me awful things about my mother. I’ve been in some tense situations (though not that particular one), and I can report that I’d rather suffer any indignity, and a fair amount of risk to my person, rather than shoot you.

    (Note: I’m not claiming that that’s how gun owners are generally; this is not a defense of gun carriers. And it’s certainly not typical of law enforcement–I would heartily exhort you not to piss off any cops you chance to meet.)

  142. says

    I’m just protesting against what I see as paranoia towards guns and their owners.

    Thank you. Your protests have been duly noted, and found to be lacking in substance. And besides, why should you protest our paranoia, when you know that the actions and over-the-top-batshit-loony rhetoric of so many gun owners and apologists give us good reason to be paranoid?

    If someone does something negligent or criminal, then the proper punishment should be enacted, providing ample incentive for other people to be responsible.

    I’m sure we all agree on that — but that’s a bit like saying we should allow people to speed, run red lights, and drive crappy cars whose steering and brakes aren’t reliable, and only punish the drivers who have already caused needless fatalities as a result, hoping (against actual experience, I must add) that that will deter irresponsible behavior where no deterrent existed before. Given the actual gun-related incidents we read about every day, do you really think the people who commit such irrational acts will suddenly think rationally about their actions when they read of someone else going to jail for life? Of course not — they’ll just keep on doing what they were doing before, for the same reasons they were doing them in the first place.

  143. says

    @123 —If I’m carrying a gun with the intent of using it to protect myself — because I believe I have no other good way to do so — then I am very likely to draw it preemptively, because I know that if someone I’m having trouble with has a gun, I can’t wait for him to draw first.—

    That also isn’t ‘merely possessing a firearm’ either. That’s possessing a firearm with the intent of using it against people, an extremely irresponsible act and I support screening prior to firearm purchase/licensing that would eliminate anyone from being able to purchase a gun for this reason.

    But if I’m carrying a gun with the intent of going to the target range and seeing how many bullets I can put through the bullseye, or carrying a gun with the intent of bringing back a tasty, tasty deer, how am I ‘part of the problem’?

    Or how is my just happening to own an antique rifle (one that actually has been modified at this point so it can’t fire without some fairly delicate worksmanship and a part I don’t keep on hand) part of the problem?

  144. says

    @124—Again, imaginary mental divide between Criminal and Responsible Gun Owner at work here. How do you propose we distinguish between the Bad Gun Owners and the Good Gun Owners? Do the former make their guns glow purple, and the others make their guns glow yellow? Or do the Bad Gun Owners have lightning powers? Or do they just have different skin colors? Inquiring minds.—

    How do I tell the difference between an ordinary penis-haver and one that will force his penis on me against my will?

  145. says

    Actually, I wish we were far more serious about car safety as well. People are far too casual about driving. Here, you pass a test at 16, often a pathetically simple one at that, and then you get to drive around in your car. One does not have to demonstrate much skill at all. I think the licensing process for guns and cars should be much more rigorous. I’d be happy to see continued testing, and much less leniency for infractions.

  146. says

    My point is not to defend carry for personal protection. It’s to clarify an obvious misconception about what the law expects of every gun owner.

    I’m not arguing about the law, nor am I disputing anything you say on that subject. I’m talking about a situation where a person with a gun suddenly finds himself thinking (rightly or not) that he might be in danger, and he might have to pull that gun he thinks he needs to protect himself. It’s not about what the law allows, it’s about what he’s likely to do when he’s scared, angry, or feeling weak or threatened or humiliated.

  147. says

    @ shawnthesheep #27:

    I feel far more at ease when the police in the restaurant aren’t carrying guns, like the overwhelming majority of police in the UK and Australia.

    Nope, Aussie cops carry holstered automatic 9mm pistols everywhere. They’re more like US cops than UK cops.

  148. A. Noyd says

    latecomer (#139)

    I realize that criminals won’t be deterred but I’m not worried about them. Gun control laws are really more helpful in my view for creating a safer environment from people using guns irresponsibly like George Zimmerman.

    Wait, why are you juxtaposing Zimmerman and criminals like that, as if he somehow wasn’t one? And you think his shooting of Martin was merely irresponsible? The guy was a racist asshole who targeted black people, though of himself as some sort of righteous crusader, and had been arrested before for violent behavior. That’s something far more insidious than is covered by the word “irresponsible.” What kind of “incentive” will put a stop to a guy like that?

    If you’re talking about gun violence in general then gun control might make it harder but it won’t really t much help in decreasing them. For that you would have to get to the root of the problem. Poverty for example.

    Citation needed. One that accounts for all the countries with gun control and poverty, but nothing close to the rates of gun violence as you find in the US.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    WithinThisMind (#152)

    How do I tell the difference between an ordinary penis-haver and one that will force his penis on me against my will?

    Well, you certainly don’t give them all the benefit of the doubt, that’s for damn sure.

  149. says

    I’m surprised no-one else has mentioned the obvious problem with the “kid throwing a rock” analogy. The analog of the rock is not a gun, but a bullet. Outside a Chris Rock joke, I don’t see anyone who’s OK with guns but thinks bullets need to be controlled. And if the kid had a trebuchet, making it easy to throw rocks further and faster, I doubt your correspondent would be protesting his right to possess it.

  150. DBP says

    The only time we find out someone wasn’t a responsible drinker is when they assault or kill someone while under the influence.

    Actually, no. Not at all.

    I don’t want someone with this level of reasoning skills handling firearms around me.

  151. anteprepro says

    How do I tell the difference between an ordinary penis-haver and one that will force his penis on me against my will?

    What the everliving fuck?

  152. says

    @156 — Well, you certainly don’t give them all the benefit of the doubt, that’s for damn sure.—-

    Because not giving them all the benefit of the doubt is exactly the same as saying that they are all part of the problem?

    I’d like to know what exactly in my posts gave you the impression I was supporting giving all gun owners the ‘benefit of the doubt’?

    @154 — It’s not about what the law allows, it’s about what he’s likely to do when he’s scared, angry, or feeling weak or threatened or humiliated.—

    When I was scared, angry, weak, threatened, and otherwise helpless to extract myself from the situation, I stabbed someone in the kidney with a phillip’s head screwdriver. Incidentally, I still own several of those as well.

    Yes, if someone puts me in a similar situation and I happened to have my gun on me instead of my toolbelt, I might pick the firearm over the screwdriver. But that’s not why I have a gun anymore than it’s why I have a screwdriver.

  153. anteprepro says

    It’s no different from laws requiring people to drive responsibly.

    Except with driving responsibly, people actually need to drive to do shit. Or at least have access to someone who can. That’s just the way the infrastructure. People don’t need guns. Not in the same way, for damn sure. Bonus: we can usually punish someone from driving irresponsibly before they kill anyone

    My opinion on people having large collections of weapons can be summed up in 5 words: ” I don’t give a fuck”. If they’re not military grade weapons then I don’t think that they’re that much of a threat.

    Again WHY NOT MILITARY GRADE WEAPONS? Why draw that distinction? Why is that your line in the sand. Here’s a hint: I already the know the answer. It is cultural preference, not really logic or risk assessment at work.

    I realize that criminals won’t be deterred but I’m not worried about them. Gun control laws are really more helpful in my view for creating a safer environment from people using guns irresponsibly like George Zimmerman.

    Hear that folks? George Zimmerman: Not a Criminal.
    At least not a True Criminal. The ones that cause Gunwielders to get the night sweats, and prompt them to fearfully jerk off to Guns and Ammo in order to fall asleep.

  154. anteprepro says

    WithinThisMind: Yeah, I figured, I just wasn’t sure if you were making the comparison in a way that was denigrating Schrodinger’s Rapist, but seeing that as a possible reading was probably just my mistake.

  155. A. Noyd says

    WithinThisMind (#160)

    Because not giving them all the benefit of the doubt is exactly the same as saying that they are all part of the problem?

    That’s not what you were replying to was saying. If you cannot come up with a way to readily distinguish between those who are and are not part of the problem till after the damage has been done, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

    (#161)
    Are you linking to Shrodinger’s Rapist in order to suggest that responsible gun owners need to step up and make it really obvious that they’re not murderous, fucking idiots, otherwise everyone else is entitled to assume, for the sake of our own safety, they could be murderous, fucking idiots and take their guns away?

  156. says

    latecomer #138

    My opinion on people having large collections of weapons can be summed up in 5 words: ” I don’t give a fuck”. If they’re not military grade weapons then I don’t think that they’re that much of a threat.

    You’re just as dead if the weapon you were shot with wasn’t military grade.

  157. says

    “Let me begin by assuming you have gone into a restaurant or cafe where police officers are eating. Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?”

    FUCK NO!

  158. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Here’s my version of a responsible gun owner, versus an irresponsible guns owner. Do you obey range safety rules when carrying your weapon in public, namely the gun is unloaded and the ammunition stored separately? Actually the same should be true of cops.

  159. dianne says

    Norway has far FAR stricter gun laws than the US is ever likely to see, but there was a major massacre there a couple years ago resulting in something like 77 dead.

    The most recent mass shooting I know of in the US was a couple of days ago. If the US had mass shootings only every couple of years we’d have made significant progress. (Not to downplay the horror of the massacre or the need for better gun control in Norway, of course.)

  160. latecomer says

    “Bonus: we can usually punish someone from driving irresponsibly before they kill anyone”

    You can do the same with guns. We can use things like background checks to prevent certain people from getting being able to own a gun, and in the case that a gun owner does something like, for example, fail to keep their gun secure, resulting in a child hurting someone, then the appropriate punishment (Not being allowed to own a gun, jail time,etc.)can be enacted.

    “Again WHY NOT MILITARY GRADE WEAPONS? Why draw that distinction?”

    Because things like grenade, landmine,tanks, armor piercing guns and ammo, etc would pose significant danger to the community if they were to get in general circulation.

    ” Here’s a hint: I already the know the answer. It is cultural preference, not really logic or risk assessment at work.”

    Um, no, sorry.

    “Hear that folks? George Zimmerman: Not a Criminal.”

    Let me rephrase that in order to clear up the misunderstanding. I wasn’t trying to say that Zimmerman’s actions didn’t make him a criminal. When I was thinking of criminals, I was thinking of, for example, armed burglers. People who break into houses don’t typically just do it once; It’s a full time job for practical purposes. Zimmerman, although he had a few brushes with the law, was a law abiding citizen who made a fatal mistake in going after Trayvon, resulting in his death. Zimmerman should have convicted of manslaughter, but my point in mentioning him was to say that I believe that gun control laws should be less concerned with criminals and focus on otherwise law abiding citizens who may or may not be trustworthy with a gun. Criminals having access to guns is bad but the chances of any one person encountering a criminal are relatively slim.

  161. says

    But let me ask you; when a kid throws a rock through your picture window, do you blame the rock? Or do you blame the kid?

    Out of curiosity if children routinely threw rocks through windows and you found out someone was selling them the rocks what would you do?

  162. jagwired says

    latecomer @169:

    Because things like grenade, landmine,tanks, armor piercing guns and ammo, etc would pose significant danger to the community if they were to get in general circulation.

    Unlike handguns that just shoot rainbows and posies.

  163. A. Noyd says

    latecomer (#169)

    Because things like grenade, landmine,tanks, armor piercing guns and ammo, etc would pose significant danger to the community if they were to get in general circulation.

    Oh, so totally unlike guns, then. (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)

    Zimmerman, although he had a few brushes with the law, was a law abiding citizen who made a fatal mistake in going after Trayvon, resulting in his death.

    So, Zimmerman was a law abiding citizen… except for all the times he wasn’t? And what he did to Martin wasn’t a “mistake.” He used his gun the way a great many gun owners understand their guns are meant to be used: killing black people who show up where white people think they don’t belong.

  164. anteprepro says

    So to refute my argument that their limited vision of gun regulations will only let them stop someone from killing a second time, latecomer sez:

    We can use things like background checks to prevent certain people from getting being able to own a gun, and in the case that a gun owner does something like, for example, fail to keep their gun secure, resulting in a child hurting someone,

    What kind of “certain people”? For fuck’s sake, your other example of restricting gun use without them shooting someone is “don’t let them have a gun if they let their kid shoot someone”. I consider that your concession speech.

    Because things like grenade, landmine,tanks, armor piercing guns and ammo, etc would pose significant danger to the community if they were to get in general circulation.

    Whereas regular guns, those are harmless! Those are perfectly fine in general circulation!

    Really, the major distinction is that military grade weapons cause more property damage or harder to thwart than regular ol’ guns. And each individual one might kill a larger number of people on accident. Guns are not less likely to be lethal or safer than any of those items though. And it is only slightly easier to kill a massive number of people on purpose with military grade weapons than it is with regular ol’ guns. But I’m glad that you prize property so much that you are willing to make military technology the forbidden weapons. If only you prized human life as well, then you might see how regular ol’ guns aren’t that swell either!

    When I was thinking of criminals, I was thinking of, for example, armed burglers. People who break into houses don’t typically just do it once; It’s a full time job for practical purposes.

    Yes, I already established that you and your fellows in Gun think of Criminals as a race. A Viking-like horde who are set in their Criminal ways of being Criminal and such.

    Zimmerman, although he had a few brushes with the law, was a law abiding citizen who made a fatal mistake

    Zimmerman: Law Abiding Citizen.

    I’m glad that you think a guy who kills someone out of paranoia isn’t a Criminal and that someone who regularly steals from other people out of desperation based on desperate life circumstances is a Criminal.

    Did you ever think that your priorities might be fucked up?

  165. anteprepro says

    Zimmerman was a law abiding citizen because his heart weighed less than a feather.

    Zimmerman was a law abiding citizen because hoodies are a menace and a little documentary called Batman told me that vigilantes are totally legal there. Commissioner Gordon approved, so it was all totally legit.

  166. says

    @158 —-Actually, no. Not at all.

    I don’t want someone with this level of reasoning skills handling firearms around me.—-

    Instead of just being an ass, you might try grasping the point.

    We don’t ‘only know they are irresponsible when they kill someone’ with abusers of either alcohol or firearms.

    There are a lot of ways to abuse both without it actually resulting in death. Examples – carrying your firearm somewhere other than back and forth to a target range or hunting trip, firing your gun into the air, using your firearm to intimidate, carrying your firearm to make a political show of force, not storing your firearm properly, failing to properly maintain your firearm, allowing someone else to use your firearm without your direct supervision, pointing your firearm at another human being for any reason other than actual self-defense, talking about how you only want a firearm so you could potentially use it against people of a different race/class/ethos/creed/etc…, and so on and so forth.

    So how do we tell someone is an abuser before they kill themselves or someone else?

    Well, golly gee, maybe we could look at the pattern of behavior and listen to those fifty warning bells that are drowning out the local jet engines?

  167. latecomer says

    “Oh, so totally unlike guns, then. (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)”

    Thank you Captain Obvious! (That’s sarcasm by the way). You do make a good point, except for the fact that you missed where I was comparing military to civilian weapons. Now I don’t want to speak for everyone when I say this but having grenades be widely available to everyone with a pulse sounds like a bad idea. (There was more sarcasm there in case you missed that too).

    “So, Zimmerman was a law abiding citizen… except for all the times he wasn’t?”

    Yes, he was generally speaking a law abiding citizen.

    “And what he did to Martin wasn’t a “mistake.” He used his gun the way a great many gun owners understand their guns are meant to be used: killing black people who show up where white people think they don’t belong.”

    That’s the kind of ridiculous hyperbole that’s totally uncalled for and wouldn’t be stated by anyone who possessed intellectual honesty.

  168. anteprepro says

    Thank you Captain Obvious! (That’s sarcasm by the way).

    *facepalm*

    That’s the kind of ridiculous hyperbole that’s totally uncalled for and wouldn’t be stated by anyone who possessed intellectual honesty.

    Let me guess: knee-jerk denialist regarding the large amount of racist that still exists in American society today? Say it ain’t so!

  169. says

    @164— That’s not what you were replying to was saying. If you cannot come up with a way to readily distinguish between those who are and are not part of the problem till after the damage has been done, it’s better to err on the side of caution.—

    See my post 177

    —-Are you linking to Shrodinger’s Rapist in order to suggest that responsible gun owners need to step up and make it really obvious that they’re not murderous, fucking idiots, otherwise everyone else is entitled to assume, for the sake of our own safety, they could be murderous, fucking idiots and take their guns away?—

    Yes and no.

    I’m saying that A) while you should never assume any gun is safe and you are perfectly within your rights to say you don’t want guns in your home/business/otherwise around you, it is wrong to say all gun owners are bad people and part of the problem. Just like while you are perfectly within your rights to want guys to leave you alone while you are being female in public, it is wrong to say all guys are bad people and part of the problem.

    And B) yes, responsible gun owners need to stop supporting the NRA and other whackaloon talking points that serve to make all gun owners look bad, just as responsible men shouldn’t support MRA groups and other whackaloon talking points that serve to contribute to rape culture.

    If you tell me ‘hey, WithinThisMind, the thought of you having your gun makes me uncomfortable’, I’d be happy of course to leave it behind in it’s safe if you and I were going out somewhere (though that somewhere would have to be either a hunting trip or a trip to the gun range for me to even have my gun, which sort of makes this a moot point). And if you say, ‘hey, WithinThisMind, I’m not comfortable being at your house knowing there are guns in it’, and I’m perfectly okay with meeting up elsewhere and helping you find a good hotel to stay at. But if you say, ‘hey, WithinThisMind, you own a gun and so you are a bad person and contributing to all these gun accidents and murders’, I’m going to tell you to go fuck yourself.

  170. says

    —“Again WHY NOT MILITARY GRADE WEAPONS? Why draw that distinction?” —

    Because military grade serves no purpose other than killing people, which distinguishes military grade weapons from those used for target shooting and hunting.

  171. anteprepro says

    Because military grade serves no purpose other than killing people,

    Ahahahaha. Oh, you were serious? Let me laugh some more.

    Are you or are you not then proposing that we ban all guns that aren’t used for hunting? Because if you are, that’s not what latecomer’s arguing! If you are not, you are being disingenuous.

  172. latecomer says

    “Let me guess: knee-jerk denialist regarding the large amount of racist that still exists in American society today? Say it ain’t so!”

    Nobody ever said that racism didn’t exist. The point was that suggesting that most gun owners are racist was completely ridiculous.

  173. anteprepro says

    Nobody ever said that racism didn’t exist. The point was that suggesting that most gun owners are racist was completely ridiculous.

    And my point is that they aren’t wrong. And that the proposition that most of any group is racist isn’t inherently ridiculous. Thanks for playing.

  174. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    “And what he did to Martin wasn’t a “mistake.” He used his gun the way a great many gun owners understand their guns are meant to be used: killing black people who show up where white people think they don’t belong.”

    That’s the kind of ridiculous hyperbole that’s totally uncalled for and wouldn’t be stated by anyone who possessed intellectual honesty.

    Except it’s not hyperbole. Sure it’s a minority of gun owners by percentage, but Guns-for-the-Race-War is a thing. A real thing. You can pretend it isn’t to your hearts content, or pretend it amounts to 7 people in Idaho if you like, but it’s much broader than that. There are almost certainly many thousands who believe guns should be hoarded against black/white conflict and used for that purpose.

    Though statistically a few of those must be Black folk hoarding guns to be used against whites, the numbers to create a real problem belong to the whites hoarding guns to be used against Black folk.

    Moreover, Zimmerman’s actions were entirely consistent with the mindset of such folk: he was patrolling “his” community and defending it against “them”. Does “his” community not purchase Skittles? Does it not drink iced tea?

    You assertion of hyperbole is mistargeted.

  175. anteprepro says

    In addition: Maybe instead of whining about hyberbole, maybe you should just, ya know, stop defending the guy who killed an innocent black kid because he was “suspicious” of him?

  176. latecomer says

    ” If only you prized human life as well, then you might see how regular ol’ guns aren’t that swell either! ”

    I do prize human life. I also prize freedom as well and I disagree that severely restricting or totally outlawing guns is necessary to decrease gun violence.

    “Yes, I already established that you and your fellows in Gun think of Criminals as a race. A Viking-like horde who are set in their Criminal ways of being Criminal and such….Zimmerman: Law Abiding Citizen.
    I’m glad that you think a guy who kills someone out of paranoia isn’t a Criminal and that someone who regularly steals from other people out of desperation based on desperate life circumstances is a Criminal.
    Did you ever think that your priorities might be fucked up?”

    Once again, i’m not saying that Zimmerman wasn’t a criminal after killing Trayvon. I don’t believe that people are separated into criminal and non-criminal varieties which is why I brought up Zimmerman, but lets just forget about him. The point was meant to be in contrast to all the people talking about stopping criminals, as if they were the only reason for gun control.

  177. latecomer says

    ” And that the proposition that most of any group is racist isn’t inherently ridiculous”

    Well if you’re going to make a highly general statement that most members of a group are racist, then I would like to see proof of that. Otherwise it’s just stereotyping.

    ” maybe you should just, ya know, stop defending the guy who killed an innocent black kid because he was “suspicious” of him?”

    Um, when did I defend him? Earlier I posted that he should have been convicted of manslaughter.

  178. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Ingdigo Jump

    22 January 2014 at 7:46 pm (UTC -6)
    Link to this comment

    @latecomer
    Interestingly Judge Scalia disagrees with you and has opined that rocket launchers might be protected by the 2nd amendment

    For possibly the first time ever, I agree with Scalia. Rocket launchers might very well be necessary to the “security of a free state”. As might Trident D5s. We have several “well-regulated” military organizations that “keep and bear” them for us, so that’s all covered.

    All this does is show how ridiculous it is to think the second amendment has anything to do with individual self-protection.

  179. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The point was meant to be in contrast to all the people talking about stopping criminals, as if they were the only reason for gun control.

    The reason for gun control is to enforce gun safety. Not carrying a loaded weapon in public for example. How many people get shot with an unloaded weapon, versus how many get shot by a person with prejudices and a loaded weapon… That says what is needed about gun SAFETY.

  180. anteprepro says

    I do prize human life. I also prize freedom as well and I disagree that severely restricting or totally outlawing guns is necessary to decrease gun violence.

    You do know that a freedom ain’t worth shit to a dead person, right? Like I said: fucked up priorities. You prefer abstract principles and unlimited access to dangerous weaponry merely because it feels yucky to you to bother having it any other way. There are more important things than freedom. We have limits to every other freedom as it is. Why is the right to have the most up-to-date projectile technology at our finger-tips the exception to that? Why is that all of our other rights have reasonable limitations, and are traded off for something other than Sweet Undiluted Glorious Freedom, but it is only Gunz that are exempt? Why do your abstractions and self-righteousness trump the public good?

    I don’t believe that people are separated into criminal and non-criminal varieties which is why I brought up Zimmerman, but lets just forget about him. The point was meant to be in contrast to all the people talking about stopping criminals, as if they were the only reason for gun control.

    So you do believe Zimmerman was a criminal…it’s just that gun control is not just about stopping criminals…which is why you brought up Zimmerman.

    *migraine begins*

  181. anteprepro says

    Well if you’re going to make a highly general statement that most members of a group are racist, then I would like to see proof of that. Otherwise it’s just stereotyping.

    You are an idiot. It is conclusive.

    Um, when did I defend him? Earlier I posted that he should have been convicted of manslaughter.

    Your insistence that he counts as a law-abiding citizen.

  182. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    If it’s not too late to add to the discussion about being reassured by the presence of armed cops…Hell, no.

    I grew up in the same metropolitan area as PZ—the other end of town (Shoreline). At that time it was an essentially 100% white, middle-class suburb. (We were passing—Slums of Beverly Hills-style.)

    As a kid I never thought about it, but after I started to drive, I learned that every time you left the house, you had at least a 10% chance of being pulled over and harassed by some armed thug.*

    So I learned not to go in a restaurant where they were sitting. Fortunately they would always park in the handicapped spaces, making that easy to determine.

    *And that’s from a white guy in a lily-white area. I can’t imagine whay iit would be like to be Driving While Black™!

  183. says

    I call bullshit that gun owners aren’t largely racists:

    There is a substantial gender gap when it comes to gun ownership: men are three times as likely as women (37% vs. 12%) to personally own a gun. However, women are more likely than men to live with someone else who owns a gun. Overall, 45% of men live in a gun-owning household compared with 30% of women. (Just 8% of people say that both they and someone else in their household own guns – these people are counted as personal gun owners in this analysis.)

    There is also a sharp difference in personal gun ownership by age – 16% of adults under age 30 own a gun, compared with 27% of all adults age 30 and older. However, many young people live in households in which someone else owns a gun.

    Roughly three-in-ten (31%) whites own a gun, which is much greater than the rates of gun ownership among blacks (15%) and Hispanics (11%).

    The general profile of gun owners in America differs substantially from the general public. Roughly three-quarters (74%) of gun owners are men, and 82% are white. Taken together, 61% of adults who own guns are white men. Nationwide, white men make up only 32% of the U.S. adult population.

    Gun owners and those who do not own guns differ politically. While 37% of all adults identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, that proportion jumps to 51% among gun owners. Among those in households without guns, just 27% identify with the Republican Party or lean Republican, while a majority (61%) are Democrats or lean Democratic.

    Pew.

    Old white Republican men? Yeah, bunch of fucking racists. And anyone worried about “criminals” is just using a not terribly subtle dogwhistle.

  184. anteprepro says

    Old white Republican men? Yeah, bunch of fucking racists. And anyone worried about “criminals” is just using a not terribly subtle dogwhistle.

    And now we will inevitably hear crying about stereotyping white people and Republicans.

  185. A. Noyd says

    latecomer (#178)

    Thank you Captain Obvious! (That’s sarcasm by the way).

    I wasn’t sure you wouldn’t blindly agree with that given you’re the one who implied that non-military-grade weapons do not “pose significant danger to the community.”

    You do make a good point, except for the fact that you missed where I was comparing military to civilian weapons.

    I didn’t miss anything. People are asking you for a reason that you would worry about hand grenades but not hand guns. Although, you came close to answering in #187. However, now you need to explain why keeping grenades out of the hands of random citizens isn’t just as damaging to freedom as keeping guns out of their hands.

    Yes, he was generally speaking a law abiding citizen.

    If you’re going by number of convictions, then he still is a law abiding citizen. If you’re going by his past behavior, however, then no the fuck he wasn’t.

    That’s the kind of ridiculous hyperbole that’s totally uncalled for and wouldn’t be stated by anyone who possessed intellectual honesty.

    (#183)

    The point was that suggesting that most gun owners are racist was completely ridiculous.

    I said “a great many.” Though I would definitely not be surprised to find out the majority of “responsible gun owners” (as opposed to people who get a gun for explicitly criminal purposes) were racists of the George Zimmerman (or Theodore Wafer or Randall Kerrick or Michael Dunn) variety or worse. [Thank you, Alexandra @194, for putting some data behind that.] Only someone in denial of the extent of racism would find that ridiculous.

    Also, you skipped a few things:
    1) What kind of “incentive” will put a stop to a paranoid, racist asshole on a mission, like Zimmerman?
    2) Provide some citations for how gun control won’t help decrease gun violence much. One that accounts for all the countries with gun control and poverty, but nothing close to the rates of gun violence as you find in the US.

  186. A. Noyd says

    WithinThisMind (#180)

    See my post 177

    Then #177 should have been your response to #124.

    it is wrong to say all gun owners are bad people and part of the problem. …it is wrong to say all guys are bad people and part of the problem.

    Who is saying either of those things? Do you think Schrodinger’s Rapist says the latter?

  187. latecomer says

    ” Why is that all of our other rights have reasonable limitations, and are traded off for something other than Sweet Undiluted Glorious Freedom, but it is only Gunz that are exempt? Why do your abstractions and self-righteousness trump the public good?”

    I’m not against limitations on gun ownership. I’ve been arguing all along that there should be rules in place to prevent people from getting guns unless they prove that they are capable of using them safely. I just disagree with massive gun bans like say, only being allowed to own a hunting rifle, which is something I’ve heard suggested.

    “So you do believe Zimmerman was a criminal…it’s just that gun control is not just about stopping criminals…which is why you brought up Zimmerman.”
    Let’s forget Zimmerman, because he’s not important. Here’s my point: When it comes to gun violence, I worry more about your average law abiding citizen, Joe Schmoe, not using their gun responsibly (like using a gun to defuse an argument instead of just walking away),as opposed to a madman going postal and killing everyone in sight. Therefore, I support laws requiring people to prove that they’re mentally competent and proficient before they can walk around with a gun. If they do something like commit murder or commit some other violent crime, then their ability to own a gun should be revoked. I work in Texas with 3 guys who all own several weapons and who occassionally go hunting. They’re all nice guys and as far as I know they’re all law abiding citizens. I assume that most gun owners are similar. They’re not doing anything wrong to anyone and you never hear about. Therefore, I believe we should just leave gun owners alone until they show that they can’t be trusted.

  188. jagwired says

    Therefore, I believe we should just leave gun owners alone until they show that they can’t be trusted.

    That usually entails someone being dead or seriously injured. That’s what guns are for.

  189. latecomer says

    “Old white Republican men? Yeah, bunch of fucking racists”
    So,I read through that research you said proved that many gun owners were racist, and I didn’t see any, unless you’re trying to suggest that being old, white, and Republican makes one racist by default.

  190. ChasCPeterson says

    I call bullshit that gun owners aren’t largely racists…Old white Republican men? Yeah, bunch of fucking racists.

    Data: you’re doing it wrong. Using the numbers you’ve provided:

    16% of adults under age 30 own a gun, compared with 27% of all adults age 30 and older

    Assuming equal numbers in the two categories, 100*(27/(16+27))= 63% of gunowners are over 30; we’ll call them “old”.

    61% of adults who own guns are white men.

    So 61% of the 63% = 38% of gun owners are old white men, and

    [the] proportion [that identify with or lean toward the Republican Party] jumps to 51% among gun owners.

    therefore, given some simplifying assumptions, about 51% of the 38% = 19% of gun owners are old, white, Republican men.

    One fifth.

  191. anteprepro says

    I just disagree with massive gun bans like say, only being allowed to own a hunting rifle,

    WHY

    I’ve been arguing all along that there should be rules in place to prevent people from getting guns unless they prove that they are capable of using them safely….. If they do something like commit murder or commit some other violent crime, then their ability to own a gun should be revoked.

    You just talk yourself around in circles. It’s like you are playing the shell game but are using clear plastic cups.

    When it comes to gun violence, I worry more about your average law abiding citizen, Joe Schmoe, not using their gun responsibly (like using a gun to defuse an argument instead of just walking away),as opposed to a madman going postal and killing everyone in sight. Therefore, I support laws requiring people to prove that they’re mentally competent and proficient before they can walk around with a gun.

    You are not focused on “madmen”, you are worried about the average person misusing guns and think you are going to weed out those average “normal” people, and NOT “madmen”, on the basis of mental competence? *blinks*

    Dizzying.

    I didn’t see any, unless you’re trying to suggest that being old, white, and Republican makes one racist by default.

    The crocodile tears are coming soon!

  192. jagwired says

    Alexandra, isn’t it a bit hypocritical to tell us old, white dudes to give up our hole making devices when you’ve got a little, miniature shark for protection.

  193. anteprepro says

    Seems like more of a quibble over the stats/logic. While most gun owners are Republican, most gun owners are men, most gun owners are white, and most gun owners are old(er), it isn’t true that most gun owners are all four of those things (old white Republican men). It’s just that they are the largest subgroup. I think Republican is all you need to have a decent proxy for racism though.

  194. latecomer says

    “WHY”
    Because I haven’t seen any good reasons why. Because, I’m a pretty individualistic person and as long as most people are using guns safely, I don’t think it’s anybody’s rights to deny them the right to use them.

    “You just talk yourself around in circles.”
    If that’s true then I apologize for being unclear, and if you point out the flaw in my logic, I’ll try to correct it.

    “You are not focused on “madmen”, you are worried about the average person misusing guns and think you are going to weed out those average “normal” people, and NOT “madmen”, on the basis of mental competence?”

    Yup, I don’t see why not. If background checks are robust enough then they should root out people with obvious mental problems like schizophrenia. In addition, if people were required to undergo a robust basic training program to carry a gun around then, people who show tendencies indicating they would be of risk to others would hopefully be exposed.

  195. latecomer says

    “The crocodile tears are coming soon!”
    Well you got me. I’m sorry for wanting to discuss politics without the usual stereotyping that usually occurs. My bad.

  196. anteprepro says

    Because, I’m a pretty individualistic person and as long as most people are using guns safely, I don’t think it’s anybody’s rights to deny them the right to use them.

    “I don’t see why we should stop people from buying sharks covered in flamethrowers! Look, at least 80 percent of our customers aren’t even using them to wreak havoc on anything!”

    I suppose you would prefer that we didn’t have laws at all, because most people don’t wind up breaking them. You being individualistic only means you agree with everyone else in our individualistic culture. It doesn’t mean you are right, it means your views are more consistent with the status quo. Maybe you should try to think of options that less in your comfort zone, given that?

  197. anteprepro says

    I’m sorry for wanting to discuss politics without the usual stereotyping that usually occurs.

    I honestly don’t know whether telling latecomer to read The Authoritarians would stop them from entering a spell of self-righteous blithering, have no effect, or just make things worse. Hmmm.

  198. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    Trigger warning: gun deaths.

    Gun fondler, please explain how crime is reduced and public safety improved by these events?
    * Last week? Bay Area Rail Transit guard killed by another guard as they conducted a search — guns drawn, I deduce.

    * January 14: Four-year-old girl shoots & kills four-year-old cousin as three cousins were playing with a gun: “the children found a “long gun” under a bed, pulled it out and began to play with it…. ‘This appears to be a tragic accident.'”

    * January 13: the shooting death of a 3-year-old boy was accidental. Well, that’s a relief! “The sheriff said a relative accidentally shot Logan with a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun Saturday.”

    * January 21: Man accidentally shoots himself in the leg during road rage incident. He was brandishing the gun at another driver. Still alive.

    * January 21: Police chief accidentally shoots self in leg while in a gun shop. Still alive.

    Finally, murders and accidents make the news, but 60% of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides.

    I would be really interested to know how much collateral damage is too much. The toll is about 30,000 deaths per year.

  199. says

    anteprepro:

    It’s just that they are the largest subgroup.

    That’s what I’m getting at.

    lateomer:

    … they should root out people with obvious mental problems like schizophrenia.

    Two, I count two erroneous assumptions! AH HA HA HA!
    1) That everyone with “schizophrenia” (or any other mental illness latecomer thinks is scary) has been diagnosed and has some sort of record of their illness
    and
    2) People with schizophrenia are more likely to be violent &/or have accidents. I’m willing to bet that people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violence than they are to perpetrate it, but that’s because I don’t think of them as some sort of convenient scape goat.

    Good one, though. Everyone needs a boogeyman– “normal” people don’t go on rampages or shoot people who are texting in theaters or mistake their teenager for a burglar. It’s only the crazies that do that!

  200. latecomer says

    ““I don’t see why we should stop people from buying sharks covered in flamethrowers! Look, at least 80 percent of our customers aren’t even using them to wreak havoc on anything!””
    Flamethrowers don’t fire themselves, they only work outside water, and sharks don’t live very long out of the water so take that!

    “I suppose you would prefer that we didn’t have laws at all, because most people don’t wind up breaking them.”
    I don’t have a problem with laws in general. I’m just concerned with being restricted in my freedoms even though I’m not doing anything harmful to anyone else. Most people are using their guns to do things like target shooting, hunting, or many times they’re just keeping their guns in the house not being used for anything in particular. Given that fact, I chose to just not bother worrying about them.

  201. anteprepro says

    The weird thing is latecomer is arguing that he is somehow just looking at the “normal” people and has no interest in the “madmen”/Criminals. And includes people with schizophrenia in the set of “average Joes”. While implying that, looking at them, they would be weeded out for…having schizophrenia. Like I said, latecomer argues in circles. It’s nonsensical. Reading latecomer for logic is like trying to read the Bible for moral guidance. It only works if you ignore the parts that contradict the other parts.

  202. says

    By the way, folks,
    <blockquote> text goes here</blockquote>
    makes

    text goes here

    , and makes your posts a lot more readable.
    Chas

    One fifth

    Is, indeed, a significant proportion of gun owners, yes. And I suspect, but can’t be arsed comparing the numbers just now, that there’s significant overlap between that 19% of gun owners and the 20% of gun owners who together own 2/3 of the guns in the country (see CaitieCat’s #55 for that figure and the source)
    latecomer

    Yup, I don’t see why not. If background checks are robust enough then they should root out people with obvious mental problems like schizophrenia. In addition, if people were required to undergo a robust basic training program to carry a gun around then, people who show tendencies indicating they would be of risk to others would hopefully be exposed.

    So, like the ex-cop who blew a guy away in the movie theatre for texting? He wasn’t mentally ill, and he had definitely gone through a ‘robust basic training program to carry a gun’, but you know what? He still hauled off and murdered someone.

  203. anteprepro says

    Flamethrowers don’t fire themselves, they only work outside water, and sharks don’t live very long out of the water so take that!

    They fix all that in beta.

    I’m just concerned with being restricted in my freedoms even though I’m not doing anything harmful to anyone else

    Anyone else getting a whiff of libertarianism?

  204. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In addition, if people were required to undergo a robust basic training program to carry a gun around then, people who show tendencies indicating they would be of risk to others would hopefully be exposed.

    That is anybody who would carry a loaded gun in public. Anybody who does gun safety, would be carrying the gun and ammo separately. But then, you don’t seem to understand gun safety.

  205. latecomer says

    “Two, I count two erroneous assumptions! AH HA HA HA!
    1) That everyone with “schizophrenia” (or any other mental illness latecomer thinks is scary) has been diagnosed and has some sort of record of their illness
    and
    2) People with schizophrenia are more likely to be violent &/or have accidents. I’m willing to bet that people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violence than they are to perpetrate it, but that’s because I don’t think of them as some sort of convenient scape goat.”

    I should have qualified my statement by saying that I don’t believe that all schizophrenics are violent, or likely to be violent. I also realize that many times their illness isn’t diagnosed or recorded. Hopefully Congress can actually make themselves useful and install some regulations to improve medical records and the use of background checks.

    ” “normal” people don’t go on rampages or shoot people who are texting in theaters or mistake their teenager for a burglar. It’s only the crazies that do that!”

    I know that its not just “crazy” people, which is why I’ve repeatedly said that it should be tough to get a license to walk around with a gun.

  206. anteprepro says

    He wasn’t mentally ill, and he had definitely gone through a ‘robust basic training program to carry a gun’, but you know what? He still hauled off and murdered someone.

    That’s okay. latecomer’s primary method of gun control is to just make sure to take away the guns of someone who has already murdered someone. Flawless, really, and it makes sense why that particular regulation was their focal point for so long.

    Besides, imagine the Cost of doing otherwise. Imagine the lack of FREEEEEEDOM. Surely, in order to spare the feelings of those innocent folks who want their guns to lie undisturbed, gathering dust or only being occasional used for target practice, we must let the status quo be. We must let people kill each other with ease using brutally efficient killing machines, because it would be simply to rude to force people to change. It would be inconvenient to have it any other way. And, of course, FREEEEDOM.

    So, as a eulogy for every victim of gun violence, for every person whose suicide was made a little effective due to having a gun in the house, for every person dead due to a misfired weapon, just copy and paste the following:

    “Sorry, but I like having a gun that I use for nothing in particular, so you are an Acceptable Loss.
    -Love and kisses from the NRA and affiliated ‘fence-sitters'”

  207. says

    You can do the same with guns. We can use things like background checks to prevent certain people from getting being able to own a gun…

    A good idea, but not really enough: many of the people who misuse guns don’t have any red flags on their records before the big one that causes us to wonder if we could have seen it coming.

    …and in the case that a gun owner does something like, for example, fail to keep their gun secure, resulting in a child hurting someone, then the appropriate punishment (Not being allowed to own a gun, jail time,etc.) can be enacted.

    Again, a good idea, but again, not really sufficient. What would constitute “probable cause” for the search warrant you’d need to see whether a guy is keeping his gun secure?

    At some point, we really have to consider that a blanket restriction on access to guns based on lack of demonstrable need, and a blanket restriction on carrying guns in public, could save a few lives without causing undue burden to innocent people. Sort of like the blanket restriction we have on drunk driving, without waiting to see how well this or that driver handles his liquor.

    I do prize human life. I also prize freedom as well and I disagree that severely restricting or totally outlawing guns is necessary to decrease gun violence.

    We value freedom too, and generations of harsh experience proves that undisciplined civilians carrying guns in public does not enhance anyone’s freedom one fucking bit. Who did George Zimmerman free by carrying his gun around where it wasn’t wanted or needed? Did Bernard Goetz become freer by using his gun on people who looked like the ones who had previously mugged him? Did Martin Luther King free anyone using guns? Of course not — the KKK had more guns than him and his followers. So who was freed by the KKK’s guns? Or the IRA’s?

    Your talk of “freedom” is pure airheaded bullshit. We keep pointing out to you how people in less-gun-friendly countries are no less free because of it, and you keep on ignoring the reality. That’s not the why to enhance anyone’s freedom.

  208. latecomer says

    Anyone else getting a whiff of libertarianism?

    I’m not a libertarian. Like, I said earlier, I live in Texas and I consider myself a liberal, but I guess compared to everyone else here, I’m not as liberal as I thought.

  209. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    A Noyd in 173:

    And what he did to Martin wasn’t a “mistake.” He used his gun the way a great many gun owners understand their guns are meant to be used: killing black people who show up where white people think they don’t belong.”

    gets a response from latecomer in 178

    That’s the kind of ridiculous hyperbole that’s totally uncalled for and wouldn’t be stated by anyone who possessed intellectual honesty.

    in 179 anteprepro presciently foreshadows my comment @ 185 by saying:

    Let me guess: knee-jerk denialist regarding the large amount of racist that still exists in American society today? Say it ain’t so!

    latecomer quickly replies:

    Nobody ever said that racism didn’t exist. The point was that suggesting that most gun owners are racist was completely ridiculous.

    Others then go on to say that it’s not completely ridiculous to think a majority of a group might be racist – and while I agree, look at the dishonest reframing. From “a great many gun owners” which is clearly couched in numbers not percentages or fractions, latecomer modifies the claim to a relative claim, “most”. So instead of going through racist militias and finding 15k members and saying holy fuck that’s a lot of racist gun nuts, we now have to prove that 1 out of every 2 gun owners is a racist gun nut.

    That’s dishonest shifting of the original claim in order to make the original claim seem ridiculous and your reaction seem reasonable.

    your reaction wasn’t reasonable. The original claim wasn’t ridiculous, and I resent your dishonest tactics.

  210. anteprepro says

    I’m not a libertarian. Like, I said earlier, I live in Texas and I consider myself a liberal, but I guess compared to everyone else here, I’m not as liberal as I thought.

    Possibly, since Texas is very conservative so it throws off your ability to determine how liberal you are compared to liberals in other regions of the country, let alone the world. I see a similar phenomenon here in Massachusetts: it is very easy to be liberal, and the conservatives around here are generally way tamer than conservatives you would find in other parts of the country. And they don’t realize it, of course, but the political climate in their home region has subtly affected their own politics, even though they believe themselves to very divergent from it. They have become watered down compared to conservatives outside of the Northeast. But they are still stubborn and contrarian, if at least slightly less prone to shouting. Can’t win ‘em all.

  211. latecomer says

    He wasn’t mentally ill, and he had definitely gone through a ‘robust basic training program to carry a gun’, but you know what? He still hauled off and murdered someone.

    That’s true and he will hopefully serve time for that, as well as having his gun taken away, but that doesn’t refute anything I said. Unfortunately, people get murdered despite laws against that.

  212. anteprepro says

    but that doesn’t refute anything I said.

    Oh I’m sure by now that it actually does refute half of what you’ve said. And completely confirms the other half as well. While brains explode in the distance, echoing across the mountaintops.

  213. latecomer says

    …and in the case that a gun owner does something like, for example, fail to keep their gun secure, resulting in a child hurting someone, then the appropriate punishment (Not being allowed to own a gun, jail time,etc.) can be enacted.

    Again, a good idea, but again, not really sufficient. What would constitute “probable cause” for the search warrant you’d need to see whether a guy is keeping his gun secure?

    Unless you live in a police state where you’re constantly monitored, then you wouldn’t know unless something happened.

    we really have to consider that a blanket restriction on access to guns based on lack of demonstrable need, and a blanket restriction on carrying guns in public, could save a few lives without causing undue burden to innocent people

    I think that demonstrable need should be left up to the person buying the gun. Unless there’s some reason why a person shouldn’t have a gun, it’s not anybody else’s business. As for carrying guns in public, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because I don’t think that it makes anyone less safe in general.

  214. says

    Unless there’s some reason why a person shouldn’t have a gun, it’s not anybody else’s business.

    Because it’s a fucking weapon you idiot.

    As for carrying guns in public, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because I don’t think that it makes anyone less safe in general.

    Fucking idiot

  215. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As for carrying guns in public, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because I don’t think that it makes anyone less safe in general.

    Fuckwit, loaded guns go off an shoot people in the ass. And unloaded gun never does that. But then, you are too arrogant to consider you are wrong on gun safety. Both you and I are safer when you aren’t carrying an loaded weapon.

  216. A. Noyd says

    latecomer (#211)

    I’m sorry for wanting to discuss politics without the usual stereotyping that usually occurs.

    You cannot sensibly discuss politics while pretending that pointing out facts is “stereotyping.” From a study on gun ownership and racism:

    Notwithstanding these limitations, the results indicate that symbolic racism is associated with gun-related attitudes and behaviours in US whites. The statistics on firearm-related suicides and homicides in the US might reasonably be expected to convince US citizens that action on reducing gun ownership and use would be beneficial to their health. Yet, US whites oppose strong gun reform more than all other racial groups, despite a much greater likelihood that whites will kill themselves with their guns (suicide), than be killed by someone else [1]. Black-on-black homicide rates would benefit most from gun reform, and, quite logically, blacks support these reforms even if whites do not [3], [47]. Symbolic racism appears to play a role in explaining gun ownership and paradoxical attitudes to gun control in US whites. In other words, despite certain policy changes potentially benefitting whites, anti-black prejudice leads people to oppose their implementation.

    But this is just putting data to the obvious. For fuck’s sake, after Trayvon Martin was murdered, some guy made gun targets featuring a silhouette in a hoodie holding Skittles and tea. And they sold out in two days. One of the people who bought them, or ones like them, was a police sergeant who brought them into work. (Which at least got him fired.)

  217. A. Noyd says

    Crip Dyke (#228)

    your reaction wasn’t reasonable. The original claim wasn’t ridiculous, and I resent your dishonest tactics.

    Thank you.

  218. latecomer says

    Fuckwit, loaded guns go off an shoot people in the ass. And unloaded gun never does that. But then, you are too arrogant to consider you are wrong on gun safety. Both you and I are safer when you aren’t carrying an loaded weapon.

    Geez, who pissed in your cereal? Yes, a loaded gun is more dangerous than an unloaded one. I guess to me, the idea of having a gun in public generally is not something that bothers me.

  219. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Unless there’s some reason why a person shouldn’t have a gun, it’s not anybody else’s business.

    Um, because the sole use of a gun is shooting things. And shooting people and other animals makes them bleed. Possibly to death.

    You enter a shopping mall with a loaded gun – you’re making a thread to everyone there, as far as I’m concerned.

  220. says

    Do the former make their guns glow purple, and the others make their guns glow yellow? Or do the Bad Gun Owners have lightning powers? Or do they just have different skin colors? Inquiring minds.

    At least when it comes to gun collectors, there’s one relatively easy way: Their “arsenal” of weapons usually consists mostly of antiques or near-antiques (guns that you’d typically mistake for hunting rifles; usually bolt-action, sometimes black powder).

    I inherited (and have slightly expanded) a moderately sized collection of old firearms a few years back (most are legitimate antiques; I doubt they even make bullets for most of them anymore; I wouldn’t try to shoot them, as I’m pretty sure most would break), mostly WWI and older. I only mention this because, in the context of a few people upthread saying “LEAVE THE GUN COLLECTORS ALONE!!1!!!11!!”, I don’t think I’ve ever felt anyone harass me about it.

    Why not? Because there’s a difference between being a collector of old firearms, and hoarding fucking modern military grade weapons. If you do the latter, I don’t see why you should be seen as only a “harmless collector”, especially if you also stockpile thousands of rounds of ammunition.

  221. latecomer says

    You cannot sensibly discuss politics while pretending that pointing out facts is “stereotyping.” From a study on gun ownership and racism:

    No facts were given. It was just a general statement made about gun owners that I thought was too general. I do realize that the original post said “many” instead of “most”, which was my mistake, but then a study was linked to that found that old, white, Republicans were more likely to be against gun control, followed by the statement that implied that being old, white, and Republican was a proxy for racist. And for the record I actually don’t disagree that there are some people who disagree with gun control based on racism. All I’m saying is I’m against making very general statements about a group of people without providing some evidence proving that.

  222. A. Noyd says

    latecomer (#240)

    All I’m saying is I’m against making very general statements about a group of people without providing some evidence proving that.

    I still don’t think you’ve grasped what I said. It sounds like you think the “group” I was talking about is “gun owners” when I originally specified a subset of them: overt racists. That there are a great number of gun owners who are overt racists is a general statement, sure, but it’s also a fact—a fact that really shouldn’t be controversial because it’s fucking obvious if you pay the slightest bit of attention to what’s going on in the world. (How could Trayvon Martin gun targets sell out in two days otherwise? I mean, hello?!) However, if you needed more goddamn evidence for it, I provided some in the comment you’re replying to. Why are you acting like you still have anything to complain about?

    By the way, I’ve asked more than once now for you to cough up some evidence in support of your belief that gun control won’t do much to decrease gun violence. Are you ever going to be forthcoming or are you going to duck out of that with “agree to disagree”?

  223. says

    Qualification to what I said above: When I say “military grade weapons”, I include almost all handguns made after 1900 in that category.

    I’m not sure I’d ban all of them, but anyone who wants to own a semi-automatic handgun had better at least be following basic safety (as Nerd said upthread, gun and ammo stored strictly separately).

  224. lochaber says

    I used to be really uncertain on the issue of firearms/2nd amendment stuff, but the more I interact with pro-gun folks, the less certain I find myself.

    Imagine a world where everyone wears an explosive collar around their neck. If I snap my fingers thrice and say “die, die, die” whilst looking at an individual, their collar pops and vaporizes their neck/decapitates them/whatever kills them.

    It’s not terribly hard to point out the problems with that scenario, and I would hope it’s rather hard to justify it.

    Is that scenario really that far removed from the idea that whoever can randomly carry whatever wherever?

  225. Nick Gotts says

    That’s true and he will hopefully serve time for that, as well as having his gun taken away, but that doesn’t refute anything I said. Unfortunately, people get murdered despite laws against that. – latecomer

    Yes, it does, because the evidence is clear: homicide rates are much higher in the gun-happy USA than in socio-economically comparable countries where gun ownership, and carrying guns in public places, is much more restricted. Guns make it easier to kill people. That, after all, is their primary function.

  226. robinjohnson says

    latecomer, #201:

    unless you’re trying to suggest that being old, white, and Republican makes one racist by default.

    One of these things is not like the others.

  227. voriank says

    “Because they are police officers, doesn’t that make you feel more at ease?”

    No, it really doesn’t. Why should it? With guns, the routine brutality and ineptitude of police become fatal. Being near armed police means everyone’s life is more at risk than would otherwise be the case.

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/02/01/boy-15-shot-dead-by-police-in-calumet-city/

    http://gawker.com/bart-cops-are-shooting-each-other-now-1506966025

    Seems like the habit of failing to test ideas against reality spreads from religion an infects every other discourse.

  228. ledasmom says

    ChasCPeterson @202:
    A minor quibble, but:

    Assuming equal numbers in the two categories, 100*(27/(16+27))= 63% of gunowners are over 30; we’ll call them “old”.

    It seems unlikely to me that the category “adults under 30″ and the category “all other adults” are in fact roughly equal in numbers, given average lifespans; the former contains only those from 18 to 30 and the latter contains everybody over 30. I may, however, be very wrong about this.

    latecomer @ many, many places:
    I am getting seriously annoyed at your use of mental illness as a proxy for dangerousness, and also at your use of the terms “crazy”, “madman”, etc. There is the offense to those of us who are living with mental issues without ever, you know, going out and killing anyone, and there is also the implication that extreme violence is the province mainly of people who do not choose to do it but are driven to it by forces beyond their control, that is, not the province of regular old ordinary people. Please do reconsider your language; it is not harmless and it is not trivial.

  229. says

    Unless there’s some reason why a person shouldn’t have a gun, it’s not anybody else’s business.

    It’s the business of everyone the gun-toter interacts with, because it’s a potential threat to their safety if his gun misfires or he misreads a situation and escalates it by pulling his gun. (And why would he carry a gun in public if he didn’t have at least some willingness to draw it?) Just like it’s everyone’s business if you drink and drive.

  230. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @robinjohnson

    I can just about stomach people having guns for hunting – guns that are designed for hunting, and not for killing people, which means no handguns or automatic guns of the kill-as-many-people-as-possible-before-you-get-shot-yourself design.

    Agreed. I see no reason for anyone to own a handgun or automatic weapon.

    Still, plenty of people on threads like this, who say perfectly rational things about other people’s guns, love to spout “personal defence” and other bullshit excuses when it comes to their own.

    Also agreed. But just because they all think they’re responsible doesn’t mean they all are, nor does it mean that none of them are. There are responsible gun owners out there. The problem is, they don’t tend to be the ones who come online to talk about their guns.

  231. says

    There are responsible gun owners out there. The problem is, they don’t tend to be the ones who come online to talk about their guns.

    They also don’t tend to be the ones who mindlessly equate guns with FREEEEEDOOOM!!! without even trying to show any kind of cause-and-effect link.

  232. jefrir says

    unless you’re trying to suggest that being old, white, and Republican makes one racist by default.

    Have you not been paying attention at all?

  233. says

    latecomer:

    Unless there’s some reason why a person shouldn’t have a gun, it’s not anybody else’s business.

    If guns were toys, I’d agree.
    Guns, however, are weapons of death used by too many irresponsible people (many of whom claim to be responsible). Too many people are injured or killed by the use of guns. This is a public health issue that IMO trumps your right to have a gun. Other peoples’ safety is more important than your right to own a gun.

    Also, what reason do most people need a gun for anyway?
    Aside from occupations where using guns is deemed necessary, I fail to see why the average citizen needs a gun. Leaving aside the right to own a gun, I’ve not seen reasonable evidence backed justification for owning a gun. Guns are not something humans *need*, and I loathe the fact that people in the US treat having a gun right up there with free speech and bodily autonomy.

  234. says

    latecomer:

    As for carrying guns in public, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because I don’t think that it makes anyone less safe in general.

    Is this an opinion backed by evidence?
    Or do you have this opinion despite verifying whether or not it is true?

  235. A. Noyd says

    Tony (#253)

    I loathe the fact that people in the US treat having a gun right up there with free speech and bodily autonomy.

    I could wish we did half so well at protecting our right to bodily autonomy as we do with guns.

  236. says

    latecomer:

    As for carrying guns in public, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree because I don’t think that it makes anyone less safe in general.

    Call them what they are. Machines made for the singular purpose of punching fucking gert holes in flesh, causing massive blood-loss and shock damage to internal organs; usually with fatal consequences. And yet you “don’t think that it makes anyone less safe in general”?

  237. says

    @198 Who is saying either of those things?—

    I stated the post I was responded to, and even quoted directly from it. For additional reference, see the posts of the wingnut anteprepro.

    —-Do you think Schrodinger’s Rapist says the latter?—

    Since I know you can’t possibly be that stupid, I’m going to ignore this question due to it being in bad faith.

  238. says

    @237—Yes, a loaded gun is more dangerous than an unloaded one.—

    ERROR ERROR ERROR

    There is no such thing as an unloaded gun. I don’t care if you just unwrapped the thing from it’s factory brand spanking new packaging, you treat it like a loaded deadly weapon that can end someone’s life if aimed in their general direction.

    There is absolutely no reason to carry your gun around the general public. Zip, zero, zilch, nada. The only reason your gun should be outside it’s safe is if you are using it or carrying it to or from the location where you use it.

    Since the reasons for that are apparently not immediately obvious to you, I’ll give you one –

    It is ridiculously easy to wrestle a gun out away from someone. In fact, that’s also a reason guns suck as a personal safety device. If someone is closer to you than 30-60 feet, YOU WILL NOT be able to get your gun out and aimed before they are on you. And if they are powerful enough that you felt like you needed to defend yourself with a gun, they’d have been successful in getting the gun away from you. Your gun would be no more useful to you than your television remote. What it may very well be doing though, is firing off wildly in multiple directions, endangering everyone around you.

    In fact, that’s an additional reason we can know Zimmerman was full of shit. If Martin actually was able to overpower him and put him in fear for his life, Martin would also have been able to get the gun away from Zimmerman and either get rid of it or use it on Zimmerman himself. The chances of Zimmerman managing to get his gun out for a successful kill are pretty damn astronomical.

    But if you don’t believe this, I offer you a challenge. Find someone you find physically intimidating, the kind of person who could, in theory, put you in fear of your life with just their presence if they happened to make some kind of threatening move. Bring a watergun. Holster said watergun. Now, ask the person to get the watergun away from you, while you try to shoot them with the watergun. Good luck. Getting plastic shards out of your hand can be really painful, so you’ll likely remember this object lesson for a good long while.

  239. A. Noyd says

    @WithinThisMind (#257)
    I’m asking you to name who’s saying that because, whoever they are, anteprepro ain’t one of them. Anteprepro explicitly said, “Merely possessing a gun doesn’t make a person The Problem.” Yet, your reaction to them suggests you think they said the opposite. It seems like you’re mischaracterizing their argument about being able to tell the difference between criminal and responsible gun owners in the same way that many people mischaracterize the point of Schrodinger’s Rapist—an analogy, I’ll remind you, you brought up. So no, I’m not asking about your understanding of SR in bad faith; I’m asking because I’m trying to figure out what the fuck you think the connection is to what anteprepro was saying. Stop beating around the bush.

    (#258)

    If someone is closer to you than 30-60 feet, YOU WILL NOT be able to get your gun out and aimed before they are on you

    Also, it turns out a lot of people are reluctant to hurt others, even at risk to their own life. Even supposing you can get the gun out and aimed, you still need the will to shoot. You need to be able to decide, within a split second, to risk killing another person. This puts a defender at a serious disadvantage against someone who is already determined to harm them.

  240. says

    Like I pointed out to you already – clearly stated in my post where I quoted the person who said ‘anyone who owns a gun is part of the problem’, (you know, the one you are responding to of mine that it probably would have been helpful for you to actually read) the post I was addressing was post 89. You may also want to look at post 123.

    Antepropro is saying many other stupid things, some of which I called out before I figured out Iw as wasting my time, which is why I used the hush feature on zir. See post 124 for an example of those aforementioned ‘stupid things’. 175 does the same thing. Over and over, ‘responsible gun owners are a fantasy race’, responsible gun owners don’t exist. The statement that the ‘divide between Criminal and Responsible Gun Owner’ is imaginary. Some of your own posts aren’t much better. You’ll also find that when I first brought up Shrodinger’s rapist, I included the actual quote to which I was responding.

    I am now done doing your homework for you. If you have further questions regarding who said what, I suggest you use your browser’s handy little ‘find’ feature.

    Since you missed it during your skimming instead of actually reading, I’d like to point out you never addressed the question I asked you in my post 160. I’d still really like to know what exactly in my posts gave you the impression I was supporting giving all gun owners the ‘benefit of the doubt’?

  241. anteprepro says

    Antepropro is saying many other stupid things, some of which I called out before I figured out Iw as wasting my time, which is why I used the hush feature on zir.

    You called me out on something? You are so incoherent, I hardly noticed!

    Over and over, ‘responsible gun owners are a fantasy race’, responsible gun owners don’t exist.

    Wow, you are an incredible fuck wit, I don’t even…

    The point was that CRIMINALS are treated like a fantasy race. Like orcs. Like people who are somehow, magically, OBVIOUSLY distinguished from everyone else. You take away the exact opposite: that I am implying that responsible gun owners don’t exist. No, you fucking moron: I am saying that “criminals” aren’t some obvious, monolithic group that you can easily point a finger at and are the source of all of society’s woes. Like you and your fellow mouth-breathers believe.

    I’d still really like to know what exactly in my posts gave you the impression I was supporting giving all gun owners the ‘benefit of the doubt’?

    Because no-one has any clue what your stance on the matter actually is, because you are the textual equivalent of Rush Limbaugh gargling marbles?

  242. anteprepro says

    Ha, you disingenuous fuck: You already know I am not dismissing the existence of responsible gun owners. You cite my 175 as “the same thing” you claim to be whining about, and yet in 175 I am pretty much only talking about how gun fetishists have a very peculiar definition of Criminal. As I intended from the start.

    Nice try though, you almost made me think I had genuinely been misread, instead of deliberately misinterpretted! What a relief!

    Go fuck yourself, WithinThisMind.

  243. A. Noyd says

    WithinThisMind (#260)

    Like I pointed out to you already – clearly stated in my post where I quoted the person who said ‘anyone who owns a gun is part of the problem’,

    That’s not a quote of what robinjohnson said in #89, which was “Gun owners aren’t just part of the problem; they are the problem.” However, I’m not going to get into whether robinjohnson meant what you think they meant by this because what they meant is not really pertinent to my quibble with you. What is pertinent is that “robinjohnson” is not “anteprepro.” (As for Raging Bee in #123, you’d do well to look at who they’re disagreeing with. Spoiler: it’s anteprepro.)

    See post 124 for an example of those aforementioned ‘stupid things’.

    Yes, #124 is the issue because you don’t understand what it says. Here’s what anteprepro is saying:
    1) What separates good/responsible gun owners from criminal/irresponsible gun owners is: having done something criminal/irresponsible. However, gun-fondlers imagine these categories have zero overlap.
    2) Bad gun owners do not come with handy and obvious labels to separate them [reliably] from good gun owners.
    3) Guns, being weapons are inherently dangerous.
    4) Lack of concern is an idiotic default position to have towards people carrying guns around because accidents and stupid people happen.

    I’m not sure what’s controversial about any of that.

    Here’s what anteprepro is not saying:
    1) “Gun owners aren’t just part of the problem; they are the problem.”
    2) “Responsible gun owners are a fantasy race.”
    3) “Responsible gun owners don’t exist.”
    4) Nothing separates good gun owners from bad ones.
    5) All gun owners are bad people and part of the problem.

    The statement that the ‘divide between Criminal and Responsible Gun Owner’ is imaginary.

    The actual quote is: “Again, imaginary mental divide between Criminal and Responsible Gun Owner at work here.” Note the use of the word “mental” and the capital letters. Anteprepro is not referring to actual criminal gun owners and responsible gun owners—who are separated by having done something criminal with a gun—but the concepts (of the same name) in the minds of people like latecomer. The imaginary part is that the categories are, have been, and always will be separate.

    It’s like how the separation between caterpillars and butterflies isn’t imaginary, but some ignorant people might believe caterpillars and butterflies are wholly separate creatures having nothing to do with one another. Metamorphosis isn’t imaginary, but whatever “mental divide” those ignorant people are putting between caterpillars and butterflies is imaginary.

    You’ll also find that when I first brought up Shrodinger’s rapist, I included the actual quote to which I was responding.

    Yes, but in the bit you quoted, anteprepro is only saying bad gun owners do not come with handy labels to separate them [reliably] from good gun owners. From your immediate reply and you subsequent ones, you think anteprepro is saying “all gun owners are bad people and part of the problem.” (Either that, or you think Schrodinger’s Rapist says all men are bad people and part of the problem—hence my question.) Now, maybe “all gun owners are bad people and part of the problem” is what robinjohnson meant, but it’s definitely not what anteprepro, whom you’re quoting, said. Got it? (Lest you think it’s me who’s misinterpreting anteprepro, take a look at comments #261 and #262.)

    If you have further questions regarding who said what, I suggest you use your browser’s handy little ‘find’ feature.

    Alas, my browser’s “find” feature cannot find people saying things they never actually said. An egregious oversight on the part of the Firefox people, I’m sure.

    I’d like to point out you never addressed the question I asked you in my post 160. I’d still really like to know what exactly in my posts gave you the impression I was supporting giving all gun owners the ‘benefit of the doubt’?

    Well, I addressed it indirectly first in #164, where I said “That’s not what you were replying to was saying,” and again in #198 where I said, “Then #177 should have been your response to #124.” If it’s still not clear, the impression came from how you were using SR to object to what anteprepro said when their argument was actually similar to the justification in SR for not automatically giving men the benefit of the doubt: That while not all men [gun owners] are bad people and part of the problem, the problematic men [gun owners] don’t come with labels allowing us to reliably distinguish them from the non-problematic ones.

  244. says

    I am fully capable of reading what antepropro said. You may have chosen to interpret zir differently, that’s your call. I chose to go by what was actually said in the posts, because intent is not fucking magic.

    Yes, I was using SR to object to what anteprepro said because in the context of the argument, anteprepro was and still is failing to understand that there are responsible gun owners out there as well as legitimate reasons to own firearms, including handguns.

    And it’s funny how you eventually managed to find the post saying all gun owners are part of the problem, in spite of claiming such a post didn’t exist. Even after I pointed out the post number multiple times, as well as other posts that said very similar things. You know, all those things that you are claiming anteprepro never said that you nonetheless quoted directly from anteprepro’s posts.

    And now we are up to the differences between a responsible gun owner and a criminal is the same as the difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly. Yet another insultingly failed analogy – not all responsible gun owners become criminals. Not even all irresponsible gun owners become criminals. The difference between a responsible gun owner and a criminal is much more akin to the difference between a man and a rapist, which is why I brought up SR instead of the ‘fantasy race’ bullshit. Not all gun owners are ‘criminals’ and it is insulting and stupid to suggest that they are. However, any gun owner could be a ‘criminal’, and thus it behooves responsible gun owners to do what they can to eliminate smoke screens and better emphasize the difference between themselves and the ‘criminals’.

    I’ve hushed anteprepro. I have no intention of reading any of zir further rantings on the subject nor to continue to wade through the incoherency of zir ‘analogy’.

  245. A. Noyd says

    WithinThisMind (#264)

    I am fully capable of reading what antepropro said.

    All the evidence shows otherwise. But all right, O Fully Capable Reader, what does the fourth sentence of #116 say? Humor me: ________________________________________________.

    You may have chosen to interpret zir differently, that’s your call.

    Did Your Fully Capable Readingness bother to apply those fully capable reading skills to the parenthetical above where I suggested looking at comments #261 and #262 if you were concerned the error in interpretation might be mine and not yours? I mean, you’re entitled to keep those comments hushed, but you’re not entitled to pretend that there’s still any question of which of us has the correct interpretation when that has been resolved by the comments you refuse to look at.

    I chose to go by what was actually said in the posts

    Blatantly untrue. See below.

    anteprepro was and still is failing to understand that there are responsible gun owners out there as well as legitimate reasons to own firearms, including handguns.

    Anteprepro’s own damn words: “You already know I am not dismissing the existence of responsible gun owners.” (Oops, sorry, that was from #262.) This is consistent with what you should be putting in the blank above from #116.

    And it’s funny how you eventually managed to find the post saying all gun owners are part of the problem, in spite of claiming such a post didn’t exist. Even after I pointed out the post number multiple times, as well as other posts that said very similar things.

    I didn’t claim the post didn’t exist; I just knew that if anyone was saying “all gun owners are bad people and part of the problem,” it wasn’t anteprepro. If I thought such a post didn’t exist, I would have just said so.

    Furthermore, the only time you pointed out the post number in response to my question was in #260, after which I have consistently acknowledged that #89 does say something similar to your paraphrase. The only other time you mentioned the number was in #113, well before I’d asked. In #257, your response to me was that you had “stated the post [you were] respond[ing] to, and even quoted directly from it.” However, the post I was questioning you about—the one that invoked SR—wasn’t #113, but #152, where you were quoting anteprepro‘s #124 and not robinjohonson‘s #89.

    And if all the people you pointed to are saying similar things, why did anteprepro say of robinjohonson’s #89 that “The comment you replied to was definitely over the top”? Why was Raging Bee’s comment #123 in disagreement with anteprepro’s #116? The people you claim are saying very similar things are demonstrably disagreeing with one another!

    You know, all those things that you are claiming anteprepro never said that you nonetheless quoted directly from anteprepro’s posts.

    !???!??!?

    #1 is a quote of robinjohonson; #2, 3 and 5 are quotes of you, and #4 is my paraphrase of your misinterpretation of the first part of post #124. The only post by anteprepro where any of the five items in my list appears is #261, where anteprepro is quoting you. Unhush them and use your browser’s handy little “find” feature if you don’t believe me.

    Given this and your preference for slapping quote marks around shit that isn’t verbatim, I don’t think you know what the words “quote” and “quote directly” even mean.

    And now we are up to the differences between a responsible gun owner and a criminal is the same as the difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly.

    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

    AAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHH!!

    The analogy is meant to illustrate how two different sets of people (gun control advocates vs. gun-fondlers) think about the difference between responsible gun owners and criminals. Gun control advocates understand that one group can become members of the other group whereas gun-fondlers fantasize that there is some insurmountable difference between the two—that they’re effectively two separate races (like dwarves and orcs) rather than different forms of the same creature separated by a particular event that (like metamorphosis) changes one into the other. You, me and anteprepro are all in the former group, the gun control advocates. Anteprepro was criticizing latecomer for expressing the ignorance of the latter group, the gun-fondlers.

    Yet another insultingly failed analogy – not all responsible gun owners become criminals.

    Whereas… all caterpillars become butterflies?! I think you need to stop embezzling from the Department of Utter Fucking Nonsense.

    The difference between a responsible gun owner and a criminal is much more akin to the difference between a man and a rapist

    Beyond the fact that that in both cases you often don’t find out who the bad guys are until it’s too late, it’s a terrible analogy. The default use of a penis is not “raping” whereas the default use of a gun is “killing.” You can’t drop a penis and have it go off in some unwilling person’s orifices. A man left around the house won’t be picked up by a child and used to rape themselves or someone else. There is no situation where a man could threaten someone with his penis and still be a good man, but there are situations where a person could threaten someone with a gun and still be a good person. And so on.

    However, any gun owner could be a ‘criminal’

    *lolsob*

    That. Is. What. Anteprepro. Is. Saying! They brought up “fantasy races” as a description of how gun-fondlers, and not they themselves, think of the difference between responsible gun owners vs. criminal/irresponsible ones. “Criminal and Responsible Gun Owner,” written with capital letters, also refers to those categories from the distorted perspective of gun-fondlers; where they refer to actual criminal and responsible gun owners, as found in reality, they use lowercase.

    If you weren’t so thoroughly failing at reading comprehension, you would realize that your actual quarrel with anteprepro is over whether everyone’s safety would be sufficiently guaranteed by responsible gun owners doing more to distinguish themselves from criminals, or if guns (though, not necessarily all guns) need to be taken away from everyone.

    No, really, that is the main point of contention between you two so far. Well, except now anteprepro is offended by your extreme obtuseness and thinks you’re lying about what they said on purpose. At this point, I can’t really fault them for that.

    I have no intention…to continue to wade through the incoherency of zir ‘analogy’.

    The butterfly analogy was my analogy. And neither of our analogies is incoherent if you stop ignoring the motherfucking context.

  246. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @WithinThisMind

    You are seriously misinterpreting anteprepro. So badly, in fact, that I am tempted to accuse you of bad faith, because I genuinely have trouble believing that anyone can be so stupid as to read a whole series of posts and somehow interpret them as saying exactly the opposite of what they are actually saying.

  247. says

    @265 —I didn’t claim the post didn’t exist; I just knew that if anyone was saying “all gun owners are bad people and part of the problem,” it wasn’t anteprepro. If I thought such a post didn’t exist, I would have just said so.—

    And yet, I stated what post I was responding to when I pulled the quote.

    —where I suggested looking at comments #261 and #262—

    Do you not know what I mean when I ‘hush’ someone?

    —-The default use of a penis is not “raping” whereas the default use of a gun is “killing.” —

    Here we go again….The ‘default’ use of a penis is penetrative sex. The default use of a gun is ‘killing’. Irresponsible use of a penis involves STDs and pictures sent over the net, irresponsible use of a firearm involves property damage and mishandling. Criminal use of a penis involves a lack of consent, criminal use of a firearm involves using it on people.

    The ‘default’ uses of most firearms owned by the general public these days is either sitting in a safe or target shooting.

    There are 300 million firearms owned in the US, with about 30,000 gun deaths per year.
    There are 250 million vehicles owned in the US, with about 30,000 auto-related deaths per year.

    You should always pay attention to the other drivers around you. You should never treat a gun like it is unloaded. People who misuse either should lose their privileges. And yes, sometimes tragic accidents where no one is at fault do occur.

    —-They brought up “fantasy races” as a description of how gun-fondlers, and not they themselves, think of the difference between responsible gun owners vs. criminal/irresponsible ones.—

    I KNOW WHAT ZIE SAID.

    But there are real differences between responsible drivers/gun owners and irresponsible drivers/gun owners. And there are, contrary to what you seem to think, very real differences between responsible drivers/gun owners and criminal drivers/gun owners. A criminal driver/gun owner is one operating the gun/vehicle illegally and using it with the intention of committing a crime. Zimmerman had his guns with the intention of using them to commit a crime – that being to potentially kill minorities. He is a criminal gun owner. The guy who is the main reason I quit going to the local range likes to wave his gun around and doesn’t secure it properly when not in use. He is an irresponsible gun owner.

    It’s not an ‘imaginary’ divide, I went through and listed many behaviors that separate an irresponsible gun owner from a responsible gun owner. Anyone who has spent time around gun owners or taken a basic gun safety class could compile a similar list for you fairly rapidly. ‘Criminal’ is not a fantasy race, it’s a type of behavior that involves intending to break or actually breaking the law. There is a divide between a ‘normal’ gun owner and a ‘criminal’ gun owner just like there is a divide between a ‘man’ and a ‘rapist’.

    So yes, even an NRA member gun-fondler can say ‘I am not a criminal or irresponsible gun owner, and you shouldn’t treat me like I am’ and be completely accurate just as even an MRA can say ‘I am not a rapist and you shouldn’t treat me like I am’. And you know what? You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t point at a gun owner and say ‘criminal’ anymore than you should point at a man and say ‘rapist’. But that also doesn’t mean you are obligated to allow guns into your building or go on a date.

    I am a gun owner. I am not a criminal. I should not be treated like a criminal. Which means, among other things, that you have no right to confiscate any of my firearms. No, not even my handgun. No, not even the rifle that is technically ‘military grade’ because I wanted a gun that wasn’t finicky to maintain. If at some point I misuse the gun (fail to secure, carry it in public where I’m not allowed, blah blah blah) then a reevaluation can be made. And there is no reason to stop me from buying firearms (or flamethrowers, or sharks) for that matter, if I have a use for them and can keep them safe and properly maintained. As long as I’m willing to prove I will use them properly, keep them safe, and maintain them.

    —if you stop ignoring the motherfucking context.—

    Yes, please, stop ignoring the motherfucking context. Read the entire goddamn thread, and if you are going to respond to my posts, actually read them so we don’t have to play the ‘golly gee I can’t figure out what you were responding to in spite of you pulling a direct quote and citing the post number’ game anymore.

    @267 —You are seriously misinterpreting anteprepro. —

    No, I don’t believe I am. I’m not being as charitable in my interpretations as you are though.

    I’m also done with this particular derail.

  248. anteprepro says

    Here’s what anteprepro is saying:
    1) What separates good/responsible gun owners from criminal/irresponsible gun owners is: having done something criminal/irresponsible. However, gun-fondlers imagine these categories have zero overlap.
    2) Bad gun owners do not come with handy and obvious labels to separate them [reliably] from good gun owners.
    3) Guns, being weapons are inherently dangerous.
    4) Lack of concern is an idiotic default position to have towards people carrying guns around because accidents and stupid people happen.

    I’m not sure what’s controversial about any of that.

    Here’s what anteprepro is not saying:
    1) “Gun owners aren’t just part of the problem; they are the problem.”
    2) “Responsible gun owners are a fantasy race.”
    3) “Responsible gun owners don’t exist.”
    4) Nothing separates good gun owners from bad ones.
    5) All gun owners are bad people and part of the problem.

    Just confirming: Yes, this is pretty much exactly what I was saying.

    No, WithinThisMind, your reading is completely wrong and you seem to be the only one misinterpretting me in this way. Very convenient that you have “hushed” me though, since I am fairly certain your misinterpretation is quite deliberate.

    Yes, I was using SR to object to what anteprepro said because in the context of the argument, anteprepro was and still is failing to understand that there are responsible gun owners out there as well as legitimate reasons to own firearms, including handguns.

    I am failing to understand that there are responsible gun owners? No, you are failing to READ.

    Though I will admit I “fail” to understand these legitimate reasons to own firearms. The most legitimate reason for owning firearms is that the world is dangerous because other people own firearms. Also: for hunting. Everything else boils down to “ooo, but I have such a nice, shiny gun collection” and “guns are fun lulz”. Neither of which require guns that are fully functional and lethal.

    And it’s funny how you eventually managed to find the post saying all gun owners are part of the problem

    lolwut?

    Really, why would I expect a gun fetishist to be able to read, and argue coherently, and use logic? I’ve never met one before who was capable of any of that, so why should WithinThisMind be the miraculous exception to the rule? I was just setting myself up for disappointment.

  249. anteprepro says

    No, not even the rifle that is technically ‘military grade’ because I wanted a gun that wasn’t finicky to maintain.

    And the idiot probably doesn’t even realize that the only person who was opposed to this arbitrary “military grade” of weaponry in particular was a fellow gun fetishist. But don’t let that stop the crocodile tears!

  250. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Ateprepro

    Their weird mischaracterisation of you aside, I do think it’s unfair to call WithinThisMind a gun-fetishist. From what I’ve read of them, it would appear they use their guns only for hunting or range sports, and otherwise keep the damn things locked away, unloaded and made safe; and generally respects them for the lethal killing tools that they are. That, to me, is a responsible gun owner.

  251. anteprepro says

    Responsible gun owner and gun fetishist aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s the politics, the irrational support of MAH RIGHTS, and the reckless disregard for the cost of those rights, that makes one a gun-fondler/gun-fetishist/gun nut. At least that’s how I see it.

  252. anteprepro says

    But in truth, I can’t gather what WithinThisMind actually holds for opinions, aside from severely disliking the straw version of myself, so you are right Thumper, I might actually be unfair calling them that. Not sure how much it matters, because they aren’t reading what I say anyway, but there you have it.

  253. A. Noyd says

    @WithinThisMind (#268)

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    Other than your objection to my objection to your penis-gun analogy, everything you took issue with in this reply is covered by my other replies to you. Everything. I don’t know how many times I could say that neither anteprepro nor myself believes in an imaginary divide before you’d finally acknowledge it. Well, the answer is now theoretical anyway, since you’re “done with this particular derail.” And I’m ending this whole farce here, myself. You can only bash your head against a brick wall for so long.