What a mess »« Relaxing in Seattle

“Defend” does not mean “kill”

We had another terrible person armed with a gun swagger into a peaceable place here in the Pacific Northwest, and he callously killed one person and wounded three others at Seattle Pacific University before he was stopped. The student who stopped him used a can of mace to do so. That was brilliant: why don’t we endorse the use of non-lethal weaponry by our citizens? There’s no need for guns. The whole NRA/gun-fondler argument for the necessity of self-defense is taken care of by weapons that don’t kill people.

Comments

  1. says

    Killing them guarantees they won’t do that sort of thing again. The upside is one less homicidal maniac on the streets or one less prisoner the tax payers have to support.

  2. says

    Oh. We have a new gunfondler on the block.

    It also increases the likelihood of other innocents getting killed, and why should atheists endorse terminating human lives for any reason?

  3. says

    Some people really do love the idea of shooting the criminal. I have been reading comments on articles about the arrest of Justin Bourque in Moncton today, and so many self identified Americans were rather disappointed the RCMP did not kill him. Shoot the bad person, even if they no longer pose a threat seems to be a popular sentiment.

  4. drken says

    There’s a lot to be said for non-lethal weapons. But, the downside is that they tend to make people (law enforcement included) trigger happy, resulting in a lot of people getting pepper-sprayed, tazered, etc for no good reason (see Bologna, Tony).

  5. David Marjanović says

    Killing them guarantees they won’t do that sort of thing again. The upside is one less homicidal maniac on the streets or one less prisoner the tax payers have to support.

    Judge, jury, and executioner, all in one. Wonderful.

    Have you no shame?

    [“]Shoot the bad person, even if they no longer pose a threat[“] seems to be a popular sentiment.

    There seem to be lots of Americans who believe the just punishment for trespassing is death.

  6. David Marjanović says

    But, the downside is that they tend to make people (law enforcement included) trigger happy

    Frankly, in the US, I don’t know if that would make a difference.

  7. remyporter says

    I’m fine with that, but in many jurisdictions, less-than-lethal weapons are regulated with the same strictness as the more lethal varieties- and in many places, they’re banned outright.

    I find myself remembering the episode of MacGyver where he foiled a grocery store hold-up by improvising pepper spray and using a hot-water bottle as a delivery mechanism.

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

    @David Marjanović

    in the US, I don’t know if that would make a difference.

    It has. There have been studies. I could look up sources if you like, but I don’t have any off the top of my head. I’ve only read public reportage referencing the studies, not the studies themselves.

    That doesn’t mean people haven’t been saved b/c a cop shot with a taser where in the past a gun would be used. It just means that there are, in fact, dangers that must be countered with training and oversight and culture. Police depts in the US have not – in my uniformed impression – done a good job of that.

  9. Al Dente says

    David Marjanović @6

    There seem to be lots of Americans who believe the just punishment for trespassing is death.

    George Zimmerman wouldn’t disagree.

  10. troll says

    The pepper sprayer got the gunman while he was reloading too. It’s almost like magazine size has some impact on how much damage a shooter can do.

  11. David Marjanović says

    It just means that there are, in fact, dangers that must be countered with training and oversight and culture. Police depts in the US have not – in my uniformed impression – done a good job of that.

    I see.

    George Zimmerman wouldn’t disagree.

    Oh, Trayvon Martin didn’t even trespass.

  12. Shatterface says

    This wasn’t a cop, it was a member of the public.

    Endorsing the widespread carrying of ‘non-lethal’ weapons (i.e. weapons that only kill a minority of the time) on the slight chance you might encounter a spree killer and get close enough to spray him is still putting more weapons on the street.

    Mace is useful for self-defence but also for incapacitating people for robbery or rape. If everyone is carrying it there’s no way to establish criminal intent.

  13. says

    The news around here the last few days has been a gun nut on a rampage. He shot and killed three police officers and wounded two others.
    The police tracked him down, surrounded him and………arrested him!!?! What? No on the spot justice?
    Instead he will get a trial and I don’t get to choose what will happen next.
    Did I mention that I live in Canada?

  14. davidnangle says

    “…why don’t we endorse the use of non-lethal weaponry by our citizens? There’s no need for guns.”

    But… penis!

  15. says

    @14
    Shatterface

    If everyone is carrying it there’s no way to establish criminal intent.

    I’m not sure there is a way to establish criminal intent if only some people carry those…

    but ya, the idea that arming people will favor defenders over attackers, and decrease overall occurrence of assaults, sounds dubious to me.

  16. nich says

    Anytime somebody brings up mace or pepper spray or tasers or some other (mostly) non-lethal method of self defense, you always have that one person who wades in with some wild example of some drugged out super-human cannibal who kept going no matter how many times he was tazed or sprayed and the only thing that stopped him from eating some person’s face was the hero with a gun.

    To the person typing up the super human zombie scenario right now: please shut the fuck up.

  17. says

    I do believe that there is a place for firearms in self defence. I think that in most cases less lethal defence tools (pepper spray, Taser, stun gun, baton, etc.) can be very effective. There will always be some, usually vary rare, where the appropiate defense tool is a firearm.

  18. funknjunk says

    @ 2 PZ – Oh, PZ, you know that a good gunfondler NEVER misses … excepting in all those YouTube videos in which they shoot themselves in the foot … or shoot someone else by accident, or …. etc. etc. Those videos must be fake. Anti-gun propaganda …

  19. psychodago says

    I favor *RESPONSIBLE* gun ownership..and my definition of responsible currently EXCLUDES me…thus, I own no guns. The vast majority of gun owners in the US are not responsible, either. And as far as gun control laws…the ones already on the books are not being enforced..let’s try enforcing the extant ones before passing more.

    I am in favor of the death penalty *AS A CONCEPT*, I believe certain crimes should forfeit your life. But in the real world, there’s a LOT of room for an innocent person to be wrongly convicted….you can set free and pay a ton of money to someone been in prison for fifteen years, you can’t unkill a person. So in the real world, I think it’s a bad idea.

    “A good guy with a gun” here might have prevented any deaths…or, far more likely scenario (if he was typical of most American gun owners) he would have hit several innocent bystanders before managing (if he even could) hit the actual perpetrator. Pepper Spray is VERY short ranged, it took a tremendous amount of courage for this guy to close in and use it.

  20. cjcmd says

    There was a man breaking into houses in my neighborhood many years back. He broke into ours, stealing money, a camera and the keys to our car parked outside. He broke into my neighbors house the next night; she caught him, tried to tase him but failed, and then was raped, beaten, strangled and left for dead. The ineffective police didn’t find him until the following week when he lay dead, shot three times by a homeowner who he tried to attack.

    I’m not a gun nut and, other than a few inherited relics, have never owned one. But the experience of having a potential murderer/rapist wandering my home while my wife and infant son slept is enough to make me reject your simplistic platitudes.

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

    @Shatterface, #14:

    If everyone is carrying it there’s no way to establish criminal intent.

    and brainpansky, #17:

    I’m not sure there is a way to establish criminal intent if only some people carry those…

    I’m not sure either of you understand mens rea. It has multiple levels, and the details of what constitutes it vary with jurisdiction. As a result, depending on the crime, the involvement or non-involvement of a weapon like pepper spray and the ubiquity or non-ubiquity of such a weapon in the society of the accused seem unlikely to play a big role in determining the difficulty of proving mens rea.

  22. nich says

    But the experience of having a potential murderer/rapist wandering my home while my wife and infant son slept is enough to make me reject your simplistic platitudes.

    You broke my irony meter!!!

  23. Menyambal says

    Cool story, cjcmd. But what if you replace one word? ” … tried to shoot him but failed.”

    The bullet goes on out and hits someone. The criminal takes the gun … And, as we know, the brave homeowner shoots the wrong person, or himself.

    Yes, that was a bad thing to have happen, but your snark does not invalidate all the facts. Nor are more guns better than better cops.

    Notice, also, that the frightening number of homes with guns in this country did not deter your thief.

  24. twas brillig (stevem) says

    tried to tase him but failed,

    Did she fail to taze him, or did the tazer fail to work? Either way, it reads like you are advocating the, “Only way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.” But before I libel you, clarify.
    .
    re mace:
    Yes, mace is tightly regulated. To get mace to fend off potential bear attacks, it seemed you had to jump through more hoops than getting a gun. And guns are _not_ an adequate defense against bears. You can shoot one, point blank, and it can still rip you to shreds before it croaks, while mace is nearly 100% effective, one spray and it will deflect. Why are the police more afraid of mace than guns? [lookin at NRA lobby]

  25. nich says

    @cjmcd:

    I’m not a gun nut and, other than a few inherited relics, have never owned one.

    Lemme guess: rough men stand ready or some shit?

  26. mothra says

    @cjcmd- What would the scenario have been if you kept an easily accessible loaded gun (only useful type for home defense) and either a) the intruder gets to it before you do, b) In your panicked state the intruder takes it from you after you have missed a shot or two, c) You wound the intruder who now sees his only purpose is to kill you, c) Your child of a few years older finds it, d) One of your child’s friends finds it. Replay all of these scenarios with ‘bear pepper spray’ instead of ‘loaded gun.’ This is about as easy as the lesson can get.

  27. Thomathy, Do Not Upset Me Ahead of World Pride says

    matthewgreene @ #19

    I do believe that there is a place for firearms in self defence.

    How? For whom?

    21
    psychodago @ #19

    I favor *RESPONSIBLE* gun ownership

    Why is it that I always read this followed by statements similar to those made in the rest of your post? You know, you don’t need to hedge.

    Why should there be gun ownership at all? If we’re dealing in hypotheticals, like responsible gun fondlership, it shouldn’t be that difficult not to specifically give over room for fondlership at all.

    Then there’s this:

    I am in favor of the death penalty *AS A CONCEPT*, I believe certain crimes should forfeit your life.

    What? You like the concept of murdering in revenge, but dislike it in practicality only because innocent people may be murdered due to the imperfection of reality?

    Your morals are fucked.

    22
    cjcmd @ #22

    You might have cautioned people about the content of your post. If not for the stupidity, then for the triggers.

    I’m not a gun nut and, other than a few inherited relics, have never owned one. But the experience of having a potential murderer/rapist wandering my home while my wife and infant son slept is enough to make me reject your simplistic platitudes.

    Nothing about this paragraph makes any sense. It is, quite literally, meaningless.

  28. says

    Silly side note: Mace and pepper spray are not the same thing. To my knowledge, nobody makes mace based defense sprays.

    I can attest to the staggering pain and dibilitating nausea that pepper spray can cause. I was sprayed for training and then had to retain my sidearm and engage several targets. It sucked. A lot. I would rather be tased 100 times than take a blast of pepper spray.

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

    @cjcmd:

    the experience of having a potential murderer/rapist wandering my home while my wife and infant son slept is enough to make me reject your simplistic platitudes.

    I have in my research files a newspaper – I won’t go looking it up just now, but this was the Oregonian in late winter/early spring of 2004. They published an Associate Press provided “humor” column called “the Edge”. It was supposed to be “edgy” humor. On this day the topic was “dumb/incompetent criminals”.

    The longest feature of the day (still not long – 75 words? these were short blurbs) was about a man on a date who discovered that his date was an MtF trans* person. In the middle of the restaurant/bar/pub he pulled out a gun and began firing at the trans person, who fled the threat of lethal force. Later, when the trans* person came back to collect belonging left behind, including a purse, the still-present assailant shot at her again. The punchline at the end was that the criminal missed with every single shot, both times.

    Note that hours passed between the first assault and the second, and no one at the bar saw fit to kick the assailant out or stop serving him alcohol.

    So excuse me if I assume your story is true but the experience of having a potential murderer wandering my home town while my partner and kids live, sleep, travel, shop and play within stray-bullet range of a tranny is enough to make me reject your simplistic platitudes.

  30. says

    tomathy@#29

    Since we are playing in the the land of hypotheticals I’ll try to provide one: multiple armed attackers and a limited route of escape. If the threat of gross bodily harm or death is real and is close, especially if a disparity of force exists, then in some cases the use of lethal force may be warrented.

  31. moarscienceplz says

    There is a non-zero probability that Joe Fisher (@#1) will commit a serious crime sometime in the future. So maybe we should shoot him dead now, just to save potential trouble and expense in the future?

  32. nich says

    Since we are playing in the the land of hypotheticals I’ll try to provide one: multiple armed attackers and a limited route of escape.

    “12 terrorists! 1 cop! The odds are against matthewgreene….AND THAT’S JUST THE WAY HE LIKES THEM!!!

  33. mothra says

    I do NOT believe in capital punishment precisely because humans make mistakes and as noted above, one cannot unkill an executed innocent person. In Texas they destroy evidence after a person is executed so as to thwart subsequent investigation which might exonerate a prisoner.

  34. says

    I have never understood the self-defence argument. You want to bring a gun into your house so you can defend yourself in that rare instance someone might threaten you. But that same gun is more likely to end up killing someone else in your home, not any sort of scary bad person. So, to defend yourself against one threat, you increase the threat overall threat level.

  35. says

    It just gets better, PZ… There’s this that happened a little while ago (and this is actually the town I live in)…and I just received word from a friend:

    “BREAKING: Seattle police say SWAT is responding to reports of a man with a gun at 10th and East Union. There are no reports of shots fired. Police describe the suspect as a white male in his 30s wearing a leather jacket, a red shirt, black pants and white sneakers. He was reportedly seen with a handgun.”

    That was half an hour ago. Please be careful.

  36. cjcmd says

    I hope nobody hurt themselves jumping to conclusions. My point is not that guns are good or even necessary…just that with a blanket ban there will be those who pay the price, and simplistic answers like “use mace” are stupid.

  37. caesar says

    @33:

    There is a non-zero probability that Joe Fisher (@#1) will commit a serious crime sometime in the future. So maybe we should shoot him dead now, just to save potential trouble and expense in the future
    Can I drop him through the Moon Door?

  38. Thomathy, Do Not Upset Me Ahead of World Pride says

    matthewgreene, you rather missed the point.

    You said that you could see a place for firearms in self defense. Do you care to answer, specifically, why you see a place for firearms in self defense and for whom a firearm has a place in self defense?

    Also, note, I’m not the one who’s made up hypothetical situations. If you read for comprehension, I am being snarky at the mere thought that there is such a thing as ‘responsible gun ownership’. That’s the hypothetical that I’m referring to in my response to psychodago.

    (Why am I even explaining this? NM, rhetorical)

  39. Thomathy, Do Not Upset Me Ahead of World Pride says

    cjcmd, it’s a good thing, then, that no one has proposed such a ‘simplistic’ answer.

    Also, I for one, see no downside to a ban. But, then, I’m not American. In fact, I’m surprised, the furriners here haven’t been told to shut up yet. That’s happening more frequently on this sort of topic.

  40. says

    There seems to be an increasing problem with bear spray in Western Canada. Criminals use the stuff to get up to various sorts of mischief. Here in Saskatoon we seem to have an incident every few months.

  41. Louis says

    There will always be some , usually vary rare, [places] where the inappropiate defense tool is has a firearm.

    FTFY

    HTH

    HAND

    Louis

  42. matthewgreene says

    Terrorists vs a lone cop. Not me. I’m not an officer of the law. If that situation did present itself I would probably piss myself. The more realistic scenario is soccer hooligans after their team lost. Unlikely I admit.

  43. colnago80 says

    Re #26

    I remember seeing a video several years ago where a ful grown male lion attacked its trainer. An onlooker fired all six shots from a 357 magnum into the lion and didn’t even attract its attention, much less stop the attack.

  44. psychodago says

    @29

    I hedge, because most people who say they support gun ownership are quite simply nuts…or as PZ said, gunfondlers. responsible, to me, means constant training and practice, and psychological health. Training, as in working realistic scenarios. I know a very few gun owners who do this (most of whom are ex-military), and a positively frightening number of gun owners who simply own all the guns they can get. I do not train like that, thus I would not be a responsible gun owner.

    Not as revenge, but as a deterrent. Again, as I said, not at all practical in the real world.

  45. says

    I’m entirely in favor of the death penalty. I totally buy into the rhetoric that it acts as a deterrent. The only problem is that research shows that most violent crimes aren’t committed with enough premeditation to make the threat of punishment an effective deterrent. Therefore we should drop the death penalty for violent crime and apply it to crimes which are necessarily premeditated.

    Financial fraud involving amounts more than $10000? Building code violations leading to injuries or death? Own some kind of weapon and it accidentally hurts someone because you couldn’t be bothered to keep it locked away safely? Mandatory death penalty. (And it should extend to owners/directors of businesses, as well. If you aren’t aware of what “your” business is doing, then you should get out of the business.) The public needs to be protected.

  46. David Marjanović says

    The ineffective police

    You need better police, then.

    BTW, the biggest source of guns for the black market are… guns stolen from their rightful owners. Guns are valuable, easy to carry, easy to hide, and about as easy to steal as anything else: they attract burglars – who then have an incentive to shoot you before you shoot them.

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

    @travis, #37:

    But that same gun is more likely to end up killing someone else in your home, not any sort of scary bad person.

    although I agree with your general point, just because someone lives with you doesn’t mean that person isn’t less likely to be a “scary bad person” (using whatever definition) than any given person you don’t know.

    I think part of what causes these problems is the dehumanization of others, so I thought I’d take note of it here.

    it’s true that what escalates these problems to life-or-death situations is the presence of a gun, but I’m not happy with just fewer weapons. I want better, more loving, more connected people – globally.

    From the Book of 2 Pollyanna 12:7-8.

  48. nich says

    Travis@37:

    I have never understood the self-defence argument. You want to bring a gun into your house so you can defend yourself in that rare instance someone might threaten you.

    It’s my understanding that the gun lobby here in the US has done a bang up job of convincing gun owners that home invasions and other property crimes are rampant and that guns are very effective at defending against them. I recall lying on the couch late at night in my youth mindlessly flipping through channels while battling a mild case of depression-induced insomnia when I happened upon an NRA infomercial featuring terrified gun nuts in various commonwealth countries bemoaning a supposed huge increase in home invasions following the tightening of gun laws in the wake of Dunblane and Port Arthur, all urging Americans to support (aka GIVE LOTS OF MONEY TO!!!!) the NRA before “IT HAPPENS TO YOU NEXT!!!”

  49. Thomathy, Do Not Upset Me Ahead of World Pride says

    mothra @ #35

    I do NOT believe in capital punishment precisely because humans make mistakes and as noted above, one cannot unkill an executed innocent person. In Texas they destroy evidence after a person is executed so as to thwart subsequent investigation which might exonerate a prisoner.

    This will be my last aside on this topic, so as not to derail.

    That may be a sufficient reason for you, but I find that reason alone to be bereft of other necessary moral considerations and, even, to be amoral in itself.

    I have a problem with the reduction of a complex moral issue such as state-sanctioned murder to a mere acknowledgement of a simple fact of reality (that it is imperfect). It should be the minimum reason, not the only one. The death penalty has many more implications than just the potential for an innocent person to be murdered.

  50. David Marjanović says

    The only problem is that research shows that most violent crimes aren’t committed with enough premeditation to make the threat of punishment an effective deterrent.

    I’ve long thought that crimes are committed by two kinds of people: those who think they won’t be caught, and those who haven’t even thought that far.

    The former can be deterred by making it more likely that they will be caught and the resulting punishment is at all noticeable – which can be very mild.

    The latter can’t be deterred at all.

  51. jesse says

    I’ve been a reporter covering cop beats. I’ve seen what happens when people get a gun in hand. It’s not good.

    And you know what? I must have gone through several hundreds of police reports, over a period of several years (ca. 1992-1998). You know how many cases I found of a homeowner defending their property with a gun, successfully or no? None.

    Why not? Let’s think about this. A guy comes in to burglarize the house. He’s so stupid or mistaken that the occupants are home when he does it. The occupant somehow confronts him — he’s still so stupid that he wants the homeowner to see him and maybe ID him for the cops, I guess — and said homeowner has a gun handy and ready to fire. Oh, and the burglar decides to attack anyway, seeing the weapon.

    That happens in the movies. I never once saw it in real life. I am sure there are cases of it here and there, it’s not impossible. But it’s one of those situations that is exceedingly unlikely.

    There are a number of cases of people defending themselves that I ran across. In every single case they knew the attacker. It was never a random burglary or some such. It was an old boyfriend who couldn’t take no for an answer or thought it his god-given right to beat on a woman.

    A cop once gave a talk I saw on using guns. He put it thus: “Are you ready to shoot someone, kill someone, get their blood and brains all over you? Seasoned policemen have trouble with this.”

    Another note: there is a reason army basic training takes what, now, 10-12 weeks? Why is there a huge amount of effort put into getting people to shoot at other humans without thinking about it? Because unless you are a psycho you don’t want to just randomly kill people you don’t know. Killing people takes training for anyone who isn’t a sociopath already. Even then, many soldiers historically didn’t fire (at least, the accounts I have for a drafted army noted this; it might differ with an all-volunteer force).

    FFS Charles Bronson movies are not documentaries.

    Anyhow, look, I get it. You want to defend yourself. OK then.

    Here are my requests to anyone who wants to use a gun for self-defense:

    1. Training. If you are so good with a gun you should be able to take several different types and pass the US military-standard marksmanship tests. Can’t do that? No gun for you.

    2. You must be re-certified every year. We ask cops to keep their skills up. So should you.

    3. You do not need an AR 15 for self defense unless you live in Somalia. If you are so good with a gun you ought to be able to take a guy out with one head shot or kneecap him from 10 yards, see above.

    4. Please carry your gun where we can all see it. You want to carry it around? Great! Do it loud and proud, so I know who to avoid. Oh, wait, you’re a good guy? Well, dang, too bad. The only reason to conceal a weapon is to surprise someone. That makes you an aggressor, almost by definition. If you are not an undercover cop there is little reason to hide the fact that you can defend yourself from potential assailants, and every reason to let them know.

    5. Booze + gun = you lose your gun for just as long as you lose your license to drive.

    6. Carrying a gun and booze? BAC check time. No gun until you get below the legal driving limit.

    I don’t think any of this is unreasonable to ask. We ask as much of anyone who gets behind the wheel.

  52. Holms says

    #32
    Since we are playing in the the land of hypotheticals I’ll try to provide one: multiple armed attackers and a limited route of escape. If the threat of gross bodily harm or death is real and is close, especially if a disparity of force exists, then in some cases the use of lethal force may be warrented.

    That’s a super cool hypothetical you have there! A pity it doesn’t provide a compelling argument for your position though. The scenarios where a person with open / concealed carry save the day, or at least themselves, are greatly outnumbered by the much more mundane scenario in which carrying a gun in public leads to tragic death. The simple fact is, when bullets fly in public, more guns present directly leads to more death through e.g. misses, ricochets, confusion as to who the actual ‘bad guy’ when everyone present has a gun out, needless confrontation escalation… all of which is likely to worsen once the police show up and see a shootout with no way of knowing most of the people present consider themselves ‘good guys with a gun’…

    There exists a small option of allowing guns for home defense only, but that too has arguments against. Regarding public use however, the data is in and unequivocal: America needs gun control, holy shit I can’t believe there are people that aren’t aware of this.

    Public carry is bad and you should feel bad for defending it.

  53. David Marjanović says

    The death penalty has many more implications than just the potential for an innocent person to be murdered.

    But that’s a sufficient reason to be completely against it; and that’s what counts.

    I want better, more loving, more connected people – globally.

    Ignorance produces fear; and fear produces violence.

  54. says

    Since we are playing in the the land of hypotheticals I’ll try to provide one: multiple armed attackers and a limited route of escape. If the threat of gross bodily harm or death is real and is close, especially if a disparity of force exists, then in some cases the use of lethal force may be warrented.

    Do you have any other improbable heroic fantasies you’d like to share?

  55. matthewgreene says

    #55

    Weeeeeelllll, I can see that I’m gaining any traction here so I’ll go back to my nice cozy echo chamber.

    I don’t a carry a firearm concealed. I never have. I don’t think I need to. I used to carry one for my job along with pepper spray, taser, baton, and cuffs. Over the course of the decade that I carried a sidearm for work I drew it a total of 3 times and have only leveled it at someone once. I hated it. I have never wanted to and will never like the idea of taking a human life. That being said, if no other option presents itself I would pull the trigger.

  56. matthewgreene says

    PZ – Is there any situation that you can imagine where the use of deadly force may be justified?

    As for other fantasies, I sometimes imigane that I can fly, that would be cool.

  57. Thomathy, Do Not Upset Me Ahead of World Pride says

    Ah! Okay, promise.

    David Marjanović, I know exactly what my problem is with it. If it weren’t for the imperfection of reality, anyone whose only reason to oppose the death penalty is the possibility of innocent people being murdered, then their opposition would disappear if innocent people could be guaranteed not to be murdered. Now, such a system is not possible, of course, but in places like Texas, they evidently try to make believe as though that is the case. That’s my unease with that position.

    Anyhow, in so far as it causes opposition to the death penalty, I won’t argue against it as such.

  58. acroyear says

    I already had this ‘argument’ earlier, and the end result, the gun-toting southerner ‘christian’ attitude basically got handed to me by more than *20* commentors on the FB thread: “I’d love to not have to kill you, but the law makes that illegal.”

    Seriously, every possible argument for non-lethal response was met with outright hostility.

    warn first? they’ll likely just kill you first
    warning shot? illegal (even in the castle defense, they claim)
    shoot to injure but not kill? either they kill you anyways, or they’ll sue even though they were invading your home/space, or you’ll still get arrested for the battery in spite of the castle defense
    alarm and run away? well, not everybody (like some 92 year old grandmother) can run, can they?

    but shoot to kill? no problem, you’re likely to get off easy.

    seriously, these people, claiming to be ‘christian’, were utterly ignoring every single aspect of “turn the other cheek” and were outright *proud* of it.

    I may have spent the first 14 years of my life in Florida (give or take) but I concluded in one instant that I am *not* a southerner, and never will be.

  59. anteprepro says

    My point is not that guns are good or even necessary…just that with a blanket ban there will be those who pay the price, and simplistic answers like “use mace” are stupid.

    What is the relevance of bringing up “those who pay the price” when having a scenario where no-one got harmed would be the creation of a fucking utopia? We aren’t proposing magic or perfection here. The goal is to cause LESS harm than the current state of affairs. The question of “oh my, what if pepper spray doesn’t work!?” hardly addresses that. The fact of the matter is: Guns are not necessary for self defense. Guns cause more harm than good. A blanket ban, or, ya know, just more regulation, seems to work just fine in non-US countries. All the gun apologetics in the world don’t change that.

  60. matthewgreene says

    An excerpt from an article by Massad Ayoob at http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob141.html

    The Right to Self-Defense

    Lord Blackstone, the great commentator on the Common Law, said that self-protection was the highest of all human rights. We live in a nation of well over 300 million people, with fewer than one million police officers to protect them. Those officers are assigned to work 40 hours out of every 168 hour week, and we have to consider vacation, court time, sick time, training time, and all of that. Put it together, and it’s no surprise that estimates of average police response time to emergencies around the country hover around eleven minutes.

    A lot of bad things can happen in eleven minutes. My friends in Alaskan law enforcement tell me that in the most remote areas, response time might take until the next day, depending on the weather.

    Even in more urban areas, police from Chicago to Oakland have stopped responding to certain serious felonies because they just don’t have the manpower to do it in this economically depressed society. Some of the more honest police chiefs and sheriffs are telling their citizens to arm themselves.

    And, even if you’re around the corner from Police Headquarters when you’re attacked, you have to survive the attack long enough to summon police assistance. From violent home invasions to vicious “flash mob” attacks on the street, multiple assailants are involved. Gunfights are so fast-moving that no police department of any significant size has ever compiled a 100% hit ratio in officer-involved shootings. Add to that the fact that even fatal wounds do not immediately neutralize violent criminals.

    Multiple attackers threatening your family … not all of your shots will necessarily hit … not all those that hit will strike center … and even not all of those may instantly stop the attack. Put that all in your computer, add it up, carry the one … nope, a New York compliant seven-shot firearm just may not add up to survival.

  61. says

    cjcmd:

    just that with a blanket ban there will be those who pay the price

    And without a ban, there will also be those who pay the price. Do you have an actual argument to make or are you just going to continue spouting irrelevancies?

    If you’d like to join the grown-ups in a real discussion, you might want to address the question that several people have already raised in regard to your first post:

    she caught him, tried to tase him but failed

    If she’d had a gun, what would have changed? And given that you weren’t trying to argue that guns are “good or even necessary”, what was your point with that story?

  62. fmitchell says

    Pepper spray sounds like a far safer alternative to guns. Curiously, though, many states forbid civilians from having pepper spray, whereas just about anyone in the U.S. can buy a gun.

    I should point out that technically, there are only “less lethal”, not non-lethal weapons. Many idiots, often police, get trigger-happy with tasers and end up killing a suspect. I remember reading of one rookie cop who tried to get the attention of an elderly man on a bicycle — while trailing in his squad car. After he got no response, the cop tasered the man, who crashed the bike and died. There’s more than a few people who died after being tasered multiple times for some heinous crime like vagrancy.

    Pepper spray probably has its own hazards. Allergies, maybe? Being blinded at the wrong time? Maybe we should ask the victims of that UC Davis cop.

  63. Artor says

    “…Crimes are committed by two kinds of people: those who think they won’t be caught, and those who haven’t even thought that far.”

    I am so stealing that!

  64. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    nich @ 51

    It’s my understanding that the gun lobby here in the US has done a bang up job of convincing gun owners that home invasions and other property crimes are rampant and that guns are very effective at defending against them.

    An online acquaintance of mine, otherwise pretty progressive AFAICT, was talking around tax time about how much he hated the thought of entering the H&R Block unarmed because he could just picture someone losing their shit over not getting the refund they hoped for.

  65. mikeyb says

    This you tube video illustrates the utter insanity of our almost complete disregard for any kind of limitations or restrictions on guns. This is the natural consequences we should expect this to lead.

  66. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m still waiting for the solid evidence that carrying concealed is safer than carrying a weapon unloaded, and that a loaded gun stored in the nightstand is safer than one stored unloaded in a gun safe.

  67. mothra says

    @52 The grounds I listed for non-acceptance of the death penalty are alone sufficient reason because death is a final arbiter. I did not indicate in my previous comment that this was the only reason- but it is a sufficient reason and does stand by itself. Why this is so is very simple (even to one who makes simplistic assumptions such as yourself). In any other scenario short of death, there is recourse for some type of remediation for a wrong, even if the remediation is insufficient, it is still remediation to the innocent victim in case of error. Execution of a falsely accused person is one of the worst crimes that can be committed by a nation/ state that is governed by the rule of law rather than by abject force.

    As for other reasons- and a few of these have been covered in other posts (sorry to others for having to repeat some things that #52 assumed I had not read or did not know or did not consider),

    2) Death penalty is not a deterrent. Joe never thinks “Wow, I better not commit murder or I will be executed.” Most murders are not premeditated.
    3) Fosters a culture of revenge. I hope we have gotten a little past ‘an eye for an eye.’
    4) The process itself is cruel and inhuman punishment both for the victim and for the perpetrators.
    5) In the U.S., death penalties historically have racist, cultural and/or ideological biases in their application.
    6) Death penalty cases are often used for political gain rather than ‘serving justice.’
    7) In efforts to control states’ costs in the protracted appeals process in DP cases (protracted so as to so far as possible insure that an error has not been made), there has been legislation in many states to limit the number of appeals. Short version: execution may be conducted at the cost convenience of the state.
    8) What are the criteria both in terms of the crime and in the ‘character’ of the perpetrator that would make them eligible? Our legal system has not settled either of these issues and there is likely no solution- which is the obverse side of reason #1..

  68. Denverly says

    Oh, lovely. We just had another gunman with an assault rifle shoot up a courthouse in Atlanta. That’s what, three in a week? The ones I’ve heard about anyway.

    Just for giggles, is the crime rate in open-carry places zero? Because I would expect it to be zero, right? I bet no gas stations ever get robbed in Texas at the very least, no? All of those open-carry people must be just picking up the slack for the cops. They must obviously see that carrying a loaded firearm is a serious responsibility that requires discipline, a cool temper, and a concern for the safety of others. They just go in Applebee’s with their assault rifles to keep everyone safe. Yep that must be it. Safe. From things. That might attack Applebee’s. Wherein the AR-15 assault rifle would be the most practical defensive weapon. In an Applebee’s. Yep, nailed it.

  69. says

    Denverly:

    Oh, lovely. We just had another gunman with an assault rifle shoot up a courthouse in Atlanta. That’s what, three in a week? The ones I’ve heard about anyway.

    Jebus fucking christ! Is it me or do shooting rampages seem to be occurring with more frequency?

    More information on the shooting:

    A man armed with explosives and an assault rifle might have entered a north Georgia courthouse Friday if not for a deputy who was wounded in the shootout with the gunman, Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said.
    Authorities killed Dennis Marx outside the courthouse, Piper said during a news conference, adding that the gunman planned to wreak more havoc once inside the building.
    “Mr. Marx’s intention was to get in that front door and take hostages,” he said. Authorities don’t know why.
    A witness’ video shows officers, guns drawn, closing in on a silver Nissan SUV on a wide walkway in front of the courthouse. Orange smoke spews from a device near the vehicle.
    A shot rings out, then another. Two more shots are fired before a 15-second torrent of gunshots. Dozens of officers then surround the vehicle, as three construction workers peek out from behind their backhoe at a construction site across the street.

    Piper said the suspect began a “full frontal assault” on the building by driving up, throwing out “homemade spike strips” to delay any police response, and trying to run over a deputy, Piper said.
    The deputy opened fire, and Marx returned fire through his windshield, hitting the deputy in the leg, the sheriff said. He also threw smoke bombs and gas grenades — perhaps using pepper gas — during the attack and had flex ties and water in his possession, according to the sheriff. Other explosive devices and “a lot of ammunition” were found on him and in his vehicle, he said.
    Deputies, some from inside the courthouse, engaged in a roughly 90-second shootout with Marx, killing him, Piper said.
    “The SWAT team, which happened to be close by on their way to another function, also pulled up about 30 seconds into this gunfire fight and they engaged Mr. Marx, and Mr. Marx is dead with multiple gunshot wounds,” the sheriff said.

    The wounded deputy, who has not been identified, was shot while stopping Marx before he could get inside. The sheriff said later Friday afternoon that the deputy underwent surgery for fractures to his fibula and tibia in the lower leg, injuries he described as non-life threatening.
    The situation “was solved (with) that deputy’s actions,” Piper said of the 30-year veteran.
    “He had been in the courthouse for a good part of his time, and part of his duties were to sweep the outside of the courthouse and he happened to have been out there doing that when Mr. Marx came up,” the sheriff said.
    Marx was scheduled to attend a hearing at the Forsyth County Courthouse on Friday, where he was expected to enter a plea on a drug-related charge, a news release said.

    “He came prepared to stay a while,” the sheriff said. “We don’t know who he was coming to the courthouse for, but with the flex ties and the restraining devices he had with him … we have to assume that he was there to occupy the courthouse.”
    As of 4 p.m., authorities still hadn’t gone into Marx’s home, which Piper said they expect is booby trapped in the expectation that law enforcement might enter. A preliminary investigation indicates Marx had not been there in about 10 days.
    A no-fly zone was in effect as a bomb squad worked to secure Marx’s home in Cumming, which is about 35 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. The FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation were assisting. At least two agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, one of them a certified explosives specialist, were also on the scene, said ATF spokeswoman Regina Milledge.
    The Forsyth County sheriff said there’s no indication right now that the suspect’s family was involved in the apparent plot.
    As to Marx himself, authorities haven’t offered much detail.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/06/justice/georgia-courthouse-shooting/

  70. kyoseki says

    Here are my requests to anyone who wants to use a gun for self-defense:

    4. Please carry your gun where we can all see it. You want to carry it around? Great! Do it loud and proud, so I know who to avoid. Oh, wait, you’re a good guy? Well, dang, too bad. The only reason to conceal a weapon is to surprise someone. That makes you an aggressor, almost by definition. If you are not an undercover cop there is little reason to hide the fact that you can defend yourself from potential assailants, and every reason to let them know.

    I completely agree with all of these but that one.

    People freak the fuck out when they see other people carrying firearms, so I’d mandate that all firearms be carried concealed (at least in urban areas, if you’re in the desert/back country, who the hell cares?) – this is already the law in certain parts of the country, I have a friend with a concealed carry license in Massachusetts and “imprinting” (that is, seeing the outline of a concealed firearm through clothing) is a crime for specifically this reason.

    This would also automatically eliminate the flaunting of ARs and other weapons which are too large to carry concealed.

    Other people should be able to go about their day without any concern over whether you have a firearm or not – and yes, I completely agree with all your other points that if you’re going to carry a firearm for “defense” you’d better damned well know what you’re doing with it. I want people carrying guns to be at least as qualified as police and that includes training in conflict resolution and deescalating confrontations.

    I’d also mandate that any firearm being used for “defense” be carried on your person, which includes in your own home, if you’re not immediately in charge of a firearm, it had better be stored in such a way that it’s not accessible or operable (ie. bolt/bcg in a safe, or the entire firearm stored in a gunvault or similar).

  71. Denverly says

    My opinion is that any gun I own is more likely to kill me or someone I know than it is to kill anyone that I don’t know. I can list ten “innocent person got killed by stupid gun owner” for every one “person used gun to defend self” story I hear, and yet the “person used gun to defend self” is why we need guns and the “innocent person got killed by stupid gun owner” is “such a shame”, “part of god’s plan”, “babies going back to Jesus”, “purely an accident”, “not the right time to talk about gun control”, et cetera, ad nauseum. Really?

  72. Menyambal says

    Yeah, concealed carry bugs me. If you can carry a gun, concealed, you are making it more likely that a potential mugger will think that I have a concealed gun. Which doesn’t stop him from robbing me, it makes it more likely that he will try to kill or incapacitate me before robbing me. You carrying concealed gets me clonked on the head.

    Also, here in my state, we the people voted against concealed carry. The state government imposed it upon us against our will.

  73. Menyambal says

    Heh. The banner ad up top is for a portable gun safe to lock a handgun in. The bold statement in the ad calls it a great safety device. Even the gun equipment folks know that guns are dangerous to have around.

    I am sure that they mean that the quick-opening feature improves the safety of the home against intruders, but it still shows that a gun needs to be locked up.

  74. kyoseki says

    And why the fuck is that?

    Probably because the barriers to firearms ownership are so low that any idiot can buy one as long as he has no criminal record.

    I would like the standard to be raised to the point where I know that anyone carrying a firearm has earned the right to do so through comprehensive training & testing.

  75. kyoseki says

    I am sure that they mean that the quick-opening feature improves the safety of the home against intruders, but it still shows that a gun needs to be locked up.

    The point is to keep it out of the hands of children, not because they think it might just go off by itself.

  76. kyoseki says

    Tony:

    I disagree there. I’d much rather know who is carrying around guns so I can avoid them.

    With the standard set as low as it currently is, I don’t particularly disagree, but as I say, I’d like to see the standard raised to the point where I know anyone carrying a firearm has demonstrated that they can be trusted with it, at which point it ceases to be a source of concern for me.

  77. says

    Marcus:

    And why the fuck is that?

    For my part, it’s bc I don’t know if the person carrying the gun is responsible, or about to go on a shooting rampage. For that matter, I question how responsible it is to even carry a gun around in public.

  78. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    Somewhere (probably on the internet, so it must be true) I read that a fake security camera was a deterrent against some types of crime.
    Also those window-stickers that claim the premises have a security system.
    .
    How about everyone carrying a concealed weapon be required to wear a badge?
    A big target on their back, for example.

  79. Menyambal says

    I freak somewhat out when I see an amateur arrying a gun because I see someone who is so illiterate and gullible as to follow the NRA line, who thinks they can function as guardian of the peace, safety and country, yet oppose the government, who thinks they can act as judge, jury and executioner in a firefight, who thinks they are smarter than everyone else, and who is on a mission from God, who has a gun they may not have maintained propery, on which they probably not been professionally trained, and which they have an unnatural attachment to.

    This isn’t some ivory-tower fear, mind. I have been military-trained on two weapons, and I have seen military-trained fuckups. I grew up with good old boys and I live in rural Missouri—I know the NRA members. I roomed with a hunter who was a responsible gun owner, and I ate his deer and I ordered stuff out of his catalogs. There is an NRA member in this house—given the membership by a paranoid—who I would not trust with a waffle iron.

    Yeah, I freak out somewhat, kinda like when I see a snake, but I deal with it. When I saw a pistol in the locker room at my gym, I went to the front, double-checked that there was indeed a no-weapons sign on the door, and calmly informed the management, who promptly freaked out. (That irresponsible gun owner was a sheriff’s deputy, who had decided that the rules didn’t apply to him.)

    Gun owners, meanwhile, freak the fuck out if you even talk about them not having a God-given right to own all the guns, to carry a gun and to use a gun. And if they think anybody is even thinking about taking their guns away, well, they have guns.

  80. Menyambal says

    kyoseki @ 82:

    The point is to keep it out of the hands of children, not because they think it might just go off by itself.

    Now, who the fuck thought that?

    See, this is what I mean. A gun defender thinks that I know fuck-all about guns, thinks that I am just gibbering with irrational fears, and loftily smooths down the ruffled feathers on a fucking strawman.

    I know that guns don’t go off by themselves, and I know damned well that they often go off in the hands of children.

    I know guns, damnit. I am sketching a bullpup with a top magazine just to see if it might look good.

    People don’t oppose guns out of ignorance about guns. People believe in second-amendment rights out of ignorance of the Constitution—that’s where the ignorance is.

  81. eeyore says

    I own a gun because I live in a rural area and it would take the cops a half hour to get to my house, even if they dropped whatever the were doing and came right away. I’m actually less worried about burglars than I am about bears, mountain lions and wolves. And I don’t believe in setting public policy by anecdote. Some story about how some homeowner singlehandedly saved the world from a violent criminal has just as much value as a story about someone shooting up a school: Zero. C’mon people, you’re into science, surely you know that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. The fact that people who are opposed to guns can multiply stories of school shootings means no more than the fact that the NRA can multiply stories of armed homeowners successfully defending themselves. I repeat: The plural of anecdote is not data.

    And while I support mandatory safety training and tough safety regulations for guns — nobody seriously questions requiring that people who want to drive be able to demonstrate that they can do so safely — part of the reason that’s not going to happen is that the NRA has succeeded in convincing the public that such regulations are just a first step toward complete confiscation. Reading some of the comments here, I wonder if the NRA may have a point.

  82. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Of course guns don’t just go off by themselves. That’s why guns and people don’t mix.

  83. says

    Some story about how some homeowner singlehandedly saved the world from a violent criminal has just as much value as a story about someone shooting up a school: Zero.

    Skepticism, you’re doing it wrong

    Tell me how do you propose we obtain non anecdote data in a science like matter? Start intentionally sending in undergrads to shoot up classrooms that are set up for the sake of the experiment?

  84. Holms says

    That’s nice eeyore, but you say that as if in ignorance of the fact that there is data on gun ownership being linked to increased accidental deaths, especially of friends and family, outweighing the lives saved by the cliched Good Guy With A Gun Who Has Watched Too Many John Wayne Movies.

  85. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I repeat: The plural of anecdote is not data.

    And what happens when you look at actual data?

  86. kyoseki says

    Then why make the argument that “even gun owners know that guns should be locked up” ?

    Yes, guns are dangerous, of course they should be locked up unless they’re actively in use and under your control, where’s the cognitive dissonance here?

    … and I’m an atheist, do you think I believe anyone has a “god given” right to anything?

  87. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    . The fact that people who are opposed to guns can multiply stories of school shootings means no more than the fact that the NRA can multiply stories of armed homeowners successfully defending themselves. I repeat: The plural of anecdote is not data.

    Then cite the fucking data to back up your position….

  88. eeyore says

    On the subject of data, the studies that I’ve read purporting to show a link between gun ownership and accidental deaths didn’t convince me, for two reasons. First, they considered gun ownership/non gun ownership in a vacuum rather than as a factor that interacts with other factors. For example, rural vs. urban, guns owned by people who had taken safety training vs. people who had not, and so on. Obviously, guns will cause far fewer problems and accidental deaths on ranches where kids learn to properly use them almost as soon as they’re old enough to stand, than they will if they are carried by drug traffickers in poor urban areas. Yet all of the studies I’ve read looked only at the binary yes-or-no question of gun ownership, without looking at the multiple contexts in which a gun might be owned. Perhaps there are other studies that did factor all of that in and I missed them.

    Second, while I agree that the accidental death numbers are way too high, they could be significantly lowered by requiring safety training and having safety regulations in place.

  89. mikeyb says

    Another interesting stat is that while there are something like 88 guns/100 people in the US, but may be higher up to 1 gun/person on average. At the same time only ~37% of households own guns. This probably means a minority of people own 1 gun, a smaller minority of people own 2 guns, and a still smaller minority of people stack up guns to the hilt. I don’t know if there are any surveys out there about what percent of people are the gun toters owning arguably a majority of these guns.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/04/a-minority-of-americans-own-guns-but-just-how-many-is-unclear/

  90. says

    matthewgreene writes:

    I can attest to the staggering pain and dibilitating nausea that pepper spray can cause. I was sprayed for training and then had to retain my sidearm and engage several targets. It sucked. A lot. I would rather be tased 100 times than take a blast of pepper spray.

    So basically resembling some sort of “determined attacker” scenario. Am I to assume that you were still able to engage several targets? Would this also have been the case in a scenario of getting tazed?

  91. throwaway says

    eeyore @ 89

    Reading some of the comments here, I wonder if the NRA may have a point.

    Yes, the point is to cause their base to FEAR (OOOGY BOOGY OOO)! Fear everything. Fear that shadow. Fear that brown man. Fear this black woman. Fear this bearded man. Fear this teenager. They’re all targets out to get you! Point a gun, they go away with just a twitch. Problems forever solved.

    Fear is not the enemy. They are! You can’t shoot fucking fear. But you can cast a light on fear-mongerers.

  92. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    I’m waiting for a gun fondler from the SF crowd to start bleating about Heinlein’s infamous line: “An armed society is a polite society.” From what I understand of the Wild West of the U.S. (which I suspect is what many of the NRA-types want to see restored, and they see themselves as the heroic gunslingers of course) was far from being a polite society.

  93. says

    mikeyb writes:

    Another interesting stat is that while there are something like 88 guns/100 people in the US, but may be higher up to 1 gun/person on average. At the same time only ~37% of households own guns. This probably means a minority of people own 1 gun, a smaller minority of people own 2 guns, and a still smaller minority of people stack up guns to the hilt.

    I’ve known a couple of people who could enter a crowd of over 300 unarmed people and bump the average firearm ownership to your quoted national level. At least one of them could be considered a poster child for the need for increased regulation of gun ownership (he is highly skilled with them when sober, though, I’ll grant him that).

  94. says

    psychodago writes:

    “A good guy with a gun” here might have prevented any deaths…or, far more likely scenario (if he was typical of most American gun owners) he would have hit several innocent bystanders before managing (if he even could) hit the actual perpetrator.

    If this is such a likely scenario as you suggest it to be, there must be many instances of this sort of thing playing out in instances of defensive firearm discharges (rare as these may be). Do you know of any?

  95. JasonTD says

    PZ,

    I’m not going to get into a larger gun debate, but there is absurdity in your characterization of this particular incident as being proof that guns aren’t needed for self defense.

    For one, you should have noticed from the article that the student used the pepper spray (not mace) while the attacker was reloading. He would have been likely to get himself killed if he had tried to spray the attacker while he still had ammo in the shotgun. Also, hitting someone with pepper spray doesn’t completely incapacitate them or do so immediately. A person with a gun could still try and fire semi-blindly after being sprayed. Finally, pepper sprays have a maximum effective range of how much? Several feet? They would be basically useless against someone with a gun more than 20 feet away, I would suspect.

    The bottom line is that a can of pepper spray is not equal to a gun for purposes of self-defense against someone else with a gun. Not even close.

    Also, your proposal to arm everyone with cans of pepper spray is problematic in itself. Each state has different laws on their use. Massachusetts, for instance requires a person to have a firearms license to carry pepper spray outside of their private property. In some other countries, like Canada, Sweden, and Norway, civilians are prohibited from carrying it.

  96. says

    JasonTD writes:

    For one, you should have noticed from the article that the student used the pepper spray (not mace) while the attacker was reloading. He would have been likely to get himself killed if he had tried to spray the attacker while he still had ammo in the shotgun. Also, hitting someone with pepper spray doesn’t completely incapacitate them or do so immediately. A person with a gun could still try and fire semi-blindly after being sprayed. Finally, pepper sprays have a maximum effective range of how much? Several feet? They would be basically useless against someone with a gun more than 20 feet away, I would suspect.

    No, you don’t understand. The shooter here is obviously a bad guy and your willingness to only use non-lethal means of defense unambiguously makes you the good guy. As it is well known that in realistic combat scenarios the bad guys always miss and the good guys always get the upper hand in the end when the good vs. bad dichotomy is so clearly delineated (see, for instance, any Star Wars film), the mace wielding defender will be, for all practical purposes, immune to gunfire and invariably thus prevent harm from happening to themselves and others. In fact, the only way someone could mount a more effective defense against firearms would be if they were trained by this man and faced their opponent unarmed (preferably with an arm tied behind their back to make it more of an even fight).

  97. militantagnostic says

    Jason TD making things up.

    In some other countries, like Canada, Sweden, and Norway, civilians are prohibited from carrying it.

    Could you point me to the relevant section of the Canadian Criminal Code that I and thousands of of other Canadian hikers are brazenly breaking every spring/summer/fall. The last time I bought bear spray in a tackle shop in The Pas, it was an off the shelf item. The first time I bought it in downtown Calgary (Coast Mountain Sports) it was in a glass case and I had to buy it from a senior employee who gave us some instructions and insisted we carry it out in shopping bag as the Calgary Police Service looked askance at people carrying it in their hand downtown.

  98. JasonTD says

    @106

    Jason TD making things up.

    Nope. It was from the wikipedia page I linked in my comment. Since you were skeptical, I took the time to follow the wiki citation and find the relevant page, in case you think wiki was lying. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-98-462/page-2.html#h-4 It’s under Part 3, prohibited weapons. Perhaps I should have clarified that it is pepper sprays designed for use against people that are prohibited to civilians. “Bear spray” is apparently legal, but you’d be at legal risk for carrying in public in a city, or using it on a person. http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Vancouver+police+warn+criminal+charges+carrying+bear+spray+city/8048471/story.html

  99. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    I just checked my bear-spray (currently located by my front door).
    It ‘expired’ in 2002.
    I wonder if it still works.

  100. lorn says

    ————
    [F]our Lakewood, Washington police officers were murdered at a coffee shop in the Parkland unincorporated area of Pierce County, Washington. One gunman, later identified as Maurice Clemmons, entered the coffee shop, fired at the officers as they sat working on their laptop computers preparing for their shifts, and then fled the scene.

    From:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakewood,_Washington_police_officer_shooting
    ————-

    Four police officers, all armed, all most likely with a backup gun, trained and drilled and taught to stay aware get gunned down before they can react to save their own lives. Seems to me that this shows that the presence of firearms by trained persons aren’t very effective in preventing gun violence. If police can’t save themselves what chance does your average armed citizen have?

    What stops the killing has been pepper spray, talking the gunman down, the vigorous intervention of mild-mannered church goers who advance en-mass and wrestle the shotgun away with enough force to break the gunman’s arm, and most common the gunman shoots himself.

    Of course the gun fondlers all tend to picture themselves as Spaghetti Western heroes ending a shooting spree with a single well aimed shot, as the lesser human being flee in fear, This is, of course, followed by feckless and late arriving law enforcement immediately recognizing that the man with the gun is a good guy and the guy on the ground is a bad man who got what he deserved. Within a day or two there is a parade and the hero gets the key to the city.

    I’m waiting for a time and place when there is a shooter at a mall where there are several hundred armed heroes present. It would be like rolling gold pieces into the storied orc colony. There needn’t even be a shooter present. Tension and expectation, and a loud noise with someone falling. Kids with fire crackers and a fainting spell come together and it is a multi-player first-person-shooter played out in living color and blood.

    I can almost hear the news report now … Four dead and seven wounded in a mall shootout triggered by a display hitting the terrazzo floor.

  101. says

    lorn writes:

    Four police officers, all armed, all most likely with a backup gun, trained and drilled and taught to stay aware get gunned down before they can react to save their own lives. Seems to me that this shows that the presence of firearms by trained persons aren’t very effective in preventing gun violence. If police can’t save themselves what chance does your average armed citizen have?

    What stops the killing has been pepper spray, talking the gunman down, the vigorous intervention of mild-mannered church goers who advance en-mass and wrestle the shotgun away with enough force to break the gunman’s arm, and most common the gunman shoots himself.

    If only police officers routinely carried pepper spray (or tazers) and were trained in the use of physical force those four officers would probably still be alive!

  102. Menyambal says

    Jon Stewart was pointing out on The Daily Show that the gun people have closed a crazy loop. It is now legal and accepted for Texans to go into a restaurant packing serious heat, scaring the crap out of everyone inside, putting them in fear of their lives. It is also legal and accepted for Floridians who are in fear of their lives to out with their guns and defend themselves fully, violently and without fear of the law.

    That’s my phrasing, by the way. Stewart did not distinguish by state, either.

  103. Joe Giuffre says

    All atheists are brainless turdsacks. The idiot posts here merely illustrate my point.

  104. Menyambal says

    If only police officers routinely carried pepper spray (or tazers) and were trained in the use of physical force those four officers would probably still be alive!

    Nobody said that or was thinking that. Way to miss the point in all the straw.

    If only the shooter had not had a gun, those four officers would probably still be alive.

  105. Lofty says

    Joe Guiffre

    All atheists are brainless turdsacks. The idiot posts here merely illustrate my point.

    Weapons grade projection there, Joe. Got anything like a reasoned argument up your sleeve? Or only bare arms?
    Pathetic troll, do better please.

  106. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    Probably because the barriers to firearms ownership are so low that any idiot can buy one as long as he has no criminal record.

    This isn’t my reason for being freaked out by seeing someone carrying a gun. It is because a gun IS A DEADLY WEAPON. Carrying it is an implied threat. Why else have it, but to threaten those around you with its potential use? And that is scary as fuck.

  107. Nick Gotts says

    And I don’t believe in setting public policy by anecdote. – eeyore

    So look at the fucking data. Which could hardly be clearer. The USA has by far the highest rate of gun ownership among rich countries, and by far the highest rate of gun deaths. European countries with high gun ownership, such as Switzerland and Finland, also have high gun death rates. When Australia took steps to reduce gun ownership, gun deaths dropped sharply. The pretence that you’re interested in evidence rather than anecdote is transparent.

  108. cactuswren says

    funknjunk @ 20: Reminds me of one guy who in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado shooting announced (on Facebook, naturellement) that if only he had been there with his trusty gun in that theater auditorium full of smoke and noise and shrieking panicking people, not only would he have bravely “stood up straight and tall and aimed for center of mass”, but would have done this “while sheltering as many children behind me as I could”. (I remember thinking at the time, “That’s the longest and most convoluted way of saying wet my pants as I’ve ever run across.”)

  109. opposablethumbs says

    One of my kids was planning to visit the USA this summer. As it happens, plans have changed and my child will now be visiting a different part of America instead. While aware that the USA has some lovely people in it (people who hang out on this very blog, for example) I have to admit I’m glad that said child will not be visiting a country where any fucking idiot can buy a gun practically just for the asking, up to and including assault weapons. Where so many people get hot under the collar at the mere idea of limiting gun ownership. And I’m eternally grateful that I live in a country where the police do not normally carry guns and where the chances that I will ever even see a firearm being brandished on the street are extremely low (not non-existent, but very low indeed). Oh, and I enjoy target shooting and have at least at one time been quite good at it. It’s fun. It belongs on a godsdamn licensed shooting range with proper safety procedures.

    You people who think you are safer with a gun in your home? Try actually looking at the statistics and compare crime rates (including violent crime generally, burglary and gun crime) with other wealthy countries.

    People lucky enough to live in countries where gun ownership is strictly controlled (and where many greatly enjoy hunting and competitive shooting) overwhelmingly look at the USA in horror and pity.

  110. says

    You can tell a gun nut 1000 times that the statistics show that having a gun in their home makes them LESS safe, and it won’t matter, they won’t change their mind.

    Same as how you can tell someone with a fear of flying that it is safer than driving, and they are safer on the flight than in the drive to the airport.

    Tell them this and they say “yes, but in a car I’m in control.

    They won’t be broadsided by the drunk driver before they even see the car coming, they’ll react with lightning fast reflexes like Steve McQueen in Bullitt. THEY won’t miss the red light, lose control on ice, overcorrrect when their tire blows out… they won’t have normal human reflexes when the unexpected happens – they’ll be the BEST driver. Not like that unsafe heavily-trained airline pilot.

    And with the gun, they’re in control. THEY won’t miss and kill their own kid, THEY won’t have the gun stolen, have it taken from them and used on them… they’re in control, they’ll be like Rambo.

    Statistics be damned. They will always be the BEST driver, the best shot… the best defense against a criminal.

    STOP TELLING THEM THEY’RE AVERAGE!!!

  111. Nick Gotts says

    I’m actually less worried about burglars than I am about bears, mountain lions and wolves. – eeyore@89

    This is hilarious. The number of bear deaths in North America is in single figures per year. Mountain lions less than 1 per year. Wolves: single figures counting all those ever recorded.

    But I bet there are some really dangerous squirrels out there! Go carefully, eeyore.

  112. says

    Nick, I just did a quick search and found at least 53 toothpaste-related deaths. What weapon is best to defend against this? :D

  113. says

    You can tell a gun nut 1000 times that the statistics show that having a gun in their home makes them LESS safe, and it won’t matter, they won’t change their mind.

    I know I’ve seen this, or something similar, calculated before. However, looking into it now I can’t seem to find something simple and the statistical data I have been able to find isn’t sufficient to make an apt comparision. You don’t happen to have a good link?

  114. eeyore says

    Nick, No. 120, whether you think it’s silly or not, the bottom line is that I have the right to decide for myself how much protection I need. And if I happen to be in that 1% who encounters a bear at the wrong time and place, those statistics won’t do me any good. (Though I will admit to occasionally having shot a gopher helping himself to a free lunch in my vegetable patch.)

    On the subject of statistics, a couple of things. First, gun owners don’t have the burden of proving anything. Since gun opponents are asserting a logical positive — guns are bad — they have the burden of proof. If instead of guns we were discussing the existence of gods and demons, everyone here would see that point. *You* claim guns are bad, *you* prove it.

    Second, as I said above, one problem with the statistics that get tossed about is that human society is a very complex thing, and it’s a mistake to assume that any one factor acts in a vacuum. The overwhelming majority of guns out there will never be used to commit a crime, will never cause an accidental death, will never cause any ill consequences. The error being made is the same error made by racists who say “Japan and Western Europe don’t have our crime numbers because they have fewer blacks; blacks disproportionately commit violent crime; send all the blacks back to Africa and our crime rates will go down too.” It’s the same fallacy: singling out one lone data point and looking at it in isolation rather than as part of a larger picture. Well, humans and human society are a bit more complicated than that; again, I’m disappointed that people who are into science don’t seem to recognize that.

  115. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    eeyore

    First, gun owners don’t have the burden of proving anything.

    Actually yes, they do. They make the claim they are safer. Prove it with solid statistical evidence, or shut the fuck up…

  116. CHARLES says

    You know that gun safes and gun locks are proposed as the minimum safety rules when keeping a gun in the home?

    Well, I came across an article on Talking Point Memo about a recent publication by Beretta about storing guns Toilet Tanks And Cereal Boxes: Gun Co. Offers ‘Dirty’ Tips For Hiding Your Handgun. In this advice Beretta say that easy to get at hiding places are a good thing for guns when you need them to have a “strategic value”

    Presumably the dumb twits who follow that advice think they are “The Punisher”

  117. zenlike says

    123 eeyore

    Nick, No. 120, whether you think it’s silly or not, the bottom line is that I have the right to decide for myself how much protection I need. And if I happen to be in that 1% who encounters a bear at the wrong time and place, those statistics won’t do me any good.

    Let’s say 3 death a year in bear attacks (see list in 120). 59,492,276 people living in rural area‘s.

    So no, it’s not 1%, it’s 0.0000050427%. People suck at risk estimations. So yeah, you ‘have the right to decide for yourself how much protection you need’, but that doesn’t mean your decision is based on actual facts.

    First, gun owners don’t have the burden of proving anything. Since gun opponents are asserting a logical positive — guns are bad — they have the burden of proof.

    That’s rich. You have made a lot of assertions yourself, but you don’t have to prove anything. Convenient. On the other hand, when statistics and studies are pointed out to you, you just assert that you don’t think that they are good enough, or you whine that you can do whatever you want.

    If instead of guns we were discussing the existence of gods and demons, everyone here would see that point. *You* claim guns are bad, *you* prove it.

    What a disingenuous comparison. You are the person who claims that the orange in you pocket helps to keep tigers away, and when people point out that you are wrong, you put the burden of proof on them.

  118. ledasmom says

    Looks like, of recent attacks in the U.S. (since 2000), at least half were black bears; the rest were grizzly/brown bears.
    Although a large-caliber rifle is capable of killing a charging grizzly bear, you would have to have an awfully cool head to place a bullet where it needed to go in the few seconds you would have; many experts recommend not even trying. Having the gun and having too much confidence in the gun can lead people to act recklessly and increase their chance (still low) of being attacked.
    Black bears, on the other hand, can be and have been fought off by small children. In most cases a determined fight by the person attacked will cause a black bear to break off. Black bears, which are the bear you’re much more likely to meet unless you live in a very few areas (again, just the U.S. here), don’t even attack people who are menacing their cubs; they send the cubs up trees to escape and climb trees themselves.
    I’ve camped in grizzly country and the only animals I particularly worried about were my fellow humans. If one is not in grizzly country one need worry about bears even less.

  119. eeyore says

    Zenlike, No. 126, I did significantly more than say those studies aren’t good enough. I pointed out why they are fatally flawed. You want to tell me what, specifically, you think I missed, fine.

    Nerd, let us assume for sake of argument that there is no evidence that guns make people safer. Let us also ignore that making people safer is only one reason why people might choose to own guns — hunting and sport shooting being a couple of others. Now, assuming that to be true, your best argument is that I haven’t proven my case.

    But that’s not the way it works. In a free society, the default assumption is that people can do as they like, and that other people who want to interfere with their choices have the burden of proof. So gun owners don’t need to do anything at all except wait for you to prove that guns are bad. In other words, I don’t have a case that I need to prove until you first offer some proof of your own. And I’ve already said why I don’t think you’ve come anywhere near meeting that burden.

  120. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re @127:

    [read 127] YES, my previous note about Bears was based on a story from a friend (a hunter) who was not really a friend but a friend of a friend [you know where this SEEMS to be going, but not really] He stationed himself in a tree, above a bear lure. When the bear showed up, he shot it; close range, fatally. But the bear then ran for over 100 yards before collapsing and dying.That’s what makes me say, “Even if you shoot a bear point blank, it can still rip you to shreds before croaking”. And every TV show about camping/hiking teaches that pepperspray in a bear’s face will make it turn away, instantly. And that it only takes a little effort to scare away Black Bears: just spread your arms and make yourself look big, and it will most likely climb the nearest tree to get away (and don’t climb a tree, yourself, to get away, black bears are better/faster climbers than hoomans). And making noise as you walk is also a good idea, black bears don’t like to encounter others. Only Grizzlies are aggressive, not much can be done about Grizzlies. … [But why are we talking ’bout bears?]
    /derail

  121. twas brillig (stevem) says

    wait for you to prove that guns are bad.

    Then you have to prove why “mass shootings” isn’t good enough proof that “guns are bad”. Waiting…

  122. David Marjanović says

    Even in more urban areas, police from Chicago to Oakland have stopped responding to certain serious felonies because they just don’t have the manpower to do it in this economically depressed society. Some of the more honest police chiefs and sheriffs are telling their citizens to arm themselves.

    Failed state – by the very first criterion that’s listed, even.

    And I don’t believe in setting public policy by anecdote. Some story about how some homeowner singlehandedly saved the world from a violent criminal has just as much value as a story about someone shooting up a school: Zero. C’mon people, you’re into science, surely you know that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. The fact that people who are opposed to guns can multiply stories of school shootings means no more than the fact that the NRA can multiply stories of armed homeowners successfully defending themselves. I repeat: The plural of anecdote is not data.

    You didn’t seriously believe that a massacre, or a whole string of massacres, or the fact that they’re much more common in the US than in the rest of the world combined, is the only argument for better gun control – did you?

    For one, you should have noticed from the article that the student used the pepper spray (not mace) while the attacker was reloading. He would have been likely to get himself killed if he had tried to spray the attacker while he still had ammo in the shotgun.

    He would have been likely to get himself killed if he had tried to shoot the attacker while he still had ammo in the shotgun.

    Jesus Hussein Christ, do you listen to yourself?

    Also, hitting someone with pepper spray doesn’t completely incapacitate them or do so immediately. A person with a gun could still try and fire semi-blindly after being sprayed.

    Also, shooting someone doesn’t completely incapacitate them or do so immediately, unless you happen to hit them one inch above the nose from straight in front of them or straight behind them. Except in these extremely improbable circumstances, a person with a gun could still try to fire semi-blindly after being shot.

    Finally, pepper sprays have a maximum effective range of how much? Several feet? They would be basically useless against someone with a gun more than 20 feet away, I would suspect.

    How big are the classrooms in America? Where I come from, the standard width is 6 m – that’s almost exactly 20 feet.

  123. consciousness razor says

    eeyore, #128:

    If instead of guns we were discussing the existence of gods and demons, everyone here would see that point. *You* claim guns are bad, *you* prove it.

    Yeah, it’s just like with gods and demons…. Before we even mention the problem of evil, we have to “prove it” that evil shit exists — you know, for the sophists in the crowd. Maybe gunshot wounds aren’t so “bad” … ever think of that one? Eh? Got you there!

    Nerd, let us assume for sake of argument that there is no evidence that guns make people safer. Let us also ignore that making people safer is only one reason why people might choose to own guns — hunting and sport shooting being a couple of others. Now, assuming that to be true, your best argument is that I haven’t proven my case.

    And of course, hunting and sport shooting are obviously way more important than people being injured and killed by guns. That’s why you don’t even need to mention this hidden premise. Because it’s so obvious.

    But that’s not the way it works. In a free society, the default assumption is that people can do as they like, and that other people who want to interfere with their choices have the burden of proof. So gun owners don’t need to do anything at all except wait for you to prove that guns are bad.

    They do need to not shoot people. That is one of the many things gun owners need to not do. Also, they need to accept that, in a free society, deadly weapons like guns need to be tightly regulated if not completely banned. That’s because not just “anything you like” is okay in a free society, because a free society requires safety and stability and regulation, if it’s going to remain free for any appreciable length of time. Free societies have laws, and they need laws. Gun laws are no exception to that.

  124. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd, let us assume for sake of argument that there is no evidence that guns make people safer. Let us also ignore that making people safer is only one reason why people might choose to own guns — hunting and sport shooting being a couple of others. Now, assuming that to be true, your best argument is that I haven’t proven my case.

    I don’t have to prove a damn thing. You have prove you can do those things without unnecessarily endangering other people. Which means no misfires, no accidental discharges, no shooting where your bullet ends up in somebody well behind the target. Gun safety is no joke, but many gun enthusiasts seem to think it is superfluous to them carrying concealed, an inherently unsafe act, compared to carrying the gun unload. That is the point many people have been making here. Prove you act in a safe manner, and quit trying to claim this is about gun ownership, rather than gun safety.

  125. throwaway says

    Nerd, let us assume for sake of argument that there is no evidence that guns make people safer.

    No need for assumptions of verifiable facts.

  126. Anri says

    “An armed society is a polite society.”

    …and every group of hunters, military unit, police department and street gang proves this point beyond a shadow of a doubt. Armed groups of people are inherently more polite.

    …what?
    Don’t tell me I said something amazingly stupid by agreeing with pro-gun libertarian thought again!

  127. jesse says

    I think the problem is that eeyore seems to think the premise is “guns are bad.”

    No, guns in themselves aren’t bad.

    But humans being what they are, it’s not a good piece of technology to have around.

    The problem is that guns make killing far too easy. I’m pretty good with a few different hand weapons, if I say so myself. I’ve had years to work at it. Killing someone with a knife is hard. You have to get up close and personal, for one thing. A bow and arrow or crossbow is somewhat easier but you can’t kill more than one person every few seconds.

    With guns the problem is that going after other people becomes so easy that accidents happen. Let’s imagine what happens in a bar with everyone packing. You really think the combination of alcohol and deadly weapons is a good idea?

    Assuming you don’t, now lets get to protecting oneself. In action movies it always works, but in real life it doesn’t. People have already pointed out to you the odds of meeting a grizzly bear are sort of small unless you live in Alaska or the very rural Rockies. And a gun won’t do you a ton of good in any case.

    As to people, for a gun to be effective you have to have it on you. So you’re taking about carrying one around all the time. Fine, but you do realize that escalation is sort of a problem? When you carry a deadly weapon it means that you’ve upped the stakes; the guy who cut you off in traffic doesn’t deserve to die for it, nor the guy who just made you feel uncomfortable.

    The stuff about a free society is all very well, but societies that allow everyone to run around armed don’t stay that way. And part of the problem is that even minor disputes take on a whole new meaning when people start getting shot.

    Yes, there are responsible gun owners. There are responsible drivers too. But there are a lo of laws regulating who can drive or not, even though the vast majority of drivers will go their whole lives without ever being injured in a car accident, or drive drunk, or whatever.

    I don’t see why we can’t tell people that owning a gun has to be treated that way as well. I mean, you don’t get to drive an 18-wheeler without a class 1 license. Why should you get to own an AR 15 or military-grade weapon without a damned good reason (like it being your job?)

    The idea that an armed society guarantees democracy somehow is similarly flawed. I can think of plenty of places where every little warlord is armed and they are not democracies by any stretch. And I can’t think of a single armed revolutionary movement that existed because the populace was armed — most of them are better organized than that, and rates of gun ownership simply bear no relation whatever to the existence of such movements. Assuming, of course, that you wanted such. It’s just a bad misreading of politics generally through the lens of bad movies about the subject.

    In a free society you can decide how much protection you need, sure. But let’s put it another way: why not allow people to plant minefields around the house? Surely you get to decide how much protection you need, and a sign that says “minefield here” ought to keep good people from getting hurt. What could go wrong? There are lots of responsible minefield-owners who try to make sure kids don’t play around the area.

    And the whole issue of “the cops won’t come” is also — well, not quite realistic either. It assumes an awful lot of things, one of which is that home invasions are rife (they aren’t) and that in rural areas some dude is going to break into a random house in the middle of nowhere? “Hey, I was driving through this small town, and this house — the only one I have seen in a mile or two — looks like a good target. Oh, and the lights are on.” Yeah, right. Criminals aren’t always the brightest lot, but I have never heard of a case where someone chose to enter a house where someone was clearly home unless they were a serial killer, and those are so rare that your odds of meeting one are right up there with getting eaten by a bear or maybe hit by a falling aircraft.

  128. says

    eeyoure writes:

    First, they considered gun ownership/non gun ownership in a vacuum rather than as a factor that interacts with other factors. For example, rural vs. urban, guns owned by people who had taken safety training vs. people who had not, and so on. Obviously, guns will cause far fewer problems and accidental deaths on ranches where kids learn to properly use them almost as soon as they’re old enough to stand, than they will if they are carried by drug traffickers in poor urban areas. Yet all of the studies I’ve read looked only at the binary yes-or-no question of gun ownership, without looking at the multiple contexts in which a gun might be owned. Perhaps there are other studies that did factor all of that in and I missed them.

    In other words, this may or may not be true but I’m a special flower and you cannot prove that any such alleged correlations would actually apply to me?

    I actually ran into this ABC News article a couple of days ago.

    Since they had a nice juicy table right there, I immediately copied and pasted it into Libre Office Calc just to see what it looked like. I was struck by the fact that firearm related deaths really do seem to be correlated and the correlation looks better than I would have guessed (my expectations are very low for this sort of thing).

    The other thing that I was struck by is the nature of the countries which are outliers and those that are not.

    First of all, the countries which are not outliers which surprised me are the United States and Switzerland. Switzerland surprised me a bit (even though I should have known better since I’ve run into similar data before) because gun fondlers used to tout it as proof that more guns do not imply more deaths. But no, Switzerland (as well as the United States) seems to lie right on the regression line.

    The one huge outlier there is South Africa. Remove it and the correlation gets much better and greatly raises the R squared value. A smaller outlier for being above the trend line which (I think) should not be surprising is Israel. Outliers for being below the trend line are Germany and most of the Scandinavian countries (just for fun, if in addition to South Africa you take out Germany, Finland and all the countries speaking a Scandinavian language the R squared actually goes above .9 –I say “just for fun” because it’s easy to cherry pick when you do this and therefore such efforts should not be taken seriously).

    After I played around on my own for a while, I looked for the actual article (it’s not linked from that article –what can I say, it’s ABC News). I found it at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.04.012.

    It’s interesting in that they do try to examine various claims. They try to examine the connection between gun ownership and reduced crime* (such a claim being specially associated with the intellectually bankrupt John Lott), firearm related deaths and mental illness, and gun ownership and firearm related deaths. I’ll just reproduce the conclusion in full.

    The number of guns per capita per country was a strong and independent predictor of firearm-related death in a given country, whereas the predictive power of the mental illness burden was of borderline significance in a multivariable model. Regardless of exact cause and effect, however, the current study debunks the widely quoted hypothesis that guns make a nation safer.

    * Oh, and I’ve never understood this more guns less crime justification for gun ownership even if it were true (which appears to be likely to not be the case). Sure, one feels violated when one’s home is broken into or whatever. However, if the tradeoff for this happening less often is a solution which makes it more that one is more likely to be killed (when crime actually does happen or otherwise) it doesn’t seem like a very rational solution to address crime.

  129. says

    twas brillig (stevem)

    Then you have to prove why “mass shootings” isn’t good enough proof that “guns are bad”. Waiting…

    It constitutes a focus on the sensationalistic. What are we talking about, roughly 1/1000 of firearm related deaths? Perhaps it’s a good strategy (I mean, you use what you can get, right?) or perhaps it’s a bad strategy. One thing it does promote is fear. You know what I think is common to many “gun fondlers”? You guessed it, fear.

    But yes, it is certainly not inconceivable that if the gun nuts are right about the benefits of gun ownership such benefits (such as alleged life saving from defensive gun use) might greatly outweigh the admittedly small number of people killed in mass shootings (I don’t believe it is the case but it is certainly very plausible under the assumptions of gun fondler dogma). As a result, you might actually putting yourself into a weak position by suggesting that mass shootings are the proof that “guns are bad” (or even a significant part of the proof).

    The other thing is that these events are rare enough that they are valuable as nothing more than anecdotes. And for every mass shooting anecdote, every gun fondler can produce ten times as many anecdotes of a guy he knows who used his gun defensively (in fact, they’ll probably even come up with the one about how most defensive gun use doesn’t involve discharge of a firearm). And it doesn’t help when to proof by anecdote you have statements here strongly implying that pepper spray or nothing constitutes a superior means of self defense to actually having a loaded firearm of your own. ◔̯◔

    And, of course, the response to mass shootings hysteria by the gun fondler is to suggest that if only every other person were armed everyone would be safer and mass shootings would not happen. And then the irrational mass hysteria leads to stupid legislative attempts to regulate firearms based on what they look like instead of attempting to address the problem which is that there are to many firearms out there and that they are too easy to acquire and to own legally. And this leads to a reaction by the other side which further entrenches the gun culture under siege mentality (OMG, teh gubmint is gonna take my gunz!!!!) and in the end nothing significant ever gets done and we just accept that nothing significant can ever be done until we try to opportunistically use the bodies of victims the next mass shooting which comes along to push our agenda: the one side to restrict gun ownership and the other to ensure that politicians know their political career will be over if they show even a hint of weakness in their support of NRA supported policies.

  130. throwaway says

    When does the gun-fetishists right to a false sense of security get trumped by the fact that their “self-defense” is more worrisome than muggings and carjackings and home invasions? When does their right to constantly bear their firearms give way to the fact that a person with a gun on their person consistently for days and weeks and years on end actualizes the risk of a mode of harming themselves or other innocent people, and with no discernible effectiveness at decreasing other risks? When does the fact that open-carry is a form of terrorism and a silencing tactic (because you never know what set someone off)?

    These are questions I’d like, but will never get, an answer to.

  131. says

    Crap! “And it doesn’t help when to proof by anecdote you have statements here strongly implying that pepper spray or nothing constitutes a superior means of self defense to actually having a loaded firearm of your own. ◔̯◔” should have been “And it doesn’t help when, in addition to proof by anecdote, you have statements here strongly implying that pepper spray or nothing constitutes a superior means of self defense against firearms to actually having a loaded firearm of your own. ◔̯◔”

  132. throwaway says

    When does the fact that open-carry is a form of terrorism and a silencing tactic (because you never know what set someone off) get the Second trumped by the First Amendment?

  133. Gregory Greenwood says

    eeyore @ 123;

    On the subject of statistics, a couple of things. First, gun owners don’t have the burden of proving anything. Since gun opponents are asserting a logical positive — guns are bad — they have the burden of proof. If instead of guns we were discussing the existence of gods and demons, everyone here would see that point. *You* claim guns are bad, *you* prove it.

    This is something of a false equivalency. There is the important distinction that guns obviously exist – we have incontrovertable proof that firearms are a real thing. We also know that many classes of firearm were specifically designed with the sole (or at least primary) purpose of killing people. That is what they were created to do, as the companies that manufacture them will happily tell you in their marketing material.

    This is very different than gods and demons, for which there is not on shred of evidence. Many people may claim that gods and devils effect the world or are dangerous, and yet there has never been a single scientifically verified case of any class of alleged ‘supernatural’ being influencing the world or harming anyone in any way. Gun deaths and injuries, by comparison, are all too real.

    Consider it this way. I am quite happy to do and say the various things that would condemn my supposed ‘soul’ to notional ‘eternal hellfire’ in any number of religions, Pascal’s wager be damned.

    I hereby invite all the homophobic deities to have a great big ghey orgy together.

    I say to Yahweh and to Allah and to all the gods ever worshipped by humanity that I fart in their general direction, that their mothers were hamsters, and their fathers smelt of elderberries.

    I take the names of all deities in vain, and affirm that even if they actually existed, then they wouldn’t even rate an invite to the office christmas party, still less any form of worship.

    I name myself an unapologetic anti-theist who mocks the godly claims of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence, and wonder what it is precisely they are trying to compensate for. Well, other than the whole not existing thing.

    I say that there is little that is lower, more morally cowardly and more contemptible than ‘godliness’, especially when it masquerades as a poor substitute for ethical behaviour.

    If I had a sacred cracker or supposedly ‘holy’ book, I would happily desecrate them to make the point.

    And if they want to shut me up, why don’t they send their angelic hosts to work me over…?

    I’m waiting…

    What’s the matter? Running low on fuel for those burning swords of yours? Warrior angels all too busy playing Sodoku? Or is that orgy already in full swing?

    I can do all that and more without fear of non-human aggression or retribution, because the evidence doesn’t begin to support the assertion that gods or demons exist. Conversely, I can not be anything like as sanguine about fireams, because gun violence is all too real. Mass shootings are terrifyingly commonplce in countries with inadequate gun regulation. Bullet wounds are heinous injuries that even if they don’t kill, will almost certainly permenantly and horrendously maim.

    If you want to assert that a device specifically designed to kill people does not represent a threat to personal well being and public security, then you are making an exceptional claim indeed that runs counter to large quantities of evidence from countries like the UK – which have tight gun controls yet remain every bit as politically free as the US and all the while endure only the tiniest fraction of the USA’s levels of gun violence – then the burden of proof for that extreme claim very much falls upon you.

    Can you make your case? So far, I am not impressed.

  134. throwaway says

    And it doesn’t help when, in addition to proof by anecdote, you have statements here strongly implying that pepper spray or nothing constitutes a superior means of self defense against firearms to actually having a loaded firearm of your own. ◔̯◔

    The failure mode of pepper spray is potential blindness, maybe death by allergic reaction or complications by asthma, for those within several feet of the person who accidentally discharges their canister. The failure mode of a gun is a threat of dismemberment, injury, and death within several hundreds of feet. I don’t see the “implication” that it is better as a deterrent. I see it as a superior means of risk avoidance.

  135. eeyore says

    First of all, there’s a distinction between calls for better gun safety versus calls for gun bans. If the subject we are discussing is better gun safety, then I don’t disagree. I support mandatory safety training; I support requiring a demonstration that one knows how to safely handle and store a firearm as a condition of owning one. So if that’s what’s on the table, then we’re on the same page. It’s when the subject moves from there to gun confiscation that you’ve lost me.

    Mass shootings are outliers, just like swimming pool drownings are outliers. In fact, the same arguments for banning guns could be used to ban swimming pools: A certain number of people drown in swimming pools every year, some of them children; some people are completely irresponsible in how they maintain their pools and this leads to accidents; there is no actual “need” to swim; whatever health value there is to swimming could probably be obtained some other way, and just for good measure there are probably better environmental uses for all that water.

    But nobody is seriously talking about banning swimming pools. Everyone understands that while the risk of drowning isn’t zero, it is very, very small, which is also true of gun deaths. And, as with equality, freedom is a value that is prized for its own sake, and any utilitarian benefits it produces are gravy. I understand there are some who think freedom is overrated and I simply disagree with them. Freedom includes the ability to do things other people find appalling, like have an abortion, marry someone of the same sex, and own a firearm.

  136. unclefrogy says

    not to derail the thread but I always understand the argument for the deterrent effects of the death penalty was the the person executed person would be thoroughly and completely deterred from ever killing anyone again .
    It is either or thinking and is an all to common in conservative thinking. In the case for guns it is I can carry my gun any where or any time because of reasons, freedom and self-defense or the government is going to confiscate all the guns and oppress everyone and the violent criminals and terrorists will run unchecked and kill my loved ones. nothing in-between
    uncle frogy

  137. Nick Gotts says

    eeyore@123

    Nick, No. 120, whether you think it’s silly or not, the bottom line is that I have the right to decide for myself how much protection I need.

    Thatt’s not just silly, it’s clear proof that you’re a complete fuckwit. Do you think you have the right to own rocket launchers, chemical weapons, cruise missiles, nukes?

    And if I happen to be in that 1% who encounters a bear at the wrong time and place

    WTF do you mean “1%”? As I showed, the number of deaths-by-bear in North America is in the single figures per year. If you justify owning a gun because you’re worried about being attack by a bear, that just shows you’re completely irrational.

  138. ck says

    As throwaway notes, hese so-called “non-lethal” (more properly called less lethal) weapons are not without their risks. Here’s one story where a cop permanently blinded (well, destroyed her eyes would be more correct) a woman by using a gunpower propelled irritant fired at 400 MPH a mere 10 inches from her face. There are many stories of people being killed by tazers. Not to worry, though, as the police are always very careful to yell, “Stop resisting” before deploying these punishment devices (the equivalent to the South Park “It’s comin’ right for us!”), so there’s rarely consequences for the negligent cop in question.

    To borrow a phrase used in my profession, “You can’t solve a [societal problems] by simply adding more technology.” Glorification of weaponry is the problem, and swapping guns for smart guns, or pepper spray, or any other fancy new weapon and you’ll still have the societal problem.

  139. Gregory Greenwood says

    eeyore @ 145;

    Mass shootings are outliers, just like swimming pool drownings are outliers. In fact, the same arguments for banning guns could be used to ban swimming pools: A certain number of people drown in swimming pools every year, some of them children; some people are completely irresponsible in how they maintain their pools and this leads to accidents; there is no actual “need” to swim; whatever health value there is to swimming could probably be obtained some other way, and just for good measure there are probably better environmental uses for all that water.

    But nobody is seriously talking about banning swimming pools.

    Last time I checked, poorly maintained swimming pools could not be used as a relatively easy means of killing another person, or to perform mass killings. I don’t remember headlines every couple of months describing the latest swimming pool related murder spree, for instance.

    A poorly maintained pool is an incidental threat of a fairly low order to those who use it and arguably to those in the immediate vicinity. Guns are quite literal killing machines, especially things like assault rifles – they present a danger to life not due to fault or negligence but by design. That is a vital qualatative difference.

    If we are doing anologies, then would you assert similar freedoms to own highly dangerous and weaponised materials other than guns? What if a person’s hobby was biochemistry, and they wanted a right to bear lethal strains of anthrax in public in pursuit of their lifestyle? Would that be OK to you, or does this freedom strangely only extend to devices designed to throw small chunks of lead around at high speed?

  140. twas brillig (stevem) says

    …just like swimming pool drownings are outliers…

    blah blah. Yet another “swimming pool” ‘nalogy. Really. Can’t you do better than that? Next will be the “cars kill more than guns, donchano…”. But then you won’t use the car-analogy cuz you know it’ll backfire [pun intended].
    Deadliness of cars are why they are licensed and regulated and DUI is jail time, etc. So that’s why you fall back on the swimming pool slippery slope argument. Eeyore, we’re trying to make you see that no matter how safe the owner is, the weapon is inherently dangerous. A “safe gun” is one locked in a safe [pun?]. Until you can invent a smart-bullet that as soon as it ‘escapes’ can be instantly recalled; you got nuthin. Now try harder, your arguments have been seen and defeated before. Come back when you got sumthin nu.
    /grumpy

  141. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I support mandatory safety training; I support requiring a demonstration that one knows how to safely handle and store a firearm as a condition of owning one. So if that’s what’s on the table, then we’re on the same page. It’s when the subject moves from there to gun confiscation that you’ve lost me.

    What you should be arguing to legislatures for is mandatory gun safety. You break the safety rules, by keeping a loaded gun in your nightstand, or not transporting a weapon in public unloaded, you either go to jail, and preferably loose any right for further gun ownership. Get the message to gun owners, either behave responsibly, or you won’t have any guns. Nobody is really talking confiscation, except the paranoid gun nuts like yourself, where it’s either anything you want done anyway you want, or confiscation. It should have to be that way.

    Only if you can show that you have at least a 10% chance of firing that gun in public in the next day, it should be unload. It isn’t rocket science. It is being responsible to both yourself and your follow citizens.

  142. says

    The failure mode of pepper spray is potential blindness, maybe death by allergic reaction or complications by asthma, for those within several feet of the person who accidentally discharges their canister.

    No, within the context of defending against a determined attacker armed with a firearm, the failure mode of pepper spray is that, at best, it may annoy the attacker. The only true disadvantage of being armed is that in the case of a rational, level headed attacker, the brandishing of a weapon by a potential defender should get you reassessed as a greater threat and retargeted as a higher priority (something which would probably also happen with pepper spray).

    The failure mode of a gun is a threat of dismemberment, injury, and death within several hundreds of feet.

    Within the context of defending against an attacker armed with a firearm, the failure mode of a gun is that the attempt at defense by gunshot fail either because of a miss or because the resulting injury does not stop any further aggression by the attacker. With the exception of accidental shooting of non-targets (which is probably a relatively small risk in most scenarios which, within the context of an active shooter, has to be weighed against the the greater risk of injury of self and others which is likely to be caused by the aggressor), there are no problems inherent with defense with a firearm against a firearm that do not exist in defense against a firearm without a firearm (aiming a gun and missing –a very common occurrence under stress– is not inherently worse than aiming,… a finger,… and missing).

  143. jesse says

    @auguspamplona — actually, people getting hit by stray bullets is rather depressingly common, as anyone who spent time in Chicago, LA or New York at the height of the wars for crack turf can tell you.

    In those cases it was criminals defending themselves against other criminals but believe me, stray bullets are a thing in firefights.

  144. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re stray bullets:
    I gotta continue, with the mention of that.
    In NYC getting hit by a stray bullet will get you arrested! There was a gunfight between cops and crims in the city and many people got hit by stray bullets. And those victims who sued the cops for the firefight were thrown in jail [for running away with (i.e. stealing) the city’s bullets?] So even “good guy” bullets can hurt.

  145. says

    What part of “within the context of an active shooter, has to be weighed against the the greater risk of injury of self and others which is likely to be caused by the aggressor” didn’t you read?

  146. anteprepro says

    I love how consistently the key reason why we are assured that we absolutely, definitely, posulutely NEED guns is because we need it in other to more easily and readily fight off people with guns. Obviously there is no other way!

    I am continually baffled by how the gun fetishists don’t see the flaw in their brilliant “fight guns with guns, forever” strategy. But, then again, that is how apologists, pundits, and authoritarians operate: they don’t care if the logic makes sense, or if their policies help people. Anything that defends the status quo does not need examining. The goal is to keep things the same, logic and decency be damned.

  147. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Second, as I said above, one problem with the statistics that get tossed about is that human society is a very complex thing, and it’s a mistake to assume that any one factor acts in a vacuum.

    “LA LA LA I CAN”T HEAR YOU!!!!”

  148. Gregory Greenwood says

    augustpamplona @ 153;

    Within the context of defending against an attacker armed with a firearm, the failure mode of a gun is that the attempt at defense by gunshot fail either because of a miss or because the resulting injury does not stop any further aggression by the attacker. With the exception of accidental shooting of non-targets (which is probably a relatively small risk in most scenarios which, within the context of an active shooter, has to be weighed against the the greater risk of injury of self and others which is likely to be caused by the aggressor), there are no problems inherent with defense with a firearm against a firearm that do not exist in defense against a firearm without a firearm (aiming a gun and missing –a very common occurrence under stress– is not inherently worse than aiming,… a finger,… and missing).

    Even a well trained marksperson has a high miss rate when shooting ast a target that is firing back. Now imagine a minimally or untrained person firing at a moving target who is firing back, and the two are separated by other members of the public who are trying to escape or find cover, and there are further members of the public behind and around both shooters. In such a, very likely, scenario, one or more John Wayne wannabes blazing away is likely to compound the situation by causing additional gun shot casualties, not minimising them.

    As twas brillig (stevem) says, the intent with which a stray bullet was originally fired has zero impact on whether it harms the person it ultimately winds up hitting – it is just as easy to die or be maimed from being hit by a round from a police officer’s weapon (or that of someone who thinks they are staring in the latest Die Hard movie) as a criminal’s, and the distinction is unlikely to matter much to the victim.

  149. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Freedom includes the ability to do things other people find appalling, like have an abortion, marry someone of the same sex, and own a firearm.

    …”provided you do not harm others or violate their rights in the process.” One of those things has that effect, the others don’t.

  150. throwaway says

    aiming a gun and missing –a very common occurrence under stress– is not inherently worse than aiming,… a finger,… and missing

    Not inherently worse than aiming a finger? You’ve got to be kidding.

  151. throwaway says

    There was a case recently in my area of a man who had his hedge clippers stolen right in front of him. As the perpetrator was getting away they allegedly raised a weapon at the victim, at which point the victim retrieved their weapon and began firing back at a vehicle that was speeding away. That’s fucking irresponsible. It was the middle of the day. Children are out of school. Anything could have been in the path of the bullets had he missed in the busy commercial/residential section he was in. Over fucking hedge clippers.

    And I’m pretty fucking sure the “He threatened me with a weapon.” is never going to be challenged in court once they arrest the man and find no weapon.

    These are the chucklefucks I do not want anywhere near a fucking weapon, yet there they are, perfectly capable to carry and discharge in public at will.

  152. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    What part of “within the context of an active shooter, has to be weighed against the the greater risk of injury of self and others which is likely to be caused by the aggressor” didn’t you read?

    That was explicitly the context they were talking about.

  153. David Marjanović says

    In fact, the same arguments for banning guns could be used to ban swimming pools:

    …and then you move on from “ban swimming pools” to “knowing how to swim is useless”. Obviously it’s not, because you can always fall into a body of water too deep to stand in, even if you actively avoid that risk.

    I can’t think of anything comparable that would involve guns.

    Freedom includes the ability to do things other people find appalling, like have an abortion, marry someone of the same sex, and own a firearm.

    It does not, however, include recklessly running the risk to increase the lead content of the air to lethal levels.

    Do I really have to repeat the obvious?!? Your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose.

  154. says

    Gregory Greenwood:

    Even a well trained marksperson has a high miss rate when shooting ast a target that is firing back.

    IIRC (and don’t quote me at this because is off the top of my head), it’s something like 50% shots fired by police officers in the line of duty missing their target. They don’t even have to be shootouts at people who are shooting back as it’s enough that police believe that they are being shot at (Wikipedia says in the case of Amadou Diallo he was shot at 41 times and hit “only” 19 times –and I believe this would likely have been at relatively close range).

    Now imagine a minimally or untrained person firing at a moving target who is firing back, and the two are separated by other members of the public who are trying to escape or find cover, and there are further members of the public behind and around both shooters. In such a, very likely, scenario, one or more John Wayne wannabes blazing away is likely to compound the situation by causing additional gun shot casualties, not minimising them.

    Context is everything. You forget that in this scenario we actually have a shooter who is actually actively shooting at people. That is, he is possibly firing at you and he is firing at other people, and, if not stopped, he is going to continue to do so. If he doesn’t miss, he’s wounding and killing people. If he does miss he might be wounding and killing people. The shooter is an established threat.

    That is what is being faced. The question is, do you stop it in the most effective way possible or don’t you. If you do not, he will intentionally shoot some people and, if he misses some he was aiming for, he might “accidentally” shoot others. You are allowing a proven, well established threat to continue. If you respond with gunfire (which does introduce a potential threat to others for the reasons you explain), your chances of eliminating this proven threat are greater than if you respond in some other way. Yes, you can get lucky but as a general rule:
    Gun vs. bare hands –> gun wins.
    Gun vs. pepper spray –> gun wins
    Gun vs. rocks –> gun wins
    Gun vs. knife –> gun wins (though law enforcement types will point out that the attacker advantage can be a lot more significant than what one might think –of course, that does not apply here since we’re defending rather than attacking).

    I hope I don’t really have to explain that because it really amuses me that folk here chastise the gun fetishists for their John Wayne fantasies (rightly, I might add) even as they seem to think that even more fantastic magic ninja master tactics are realistic (for equally untrained people, I might add) and have a better chance of defending against a firearm than actually using another firearm.

    Now understand that this is a separate issue from firearm regulation policy. My problem is with proof by anecdote and proof by making really silly statements (which ‘everyone will be OK if brave people just maze the shit out of a gunman’ type statements are). It’s bad when the gun nutters do it (like then they suggest that regulating firearms will have absolutely no effects on homicides because this one time killer X used a knife) and it’s bad when the pro gun regulation side does it.

    That is, it is not at all inconsistent to believe that it is conceivable that circumstances exist where a firearm might be the preferable self defense tool (zombie apocalypse, anyone?… OK, maybe I’m joking here) and to simultaneously believe that legal firearm ownership might need to be more tightly regulated (perhaps even to the point where it is so difficult to own one that almost no one can do so). Yes, this means that in a very strict gun regulatory regime if you ever find yourself in the middle of a mass shooting (a circumstance which I believe would be made much less likely in a scenario of reduced gun availability) you would find yourself deprived of the best tool to defend yourself. I do not have a problem with that.

    Effective risk management does not mean reducing every single risk to 0 because this is impossible. Effective risk management means making trade-offs. A very strict firearm regulatory regime that greatly limited gun ownership would prevent overall deaths and would prevent most mass shooting scenarios. The fact that in the very rare instance of a mass shooting actually happening it deprives the law abiding citizen of the ability to most effectively defend oneself does not stop it from being a good tradeoff if it means that many other deaths have been prevented by the restriction in gun ownership in the first place.

  155. eeyore says

    Nick, No. 147, one of the nice things about living in a free society is that I don’t have to give a fuck about the opinion of someone who can’t communicate without personal abuse.

    Azkyroth, 160, and David, 164, yes, my freedom to swing my fist ends where your nose begins. And if someone is actually pointing a gun at you for any reason other than acting in self defense, then you have a point, and I will agree that absent unusual circumstances that person should go to jail and lose the right to own a firearm.

    But the mere fact that I own a firearm, without more, isn’t a threat to you or to anyone else. Maybe to a coyote headed in the direction of my chicken coop.

  156. Anri says

    eeyore @ 145:

    Mass shootings are outliers, just like swimming pool drownings are outliers. In fact, the same arguments for banning guns could be used to ban swimming pools: A certain number of people drown in swimming pools every year, some of them children; some people are completely irresponsible in how they maintain their pools and this leads to accidents; there is no actual “need” to swim; whatever health value there is to swimming could probably be obtained some other way, and just for good measure there are probably better environmental uses for all that water.

    A group of 12 8-year-olds are playing – supervised – in a swimming pool.

    A group of 12 8-year-olds are playing – supervised – with firearms.

    Equivalent situations?
    The answer to this question might help you to understand why people aren’t taking your thought processes very seriously.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And if someone is actually pointing a gun at you for any reason other than acting in self defense, then you have a point, and I will agree that absent unusual circumstances that person should go to jail and lose the right to own a firearm.

    Since these person’s don’t own guns, now what do you think? Pulling your gun when somebody has the drop on you is called a death wish fuckwit. What part of that don’t you gun fetishers comprehend? They then take you gun and one more is in the hands of criminals, which wouldn’t happen if you didn’t have a gun on your person. Your lack of thinking is stupendous….

  158. ledasmom says

    eeyore:

    Freedom includes the ability to do things other people find appalling, like have an abortion, marry someone of the same sex, and own a firearm.

    Well, that explains everything. I must have missed all the reports of multiple deaths caused by spree gay-marriers. I somehow never saw the cases of toddlers accidentally marrying other toddlers of the same sex and dying. I certainly overlooked the many, many people who have been killed in the woods during the gay-marriage season.
    This is writ sarcastical, in case anyone was in doubt.

  159. Lofty says

    Eeyore (apt name) thinks that carrying a loaded gun makes him safe. In fact carrying a religious talisman like a St Christopher medal would make him feel equally safe, without the collateral damage.
    Magic, fact free thinking at it’s best..

  160. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The gun fetisher’s logic always reminds me of one of the arguments against seat belts: Suppose I’m knocked unconscious and the car catches fire, how am I supposed to free myself? The question ignores the fact that if you are unconscious, you won’t be able to either free yourself from a seat belt, or crawl out the window. Not happening….

  161. Gregory Greenwood says

    augustpamplona @ 165;

    Context is everything. You forget that in this scenario we actually have a shooter who is actually actively shooting at people. That is, he is possibly firing at you and he is firing at other people, and, if not stopped, he is going to continue to do so. If he doesn’t miss, he’s wounding and killing people. If he does miss he might be wounding and killing people. The shooter is an established threat.

    But if other people start shooting back, then while it is possible they might incapacitate the attacker with minimal inury to others it is equally possible that all that will result is an ongoing shootout where the attacker is not sufficiently injured to stop their attack, leading to more people engaged in firing weapons in public, and thus more bullets flying about, and a greater risk of a larger number of people being killed or injured, since the shooter is still shooting to kill people, and those who want to stop the shooter are effectively firing into a crowd to do so, thus assuming a high risk of injuring or killing even those people in the vicinity the shooter is not already shooting at.

    Then there is an even greater problem – in your scenario, the shooter is trying to kill as many people as possible in a mass killing, and the other gun users involved correctly identify the shooter’s intent and so feel compelled to fire back, but this assumes that these ordinary citizens with no real firearms or law enforcement training make that judgement correctly. My question is; what if they don’t? What if they misinterpret a scenario, and open up because they think they perceive a threat that isn’t really there? Perhaps it is a robbery in progress, and the criminal is using a gun to intimidate his victims, but hasn’t started firing and doesn’t actually intend to do so since the weapon is mostly there as a prop.

    Along comes our would be hero(es), they see the situation and go all Lone Ranger and reach for their weapon. A fire fight ensues and people are caught in the crossfire and killed. In that situation, there would not have been any deaths if the person who sees themselves as the hero of the hour hadn’t actually escalated the situation to violence in the belief that they were averting gun violence. And this could happen and lead to deaths even where the weapon being used by the criminal isn’t actually even real, but is a replica, and the only real gun threat present is that in the hands of our friendly neighbourhood John McClane stand-in.

    More people carrying loaded guns on the street means more opportunities not only for direct criminal misuse, but also for malfunctions, misunderstandings and panics that could all result in preventable death and injury. And then there is also the widespread problem of race bigotry, where a person may perceive an imaginary threat due to their racist presuppositions about people of a certain hue and then act upon it, increasing the liklihood of gun violence against people whose only crime was being abroad while Black, and all in the name of ‘shooting first’ to protect other members of the public.

    That is what is being faced. The question is, do you stop it in the most effective way possible or don’t you. If you do not, he will intentionally shoot some people and, if he misses some he was aiming for, he might “accidentally” shoot others. You are allowing a proven, well established threat to continue. If you respond with gunfire (which does introduce a potential threat to others for the reasons you explain), your chances of eliminating this proven threat are greater than if you respond in some other way. Yes, you can get lucky but as a general rule:
    Gun vs. bare hands –> gun wins.
    Gun vs. pepper spray –> gun wins
    Gun vs. rocks –> gun wins
    Gun vs. knife –> gun wins (though law enforcement types will point out that the attacker advantage can be a lot more significant than what one might think –of course, that does not apply here since we’re defending rather than attacking).

    You are forgetting another category there; gun vs. gun -> all too often, everyone loses, including many innocent passersby, and as noted above even if one of those guns isn’t real.

    Effective risk management does not mean reducing every single risk to 0 because this is impossible. Effective risk management means making trade-offs. A very strict firearm regulatory regime that greatly limited gun ownership would prevent overall deaths and would prevent most mass shooting scenarios. The fact that in the very rare instance of a mass shooting actually happening it deprives the law abiding citizen of the ability to most effectively defend oneself does not stop it from being a good tradeoff if it means that many other deaths have been prevented by the restriction in gun ownership in the first place.

    I don’t remember many calls on the thread for an absolute prohibition on guns, and I certainly have not argued for it. Isn’t pretty much everyone apart from the gun-fondlers already arguing for far tighter gun regulations, a system of licensing, and the severe restriction of access to classes of weapon that are fully automatic, have extended clips, or are otherwise highly suitable for mass killings?

  162. Amphiox says

    Mass shootings are outliers, just like swimming pool drownings are outliers. In fact, the same arguments for banning guns could be used to ban swimming pools

    Reasonable gun control regulations =/= banning guns.
    A right to own ANYTHING =/= a right not to be minimally inconvenienced by reasonable regulations to keep everyone safer.
    Your right to own firearms is not infringed by reasonable gun controls unless you are the type of person who should not be allowed to own a gun in the first place.

    Airplane crashes are outliers, too. Should the aviation industry have no regulation?

  163. chigau (your display name can be anything you want) says

    If I am standing behind the person with the gun
    bare hands/pepperspray/rock/knife
    wins

  164. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nick Gotts

    I’m actually less worried about burglars than I am about bears, mountain lions and wolves. – eeyore@89

    This is hilarious. The number of bear deaths in North America is in single figures per year. Mountain lions less than 1 per year. Wolves: single figures counting all those ever recorded.

    But I bet there are some really dangerous squirrels out there! Go carefully, eeyore.

    Innumeracy. Bad statistics.

    I used to play recreational soccer as a kid. We played in the rain, but lightning was serious business. As soon as there was any sign of lightning, play stopped immediately. How many deaths by lightning do you think happen in the US? Are you going to use that as an argument that kids should continue to play soccer during a lightning storm?

    PS: Note specifically I’m not arguing that guns are a useful precaution against bears. I’m just noting that your argument is bullshit.

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Note specifically I’m not arguing that guns are a useful precaution against bears. I’m just noting that your argument is bullshit.

    Ditto.

  166. anteprepro says

    Gun Homicides in United States per year: 9,000 to 10,000
    Swimming Pool Drowning Deaths in United States per year: 700 per year.
    (Per the CDC information here death by drowning in swimming pools is roughly 1/5 of all drowning deaths. Which, from here , is roughly 3,500 per year. )

    Wow. Get a bear in them thar swimming pools and pretty soon we will have no choice but to start selling people anti-aircraft weaponry!

  167. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    *Whenever I hear lightning strikes mentioned as an excuse for or against any behavior, I am always reminded of the old joke, when golfers are in a thunderstorm, they should hold up their two (or one) irons, as god cannot hit the same iron.*

  168. anteprepro says

    EnlightenmentLiberal

    How many deaths by lightning do you think happen in the US? Are you going to use that as an argument that kids should continue to play soccer during a lightning storm?

    79 per year. Which is nothing to sneeze at. Versus 1 to 6 per year for bear attacks. Which kinda is. I mean, it is entirely possible that the odds greatly spike up if you are right in front of a bear and all, but, I mean, fuck, I have a really hard time believing that with a death rate from bears this low that you could live isolated enough from the rest of humanity and exposed to bears frequently enough that you are able to turn that 6 bear attacks per year into a larger personal threat to your livelihood than the 14,000 homicides and numerous other sources for fucking accidental deaths out there. It is a highly implausible scenario.

    Further food for thought: There are 200,000 brown bears in the U.S. and 600,000 black bears. I assume that all of them live right outside eeyore’s property.

  169. ck says

    EnlightenmentLiberal wrote:

    Innumeracy. Bad statistics.

    Nice of you to warn us.

    How many deaths by lightning do you think happen in the US?

    I assume you didn’t bother to look up the statistic because it wouldn’t support your assertion? Around 51 people die each year to lightning strikes [src]. However, the fatality rate for being struck by lightning is only around 9-10% [src], which means there are well over 500 people struck by lightning each year.

  170. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There are probably many lightening strikes to humans that aren’t reported. Like the one the Redhead suffered in the kitchen. The only lasting effect is a fuzzy right thumb, that doesn’t work well on the remotes, and since her stroke effected her left side, this is an issue in dealing with modern technology, where timing of button pushing is everything.

  171. eeyore says

    Anri, 167, you’ve obviously never lived in a rural area. Kids are taught to use firearms almost from the time they’re old enough to stand. They are heavily supervised, and they learn gun safety, and mishaps rarely if ever happen. And having a group of kids at target practice — supervised — would not be considered an unusual event, and neither is it an event at which there’s any great risk of injury. By the way, once upon a time high schools had rifle teams, and if you were on the rifle team and you had practice that day, you brought your rifle to school. However, that, too, was supervised. The issue is having adequate supervision and being taught safety.

    Nerd, No. 168, yes, sometimes people have guns taken away from them by criminals, but that’s because the gun owner didn’t bother to learn self defense, proper weapons handling, or proper weapons storage. So, for the umpteenth time, I support mandatory safety training, which includes proper self defense. The problems you keep raising are caused by lack of proper mandatory training, and would mostly go away if people got proper training.

    No. 170, I didn’t say that carrying a gun makes me safe. I said it makes me safer than I would be without it. Nothing in life is 100% foolproof.

    Amphiox, No. 173, I’ve already said I support reasonable regulation, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Most of what’s on your list I’d agree to. You seem to think I’m an anarchist who supports no regulation at all, and that’s directly contrary to the position I’ve taken, which is for mandatory safety training.

    By the way, the numbers of people killed by bears may be low, but not everyone mauled by a bear dies, and being mauled by a bear can be fairly unpleasant as well. That said, it’s readily apparent from this conversation that most of the people who are arguing with me have no actual experience living in rural America; you may drive through it from time to time, or maybe even go hiking for a weekend, but you don’t know my world.

  172. eeyore says

    And by the way, those numbers about gun deaths in the US: A significant part of the total is criminals killing other criminals through drug turf wars and such. As it happens, using guns to commit violent crimes carries as an occupational hazard getting killed yourself. I don’t think those numbers belong in the same statistic as innocent parties being killed by guns. While it’s true they’re just as dead, it’s also true that they were major contributing factors to their own demise.

    And I’m not sure suicides should be counted in that number either; they’re dead by choice.

    Once you factor out criminal-on-criminal violence and suicides, the risk of a genuinely innocent bystander being killed by a gun goes down even further than it is.

  173. says

    eeyore writes:

    Anri, 167, you’ve obviously never lived in a rural area. Kids are taught to use firearms almost from the time they’re old enough to stand.

    That’s insane (unless you are engaging in hyperbole). Almost from the time they’re old to stand up they should be taught to not touch and report to an adult which is what the NRA Edie the Eagle does. However, at that age, it might not be very effective.

    If you can barely teach them to not touch, you certainly cannot teach them to use. Not that this is not done but it is not responsible parenting behavior.

    They are heavily supervised, and they learn gun safety, and mishaps rarely if ever happen.

    And I suppose you have the statistics to back this up, right?

  174. says

    eeyore:
    What is your argument?
    Do you think you’re arguing against people who want to outlaw guns?
    I ask bc you appear to be arguing against the people talking about reasonable gun control.
    I’m one of the people who would be perfectly happy with largely outlawing guns*, but I realize that that’s simply not feasible right now. Therefore, I back sensible gun control, which the US does *not* have.

    *and to be honest, I don’t favor a complete ban on them. I’m fine with active duty police and military possessing guns, as well as civilians using guns at shooting ranges. However, I think guns are unnecessary for the rest of the populace-especially when weighed against public safety. Yes, this includes your irrational fear of being attacked by a bear.

  175. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    A significant part of the total is criminals killing other criminals through drug turf wars and such.

    Citation needed.

    Especially since only 20% of homicides had strangers as their victims, 5,000 homicides per year are attributed to escalated arguments, and gang related violence is claimed to only be 6% of homicides. (Source)

    Keep on blaming the victim, though.

    And I’m not sure suicides should be counted in that number either; they’re dead by choice.

    Did you know that those people who choose to kill themselves but have something less violent and lethal than a gun available to them use less violent and lethal means to attempt to kill themselves…and are more likely to survive the suicide attempt? I doubt you care. It’s just gun apologetics all the way down with you.

  176. says

    anteprepro:

    It’s just gun apologetics all the way down with you.

    Yeah, and it’s bizarre. Eeyore mentioned supporting stricter gun control laws. Yet he’s making the same kind of gun apologetics that the gun fondlers do, and he’s ignores or handwaves the statistics that shoot holes in his apologetics.

  177. anteprepro says

    eeyore:

    By the way, the numbers of people killed by bears may be low, but not everyone mauled by a bear dies, and being mauled by a bear can be fairly unpleasant as well.

    Jesus fucking Christ. Let’s have the Pfft! try to handle this shit.

    According to Taylor Y. Cardall MD and Peter Rosen MD, in their article “Grizzly Bear Attack” published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, there were 162 bear-inflicted injuries reported in the United States between 1900 and 1985. This constitutes approximately two reported bear-inflicted injuries per year.[1] Likewise, Stephen Herrero, a Canadian biologist, reports that during the 1990s bears killed[quantify] people in the U.S. and Canada, or around three people a year, as compared to the 15 people killed every year by dogs.[2] Multiple reports remark that one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be attacked by a bear when outdoors; around 90 people are killed by lightning each year……

    1028 incidences of black bears acting aggressively toward people, 107 of which resulted in injury, were recorded from 1964 to 1976 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and occurred mainly in tourist hotspots, where people regularly fed the bears handouts.[….

    Nope, just as you would expect, not that many bear injuries either. Who would have fucking thought.

  178. anteprepro says

    Tony!, I swear Severe Gun Love does something to your ability to do logic. Also ability to empathize. It really just fucks up everything involving thought, really.

    Dr. Gunlove or How I Learned to Stop Caring and Love the American Homicide Rate.

  179. anteprepro says

    Imagine, if you will: What if that bear in the swimming pool was also driving a car? Well you better believe we’d need our guns!

    And as they say, the only thing that can stop a bad bear with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.

    Cuz ain’t nuthin beating a gun. All other weapons are completely useless!

    But also remember: Guns are no more dangerous than a knife! Why don’t you ban everything, why don’t you! Nazis!

    Also also: CRIMINALS!!!

  180. ck says

    eeyore wrote:

    And I’m not sure suicides should be counted in that number either; they’re dead by choice.

    Many suicides happen not because of weeks or months of planning, but because the opportunity has arisen while the person is in that particular state of mind. When city planners added guardrails to prevent people from jumping off certain popular bridges, the total number of suicides dropped. It turns out that the people who would’ve jumped off that bridge didn’t just go find another bridge to jump off, or find some other method for ending their lives [source].

    “Choice” is a funny word to consider when you’re talking about depression, though. Not everyone spends time considering their options and alternatives.

  181. anteprepro says

    Oh, for the lurkers who may not be so familiar with gun debates:

    eeyore has fallen into one of the common pro-gun talking points/obsessions. Which is namely “Criminals”. Eeyore and eeyore’s fellow Gunlovers, as you most likely do know, insist upon a No True Gunowner, which they often dub The Responsible Gunowner. These are infallible beings who can do no wrong. The people who do happen to do wrong? Well, even if they were a Responsible Gunowner at one point, they are Irresponsible if they just did something stupid, or now Criminals if they did something awful. This might not seem controversial to the bystander. “Of course they are Criminals…they murdered a guy”. Oh no no no no. You see, to these good folks, Criminals are a race of evil-doers who deliberately break all laws. They are a massive band of bad guys, like the mafia or street gangs. But so much more than that. They are an evil horde out there, reveling in death and destruction, held back only by the fabled Good Guys With Gunz. They are Neo Vikings, held back only by our merry collection of Urban Cowboys. No, a “criminal” isn’t just a normal person who did one bad thing! No, a “criminal” isn’t just a person put into bad circumstances! A Criminal is a black-hearted menace that must be stopped!

    And that, dear lurkers, is why eeyore does not dare weep for “criminals” killing each other. Because Criminals are basically just Orcs to them.

    Why eeyore also doesn’t care about suicidal people is beyond me, however.

  182. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Once you factor out criminal-on-criminal violence and suicides, the risk of a genuinely innocent bystander being killed by a gun goes down even further than it is.

    It doesn’t go down the same level, nor can it, as if concealed carry, was unloaded carry. Why you think otherwise is your delusional thinking, not ours. What a fuckwitted idjit you become when guns are the topic.

  183. ck says

    anteprepro wrote:

    This might not seem controversial to the bystander. “Of course they are Criminals…they murdered a guy”. Oh no no no no. You see, to these good folks, Criminals are a race of evil-doers who deliberately break all laws.

    And don’t dare ask how one goes about identifying the criminals before they commit the crime. That only ends up turning into, “violent criminals are all mentally ill.” Anything so that the gun fondler doesn’t have to feel any tiny bit of culpability for the things that happen.

  184. consciousness razor says

    Anri, 167, you’ve obviously never lived in a rural area. Kids are taught to use firearms almost from the time they’re old enough to stand.

    I’ve lived in a rural area (in the US) my entire life. No, kids aren’t all taught to use firearms, not even later than when they’re “old enough to stand.”

    Making Shit Up™ is not going to work for you here.

    They are heavily supervised, and they learn gun safety, and mishaps rarely if ever happen.

    Making Shit Up™ even more.

    I guess you’ve never encountered the rare specimen known as the “Irresponsible Rural Person™”. I know it must be very hard to believe they exist, given that it isn’t Shit You Made Up™. I will leave the PROOF of their existence as an exercise for the reader.

    And having a group of kids at target practice — supervised — would not be considered an unusual event, and neither is it an event at which there’s any great risk of injury.

    That’s fucked up. You evidently haven’t been taught proper firearm safety since you left the womb, in a proper Rural Area™, as I have. There is always a great risk of injury, supervision or no supervision. Full stop. Because they’re fucking deadly weapons, dipshit.

    And by the way, those numbers about gun deaths in the US: A significant part of the total is criminals killing other criminals through drug turf wars and such. As it happens, using guns to commit violent crimes carries as an occupational hazard getting killed yourself. I don’t think those numbers belong in the same statistic as innocent parties being killed by guns. While it’s true they’re just as dead, it’s also true that they were major contributing factors to their own demise.

    What if it was for “self-defense”? Isn’t the argument that an ever-escalating arms race is one of the “contributing factors” an argument against the necessity and efficacy of guns, not for them?

    Also, somebody is a “criminal” (because they sell drugs … or allegedly did, well, something), which means they’re not “innocent” and they deserve death? What does being “urban” (non-white?) and being in a “drug turf war” have to do with them deserving death? If you don’t meant to say they deserve that, it’s still somehow okay if they die? Or is this different statistic you want to invent totally irrelevant to the argument?

  185. says

    eeyore:

    Anri, 167, you’ve obviously never lived in a rural area. Kids are taught to use firearms almost from the time they’re old enough to stand.

    You’re obviously full of shit. I spent a good portion of childhood in a very rural area (Reedley, CA and this was in the late ’60s, early ’70s), and no, all kids weren’t raised on guns. I live very rural now, in ND, and no, all kids aren’t raised on guns.

  186. says

    Adding to mine @ 197

    eeyore:

    They are heavily supervised, and they learn gun safety, and mishaps rarely if ever happen.

    Oh, fuckety fuck fucking bullfucking shit.

  187. says

    ::the Queer Shoop dons the Snark! Hat::

    anteprepro:

    And that, dear lurkers, is why eeyore does not dare weep for “criminals” killing each other. Because Criminals are basically just Orcs to them.

    Say…this wouldn’t be othering them, would it?

    ****

    eeyore:
    You’ve made truth claims without backing them up with citations.
    Why?
    If you’re trying to convince us that your assertions are true, surely you don’t expect us to simply accept your statements at face value. Or do you think others are responsible for determining the truth of your claims?

  188. eeyore says

    Nerd, No. 194, I am opposed to concealed carry, and if you’re going to call me a “fuckwitted idjit”, I suggest you make it for a position I’ve actually taken, rather than for a position you’ve imputed to me that I haven’t taken. Otherwise, you look like a pretty fuckwitted idjit yourself. By the way, as a side note, you seem to make a habit of imputing to people positions they haven’t taken. Earlier, you decided I had to be a PUA (or at least an apologist for one) because I thought mental illness might play a role in some violent behavior; now, because I don’t want to confiscate guns, that *must* mean I support concealed carry. May I suggest that you trouble yourself to find out what someone’s actual position is before you tell them they’re idiots for holding it? Otherwise, please take your own advice to STFU.

    Consciousness Razor, No. 196, I have lived in a rural area for all but 10 of my more than 70 years. It may be that they do things differently in your part of the country, but I’m reporting on what I’ve seen. And yes, guns are dangerous *if they are used improperly and without adult supervision*. So are chemicals found in some household cleaners. That’s why it’s important to teach safety. But with proper safety precautions, neither guns nor bleach necessarily result in harm, and under proper adult supervision, children can learn to use both. I did. The rest of your rant is mostly an attempt to make general policy out of individual exceptions; yes, there are irresponsible rural persons — I’ve known more than a few — but most rural gun owners are pretty responsible.

    CK, we freedom fondlers (pro-choice applies to more than just abortion) do not feel culpability for what we did not do. No gun of mine has ever shed a drop of human blood. I’m not going to accept guilt for the misdeeds of other people.

    Tony, gun laws are not a binary yes-or-no where the only two choices are anything goes or complete bans. It’s possible to believe in reasonable regulation while at the same time respecting the right of private gun ownership. If you want to own a gun, you should have to take and pass a safety course that includes firearms safety, proper self defense, and proper storage. If you misuse a gun, you lose the right to own it, at least until you can satisfy the authorities that whatever caused the problem has been fixed. And I note that nobody has responded to the specific objections I made to those studies.

  189. throwaway says

    There are something like 300 deaths due to hunting accidents every year in the US. Aren’t these people supposed to have been trained to watch their swing, identify their targets and generally have good trigger discipline? And haven’t they (hunters) generally been brought up around firearms their whole lives and taught how to be a supremely-patriotic-gun-toting-yet-totally-safe-to-be-around American? Haven’t they had to pass some sort of “hunter’s course” in order to get their tags?

  190. eeyore says

    With respect to criminals killing criminals, speaking as not just a black man, but as an old black man who lived before, during and after the civil rights era, that there are an awful lot of blacks who do not share the liberal white love affair with blacks who commit violent crime against other blacks. If you go to heavily black urban areas where most of the violent crime takes place, and talk to the black people whose communities have been destroyed by the violent criminals, you will find that support for the death penalty, and private gun ownership, is high. Where you see victims of racism, we see thugs who destroy our communities, and who have made deliberate and conscious choices to destroy our communities. That doesn’t mean we don’t think racism exists; we know it does. We just don’t think it’s an excuse for shooting up a convenience store or dealing drugs. And my message to white liberals is to stop enabling them. Your argument basically boils down to black criminals can’t be expected to behave themselves, and that is more thoroughly racist than anything I ever heard from Jim Crow. Yes they can.

    Now, I’m not really big on the death penalty, but if a couple of violent thugs want to kill each other off, neither am I going to stand in their way, and I’m certainly not going to pretend that their own bad choices aren’t the primary reason they’re dead. I just ask that they not take innocent bystanders with them. Consider it an occupational hazard.

  191. eeyore says

    Inaji, if by *all* kids you mean 100%, I will concede that it’s not 100%. It’s a pretty sizeable chunk, however. Again, I’m just reporting on what I’ve seen.

  192. eeyore says

    Tony, 199, what specific claims would you like a citation for? The ones based on my own personal observation are just that; my own personal observation. Obviously, others here have different observations.

  193. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    CK, we freedom fondlers (pro-choice applies to more than just abortion) do not feel culpability for what we did not do. No gun of mine has ever shed a drop of human blood. I’m not going to accept guilt for the misdeeds of other people.

    So you are just going to completely ignore how your blind support for unmitigated FREEDOM is leading to these negative effects then? It’s like saying you shouldn’t feel guilty for supporting the death penalty, because, hey, you never administered the lethal injection, right?

    Deliberate myopia.

    the liberal white love affair with blacks who commit violent crime against other blacks.

    Aaaaand go fuck yourself.

  194. says

    throwaway:

    Aren’t these people supposed to have been trained to watch their swing, identify their targets and generally have good trigger discipline?

    Of course! That’s why there’s absolutely no need at all for eye-searing orange vests and caps with phosphorescent stripes.
     
    snark

  195. eeyore says

    I’m about to pack it in for the night, but one last thing: Since race has now been brought into it, it may surprise you to know that when the US Supreme Court handed down its despicable Dred Scott decision in 1857 holding that Blacks were not citizens, it included a list of Very Bad Things that would happen if Blacks were citizens. One of them was that Blacks would be able “to keep and carry arms wherever they went.” 60 U.S. at 417.

    Two lessons from that. First, it’s interesting to note that it was just automatically assumed as obvious that being a citizen included the right to keep and carry arms.

    Second, there is precedent for banning guns in this country, at least for certain demographic groups. That, too, should tell us something.

  196. eeyore says

    Anteprepro, I would say fuck yourself right back, but based on your comments I’m not sure having a double dose of you in the gene pool would be a good thing.

    Your position is an attempt to make everyone guilty for everyone’s misdeeds. Sorry, no can do.

  197. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Second, there is precedent for banning guns in this country, at least for certain demographic groups. That, too, should tell us something.

    Tell us what? You are a bigot? Afraid of the brown and black, and prefer to hide behind your guns, rather than acknowledge you can’t compete on a level playing field?

  198. throwaway says

    Where you see victims of racism, we see thugs who destroy our communities. We just don’t think it’s an excuse for shooting up a convenience store or dealing drugs.

    Oh fuck you. Addressing that they are a victim of racism does not mean that there is legitimacy in their actions. It’s usually brought up when people associate minorities with being simple “thugs who destroy communities.” So thanks for bringing it up yourself to destroy the strawman only to shoot yourself in the foot with it. Hopefully not literally.

  199. consciousness razor says

    Consciousness Razor, No. 196, I have lived in a rural area for all but 10 of my more than 70 years. It may be that they do things differently in your part of the country, but I’m reporting on what I’ve seen.

    It isn’t “obvious” that someone doesn’t live in a rural area, if they simply don’t share your distorted perspective on the issue. Your “reporting” sucks.

    And yes, guns are dangerous *if they are used improperly and without adult supervision*.

    No, they’re dangerous — no iffiness about that. “Adult supervision,” my ass. If it were all or mostly kids, I’m sure you’d have a statistic to cite about that, but I don’t think you actually care about facts.

    So are chemicals found in some household cleaners. That’s why it’s important to teach safety.

    That’s why we have such a rate of homicides involving household cleaners. Because people just aren’t taught “safety,” or they fail to learn it. Oh wait, we’re supposed to only think about “accidents” right now. We must not think of the entire problem, or none of our arguments will work.

    But with proper safety precautions, neither guns nor bleach necessarily result in harm, and under proper adult supervision, children can learn to use both. I did.

    I haven’t said a fucking thing about what it “necessarily” does. That has not a fucking thing to do with your claims.

    Again, in case this wasn’t clear: I also learned gun safety, as a child. I’m quite aware that people can learn such things. Yet my views on gun legislation could hardly be more different from yours. We are not a bunch of ignorant “urban” people, who are waiting for you to teach us. You happen to be the one spewing ignorant bullshit, and you merely believe you are some kind of expert.

    The rest of your rant is mostly an attempt to make general policy out of individual exceptions; yes, there are irresponsible rural persons — I’ve known more than a few — but most rural gun owners are pretty responsible.

    Citation needed. No, your “reporting on what I’ve seen” does not constitute a fucking statistic. You don’t know a fucking thing about “most rural gun owners.” But you apparently think you do.

    And you neglected the rest of my “rant” which had nothing to do with individual exceptions, and everything to do with the implications of your generalizations about “criminals,” based on some imaginary statistics you haven’t even bothered to cite.

  200. anteprepro says

    eeyore:

    Second, there is precedent for banning guns in this country, at least for certain demographic groups. That, too, should tell us something

    Yeah, and more recently during the Civil Rights era, the NRA was a big supporter of gun control when it came to the Black Panthers. And in modern day, they continue to effectively deny racial minorities the same gun rights as everyone else by cracking down harder on them when they misuse it than they do for white people.

    What is your point? We don’t want to disproportionately take away firearms from minority groups. If you are suggesting we are, or that would be an inevitable result, this is yet again one of many things that you should probably actual evidence for.

  201. says

    eeyore @200:

    Tony, gun laws are not a binary yes-or-no where the only two choices are anything goes or complete bans. It’s possible to believe in reasonable regulation while at the same time respecting the right of private gun ownership. If you want to own a gun, you should have to take and pass a safety course that includes firearms safety, proper self defense, and proper storage. If you misuse a gun, you lose the right to own it, at least until you can satisfy the authorities that whatever caused the problem has been fixed. And I note that nobody has responded to the specific objections I made to those studies.

    For Fucks Sake–who are you arguing with?
    Who in this thread has argued for a complete ban on guns? Who has even argued for unfettered access to guns?
    You’re arguing against statistics *and* the reasons most of us are for strong gun control policies. Yet you also claim to be *for* strong gun control policies. Now here you are lecturing me about “gun laws not being binary yes or no yadda yadda bullshit”.
    Again, what are you arguing for? Why are you arguing against people who are only arguing for stronger gun control laws based on the facts about gun violence? No one is arguing for a ban on guns. Are you arguing simply to argue?

    (and for the sake of courtesy, please learn to blockquote and include name and/or comment number when responding to people; it helps aid in comprehension)

    @205:

    what specific claims would you like a citation for? The ones based on my own personal observation are just that; my own personal observation. Obviously, others here have different observations.

    So you’ve formed your opinions based on your observations. You’re not at all concerned whether your limited-and biased-observations accurately reflect reality? I suppose the answer is no, given one of your justifications for owning a gun is to defend against a bear attack, despite the fact that you aren’t likely to get attacked by a bear.

    As for specific claims:

    Anri, 167, you’ve obviously never lived in a rural area. Kids are taught to use firearms almost from the time they’re old enough to stand. They are heavily supervised, and they learn gun safety, and mishaps rarely if ever happen.

    Are kids heavily supervised?
    Do kids learn gun safety?
    Do mishaps rarely occur?
    Three truth claims. No citations.

  202. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Throwaway, 300 deaths out of how many hunters?

    Irrelevant. Zero deaths with proper gun safety. That is why you sound like a fanatic. No deaths are what you strive for with proper safety. It means you don’t think safety. Making you a liar and bullshitter for pretending to be for gun safety….

  203. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    Anteprepro, I would say fuck yourself right back, but based on your comments I’m not sure having a double dose of you in the gene pool would be a good thing.

    Aww, adorable. Did you notice how I used evidence to refute your bear and swimming pool bullshit after all? Or did I use too many bad words while doing so that you couldn’t bring yourself to respond to such Filth as myself?

    Your position is an attempt to make everyone guilty for everyone’s misdeeds. Sorry, no can do.

    You are only guilty for the consequences of the policies you support. Welcome to society. Where laws enforced based on the misinformed and stubborn assholes like yourself have real world consequences for other people.

  204. anteprepro says

    eeyore

    Throwaway, 300 deaths out of how many hunters?

    Somehow, there are 50 times as many hunters out there as People Who Come In Contact With Bears.

  205. anteprepro says

    For all eeyore’s blather to the effect that sounds like a Courtier’s Reply for Rural Living (Sophisticated rurology?), and despite acknowledging that he has lived in a rural area for the vast majority of his life…eeyore appears to have quite a lot to say about Urban Living as well! And that lot he has to say all seems to involve depicting Urban Living as just violence, violence, violence. The Criminal Race just bustling everywhere. Surely, this can’t be due to eeyore having been projecting the whole time! Surely eeyore cannot be as ignorant of urban life as he claims that we are of rural life! Surely!

  206. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Actually, I’ve been doubting every word Eeyore says. I think they are losing track of their lies.

  207. says

    Where you see victims of racism, we see thugs who destroy our communities.

    From where I sit, I see a racist asshole who isn’t overly bright.

    We just don’t think it’s an excuse for shooting up a convenience store or dealing drugs.

    Ah, privilege, leaking out of assholes everywhere. Also, stop using the royal we. Speak for yourself alone.

  208. consciousness razor says

    If you go to heavily black urban areas where most of the violent crime takes place, and talk to the black people whose communities have been destroyed by the violent criminals, you will find that support for the death penalty, and private gun ownership, is high.

    Then those people are wrong, about the death penalty (and who knows what support for “private gun ownership” is supposed to mean). Why are we supposed to assume their view is correct? Does a community being destroyed guarantee rationality? Or is it likely people still tend to have views that end up being more harmful?

    My best guess is that this “information” comes from your ten odd years of not living in a rural area.

    But what do you know? I live with lots of black folks too. We have so very much in common, except for what we think about stuff. Couldn’t tell you what I think I know about the majority opinion on the death penalty, because that’s not how statistics actually works. Since blacks are disproportionately and unfairly convicted for all sorts of crimes, I think it’s reasonable to assume most might not look at it the way you do. Having actual data, instead of anecdotal bullshit, might help — but again, we would still have no reason to think the view you just outlined is correct.

    Now, I’m not really big on the death penalty, but if a couple of violent thugs want to kill each other off, neither am I going to stand in their way, and I’m certainly not going to pretend that their own bad choices aren’t the primary reason they’re dead. I just ask that they not take innocent bystanders with them. Consider it an occupational hazard.

    I consider it a living-in-the-United-States hazard, no matter what my occupation. Because we can’t have reasonable gun control laws. Because of bullshitters like you. Fuck you, so very much.

  209. anteprepro says

    Consciousness razor

    Couldn’t tell you what I think I know about the majority opinion on the death penalty, because that’s not how statistics actually works. Since blacks are disproportionately and unfairly convicted for all sorts of crimes, I think it’s reasonable to assume most might not look at it the way you do.

    Once again evidence defeats eeyore then.

    Polls done 2004:

    White people: 71% support death penalty, 24% oppose.
    Black people: 44% support, 49% oppose.

    This should be an obvious result, since must black people (60 to 70%) are Democrats. However, look at the party difference on the matter.

    Republicans: 80% support, 17% oppose.
    Democrats: 58% support, 36% oppose.

    Yeah, black people are the one demographic that most strongly oppose that shit. Democrats don’t out oppose them, Atheists don’t out oppose them, church attendance barely makes it dip, age has fuck all effect, and while women are slightly less inclined to support it than men, it is still 62% support versus men’s 74%.

    eeyore could not be wronger if he tried.

  210. anteprepro says

    eeyore has consistently refused to offer up actual evidence to support his bluster.

    On the few occasions anyone has decided to do his work for him, he has been proven wrong.

    What does that tell you, eeyore?

  211. ck says

    Inaji wrote:

    Of course! That’s why there’s absolutely no need at all for eye-searing orange vests and caps with phosphorescent stripes.

    Do American hunters still wear the orange? I seem to see hunters in American TV shows always dressed in forest camouflage, and based on the stories I’ve heard from Canadian hunters and border guards around here, usually they arrive with a truck filled with beer and more ammo than anyone really needs for the task (assuming you weren’t trying to turn the deer into ground meat before it hits the ground).

    And can you imagine where the vast majority of illegal handguns on Canadian streets comes from? That’s right, legally purchased in the U.S. and then smuggled across the border, which I understand is also where illegal weapons in Mexico come from. So, I end up being affected by the U.S.’s ridiculous fixation on firearms, even if I’m actually powerless to do anything about it.

  212. anteprepro says

    Hmmmm. Going back to 223:

    22% of Democrats are black.

    So my question is…how much of the Democrats opposing the death penalty is just attributable to Democrats having more black people?

    So let’s just look at the numbers we would get if we got a random representative sample of the white population and added a random representative sample of the black population such that it is 78% to 22% respectively.

    So, this example group would have 24% of that 78% white portion opposing the death penalty. This 18.7% of the full group opposed. For support, it would 71% of that 78, for 55.4% of the whole.

    Then for the black portion, we 49% of the 22% opposing, for 10.8%. 44% support, for 9.7%.

    So this model group would have a support of 65.1% and an opposition of 28.4%. Versus the Democrats’ actual numbers of 58% and 36%.

    I guess this is just overly long way of saying that white liberals ain’t quite as liberal as they claim to be.

  213. says

    Tony #214

    Who in this thread has argued for a complete ban on guns?

    Over the last few days I have been reading a lot of news coverage of the shooting of 5 RCMP officers in Moncton and come across this so many times. I am sure some people are calling for a complete ban, but when most people talk about gun control they are talking about just that, some increased measure of control and restriction of guns. But then again, after reading what many had to say I am not surprised many would argue using this strawman. In fact, give the amount of ignorance I saw on display I would not be surprised if they really believed it rather than any conscience effort to misrepresent. It was also amazing how many gun lovers thought Canadians did not have guns, that it was a gun free zone, or that it is nearly impossible to get them here which are all laughable claims.

    This thread is actually starting to mirror many of those I saw. Especially this obsession of explaining the high rate of shooting away by attributing them to gang violence. This kept being brought up over and over, especially when it came to comparing Canada to the US. So I started trying to dig into the statistics for both countries and what I actually found most interesting was, despite the much higher rate of homicides (1.5 vs 4.8 / 100000 with 1/3 using guns in Canada, and 2/3 using guns in the US) we are actually very similar. anteprepro linked to a report showing 6% of homicides were gang related. This results in a rate of 0.28/100000. In 2012 the rate in Canada was 0.27/100000. As other have mentioned strangers kill a minority of people, and Canada is similar as well. The differences are not very wide:

    Strangers: US 23%, Canada 17%
    Acquaintances: US 54%, Canada 51%
    Family Member: US 23%, Canada 32%

    Gang related homicides actually make up a higher proportion of our overall homicide rate. Yet firearms are used less often, and the overall rate is lower. The majority of people that murder each other in both countries are people we know, and our families. In arguments, in anger, not because someone broke into our house. The big difference between our countries is the prevalence of guns, mainly the prevalence of handguns (65% of firearms related homicides in Canada use handguns). While they account for 65% of the firearms related homicides, only 1/6 of legal guns are handguns (1/9 if we include the estimates of the number of illegal guns). In addition, the rate of unintentional gun deaths is 0.08/100000 in Canada, whereas it is 0.3 in the US, pretty much mirroring the difference in gun ownership.

  214. Amphiox says

    we freedom fondlers (pro-choice applies to more than just abortion) do not feel culpability for what we did not do. No gun of mine has ever shed a drop of human blood. I’m not going to accept guilt for the misdeeds of other people.

    eeyore, your political opposition to gun control, which directly translates into lack of political action on gun control in your country, means that a portion of the blood of EVERY SINGLE VICTIM killed by gun violence who could have been saved if more rational gun regulation had been in place, is ON YOUR HANDS.

    That is not a “misdeed of other people”. That is on YOU.

    YOUR DEED.

    YOUR ACT.

    YOUR CHOICE.

    YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

  215. says

    Amphiox:

    eeyore, your political opposition to gun control, which directly translates into lack of political action on gun control in your country, means that a portion of the blood of EVERY SINGLE VICTIM killed by gun violence who could have been saved if more rational gun regulation had been in place, is ON YOUR HANDS.

    I’m quite confused on what eeyore’s position on gun control is.
    In response to you, he says @183:

    Amphiox, No. 173, I’ve already said I support reasonable regulation, so I’m not sure what you’re talking about. Most of what’s on your list I’d agree to. You seem to think I’m an anarchist who supports no regulation at all, and that’s directly contrary to the position I’ve taken, which is for mandatory safety training

    and yet he employs gun apologetics. I’ve asked for clarification from him, but so far…nothing.

  216. ck says

    Travis wrote:

    It was also amazing how many gun lovers thought Canadians did not have guns, that it was a gun free zone, or that it is nearly impossible to get them here which are all laughable claims.

    Certain guns are significantly more difficult to acquire in Canada, and we have laws on the storage and transport of firearms. Handguns have to be registered, and are subject to licensing by the RCMP. Prancing around and showing off a loaded gun like an idiot in an urban or residential area is not tolerated, so vacationing Americans sometimes are forced to leave their binky at home.

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop! wrote:

    I’m quite confused on what eeyore’s position on gun control is.

    I’m not entirely sure, but I’m betting it’s a defense of the status quo. He has never really stated he wants new gun control laws, has he? He talks about “reasonable regulation”, but fights everyone who suggests there should be more restrictions.

  217. says

    ck

    Certain guns are significantly more difficult to acquire in Canada, and we have laws on the storage and transport of firearms. Handguns have to be registered, and are subject to licensing by the RCMP.

    They are harder to get, and as you say more restricted in how you have to store and transport them, but pretty much anyone that wants a gun, as long as their criminal background check is good, and they are able to get through the fairly basic Canadian Firearms Safety Course can get one. It is really not that difficult. Even obtaining a handgun and other restricted firearms is not terribly difficult, requiring them to take the restricted firearms course. Very few applications are denied, it is something like 0.5%.

  218. ck says

    Travis wrote:

    Even obtaining a handgun and other restricted firearms is not terribly difficult, requiring them to take the restricted firearms course. Very few applications are denied, it is something like 0.5%.

    True, but I’d bet the mere existence of this licensing is enough to dissuade a number of people. The fact they have to register with law enforcement would turn away a fair number of anti-government individuals. You don’t always need a big barrier to prevent the worst of the bad behaviour, and sometimes a very minor nuisance will suffice, especially if it preys on the phobias of the people you want to discourage.

  219. Anri says

    ck @ 234:

    True, but I’d bet the mere existence of this licensing is enough to dissuade a number of people. The fact they have to register with law enforcement would turn away a fair number of anti-government individuals. You don’t always need a big barrier to prevent the worst of the bad behaviour, and sometimes a very minor nuisance will suffice, especially if it preys on the phobias of the people you want to discourage.

    Not to mention, licensing, registering, and tracking the things makes it a great deal easier to figure out just what happened in the aftermath of a bad thing. Where did the weapon come from? Who sold, who bought it, was it stolen, was the theft reported? Is the system faulty? Are there gaps that could be filled? What does the big picture look like?

    The fact that the NRA opposes such basic measures as finding out how guns used for violence are getting into the wielder’s hands tells you a great deal about their motives. I don’t actually think they consciously support more gun violence per se* – but I do think they want to make getting the overall picture of what’s happening as difficult as possible.

    (*But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it…)

  220. says

    The thing about “gang violence” is that it often doesn’t stay amongst the bad guys. In September of 2012 Lorry Santos was shot and killed in Saskatoon when she answered a knock on her door. The shooter and his accomplices turned out to be members of a gang called the White Boy Posse. They intended to kill a former member of the gang, but went to the wrong address. They didn’t even bother to see who was at the door before they started shooting.

  221. jesse says

    One other bit about “gang violence” — that’s basically a code word for brown people.

    That is, much of what is attributed to gang violence is just rather “ordinary” crime. A good chunk of the time I have seen police press officers offer up the “gang-related” thing, and it turns out that it was just someone who shot someone for a completely different set of reasons. Usually pretty mundane.

    I’m not sure what eeyore’s position is either, but let me offer up another nifty tidbit: I can’t buy (legally) a set of nunchaku in the state of New York. This weapon is, for those not familiar, two sticks of wood about a foot to 18 inches or so long, connected by a rope or chain. If you’ve seen a martial arts movie you’ve seen these.

    Now, to hurt or kill someone with it requires a rather long bit of training and expertise. Controlling any weapon that involves a rope or chain (among them are the chain whip, three-sectional staff and flails) is damned hard. There’s a reason that beginners with the ‘chuks should use the foam rubber versions.

    Note though, that the danger here is really to oneself. If I want to go after someone with these I have to get close, and I have to know what the hell I am doing. Basically there’s almost zero chance of anyone going on a killing spree with this. (You could do it but it would take a looong time).

    The same applies to many other hand weapons. Sais are also only semi-legal, and they too take a certain amount of training to use well or effectively. Throwing stars are also illegal in many states, even though the reality is that they aren’t anywhere near as deadly as the movies have it.

    And yet, in the state of New York, I can still buy a handgun, a weapon that allows me to kill (with an automatic) 10 people in less than 10 seconds, from a rather large distance, with much less investment in time and training. Unlike any of the hand weapons, it can go off accidentally, or jam and in some cases, still go off, leaving me with a very badly injured hand.

    Gun apologists all say that “well, why not ban all those other weapons” but let me turn it around: many hand weapons are banned, but guns are relatively freely available. If people want to get violent with a sword, then let ‘em – all you have to do to render a sword ineffective is be more than about five to six feet away (assuming the guy using it isn’t an orangutan or a center for the local NBA team).

    Right to bear arms? Sure, I’d happily go back to the days of every good and fashionable gentleman carrying a rapier or small sword. At least at that point the only people getting hurt or killed would be the combatants, and you could always see who was armed and needed to be kept away from the bars.

    And I’ll say this: if you are facing a home invader with a hand weapon, you’re much less likely to hurt anyone else or yourself, you don’t need to worry about keeping it handy (since it can’t go off accidentally) and it’s much easier to pick targets.

    If guns were rarer and far more expensive to obtain, you’d deter the yahoos who endanger the rest of us most often. Besides, all those LA drivers who get rod rage wold be more fun to watch if they got out of their cars and said “I demand satisfaction, sir!”

    Now a lot of gun apologists trot out the “only criminals will have guns” thing, but while that’s partly true, the other side of it is that it would require a much more determined criminal. Those are by definition pretty rare, and they would be easier to track. And as noted above even a minor inconvenience can deter a lot of people.

    (The NRA in its defenses of gun shows is in fact one of the reasons that it is relatively easy — at least for rural and suburban white people — to get military grade weapons).

  222. Menyambal says

    http://www.yourjewishnews.com/2014/02/w8957.html

    Bar customers freak out after drunk man walks in with tiger.

    A man was arrested after taking his tiger to a bar.

    The tiger “endangered the safety” of a woman at the bar, according to the complaint. Basile told police that he was unaware that it was against the law to walk with a tiger in the city.

  223. Anri says

    eeyore @ 183:

    Anri, 167, you’ve obviously never lived in a rural area. Kids are taught to use firearms almost from the time they’re old enough to stand. They are heavily supervised, and they learn gun safety, and mishaps rarely if ever happen. And having a group of kids at target practice — supervised — would not be considered an unusual event, and neither is it an event at which there’s any great risk of injury. By the way, once upon a time high schools had rifle teams, and if you were on the rifle team and you had practice that day, you brought your rifle to school. However, that, too, was supervised. The issue is having adequate supervision and being taught safety.

    It’s worth noting I didn’t say “swim practice”, I said “play”. There’s nothing wrong with swim practice, of course, in which you do what the adults say to do, when they say to do it, where they say to do it, and stop as soon as they say to stop. That’s fine. But it’s not play. Nor is participating in the swim team. If that difference didn’t occur to you, I’m pointing it out now, and re-asking my question.

    If you’d like me to phrase it another way, let’s assume you became aware that your next door neighbor was having 12 8-year-olds over for a pool party in the pool they built from a kit they bought at the local big box.
    Now let’s assume you heard the 12 8-year-olds were coming over for a gun party using a shooting range they build from a kit from the local big box.
    Equivalent situations?
    (In this example, you are of course welcome to assume that you’re both living on 100 acres… but as very few actual Americans live like that anymore, you’ll have to decide for yourself if that’s dodging the issue or not.)

  224. Menyambal says

    I drove through rural America yesterday, and I didn’t hear any gunfire. I had the window down in my pickup truck for much of that, BTW. I was on old Route 66 for some of it, and that was one of the bigger roads that I travelled. I happened to know there was a shooting range off down one gravel road, but that was in no way obvious. We passed the place were some folks had once set up a backyard target range too near to the highway, but that has been gone for years, now, and I never saw them use it.

    I crossed the river where my daughter once collected some .22 shells out of the gravel, but there was nobody there. I didn’t even notice if any stop signs had bullet holes in them, so there may be less of that than there used to be. Both of those things are irresponsible gun ownership, and defacing signs is a crime, as is shooting on a highway. Bullets go right on through a sign, of course, and keep going, so that is a danger. There may have been bullet holes in all the signs, though. I just take that particular idioticy for granted around here, so I don’t even see it.

    I’m saying that rural America is not brimming over with guns. Restricting them would not devastate the country. And, as a long-time resident of rural America, I can say that my fellow goobers are not all responsible gun owners or stewardly hunters. Another gun myth, that’s rural America.

    (Serious: I used to walk over to a neighbor’s house with my buddy, a ways down the gravel road from his. When his dad wanted us back, he’d take the .3030 out into the yard and fire a few rounds into the air.)

  225. David Marjanović says

    I used to play recreational soccer as a kid. We played in the rain

    That’s stupid.

    not everyone mauled by a bear dies,

    Close, though.

    If you go to heavily black urban areas where most of the violent crime takes place, and talk to the black people whose communities have been destroyed by the violent criminals, you will find that support for the death penalty, and private gun ownership, is high.

    As I’ve already said: failed state.

    if a couple of violent thugs want to kill each other off, neither am I going to stand in their way

    I am, because they have no right to kill anybody. We the People as a whole have the monopoly on violence; nobody is allowed to wage their own private war. That’s what’s standing between you and Somalia (…or Florida).

    (If given full body armor, a diaper and a way to spray lots of foam at the thugs, I might literally put myself in their way. But I don’t actually know; and obviously I have no safe way of finding out if that stunt would do any good.)

    Your position is an attempt to make everyone guilty for everyone’s misdeeds.

    Dostoyevskiy: “We are all responsible for everything to everyone.”

    Nah, kidding. I’m with comments 216 and 230… and 235 for that matter.

    Prancing around and showing off a loaded gun like an idiot in an urban or residential area is not tolerated, so vacationing Americans sometimes are forced to leave their binky at home.

    Everybody should read this! Never has paranoia been funnier.

    They didn’t even bother to see who was at the door before they started shooting.

    Wow. That’s failing the Turing Test – the Terminator is smarter than that!

    I can’t buy (legally) a set of nunchaku in the state of New York.

    A friend of mine, and several other people, had nunchaku and throwing-stars when we were preteens. They had them simply because they were Ninja Turtles fans.

    At that age, I’m pretty sure, I had never seen a gun.

  226. David Marjanović says

    I didn’t even notice if any stop signs had bullet holes in them, so there may be less of that than there used to be.

    *uncontrolled giggling*

  227. Amphiox says

    I’m quite confused on what eeyore’s position on gun control is.

    and yet he employs gun apologetics. I’ve asked for clarification from him, but so far…nothing.

    Based on what he has written, I take his assertion that he “supports” reasonable gun control to be just as truthful as GHW Bush’s “read my lips, no new taxes”.

    And it really doesn’t matter pertaining to what I wrote, either. Intent isn’t magic, and thoughts in the form of nebulous, hypothetical “support”, are worth nothing compared to concrete action. Action in this case being rhetoric, and in eeyore’s case, his anti-gun control rhetoric is exactly of the type that PREVENTS reasonable gun control from being implemented in the states. So it doesn’t matter that he says he is “for” gun control, his words in their entirety serve to prevent gun control from being implemented. The blood of innocents is on his hands, no matter what his private “preferences” might be, and he stinks of it.

  228. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I used to play recreational soccer as a kid. We played in the rain

    That’s stupid.

    What? Playing soccer in the rain is stupid? What world do you live on?

    Or did you mean that my identification of Nick Gotts argument as bad statistics is stupid? If so, why is it stupid? I think I pretty clearly identified how Nick Gotts failed to properly apply basic rules of statistics with his argument. Merely citing bear deaths per year tells you absolutely nothing about how dangerous a bear is, how dangerous being in bear country is, and how useful a firearm is. I explained this by way of metaphor, as knowing the number of deaths per year by lightning tells you nothing about how dangerous it is to play soccer in an open field during a lightning storm.

    Of course, I also noted that Nick is probably right in his conclusion, but that doesn’t make his argument any less bullshit.

  229. ck says

    EnlightenmentLiberal wrote:

    What? Playing soccer in the rain is stupid? What world do you live on?

    Yeah, it actually is stupid. You end up damaging the field as you run around it by uprooting the grass or pounding it into the mud, and everyone playing has an increased risk of slipping, falling and possibly injuring themselves. All of which is easily avoidable if you simply avoid playing soccer in the rain.

  230. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @ck
    Ok. We’re sidetracking pretty far, but I’ll play along.

    This is news to me. I was in a rec league for like 7 years as a kid, and we played in the rain all the time.

    So, I went to the trusty google. The first hit off google:
    http://www.gcaasports.com/page/show/341586-rec-soccer-rain-out-policy

    Reasons for cancelling games:
    1) It has rained most of the night before the scheduled game and it is still raining in the morning.
    2) It has rained for several days prior to the scheduled game and the fields are wet to the point where playing the game will destroy the playing surface.
    3) The presence of thunderstorms and lightning.
    4) It is raining at the time of the scheduled game and the temperature is low enough to make conditions unbearable for the children.

    Which honestly may have been consistent with my experience. I don’t remember.

    The next several hits on google from other random rec leagues all seem to have the same policy.

    Which brings me back to my question: What would do you live on where it’s (always) considered stupid to play soccer in the rain?

  231. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Err, missed vital quote from that link:

    Soccer is played in the rain.

    Which is repeated by many other rec league websites.

  232. jesse says

    @
    David Marjanović

    The toy ones are easy enough — i got a set of nunchaku that are foam rubber, and the ninja turtles thing back in the day had toy swords and such of plastic. But remember that scene in South Park where Cartman tries to beat a kid to death with a wiffle bat? (“Hold still, this may take a while.”)

    Anyway, the stuff that the cops looks askance at here is the for-real deal stuff. When I go to the dojo I leave a set of weapons there and only occasionally bring my own from home, that random search thing on the NYC subway being what it is. (My old sensei said more than once he had to explain himself when he went to practice on the beaches near his home in Queens. Usually they are OK about it but you just don’t want to be having that conversation).

  233. David Marjanović says

    What? Playing soccer in the rain is stupid?

    Of course. Except in the height of summer in the places I’ve played soccer in, you get very cold when you get seriously wet; that can depress your immune system to the point that you “get a cold”. I suppose you live somewhere more subtropical? More immediately, getting rain in the face is a massive distraction while you’re supposed to focus on 1) the ball and 2) not slipping. Slipping, of course, becomes a lot easier in the rain: a well-maintained lawn is very slippery when wet, and on most other surfaces soccer in the rain quickly turns into mudwrestling. Real soccer shoes with studs on the soles obviously cut down on the slipping, but ramp up the mudwrestling factor!

  234. erik333 says

    @249 David Marjanović

    I’ve never heard of organized soccer practice where you’re even allowed on the field without proper shoes and shin protection – and that’s without any rain. If you’re going to play matches in the rain, you need practice in the rain – and without matches in the rain i guess most places could never have anything like football leagues except indoors. Full sized indoor fields aren’t very common, or cheap.