Multi-component, schmulti-component »« Amoral ignorance

Your daily school shooting

Today, it’s at Reynolds High School in Oregon.

We are waiting on news of the shooter’s race to determine the cause behind this one. If he’s brown, this will be an act of terrorism; if he’s white, he’s mentally ill or has been playing too many video games; if he’s black, it’ll be that violent rap music. I can just tell the media are all distressed because they don’t know what narrative to follow yet.

At least one bit of certainty that they’ll be able to rely on is that for sure it has nothing to do with guns.

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    You forgot the likelihood that it’s because he’s secretly gay. Or that it’s another false flag operation. Or because Obama. Or because of ebil feminists.

  2. petermountain says

    Well, it’s a proven fact that if everyone at the school was similarly armed this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

  3. Holms says

    “…if he’s black, it’ll be that violent rap music.”
    You forgot the obligatory ‘knockout game’ reference!

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

    Ugh. I’ve been to Reynolds both for science events as an adult helping out and as a kid when we were doing theater competitions and for a couple of shows. My school had one of the better theater programs in the state, and part of how we got new ideas and stayed creative was going to these events.

    Reynolds simply had the best theater program in the state. I don’t know if they still do it, but they had a physical theater program – the neglected part of theater, really, in early years. There was a very significant mime program and they would frequently utilize black costumes with black muslin over faces, and strategically placed white pieces…then perform under a blacklight.

    one of the best pieces I saw was one involving 10 or 12 performers (it was hard to say for sure) with white palms, but the rest of the gloves and costumes black. Making a fist caused the hand to disappear, but opening the hand to the light and the audience caused it to appear instantly, brilliantly. The appearing and disappearing hands formed growing things. A finger from the side, a caterpillar. Then flowers. Then butterflies. Then using the back of one hand to cover the white fingers of another, fruit. It fell, disappearing before it hit the ground, with a stomp on the stage timed for when the the fruit might have hit the ground. Perhaps they wrapped a foot in a towel before using it to stomp, I don’t know, but the thudding seemed appropriate. Louder than it might have been in an orchard, but not to sharp the way a sole on plywood might normally be. No, the extra volume merely seemed a compensating cry from a living thing disappearing from others’ sight.

    And then the hands formed leaves. Fluttering a little more, a little more as they dried and became brittle. One after another they detached from the invisible trees, snatched up and off by a breeze, then falling, helplessly slow. They, too, disappeared before reaching the ground, but this time without a sound. And yet the images were so indelible, you knew that somewhere beyond your sight, the immobile fruit, their cries expended, were touched by the leaves with a gentleness no clumsy human could hope to achieve, being lovingly covered against the coming snow.

    Then the hot lights of the theater came back up and the images melted, the fruit decayed beyond our vision and now gone forever.

  5. says

    Of course guns play a part, but they are not the cause. Failing to recognize that can only mean more tragedies in the future. Even if you were to get rid all the guns this incomprehensible (to me at least) hate would still be there, festering. And as long as bladed weapons, recipes for explosives made from household chemicals, flammable chemicals and other potentially dangerous items are still available some will find a way to harm others. Never underestimate human ingenuity, especially when it comes to hurting others.

  6. Olav says

    Erlend Meyer #5:

    Even if you were to get rid all the guns this incomprehensible (to me at least) hate would still be there, festering.

    Of course it would, but at least the death toll would not be as high.

    And as long as bladed weapons, recipes for explosives made from household chemicals, flammable chemicals and other potentially dangerous items are still available some will find a way to harm others.

    Of course they will, but at least the death toll would not be as high.

    What is your interest in trying to divert attention away from guns?

  7. says

    PZ:

    if he’s white, he’s mentally ill or has been playing too many video games;

    Or the ever wildly popular “he was autistic!”. *eyeroll*

    Erland Meyer:

    Of course guns play a part, but they are not the cause.

    Right. Guns are just the easiest way to put fatal holes in people, but nah, they aren’t the problem, no, really, truly! Just once, I’d like to see a thread like this without one single gun defender. The fact that gun defenders need to leap into a thread like this so early underscores the point that yes, guns are the fucking problem.

  8. colnago80 says

    Re Petermountain @ #2

    Of course, the answer to that is the assassination of two police officers in a pizza parlor in Nevada a few days ago. Both police officers were armed but that in no way deterred the miscreants from their evil deeds.

  9. says

    #5, Erlend Meyer: It’s not underestimating human ingenuity to suggest that maybe we should stop making it easy for violent mass murderers.

    Also, none of these killings have been perpetrated by brilliant, but evil, supervillains. It’s usually some poor ignorant yokel who has been feeding his brain at the trough of Fox News, Glenn Beck, and Alex Jones.

  10. ledasmom says

    Crip Dyke, I am sorry it is in this context, but that description is beautiful.

  11. ironchew says

    @ Inaji

    The fact that gun defenders need to leap into a thread like this so early underscores the point that yes, guns are the fucking problem.

    It’s our little corner of the #NotAllGunOwners shitstorm — paragons of personal responsibility, yet all-too-conveniently lacking in solutions for rampant social problems.

  12. anachronistes says

    Re: Colnago @8:
    Not to mention the ” good guy with a gun” at the Walmart across the street from the Pizza parlor. He died without getting off a shot to protect anyone.

  13. funknjunk says

    @11 ironchew – Yup, exactly. Nothing can be done. It’s Amerika. As long as a large % of the population want to lovingly caress their weapons instead of other human beings, nothing can be done.

  14. petermountain says

    @colnago80

    Yes, but those officers would have been spared had every patron of the restaurant been heavily armed.
    (edit: I’m being sarcastic and am for the complete repeal of the second amendment).

  15. raven says

    Not to mention the ” good guy with a gun” at the Walmart across the street from the Pizza parlor. He died without getting off a shot to protect anyone.

    It was his good guy gun that got him killed.

    They could have slaughtered a lot more at that Walmart but only took out the guy with a visible gun.

    There was a citizen with a gun when Jared Loughner shot up the Safeway and Gabrielle Gifford. He never got a shot off but almost shot the people taking JL down because he couldn’t tell who was what.

  16. beergoggles says

    @funknjunk: Umm, I for one do not want to be caressed, lovingly or otherwise by those firearm fetish freaks.

  17. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Erlend Meyer@5

    Sure, humans are violent little critters. But there is no tool in human memory with lethality comparable to a semi-automatic firearm. Removal of them from general circulation would lower the death toll considerably. A knife or sword may get a few people, but these high profile shooters, reduced to a melee weapon, would MAYBE get one person before the surge of panic sent people scattering. Mass killings like this are never subtle. The only reasonably close facsimile would be a bow, and that requires more training and has a shorter range.

    In short, I return to my initial statement. Humans are violent critters, but there’s nothing to be lost by making it harder for us to wantonly murder each other

  18. Amphiox says

    And as long as bladed weapons, recipes for explosives made from household chemicals, flammable chemicals and other potentially dangerous items are still available some will find a way to harm others. Never underestimate human ingenuity, especially when it comes to hurting others.

    You know, I can tell you from personal professional experience that bare fists and shoed feet can do a LOT of damage.

    But you know what? The HARDER we make it, the MORE ingenuity that needs to be applied, the FEWER are the people who actually end up carrying these sorts of things out.

    The application of human ingenuity requires THOUGHT, and the more thought someone is forced to put into a task, the greater the chance that there will be SECOND THOUGHTS.

    That won’t deter everyone, but then this is not a binary issue.

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The only safe guns those stored in a gun safe unload. The student should not have had access to any loaded guns, loaded or not, without proper supervision. Gun nuts don’t give a shit about real gun safety.

  20. says

    Not to mention the ” good guy with a gun” at the Walmart across the street from the Pizza parlor. He died without getting off a shot to protect anyone.

    A little after this happened I was reading one of the CNN articles about this and actually saw people in the comments using this guy as an argument for the “good guy with a gun” (I thought the CBC and BBC comments sections were frustrating and stupid, CNN was something else). They did not really explain how, just it was like totally awesome he had a gun and could have saved the day. I thought it was a much better example of some random person with a gun marching in to save the day without proper knowledge of the situation, with obviously negative consequences.

    As in the situation mentioned by raven #16, pulling out your gun without really knowing what is going on is potentially dangerous.

  21. Pteryxx says

    And as long as bladed weapons, recipes for explosives made from household chemicals, flammable chemicals and other potentially dangerous items are still available some will find a way to harm others.

    And a lot of those bladed weapons, household explosives, medieval weapons, and grassroots rocketry clubs are in fact banned, tracked, restricted, or regulated, much more than are guns in the US. There’d be a lot fewer gun deaths in the US if all the gun adorers had to handcraft their own…

  22. says

    What a terrible thing to occur here (or anywhere, for that matter). Seems these gundamentalists aren’t going to stop until they get their war. Imo, the bastardization of the Second Amendment doesn’t trump everyone else’s right to life, liberty or happiness — the very basis of our union. Why is it so difficult to see that there are three things that we need to do stabilize our mindset as a nation: Provide stability in the form of employment and job security with reasonable pay, decrease our enormous economic inequality and, yes, highly regulate gun ownership. So long as us little folk are fighting amongst ourselves for crumbs, there will never be the political will to change this scenario, sadly.

  23. says

    The application of human ingenuity requires THOUGHT, and the more thought someone is forced to put into a task, the greater the chance that there will be SECOND THOUGHTS.

    I know the gun fondlers will simple declare themselves above this, that they are safe and responsible, and would never, ever use their gun in a moment of anger, and most of them would be right in the sense that they personally will not likely end up doing that, but having a gun around, easily accessed makes it really easy to do something stupid and vile. I wish that all murders got as much attention as school shootings and mass killings, if that was the case people might start to realize they make up a very, very small portion of overall murders in the US, with the vast majority being committed by our friends and acquaintances or our own families.

  24. davidnangle says

    Erlend Meyer @ #5…

    No one seems to realize that guns make the vast majority of these things possible, because the gun offers the easy way out, once the fun ends. Who would walk into a school thinking, “I’ll knife them all until the cops corner me, then I’ll just stab myself thirty times until I’m dead, and it’ll be easy and painless!”

    Guns make mass killings appealing.

  25. says

    Erlend Meyer:

    Even if you were to get rid all the guns this incomprehensible (to me at least) hate would still be there, festering.

    So many USanians are raised on a diet of far right rhetoric…of “hug your guns, prepare for the revolution”…of “your Constitutional rights are threatened”…and more. Add in the fear mongering-“take your guns with you, you never know when a bad guy will show up”, “there’s a culture war going on”, “the President is an evil Muslim”…and more. Mix in toxic masculinity, and bigotry of all shades (sexism, racism, transphobia, homophobia). Then toss in massive amounts of income inequality which has the effect of making many people desperate just to survive. The US is in a bad way.
    There isn’t *one* way to fix the problems in the US, but we can do our part to chip away at them. We can fight sexist and misogynistic beliefs (the type that play a huge role in Elliot Rodger’s murder spree), we can educate people about the harm of racism (the shooters in Vegas and Elliot Rodger), and we can speak out against the proliferation of guns. Too many people have access to these killing tools-weapons designed to make killing humans that much easier. We may not be able to stop all killing sprees, but we can damn sure work to reduce their numbers by enacting sensible gun legislation.
    Kindly step out of the way, bc gun apologetics do not make the US any safer, and I for one am fucking sick and goddamned tired of hearing them trotted out after every. fucking. tragedy. You’re not helping. You’re part of the problem.

  26. says

    Travis:

    I know the gun fondlers will simple declare themselves above this, that they are safe and responsible, and would never, ever use their gun in a moment of anger, and most of them would be right in the sense that they personally will not likely end up doing that, but having a gun around, easily accessed makes it really easy to do something stupid and vile.

    Yep. Something stupid and vile like a drunk police officer holding a gun to the head of a child.

    I wish that all murders got as much attention as school shootings and mass killings, if that was the case people might start to realize they make up a very, very small portion of overall murders in the US, with the vast majority being committed by our friends and acquaintances or our own families.

    This is something overlooked by gundamentalists (penumbra @24-I love this word). The aim of sensible gun legislation isn’t *just* to reduce the number of school shootings, or mass killings–although that in and of itself is enough of a reason–the goal is to reduce gun violence, which extends far beyond school shootings and mass killings. The link I gave above is one example. Criminal activity is another. Domestic violence is another. Many of us also wish to reduce the number of firearm related suicides. The problem of gun violence runs much deeper than gun lovers appear to understand.

  27. Olav says

    Pteryxx #23:

    And a lot of those bladed weapons, household explosives, medieval weapons, and grassroots rocketry clubs are in fact banned, tracked, restricted, or regulated, much more than are guns in the US.

    You mean one could not carry a sabre in one those places where “open carry” of firearms is allowed?

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

    @Olav.

    Correct.

    I suppose it’s because you can’t tell if a saber is loaded.

  29. busterggi says

    ‘Murika – where your Constitutional right to life is overruled by any random goober’s right to kill you.

  30. Trebuchet says

    @12:

    Hopefully, the reports of no deaths besides the gunman will stay true.

    One student dead in addition to the shooter. At first glance I’m not seeing reports of other injuries. Makes me suspect it may have been a personal grudge.

  31. says

    Trebuchet:
    (from your link)

    “I think Americans may finally be getting the idea that the first thing they should think about is mental health gone awry in this system we have that’s so fractured that let’s people slip through the cracks,” Ablow opined.

    It’s mental health all over again.
    That’s the go to explanation for gun violence. Doesn’t matter if there’s no evidence of mental illness. Doesn’t matter that mental illness doesn’t make people more violent. It’s mental illness as the scapegoat. Never guns.

  32. says

    This is the 74th school shooting in the United States since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

    In fact, it’s worth noting that BuzzFeed had a pre-scheduled tweet this morning about a company designing bullet-proof blankets, intended to protect children from school shootings, which went live on Twitter during the latest school shooting.

    Today’s shooting in Troutdale, about a half-hour east of Portland, comes just two days after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

    Which came just two days after the shooting at the courthouse in Forsyth County, Georgia.

    Which came just four days after the shooting on the campus of Seattle Pacific University.

    Which came just a week after the mass shooting near UC Santa Barbara.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/troutdale-oregon-home-latest-us

    This stuff is really out of hand. The partial list in the quote above should be enough to convince anyone.

  33. unclefrogy says

    it is a sad reality that the only way it seems we can protect ourselves is to make weapons more difficult to acquire.
    That there will always be some small number of the population that can not control their emotions nor cope with them and feel the only recourse to the dilemma they feel they are in is to lash out in violence which often ends in their own suicide.
    I wish there was so easy simple answer to fix things but I have never heard of any.

    uncle frogy

  34. says

    Tony @ 28: “gundamentalist” isn’t my creation, but it is descriptive, isn’t it?

    Also, good point @36. It’s really not so much the people undergoing treatment for a mental illness who pose an unknown threat — it’s those who should be and aren’t.

  35. scienceavenger says

    #5 Of course guns play a part, but they are not the cause.

    There is no *THE* cause, as in “change this one variable and all is well”. All human behavior is multifaceted. However, for most of those facets with regard to violence aside from access to weapons (poverty, ignorance, hopelessness, joblessness, abusive homes, alienation, victimization by the legal system, etc.) those who worship the 2nd amendment (the warped NRA version, not the real thing) also oppose virtually every solution to these problems aside from “hope the free market fixes everything”

    In other words, the “don’t blame the guns” argument would hold more water if those pushing it were actively addressing the other relevant issues. They aren’t.

    Even if you were to get rid all the guns this incomprehensible (to me at least) hate would still be there, festering.

    So because we can’t fix all the problems, we shoudl fix none of them? I guess that explains my first point above.

    @26 Fabulous point about the easy out via suicide by gun, never thought of that aspect of it before.

  36. says

    penumbra:

    It’s really not so much the people undergoing treatment for a mental illness who pose an unknown threat — it’s those who should be and aren’t.

    That wasn’t a point I was trying to make actually. My point is that mental illness should *not* be a scapegoat for gun violence since there isn’t a connection between having a mental illness and violent acts–people *think* there is, thus the kneejerk reaction “he (and it’s almost *always* a he–white guy too) must have been psychotic/crazy/off his meds and *that’s* why he killed all those people”. And yet those people don’t know anything about the mental health of the individual. Looking at the reactions to Elliot Rodgers’ killing spree, so many people claimed he had mental health problems bc “hey look, normal people don’t go on killing sprees. ER went on a killing spree, so he clearly wasn’t normal. He suffered from a mental illness”. Those reactions aren’t helpful, cause splash damage to people suffering from mental illness, and don’t address the facts of a given situation.

  37. embraceyourinnercrone says

    Erlen Meyer @5 Sorry to pile on but I live in the town were Maren Sanchez was stabbed to death at school for refusing a prom invitation, as horrific as her murder was, the situation most likely would have resulted in many more injuries and deaths had Chris Plaskon had a gun. And for the record the school resource officer HAD a gun, but he was at the opposite side of the school at the time.

    As sick as these mass shooting make me, the carelessness and stupidity of the accidental shootings makes me even more furious:

    This week in Gun Fail

    (hope I didn’t mess up the tags)

    A sample:
    “Another week has come and gone, and once again we’re looking at something in the neighborhood of 40 reported GunFAIL incidents, 15 people who accidentally shot themselves, four home invasion shootings, nine child victims (including an 18-month-old who’s the youngest victim of the year, to date), six law enforcement officer-involved GunFAILs, etc., etc., etc. ”

    The sad thing is there is a Gun Fail post on Daily Kos at least twice a month and they never run out of material…

  38. says

    Tony @41 To clarify my opinion: simply having a mental illness doesn’t necessarily make one violent and I didn’t mean that at all! I’m actually an advocate for people who suffer from MI. However, in my opinion, a healthy, normal person doesn’t simply lose control and start shooting or killing. That said, I believe Americans have become habituated to violence and often don’t identify the potential easily. Should mental health professionals alone become the front-line in reducing gun violence without social and political will, we will fail. Potential shooters generally will not willingly seek out and go through treatment nor will their peers assist them. So, identifying and getting help to those who need it is highly problematic. Even when we know of a potential threat, there is great variance in how we deal with these folks legally and societally. I sure wish I had some answers.

  39. says

    penumbra:

    That said, I believe Americans have become habituated to violence and often don’t identify the potential easily.

    Most definitely. What’s worse is that violence is often the first response to a conflict, rather than the last one.
    And the sad thing is far too many people don’t see the problem with our society normalizing, and even celebrating violence (a problem I see in professional sports like football or hockey). Violence is celebrated. Guns are fetishized. Toxic masculinity is rampant. It’s no wonder that the US has such high levels of gun violence.

  40. Seize says

    That said, I believe Americans have become habituated to violence and often don’t identify the potential easily.

    Ding ding ding! penumbra I’m sure you don’t want this prize, but it’s yours. You have perfectly put the words to my general bafflement at how everyone identifies pretty much every prominent aspect of our (USian) culture as the cause of gun violence, and pretty much everyone is right.

    I thought I was looking at the sky, and instead it was the inside of my hat…

  41. favog says

    @ petermountain, 15 … Even better than repealing the Second Amendment, it’s about time we started explaining it. The gun lovers like to quote the last few words of it as a holy mantra, but but those words don’t mean what they think they do because of the first few words in the Amendment. And you can’t say that the last part is in some other context, because the Amendment itself is only one sentence long. “A well regulated militia …” — that is to say, the state militia, what is now called the National Guard, cannot be disarmed by the Federal Government. That’s it. It has nothing to do with the privileges of individuals to own a firearm.

  42. PaulBC says

    I’m not exactly sure when it was, but I’m guessing some time after the Sandy Hook shootings, that I found myself juggling names and places around in my head, literally saying to myself “No wait, that was the other mass shooting.” In several decades of paying at least some attention to national news, I had never reached that level of overload before. I’m not sure what the statistics say about this. I think other kinds of crime, including violent crime, are actually down, but anecdotal evidence or not, something is seriously wrong.

  43. says

    And a lot of those bladed weapons, household explosives, medieval weapons, and grassroots rocketry clubs are in fact banned, tracked, restricted, or regulated, much more than are guns in the US.

    Lawn darts and Kinder Surprises are more regulated.

  44. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    In semi-related news (I can take this to TDome if you want, PZ):

    A woman my age puts on her rose tinted glasses and berates us for a number of things

    notable (emphasis mine):

    Many years ago, there was a time where young boys could run around with their toy guns, killing the bad guys. You could take the toy guns away from the little boys, and they’d find something else around them – a stick, their fingers, etc – and pretend it was a gun. Today, those little boys – if caught doing that – are labeled as threats, and immediate action is taken to remove that threat from the group.
    -Stephanie Metz

    This right here is part of the core problem: Boys killing the bad guys. It’s ingrained into our culture, and it really needs to stop. This woman laments that we’re changing things, and cannot see how it might be a bad think to encourage our children to think first (and usually ONLY) about ‘killing’ the ‘bad guys’.

    Gundamentalism. Gundamentalism EVERYWHERE

  45. carbonfox says

    From the link on Ablow:

    He added: “And I see and get these calls from ERs where they say, ‘We want to send this person home, he threatened his mother and his family last night. But now he’s promising he’s fine. And we’ve got to get him out of here because the insurance company is on our back.’ That’s our system. That’s why this is happening.”

    So universal healthcare would have prevented the shooting? So now we’re rooting for universal healthcare? Well, maybe we can get one benefit out of the conservative obsession with insisting gun crimes somehow don’t involve guns.

    After all, people kill people, not guns. That’s why conservatives are against alcohol laws, for example, because alcohol doesn’t kill people, people do. It’s why they’re against all kinds of controlled substance laws, really. /s

    But seriously, I go to a pretty big public university and news like this always makes me consider my fellow students a little more fearfully. Especially ever since NC passed laws making it okay to bring guns onto public university campuses (although they’re supposed to stay on the trunk). It’s impossible to predict if any of my 30,000 classmates are packing and of those who are, which ones might decide to use their gun for its purpose-built use.

    Will the pile of bodies ever be big enough before we can seriously discuss appropriate control measures? How many dead children will it take? My thoughts go to the families of these recent tragedies.

  46. A. Noyd says

    @penumbra
    But how many of these shootings are done by people who “lose control”? Seems like a lot of very deliberate and meticulously rationalized planning goes into them. Loss of control seems to come later when the shooter realizes things aren’t going according to plan, but they’ve usually already started killing at that point.

  47. says

    I was one of those taunted, haunted kids in school, and I had access to guns, but I never would have dared to bring one to school and start shooting.

  48. says

    carbonfox:

    Will the pile of bodies ever be big enough before we can seriously discuss appropriate control measures? How many dead children will it take?

    I wonder the same thing.
    For a moment I thought the horrific Newtown shooting would have done it, but sadly that hasn’t happened.

  49. imthegenieicandoanything says

    According to what I’ve read, there’s only been a WEEKLY school shooting since the most recent big one. And not EVERY one of those resulted in a death.

    And sometimes only a rifle was involved!

    Cheeses, what a sick nation – proud of our disease – we are.

  50. says

    A. Noyd @ 52– Yes, unfortunately many of these recent shootings seem very deliberate, planned and, perhaps, even ritualized. (Ew. I can’t unsee that, damn it.) Imo, the second a person acts to provide a means and method, they’ve “lost” control, paradoxically while they are trying to control a situation or themselves. This time of ambivalence is the best time to stop that process, but the window of opportunity is highly variable. It *is* crazy to resort to violence when one isn’t threatened, but I am by no means supporting crimes of passion or leniency in sentencing. Indeed, I wonder how viable treatment is for people who are so disconnected from others that they would kill without extreme provocation. Anyway, these killings and terrorizing of others makes me angry and I wish I had some answers.

  51. says

    Penumbra, “in my opinion” stated by a random anonymous person on the internet is not considered a diagnosis.

    Mental illness is an illness. That’s why they put that second word in the phrase.
    Illnesses require a diagnosis.

    That’s why people are trying to tell you that the “mental illness” bit is not only a dodge, a conditioned reflexive excuse, but harmful to those who HAVE mental illness – and harmful to the cause of propagating a true understanding of mental illness.

    “In my opinion” you have a thought virus.

  52. says

    Hey Jafafa @ 57 Oh please. I am allowed to have an opinion, anyway, just like you and everyone else in this discussion. That’s what boards are for. Oh, and I do have an extensive working knowledge of “mental illnesses”, which are like any other illnesses, short-term or chronic, some treatable, some resistant. While I am certainly not saying that all people with mental illnesses are violent and truly dislike the shuffling of responsibility of determining who should have access to guns limited to those who have not presented with a mental illness, I am saying, in my own little opinion, that wanting to kill people is sick. That is a small percentage of people with mental illnesses of varying types. Now, why is it so difficult to accept that people who wish to impose harm on others are ill, or shall we just say that some people are like that and that it is normal? At this point, I am tired of having to defend what I feel is a reasonable opinion. “Nuf said on this thread.

  53. lorn says

    They are absolutely sure that guns have absolutely nothing to do with it and that gun control would have absolutely no positive effect.

    Reminds me of a friend of mine who was a deeply into cocaine and absolutely sure that the cocaine was not the problem after he lost his job, marriage, self respect, and freedom. And everyone, including the local police department and several ER doctors, claimed that cocaine was the central issue.

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

    @penumbra:

    Imo, the second a person acts to provide a means and method, they’ve “lost” control, paradoxically while they are trying to control a situation or themselves. This time of ambivalence is the best time to stop that process, but the window of opportunity is highly variable. It *is* crazy to resort to violence when one isn’t threatened

    So you define mental illness as losing control, and you define losing control as acting to provide a means and method of violence.

    Ergo, violence = mental illness.

    Oh, but wait, you also make another claim:

    in my opinion, a healthy, normal person doesn’t simply lose control and start shooting or killing.

    So once you get “loss of control”, which is defined as any shooting and killing, deliberate or not, frenzied or not, planned or not, spontaneous or not, then the person is not “a healthy, normal person”.

    Way to conflate “not normal” with “not healthy”. If you did not conflate the two, then obviously you would have to prove the difference between “happens rarely” and “pathologically caused”.

    Tony! already nailed what you are doing upthread:

    “hey look, normal people don’t go on killing sprees. ER went on a killing spree, so he clearly wasn’t normal. He suffered from a mental illness”

    But did you back down or apologize? No. You insisted that because:

    I’m actually an advocate for people who suffer from MI.

    yeah, saying it doesn’t make it so. Theocratic heterosexists today will tell us that their reparative therapy combined with theological threats of torture are advocates for queer folk. We rightly interpret that as bullshit.

    You have said that violence, on its own, is proof of “loss of control” which is proof that one is not “normal” which is proof of mental illness.

    This is crap and feeds into the idea that people with mental illnesses are scary.

    You could, of course, limit the horrible damage you’re doing to other people by picking a diagnosis. Maybe you could substitute paraphilia for mental illness. Or maybe you could sub in Bipolar II.

    I don’t know, what **is** the mental illness that is indicated by the violence which proves loss of control which proves atypicality which proves mental illness. I mean, you can’t be sick without having a sickness. What is the illness? If you can’t diagnose an illness, then doesn’t that mean that you’re talking out your ass by calling the shooter ill?

    So please. Tell us. What was the illness.

  55. Ichthyic says

    I just read an article less than 20 minutes ago, that detailed there having been 74 school shooting since Sandy Hook.

    now 75.

    …how long ago was Sandy Hook? 18 months?

  56. Ichthyic says

    So you define mental illness as losing control, and you define losing control as acting to provide a means and method of violence.

    so, if someone loses control when they’re drunk…

    well, I guess we have a new classification for the DSM.

  57. Ichthyic says

    am saying, in my own little opinion, that wanting to kill people is sick.

    some people think homosexuality is a mental illness, and use the exact same rationale you just did there.

    your opinion ain’t worth spit.

    that’s my opinion.

  58. C Sue says

    As a victim of multiple physical assaults (none involving weapons, thank goodness), I’m still waiting for somebody to invent me a portable personal force field. Preferably impenetrable by projectiles. How many problems that would solve. *one can dream*

  59. says

    If he’s brown, this will be an act of terrorism

    -Religion is not race. Has Dawkins not emphasized this? If some non-Muslim East Indian, Pardo, or Maori commits a school shooting, their attacks will probably not be construed as terrorist by the people running the mainstream media.
    And regarding the converse, some recent rough parallels:
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/22/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-admitted-boston-bombing-prosecutors
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/16/terry-lee-loewen-the-mellow-kansas-man-who-allegedly-dreamed-of-jihad.html

  60. says

    Religion is not race. Has Dawkins not emphasized this?

    He’s full of shit so thanks for providing second hand bullshit

  61. miles says

    I live in the area – saw this on dkos and pharyngula this morning, and went through the day thinking “hmm why is nobody even talking about this?” It’s become the norm.

    The first thing I heard about this outside the internet? “We should give teachers guns so this sort of thing won’t happen.”

    [insert obligatory "I DON'T WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET ANYMORE" meme pic]

  62. says

    I wonder how early this school-shooting-a-week pattern started. Placing nationwide restrictions on gun purchases in the U.S. can surely do much to alleviate the problems of stolen guns, the illegal Mexican arms trade, and U.S. gun violence (as a rough parallel, c.f., Britain v. Finland). However, there have also been school stabbings, the causes of which should also be investigated in depth. Gun violence is truly a scourge on the U.S., as are other sorts of random in-school violence.

  63. says

    I am all in favor of strict gun control, I live in a country with fairly strict control compared with the US and would never want the US way of life introduced here. I agree with you PZ in that there is no reason to make things easier than necessary, yet I feel many are passing judgment on a whole group for the sins of a very few. And even worse, focusing on the tools can only divert focus from the underlying cause of such tragedies. I’m not arguing against stricter control, just reminding you of the fact that there is an underlying cause that should not be forgotten. I like to think there must be something wrong with a society that allows this kind of hate to proliferate, this can’t be the best we have to offer?

    As for guns, I also like to think that most adults are responsible enough to own a gun without going on a murderous rampage. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but aren’t I’m allowed some hope for humanity?

  64. says

    I also like to think that most adults are responsible enough to own a gun without going on a murderous rampage.

    -Not good enough. They should also be responsible enough to own a gun without it getting stolen, being pointed at small children, or being sold to sketchy individuals with or without their consent.

  65. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And even worse, focusing on the tools can only divert focus from the underlying cause of such tragedies.

    What part of people USE GUNS to kill people don’t you understand. Like with fire, take away one part of the triangle, and it goes out. Same with senseless killings. Take away the guns, the killing becomes much harder.

    As for guns, I also like to think that most adults are responsible enough to own a gun without going on a murderous rampage.

    What has happened in this country is the hard core safety rules I learned about guns back in the boy scouts fifty years ago appear to be no longer in effect. They should be codified into law, with severe penalties for breaking those rules. Like Tony’s #49, some adult screwed up big time and left a loaded gun where a three-year old could get at it. Criminal is the only word that comes to mind, not “shit happened”, too bad.

  66. A. Noyd says

    penumbra (#55)

    Imo, the second a person acts to provide a means and method, they’ve “lost” control, paradoxically while they are trying to control a situation or themselves.

    What do they lose control of? They see a problem, that problem is confirmed by those around them and/or their own (faulty) observation, they formulate a solution and put it into action. Besides scale, what is the fundamental difference between thinking the US needs a revolution (in the case of the Las Vegas shooters) and, for instance, thinking you need to replace your sheets because of itchy skin? That is, what control does the itchy-skinned person keep that the revolutionary loses? What if the itchy person is wrong about the cause of the itching, in which case their control is illusory? What if they try homeopathy instead of replacing sheets? What if their child is the itchy one, they treat with sheet replacements or homeopathy, and the child dies?

    It *is* crazy to resort to violence when one isn’t threatened

    Everything we know about the Las Vegas shooters indicates they thought they were threatened. How were they supposed to know they weren’t, especially when they had so many others backing them up? Lacking critical thinking skills isn’t mental illness. Being wrong isn’t mental illness. There are whole industries based on discouraging critical thinking, misinforming people on what to fear and shielding them from facts. Yet, anyone who fails to resist this is looney tunes? Try again.

    (#58)

    Now, why is it so difficult to accept that people who wish to impose harm on others are ill, or shall we just say that some people are like that and that it is normal?

    People are, in great part, “like” how they’re taught to be like. Mental illness is about individual dysfunction. A focus on killing as a solution to social problems might be dysfunctional on a cultural/social level, but individuals buying into dysfunctional shared values doesn’t indicate their brains aren’t working right. In fact, buying into shared values is normal.

    And how do you determine they wish to impose harm? Elliot Rodger said he did; he wanted revenge for his scorned penis. But then, lots of people believe killing out of revenge is okay. That’s why they vote for—and successfully elect—pro-death-penalty politicians. That’s why many people joined the military after 9/11. Jerad Miller said he preferred peace. He wished to kill only in the sense that he thought it an unfortunate but necessary part of fighting “oppression.” World geography would be very different today if only crazy people held that belief.

    Anyway, you’re failing to make a number of very important distinctions here. Why people wish to inflict harm and why they think they’re justified matters a great deal where concepts like “ill” and “normal” are concerned.

    At this point, I am tired of having to defend what I feel is a reasonable opinion. “Nuf said on this thread.

    Well, don’t leave. That would be trying to provide a means and a method of control over having your “reasonable” opinion challenged, which means you’ve paradoxically lost control. Let us get you some treatment for your insanity before it’s too late!

  67. mikeyb says

    I’m at a loss of what to do about this. It would be easy to blame politicians. But there is a significant fraction of democrats who won’t touch gun reform, especially after the timid legislation to regulate guns after Sandy Hook. I have to conclude that a sizeable minority even majority of Americans are simply batshit crazy when it comes to the gun issue. The either have radical gun freedom views or tacitly condone them. That would explain why even democrats are scared shitless to take on even gun reforms. At some level it works, if the population as a whole simply doesn’t give a shit about either mass shootings or the statistically much higher level of gun deaths linked to high levels of gun ownership. I hate to be so cynical, but I honestly believe that most people don’t give a shit until it happens to someone who is close to them. So how do we raise consciousness, if repeat serial killings which you would think in a rational group of people would do something, seem to have no effect whatsoever, time and time again.

  68. says

    Hey Jafafa @ 57 Oh please. I am allowed to have an opinion

    Do I have cancer? I’d love to hear your opinion.
    My doctors say no, but…

  69. OldEd says

    Regulate guns…

    Sorry folks, no guns? Okay, I’ll learn to make explosives, a la the Murrah Building disaster. No explosives? (See Japan: very strict regulation of guns, explosives, etc.) well….. lets try for Sarin…

    No Sarin? lets try for breeding some nice little disease organism; Oh Look!!! Little Johnny ( or Sally) is interested in science! Maybe he’ll I(she’ll) win a prize at the Science Fair!!!

    Oooops, too bad it had to be canceled when all those poor people got sick and died…

    I hate to say it: but in this one matter the NRA is correct: Guns don’t kill people – People kill people.

    A rich kid, ignored by his film industry parents, who salve their consciences by giving him money and playthings and fail to socialize him properly… WHAT THE HELL DO YOU EXPECT!!!! I’m only surprised that we don’t have far more of these foreseeable “tragedies”.

    The kids at Columbine – the ones who “started the whole problem” – had been picked on by the school’s “jock” contingent for years, and the people in authority turned a blind eye to the problem – this apparently included the police.

    The perp at Sandy Hook was KNOWN to have problems, and the police utterly failed to warn the mother, who, knowing her son had problems, utterly failed to provide a safe environment with adequate supervision. She was the first victim of her own stupidity and neglect.

    One thing about firearms: when they are used it is very obvious, and the body count is rather low – simply because of the obviousness the police respond rather quickly.

    If Aum Shinrikyo had taken just a little more time to test their product, and to develop a better dispersal method before their first field test, a very large number of people would have been affected – tens or hundreds of thousands, potentially, if not more.

    Should someone dump a 100 gallons of high-grade LSD into the New York City water supply… or the Los Angeles ditto… Yes, NYC runs tests of the water purity every hour – they test for clarity and some disease organisms – not a large number of other toxins.

    If you really want to make a mess, blow one of the towers supporting one of the seven major transmission lines feeding NYC at the beginning of rush hour on a hot Friday afternoon in August – in the middle of a heat wave, when upwards of 6 million people are trying to go from point A to point B, via elevators (dependent on electricity), the subway (ditto) or ground transportation (likewise dependent on electricity for the traffic light system…)

    It is all too easy to blame the weapon that the “perp” used – the proximate cause, and utterly ignore the circumstances which lead to the perp being a perp in the first place.

    There are far too many of us, living in far too close proximity, to pretend that we are NOT our brother’s keeper. What shapes our neighbors mind, and thus his actions, can and do affect us and those we care for, just as we affect our neighbors. If our neighbor is a religious nut case, DON’T BE SURPRISED IF HE/SHE OBJECTS TO YOUR NOT FOLLOWING HIS EDICTS. If your neighbor is fed a constant diet of men’s rights, don’t be surprised if he grows up so warped that no girl will speak to him, much less date him, or ever even consider having sex with him.
    And don’t be surprised if he, in his frustration, flies off the handle one way or another. He used a gun – it could have been a knife, or a bomb, or a micro-organism, or some other toxic substance.

    Five gallons of gasoline will do a nice job of setting a dorm on fire, especially if the fire alarm system and the sprinklers are disabled. Are we going to require a background check and license to buy gasoline and matches?

  70. throwaway says

    penumbra @ 58

    I am saying, in my own little opinion, that wanting to kill people is sick.

    All of human history has had a fraction of people wanting to kill another fraction for their land and resources because it would be advantageous for them to do so. Is something so calculated also “sick”? If we’re going to make excuses for survival calculations which make it OK to sometimes kill, then what other calculations are justifiable? Just the reasonable ones as defined by that society at that time? Or is there a core set of justifiable circumstances that allow killing to not be a symptom of “sickness?”

    I’m just thoroughly confused when I think this whole species is “sick” with violence and you’re surprised by it, and want to claim it as aberrational abhorrent behavior.

  71. Snoof says

    OldEd: It’s interesting that most of the acts you suggest require pretty significant foreknowledge, access, materials and preparation.

    Do you really think that, denied access to cheap and plentiful firearms, people will seek other methods for mass killings?

  72. says

    @ Snoof: Sure, to some extent. Of course few will have the skills or resources to produce sarin gas, but we have seen a few incidents of mass attacks/murders with knifes etc (IIRC fairly recently in China). So while I don’t believe we should make things easier than necessary for these nut jobs it is naive to think one can eliminate the problem by only going after guns.

  73. says

    Guns don’t kill people. What they do is make it super ridiculously easy to kill people.

    Guess what happens when it’s easy to do something?

    That’s right: more people do it.

    For fuck’s sake you pestilent fuckwits, this isn’t even complicated.

  74. Ichthyic says

    Sorry folks, no guns? Okay, I’ll learn to make explosives, a la the Murrah Building disaster. No explosives? (See Japan: very strict regulation of guns, explosives, etc.) well….. lets try for Sarin…

    and the number of sarin gas attacks involving domestic terrorism has been?

    you do realize that if you were trying to argue FOR gun control, you couldn’t have used a better example?

  75. Ichthyic says

    but we have seen a few incidents of mass attacks/murders with knifes etc (IIRC fairly recently in China

    yup, the day after Sandy Hook, there was an attack on a school by two knife wielding assholes in China where 22 students were injured.

    Now refresh your FUCKING MEMORY as to how many died in Sandy Hook vs the episode in China.

    go ahead, I’ll wait.

    done?

    yeah, that’s right motherfucker… ZERO died in the China

    getting the point yet?

    sweet plastic Jesus people are fucking dumb.

  76. Ichthyic says

    Five gallons of gasoline will do a nice job of setting a dorm on fire, especially if the fire alarm system and the sprinklers are disabled. Are we going to require a background check and license to buy gasoline and matches

    here in the saner parts of the world, when it’s discovered that people use things like commonly available isopropyl alcohol as a regular part of making crystal meth, go figure, the government responds by making it harder to get isopropyl alcohol in any kind of large volumes.

    it’s called: reacting to fit the situation.

    no need to even propose the idiotic hypotheticals like you have. The US simply is incapable of reacting against any situation where profit motives are involved.

    a lot of that is because complete and utter gullible idiots like yourself parrot the narratives of the gun companies, which makes legislators nervous about doing anything about it, lest they lose your vote.

    idiots, being lead by nail-biters on the take.

    that’s how I view America any more.

    sad.

  77. says

    Where did you learn your manners? No reason for that tone, I have never argued against gun control. I simply tried to point out that there are limits to how effective gun control can be. Besides, check your own facts. According to Wikipedia more than 25 were killed in school stabbings in China between 2010 and 2012, and in march this year 29 were killed by bladed weapons in a terrorist attack.

    I would like to learn more about the psychological makeup of these perpetrators, to me that kind of anger and hate is simply incomprehensible.

  78. Paul K says

    Erland Meyer #87

    more than 25 were killed in school stabbings in China between 2010 and 2012, and in march this year 29 were killed by bladed weapons in a terrorist attack.

    You do know that China has five times the population of the US? In one year, 30,000 Americans are killed by guns.

    And we don’t care much about manners here. People are dying at an almost incomprehensible rate, and you get worked up about our manners when discussing this issue. Jesus.

  79. yubal says

    It actually doesn’t matter if the victims are killed by a knife or by a gun. Guns just make the entire process of murdering people much more simple, efficient and convenient.

    I can peel an apple with my knife. What can you do with your gun except for killing people and destroying stuff?

    Also, please look at this map:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/6/10/5797306/map-school-shooting-sandy-hook

    How does that look like in china? Russia? Uganda?

    Is there another country besides Nigeria that has a similar rate of gun violence in their schools compared to the USA?

  80. says

    I just don’t see the point in being rude when politeness works just as well.

    As for US death tolls I agree, guns are completely out of control over there. But guns are still only part of the problem, as one can find countries with large number of guns without the same murder rates. Something is definitively wrong with the US and it’s not only the lack of gun control.

  81. Ichthyic says

    Where did you learn your manners?

    I simply have no respect, at all, for idiots like you any more.

    none.

  82. A. Noyd says

    Erlend Meyer (#90)

    I just don’t see the point in being rude when politeness works just as well.

    Let us know when you’re ready to be polite, because arguing strawmen, talking down to people and tone trolling are all rude as fuck.

  83. Ichthyic says

    Besides, check your own facts. According to Wikipedia more than 25 were killed in school stabbings in China between 2010 and 2012, and in march this year 29 were killed by bladed weapons in a terrorist attack.

    hello, fuckhead?

    yeah, I asked you to compare Sandy Hook to the specific attack that happened the day after in China.

    but since you want to move the goalposts and talk general carnage…

    check YOUR fucking facts and tell me how many people died, in the US ALONE last year from guns vs knives?

    right, that’s not a convenient statistic for you, is it?

    seriously, have ZERO respect for you.

  84. Ichthyic says

    I’ll tell you what, chuckles.

    you get yourself to a gun range, and ask the nice people there to run an experiment for you.

    have one of them shoot you in the leg with a 9mm pistol, and have the other stab you in leg.

    then you can compare the two firsthand and tell me why guns are more deadly than knives.

  85. Ichthyic says

    or maybe you can convince the US army to replace all their rifles with knives and gasoline. obvious just as effective.

  86. Ichthyic says

    this is not complicated. For those saying that we all should be addressing the underlying issues that cause people to act out violently, NOBODY IS SAYING NO. But unless you’re a complete simpleton, you already know that addressing those issues, or even DEFINING them to begin with, is complex and will take a long bloody time.

    ITMT… guns are killing people in rapid fashion… and the dead can’t be saved, get it?

  87. yubal says

    Erlend Meyer,

    Do you have any numbers concerning the blade (other) victims in the US compare to the rest of the world?

    I don’t.

    I also assume there is something “more” to the killing rate in the US then “just” guns. Maybe something cultural/social? Other countries with relatively high circulation of guns (Canada?) don’t have such a massive problem with gun inflicted crime. However, you can turn and twist it in any way you like, without freely accessible guns, the killing problem of the USA would be much less severe.

    Seriously. What is the rate of murder by knife/blade/other in the USA compared to elsewhere?

    Do you know that?

  88. jaggington says

    Erlend Meyer@90

    But guns are still only part of the problem, as one can find countries with large number of guns without the same murder rates.

    Citation needed.

  89. birgerjohansson says

    Canada has a lot of guns, but they require that people actually do a gun training course including basic gun safety before they get a gun permit. And their authorities take a dim view of people owning military-grade weapons.

    And behold, their gun deaths (adjusted for population sizse) is much lower than in the US.

  90. Nick Gotts says

    Religion is not race. Has Dawkins not emphasized this? If some non-Muslim East Indian, Pardo, or Maori commits a school shooting, their attacks will probably not be construed as terrorist by the people running the mainstream media. – Enopoletus Harding@65

    Well quite. I mean, the mainstream media never jump to conclusions based on a person’s apparent ethnicity, do they?

  91. says

    But how many of these shootings are done by people who “lose control”?

    When I lose control I eat too much chocolate.
    Oh, you mean the angry kind? I curse and blaspheme a lot. In the worst case I kick the washing machine. It looks to me like millions of people lose control daily. Only that they are channelling their lack of control into ways they learned in their lives.

    Enopoletus Harding

    Religion is not race. Has Dawkins not emphasized this?

    Yes, lots of people have noticed that Dawkins is an ignorant asshole suffering from a massive Dunning-Kruger whenever he opens his mouth about anything that is not evolutionary biology.

    Erlend Meyer

    I agree with you PZ in that there is no reason to make things easier than necessary, yet I feel many are passing judgment on a whole group for the sins of a very few.

    Yes, all responsible gun owners, to the point where somebody is hurt or killed.

    And even worse, focusing on the tools can only divert focus from the underlying cause of such tragedies.

    Because those “tools” are actually the reason these tragedies” are so damn fucking destructive and have such a high death toll. The Boston Marathon bombing killed way less people than an average spree shooter. Stabbings sometimes kill a person. They hardly ever kill 10 people. You know, even if the number of violent attacks stayed exactly the same but was carried out with knives, what do you think would happen to the body count?
    Which, of course, doesn’t even address the issue of gun-culture and mentality, something you’re trying very, very hard to ignore.

    Where did you learn your manners? No reason for that tone,

    This is Pharyngula. Get used to the tone and make a fucking argument or take your ball and go home

    I just don’t see the point in being rude when politeness works just as well.

    That’s entirely your problem.

    penumbra

    Now, why is it so difficult to accept that people who wish to impose harm on others are ill, or shall we just say that some people are like that and that it is normal?

    The hard truth is that ALL people are like that. EVERYBODY occasionally wishes to impose harm on others. Have you ever met children? They are no natural angels. They can be cruel and selfish. they inflict harm in order to get what they want, they inflict harm solely in order to see the other kid cry. Those are perfectly NORMAL behaviours. But we grow up and learn to control those desires. You learn that you may want to slap somebody, but that it is wrong to do so. Unless, of course, you’re taught otherwise. Slapping children is often not seen as wrong. Let me repeat that: Many people think it’s totally OK to inflict harm on a helpless minor while they would never stand for the same action if they were carried out against an adult. Now, if you have a society with a culture of gun-worship, with a culture of violence, where it’s OK when done by the good guys, it becomes perfectly acceptable for an individual who considers themself to be a good guy to engage in massive violence.

    Snoof

    OldEd: It’s interesting that most of the acts you suggest require pretty significant foreknowledge, access, materials and preparation.

    Do you really think that, denied access to cheap and plentiful firearms, people will seek other methods for mass killings?

    Hey, we have massive amounts of data on that! Just look at Europe, right? A bombing or sarin attack every other day!

  92. birgerjohansson says

    Switzerland allows member sof the armed forces to keep their rifles at home, but you do not get to become a member of their armed forces if youare known to have a history of political extremism, a history of violence or of substance abuse. Also, people in Switzerland cannot go to a gun shop and get a military-grade weapon.

  93. says

    Enopoletus Harding
    Unlike you I understand correlations, stereotypes and convenient fig-leaves.
    Religion is so much totally not a race that Sam Harris proposes to use racial profiling against muslim terrorists, Sikh get killed by outraged people who “defend themselves against muslim threats” and innocent guys from Brasil get shot as muslim terrorists because they’re brown.
    Plausible deniability, you know?

  94. Nick Gotts says

    Unlike you I understand correlations, stereotypes and convenient fig-leaves. – Giliell@106

    Actually, I suspect Enopoletus Harding understands them well enough – it’s not as if these matters have not been explained scores of times – it’s just politically convenient for him to pretend he doesn’t. Same goes for Dawkins of course.

  95. throwaway says

    Only in America is it more likely they will ratify a “Gun Rights” law while voting against a UN treaty invoking “Disabled Persons Rights.”

  96. CHARLES says

    What seriously puzzles me is the arguments that come out of the mouths of gun humpers.

    People use guns to hunt – fair enough. But why are “semi”-automatic weapons with 10 or more rounds required to hunt? Why cannot a 5 round bolt action weapon suffice? Why are self-loading shotguns with large magazines required when a double barrel shotgun is plenty.

    People in the backwoods need protection from bears/wolverines/mountain lions – fine. But again why the need for “semi”-automatic large magazine weapons?

    People enjoy target shooting – fine. But then the weapons can be kept securely at a gun club and again there’s no need for “semi”-automatic weapons at all, low capacity revolvers and 5 shot bolt action rifles would be plenty.

    People do combat range shooting – fine. But why do you need a real weapon for what is, in essence, live action role playing?

    Guns are needed for home protection – right. But a 2 shot coach gun is fine

    The semi in quotes in “semi”-automatic because gun humpers deny that these are automatic weapons even though the action is fully automatic it is just that the sear is designed to interrupt the action before the next round is fired.

  97. Anri says

    Enopoletus Harding @ 70:

    -Are you denying that religion is not race?

    Are you denying a racial component in the US in discussions of terrorism?

    Because if you are, you’re too ignorant to have an informed opinion.
    And if you’re not, you’ve just undermined your own ‘point’.
    Take your pick.

  98. ledasmom says

    You know, after the Sandy Hook shooting, I said that if the deaths of twenty young children weren’t enough to pass serious gun control, then it wouldn’t happen until somebody shot a large number of babies.
    I stand by that, except that now I don’t think it would be sufficient.
    Erlend Meyer @ 87:

    Where did you learn your manners?

    Dealing with obtuse commenters on the internet. Why, where did you learn yours?

  99. caseloweraz says

    Tony (#28): Yep. Something stupid and vile like a drunk police officer holding a gun to the head of a child.

    All I can say after seeing the picture at that link is: “Good guy.” “Good gun.” Good grief!

    I base this on the assumption that the guy in the picture is the one described in the story. And to clarify, I realize there are situations in which that weapon would be a good gun (without the scare quotes.) But not this situation.

  100. caseloweraz says

    Nerd of Redhead: What has happened in this country is the hard core safety rules I learned about guns back in the boy scouts fifty years ago appear to be no longer in effect.

    There always was a certain number of people who never learned those rules, or who ignored them. The late Mike Royko would sometimes mock stupid use of guns in his Chicago Tribune column. One incident I remember was a red tent in the middle of a wilderness road being shot up by hunters who later claimed they thought it was a deer (a red deer, presumably.) The young couple inside the tent were unharmed, luckily.

    But it does seem today that there are many more such people, and there is a vocal minority who push for policies that would make the situation still worse.

  101. caseloweraz says

    @OldEd (#77):

    You’re absolutely right. Just yesterday, I was cut off in traffic by some sabidah. I snapped. I reached into my glove compartment and instantly mixed up a batch of nitroglycerine which I threw into the impolite one’s car.

    So easy and quick!

    /sarc

    Two things are beyond dispute, IMO.

    1) The removal of all guns from the U.S. would not end violence. But who claims that it would? Rather, it would reduce the number of deaths due to violence (and accidental shootings, and suicides.) Note: I do not advocate such removal. And even if I did, it will not happen any time soon.

    2) Better control of guns, which I do advocate, would increase the number of deadly attacks involving other weapons — but not in direct proportion, simply because other easily available weapons are not as deadly as guns. So this would be a net win.

  102. says

    Charles: I prefer both semiautomatic and manual repeaters, depends on the application. A semi allows me to keep full focus on the target, it can be useful for a quick follow up when hunting. I don’t need a 30-round magazine for that, but reality is that military-based semis are cheaper, more rugged and reliable than most civilian guns. The availability of parts are also better, making it much easier to customize the gun to personal preferences.
    Others just like them, like some like certain cars or motorcycles. There isn’t anything sinister behind their interest in guns, in fact I find the antis view on guns quite alien. I know guns are dangerous, and treat them as such but the thought of using them on a fellow human being? It’s as alien to me as looking at a golf club thinking this would be excellent for bashing somebody’s head in.

    As for central storage of guns, it produces a lot of problems. First of all, competitive shooting requires a lot of practice, so many spend a lot of time dry firing at home. Guns also need regular cleaning and maintenance, this can take hours or perhaps require over-night soaks in solvents.
    Besides, you still need to be able to check out the guns when entering competitions outside your own club. As I see it central storage would either be extremely impractical or extremely expensive (or both), and I’m unsure how effective they would be.

    I’m all for reasonable gun control, I would never support allowing people to buy guns with no registration or background checks. That’s just insane. But at the same time I have to believe that most people are responsible enough to own a gun. Some regulations are still needed to remind people of their responsibilities, and the bar should be put high enough so that it’s not worth it for people that just want a gun without any real need.
    I know it won’t be perfect, but freedom never is. A total ban on all guns won’t eliminate guns from the society, the police her regularly impounds machine guns from drug/bike gangs, machine guns that has never been legal to own. They are perhaps stolen from the army, smuggled in or even built in home shops, either way it proves that there are limits to how effective gun control can be.
    Punishing the vast majority of responsible gun owners for the crimes of a few individuals doesn’t sit right with me, I have never seen why I should take responsibility for anything other than my own actions.

  103. anteprepro says

    Welcome, one and all, to GUN WORLD!

    Where guns are so important that you need guns as the only possible defense against other people with guns! And yet where, simultaneously, guns are just as difficult to use and acquire as bombs and chemical weapons, and are only as deadly as knives or katanas!

    GUNZZZ! Your only salvation! Despite the fact that they are totally useless and you are totally better off just like using a bow and arrow or something! GUNZ!

  104. anteprepro says

    Erlend Meyer:

    I know guns are dangerous, and treat them as such but the thought of using them on a fellow human being? It’s as alien to me as looking at a golf club thinking this would be excellent for bashing somebody’s head in.

    It’s more like being a collector of golf clubs and finding it alien to actually use them in a game of golf. Or having a car collection and being baffled by the idea of someone driving one of them.

    Guns are weapons, you smarmy, disingenuous fuck.

    I’m all for reasonable gun control, I would never support allowing people to buy guns with no registration or background checks.

    Congratulations then. You are officially on the “Anti-gun” side of the United States gun debate then.

    Some regulations are still needed to remind people of their responsibilities, and the bar should be put high enough so that it’s not worth it for people that just want a gun without any real need.

    What is this “real need” you speak of? Weren’t you just a few paragraphs ago talking about how you just use your gunz for competitions and how you couldn’t imagine using them on other people? And now suddenly you are talking about “needing” a gun? Color me incredulous.

    A total ban on all guns won’t eliminate guns from the society, the police her regularly impounds machine guns from drug/bike gangs, machine guns that has never been legal to own. They are perhaps stolen from the army, smuggled in or even built in home shops, either way it proves that there are limits to how effective gun control can be.

    Ever thought of “smuggled in from other states where they aren’t illegal”? Yeah, talk about how gun control in isolated areas of the U.S. fails all you want. They ultimately fail because gun control in individual regions of the U.S. don’t work because of the flood of guns everywhere fucking else! Whereas gun control in Europe and other countries not flooded in guns seems to work just fine! Fancy fucking that.

  105. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    >Punishing the vast majority of responsible gun owners for the crimes of a few individuals doesn’t sit right with me, I have never seen why I should take responsibility for anything other than my own actions.

    So, you don’t give a shit if collateral damage in the form of killings takes place due to irresponsible handing and storage of guns?

    I’m not looking to take away your guns, unless you show you won’t handle them in a safe manner. Like transporting them unloaded in public, and by locking them unloaded in a gun safe when at home. At no time does concealed carry and keeping a loaded gun in the nightstand come under safe handling of guns. Why not codify the safe practices, and only take away guns from those who show they won’t handle them safely?

  106. Nick Gotts says

    I know it won’t be perfect, but freedom never is. – Erlend Meyer

    And of course your freedom to own a gun trumps the freedom of those killed by your fellow-enthusiasts to stay alive.

  107. anteprepro says

    Freedom to live is nothing compared to the FREEEEEEEEDOM to gun. If I am to believe Conservative Constitutional Scholars, I believe that is the concept you get that when you translate “well regulated militia” into modern English.

  108. says

    # 119: Sure I care, and I will never defend irresponsible gun ownership. And I keep my guns just as you’re describing, unloaded and locked in a gun safe. The only key in the house is on my person at all times (as long as I’m clothed at least), even though I’m living alone. If I choose to own potentially dangerous objects is is my responsibility to store and handle them responsibly. And so far I’d say I’ve done a decent job, none of my guns has ever been lost, stolen or used to harm or threaten other people.

    # 118: That’s where we differ. I don’t see them as weapons in the same way you do, for me they are tools. Potentially dangerous, sure, but tools nonetheless. But then again I’m no stranger to dangerous items. In my work I’ve handled enough poisonous chemicals to kill thousands if not tens of thousands, worked in plants where an accident could mangle myself and my coworkers in more ways than I’d like to think of, handled pyrotechnics and explosives and built structures that could have cost many lives if done improperly. It’s all the same to me, it’s all about responsibility. If I can be trusted with all those tasks, why shouldn’t I be trusted with guns?

    As for calling me anti-guns I have no problems with that. I’d prefer to call myself pro-regulation, but thats mostly semantics.

  109. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Late to the party, but:

    Penumbra #58

    Now, why is it so difficult to accept that people who wish to impose harm on others are ill…

    Because they aren’t. It’s very simple. Violent thoughts are not a mental illness. You do not get to redefine mental illness just so you can other the people who committ these crimes in order to make yourself feel more comfortable.

  110. CHARLES says

    Erlend Meyer, If you are so hot for politeness I suggest you use my name not your imagination of it.

    Next, I don’t care what you prefer, making life easy for poor shots and bad hunters is not my intent. That intent is that high capacity magazines and automatic cycling mechanisms are completely unnecessary for the justified use of firearms. You have done noting to dispel that only shown that you are a partisan for the destructive and lethal practices of your country.

    Regarding competition, if you want to be a world class competitive shot then you can live next door to the range and practice every day. If you try any other method you are an amateur pretending to be a professional competitor and as such control your urges until you reach the range. If you are taking part in the LRPG style shoots then get a paintball gun or a laser tag weapon. Don’t fart about pretending to be military.

    You are for “reasonable gun control,” care to actually define what you think of as reasonable? Most of the gun fondlers I correspond with mean that the people they identify with are allowed guns but no-one else.

    Tell you what I think of as reasonable.
    1) All guns, gun spares and ammunition carry unique, identifiable impurities in their materials, similar to smart water coatings.
    2) All weapons without such identifiers are exchanged under a buy-back style scheme but the possessor has to undergo a fitness test to own weapons.
    3) All weapons, weapons spares and ammunition are registered to their owner and transfers of ownership or thefts have to be recorded by the original owner this is exactly what happens with cars in the UK.
    4) Any unregistered or falsely registered weapons, spares and ammunition are subject to automatic seizure and destruction without compensation, no criminal sanction will be needed at first (unless weapons are stolen) but IDs are recorded.
    5) Over time limitations on the types and numbers of weapons permitted in private hands are reduced.

    Sure, you will still have weapons in the hands of criminals but over time that number will reduce

  111. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sure I care, and I will never defend irresponsible gun ownership.

    Then why not codify by law only responsible gun ownership? You avoided that question. Now, what legislation will you support?

  112. anteprepro says

    122 Erlen Meyer: Please try to consider the possibility that “irresponsible gun ownership” is a No True Scotsman argument.

    Also: I would not call you “anti-gun”. “Pro-regulation” is the reasonable position, but is only a slight majority in public opinion.

    This is the discussion in America right now:

    Only 25% support a gun ban on people other than police and unspecified others.

    Compare to:

    13% want laxer gun laws.
    40% oppose assault weapon bans.
    43% think courts would be safer if a judge was carrying a gun and 60% think it would be safer if pilots were carrying guns.
    Around 25 to 30% think that guns would make a classroom safer, movie theater, or restaurant safer and not increase risk.
    30% want legal sale of armor piercing rounds.
    Over 50% of the U.S. like and agree with the NRA.
    60% of gun owners have guns for “personal protection”

    And where do the issues lie in the political realm?

    The Republican party opposes gun licensing and limits on ammo. http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/republican_party_gun_control.htm

    It also loves them some NRA, which also opposes assault weapon bans and background checks.

    And what do those wacky Democrats want?

    We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements–like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole–so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/democratic_party_gun_control.htm

    The debate: between somewhat strict regulation and absolute non-regulation. Not between absolute gun bans and somewhat strict regulation.

  113. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @Erland Meyer

    Sure I care, and I will never defend irresponsible gun ownership. And I keep my guns just as you’re describing, unloaded and locked in a gun safe. The only key in the house is on my person at all times (as long as I’m clothed at least), even though I’m living alone. If I choose to own potentially dangerous objects is is my responsibility to store and handle them responsibly. And so far I’d say I’ve done a decent job, none of my guns has ever been lost, stolen or used to harm or threaten other people…

    As for calling me anti-guns I have no problems with that. I’d prefer to call myself pro-regulation, but thats mostly semantics.

    Good. This is the only way to sensibly and safely own a gun. In the UK, it’s a legal requirement and it damn well should be in the US too.

    Your sensible-ness (?) aside, though, you have to realise that in the US gun debate those actions make you “anti-gun”. Rational people would indeed call it the “pro-regulation”, or simply the “sensible” side; but to NRA-ers and gun-fondlers you are an anti-American gun-stealer who wants to burn the constitution.

    # 118: That’s where we differ. I don’t see them as weapons in the same way you do, for me they are tools…

    Tools are items designed to facilitate a certain task. The task that guns are designed to facilitate is killing things. surely you can see that the express purpose of this “tool” makes it a special case?

    Potentially dangerous, sure, but tools nonetheless. But then again I’m no stranger to dangerous items. In my work I’ve handled enough poisonous chemicals to kill thousands if not tens of thousands, worked in plants where an accident could mangle myself and my coworkers in more ways than I’d like to think of, handled pyrotechnics and explosives and built structures that could have cost many lives if done improperly. It’s all the same to me, it’s all about responsibility. If I can be trusted with all those tasks, why shouldn’t I be trusted with guns?

    No one’s saying you shouldn’t be trusted with guns. We’re saying you, and everyone else, ought to have to pass a test which proves they are responsible enough to handle guns, before they are given a license and allowed to buy and own one. As you said earlier, the “anti-gun” side is far better characterised as the “pro- regulation” side.

  114. says

    I would consider mandatory registration, background checks and storage in a suitable safe an absolute minimum. Failure to comply with proper use and storage should mean that your permit is revoked. For sporting purposes one should be member of a club that uses the particular guns, for hunting weapons a hunting permit (if required) should be demanded. For self defense there should be a qualifying test.

    As for tagging of ammunition that’s just not feasible. The main parts of a gun are usually marked with a unique serial number, and projectiles can already be tied to a specific barrel. But tagging individual projectiles or rounds just isn’t going to work. While it could be theoretically possible to do this the cost would probably be astronomical and leave far to many loop holes for it to work in reality.

    PS: I don’t pretend for one second that I’m military or anything. I just like target shooting.

  115. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @Erland Myer

    I’d have thought there was no need to “tag” rounds or guns*. Just have a central database with the… I’m not sure of the correct term, “firing profile”? The marks that the barrel leaves on the bullet. I understand these are unique to the gun. Anyway, each gun should be fired, the “firing marks” recorded in a federal database, and then ownership info added to the database courtesy of the mandatory registration you mention.

    *I know it’s not your suggestion.

  116. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I would consider mandatory registration, background checks and storage in a suitable safe an absolute minimum. Failure to comply with proper use and storage should mean that your permit is revoked. For sporting purposes one should be member of a club that uses the particular guns, for hunting weapons a hunting permit (if required) should be demanded. For self defense there should be a qualifying test.

    Fine start, but show me a gun is needed for self-defence. A greater than 1% chance of needing to use it. That’s about one time in 3 months. A 0.1% use is about one time in three years. Let’s see your evidence you need the gun, and that it actually is safer to both you and others having a gun rather than some other means to defend yourself. That is where the gun-nuts fail every time….

  117. anteprepro says

    Grand, Erlend Meyer. Do you concede that Americans should, in fact, be worrying about gun control and concede that controlling guns might be a tinsy bit helpful in stopping all of the accidental and purposeful guns deaths that we in the U.S. deal with? Do you admit that your original post here, tut-tutting us for supposedly saying that guns are “The Cause” and claiming that somehow alternative weapons are Just As Bad might have been a tad inane and tone deaf? Or do you think all of that is somehow irrelevant and you are going to continue to regale us with the full details of your individual gun ownership?

  118. says

    No one’s saying you shouldn’t be trusted with guns
    Actually a lot of people are saying just that. In fact a lot of people are implying that all gun owners are homicidal maniacs.

    As for guns being designed to kill, that can be debated. Many guns are designed specifically for sporting purposes. And even those that ARE designed for combat can be used for other purposes. I don’t usually see intent in a inanimate object, just possible uses and potential risks.

  119. says

    Curses, the quoting didn’t go quite as planned. I hope you can make out what I was trying to say.

    As for self defense I’ve never felt the need for it myself so I haven’t really studied the issue. Others will have to answer that question.

    As for guns being part of the problem I totally agree, and I would support gun control regardless of these tragedies. But I also maintain that the correlation between gun and crimes aren’t as clear cut as some like to think. For instance Scandinavia has appr 1/3 the number of guns compared with the US, but gun homicide rates are less than 1/10. I suspect that the lack of reasonable regulations could account for some of this, but there must be more to it than that.

  120. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Punishing the vast majority of responsible gun owners for the crimes of a few individuals doesn’t sit right with me, I have never seen why I should take responsibility for anything other than my own actions.

    And this, this smarmy, disingenuous, amoral, fuck up sense of perspective, dishonest bullshit, is one of the things that pisses me off the most about the gundamentalists.

    Having strict gun laws, even to the point that some people might have to give up some of their ‘collection’ is seen as punishment. But you know what, fuck those 30 fucking thousand people that get killed every year by your ‘tools’. If that many people were killed every year by shovels, you can gods damn well believe there would be regulations.

    Punishment vs. collateral damage….your perspective might improve if you pulled your cranium out of your rectum.

  121. anteprepro says

    Erlend Meyer

    And even those that ARE designed for combat can be used for other purposes. I don’t usually see intent in a inanimate object, just possible uses and potential risks

    Other Uses for a Gun:
    Announcing the start of a race!
    Killing deer!
    Decorating mantle!
    Killing squirrels!
    Shooting targets for funzies!
    Killing cows!
    As part of a salute to a fallen comrade!
    Shooting more realistic targets for funzies!
    Killing birds!
    Resting under your bed to make you feel safer!
    Breaking open a stubborn lock like in the movie films!
    Killing fish!
    Decorating living room!
    Opening beer cans!
    Playing Cowboy!
    Killing wolves!
    Impressing a lady friend with your manliness!
    Decorating bathroom!
    Shooting your TV for drama’s sake!
    Threatening someone!
    Killing bears!
    Decorating your bedroom!
    Quick and convenient suicides!
    Hours and hours of cleaning and polishing fun!
    Collecting! Gotta collect ‘em all!
    Killing bigfeet!
    Fending off the King of England!
    Keeping the Neighborhood safe!
    Instead of a post-coital cigarette!
    Turning off the lights…permanently!
    Euthanizing pets!
    Vandalizing street signs!
    Decreasing your own property value!
    Excuse to meet up at hoppin’ local gun range!
    Killing rabbits!
    Hole puncher!
    Decorate the back of your truck!
    Show it off with the safety totally on you guys!
    Non-violent right-wing protests!
    Going to dinner!
    Going to movie!
    Fleshlight!
    Excuse to make your own ammo and be a Rugged Individualist!
    Killing coyotes!
    Shoot a tree to make a statement about environmentalism!
    Emergency dental operation!
    Backscratcher!
    Instant VIP access anywhere!
    Legitimization of your NRA membership!
    Bad ass poses!
    Gun fu!
    Killing your living furniture.
    AND MANY MORE

    “Just possible uses” indeed. The possibilities are endless! What a marvelous tool! Like a fucking Swiss Army Knife, this marvelous gun!

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

    @anteprepro:

    …Fending off the King of England!…

    so. much. lol.

  123. anteprepro says

    Crip Dyke: Just to make it clear to all: That, turning off the lights, and opening a can were all Simpsons references. I am not nearly that clever on my own! Damn, I miss when that show was good.

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

    Honestly, I’m of the opinion that guns should be banned, even in countries with low rate of gun deaths.
    Because low isn’t none.

    And what are only uses of guns by civilians :
    1. recreational
    2. self-defense

    1. Even one accident with a gun is one too many, and it’s not worth you having a hobby. Find another one.

    2. Since only safe gun is one stored apart from ammunition, in a locked place, it can’t really be of much use for self defense.
    I guess you have no use for a gun then. Tough luck.

    But I realize that isn’t realistic so I would just go for very tight regulation.

  125. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @Erland Meyer #132

    Actually a lot of people are saying just that[1]. In fact a lot of people are implying that all gun owners are homicidal maniacs[2].

    As for guns being designed to kill, that can be debated[3]. Many guns are designed specifically for sporting purposes[4]. And even those that ARE designed for combat can be used for other purposes[5]. I don’t usually see intent in a inanimate object, just possible uses and potential risks[6].

    1- Nick Gotts has since said you shouldn’t be allowed a gun. I didn’t see anyone before that, and I’m unsure of his reasons, but allow me to clarify: I do not advocate for a blanket ban on guns, and very few people do. I don’t think anyone here does, even Nick Gotts, though I may very well be corrected on that.
    2- Where?
    3- No it can’t. They are.
    4- No, many modern variants of guns have been optimised for shooting at targets from a stationary position, as opposed to a field gun in which mobility is also a consideration. Inanimate target shooting is a sport that arose far after the original introduction of guns. They were invented to facilitate killing things, their primary purpose is to facilitate killing things, most are optimised to facilitate killing things, and ones optimised for “sport” purposes (I’ve been generous by assuming you meant target shooting; hunting is also a “sport”) have been optimised for shooting accurately at a target from a stationary position. That target could easily be a person.
    5- Who mentioned combat? I said killing things. A thing is not necessarily a person, but in this context a person is a thing. A gun optimised for hunting deer is perfectly capable of killing a human.
    6- Who on Earth saw intent in the gun? I’m talking about the intent of the original inventor and subsequent designers, as dictated by the primary purpose of the object they are designing; i.e. to kill things.

    And stop being disingenuous. I don’t for a second believe that you really took my comment so literally as to think that target shooting was an exception, nor do I believe you really thought “killing things” specifically meant “combat”, nor that you really misinterpreted my comment so badly that you thought I was attributing intent to the gun.

  126. anteprepro says

    Beatrice, you forget the all-important “decorational” too. The “I am a collector of antiques, how dare you!!!” demographic is a strangely large one according to gun apologists.

    (And obviously decorational guns must be functional still. Because obviously.)

  127. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Well. I thought I had a handle on the opinions of regulars here, but apparently not. I shall stop trying to speak for everyone, since clearly I’m not very good at it. It’s also a bit arsehole-y.

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

    Thumper,

    To be fair, I don’t think I have ever expressed a desire for complete ban until now. I kind of just figured it out now, after reading thread after thread of ridiculous excuses by gun enthusiasts.

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

    anteprepro,

    I forgot about decorational.

    And now to embarrass myself. I keep forgetting that we own an old kubura.. I have no idea how to translate that to English. But it’s a thing taht gets filled with gun powder, wood parts have been mostly eaten by wormwood and it’s so obviously not capable of working that when inspectors came around in the middle of a war they didn’t look twice at it, even with all the paranoia and ransacking to check we didn’t own weapons.
    Anyway, now that I have thoroughly discredited myself :)… I haven’t thrown it away, but it’s probably going away when we decide to clear the place up a bit.

    So… I dunno. Maybe really old weapons as collectibles, without munition?
    But that’s still risky and it counts as a hobby so again: Find another one.

    As I will have another thing to remind me of my grandfather. It’s not like he used the weapon anyway, it was probably long unusable when it came into his possession.

  130. anteprepro says

    Beatrice: Honestly, I am fine with antique weapons personally. Genuinely old antiques. Very few people are going around killing each other muskets. If you are including WWII or Vietnam era weaponry, though, for fuck’s sake treat it like a museum artifact and not a piece of “oh look, this is a decoration that I might totally load with this other decoration hidden over here and use to defend myself in the event Nazi zombies!” dangling over the fireplace. A lot of people using the Just Decoration defense just reek of putting decoration in scare quotes.

  131. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @Beatrice #143

    I can’t remember any regular ever doing so before. But my memeory is a faulty thing at the best of times.

  132. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @anteprepro

    Totally with you there. You simply cannot claim a functional gun is “just decorational”. It may be functioning as nothing more than a decoration at this precise second in time, but if it is still functional then it is not “just decorational”.

  133. David Marjanović says

    You’re absolutely right. Just yesterday, I was cut off in traffic by some sabidah. I snapped. I reached into my glove compartment and instantly mixed up a batch of nitroglycerine which I threw into the impolite one’s car.

    So easy and quick!

    /sarc

    I am compelled to point out that you can’t throw nitroglycerine (unless you make dynamite out of it). It blows up before it leaves your hand.

    I have no idea how to translate that to English.

    The trick is to use Wikipedia as a dictionary.

    1. Type http://hr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kubura into the address bar.
    2. At the bottom of the left sidebar, click on “English”.
    3. Profit!

    wormwood

    Woodworm.

    The second w in wormwood came about by the reanalysis of a word that has ended up as Wermut in German; it’s not etymologically related to “wood” or even to “worm”. One species of wormwood is the important ingredient in absinthe.

  134. David Marjanović says

    But I also maintain that the correlation between gun and crimes aren’t as clear cut as some like to think. For instance Scandinavia has appr 1/3 the number of guns compared with the US, but gun homicide rates are less than 1/10. I suspect that the lack of reasonable regulations could account for some of this, but there must be more to it than that.

    So, the relationship isn’t strictly proportional – you get outliers in one direction.

    Are there also outliers in the other direction? Are there places where the murder/manslaughter rate is as high as in the US (let alone higher still, LOL), but there are fewer guns in circulation?

    Because if there aren’t, that means focusing on the number of guns in circulation would help a lot, even if all other contributing factors are completely ignored.

    I agree of course that there are additional factors, like the enormous amount of anxiety in general American culture, coupled with incompetent, under- or misfunded police and such mind-bending facts as many houses having doors that any able-bodied idiot could just kick in. But, again, if you can’t find a counterexample like I imagine above, I’ll continue to maintain that making guns more difficult to get and to keep – as you already advocate – would help.

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

    David,
    Heh, I did try to use wiki as a dictionary, but I could swear no links to otber language pages were there when I was looking… must read more carefully (which goes for woodworm as well)

  136. says

    Sure there are, Honduras and Venezuela has appr 1/10 the number of guns and 10-20 times the firearms murder rates. So the spread is pretty extreme, suggesting that culture is more important.

    @ Thumper: I don’t care about what things were designed to do, just what they can do. So obviously I’d support strict regulation of anything with the same potential for mayhem as guns. It’s just that I’ve heard the “guns are made for killing and thus evil” too many times…

  137. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Erland Meyer

    I don’t care about what things were designed to do, just what they can do. So obviously I’d support strict regulation of anything with the same potential for mayhem as guns. It’s just that I’ve heard the “guns are made for killing and thus evil” too many times…

    It is semantics, I suppose. The fact is they are dangerous, that’s what matters. But to be clear, I didn’t mean to imply guns are “evil”. The whole concept of evil is a rather silly and subjective one. Guns are dangerous, and thus need to be regulated.

    Meh, we appear to be in general agreement in so far as regulation is necessary, and I need to go, so screw the details.

    Bye all.

  138. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t care about what things were designed to do, just what they can do.

    Gee, what a way to avoid responsibility for using dangerous things. The only use for handguns is to kill people. End of story. So, what are you doing to make other gun users use their killing machines more safely? So far, nothing you are doing….

  139. anteprepro says

    It’s just that I’ve heard the “guns are made for killing and thus evil” too many times…

    Boo friggety hoo. They are made for that purpose. And they are dangerous. Those two factors together are what make it such a big deal that we need to regulate them. And it is why we do not care for obstructionist assholes like you who decide to bleat out word games against those who speak out against guns too loudly for their liking.

    So please, consider shutting the fuck up now. You technically agree with us. Technically. As far as we can tell. If you continue your fucking bluster and sophistry, though, we will begin to doubt that. For good reason. Because there is always going to be an “I’m an X, but….[throws X under the bus]“. Don’t be that fucking person.

  140. says

    Nerd, stop projecting your own homicidal tendencies on me. None of my handguns were bought for or have been used for killing anything. I only use them for making holes in paper under strictly controlled conditions.

  141. says

    @ anteprepro: I do agree with you when it comes to the need for regulation and responsible handling. I’m just trying to point out that not all gun owners are 2. amendment nut jobs.

  142. says

    @ Anri #110

    Are you denying a racial component in the US in discussions of terrorism?

    -There certainly is “a racial component in the US in discussions of terrorism”; this is mainly because the vast majority of Arabic speakers are Muslim and because many terrorists have been both Muslim and Arab. Also, do you seriously think I can’t recognize a false dichotomy when I see one?

  143. anteprepro says

    Thanks again for the useless shit we already know, Erlend Meyer. You can shut up now.

  144. caseloweraz says

    David M (#149): I am compelled to point out that you can’t throw nitroglycerine (unless you make dynamite out of it). It blows up before it leaves your hand.

    I knew that. It’s also something that can’t be mixed up instantly. Quite aside from the mechanics, it needs a water bath to bleed off heat from the exothermic reaction of the ingredients.

    Did you think someone might be tempted to try throwing some?

  145. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd, stop projecting your own homicidal tendencies on me. None of my handguns were bought for or have been used for killing anything. I only use them for making holes in paper under strictly controlled conditions.

    Why don’t you learn to read. I’m not complaining about your behavior with guns. I’m complaining that when called to task to say what should happen, say in the case of say Tony’s post #49, where some fuckwit left a loaded weapon where a child could and did pick it up and shoot a sibling. What are you planning on doing to take guns away from that type of irresponsible and criminal behavior? I see nothing from you. Whereas I propose a murder charge of some degree, and banning from all gun weapons for life. What is your solution?

  146. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and handguns were designed to kill people. Other people may use them for other things. Like door stops.

  147. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m just trying to point out that not all gun owners are 2. amendment nut jobs.

    You said that earlier. And your own words belie your statements of not being a nut. Show us you are working to make the use of guns by gun nuts safer for non-gun owners and the general public. There you fall down…

  148. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Unless PZ decides to ban me I’ll post as much as I damn well please with or without your consent.

    Impolite of you hypocrite. That makes you lack of evidence so much clearer. All you are here for is to obfuscate. Typical..

  149. anteprepro says

    Some people prefer to be conversationalists. Others prefer to be conversation pieces. Though you clearly prefer the latter Erlend Meyer, rest assured: you fail equally at both.

  150. Nick Gotts says

    There certainly is “a racial component in the US in discussions of terrorism” – Enopoletus Harding@159

    So what the fuck were you on about @65. Are you too stupid to recognise mild hyperbole used to make a point? Or did you just have to scratch that “Hating on Muslims isn’t racism because Dawkins” itch?

  151. alwayscurious says

    Victims should start suing the parents for wrongful death. If the shooter’s parents aren’t taking precautions to keep their kids & guns separated, they should be held liable for the damages. A few high profile lawsuits should drill it into people’s heads: LOCK UP YOUR GUNS AND KEEP THE AMMO SEPARATE.

    But then I found this:
    http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/05/tj_lane_family_settles_wrongfu.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/kinkel/blame/summary.html

    So I guess losing life AND money isn’t sufficient deterrent against irresponsible parental behavior. To me, that spells high time for additional government regulations.

  152. anteprepro says

    Oh yes, alwayscurious. Blame the parents. The parents are obviously liable here! Because everyone in the entire world is expected to keep their guns in Teenager Proof lockdown! Because everyone ever who let their 15 to 16 year old near a gun would be considered negligent! Obviously! Don’t talk about gun control! No, it is just Irresponsible Gunowners all the way down!

  153. anteprepro says

    Wait, missed this part of alwayscurious’s comment:

    To me, that spells high time for additional government regulations.

    Fair enough. It still strikes me as odd to focus on the parents in this though, and infantilizing to think of teens as “children” that expect catastrophe of if they get ahold of weapons. Yeah, don’t leave it loaded or lying in the living room, but you shouldn’t have to do much more than lock up somewhere. And I wouldn’t call a parent inherently negligent if they put the gun away and a teenager, being nearly an adult after all, managed to find a way to unlock it anyway. I mean, really.

  154. A. Noyd says

    @Erlend Meyer (#158)
    #NotAllGunOwners? Really? Do we need to start #YesAllGunVictims just for you, precious?

    And I hope you weren’t setting yourself up as some kind of exception. You’ve proven such an idiotic ass, I wouldn’t trust you with an empty squirt gun.

  155. ck says

    So… I dunno. Maybe really old weapons as collectibles, without munition?
    But that’s still risky and it counts as a hobby so again: Find another one.

    It’s not necessarily that dangerous if you permanently disable the weapon by removing the firing pin and/or welding something into the barrel to obstruct it. Apparently this destroys the resale value of the item, as you would probably expect.

    Still, it can make you complacent around displayed firearms, so there might be some danger associated with that.

  156. Ichthyic says

    It’s more like being a collector of golf clubs and finding it alien to actually use them in a game of golf. Or having a car collection and being baffled by the idea of someone driving one of them.

    Guns are weapons, you smarmy, disingenuous fuck.

    exactly what I was thinking.

  157. Ichthyic says

    I don’t care about what things were designed to do, just what they can do.

    Well, I’m off to start my dismembered penis collection then.

    Anyone care to donate?

  158. Ichthyic says

    @Erlend Meyer (#158)
    #NotAllGunOwners? Really? Do we need to start #YesAllGunVictims just for you, precious?

    perfect.

  159. says

    It’s not that I don’t care about the victims, I do. And that’s why I consider the complete lack of regulation in the US utter insanity. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than 90% of all homicides are done by individuals that everybody agrees shouldn’t have access to guns. Even the NRA seems to agree with that, they just won’t act accordingly.

    But at the same time many freedoms put others in harm. Now I know one can’t compare guns and traffic directly, cars being essential to the society and all, but how many are killed by irresponsible drivers and non-essential driving every year? And yet we allow anybody to own cars capable of going 200mph without having to demonstrate anything more than the most basic of skills. Heck, you don’t even need a license to own a car.
    Why aren’t cars limited to <100mph? We have the technology. We could require all cars to have alco-locks to prevent drunk drivers, we could drop the speed limit and regulate unnecessary driving. There are a thousand things we could do to prevent countless of meaningless deaths, yet we don't. Why? Because most citizens agree that their personal freedom is worth a few deaths.

    You might disagree with me in which freedoms are worth a few lives, and when it comes to handguns I can understand why. The situation is so out of hand for you guys it's hard not to land at an extreme point of view. But I think that if you look a little closer at your own opinions you'll see that you too can tolerate a few deaths in order to enjoy some freedom.
    Now 30'000 deaths a year isn't a reasonable price to pay for guns, and I can't even begin to understand how so many people are so unwilling to impose reasonable regulation that could reduce this number without really limiting their freedom in any significant degree.

    I also realize that the term "responsible gun owner" can be disingenuous as many gun owners call themselves that without supporting regulation. And I totally agree with you there, being responsible demands support of reasonable legislation.

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

    You might disagree with me in which freedoms are worth a few lives

    I don’t wear rose tinted glasses, but this statement makes me feel nauseated.

  161. says

    But am I wrong? Look around, a lot of our freedoms do put other people in harms way. I’m sorry, but that is life. Just look at the surveillance scandal we’re seeing now, are you denying that this could prevent future crimes? Why is something as intangible as privacy worth more to you than other peoples lives? Yet we do accept some infringements since the benefits outweighs the cost, but at some point almost everybody agrees that some level of freedom are worth the risks.
    Fine, privacy should be considered a basic human right while guns clearly aren’t. But the principle still applies, we all accept that freedom comes at a price. At the moment the price you pay for (virtually) free access to firearms are clearly off the scale, but that doesn’t mean that the only reasonable course of action is a complete ban.

    @ anteprepro: Guns in a household with teens poses some genuine problems. Now again, most kids even in their most rebellious years know better than to mess around with guns unsupervised. But kids do stupid things for stupid reasons, so you must take some steps to limit their access. I don’t know the particulars of these shootings well enough to say if they got their guns at home or how they were stored, but I suspect that a safe with either a code lock or a key kept on your person at all times would suffice.

  162. says

    anteprepro

    It still strikes me as odd to focus on the parents in this though, and infantilizing to think of teens as “children” that expect catastrophe of if they get ahold of weapons.

    Because they’re still fucking responsible. Government regulation and oversight is one thing, but parents still do have a fucking responsibility. One of the horrible German scholshootings was comminted by a teen who had access to his father’s legal gun collection. Which was kept the way everybody says it should. Except for the fact that the teenage son had access to it. The father was convicted of multiple accounts of manslaughter, btw.
    +++
    Oh, fun, we’ve made it to the ever-bullshit car analogy.
    But I think that by now Erlend Meyer has shown sufficiently that he really, really, really doesn’t care. His fun of target shooting (here’s two ideas: 1: airguns 2: bows) is much more important than other peoples’ lives. ‘Cause he’s a responsible gun owner. They all are, right up to the moment when they aren’t, which means it is very sensible to treat all gun-owners as Schrödinger’s gun killer

  163. says

    Most ARE responsible until the day they die. Just as most people don’t get behind the wheel while drunk or drive 100mph through a residential area. And I don’t think it would be any problem coming up with regulation that would get more than 90% of the irresponsible ones without the need for a total ban.
    If you could achieve that I’m pretty confident that most people would quickly loose interest in gun violence and start focusing on other problems.

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Most ARE responsible until the day they die. J

    The problem with dangerous weapons is that ALL have to be responsible. And many are not. Your whining here isn’t solving that problem. You can’t change our minds until ALL gun owners are responsible. Your personal responsibility is meaningless to the real problem. That you can’t/won’t see that, is your blindness to the situation.

  165. Louis says

    Erlend Meyer,*

    The situation is so out of hand for you guys it’s hard not to land at an extreme point of view. But I think that if you look a little closer at your own opinions you’ll see that you too can tolerate a few deaths in order to enjoy some freedom.

    Here in this thing laughably called “The Rest of the World” (we have a flag, it’s the same as the USA’s, just on fire) there are rather a lot of nations that toddle along just lovely thanks without extensive distribution of personal firearms. None of these places have No Problems At All™ (they are infested with humans don’t you know), but they do seem to manage to have vastly fewer murders per capita, vastly fewer school “shootings” (or other spree type killings) and sundry joys than the USA. One (by no means all) of the reasons for this is the “extreme” restriction on personal firearms you’re referencing. It really isn’t that extreme at all.

    Of course there are exciting details and subtleties, but one of the starkest differences in this matter between “Rest of Developed World” and “USA” is generally (not exclusively) access to guns. Of course membership of a society is predicated on “statistically accepted deaths”, some freedoms do indeed rely on deaths (or loss of QALYs), but that does not mean that all such freedoms are a) meaningful or b) unworthy of challenge. Slavery was massively popular a little more than a century and a half ago. We Brits were dead keen on it for ages. Colonialism, another popular {ahem} social movement of centuries past. Societies have (to some finite, but insufficient degree) moved away from these positions precisely because the consequences of them. The freedom to own slaves (FREEDOM!!!!!!) was deemed socially corrosive, horrendously unjust, morally repugnant etc. The consequences of slavery were found to be inimical to a generally free society. Freedom doesn’t just mean freedom for YOU, it means freedom for the maximum number of people in the maximum number of ways. The irony of that goal is that some specific freedoms need to be curtailed to extend the maximum amount of freedom (and freedoms) to the maximum amount of people. The tension between those limits and the desire to interfere in the lives of a nation’s citizens as little as humanly possible is central to all of politics.

    The problem with extensive, comparatively restriction free gun ownership is that the consequences of such a freedom impinge heavily on the freedoms of others. Guns are, generally, completely optional. I’m happy for hunters, farmers, sports people etc to own and use guns, as they do here where it’s necessary. There are umpteen wells to regulate that without preventing free access to those pursuits, without hindering that FREEDOM!!!!!! Store sport guns only in gun clubs for (one very gentle) example. Treat such places as one would a military armoury, i.e. very securely. Last time one of those got burgled was in Grand Theft Auto…

    Cars, a bit less optional. Especially in the fair nation of the USA which is, as I remember from living there, big. Also, restrictions on cars have, across the world, generally been on the increase. Safety features have improved, road deaths have gone down etc. Personally I’d be over the moon to have alco-locks etc. We’ve had seatbelts, air bags, speed limits on motorways (introduced in my parents’ lifetimes) etc. Cars have become SAFER. The only people arguing that they remain “dangerous” have been vested interests and muppets. As far as I’m aware there is no law preventing you from installing a massive spike on your steering wheel anywhere in the world. Want driving to be more dangerous for you? You’re free to make it so.

    You don’t need a gun to go to work, you don’t need a gun to move house or visit Mom And Apple Pie™, guns are tools for specific jobs and specific hobbies. Long may the people who have those jobs and enjoy those hobbies have the freedom to do so. Extensive, relatively restriction free, citizen ownership of guns is not a prerequisite for either of these things. Cars on the other hand are, rightly, wrongly, for good or ill, are a foundational aspect of our societies. Imagine a modern society largely without guns (it’s easy, you can come visit). Imagine a modern society without cars (a tad trickier) or personal transport (tricky).

    So no, your arguments don’t butter the requisite parsnips. And as for “well you accept things that kill people too”, whilst true, you’ll likely find that a) it’s fewer things in most cases, and b) those things that do kill people are things people are generally trying to MINIMISE, not fatalistically accept. Something that springs to mind are the words of Douglas Adams:

    “All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others.”

    Louis

    *I am having trouble taking anyone who is apparently named after a type of conical flask seriously.

  166. says

    Maybe, but are you any less blind to the deaths caused by your favorite freedoms? I still maintain one could save as much as half the people killed in traffic accidents every year by imposing a few common-sense limits on cars without reducing their usefulness. But most won’t have it as they see it as an invasion of their freedom. Same goes for surveillance, most value their privacy more than the safety of others (within reason).

    You see, I live in a place with a fair amount of guns (appr 1/3 of the US), yet we have less than 1/10 firearm homicide rates. And a fair percentage of those are caused by illegal guns that even a complete ban wouldn’t prevent. In fact we are probably the antipode to the US with 90% of gun owners supporting strict regulation. Most gun owners won’t even discuss things like concealed carry or abominations like “stand your ground”, nobody needs or wants that here.
    And most people aren’t worried about gun crimes. Sure more regulations are creeping in every year, but that’s more bureaucracy doing what they’ve always done.

  167. Louis says

    Ah I have assumed you, Erlend, are an American. My mistake it seems. My humblest apologies.

    Louis

  168. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Maybe, but are you any less blind to the deaths caused by your favorite freedoms?

    With freedom comes responsibility. It is the responsibility of gun owners to handle their guns a safe manner, and not endanger anybody else due to their carelessness. That is not the case. Then the “freedom” must be questioned until either it is taken away, or the fuckwits become utterly and totally responsible.
    You should be telling people who carry load M-16s into a restaurant they are stupid fuckwits who don’t deserve to own those weapons if they won’t behave properly. Which means you stop posting your apologetics here, and go to the root of the problem. You won’t do that. Your words are then properly ignored for what they are. You not taking responsibility and trying to solve the root problem.

  169. Nick Gotts says

    But I think that if you look a little closer at your own opinions you’ll see that you too can tolerate a few deaths in order to enjoy some freedom. – Erland Meyer

    Presumably you’re volunteering to be one of those killed – after all, it’s you that’s benefitting from the freedom.

    Maybe, but are you any less blind to the deaths caused by your favorite freedoms? I still maintain one could save as much as half the people killed in traffic accidents every year by imposing a few common-sense limits on cars without reducing their usefulness.

    Actually, road deaths have fallen considerably in Britain as regulations have been tightened, and I would most certainly support further measures. In fact, I hope to live to see driving a motor vehicle on a public road made a criminal offence, once driverless cars are sufficiently reliable. Any other diversionary tactics you have handy?

  170. says

    Nerd: I agree, and perhaps I’m too accustomed to a completely different view on guns to make my views clear sometimes. I do not support those open-carry idiots, it never even occurred to me that anyone could assume that. And I agree that freedom comes with responsibility, and you could argue that most “responsible” owners in fact aren’t as long as they don’t support some common-sense regulations.

    As I said, where I live there is virtually unanimous support for strict control, although there are of course disagreements as to how strict. And most gun owners are extremely diligent in keeping their nose clean as it doesn’t take much to loose ones permit. And I have no problem with that, they really don’t require more than common sense and decency from you.

    Louis: No offense taken, it’s my fault that I didn’t make that clear earlier on.

  171. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And I have no problem with that, they really don’t require more than common sense and decency from you.

    Then why aren’t you out trying to get those things legislated, instead of talking “freedom”, which is a red herring.

    What do you hope to accomplish here with further posts.? Nothing will be accomplished, as you have apologist writ large over your posts. Which is why you are laughed at.

  172. says

    Erlend Meyer

    Most ARE responsible until the day they somebody dies

    FIFY

    Maybe, but are you any less blind to the deaths caused by your favorite freedoms? I still maintain one could save as much as half the people killed in traffic accidents every year by imposing a few common-sense limits on cars without reducing their usefulness.

    And you know what? I would totally be behind them.
    I live in a country that treats speeding with the same religious stupidity as the USA treats guns. Oh, and I will admit that I actually like going at 150 kmh. But you know what? Let’s make cars that can only go at 120 kmh AND that automatically slow down when they detect that you’re too close to the person in front of you and I will be HAPPY.
    Oh, btw, the number of traffic deaths is about 1/10 the number of US gun deaths with having about 1/4 of the population. Yes, with about 90% of the population taking part in traffic every. fucking. day. (BTW, the number for the USA is also about twice as high…)

  173. Anri says

    Enopoletus Harding @ 159:

    -There certainly is “a racial component in the US in discussions of terrorism”; this is mainly because the vast majority of Arabic speakers are Muslim and because many terrorists have been both Muslim and Arab. Also, do you seriously think I can’t recognize a false dichotomy when I see one?

    And many have not.
    One of the major reasons for this is that when a pale-skinned person kills civilians to create fear and panic, it’s not called “terrorism”. It’s “mental illness” or “random violence” or “an isolated incident”.
    ‘Cause he’s white.
    And terrorists are non-white, y’see?
    And if you don’t think that’s the case, what’s the last time you heard David Duke referred to as a “former terrorist leader”?

    It’s othering. It’s grouping people by appearance. It’s bigotry based on perceived race. There’s a specific term for that – can you help me remember it?

  174. says

    Erlend Meyer:
    What are you arguing for?
    Most commenters here favor strong gun legislation. If you’re not opposed to that, WTF is your point?

    And please stop the fucking stupid gun/car analogy. The primary use of a gun is for death and destruction. The primary use for cars is transportation. In US, transportation is essential to everyday life. Causing death and destruction is not-and I hope it will never be. There’s no comparison. Also, if you’re so in favor of strong regulation, what is your point? You’re spewing the same kind of gun apologetics as the gundamentalists, yet you claim to be in favor of strong gun control.

  175. David Marjanović says

    Why aren’t cars limited to <100mph? We have the technology. We could require all cars to have alco-locks to prevent drunk drivers, we could drop the speed limit and regulate unnecessary driving. There are a thousand things we could do to prevent countless of meaningless deaths, yet we don’t. Why?

    Intellectual inertia. Politicians in particular haven’t thought of these things.

    The way to prevent unnecessary driving, BTW, is to make it unnecessary in the first place. There are whole states in the USA that cannot be reached by train – excuse me while I punch a hole in the desk or my frontal sinus, whichever gives in first.

    The one place where speed limits are considered an issue of personal freedom is Germany, where some highways still don’t have speed limits (and some of the accidents are truly spectacular). It’s every bit as irrational as the US obsession with guns as personal freedom; it kills a lot fewer people, though.

    you are laughed at

    Nerd, you just love to speak for other people, don’t you?

  176. says

    Anri is right, it’s simple racism. I see the same when it comes to “honor” killings. If the perpetrator is dark skinned (and especially Muslim-looking) it’s religious honor kills, if the perpetrator is white it’s called a “family tragedy”. Go figure.

    Nerd: I can’t do much about what happens in the US. All I’m trying to point out is that a sensible approach to the problem can make a huge difference, and I would think that striving for a reasonable compromise would be the most effective approach. I don’t see anything useful coming out of a debate this polarized.

  177. David Marjanović says

    Let’s make cars that can only go at 120 kmh AND that automatically slow down when they detect that you’re too close to the person in front of you

    That reminds me.

    In one of my driving lessons, we we treated to the story of someone who stepped on the brakes and came to a dead stop in the middle of a highway. There was thick fog, she couldn’t see, so she couldn’t drive and stopped.

    A whole series of cars crashed into her/each other from behind.

    In the ensuing lawsuit, she got away free. All of the others were deemed to have part of the responsibility.

    She had done the right thing: she couldn’t drive, so she didn’t drive. The others had done the wrong thing: they should have kept more distance to the cars in front of them, but they didn’t.

    Making the keeping of enough distance automatic would save a lot of lives.

  178. Louis says

    David,

    The one place where speed limits are considered an issue of personal freedom is Germany, where some highways still don’t have speed limits (and some of the accidents are truly spectacular). It’s every bit as irrational as the US obsession with guns as personal freedom; it kills a lot fewer people, though.

    Despite my best efforts as an Englishman.

    Link to obligatory Rowan Atkinson Sketch

    Louis

  179. Louis says

    Oh the above link should come with a warning for early eighties satirical nationalist/racist bigotry. I think it’s genuinely Swiftian, but others’ mileage (heh) may differ.

    Louis

  180. says

    David

    The one place where speed limits are considered an issue of personal freedom is Germany, where some highways still don’t have speed limits (and some of the accidents are truly spectacular). It’s every bit as irrational as the US obsession with guns as personal freedom; it kills a lot fewer people, though.

    As noted above, we still only have half the traffic death per million as the USA. Not that I disagree with you the least about the obsession of some parts of the German population with speed.

  181. says

    Erlend Meyer:

    I don’t see anything useful coming out of a debate this polarized.

    As anteprepro pointed out @126:

    The debate: between somewhat strict regulation and absolute non-regulation. Not between absolute gun bans and somewhat strict regulation.

    Why is it polarized? One side refuses to budge-they want no further regulation on guns. They continually refuse to acknowledge gun violence in the US. *And* they continue to whinge about “they want to take our guns”, when that’s not what the regulation side is saying (and yes, there are some people who would like to eliminate guns completely or eliminate the 2nd Amendment-for all that I’m fine with both, we’ll see W and Cheney admit to being war criminals before that happens, so it’s not a concern).
    There’s not a lot of rationality coming from the ra ra ra pro gun/no regulation side. The arguments are based on “It’s my right”, or “I like to hunt” or “I need a gun for protection” (this last one falls down when one looks at statistics). In the face of the high levels of gun violence in society, those are not effective arguments.

  182. says

    Tony: My initial argument was that guns aren’t the underlying cause of these tragedies. As far as I can tell the number of US households with guns has remained fairly stationary for the last 40 years, so guns have always been readily available. So there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between guns and the increase we’re seeing in school shootings. So what the hell is wrong? I really don’t like this development, and I don’t think banning guns will remove this incomprehensible hatred so many people are harboring. Don’t forget that McVeigh killed 168 people without firing a single shot. And if Breivik had chosen another target for his bomb (or used all of the 4 tonnes of fertilizer he had in his possession) the death tolls could have been much, much higher. And that scares the shit out of me, for it’s not like we can eliminate fertilizers or the knowledge of how to make explosives out of them from society.

    I never tried to argue against gun control, I’ve only tried to maintain some sort of middle ground on the issue. So talk all you like about gun control, but don’t forget the hatred behind the gun.

  183. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    All I’m trying to point out is that a sensible approach to the problem can make a huge difference, and I would think that striving for a reasonable compromise would be the most effective approach. I don’t see anything useful coming out of a debate this polarized.

    You think you are sensible, but the whole gun debate is an emotional mess. Take your Vulcan approach and shove it where the sun don’t shine. That is the “debate” here in the US. Your approach is so much wacky-backy dreaming.

  184. ledasmom says

    Louis @ 183:

    . . .we have a flag, it’s the same as the USA’s, just on fire

    Words cannot express my appreciation of this. You will simply have to imagine the sound of repeated giggling.

  185. says

    Erlend Meyer:

    I really don’t like this development, and I don’t think banning guns will remove this incomprehensible hatred so many people are harboring.

    Where is this coming from? Who is advocating this as a serious idea?

    As I’ve pointed out (others have too), this is not something that is at all likely to happen. A few people expressing a preference for eliminating guns does not mean it’s going to happen. It’s not an idea with any strong political backing, so whining about people saying this is pointless.
    The debate is between stronger gun legislation and at the very least no further regulation (and in some cases, *less* regulation).
    It’s a red herring to keep whining about people wanting to get rid of guns. You’re muddying up the conversation each time you complain about it.

    I never tried to argue against gun control, I’ve only tried to maintain some sort of middle ground on the issue.

    Then why are you employing gun apologetics, which so often come from the side advocating NO further regulation? You’re arguing against people who want stronger legislation.
    *And* now you act as if some sort of middle ground is the most reasonable position to take. If the US wasn’t knee deep in gun violence that results in thousands of people dying every year, a middle ground position might be reasonable. When people are dying, I don’t give two shits about someone’s hobby, or their 2nd Amendment rights. Why should I, unless I value people’s lives as much as I value the right to own a gun?
    And I don’t. I
    think human life is more valuable than anyone’s right to own a gun (again, I’ll remind you-even though I’d be happy to repeal the 2nd Amendment, it’s not going to happen, so I don’t advocate for it. I do advocate for stricter gun control.)

  186. Louis says

    Ledasmon, #202,

    It’s not mine, tragically. It comes from Rob Newman. I think it’s in this video. If it isn’t, it’s well worth watching anyway. It’s in one of his videos (probably Apocalypso Now)!

    Louis

  187. says

    I think human life is more valuable than anyone’s right to own a gun

    Problem is that all your opponents will interpret that as “I’m coming for all your guns”, and side with the wingnuts. I suspect that many would be fine with some regulation but fear it’s a slippery slope that can only result in a complete ban.

  188. says

    Erlend Meyer:

    Problem is that all your opponents will interpret that as “I’m coming for all your guns”, and side with the wingnuts. I suspect that many would be fine with some regulation but fear it’s a slippery slope that can only result in a complete ban.

    I aware that that’s what they’re whining about. As Nerd said @201, it’s an emotional mess. There is no serious legislation being proposed to take guns away from law abiding citizens. Nor is there serious legislation being proposed to repeal the 2nd Amendment. All the whining in the world from gundamentalists doesn’t change that. They’re not engaging with evidence or actual arguments being made. They’re fighting the world’s biggest straw man. And in the process, allowing no headway in attempts to curb gun violence.
    Fears of a slippery slope are completely misplaced. The social and political climate in this country does *not* support a ban on guns.

  189. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Erland Meyer:

    But I think that if you look a little closer at your own opinions you’ll see that you too can tolerate a few deaths in order to enjoy some freedom.

    I’m reminded of a quote from Schrek!:

    Some of you may die, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take.

    I’ve only tried to maintain some sort of middle ground on the issue.

    The people in the US asking for strict regulation of fire arms AREM the middle ground. The opposite extreme are those (very few) who want to ban all handguns or fire arms. Not only is the pro-regulation stance the middle ground between banning and what we have in many states now, but it is the stance of most in the United States.

  190. says

    But the NRA have convinced gun owners of the opposite, and irate screaming isn’t going to help. Think about it, we are basically in agreement about what needs to be done, and yet we can’t seem to find any common ground. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

  191. Nick Gotts says

    Erlend Meyer,

    I think human life is more valuable than anyone’s right to own a gun

    Problem is that all your opponents will interpret that as “I’m coming for all your guns”, and side with the wingnuts

    IOW, all our opponents – including you – think their right to own a gun is more important than anyone’s life.

    irate screaming isn’t going to help

    Why not? That’s exactly the tactic the right has been successfully using over the past few decades. Moreover, if you’re not irate about the number of people being murdered by American gun fetishists, there’s something badly wrong with your moral compass.

  192. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    er, sorry for the errant ‘M’ in my 207.

    and irate screaming isn’t going to help.

    I don’t think you are familiar with the current state of political discourse in the US.

    Centrist Politician says: “Why don’t we pass a law restricting the magazine capacity of semi-automatic weapons? Here’s how it would work . . . .”

    NRA-Supported Politician: “You commie-NAZI pinko liberal! How dare you try to take away my god-given right to possess, and use, any fire arm to protect myself from all those liberal Muslim terrorists!”

    CP: “Er, no. This would only limit the magazine capacity . . . .”

    NRASP: “All real Americans, stand up against the tyranny of CP! The Founding Fathers put the 2nd Amendment in the Constitution to limit the power of government! Time for a 2nd Amendment solution to politicians like CP”

    Etc.

    There is a shitload of irate screaming going on. And it is not from those in the middle ground who support gun control legislation.

    Think about it, we are basically in agreement about what needs to be done, and yet we can’t seem to find any common ground. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

    You claim that the middle ground is between no limits and some limits. So what does that tell me?

  193. anteprepro says

    Think about it, we are basically in agreement about what needs to be done, and yet we can’t seem to find any common ground. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

    That are an idiot who doesn’t actually pay attention to what we are actually saying? Or that you are being willfully dishonest about your actual stance, shifting it in order to cause confusion, so that you are able to both pretend that we are On The Same Side while also being the same obstructionist asshat you were when you barged in here?

  194. says

    Erlend Meyer:

    Think about it, we are basically in agreement about what needs to be done, and yet we can’t seem to find any common ground. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

    It tells me that you’re not engaging with the facts or the argument at hand. Your arguments are the ones employed by gundamentalists. You continue arguing *against* gun control advocates.

    I don’t know why *you* can’t find common ground with people advocating stricter gun control (unless you don’t truly advocate for stricter gun control). I think there are issues *you* need to sort out about your opinions on owning guns.

    My ideas of gun control:
    • I support eliminating the gun show loopholes
    • psychological testing prior to owning a gun
    • a national database to track the sale of guns
    • a waiting period before acquiring guns,
    • ending Stand Your Ground laws
    • ending concealed carry laws
    • requiring people to be fully trained in the use of firearms
    • limiting the type of firearms available for ownership (no more owning an AR-15)
    • limiting the amount of ammunition one can own
    • periodic testing of gun owners to ensure their training is sufficient

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Erlend Meyer, you are talking to the wrong people. Take your case for your “middle ground” to those who advocate any gun, any ammo, any size magazine, anywhere, anytime, and fuck the safety rules and collateral deaths. You don’t find those people here.

    Three questions you should ask yourself:
    What did I hope to accomplish when I first posted here?
    How well has that gone?
    If I’m getting nowhere, why am I unnecessarily bother folks with my gun apologetics?

  196. A. Noyd says

    Erlend Meyer (#208)

    Think about it, we are basically in agreement about what needs to be done, and yet we can’t seem to find any common ground. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

    Yeah, it tells me that it’s pointless to try to have a productive conversation with a dedicated contrarian like yourself who, no matter what others are actually saying or how they’re saying it, puffs himself up by pretending he’s infinitely more rational than everyone else.

    The problem ain’t us, asshole.

  197. Louis says

    Holy banana bagging buffoonery, Batman! Has the fallacy of the golden mean ever been so disingenuously applied?

    Tone trolling for guns. Classy.

    Louis

  198. says

    What did I hope to accomplish when I first posted here?

    To point out that guns have a role in gun violence, but they aren’t the cause of gun violence. The people here clearly don’t understand that, so EM felt the need to let the little people know the truth.

    How well has that gone?

    Not well. It was abandoned early on. Instead, EM decided to go with false equivalencies-“gun violence is a big problem, but so are other forms of in-school violence”.
    The latter was a claim xe made @68 with no citation. Unfortunately for EM, xe didn’t include a citation to back up that assertion so commenters dismissed it.
    EM also failed to realize that compared to mass killings with guns, the US doesn’t have a problem with mass stabbings.

    Since 1901, there have been only seven mass stabbings in a public place in the USA where four or more victims were killed, said Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written about mass murders. Most mass killings are carried out with firearms, he said.

    “Mass stabbings are exceptionally rare,” Duwe said. “Guns, or explosives, are generally more effective at killing large numbers of victims.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/09/knife-attacks-lone-star-college/2069347/

    I realize that using explosives takes quite a bit more planning that using a gun. Guns make it easier to kill people and it’s incredibly easy to get a gun in the US. Erlend Meyer doesn’t seem to realize these things.
    Additionally, EM doesn’t realize that the gun violence in the US is not limited to schools. When discussing gun violence, that includes all violent activities involving firearms (like the terrorist actions of the couple in Vegas or Elliot Rodger’s rampage).

    If I’m getting nowhere, why am I unnecessarily bother folks with my gun apologetics?

    Good question. EM should have realized by now that the people here are in favor of stricter gun control laws to help reduce the number of people losing their lives to gun violence. I don’t know why EM opposes that. Nor do I know why EM keeps going on about slippery slopes and “they’re going to take our guns” when that’s not being proposed.

  199. says

    Tony: I don’t oppose gun control, stop making me into your straw man. I just think there is more to this than guns, and I really like to understand what the hell is going on. I’m one of those that instinctively jump to the insanity-explanation simply because I cannot fathom wanting to kill other people like that.
    If it’s not rock music, video games or D&D, what the hell is it? There must be something that can be done about these ticking time bombs?

  200. Louis says

    I’m one of those that instinctively jump to the insanity-explanation simply because I cannot fathom wanting to kill other people like that.

    Just when I thought there was no face left to palm…

    Louis

  201. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    EM:

    I’m one of those that instinctively jump to the insanity-explanation simply because I cannot fathom wanting to kill other people like that.
    If it’s not rock music, video games or D&D, what the hell is it? There must be something that can be done about these ticking time bombs?

    Something.

    Hmm.

    Like toxic masculinity that artificially restricts who a man can be?

    Like patriarchy that views women and children as possessions, not as people?

    Like demonizing anyone who is poor, brown, or speaks a different language?

    Like worshiping and fetishizing guns, and the military, to the point that owning, and using, a gun shows that a male is an acceptable blue-blooded true American Man?

    Like the idea that violence is always the solution to any problem (well, violence or cutting taxes for the rich)?

    A government that says torture is a war crime unless we do it and then it is okay?

    A government that engages in extrajudicial killings of what are, by the international rules of war codified in treaties that the US is a signatory to, non-combatants entitled to trial before execution?

    Like institionalized misogyny? Deliberate defunding and sabotage of public education? Hoarding wealth? Destruction of mental health infrastructure? An entire political party that fully supports white nationalist terrorism?

    Shall I keep going? All of these are problems in the United States. All of them have contributed in one way or another to the dehumanization of men who do not measure up to the patriarchal standards. All of them have contributed to most of the mass killings in the United States. And all of them can, to a degree, be combated through education, socialization, economic justice, gender justice, and embracing human rights for all.

  202. says

    Erlend Meyer @217:
    I characterize you in that way bc you’ve stood in opposition to the rest of us advocating for gun control and you’ve used the tactics of gundamentalists. You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. So no, I don’t believe that you support gun control. Stop spouting right wing, NRA rhetoric and then I might believe you.

    I’m one of those that instinctively jump to the insanity-explanation simply because I cannot fathom wanting to kill other people like that.

    In addition to not knowing the mental state of any of the mass killers (seriously, unless you are a qualified mental health professional who had one of these people as their client, you don’t know), you can’t diagnose someone on the internet (living *or* dead), and you cause splash damage to people suffering from mental illnesses. Furthermore, in addition, you’ve presented no proof that having a mental illness leads a person to committing violent acts.
    No one has said “guns cause gun violence”. Guns are a huge factor in gun violence, and one that is vehemently opposed in the US. The fetishization of guns, as well as violence in general is a big factor too. So is toxic masculinity. Guess what? Speaking up about toxic masculinity is another way to counter gun culture.

  203. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    And I forgot institutionalized racism and sexism. Sorry.

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

    Meh, looks like someone is deliberately pressing all the sore spots.

  205. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Erlend Meyer,
    How much time have you spent around the mentally ill? When I was in Grad School, I lived in Boulder, CO. Boulder had a long tradition of tolerance to odd behavior as well as generous and forward looking treatment of the mentally ill. The woman who lived 2 doors down was schizophrenic. And there was a local restaurant where some of the local “crazies” congregated on Sunday for brunch. These guys were not threatening. Some were quite interesting. Some were a little freaky to talk to, but almost none of them posed a threat.

    By hypothesizing that every violent thug is mentally ill, you are stigmatizing the mentally ill even as you oversimplify the problem. Maybe if you had the courage to investigate this problem in detail you might actually learn something beyond stock answers and platitudes.

  206. says

    Tony: I wasn’t being clear enough, I get that insanity is just a convenient way of distancing one self from the real problem. As for being in opposition, I guess I react a certain way when people try to equate gun possession with being a homicidal maniac. I have always been diligent when it comes to my guns, I know very well just how dangerous they can be in the wrong hands. So I am easily offended when anyone claims otherwise. Just as I abhor the “guns are made for killing”-argument, where I come from gun owners don’t think that way. We really don’t. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s the truth.
    I may have inadvertently given the impression that I’m against gun control simply because I take it for granted. Even though I sometimes get fed up with the red tape and nitpicking I would never want guns to be free, far from it.

    Ogvorbis: Please go on. I think you are right in that these perpetrators are at least partly victims (not that I excuse their actions in any way) of a society that worships an ideal that few can live up to. And it breaks my heart to think of all those that fall through the cracks (until they start killing that is, then my sympathy is reserved for the victims).

  207. says

    Again, I know mental illness isn’t the explanation. It just so “insane” if you get my drift. Just thinking of these acts make me sick to my stomach, how anybody can actually want to do something like that is just incomprehensible. Ergo they must be insane, even though I know they aren’t.

  208. says

    Erlend Meyer:

    As for being in opposition, I guess I react a certain way when people try to equate gun possession with being a homicidal maniac.

    Which is bizarre since I don’t recall seeing anyone do any such thing in this thread. If that was your reason, then why the gun apologetics back in your first comment?
    And yes, it is naive to think guns are not made for killing. As I’ve said, that’s their primary purpose (humans *and* animals). A secondary purpose is destroying things.
    Death and destruction.

  209. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    I think I understand your problem.

    You’re using “insane” as a pseudonym for “abnormal and incomprehensible”.

    That’s not what it means.

  210. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    . So I am easily offended when anyone claims otherwise. Just as I abhor the “guns are made for killing”-argument, where I come from gun owners don’t think that way. We really don’t. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s the truth.

    Why are you lying to yourself, and think that your unrealistic thinking impresses us? It doesn’t. Looked at it charitably, it shows naivety. As an old cynic, all I see is self-delusion.

  211. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As for being in opposition, I guess I react a certain way when people try to equate gun possession with being a homicidal maniac.

    Why do gun nuts always make this lie? And it is a proven lie, as you can check our posts and see nobody makes that claim. But it is bread and butter for the paranoid gun nuts who use hyperbole like that to ridicule the opposition rather than facts and statistics to show evidence the world is really safer by them owning more firepower than necessary for the job.

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

    “guns are made for killing”

    They are.
    Literally.

  213. says

    Thumper: I agree, and I suspect that I’m not the only one. Just consider Breivik and all the controversy around his mental health. I mean, how can any sane person do a thing like that? That’s probably what scares me the most, and why it’s so easy to label such individuals as insane.

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

    To quote this brilliant bit by anteprepro:

    It’s more like being a collector of golf clubs and finding it alien to actually use them in a game of golf. Or having a car collection and being baffled by the idea of someone driving one of them.

  215. anteprepro says

    Erlend Meyer 217:

    Tony: I don’t oppose gun control, stop making me into your straw man.

    Irony.

    I just think there is more to this than guns,

    Great work, detective. Speaking of straw man. Just a fucking sentence ago.

    I’m one of those that instinctively jump to the insanity-explanation simply because I cannot fathom wanting to kill other people like that.

    Congratulations. Your instinct and incredulity aren’t worth jack shit. Your ignorance of how other people think proves nothing. Sometimes, you can’t generalize the rest of world based on your own individual thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Get that?

    224:

    I guess I react a certain way when people try to equate gun possession with being a homicidal maniac.

    Straw man again. By god, you are fucking sleazy and/or fucking dense.

    I have always been diligent when it comes to my guns, I know very well just how dangerous they can be in the wrong hands.

    Noone. Gives. A. Shit.

    So I am easily offended when anyone claims otherwise.

    So basically you are flailing at phantoms and having a large “look at me” style of tantrum because your Gun Fee-Fees are getting hurt by, what, PZ daring to insinuate that guns are involved in mass shootings? Tears of a fucking clown.

    Just as I abhor the “guns are made for killing”-argument, where I come from gun owners don’t think that way.

    Think however you want, it doesn’t change the fact that guns are weapons, you fuckwit.

    I may have inadvertently given the impression that I’m against gun control simply because I take it for granted.

    Maybe you gave the impression that you are against gun control because you threw a knee-jerk fit in defense of The Holy Gun, in a thread about a school shooting? Maybe you gave that impression because you seem to overly emotionally attached to your status as Gun Owner? Maybe you gave the impression that you are an apologist for guns because you acted exactly like one?.

    225:

    It just so “insane” if you get my drift. Just thinking of these acts make me sick to my stomach, how anybody can actually want to do something like that is just incomprehensible. Ergo they must be insane, even though I know they aren’t.

    It all comes down to You, doesn’t it? I might suggest actually trying to break out of your bubble and try to understand how other people that aren’t you think and feel and act. Maybe then you wouldn’t think “insane” is simply a word for something you wouldn’t see yourself doing.

  216. says

    I see that point, but does it really matter? What if the Wright-brothers was funded by the military, would air travel somehow be wrong? I know how dangerous guns can be in the wrong hands, but that doesn’t make them evil. Just dangerous, and should of course be treated as such.
    My view on guns would be the same even if they were invented and solely intended for sporting purposes. Anything with that potential for damage must be well regulated. But it should be possible for responsible people to own them as long as they can be used for safe and peaceful purposes.

  217. anteprepro says

    Thanks Beatrice. Glad I’m not the only one who gets an eyebrow raised whenever a gun polisher insists that guns aren’t for made to kill or whatever. They even get me to doubt. Make me think I am missing something. Because they rely on the principle: “Repeat something a thousand times and it is the truth”. I know its bullshit, but every fucking gunpologist chimes it out, so the repetition just inherently makes you wonder “do they actually have a point”? “Do they actually know something I don’t know”? Sophisticated Gunology? But, nope, it gets clearer every time too: they are just talking straight out of their ass. Just a trite talking point regurgitated without thought, as an emotional defense of what they view to be their personal lifestyle. Nothing more.

  218. anteprepro says

    Erlend Meyer, what is the actual point of even owning gun unless you are using it for its dangerous functions? The danger is a feature, not a bug. The danger is a consequence of its entire purpose. The purpose is to kill. Its alternative uses are equally dangerous entirely because it is designed to kill. It is not airplane or car, that accidentally kills if you fail at its primary purpose: transportation.

    A gun is dangerous in every hand, you fuckwit. You only know what a “bad hand” is until after the fact. Again, No True Scotsman. You aren’t paying attention to what we are actually saying, Erlend. You clearly have an agenda, Erlend. We see what you are doing, Erlend. We can tell you are bullshitting us. You are not hiding it well.

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

    What if the Wright-brothers was funded by the military, would air travel somehow be wrong?

    *blink*

    That’s so stupid I can’t even. … Were pools mentioned yet?
    I think that’s the only analogy that’s missing, and with all the stupid floating around it still makes more sense than the above.

  220. anteprepro says

    Beatrice

    Were pools mentioned yet?

    Also: bears.

    Pool bears on an aeroplane in a lightning storm. Therefore, guns.

  221. says

    Erlend Meyer:

    My view on guns would be the same even if they were invented and solely intended for sporting purposes.

    But they weren’t.
    Guns were invented to make killing human beings a more efficient task. They continue to be used overwhelmingly for that purpose (see school shootings, “revolutionary” domestic terrorists, the military of every government on the planet, misogynistic assholes who kill their wives/girlfriends, people who want to commit suicide, Stand Your Ground fuckers like Zimmerman, terrorists, and so, so many more). When they’re not being used to kill people, they’re being used to kill animals or cause destruction.
    It’s death, death, death all the way down, with a dash of destruction.
    I don’t think we’d be having this discussion if guns were only used in activities that did not result in the death of living beings.

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

    Bad analogies don’t annoy me, people using bad analogies annoy me.

  223. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I know how dangerous guns can be in the wrong hands, but that doesn’t make them evil.

    More gun-nut hyperbole. Nobody is saying guns are evil. The uses some people put guns to is evil, but not the gun itself. But it is a tool for evil, so it gets a little backsplash.

    My view on guns would be the same even if they were invented and solely intended for sporting purposes.

    You act like we give a shit about your view inane view. You ARE apologizing for the unsafe use of guns, by not going to the source of the unsafe uses and chastising them. Which is why we don’t bother with your views. You are showing classical gun-nut hyperbole, and expecting to be listened to as a voice of reason. *snicker* You lost the voice of reason when you sounded like a gun-nut. All you can do now, is the fade into the bandwidth. Your cover was blown many posts ago.

  224. anteprepro says

    And Erlend Meyer’s pretending that our concern with the purpose of guns is just some semantic debate about the origins of guns…gah. More fucking word games. No, it doesn’t have to do with guns were historically invented for. It has to be what they are currently still being made for. And what people buy them for.

    Do you know why people buy guns, you fucking sophist?

    Here, welcome to America. Again. I’m sure you won’t pay attention to this either, but anyway:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1645/guns.aspx

    Open Ended Question: What are some of the reasons you own guns?

    -Personal safety/Protection: 60%
    -Hunting: 36/%
    -Recreation 13%
    -Target Shooting 8%
    -Second Amendment Right 5%
    -Like Guns 5%
    -Antique 5%
    -Tradition 4%
    -Work 3%
    -Animal Control 1%
    -Collector 1%
    -Other 1%
    -No reason 3%

    So why do people have guns? To kill people if they need to, to kill animals for fun and/or profit, and for no real good reason in particular. Quit the fucking bullshit. We know what guns are for. We know we most people have them. You aren’t going somehow fool us into forgetting that.

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

    Beatrice, #241:

    You have won ALL THE INTERNETS!!!

  226. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Tony! @245:

    Any idea what the difference is between recreation and target shooting?

    Target shooting is going out and shooting holes in something.

    Recreational shooting is enjoying it.

  227. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    EM:

    I think you are right in that these perpetrators are at least partly victims (not that I excuse their actions in any way) of a society that worships an ideal that few can live up to.

    erm, no. I was pointing out that US society actively encourages the use of violence as a solution to multiple problems. Therefore, what mass shooters is unusual, but not, in the context of early 21st century US culture, not off the end of the bell curve. Not even at the end of the bell curve.

  228. anteprepro says

    Tony: The category name was recreational/sports shooting. I’m guessing it is basically shooting competitions or what not, and target shooting would be a subset of recreational shooting, but I’m not quite sure.

  229. Julie says

    Erlend Meyer,

    … “guns are made for killing”-argument, where I come from gun owners don’t think that way. We really don’t. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s the truth”.

    I’d like to move to your utopia of peace where guns are not primarily for killing.
    I guess if you want to be silly you might get away with saying this if you didn’t buy bullets but even then you haven’t changed what the gun actually is-a weapon, made for killing ‘things’, you’ve just made your particular gun unable to be used to kill ‘things’. This is the actual truth and you can’t change it.
    Don’t you think that what you choose to do with your gun at any given time only says something about you not about the actual weapon.
    I am surprised that we are now discussing what guns are.

  230. Louis says

    Tony, #245,

    Any idea what the difference is between recreation and target shooting?

    Isn’t it like the difference between “kinky” and “perverted”? One uses a feather, the other the whole chicken…

    …I’ve mixed my metaphors up somewhere, but DAMN that is a party I want to go to.

    Louis

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

    @Julie:
    Thanks for bringing Erlend Meyer’s comment:

    “guns are made for killing”-argument, where I come from gun owners don’t think that way. We really don’t. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s the truth”.

    Of course they don’t. When they say that they want one for home and personal protection against horribly homicidal, PCP-deranged, home-invading terrorists, they are merely thinking that they could fill the barrels with cotton candy and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, then toss them on the ground like a golden apple, allowing them to run away to safety and call the police to collect the now satisfied, immobile, and sticky thug from the middle of the gun-owner’s entryway.

    Hunter’s use the things the same way: they fill the barrels with bear food, which the bear has a very hard time removing, given its thick tongue, then sneak up on the bear, jump on its back, and administer a sleeper hold. Pics are taken before the bear regains consciousness, and the polite hunter spills the bear food out of the gun as a reward to the bear for its kind acquiescence to anoxia…and also maybe to chum the waters a bit, eh?

    Yes, yes, those 60% of gun owners that talk about “personal protection” and 36% who buy them for hunting, I’m quite certain that none of them think of guns as something designed to kill.

    Thank you for making this important point, Erlend. Without it we would be left with surmises about gun owners’ minds that would hardly be believed.

  232. anteprepro says

    A Sampling of True Gunowners:

    “What? You thought I planned to kill home invaders with my gun? You got me all wrong! I just tie a rope to the doorknob, and tie the other end to the gun’s trigger! It’s my alarm system!”

    “Oh garsh, you think I kill things with a gun by hunting? No, you see, the loud noise of the gun just makes deer and other tasty animals shit themselves to death!”

    “Yes, guns are dangerous, but I use them entirely recreationally! You should totally try playing a game of Gun Lacrosse sometime. It would blow your mind.”

    “What, I would never shoot a person! I just shoot human shaped targets! It’s like a video game, with a very dangerous console! But it’s fine, because I am Responsible!”

    “Why do I have a gun? Well, it ain’t illegal. What’s it to you? Why you are askin’ all these questions? You best get off my property now.”

    “Oh, of course I don’t use the guns. I just like having them. And polishing them. Oh so shiny. Oh so very very shiny. What, of course they still work? Why wouldn’t they?”

    “Oh yes, I have several guns. But they are all antiques. Yeah. My house is like a museum. I swear. Totally. Just for show. Nothing to see here.”

    “It’s my grandpop’s gun! Don’t take away my grandpop’s gun! It’s a memento! It’s the only family I got left! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

    “Yeah, I’m a cop. What? Yeah, I guess after talking to people like that you might come to expect the stranger side of things”

    “Yes, I have a gun. Need to kill the various varmints and pests around here. Oh so many filthy, filthy animals. Filthy animals, feeding, breeding, spreading their disease. Ruining the American way of life! Ummm…yeah…rats. Just rats.”

    “Some people collect stamps. Some people collect cards. I collect functioning military equipment. Because freedom.” *begins singing Star-Spangled Banner*

    “What, well, I have a gun, technically. Emergency prosthetic. Doctor had to improvise. Gotta tell you, it looks weird, but I can pull off a hell of a jump if I can manage to yank the trigger at the right time”

    “Wait, we are supposed to have a reason to have a gun? I just thought that everyone was doing it, so I got one. What?”

  233. anteprepro says

    Tony!: Heh, quite possibly. But I suppose that would probably overlap with “I just like guns” and “We’ve always owned guns”. I wonder how many men would explicitly state “Manliness” as their reason for having a gun. It seems like it underlies the decision, but it isn’t the reason for the decision itself.

  234. A. Noyd says

    I think target shooting is shooting at particular targets, with bulls-eyes and scoring and shit. Recreation is shooting at whatever takes one’s fancy at any given moment: illegally dumped couches, tree branches, incautious squirrels, hillsides, mile markers and deer-xing signs, etc.

  235. says

    @ Anri #191

    And many have not.
    One of the major reasons for this is that when a pale-skinned person kills civilians to create fear and panic, it’s not called “terrorism”. It’s “mental illness” or “random violence” or “an isolated incident”.
    ‘Cause he’s white.

    -Fuck it. Did you read my first comment here? I pointed out two white Muslim mass-murderer wannabes. Nobody denied their terrorist intentions. Religion is not race. How many times does Dawkins have to say that?

  236. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nobody denied their terrorist intentions. Religion is not race. How many times does Dawkins have to say that?

    Technically it is only bigotry, but bigotry is one definition of racism. Get over your pedantic fuckwittery.

  237. Ichthyic says

    Religion is not race. How many times does Dawkins have to say that?

    that is parallel to the point people were trying to explain to you.

    instead think: racial profiling.

  238. Ichthyic says

    “guns are made for killing”-argument, where I come from gun owners don’t think that way. We really don’t. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s the truth”.

    have you ever, even for a second, considered that this attitude towards deadly weapons might actually be PART of the cultural problem?

    think about it.

  239. Ichthyic says

    I am surprised that we are now discussing what guns are.

    guns are those things you drop from airplanes to level buildings and blow stuff up, right?

    ;)

  240. Ichthyic says

    And yet we allow anybody to own cars capable of going 200mph without having to demonstrate anything more than the most basic of skills. Heck, you don’t even need a license to own a car.

    dumbest argument, ever.

    not even worth going into why this is so stupid.

  241. Anri says

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop! @ 240:

    What is with people and bad analogies?

    When reality doesn’t support your points…

    – – –

    Enopoletus Harding @256:

    Religion is not race. How many times does Dawkins have to say that?

    Enopoletus Harding @159:

    …vast majority of Arabic speakers are Muslim and because many terrorists have been both Muslim and Arab.

    Oh, well, that’s cleared that up, then. No assumptions based on race here, folks, clearly.

  242. Julie says

    As a Canadian, after passing two safety courses I apparently have the legal ability to buy a handgun, which is a restricted weapon here, assuming I pass the background checks (takes the RCMP 45 day minimum + 28 wait). I actually downloaded the form mainly because I thought it would be fun to apply but it turns out the cost is too much (courses and registration fees no idea the cost of the actual gun) for basically a fun exercise. I was actually hoping they asked why you wanted a gun and I was totally going to put down ‘Gibbs uses and SIG-Sauer P228 (I had to look that up)in NCIS and he is so hot’! I wanted to know if they would grant the license for such a silly reason. Sadly they don’t ask. :(
    I have to wonder if “I look so cool and edgy” (especially the ones wandering around fast food restaurants with ar-15 strapped to their backs) is in actuality the real reason many people south of the border get guns in the first place?

  243. says

    @265 Anri

    Oh, well, that’s cleared that up, then. No assumptions based on race here, folks, clearly.

    -What the heck are you trying to say?
    @Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- #106

    Sam Harris proposes to use racial profiling against muslim terrorists,

    -Profiling of Muslims, yes, but to my knowledge Harris has never explicitly proposed racial profiling.

  244. caseloweraz says

    @Julie (#266):

    South of the border,
    Down U-S-A way,
    Into a restaurant to get some food
    I strolled one day.
    The waitress she told me
    That I couldn’t stay.
    I was the only one without a gun
    South of the border, down U-S-A way.

  245. says

    Enopoletus:

    -Profiling of Muslims, yes, but to my knowledge Harris has never explicitly proposed racial profiling.

    He thinks you can profile Muslims, but doesn’t offer a method of doing so. Perhaps there’s a way to do that without targeting a specific ethnic group, but I don’t know how. After all, there’s no way to visually determine if someone is Muslim (come to think of it, if you’re operating under certain racial prejudices, then you might just think there’s a way to profile Muslims).

    And yet, he says:

    We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?) But there are people who do not stand a chance of being jihadists, and TSA screeners can know this at a glance.

    “We should profile anyone who looks like he or she could fit the profile of Muslim jihadist”. What does that type of person look like? How can this be obvious at a glance? How can you determine someone’s religion by looking at them?
    I also find it telling that Harris associates Muslims with terrorism when the United States has seen its share of domestic terrorists–and many of them have been white guys. If he’s so worried about letting terrorists get on planes, why isn’t he suggesting the TSA profile white men?

    Moreover, even if I were to accept that there’s no racial component to Harris’ suggestion (and I don’t accept that), he overstates the threat of Islam. There are billions of people who follow Islam. Billions of Muslims. Out of those billions, how many of them are terrorists? The 9/11 attacks were a horrific act of terrorism, but not all Muslims are terrorists. To view Muslims as a possible threat bc of the actions of a tiny number of extremists is bigotry. It’s no different than if one were to profile all white men bc a few white guys have committed acts of terrorism.

    So while religion is not a race, Harris, like many Americans views Muslims as being of the same ethnicity and that is why he thinks you can profile them.

  246. says

    Bruce Schneier criticizes Harris’ profiling suggestion:

    The right way to look at security is in terms of cost-benefit trade-offs. If adding profiling to airport checkpoints allowed us to detect more threats at a lower cost, then we should implement it. If it didn’t, we’d be foolish to do so. Sometimes profiling works. Consider a sheep in a meadow, happily munching on grass. When he spies a wolf, he’s going to judge that individual wolf based on a bunch of assumptions related to the past behavior of its species. In short, that sheep is going to profile…and then run away. This makes perfect sense, and is why evolution produced sheep—and other animals—that react this way. But this sort of profiling doesn’t work with humans at airports, for several reasons.

    First, in the sheep’s case the profile is accurate, in that all wolves are out to eat sheep. Maybe a particular wolf isn’t hungry at the moment, but enough wolves are hungry enough of the time to justify the occasional false alarm. However, it isn’t true that almost all Muslims are out to blow up airplanes. In fact, almost none of them are. Post 9/11, we’ve had 2 Muslim terrorists on U.S airplanes: the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber. If you assume 0.8% (that’s one estimate of the percentage of Muslim Americans) of the 630 million annual airplane fliers are Muslim and triple it to account for others who look Semitic, then the chances any profiled flier will be a Muslim terrorist is 1 in 80 million. Add the 19 9/11 terrorists—arguably a singular event—that number drops to 1 in 8 million. Either way, because the number of actual terrorists is so low, almost everyone selected by the profile will be innocent. This is called the “base rate fallacy,” and dooms any type of broad terrorist profiling, including the TSA’s behavioral profiling.

    Second, sheep can safely ignore animals that don’t look like the few predators they know. On the other hand, to assume that only Arab-appearing people are terrorists is dangerously naive. Muslims are black, white, Asian, and everything else—most Muslims are not Arab. Recent terrorists have been European, Asian, African, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern; male and female; young and old. Underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab was Nigerian. Shoe bomber Richard Reid was British with a Jamaican father. One of the London subway bombers, Germaine Lindsay, was Afro-Caribbean. Dirty bomb suspect Jose Padilla was Hispanic-American. The 2002 Bali terrorists were Indonesian. Both Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber were white Americans. The Chechen terrorists who blew up two Russian planes in 2004 were female. Focusing on a profile increases the risk that TSA agents will miss those who don’t match it.

    Third, wolves can’t deliberately try to evade the profile. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is just a story, but humans are smart and adaptable enough to put the concept into practice. Once the TSA establishes a profile, terrorists will take steps to avoid it. The Chechens deliberately chose female suicide bombers because Russian security was less thorough with women. Al Qaeda has tried to recruit non-Muslims. And terrorists have given bombs to innocent—and innocent-looking—travelers. Randomized secondary screening is more effective, especially since the goal isn’t to catch every plot but to create enough uncertainty that terrorists don’t even try.

    And fourth, sheep don’t care if they offend innocent wolves; the two species are never going to be friends. At airports, though, there is an enormous social and political cost to the millions of false alarms. Beyond the societal harms of deliberately harassing a minority group, singling out Muslims alienates the very people who are in the best position to discover and alert authorities about Muslim plots before the terrorists even get to the airport. This alone is reason enough not to profile.

  247. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Don’t like being called a racist for profiling muslims? How about an Islamophobic religious bigot? (aka, racist) Means the same thing at the end of the day. And you still don’t have any effective method to profile the terrorists….*snicker*

  248. anteprepro says

    Enopoletus Harding

    -Profiling of Muslims, yes, but to my knowledge Harris has never explicitly proposed racial profiling.

    For fuck’s sake. Think for two fucking seconds and it obvious that the very idea of “profiling Muslims” exposes the entire farce of pretending that these people don’t think of Muslims in a racial or ethnic way.

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? Or is it actually accidental, for a change?

  249. anteprepro says

    Can you “profile” a Catholic at an airport? A Protestant? An atheist? Not very fucking easily, no.

    And yet somehow, people can support the arguments that you can profile a Muslim and that “Muslim isn’t a race lulz” without so much as suffering a blink from the sheer doublethink of it.

  250. Anri says

    Enopoletus Harding @ 267:

    What the heck are you trying to say?

    Oddly enough, no-one else in the thread seems confused about what I am saying. Maybe you’re just not all that swuft.
    In any case, I believe I can continue to make my points by merely quoting what you have said and asking follow-up questions, for example:

    Profiling of Muslims, yes, but to my knowledge Harris has never explicitly proposed racial profiling.

    Please indicate how to profile Muslims in a non-racial manner.
    Then demonstrate that profiling of Muslims is equivalent to profiling terrorists.
    Or admit that equating terrorists with Muslims and Muslims with specific visual cues is othering and racism. Your call.