Why Can’t Real Life Be More Like Reservoir Dogs?

The Tucson shootings have produced the predictable results:  as ever when faced with mass murder, deep thinkers like Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, along with armchair warriers from all over are arguing that the solution to gun violence is more guns in the hands of untrained fantasists.

As Tim F. pointed out here several days ago, the story of an almost-wrongful-shooting at the Arizona massacre gave the lie to that nonsense.  Now Timothy Egan writes a really good piece for The New York Times Opinionator blog that drives the  point home.  Here’s a typical bit of Egan intelligence:

Gohmert has enough trouble carrying a coherent thought onto the House floor. God forbid he would try to bring a Glock to work. By his reasoning, the Middle East would be better off if every nation in the region had nuclear weapons.

__

At least two recent studies show that more guns equals more carnage to innocents. One survey by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that guns did not protect those who had them from being shot in an assault — just the opposite. Epidemiologists at Penn looked at hundreds of muggings and assaults. What they found was that those with guns were four times more likely to be shot when confronted by an armed assailant than those without guns. The unarmed person, in other words, is safer.

Other studies have found that states with the highest rates of gun ownership have much greater gun death rates than those where only a small percentage of the population is armed. So, Hawaii, where only 9.7 percent of residents own guns, has the lowest gun death rate in the country, while Louisiana, where 45 percent of the public is armed, has the highest.

Read the whole thing — remembering as Egan writes at the top of his piece, that this is no deranged, Birkenstock-wearing, vegan, never-touched-a-gun liberal facist writing, but rather a lifelong westerner who’s been around guns since he could walk.

__

The key to Egan’s presentation — what it adds to Tim’s discussion — is its deployment of data on the connection between gun ownership and gun tragedies.

When we talk about the role of violent speech in creating the context for actual violence, that’s a fuzzy argument.  I like many here believe the link exists.  But there is no doubt, as has been exhaustively and often dishonestly pointed out, that strict cause and effect doesn’t apply here. So right after the Tucson shootings, I called around a bit to see if expert opinion could add rigor to my gut reaction.  The short answer I got was, sort-of, partly because the control experiment is impossible to run.   Still, I heard, shooters are disturbed but not disorganized to the point of inaction — which makes it is very hard to escape the notion that they are no more immune to context than the rest of us — while possessing a much shorter fuse.

That’s not very satisfying of course, though the prudential logic seems ironclad:  violent rhetoric sure doesn’t reduce the risk of more mayhem, so it should be a no-brainer to tone oneself down, unless, of course, you just don’t have a brain (or a conscience).

But the point here is that there is no such waffling around the gun-gun tragedy link.  The correlations are brutal, literally, and as Egan documents, are present across different ways of measuring the violent consequences of widespread distribution of the tools of violence.

For another look at just such a measurement, check out this rendering of the geography of gun violence from Richard Florida . His conclusion, after a bunch of geolocative number crunching:

Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48).

__

While the causes of individual acts of mass violence always differ, our analysis shows fatal gun violence is less likely to occur in richer states with more post-industrial knowledge economies, higher levels of college graduates, and tighter gun laws. Factors like drug use, stress levels, and mental illness are much less significant than might be assumed.

The bottom line:  concealed carry laws and pressure to expand gun ownership and deployment will most likely lead to more Americans killing each other, with a depressingly likely growth in the number of those killed in error or by the fatal assumption that possession of a gun means that the other guy won’t shoot first, faster, and/or straighter.  (And it won’t matter whether that shooter is bad or merely one more citizen-soldier, lately risen from a couch placed in front of a 24 marathon.)

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I know that in our facts-are-optional/liberally-biased public discourse, none of this data will matter.  But I do think that we ought to keep trying to put a check on folks’ impulse to treat the guns they are going to get no matter what as costume accessories within some fantasy of mastery.*    Are guns the problem? Yes — but only in the context of their possession and use by people who don’t respect that what they have in their hands is a machine that by design delivers deadly force over distance.

So its in that context that I think we should push constantly for an insurance/liability approach to gun ownership. Want a gun? No problem.  But then you ought to be both civilly and criminally responsible for all that flows from your decision to purchase and keep a firearm…and just as you are required in car ownership to carry minimum insurance to cover liabilty, so should you be for your gun(s).

This is long enough, so I won’t pound through the details of what is, after all, hardly an original thought. But the basic idea is clear enough, I think — and certainly if the Right wants market responses to social problems, surely this qualifies.

And in the meantime, move to Hawai’i. (Or Massachusetts! We get snow. We don’t get (many) shooters.)

*I make here a similar disclaimer to Egan’s.  My grandfather and maternal uncle were career gunners, members of the Royal Artillery.  I spent every summer in ranch country, and guns were tools, handled by people who understood the care and use of all such gear.  I fired and enjoyed doing so a range of weapons, from .22 pistols to my high school biology teachers .30-30 rifle.

Images:  Francisco de Goya, Friar Pedro Wrests the Gun from El Maragato, c. 1806

Ilya Yefimovich Repin, Eugene Onegin and Vladimir Lensky’s duel, 1899

189 replies
  1. 1
    geg6 says:

    My sister’s boyfriend lost a son to a gun accident. His son was trained in the use of the weapon and was over 16. They were hunters and spent many a weekend at the firing range with their revolvers. All it took was a careless moment and a cat in his path to trip over and it was all over. Another statistic.

    Needless to say, sister’s boyfriend no longer owns guns.

  2. 2
    Basilisc says:

    Early nominee for post-title of the year.

  3. 3
    Davis X. Machina says:

    We’ve reached the point in this country where I had two immediate thoughts:

    1. Sounds reasonable.

    2. If you think there’s SKREEEEE over the health insurance mandate, in the immortal words of Jimmy Durante, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    The problem is they did not occur to me in that order.

    So basically, we’re boned.

  4. 4
    Cat Lady says:

    Well, Louie Gohmert is the genius who invented “terror babies” for untrained fantasists, also too.

    I’m less and less inclined to leave Massachusetts, but if I had to, I guess I’d suck it up for Hawaii. You don’t have to shovel sunshine, as they say.

    ETA: Another thing to remember: a gun is not just a gun – it’s a pen!s so there’s that whole thing going on. Also.

  5. 5
    NobodySpecial says:

    I make the same point here I make other places.

    Show me some good hard data that a civilian in a shooting situation actually NEEDS more than 15 rounds to protect himself.

    I’ll take even just one example of where someone blew off 29 rounds in a firefight and then finally stopped the bad guy with #30 in his extended mag. One.

    Guess what? It won’t happen. But guys who get their hands on them and start firing off rounds with impunity like Loughner do a hell of a lot more damage with rounds 16 to 31 than have ever been saved with those same rounds by responsible gun owners.

  6. 6
    Tom Levenson says:

    @geg6: Awful.

    That’s the deal with guns: there is no give in a gun for error or carelessness. I can’t tell you how enraged I get (maybe I’ll get there in a different post) at folks who just don’t get the implacability and irreversibility of guns and their consequences.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    First, I think most gun nuts have an inflated sense of their courage and ability. Second, they also think life is a Dirty Harry movie or that they are John Wayne and will run in an save the day. Lastly, they think guns make them safer when in reality guns make them feel safer.

  8. 8
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Tom Levenson: The problem:

    Teenagers think they’re immortal and invulnerable.
    Most people still think they’re teenagers.

    The consequences that flow from this are as predictable as they are dire.

  9. 9
    geg6 says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Yes, no room for error or simple accidents. It’s very sad. And it happens every.single.day.

  10. 10
    JGabriel says:

    NobodySpecial:

    Show me some good hard data that a civilian in a shooting situation actually NEEDS more than 15 rounds to protect himself.

    What if he has to shoot through 15 civilians to get to the serial murderer, huh? Betcha didn’t think of THAT, commie libtard!

    I’ll take even just one example of where someone blew off 29 rounds in a firefight and then finally stopped the bad guy with #30 in his extended mag.

    Oops. Guess you did.

    .

  11. 11
    Basilisc says:

    The right’s love of guns is parallel to the right’s love of torture – in both cases, based not at all on a deep understanding of how the issue works in the real world, but quite a lot on popular culture. For guns, classic western movies (and Dirty Harry); for torture, classic spy movies (and 24).

  12. 12
    NobodySpecial says:

    @JGabriel:

    What if he has to shoot through 15 civilians to get to the serial murderer, huh? Betcha didn’t think of THAT, commie libtard!

    That is true, I forgot we had to destroy the village in order to save it. My bad.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    I’d love to see an insurance/liability approach–and have it be community rated as well. In other words: if you come from a high gun/high violence state, are an alcoholic, have bad credit, etc… your rates will be higher than if you come from a low violence/low gun state, are a registered hunter, have a good record of safety.

    aimai

  14. 14
    Nutella says:

    Guns should be treated like cars: Both machine and operator tested, licensed, and insured. This is so sensible that it will never ever ever happen.

  15. 15
    Svensker says:

    Completely agree. It’s maddening. A week before the Tucson shooting, my wingnut brother gave me the “armed society is a polite society” lecture. He has shut up about that for now.

    Oh, and please make it “armchair warrior”. Kthnxbai

  16. 16
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I think we’re going to have to revisit my blogcommenting series “Solving Every Day Problems with Gun Violence.” Sometimes we forget how magical these metal slingers are.

  17. 17
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @JGabriel: You funny.

    The thing is, the whole “I can take down a punk” meme permeates much of the conservative fantasy. Hell, they are the whatever keyboard brigade, right? They think that by typing tough-guy statements on the internet, they are proving how macho they are. Of course they are going to think that they would save the day in a situation like Tucson. They have an inflated sense of self, as most people do. In addition, the whole rugged individual pull-yerself-up-by-the-bootstrap myth practically begs these guys to think of themselves as heroes.

    Me, I know that I would either freeze up in the situation or try to run like hell (thus, most likely getting shot in the back). I also know that if I had a gun and knew how to shoot it, I probably would just start firing out of panic if I could actually get over my frozen state. In other words, not fucking helpful.

  18. 18
    Culture of Truth says:

    The key to Egan’s presentation—what it adds to Tim’s discussion—is its deployment of data on the connection between gun ownership and gun tragedies.

    Which will mean nothing to the fantasists.

  19. 19
    Pococurante says:

    OT: Next step of the GOP Circus: pretending to fight abortion by linking it to healthcare.

    It’s almost like they have had zero opportunity since 1971 to pass legislation…

  20. 20
    beltane says:

    This is another instance where Hollywood movies and TV shows have caused brain damage in the American public. Perhaps if were subjected to a foreign occupation or other forms of systemic violence, we would be less likely to fall victim to the mystique of the gun.

    The country with the next highest rate of gun ownership after the US is Yemen, a nation not well known for safety or freedom.

  21. 21
    PaulW says:

    a point to make is how the pro-gun group are absolutists: they want ALL their rights of gun ownership or none at all. Reasonable restrictions – safety locks on triggers, keeping guns out of places like churches and schools, background checks at all points of sale including gun shows, restrictions on things like modifier kits and extended gun clips that would turn a defensive weapon into an offensive weapon – are verboten to the likes of the NRA.

    The thing I keep thinking about: the government requires a drivers license and that you take classes and pass exams to get one in order to drive a car. Cars can be just as deadly in the hands of an idiot the same as a gun. The problem? The gun has its own amendment, and the car doesn’t. That’s because the Founders never considered the likes of heavy engine-powered machines like cars to ever exist… much in the same way the Founders never realized a single-shot musket or rifle could evolve into a compact, well-oiled, well-aimed and overstocked device like a Glock.

    Gun Technology has outraced the law. And our ethics.

  22. 22
    Morbo says:

    @Svensker: Ctrl+F: “armed society”, success

    Thanks for taking care of that idiom; my boss likes that one too.

  23. 23
    Culture of Truth says:

    Coburn: People need to fire 30 bullets to defend themselves!

    Gregory: From who?

    Coburn: From crazy people with guns!

    Gregory: Of course
    .

  24. 24
    MonkeyBoy says:

    When we talk about the role of violent speech in creating the context for actual violence, that’s a fuzzy argument. I like many here believe the link exists. But there is no doubt, as has been exhaustively and often dishonestly pointed out, that strict cause and effect doesn’t apply here.

    This is somewhat related to the issue of whether TV and movie violence causes violent behavior.

    Numerous studies have shown that there is a correlation between watching violence and being violent. There are at least two basic interpretations of this:

    1) Viewing violence makes people more violent.

    2) People who are inherently more violent like to watch violence, while some less violent people avoid watching violence.

    I think there is probably some portion of the inherently violent range where there is a causal relation between increased viewing and increased personal violence because the viewers regard their selection of what they view as being normal.

  25. 25
    JGabriel says:

    One thing I find completely ridiculous about the GOP’s gun rhetoric is the utter hypocrisy of it. They talk about Second Amendment Remedies, replacing the ballot box with the bullet box, and generally promoting the questionable view that the right to bare arms is a right to revolt against the government.

    But let one politician get shot, and suddenly GOP politicians are falling out of the woodwork to deplore violence and deny culpability.

    What Loughner did is what a Second Amendment Remedy looks like. If the various Republican candidates were serious about their rhetoric of guns as a check on the government, then they should be applauding Loughner, not distancing themselves from him. It’s not as if Loughner shot a Republican. He shot a Democrat, after all. Republicans should be ecstatic.

    That they are not puts the lie to their rhetoric. Whenever they are confronted with the outcomes that their rhetoric advocates, they are appalled.

    Or at least they claim to be.

    .

  26. 26
    Louis Gohmert's Missing Brain says:

    Just last week a good friend of ours shot and killed his 4-year-old daughter while trying to show his seven year old son how to responsibly handle a gun. The sadness and irony levels are off the charts for this one.

    What many folks seem not to internalize is that you can’t call a bullet back or change it’s flight path and it cares not what it hits. As Tom pointed out, guns are machines designed to inflict violence at a distance. As a class, they have no other purpose designed into them. All that ever changes is the object at the receiving end. All too often that object isn’t one we’d choose to be hit.

  27. 27
    Benjamin Cisco (mobile) says:

    Extremely OT: waiting for my car, Headline News just ran an ad for Hillary 2012. No attribution, of course. The mind, it boggles.

  28. 28
    Svensker says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Me, I know that I would either freeze up in the situation or try to run like hell (thus, most likely getting shot in the back). I also know that if I had a gun and knew how to shoot it, I probably would just start firing out of panic if I could actually get over my frozen state. In other words, not fucking helpful.

    Which just proves what a wussy elitist liberal you truly are. Real Murkins know what to do.

  29. 29
    elmo says:

    Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation.

    Possibly, although I seem to recall a large number of firearm deaths in the cities of Chicago, New York, and Detroit, none of which are particularly gun-friendly. However, without disputing the data, may I point out a flaw in the logic?

    This analysis focuses only on “firearm deaths,” and concludes that possession of a firearm does not decrease, but rather increases, the likelihood of death when confronted with a firearm-wielding attacker. Well and good.

    But we aren’t only concerned with “firearm deaths,” or at least we shouldn’t be. You are actually, per FBI statistics, approximately 4 times as likely to be attacked by a person who is not using a firearm, but rather another weapon. Knives, clubs, fists and feet, and the like, are 4 times more commonly used as weapons even in aggravated (not simple) assaults and murders combined.

    Here I’m going to quote extensively from a diary I did over at GOS:
    According to the FBI, handguns are used in less than 1 in 5 assaults. (19.3% of offenses in 2004, compared to fists/feet at 26.6% and knives at 18.6%. “Other” weapon was used in 35.6%.)

    But wait, you protest, if a handgun is used, it’s going to turn into a MURDER, not an assault. Okay. Fair point. So let’s combine the two into overall “attacks,” which is really the relevant criterion anyway — we don’t want the analysis to turn on the fortuitous circumstance of whether somebody survived the attack.

    There were 16,137 murders in the US in 2004, of which 70.3% were committed with firearms. That gives us 11,344 murders-by-gun. Of that number, 77.9% involved handguns rather than rifles or shotguns. So we have 8,837 murders-by-handgun in 2004. Other weapons accounted for 26.1% of murders (I am excluding things like poison and explosives, which accounted for 3.6%. Those can’t be defended against.) So other weapons accounted for 4,212 murders.

    There were 854,911 aggravated assaults in the US in 2004, of which handguns were used in only 164,998. ALL 689,913 other aggravated assaults were committed by knives, fists, tire irons, fireplace pokers, and so on.

    If you add the handgun murders to the handgun agg assaults you get 173,835 violent attacks by handgun.

    Add the “other weapon” murders to the “other weapon” agg assaults, and you get 694,125 violent attacks by “other weapons.”

    In other words, you are 3.99 times (can I round up and say 4 times?) more likely to be attacked with a weapon that is NOT a gun. And remember, these are aggravated assaults, not simple battery.

    Note that I have specifically NOT included the statistics for rape. Most rapes are not committed with a firearm.

    The FBI estimates that there are between 1.5 and 2 million defensive uses of firearms every year. The vast majority of these defensive uses occur without a trigger being pulled — which is why outfits like the Violence Policy Center focus only on “defensive uses” that actually end with somebody being shot, because then they can pretend that defensive use almost never happens.

    And since we can’t have arguments be all about data without anecdotes to back them up, I will say that I personally have used a firearm (a shotgun) in self-defense, and never even had to raise it to my shoulder, let alone fire it.

  30. 30
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Benjamin Cisco (mobile):

    Freelance job by some orthodontist or such. (link is to Daily Caller, and yes, they’re confused too.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    @ Tom Levenson

    FWIW you have, with this post, permanently eliminated any possibility of harvesting a coveted, “Heh, indeed” from esteemed Prof. Glenn Harlan Reynolds. Whilst your career and self-esteem may suffer temporary setbacks from being thus shunned in the long run, to paraphrase the philosopher Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.”

    Also, too, great post, much needed.

  32. 32
    Xenocrates says:

    Two things; ok, three. Great article, Tom; I will purchase a pistol when they invent one that makes the user bullet-proof; Chris Rock was right. Don’t ban guns; make ammunition prohibitively expensive. If a bullet costs $500, the young hoodlum will think twice about “popping a cap in someone’s ass.” (I think Rock proposed $5000, but I’m willing to go cheaper.)

  33. 33
    Mark S. says:

    @Louis Gohmert’s Missing Brain:

    Jesus, how terrible. But why the hell was he teaching his 7-year-old how to handle a gun?

  34. 34
    elmo says:

    @Nutella:

    Really? I didn’t have to take any kind of test to buy a car. Just to drive one on the public streets. I also don’t have to carry insurance for the vehicle that I use strictly on my own property.

    So I assume you’re saying that only guns that will be carried out on the street should be licensed and insured, right?

  35. 35
    Bnut says:

    An important part of CPR/lifesaving education is making it clear to a certain individual that 9-1-1 should be called. It’s because people freeze up under pressure and don’t know how to respond properly. If the average American locks up when they see a kid nailed by a car, how can we expect them to safely operate a firearm under these circumstances?

  36. 36
    soonergrunt says:

    I’ve said before and I’ll say again, this goes back to the right wing fantasy of being the lone man on the bridge. They really do see themselves as protecting the wimmin folk and young’uns.
    Read a right wing site if you can stomach it for any length of time. Post after post of fantasies about shooting people they disagree with, of being the hero guy when the bullets are flying, and a LOT of bragging about how easy and great it will be when the civil war finally comes and they have to get to kill unarmed liberals.
    They forget that the primary feature of marksmanship is that it’s really hard to do. There’s a reason that shooting at a static piece of paper is an Olympic sport.
    Hitting a moving target that is shooting at you is damn difficult for a well trained, well practiced marksman with a properly maintained and prepared rifle. With a pistol, it’s nigh-fucking impossible at any range greater than the interior of an elevator. Now do it in the chaos of a parking lot or a classroom or a theatre full of people who are screaming, throwing things, ducking, running every which way, bumping into you, and so on.
    A gun is a tool. I don’t carry a gun around for the same reason I don’t traipse around with a freaking hammer or a power drill.

  37. 37
    geg6 says:

    @Louis Gohmert’s Missing Brain:

    My sympathies to your friend. Based on the situation with my sister’s boyfriend and his losing his son to an accidental shooting, he has a tough road ahead. The guilt and blame will almost certainly ruin his marriage (assuming he is married) and he will never get over what happened.

    It’s a horrible thing. I can’t imagine.

  38. 38
    trollhattan says:

    @Louis Gohmert’s Missing Brain:

    Dear god, no. I can’t begin to imagine…

    We had a similar case locally, but in this case it was a cop and his daughter. Guns–they’re not pliars.

    http://www.news10.net/news/loc.....ryid=79842

  39. 39

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Guns help me open half of a six pack of Coors in the kitchen while I’m still on my couch.

    I can open 4 or 5 if I get lucky on the ricochet.

    Sure my wife gets upset at having to replace the pets every few months, but, in fairness, the kitchen is like 10 feet away.

  40. 40
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    I will happily give up my firearms (they stay locked up and separate from ammunition all the time anyway) the MINUTE those right-wing neo-confederate fucks give up theirs.

    History indicates that they want to kill ME (and people who look like me). And I don’t know why we on the Left forget that those neo-confederate “conservative” phuckers have been killing black men for the last couple hundred years, essentially with impunity. Maybe I won’t get to shoot back at all, maybe if I do shoot back I’ll miss, but goddammit, why should THEY be the only ones with guns?

  41. 41
    geg6 says:

    @elmo:

    Talk about leaving out a lot of data.

    How about we add suicides and accidental shootings to your deaths caused by handguns?

  42. 42
    Culture of Truth says:

    Generally if a car is driveable it has to be registered and insured. So a better analogy would be gun that is disabled, or a museum piece, or one purely for display, and would not necessarily need a licensed owner.

  43. 43
    soonergrunt says:

    @Bnut: When I was learning CPR in the Army, part of the certification test was to point at a bystander and shout “YOU! GO CALL 9-1-1 FOR AN AMBULANCE, AND RETURN TO ME!” just before you started the chest compressions.

  44. 44
    gnomedad says:

    @elmo:

    The FBI estimates that there are between 1.5 and 2 million defensive uses of firearms every year. The vast majority of these defensive uses occur without a trigger being pulled

    How many of these are by law enforcement officers?

  45. 45
    Monala says:

    I found this comment to Egan’s article very informative:

    Richard Harding Davis, later famous as a war correspondent, novelist, and adventurer, toured the west in 1891. He pointed out that there was more crime and violence in New York City each day than there was in the whole west in a year. Those out in sparsely inhabited places carried guns, but no one was permitted to carry a weapon in town. Out-of-towners had to turn in their firearms at the sheriff’s office when they arrived in town, and collect them when they left. Talking with old timers Davis concluded that the Wild Wild West was mostly the Mild Mild West, and old west gunslingers and outlaws stood out and were so well remembered because there were so few of them. Even in the 1880s most lawmen had never killed anyone, and most westerners had never heard a shot fired in anger. Acts that in New York would hardly make the newspapers would be the talk of a generation in the west. According to Davis, that is.

    One thing stood out, reading Davis’ book: that even in the wildest period of the wild west, as soon as law and order were established in a region it was understood that guns were no longer appropriate in crowded places. That in town, law and order meant disarming people generally. Hollywood notwithstanding, when the rancher bumped into the schoolmarm down at the general store, he wasn’t packing heat.

    And the posse were not vigilantes. They were citizens drafted into a temporary but legally authorized force. If it wasn’t constituted under a court order, with the members duly sworn in, bound under oath to obey the orders of the court appointed leader, be he sheriff or deputy, then it wasn’t the ‘posse comitatus’ the ‘power of the community’. The posse was community-based law enforcement, not the spontaneous uprising of ‘concerned individuals.’ Without the oath and the writ and the sheriff at its head, it was not a posse. It was a mob. And mobs were illegal.

    Hollywood is always blasted for being leftist. And yet our country is continually plagued by the right-wing myth of lawless, violent, heavily-armed crime fighting hero largely through the agency of Hollywood.

  46. 46
    Zifnab says:

    Read the whole thing—remembering as Egan writes at the top of his piece, that this is no deranged, Birkenstock-wearing, vegan, never-touched-a-gun liberal facist writing, but rather a lifelong westerner who’s been around guns since he could walk.

    Why the fuck does that matter?

    If I’m a Birkenstock-wearing, vegan, never-touched-a-flaming-stove liberal facist, and I tell you “Don’t touch the stove, it’s hot” do you write me off because I just don’t have the proper real world hard-headed raw-buttchecked wisdom of a seasoned flaming stove toucher?

    I’m so tired of the ancillary argument to a study being “And the study was written by the person you’d least expect!” As though the presence or absence of ruffage in your diet is the turning point of the discussion.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @beltane:

    This is another instance where Hollywood movies and TV shows have caused brain damage in the American public. Perhaps if were subjected to a foreign occupation or other forms of systemic violence, we would be less likely to fall victim to the mystique of the gun.

    IIRC, Canada has very similar rates of gun ownership as the US does but has a fraction of the death-by-firearms rate that we have.

    The problem is mostly cultural, IMO. What kind of sane culture would decide that having a 30-round magazine is necessary for a personal weapon?

  48. 48
    quaint irene says:

    the “armed society is a polite society” lecture.

    Let’s ask the citizens of Deadwood!

  49. 49
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @soonergrunt:

    With a pistol, it’s nigh-fucking impossible at any range greater than the interior of an elevator.

    Our rule of thumb regarding the use of sidearms in Vietnam was that if the enemy wasn’t close enough to hit them by throwing the weapon then don’t bother firing it.

    One of the frightening parts about having numbers of barely-trained civilians carrying firearms is that there’s a human tendency to fire at the noise. Get a few people doing that and you have real trouble.

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    Slight logic fail: the argument can easily be made that people who use guns are more likely to be willing to kill the other person, unlike someone with a baseball bat or a pool cue, who is more likely to be trying to injure, not kill.

    So saying that you’re more likely to be injured by another weapon is kind of a “duh!” statement: the person with another weapon (or no weapon) is less likely to be trying to kill you.

  51. 51
    Davis X. Machina says:

    there’s a human tendency to fire at the noise

    Absent this tendency, generalized, there’d be no blogosphere.

  52. 52
    Culture of Truth says:

    I eat meat. I know firearms, pal.

  53. 53

    @Louis Gohmert’s Missing Brain:

    That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. We have a 3 and a half year old daughter. If I ever did something like that to her, my life would be over. I just don’t know how I would go on after that.

    I don’t shoot. I have shot a 22 rifle at tin cans a few times, but beyond that, I’ve never shot anything. And because of that, I don’t want any guns in my house. I don’t want some deadly revolver lying around in a drawer somewhere that I don’t know how to use safely, and I don’t want to learn how to use it safely. So we’re all better off if the fucking thing isn’t in my house at all.

    I guess Gohmert would have some pretty strong words about my lack of manhood or my unAmericanism, but I don’t care what a dickhead–seriously, his head looks like an actual dick–has to say about it.

    And something else I wonder is how much these fuckleheads really even know abut guns themselves. Gohmert, I’m sure, thinks of himself as an accomplished gun wielder, but is he? How many of them are? And of those who are pretty handy with guns, how many of them are just hunters? I’d think that just because you know how to handle a shotgun for hunting geese or a rifle for deerhunting, that wouldn’t mean you know the first fucking thing about safely and competently handling a pistol. Am I wrong about this? Maybe somebody here who’s handled pistols could tell me whether I’m right or wrong about this.

  54. 54
    elmo says:

    @geg6:

    Why? We were discussing whether a firearm is an effective defensive weapon. Accidents and suicides are not relevant to that discussion, although they might be a useful distraction if you don’t like the direction the real discussion is going.

    There are about 1,000, give or take, accidental firearms deaths in this country every year. There are (IIRC) approximately 18,000 gun suicides. But I don’t see what those have to do with the attack/defend calculus.

  55. 55
    Sasha says:

    On@Louis Gohmert’s Missing Brain:

    As Tom pointed out, guns are machines designed to inflict violence at a distance. As a class, they have no other purpose designed into them.

    A niggle but an important one: Guns are not designed to inflict violence at a distance – they are designed to kill at a distance.

    If you are planning to use a gun to (somehow) merely wound or injure, you are not using it for its intended purpose. If a target of a gunshot is only slightly wounded, you have made a mistake and employed the tool incorrectly – like messing up a straight line with a saw or bending a nail with a hammer.

    I think people sometimes forget that guns do not have stun settings.

  56. 56
    Louis Gohmert's Missing Brain says:

    @Mark S.:

    Excellent question to which I don’t have an answer.

  57. 57
    trollhattan says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Agreed. They now add an “assess the scene” step before going in to provide aid, in case of a continuing hazard such as electrical wire, gas leak, chemical hazard, etc. Don’t need a second victim.

  58. 58
    Pangloss says:

    The teabagger crowd views gun policy like their economic policies– the answer to fail can only be more of the same.

  59. 59
    JGabriel says:

    @elmo:

    There were 16,137 murders in the US in 2004, of which 70.3% were committed with firearms.

    More than 70% of murders are committed with guns. Got it.

    But wait, you protest, if a handgun is used, it’s going to turn into a MURDER, not an assault. Okay. Fair point. So let’s combine the two into overall “attacks,” which is really the relevant criterion anyway …

    Nooo… what I’m thinking is that more than 70% percent of murders happening with guns? THAT’s the relevant criteria, elmo.

    You go on to show that:

    In other words, you are 3.99 times (can I round up and say 4 times?) more likely to be attacked with a weapon that is NOT a gun.

    Let’s say your math is correct — you’re 4 times more likely to be assaulted with a weapon that is not a gun. But you’ve already stated that you’re more than 2 times as likely to be murdered by a gun as all other methods combined. That means, once a gun is introduced in an assault situation, by your own math, that you are 8 times more likely to get murdered than in an assault situation without a gun.

    Sounds like yet another good argument for stricter gun regulation.

    .

  60. 60
    soonergrunt says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Our rule of thumb regarding the use of sidearms in Vietnam was that if the enemy wasn’t close enough to hit them by throwing the weapon then don’t bother firing it.

    With the .45 ACP, you probably had a better chance at actually hitting the target if you threw the pistol at him.

    Not the the 9mm is any better really. With the .45, if you could actually hit the target, it went down and didn’t get up. With 9mm, you hit the target pretty easily. And he just scowls at you.

  61. 61
    Bnut says:

    I think carrying around an unconcealed battle axe would be a much better deterrent than a Glock. I mean, you’re really gonna start something when a man with 30 pounds of double bladed steel is next to you in line at Duane Reade?

  62. 62
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I understand your point, but I think you missed mine. The point I was trying to make is that studies focusing solely on the question, “Does a firearm protect you against a firearm-wielding attacker?” are incomplete and misleading, because they exclude most of the things you actually need to protect yourself against.

    The argument I hear, based on studies like this, that a gun is useless against an armed attacker, because his gun is already out and he’s prepared to use his. He has the drop on you. Implicit in this argument is that an armed attacker — that is, armed with a firearm — is the only kind to be concerned about. And that’s just not the case.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JGabriel:

    Let’s say your math is correct — you’re 4 times more likely to be assaulted with a weapon that is not a gun. But you’ve already stated that you’re more than 2 times as likely to be murdered by a gun as all other methods combined. That means, once a gun is introduced in an assault situation, by your own math, that you are 8 times more likely to get murdered.

    To me, that says that it’s more dangerous to have a gun for general “self-defense” than it is to go without one.

    Since I’m sure celticdragonchick will show up any minute to tell us all that everyone should have a gun because she and her family have actually been threatened by specific people, I will point out that it makes perfect sense to have a gun if you’ve actually been threatened by a specific person or group. It makes no sense to have one “just in case” you maybe happen to run across a mugger or someone tries to burgle your house.

  64. 64
    Louis Gohmert's Missing Brain says:

    @Louis Gohmert’s Missing Brain:

    You’re right.

  65. 65
    elmo says:

    @JGabriel:

    So you’re telling me that in all of those other instances, when I am attacked using fists, feet, knives, bats, tire irons, and so on, I should be forbidden to defend myself effectively because — in the much less likely instances when the attacker has a gun — it’s easier to kill me with it?

    If you could wave a magic wand and go back to 14th-century weaponry across the board, I would have no effective means of defending myself or my partner. None. That’s the problem I have with focusing just on “firearm attacks” and ignoring the much-more-common “other weapons.”

  66. 66
    Bnut says:

    @soonergrunt: They invented 40S&W for a reason, “best” of both worlds.

  67. 67
    feebog says:

    I posted the OpEd on my facebook page, I urge anyone else with a FBP to do the same.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @Monala:

    Good post.

    I’m reading Twain’s “Roughing It” and his discussion of the pistols he, his brother and others carry on their stagecoach journey west is hilarious. Each weapon was basically worthless at hitting an intended target, and Twain adroitly skewers their notions of using them for self-defense.

    I contrast that with an article I read awhile back on captive African boy “soldiers” who, armed with AK47s are described as each having the firepower of a Civil War regiment. Technology isn’t always for the best.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    Implicit in this argument is that an armed attacker—that is, armed with a firearm—is the only kind to be concerned about. And that’s just not the case.

    I disagree, because someone who tries to mug you with a knife or baseball bat is much less likely to be able and willing to actually kill you than someone with a gun. And if you pull your gun on a knife or baseball bat wielding attacker, your own statistics show that it’s quite likely to be used against you.

    It’s true that not having a gun doesn’t make you safe from assault by other weapons, or no weapon. But having a gun doesn’t make you safe, either, and it actually endangers you more than having no weapon.

  70. 70
    geg6 says:

    @elmo:

    You’re telling me that there are no scenarios when a gun being used defensively can’t accidentally kill someone? Seriously? You really wanna make that argument? For reals?

    As for what is being discussed in this thread, it’s about how guns actually do kill people. In every way and in every scenario, whether defensive or recreationally or accidentally or whatever. Handguns more than anything. As for your statistics, they don’t match up with the ones from 2008. Suicides accounted for 55% of firearm deaths that year. Suicide by gun has a 90% chance of being successful compared to a 34% success rate for all other methods.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories.....3476.shtml

  71. 71
    MonkeyBoy says:

    @Monala:

    even in the wildest period of the wild west,

    A lot of what is presented as the Wild West is really about the (usually temporary) railroad towns such as Dodge City that housed large numbers of hard-living male construction workers. Most of the famous gunslingers got their starts there. During the so called Railroad Wars, railroad companies actually hired these gunslingers to help in their disputes about who could build their rails where.

  72. 72
    JGabriel says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    To me, that says that it’s more dangerous to have a gun for general “self-defense” than it is to go without one.

    Exactly. That’s part of the point I was making.

    .

  73. 73
    Bnut says:

    @trollhattan: Reminds me of the Larry Turtledove book “Guns of the South”. It involves a time machine, AK-47’s, the Civil War and terrible sex scenes. Not a bad alt-history book, though Turtledove’s political leanings are pretty ripe.

  74. 74
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Wait. The stats don’t show that my own gun is going to be used against me. Nothing of the kind. What they show is that if I am attacked with a gun, I am more likely to be killed — but if I am attacked, in general, I am more likely to be attacked without a gun. Where does that say that if I am attacked with a knife, and I pull a gun, the gun will be taken away and used against me?

    And I am frankly confused by the insistence that I should only be concerned about an attack that is going to kill me, and an attack that will only wound, maim, or disable me really isn’t worth defending against.

  75. 75
    Sasha says:

    @Mark S.:

    Jesus, how terrible. But why the hell was he teaching his 7-year-old how to handle a gun?

    If you’re a responsible gun owner and a parent, you should teach your kids that guns aren’t toys — and the sooner you can teach them to respect guns and the harm they can do, the better. Mistakes can kill, and there are no do-overs.

    Tragically, this is a lesson that that 7-year-old has internalized all too well.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    So you’re telling me that in all of those other instances, when I am attacked using fists, feet, knives, bats, tire irons, and so on, I should be forbidden to defend myself effectively because—in the much less likely instances when the attacker has a gun—it’s easier to kill me with it?

    Unless you’re Wolverine and have the gun actually attached to your body, the likely scenario is more that your non gun wielding attackers get the gun away from you and kill you with it. I’m not sure why you think that only someone else with a gun would be able to get the gun from you.

  77. 77
    elmo says:

    @geg6:

    You’re telling me that there are no scenarios when a gun being used defensively can’t accidentally kill someone? Seriously? You really wanna make that argument? For reals?

    Of course not. And in that context, I can see the relevance. But out of 1,000 accidental gun deaths, how many do you really believe were instances of non-police-officers using a gun defensively and accidentally killing the wrong person? (I use the qualifier “non-police” because nobody is seriously talking about restricting police use of firearms.)

  78. 78
    Louis Gohmert's Missing Brain says:

    @Sasha:

    You’re right.

    Everyone please ignore comment #64. I klutzed out somehow.

  79. 79
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not sure why you think that only someone else with a gun would be able to get the gun from you.

    I’m not sure why you’re so confident that somebody with a knife could do so, and that it’s actually more likely that they would wrest it from me than I would use it myself. Why is that? There aren’t any statistics on it, that I know of.

  80. 80
    JGabriel says:

    @elmo:

    So you’re telling me that in all of those other instances, when I am attacked using fists, feet, knives, bats, tire irons, and so on, I should be forbidden to defend myself effectively because—in the much less likely instances when the attacker has a gun—it’s easier to kill me with it?

    Nope, I’m saying it should be better and more strictly regulated than is currently the norm.

    But hey, if you want to be in a position where someone beats the shit out of you, searches you, finds a gun, and says to himself or herself, “Hey, cool, now I can finish the job,” well, that’s your call.

    I don’t want to forbid you from finding yourself in that situation, I just want to make it harder for you to end up there.

    Because: I care.

    .

  81. 81
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: especially since you are far more likely to be killed or wounded with your own gun than you are by somebody else’s gun or (more importantly) to kill or wound someone else with a a gun.

  82. 82
    geg6 says:

    @elmo:

    You can’t use a knife, fist, baseball bat, tire iron, etc. yourself? Not to mention that your feet aren’t operational so that you can run? Your only option in a fight is a gun?

  83. 83
    Mark S. says:

    Next week in the NY Times:

    Anthony “Fat Tony” D’Amico, who was indicted last year by a New York grand jury, was not indicted in his criminal trial yesterday.

    ETA: Oh fuck, wrong thread.

  84. 84
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I have a friend who was a decorated state trooper for over 15 years. He was killed by a perp with his own service revolver. Perp took it away from him and shot him point blank.

    These civilian assholes who seem to think they are going to kick ass and take names because they are carrying a gun are too stupid to own them. If a state trooper who is trained for years and years how to avoid having their guns taken away and who has been in numerous situations where it could have happened in the past couldn’t stop it and got killed, what the hell makes them think their fat asses aren’t going to shot with their own guns?

    Edited to add: Here’s a link to Joe’s memorial page:

    http://images.search.yahoo.com.....6&.crumb=Nevgv7QVSFO

  85. 85
    elmo says:

    @soonergrunt:

    You are more likely to be killed or wounded with your own gun than to kill someone else with your gun. That’s true.

    You know why that’s true? Because of suicides. And because defensive gun use usually does not involve any trigger-pulling at all, so there are vast numbers of defensive uses of guns that don’t end up “killing somebody else with the gun.”

    So yes, it is a true statistic, but a deeply, deeply misleading one. Unless you think that my gun whispers in my ear late at night about how empty my life has become, and how I really should just end it all…

  86. 86
    Monala says:

    @ elmo: “So you’re telling me that in all of those other instances, when I am attacked using fists, feet, knives, bats, tire irons, and so on, I should be forbidden to defend myself effectively because—in the much less likely instances when the attacker has a gun—it’s easier to kill me with it?” (Sorry, I don’t know how to link quotes).

    I’d like to know how many assaults that involve someone being hit and possibly injured by one of those weapons, involves a random stranger mugging, home invasion or the like. I suspect it’s very few: the culprit might use the weapon to get you to hand over your wallet, and once the wallet’s in hand, he flees. (Rape is an exception to this: a rapist is likely to use a weapon to subdue or harm his victim).

    I would guess that most of those assaults take place in the context of fights, between drunk guys at a bar, or gangs in the streets, and (sadly), kids or teens on the playground. In other words, most of us (non-drunk, non-gang involved adults) would not be facing a situation where we need to protect ourselves from a weapon by brandishing a more powerful weapon of our own.

  87. 87
    JGabriel says:

    @elmo:

    I’m not sure why you’re so confident that somebody with a knife could [get a gun away from me] …

    I don’t know, maybe it’s something in your posting style, like being the kind of guy who needs to brag on a bulletin board about how he uses his gun to threaten unarmed people who scare him.

    It’s not really reinforcing the butch image you seem to be aiming for.

    (Get it? Aiming? Ah ha ha, I crack me up sometimes.)

    .

  88. 88
    elmo says:

    @geg6:

    I am a middle-aged woman. Yes, if I am attacked with a bat, knife, tire iron, etc., it is highly unlikely that I will be able to hold my own in that fight and effectively defend myself.

    Is it possible that the attacker could then get the gun away from me before I manage to defend myself? Sure. Of course it’s possible. Am I still better off with a chance to defend myself, rather than being completely at somebody else’s mercy? I think I am.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    Because unless you have a whole hell of a lot of combat training and experience, you’re much more likely to freeze up.

    Also, your “1.5 million defensive uses of firearms” statistic is complete bullshit. Just so you know.

  90. 90
    Tonal Crow says:

    @elmo:

    The FBI estimates that there are between 1.5 and 2 million defensive uses of firearms every year.

    Cite?

    The vast majority of these defensive uses occur without a trigger being pulled

    Cite?

    Also, you need to compare the effectiveness — and safety — of the defensive use of firearms with those of other defensive techniques.

  91. 91
    elmo says:

    @JGabriel:

    Oh, how amusing. Never mind, I thought I was having an interesting discussion about gun policy, not a metaphorical exercise in dick-measuring. Yours is bigger, I assure you.

    Now run along. The adults are talking.

  92. 92
    geg6 says:

    @elmo:

    Is it possible that the attacker could then get the gun away from me before I manage to defend myself? Sure. Of course it’s possible. Am I still better off with a chance to defend myself, rather than being completely at somebody else’s mercy? I think I am.

    Well, your thinking is not logical in the least. Please refer to my post #84. If you think you’re better at handling your firearm better than my friend the state trooper, you are living in a dream world. You’re not safer. You’re setting yourself up to die.

  93. 93
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @elmo:

    Implicit in this argument is that an armed attacker—that is, armed with a firearm—is the only kind to be concerned about. And that’s just not the case.

    No, that is not implicit. The argument is that an attacker armed with a firearm is more likely to kill you and render your existence past tense. Not whether an attacker armed with a firearm is the only kind to be concerned about.

    You are the only one having that discussion, it would appear.

  94. 94
    ericblair says:

    @elmo:

    Why? We were discussing whether a firearm is an effective defensive weapon. Accidents and suicides are not relevant to that discussion, although they might be a useful distraction if you don’t like the direction the real discussion is going.

    Unless your firearm magically disappears into thin air when you’re not using it, I think it is. If you have a gun, you have it 24/7/365 somewhere, and that means it can be discharged in an accident or used in a suicide.

  95. 95
    JGabriel says:

    elmo:

    Never mind, I thought I was having an interesting discussion about gun policy …

    We are having a discussion about gun policy. You don’t seem to realize how many people, including me, find it kind of disturbing that you think a display of firearms is the appropriate response to unarmed threats.

    It’s threaded pretty thoroughly into your argument, which seems to be: Why should I have to risk my ability to threaten people with deadly force, or fill out a little more paperwork to maintain it, just to lower the number of US gun deaths?

    It’s not a very convincing argument, and, frankly, it is a little difficult to take seriously.

    On the other hand, I should refrain from the rest of this discussion, since it’s probably NOT a good idea to mock people who have no compunctions about using guns against the unarmed.

    .

  96. 96
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I went to the link, and there is a study listed there but not linked, so I couldn’t read it; sorry. I can’t really discount DOJ stats because of a single study, especially since other independent studies have also reported around 1M defensive uses per year.

  97. 97
    morzer says:

    @soonergrunt:

    People generally view guns and their use through the prism of movies, and in those movies a wildly implausible percentage of rounds hit their target – especially in situations where the shooter is running down the street after their target. In reality, an amazingly low number of rounds from handguns hit the target, and accuracy diminishes dramatically as range increases even minimally.

  98. 98
    elmo says:

    @JGabriel:

    you think a display of firearms is the appropriate response to unarmed threats

    And again, you can’t back up your argument, so you’re reduced to lying about what I’ve said. I’m much more interested in discussing the issue with Mnemosyne, geg6, and others who don’t engage in dishonest hackery.

  99. 99
    morzer says:

    @JGabriel:

    elmo’s language and inability to sustain a civil discussion remind me strongly of a right-wing troll who popped up again recently after the site change.

    Just sayin’.

  100. 100
    madeinamerica says:

    @elmo:
    HTH

  101. 101
    Erik Vanderhoff says:

    Are guns the problem? Yes—but only in the context of their possession and use by people who don’t respect that what they have in their hands is a machine that by design delivers deadly force over distance.

    Bingo!

  102. 102
    elmo says:

    @geg6:

    It’s terrible what happened to your friend, and of course I don’t think I’m better trained, stronger, or more capable than he. But I also don’t discount the role that luck plays in encounters like that. The murderer who shot your friend probably also wasn’t better trained than Joe was. But he got lucky that day, and I’m very sorry for it.

    Surely you’re not claiming that non-police-officers don’t actually use guns to defend themselves? I know you’re not. Non-police use guns to defend themselves, and don’t get the gun wrestled away, frequently. They are also not better-trained or more capable than your friend was.

  103. 103
    ericblair says:

    @morzer:

    People generally view guns and their use through the prism of movies, and in those movies a wildly implausible percentage of rounds hit their target – especially in situations where the shooter is running down the street after their target. In reality, an amazingly low number of rounds from handguns hit the target, and accuracy diminishes dramatically as range increases even minimally.

    Probably more so from first person shooter video games. People don’t realize that most games are helping your aim quite a bit, nevermind not being panicked and bumped and caught by surprise and having easily identifiable mooks and an automap.

  104. 104
    Hungry Joe says:

    A couple of times I plinked some tin cans with a .22 rifle, so I know I’m a decent shot. Tried a pistol, and if there’d been the side of a barn anywhere in the vicinity, it would’ve rested easy. Still, when I imagine myself armed with a pistol, in some scenario like Tucson, I see myself calmly bringing down the psycho with my Trusty Whatever, even though I KNOW that in reality I’d be either sprinting away, scrambling for cover, or paralyzed by raw terror. I’m-the-hero fantasies are irresistible, and to anyone who can’t recognize them as fantasies, restrictions on his Right to Pack are an affront.

    As for defense against a knife-, baseball bat-, or piece of ripe fruit- (see Python, Monty) wielding assailant, well, you’d better have the pistol in your hand, safety off, at all times, because it happens FAST.

  105. 105
    handy says:

    @JGabriel:

    Don’t you get it? You’re talking in hypotheticals about someone wresting away his gun from him, which let’s face it does NOT happen because you don’t have the statistics to back such a scenario up! Because it’s never happened to him, get it?

    We’re talking real data here folks, no what-ifs dreamed up in your feverish anti-2nd amendment minds.

  106. 106
    morzer says:

    @ericblair:

    True to some extent, although more so among the younger people IMHO. Sure, some older people play those games, but an awful lot of them grew up with Wild West heroes and Marines storming Iwo Jima etc in the movies.

  107. 107
    elmo says:

    madeinamerica, thank you! It appears that the study doesn’t actually debunk the FBI statistic of 1.5M defensive gun uses, but the 1991 Kleck study that showed 2.5M. But it’s a very interesting study of the overestimation of rare events, and I want to read it in greater depth. Thanks.

  108. 108
    Erik Vanderhoff says:

    @Louis Gohmert’s Missing Brain: I keep guns in the house. The day my son was born, when I came back from the hospital, I cleaned out all the ammunition and put it in a lockbox in the garage, which is double-locked with a combination lock and a key lock. Only I know the combination, and the key remains on the same keychain as my car keys, so it is always with me. As I use the ammunition up, I do not replace it.

    By the time my son is old enough to even start figuring out how to get into the gun safe, there will be no ammunition in the home. And there will never be from that point on. I will purchase dummy rounds to teach him safety regarding loaded firearms. That way, he learns without the remote chance of an accidental firing.

    Because his life is far, far more important than mine.

  109. 109
    Sasha says:

    One other thing, through a badly remembered bit in a book whose title I cannot recall:

    The protagonist went through a survival exercise wherein he was to cross a jungle filled with dangerous animals. He was given all the supplies he would need, but no guns. After coming through on the other side, he asked his instructor why he wasn’t allowed a firearm, and the instructor replied that not having a gun would mean he’d do the smart thing (avoid, outthink, or run from potential danger) rather than the obvious thing (stand his ground because he had a gun … and thereby greatly increase the likelihood of getting in over his head).

    . . . . . . . . .

    I can’t help but wonder how many murder victims met their fate because they did the obvious thing (“I’ve got no reason to worry about taking a shortcut through that alley — I’ve got a gun!”) rather than the smart thing (“Sure I’m armed, but that’s no reason not to take the long way around.”).

  110. 110
    elmo says:

    @Sasha:

    I suspect quite a few. It’s like idiots who have 4WD SUVs and drive fast on icy roads.

  111. 111
    geg6 says:

    @elmo:

    That is not my only highly trained (read: police officer) friend who died despite having a gun and being better trained than his assailant.

    Assailants don’t always come at you where you can see them, either. A gun will not help you in that situation, either.

    http://www.odmp.org/officer/15.....rintview=1

    You’re living in a fantasy world. One where you’re going to get yourself killed.

  112. 112
    Lawnguylander says:

    Guns, Gohmert? Really? In liberal WA backpack bombs are outlawed so only outlaws have backpack bombs. If adult citizens were required to wear backpack bombs at all times backpack bombers would think twice before attacking because they would know to expect immediately massive retaliation from a multitude of strapped patriots.

  113. 113
    Tonal Crow says:

    Elmo: Got those cites I requested in #90 yet?

  114. 114
    soonergrunt says:

    @morzer: You sound like an Army marksmanship instructor. Me, in fact.

  115. 115
    elmo says:

    @geg6:

    With all respect, I’m more than willing to risk the small chance that my gun might be used against me, versus the complete lack of any defense at all wtihout one. Remember that I did say, upthread, that I have personally used a gun in self-defense. It was a shotgun, but it could just as easily have been a handgun. And the guys (there were two of them) were far enough away that there was little chance of my hitting them with either weapon, but close enough to recognize what I was holding, think better of their odds, and leave.

    I am fairly confident that I saved my own life and my partner’s life that night. A kitchen knife wouldn’t have been nearly as effective.

  116. 116
    elmo says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Sorry, yours got lost in the hail of other posts I was responding to. Gimme five minutes.

  117. 117
    batgirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: What type of guns? I assume that there is a very strong hunting culture in Canada. Again, that word culture. Would be surprised if they had lots of assault weapons or even handguns. Anybody have any info?

  118. 118
    Erik Vanderhoff says:

    @geg6: Dude, most cops are NOT well-trained at all in defensive firearm use. They take courses at the academy and in most agencies don’t have to re-take them. They’ll expend enough rounds to re-qualify at the range.

    There’s a reason why they say it takes years to build up proper defensive firearms skills, and it takes hours of practice each year to maintain them. That’s why cops switched to high-cap magazines in 9mm and .40S&W.

  119. 119
    morzer says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I feel rather flattered *smiles*. I only served at Fort Zinderneuf though.

  120. 120
    Morbo says:

    @Tonal Crow: Going to be one of the following: Kleck, Wolfgang, or Southwick.

  121. 121
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Sasha: You may be thinking of the Robert Heinlein YA novel Tunnel in the Sky.

    Everyone — sorry for my absence from the conversation. 8 inches of snow have been shoveled and my son delivered to his next appointment in a life far more scheduled than mine.

    I think Elmo’s argument has been pretty well handled, so I’d add just this to her query about whether or not a gun never removed from a given property would require insurance.

    This is a trivial objection. The analogy of car insurance provides plenty of examples of accommodations for specific circumstances like this: reduced insurance for antique cars that can only be driven on weekends. Insurance for my uncle’s tractors and farm vehicles (including the non-street legal Landrover on which I learned how to drive). And so on.

    In the case of guns: long guns purchased and stored at a licensed and bonded gun club would carry a much lower actuarial risk than a .38 Super kept by the bed. Guns without locks and separate ammunition safes would require more, no doubt, based simply on the economic consequences of those decisions — just as a Corvette costs a 23 year old male more to insure than a Corolla would.

    The point of requiring insurance, beyond offering the hope of compensation to the victims of gun misuse or misadventure, is to make explicit the social cost of gun ownership.

    If I were the king of the world, I’d add a dose of real responsibility to gun regulation: if your gun were stolen (or if you said it was, having sold it off to some bad guy), you’d be responsible for what it did — unless you could prove that you took a reasonable level of care…locked gun safes and so on. My point: when you choose to arm yourself, as is your right in our society, you should take the full weight of that decision. Not one gram less.

  122. 122
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Morbo: He/she said that his/her stat on the number of defensive uses (and possibly also the stat on the proportion of firearm discharges during defensive use) was from “[t]he FBI”. Are Kleck et al affiliated with (or cited for these propositions by) the FBI?

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    It appears that the study doesn’t actually debunk the FBI statistic of 1.5M defensive gun uses …

    We still can’t figure out where you got that statistic from and, I have to say, it’s a bit suspicious that it’s the same as the debunked statistic that I linked to. Gun advocates luuurve to toss around flimsy statistics even after they’ve been debunked (and even make them up), so I think we’re going to need your link to the FBI’s webpage to accept it.

  124. 124
    geg6 says:

    @Erik Vanderhoff:

    First, I’m not a dude.

    Second, as I believe I mentioned, I KNEW these guys. And they were, despite what you think you know, highly trained and excellent officers. And I would certainly like to see a cite for your contention that police officers are not highly trained. Perhaps in some rural Mayberry that may be true. But state cops in PA (including my friend Joe) and Jimmy Naim, a narcotics officer in high crime Aliquippa, took their training seriously. The entire law enforcement community in this area were stunned by both of their deaths.

  125. 125
    martial says:

    @Svensker:

    @asiangrrlMN:
    Me, I know that I would either freeze up in the situation or try to run like hell (thus, most likely getting shot in the back). I also know that if I had a gun and knew how to shoot it, I probably would just start firing out of panic if I could actually get over my frozen state. In other words, not fucking helpful.

    Which just proves what a wussy elitist liberal you truly are. Real Murkins know what to do.

    What did happen in Tuscon is that at least five people ran toward the gunfire and at least five people shielded others. A random group of Americans, engaged in civic life, and at least ten of them – in a moment of crisis! – did not think of themselves first, but of others. When confronted by an actual act of terrorism, they acted to end it or to save lives.

  126. 126
    geg6 says:

    @elmo:

    Oh, well. I’m all for arming ourselves to the teeth now.

    /snark

    Funnily enough, a call to 911 would have probably done the same. If they were too far away to even hit with a shotgun, you had plenty of time to call for help from people who actually know what they are doing. And if they were that far away, how do you even know they were threatening you?

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @batgirl:

    It seems to be a pretty similar proportion of handguns to long guns between Canada and the US (at least as far as I can tell from Wikipedia), but the difference is licensing, licensing, and licensing. You can’t buy just anything you want in Canada, and you have to be licensed and show that you know how to use it. It looks like they’ve had a bit more trouble getting everyone to register their guns, but IMO the licensing requirement probably helps more than a registry.

    But, you know, we must have FREEDOM! and apparently FREEDOM! doesn’t count if the government can ask you to show that you actually know how to use that gun you just bought.

  128. 128
    elmo says:

    @Tonal Crow: Crap. Can’t find it. I can find lots of references to it, but not the DOJ conclusion itself.

    Mnemosyne, the study you gave me debunked a 2.5M figure, not 1.5M. But as I say, I can’t find it, so I have to withdraw the statistic in confusion, alarm and distress.

    Although I do think the statistic is useful and meaningful, losing the ability to refer to it doesn’t destroy what I’m trying to say. Unless you really, really don’t think there are any defensive uses of firearms out there where the trigger doesn’t get pulled, in which case I don’t need data, I’ve got an anecdote.

  129. 129
    PIGL says:

    @elmo: Well I don’t know about the heroic nation of manly well-behaved and courageous gun-slingers in which you live, but in my country, you can’t change ownership on a vehicle without a license, registration and insurance.

    Almost nobody buys cars to just to sit in the garage and be gloated over. Same with guns. And those fewwho chose to do so can expletive-covered-in-excrement-well go through the legal hoops like the rest of us.

    So nananabooboo to you. No honest decent person could advance your staggeringly lame-ass argument in seriousness.

  130. 130
    elmo says:

    @geg6:

    I live, with my partner, at the end of a long, dark single-lane road in rural East Tennessee. Very near where this couple had their house torched.

    It’s 1 am, and a car pulls slowly up my driveway. It sits there, idling. The two men in the car are staring at my house.

    Now you’re right, I could have called 911. And explained to the dispatcher how to get to my house. It has taken between 30 and 45 minutes for emergency personnel to get to my house in the past, when they don’t get lost on the way. And that’s in daylight.

    Of course, I would also have to explain to the dispatcher the unique situation that my partner and I are in, being in East TN where lesbian couples face violent threats, so that the police would actually take the complaint seriously, rather than think it was just a car idling in the wrong driveway. Then I would hope that the dispatcher didn’t decide to hang up on me, or slow-walk the response.

    Or I could do what I did, which was to take down the shotgun, and step outside onto the front porch where they could see me.

    They left in a hurry after that.

  131. 131
    Ruckus says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    I can’t tell you how enraged I get (maybe I’ll get there in a different post) at folks who just don’t get the implacability and irreversibility of guns and their consequences.
    The death penalty suffers from the same disease.

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    Although I do think the statistic is useful and meaningful, losing the ability to refer to it doesn’t destroy what I’m trying to say. Unless you really, really don’t think there are any defensive uses of firearms out there where the trigger doesn’t get pulled, in which case I don’t need data, I’ve got an anecdote.

    Of course there are some defensive uses of firearms every year. But there sure ain’t 1.5 million a year worth of them, especially if you’re only counting civilians and not police.

  133. 133
    PIGL says:

    @elmo: Let’s the 1.5 million per year at face value. Unless there are 1.5 million or fewer assholes running around looking for trouble with the mighty mighty guns, over 20yrs that amounts to 30 million adults, or what, 20% of the mobile adult populations. That would mean that averybody would know many different people who had used a firearm in self defense.

    I call bullshit.

  134. 134
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    And how would that story be different if you had needed a license for that shotgun?

    I really am curious. If you had to go through the license process, would you not have bothered to get one despite the fact that you live in an area that’s difficult for emergency personnel to get to?

  135. 135
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Oh, I don’t think it’s intended to count only non-police. I’m very comfortable including police in the statistic.

  136. 136
    PIGL says:

    @Mnemosyne: exactly! you saved me the trouble, and were very much nicer than I was planning on being. I do admire good and noble qualities in others, even though I myself totally lack any.

  137. 137
    Tonal Crow says:

    @elmo:

    @Tonal Crow: Crap. Can’t find it. I can find lots of references to it, but not the DOJ conclusion itself.
    __
    Mnemosyne, the study you gave me debunked a 2.5M figure, not 1.5M. But as I say, I can’t find it, so I have to withdraw the statistic in confusion, alarm and distress.

    Thank you for both attempting to find the cite, and for withdrawing the assertion when you were unable to do so. Admitting error is always difficult, and very frequently not done, so I’ve got to praise someone who actually does it.

    Although I do think the statistic is useful and meaningful, losing the ability to refer to it doesn’t destroy what I’m trying to say. Unless you really, really don’t think there are any defensive uses of firearms out there where the trigger doesn’t get pulled, in which case I don’t need data, I’ve got an anecdote.

    Actual statistics on how defensive uses of firearms compare for effectiveness and safety with other defensive techniques (e.g., avoidance, talk-down, calling 911, etc.) would be most useful in distinguishing our intuitions about these topics from the facts about them.

  138. 138
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That story would be no different at all if I needed a license. I would have either gotten a license, or gone ahead and bought the shotgun from the good ol’ boy who sold it to me without one.

    But earlier on, we weren’t talking about whether licenses do any good, or any harm, or whatever. The main point of the post, and my main point of disagreement, was that firearms are near useless things for defending yourself, and I just don’t think that’s true. The licensing issue is a sideshow, at least to me. I don’t like the idea, because I don’t think it does any good whatsoever – look at Chicago – but it’s not the hill I’m going to die on.

  139. 139
    geg6 says:

    @elmo:

    Well, to be honest, I have no problem with shotguns. My family had them, I had one as a teen, and everyone I ever knew growing up here had one. For hunting, but also for home protection, if needed, though I never knew anyone who had to use one for that.

    It’s handguns I have a problem with. Especially handguns with large magazines, no or minimal background checks, without permits, that have been modified to be automatic, with silencers or modified silencers (homemade), and that are a part of a large home arsenal. I don’t think anyone other than military or police should own one. It’s handguns that are the problem in this country. And I’m sad to say that you are just adding to it. Keep your shotgun for the rubes who like to bully people in your town (though why you’d stay there in rural TN as a lesbian couple, I’m puzzled to say the least). But your handgun really doesn’t make you any safer and, in fact, most likely makes you less safe.

  140. 140
    Snarla says:

    I’ll never understand why so many people think guns are shields.

  141. 141
    elmo says:

    Especially handguns with large magazines, no or minimal background checks, without permits, that have been modified to be automatic, with silencers or modified silencers (homemade), and that are a part of a large home arsenal.

    Holy crap, I have a problem with those things too. But modding a handgun to be automatic is already banned. Ditto silencers. You want to ban 30-round mags? Be my guest. Background checks? Go for it.

    the only thing we differ on in that list is the “large home arsenal.” Since most people can only actually use one or two guns at a time, I don’t see the utility in telling people they can’t have more at home in teh safe.

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @elmo:

    The main point of the post, and my main point of disagreement, was that firearms are near useless things for defending yourself, and I just don’t think that’s true.

    I think they’re nearly useless if you’re walking down the street and get mugged. In your home, where it’s less likely that you can be surrounded by assailants with baseball bats, they’re slightly more useful, but in the home you’re also far more likely to accidentally kill one of your family members than any bad guys who just happen to show up.

    The licensing issue is a sideshow, at least to me.

    Given that one of the main differences between gun ownership in the US and Canada is that they require licenses and we don’t, I don’t see how you can call it a “sideshow.” It seems to be a fairly effective way to control the use of guns without restricting gun ownership too badly. But apparently Americans see licensing guns as yet another attempt to castrate them, so we can’t even have a sensible discussion about it.

    I don’t like the idea, because I don’t think it does any good whatsoever – look at Chicago – but it’s not the hill I’m going to die on.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “look at Chicago.” Do you mean that licensing is useless because people were able to drive over the city border and buy guns without the same restrictions that the city tried to put on them? That would seem to be fixed with a nationwide license like they have in Canada. At a minimum, it would have been more difficult for them to use the dodge that they did, which was to have their girlfriend/wife with no criminal record buy the gun in her name.

  143. 143
    madeinamerica says:

    @elmo: I suspect that’s because the DOJ here on the planet where the rest of us live says this:
    During the same period an estimated annual average of 62,000 violent crime victims (approximately 1 percent of all violent crime victims) used a firearm in an effort to defend themselves. In addition, an annual average of about 20,000 victims of theft, household burglary or motor vehicle theft attempted to defend their property with guns.
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/conte.....VFSDAFT.PR

    To make it simple: The FBI/DOJ estimate is 82,000. This is a very different number from 1 million, 1.5 million, 2.5 million etc.

    The million+ figure comes from one thoroughly discredited “study.” See http://www.gunsandcrime.org/dgufreq.html and http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Hemenway1.htm.

    It is a zombie lie that the million+ figure comes from the FBI or DOJ (which is why you can’t find a link to back it up). Please stop repeating it. You are just shooting yourself in the foot. ;)

  144. 144
    Tonal Crow says:

    @madeinamerica: Your links are broken.Ack! Message cross!

  145. 145
    madeinamerica says:

    @Tonal Crow: Thanks – they work in normal HTML but not in FYWP. I fixed them the best I could.

  146. 146
    elmo says:

    @madeinamerica:

    an estimated annual average of 62,000 violent crime victims (approximately 1 percent of all violent crime victims) used a firearm in an effort to defend themselves

    Wrong sample set. We aren’t just talking about violent crime victims who use a gun to defend themselves; we’re talking about people who use a gun to prevent any crime, violent or otherwise, from taking place at all.

    Take my example above. I was never a crime victim. No crime actually took place. So these FBI statistics that you’re using would not count my action as a “crime victim using a gun to defend herself.”

    I agree the Kleck study is discredited. And anything John Lott says should result in serious people pointing and laughing at the discredited clown. But the subset of “crime victims” using a gun in self-defense is smaller than the set of all defensive gun users.

  147. 147
    Sko Hayes says:

    I think y’all are being a little hard on elmo, the woman is middle aged who prevented an earlier invasion with a shotgun. As long as she’s well trained in the use of the gun, she carries the gun to make herself feel safer.
    I was stalked by a weirdo when I was in my 20’s, and I went out and took classes, and bought a gun. Now if this guy had ever confronted me, I would have been dead, because to say the guy was a gun nut was the understatement of the year. He owned multiple guns, mainly hand guns, reloaded his own bullets and had a shooting range in the back yard. So yeah, even if I’d had a gun, he was an expert, and I was not.
    But having that gun did make me feel safer. I got rid of it after two years, and never got another one.
    Now, all that being said, the studies that Memosyne posted above are quite interesting:

    Major findings: Criminal court judges who read the self-reported accounts of the purported self-defense gun use rated a majority as being illegal, even assuming that the respondent had a permit to own and to carry a gun, and that the respondent had described the event honestly from his own perspective.

    Major findings: Firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense. All reported cases of criminal gun use, as well as many of the so-called self-defense gun uses, appear to be socially undesirable.

    Recent gun owners were 8 times more likely to have threatened their partners with a gun than non-gun owners. Four main types of gun threat against partners were (a) threatening to shoot then, (b) threatening to shoot a pet or person the victim cares about, (c) cleaning, holding or loading a gun during an argument, and (d) shooting a gun during an argument.

    So, I agree with sensible gun laws. Because I’ve been on the wrong end of a gun, too.

  148. 148
    NeuroSci says:

    @elmo: Was it intentional that you didn’t quote the stats about non-violent crimes that madeinamerica provided to you?

    I really hope you aren’t still clinging to the 1.5 million claim. It’s so obviously false as to be frankly absurd.

  149. 149
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    With the killer team of Lily and Rosi yapping at the door, ain’t nobody coming inside anyway [which would be to meet his fate at the mighty Tunch Claws of NearDeath(tm) ]

    Jess sayin’

  150. 150
    elmo says:

    @NeuroSci:

    I withdrew the 1.5M claim above, because I couldn’t find the cite. And the omission was not technically accidental, but not meaningful either — I just didn’t want to quote the whole thing. The point is that “crime victims using a gun” is a different sample set from “people using a gun to prevent a crime in the first place.” Violent crime or otherwise.

  151. 151
    NeuroSci says:

    @Sko Hayes: “I think y’all are being a little hard on elmo, the woman is middle aged who prevented an earlier invasion with a shotgun.”

    I guess what I’m seeing in elmo with her cite of the laughable 1.5 million stat is a willingness to accept bad data in support of her decision to carry a gun for protection. We have no way of knowing what might have transpired had she not carried that shotgun out to her porch. Maybe those guys were just at the wrong house and realized their mistake when they saw her; I have no idea whether that shotgun prevented any kind of crime from being committed and neither does she. This is just plain confirmation bias on her part.

  152. 152
    PhoenixRising says:

    I’ll never understand why so many people think guns are shields

    See above. There are actual circumstances in which brandishing a gun changes the results, because nasty people perceive that gun as changing the odds of winning a fight they intended to start.

    I don’t need a license for the shotgun we keep at the cabin, in my state, but most of the time the sound of a shell being racked through the door would have the same effect with no potential downside like hunters breaking in and stealing it.

    That’s what my friends who live in a holler down home have: A recording. And it’s worked at least once.

  153. 153
    elmo says:

    @Sko Hayes:

    I don’t actually carry in public. I don’t consider myself sufficiently well trained to do so. I have the gun(s) in the house, because as I said above, I don’t live where help is readily available.

    The point is, if I were to undergo the proper training, I would not want to lose the right to do so if I choose.

  154. 154
    PhoenixRising says:

    I have no idea whether that shotgun prevented any kind of crime from being committed and neither does she. This is just plain confirmation bias on her part.

    Yeah, the scientific method has a lot to recommend it when you’ve finding a cure for cancer, not so much when you’re becoming a data point.

    You clearly have no idea how well the campaign of terror against progressives and LGBT people in the South has worked. For your education, I will reveal that from Eric Rudolph to the guy who shot up the Unitarians in Knoxville, we have plenty of information to demonstrate that there are homegrown white Christian terrorists who won’t flinch at killing us. I find it strange at best that you want to argue otherwise after Tucson. Now shut up.

  155. 155
    elmo says:

    @NeuroSci:

    The wrong house? Where on Earth would the “right house” be, to idle in front of at 1 o’clock in the morning? After driving down the dark, single-lane road, and up my 100-yard driveway? I don’t live in a subdivision. You have to work to get to my place, and it isn’t easy to mistake it for some other house at the end of a dead-end road, up a 100-yard gravel driveway.

  156. 156
    elmo says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    I was with you until “shut up.” People who don’t live in the country really don’t understand and can’t picture what it’s like, so I’m inclined to cut him/her a little slack on the skepticism.

  157. 157
    NeuroSci says:

    @elmo: That’s frankly a stupid objection. In each of the categories mentioned, “theft, household burglary or motor vehicle theft” a crime has been committed whether the perp was successful or not; i.e. attempted robbery, trespassing/breaking and entering, attempted robbery, respectively. Even mere threats are criminal offenses, so your distinction is meaningless. If the situation were so unambiguous as to not be classifiable as a crime, then we’re back in mind-reading territory again if we want to assert that any kind of criminal act was prevented. Well, other than the person who is potentially committing the crime of brandishing a weapon.

  158. 158
    Ferd of the Nort says:

    Canada and Guns
    1) Remington 870 Express owner here. For the polar bears (and grizzly bears and wolverines and wolves… I do live in the arctic on the shores of Hudson’s Bay).

    2) Laws in Canada are:
    Long guns are relatively freely accessible.
    – pass training course
    – apply for licence, which is photo-ID
    – wait a couple / few months for processing
    – buy guns and / or ammo with licence

    Pistols and certain other guns are RESTRICTED weapons, available only to police and others with specific demonstrateable needs OR to people in gun clubs. Permit only allows transport to from the range or during work. Transport is only permitted with gun rendered safe, except while on duty.

    Some weapons (automatic weapons, sawed-off shotguns) are only PROHIBITED.

    Storage is guns LOCKED inoperable (gun lock), unloaded, with ammo secured elsewhere. It is advised that guns are also kept in a locked location.

    Here is a case that is a source of debate. The gun proponents say he should not have been charged. Most Canadians are OK with charges, but hope he gets off. We expect that if you use a gun agasinst a person, you have to face a judge.

  159. 159
    NeuroSci says:

    @elmo: I live out in the sticks, and it’s very easy to wind up at the wrong house here. The lack of street signs or house numbers leads people to give directions that read something like “about a quarter mile past the old mill road, turn left at the big walnut stump and look for the yellow rock driveway”. That you can’t conceive of even the merest possibility that those guys weren’t there with bad intentions doesn’t speak to your skill at weighing evidence or forming sound conclusions.

  160. 160
    somegayname says:

    @PIGL: Thats right, no one EVER drives without insurance in an untitled vehicle. You topped that only by pulling the ‘no honest man’. No honest man has anything to fear from warrantless wiretaps either, right?
    Studies that determine an increase in guns leads to an increase in gun deaths are useless. True or false, what difference does it make? The question is whether tighter gun controls reduce murders or suicides, since those are the types of deaths performed with guns that we would like to reduce. I’ve not seen these studies, so I assume the data doesn’t support that hypothesis given all the antigun lobby groups and money out there. My guess is murders and suicides are shifted to other means if guns are tough to acquire.

  161. 161
    NeuroSci says:

    @somegayname: Wow, a casual observer might get the impression that you’ve not read the original post nor the comments that it inspired.

  162. 162
    Mnemosyne says:

    @somegayname:

    The question is whether tighter gun controls reduce murders or suicides, since those are the types of deaths performed with guns that we would like to reduce. I’ve not seen these studies, so I assume the data doesn’t support that hypothesis given all the antigun lobby groups and money out there.

    Follow my link in comment # 127. It’s pretty well proven that licensing gun owners reduces the murder and suicide rates by looking at Canada, which has very similar gun ownership rates as the US and a fraction of the murders and suicides.

    But we’ll never know how that would work in the US, because too many people have invested their manhood in their guns and any kind of sensible law — like “Hey, maybe people should actually know how to safely use a gun before they’re given one!” — is hooted down with shrieks about FREEDOM!

  163. 163
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @elmo: There is the finality of using guns. The CDC compiles statistics for deaths from gun and stab injuries (including suicides). The most recent year for which they have data is 2007. There were 31,224 deaths from guns and 2,743 deaths from stab injuries (see the difference in magnitude there?) in 2007. In 2006, there were 30,896 gun deaths and 2,831 deaths from stabbing. In other words, the US death rate from guns increased in that 1 year period & the stab deaths decreased.

    This wikipedia entry lists gun ownership rates by country. You’ll notice that Switzerland comes in 3rd after the US and Yemen. Canada is also in the top 15. But the per capita death rate from guns in those two countries is waaay less than in the US. So is there something that Canada or Switzerland does w.r.t. guns that the US doesn’t? Just wondering here.

  164. 164
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NeuroSci:

    That you can’t conceive of even the merest possibility that those guys weren’t there with bad intentions doesn’t speak to your skill at weighing evidence or forming sound conclusions.

    elmo’s told that story here before and she’s left out quite a few of the details, like the fact that her (also gay) neighbors’ house had been set on fire the week before.

    So, no, I don’t think she’s exaggerating the potential danger at all. People like her were being targeted, and two guys just happened to drive up to her house at 1 am a few days later?

  165. 165
    PhoenixRising says:

    That you can’t conceive of even the merest possibility that those guys weren’t there with bad intentions doesn’t speak to your skill at weighing evidence or forming sound conclusions.

    Okay, now really shut up. Doubling down on the privilege doesn’t make you right, it just makes you blindered by privilege.

    Listen, I too would rather not live in a country in which the most likely explanation for drunken campers pounding on the outside of my rig is that they’ve observed the occupants to be in the class ‘potential victims’ and want to try their luck at enforcing white/hetero/male supremacy.

    The difference between you and me is that I can’t afford to lie to myself about whether I DO live in that country. Must be nice to have the denial work so well…unless you’re not IN the category ‘potential hate crime victim’, in which case shut up by choking on pie.

    We’re not imagining the war on our families. I wish it were thus, I really do. I’m done with you now.

  166. 166
    somegayname says:

    @NeuroSci: Where did I miss the more guns = more murders? I see more guns = more gun-deaths. That is tautology.
    I looked up the full philly study:
    “At the time of shooting, case participants were also significantly more often involved with alcohol and drugs, outdoors, and closer to areas where more Blacks, Hispanics, and unemployed individuals resided. Case participants were also more likely to be located in areas with less income and more illicit drug trafficking.” Could the illicit drug use or alcohol have any influence? Drug dealers are not more likely to be armed are they?

  167. 167
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Ferd of the Nort: Is it true that in Canada, for a married person to buy a gun, their spouse has to give notice of approval? And for a divorced person, their ex also has to say that they think its okay? I think I heard that on the Maddow show but I’m not sure.

  168. 168
    Mnemosyne says:

    @somegayname:

    I see more guns = more gun-deaths.

    … but only in the US. Strangely, other countries that have lots of guns — some of which have even more guns per capita than the US — have far lower rates of death by gun.

    Which would leave a normal person wondering what the US could be doing differently to change our outcomes but, nope, you just went straight to blaming minorities, didn’t you? I’m guessing you also think the mortgage market imploded because mean ol’ Barney Frank forced the government to give mortgages to black and brown people.

  169. 169
    somegayname says:

    @Mnemosyne: the plural of anecdote is not data. For the anti canada, look at Mexico Super tight licensing restrictions, fewer guns than canada and the US (you’re wrong, no one has more!), but much higher murder rates. (I included two links for murder rate since wikipedia seems outdated, same general gist though). Mexico and Canada both share a border with the US, so the “US GUNZ!1!” argument is out since if canadians wanted to they could gun run just as easily. Data is there, I just haven’t seen anyone do anything with it other than the obvious “more guns = more gun deaths”.

  170. 170
    elmo says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    In the interests of total accuracy, my incident actually happened before the arson; I apologize if I gave the impression it was after. It was well before.

    But it did happen shortly after one particular fellow, who knew my property well, had confronted me in my driveway and demanded to know if my partner was my sister or if we were in “some kind of lifestyle.”

  171. 171
    IrishGirl says:

    I wrote my own blog piece about how gun laws have affected Arizona–my conclusion is the same as Egan’s (& for the record I am gun owner) http://drangedinaz.wordpress.c.....ved-in-az/

  172. 172
    somegayname says:

    @Mnemosyne: Missed the ‘blame minorities’ the first time around. Classy! The only mention of race was the quoted block from the philadelphia study mentioned in Tom’s post. He linked a synopsis, but I linked to the full pubmed author version of the article in comment #166. For what it’s worth, I believe economics is the driving factor, and would like to see a multi-country study comparing violence and murder as a function of gun control, income disparity, and social safety nets.

  173. 173
    NeuroSci says:

    @PhoenixRising: Jesus, don’t be a twit. Somebody driving into your driveway isn’t the same as someone banging on your car. You know nothing about me, so spare me your lectures about privilege.

  174. 174
    NeuroSci says:

    @Mnemosyne: Is that really so impossible to imagine? That coincidences happen and that bad intentions are sometimes only in the eye of the beholder? I don’t blame elmo for being fearful in this situation, but I’m not willing to grant her omniscience.

  175. 175
    NeuroSci says:

    @somegayname: No, that’s not a tautology.

  176. 176
    rapier says:

    The number 1 determinant of if someone will die by gunshot is if there is a gun in the home. Suicide and accident account for some of that but death is death. It matters not for most however because the myths and even fetish are too strong.

    I read a story a few years back and I would be willing to bet this man still has guns and defends them. He was descending the front steps with a gun over his shoulder. Both his sons behind him. The gun discharged and both were killed.

    On the other side of the ledger is auto deaths. Most are random if you don’t account for alcohol. The death and mayhem they cause is great. Without motive death takes on a different cast in our minds. For the dead in either case, it really doesn’t matter.

  177. 177
    Ruckus says:

    I have been shot at 3 times by handguns. Once was by accident, was missed in the head by 357 hollow point by about 2 inches while the gun was about 2 feet away. Once by a fellow shooter who was behind me and missed my back by about 6 inches. Once was when walking in what I found out was a bad neighborhood. The shooter was about 35-50 feet behind me and I was able to run away. Only time I ran anything close to a 4 minute mile. Gun fire will do that to you.
    Notice that the closest shots were what would be termed accidents and that I was armed with a handgun as I was hunting/shooting with the people pulling the trigger. Not once would using a gun have made anything better.
    A ha

  178. 178
    Mnemosyne says:

    @somegayname:

    Missed the ‘blame minorities’ the first time around. Classy! The only mention of race was the quoted block from the philadelphia study mentioned in Tom’s post.

    You mean the only block that you quoted, complete with your commentary?

    “At the time of shooting, case participants were also significantly more often involved with alcohol and drugs, outdoors, and closer to areas where more Blacks, Hispanics, and unemployed individuals resided. Case participants were also more likely to be located in areas with less income and more illicit drug trafficking.” Could the illicit drug use or alcohol have any influence? Drug dealers are not more likely to be armed are they?

    Gosh, I can’t imagine how anyone would think you could possibly be making a racial point by reading the only block you decided to quote and the commentary you added to it.

  179. 179
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NeuroSci:

    Is that really so impossible to imagine? That coincidences happen and that bad intentions are sometimes only in the eye of the beholder? I don’t blame elmo for being fearful in this situation, but I’m not willing to grant her omniscience.

    It’s not impossible to imagine, but it doesn’t seem like the most likely possibility since elmo had already been personally threatened by someone.

    Keep an open mind, but don’t let logic fall out while you do it. Occam’s razor says that someone showing up at your house way out in the country at 1 am after driving up your mile-long driveway a few days after you have a threatening conversation with a neighbor is quite unlikely to be a total coincidence. Possible, but not likely.

  180. 180
    madeinamerica says:

    @rapier:

    For the dead in either case, it really doesn’t matter.

    And not just for the dead. The parents and siblings and children and friends of the dead also grieve the same, whether the loved one they lost died from an accident or suicide or murder.

  181. 181
    handy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    well that block quote also includes “unemployed individuals” as a separate and distinct group. Doubtless somelamename will note that and declare victory. But yeah, we’ve been having some stellar commentary on race in this blog the last few days.

  182. 182
    someGayName says:

    @NeuroSci: I abused a propositional logic term. My point was that a lot of gun crimes are gun crimes because guns are easily available. Making guns harder to acquire may just shift the mode of violence to the new easily available mode of violence.

  183. 183
    Sasha says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    This wikipedia entry lists gun ownership rates by country. You’ll notice that Switzerland comes in 3rd after the US and Yemen. Canada is also in the top 15. But the per capita death rate from guns in those two countries is waaay less than in the US. So is there something that Canada or Switzerland does w.r.t. guns that the US doesn’t? Just wondering here.

    Here the Wikipedia entry on gun politics in Switzerland.

    And the entry for Canada.

  184. 184
    Batocchio says:

    Nice work as usual, but extra style points for the Repin painting.

  185. 185
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Sasha: Thanks. Unless I missed something, the big difference between the US and Switzerland seems to be that every Swiss male gets firearms training as part of military training. For Canada, every gun owner has to pass a firearms safety course and wait 28 or more days (for a background check) to buy a gun. Can it be that simple?

  186. 186
    someGayName says:

    @Mnemosyne: The racial data was bookended by the drug and economic information to which I assigned causation. You are the racist who (willfully?) confuses correlation for causation.

  187. 187
    celticdragonchick says:

    As Tim F. pointed out here several days ago, the story of an almost-wrongful-shooting at the Arizona massacre gave the lie to that nonsense.

    Considering he didn’t draw his weapon to begin with, it seems like calling this an “almost wrongful shooting” is a bit like saying “almost pregnant”.

    He showed proper judgment…and better than many police officers faced with similar circumstances. What the deuce?

  188. 188
    someGayName says:

    @celticdragonchick: It’s against the narrative to allow for a competent person conceal carrying. Also too, since a gun did no good in this situation, it follows that a gun will be no good in any situation. I am also a racist for quoting from the article Tom cited, and noting that drug dealers might be more prone to / subjected to violence as an occupational hazard.

  189. 189
    Bill ORLY says:

    @rapier: And, interestingly, the single most important determination of being killed in a car crash is having access to an automobile…

    Lots of hyperbole on both sides here. This is the problem with this argument (and abortion, and many others). Lots of passion, very little intelligent consideration. I own guns. I shoot guns. I’d bet a shiny new nickel that I shoot FAR more than 98% of law enforcement (discounting tactical operators, who generally train more but STILL make serious errors of judgment like the operator in Utah who murdered the guy with a golf club during a warrant raid). I have witnessed multiple LEOs who should not be carrying a pistol. A badge is not a magical item conferring correct judgment or infallible accuracy.

    I think the 30+ magazines have no place in the public, but in competitive shooting, there are divisions which rely on these levels of capacity (Limited, Open). And, why is 10 rounds the appropriate number? Is it because it is a nice round number?, or because we rely on base-10 numbering systems? Why not 15? 17 (I’d vote for this, because it’s a prime…)? How does regulation impact competitors?

    I’ve argued many times that if someone is going to carry an implement of deadly force, they should be trained and have an understanding of the implications of using said weapon. I think it is insane how easy it is to get and carry a gun (I live in AZ). Anyone I know who wants to carry a concealed weapon I advise taking the CCW class (even though no longer a requirement) and practicing constantly.

    My shooting is essentially a martial art. It is not intended to be practice for when SHTF (look it up; it’s a common gun-nut meme). In the same vein, someone with a black belt in karate isn’t training to beat someone up; they are doing specific tasks to advance in rank. However, in a situation where someone is threatening violence, the skills learned in either discipline may overlap.

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