Guns in American History & the American Mind

dont curb our 2nd amendment rights(Nick Anderson via GoComics.com – click link for full-sized image)
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Benjamin Wallace-Wells, in NYMag, on “Adam Lanza’s Arsenal“:

If you ask gun-rights activists why Americans appear to be buying so many more firearms than was the case five years ago, they will usually give a sociological explanation or a political one. But when they explain why they themselves first bought a gun, they tend to describe something more personal. Often they will tell a story of a confrontation with violence and a specific terror that it left behind. One former national-board member of the NRA told me that he bought his first gun in the sixties in North Carolina, where he was working for a federal anti-poverty program, after he found himself chased down a nighttime road by hooded Klansmen. Another gun activist, a theology professor, told me about threats leveled against the institution and the compulsion he felt afterward to protect his students and fellow teachers. In one recent ad for Glock, an armed goon walks into a diner in order to rob it only to find the place filled with off-duty cops, each of them packing a concealed pistol. “Somebody picked the wrong diner,” the man behind the counter says, so full of confidence he is nearly sneering. When gun owners talk about mastering a firearm for the first time, this is often the tone they end on, the new gun changing the balance of their confrontation with violence and restoring their conviction. The gun becomes a prophylaxis against fear….

…[T]he current popularity of the AR-15 seems to reflect a sense of instability that runs deeper than crime. The Harvard professor Edward Glaeser once wrote a paper explaining that people tended to buy the most guns in communities where the power of the state, and its ability to protect its citizens, seemed most distant, a category that includes parts of rural America and the poorest sections of the inner city. One way of viewing the vogue for assault weapons is that those geographic distinctions have now become states of mind. Farnam told me that among his shooting students, he could detect an amorphous anxiety, an “impending sense of doom across Western civilization,” a sense that the economic collapse and the riots in Greece portended “something terrible.”…

Nancy Lanza owned at least five guns. In the wake of the shooting, some of her neighbors told reporters that she had an affinity for weapons, that she was a gun nut, but the size of her collection wasn’t so unusual. The average gun-­owning American household, according to a Harvard study, has about five. In these American collections are nearly half the guns in the world. They are expensive, precision pieces of machinery, rarely discarded or destroyed, and even as they change hands, it takes decades for them to begin to decay. One story gun-rights activists told me, proudly, was that during the Cold War, as Soviet generals were making plans for some final war, they ruled out invading America because of the sheer scale of guns and ammunition in private hands. I doubt this story is exactly true, but it’s easy to imagine the Russian reluctance. We are talking about an astonishing mass of metal.

There is a perverse, escalating logic at work in the history of gun ownership in America, where the ancient fears of the nineteenth-century frontier survive in every long rifle, still functioning and lethal, and the legacy of every home­owner’s fear of a break-in during the eighties is an ­idiot­proof Glock. The entry point into the current gun-control debate is that this existing collection will be left alone. “I’m not going to take away your guns,” Barack Obama promised on the 2008 campaign trail, and even as Joe Biden has, since the Newtown massacre, urged strict gun-control reform, he has also been careful to point out that other weapons (a shotgun) would remain legal. Liberals know that any more aggressive intervention would be impossible, practically and politically. But it has meant that the existing store of 300 million or so guns will outlast the present reform effort—each of them being handed down through the generations, sold, stolen, stored away, waiting for the moment when it is required.






76 replies
  1. 1
    Joel says:

    If the Soviets were to invade the United States, wouldn’t they have just cleared everyone out with nuclear weapons first?

  2. 2
    Johannes says:

    So very appalling, and so very true. Words fail me.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    I’m not exactly sure what the point is unless someone actually didn’t already know this?

  4. 4
    MikeBoyScout says:

    In the Snickers Bar of gun nutty goodness, it is useless to pick on one nutty nuget, but

    One story gun-rights activists told me, proudly, was that during the Cold War, as Soviet generals were making plans for some final war, they ruled out invading America because of the sheer scale of guns and ammunition in private hands. I doubt this story is exactly true, but it’s easy to imagine the Russian reluctance.

    In addition to the notion of a possible Soviet invasion of the USA being nonsense, Americans are willfully ignorant of the fact that the only “invading” by one of the two nations (USA vs. USSR) was done by us.
    e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.....Contingent

  5. 5
    SatanicPanic says:

    Liberals know that any more aggressive intervention would be impossible, practically and politically.

    This is just wrong. We can argue about whether it would be wise, but impossible, no.

  6. 6
    efgoldman says:

    Did I miss the part where he mentioned the ni[clang] in the White House?
    Need better surveys.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    @Joel: To the NRA, that statement would simply mean that individual Americans need to be allowed to have their own nuclear weapons.

  8. 8
    scav says:

    @MikeBoyScout: That just leaves me wondering why the gun nuts were so clearly informed of the inner workings of supposedly top secret plans of the Soviets. Were they invited? Or do they run their own shadow extra-governmental international spy ops? Granted my macular-detenerated great uncle was holding himself and armory at the ready to defend his trailor and small town in downstate from the rolling Soviet tanks during the 80s. I’ve no doubt the neighbors slept the sounder for it.

  9. 9
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @MikeBoyScout: I also heard another version, where the Japanese would not invade the USA in WWII because there would be a “rifle behind every blade of grass” as the story goes(nevermind that global domination was not the purpose of Imperial Japan’s role in WWII). You only hope that these idiotic Red Dawn fantasies will die out with some of the nuts, but don’t hold your breath.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    One story gun-rights activists told me, proudly, was that during the Cold War, as Soviet generals were making plans for some final war, they ruled out invading America because of the sheer scale of guns and ammunition in private hands.

    That’s some weapons grade Wolverines p0rn right there.

  11. 11
    The Dangerman says:

    …during the Cold War, as Soviet generals were making plans for some final war, they ruled out invading America because of the sheer scale of guns and ammunition in private hands. I doubt this story is exactly true…

    It’s exactly horseshit.

  12. 12
    SatanicPanic says:

    @MikeBoyScout: That’s just a lame variation on the “Japanese didn’t invade the USA because Admiral Yamamoto said there would be a gun behind every blade of grass.” A quote which, surprise surprise, has never been verifiably attributed to him. These people are shameless about making up quotes and stories like this; it’s borderline pathological.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    This is such a bizarre sentence:

    But it has meant that the existing store of 300 million or so guns will outlast the present reform effort—each of them being handed down through the generations, sold, stolen, stored away, waiting for the moment when it is required.

    Isn’t there a not insignificant difference between these guns being “handed down through the generations, sold, STOLEN, or stored away?” If grandpa has 5 guns and grandma has 5 guns, Great Uncle has 5 guns (and no kids) and they all pass them on “through the generations” to the one kid who wants them he gets 15 guns to add to his stash. Or they get stolen. Or they get sold. What they are “Required” for is anyone’s guess but its far from clear that they will be locatable when they are “required.”

    The guns may or may not endure but they are just as likely to be pulped as a broken down car if circumstances change and make it less socially acceptable to own them, or less necessary to the paranoid contingent.

  14. 14
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Not to sound pessimistic, but it seems almost useless to engage this rationally. I’ve tried explaining to gun people the sheer unlikeliness of their fend-off-an-attacker scenario, especially compared to the likelihood that their gun will kill them or a family member, as well as that street crime has been on the wane for 20 years. And the response is usually some variation of “but it could happen!”

    Yeah, it could. You could also be killed in a plane crash. Equally unlikely, but the very idea of it leaves some people absolutely petrified of flying.

    You can’t engage with fear. It’s an irrational emotion. We should focus on making sure that the people who aren’t afraid can live their lives in peace rather than trying to separate fear addicts from their fix.

  15. 15
    c u n d gulag says:

    A large part of this countries gun problem, stems from the fact that the gun manufacturers that the NRA represents, make their product TOO damn well!

    Most cars, no matter how much to try to take care of them, eventually fall apart, or have problems too expensive to make repair worth the time, money, and/or effort.

    But, if gun owners do even barely adequate gun maintenance, a gun will last for decades, if not longer.

    Our gun makers make guns TOO well, so that, instead of the “planned obsolescence” that we have with cars, so you have to buy one every once in awhile, they have to sell more and more guns to less and less people (since gun ownership is declining, NOT increasing), and so, have to keep coming up with new ‘worst-case’ scenario’s for people to continue to buy their product.

    Maybe we’re looking at the solution to this problem the wrong way:
    Maybe the way to look at it, since some poeple will always want guns – usually the same people who already have them – is, to keep gun-makers making a profit, for the government not to limit the guns that people can own, but make the quality of the guns that people who want them to own, worse.

    Let the gun-makers make guns like Yugo’s – cheap, problem-ridden, and constantly needing replacement.
    Planned ‘gun obsolescence’ will keep the gun-makers in profits, while keeping the folks who feel that they want/need to have a gun, spending more and more for them, since their guns deteriorate and fall apart much quicker.

    Just a thought.
    Probably a very stupid one, at that… :-)

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    You can’t engage with fear. It’s an irrational emotion. We should focus on making sure that the people who aren’t afraid can live their lives in peace rather than trying to separate fear addicts from their fix.

    Conservatives can’t live without their fear:

    “It’s not that conservative people are more fearful, it’s that fearful people are more conservative. People who are scared of novelty, uncertainty, people they don’t know, and things they don’t understand, are more supportive of policies that provide them with a sense of surety and security,” McDermott said.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    I sometimes wonder if it comes from the same psychological place as helicopter parenting: the fact that we experience far, far fewer random deadly threats every day than we did in years past (not just crime, but also disease, accidents, etc.) only makes some people more convinced that they can and should control every situation that crops up in their lives, no matter how minor.

    It’s not just the fear, it’s that the fear is soothed by the assumption that having a gun means they will be able to control any situation they happen to be in. Taking away someone’s gun isn’t just taking a weapon, it’s taking their illusion that they control every situation, and that’s what enrages them.

    Just a theory, of course. ;-)

  18. 18
  19. 19
    hoodie says:

    One story gun-rights activists told me, proudly, was that during the Cold War, as Soviet generals were making plans for some final war, they ruled out invading America because of the sheer scale of guns and ammunition in private hands. I doubt this story is exactly true, but it’s easy to imagine the Russian reluctance. We are talking about an astonishing mass of metal.

    This story is no doubt complete Red Dawn horseshit. The Soviets wouldn’t have invaded America because they couldn’t fucking get here in any force and would have been decimated in the process by air defenses and a vast naval fleet, not to mention submarine and aircraft-based nukes. Not sure what the point of this essay is, but it seems to be a subtle flavor of apologia for doing nothing about gun nuttery, i.e., “we can’t do anything about existing arsenals, so let’s give up.” Sure, we’ve had guns in this country for hundreds of years, but the proliferation of assault style weapons and the subculture grown up around it is a relatively recent phenomena that, surprise, correlates to mass advertising and marketing of such guns and associated survivalist paraphernalia. There is no relationship between “ancient fears of the nineteenth-century frontier survive in every long rifle” and Nancy Lanza. The latter represents a consumer fetish exploited by gun purveyors and con men that traffic in survivalist chic.

  20. 20
    Mike in NC says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: No doubt some hack screenwriter in Hollywood is working on “Red Dawn 3D”.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scav:

    From the article:

    Police said in an email that an argument involving one of the victims led to the shooting. They described the video as showing two men leaving the argument and returning with a third, then approaching the victim and shooting. No arrests were immediately reported.

    You know how the gun fans keep coming in and claiming that the assault rate is much higher in countries like the UK than it is here? That’s because in countries like the UK, this kind of argument ends in a fistfight (assault) rather than in innocent bystanders being shot.

    But apparently some people would prefer to have innocent bystanders get shot than have — oh noes! — two guys physically fight when they have a beef with each other.

  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    Of course it’s not rational. But that doesn’t matter, either, and we have to stop thinking it does.

    For whatever reason, the modern wingnut is right on the brink of pants-wetting fear at any given moment. That’s where the rage comes from, this generates the paranoia, and that’s why they cannot think rationally.

    Annnnnnnnnnnnd, we’re right back where we started.

  23. 23
    scav says:

    @Mnemosyne: Practically thinking, I think it’s closer to this. Moreover, many Americans think you can buy control. Live in the right neighborhood and bad things don’t happen. Buy the right drugs or energy drinks, or vitamins and you’re healthy.

    ETA we’ve probably made this very confusing by simultaneous replies, no? ahhhh, the wormholes of the interwebs. . .

  24. 24
    Tomolitics says:

    @SatanicPanic: I agree. For example, gun buy back programs are extremely effective. Why just throw up our hands? Maybe some persistence & strategic thinking are in order. Oh, and intestinal fortitude, too.

  25. 25
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Violet:

    People who are scared of novelty, uncertainty, people they don’t know, and things they don’t understand

    Funny thing is, that describes me more than I’d like to admit. But I prefer to interpret ‘policies that provide a sense of safety and security’ as things like, you know, social security and medicare, infrastructure that works, having a steady paying job and not falling into oblivion if I lose that job, good schools, some wilderness areas that aren’t cut to ribbons in search of oil and gas, etc. And the way to accomplish safety and security with those things is not to actively destroy them or sell them to the highest bidder the way the Tea Party wants to.

    I think the great untold story of politics is how on issues of public policy (i.e. leaving out gay marriage, abortion, etc.) conservatives have become radicals who want to tear everything down and rebuild it in their own (political) image, the way communists and anarchists used to want to do, and how liberals have become the group that stands athwart history, if you will. The only place that hasn’t happened is guns, where conservatives seem to think it’s perpetually the 19th century and all that stands between their town and its takeover by rustlers, injuns, yankees, and banditos is them and their gun.

  26. 26
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Another fear fantasy of these nuts, is that the Bloods,Crips,MS-13 or some other nefarious group will somehow drive out to where the gunowner’s neighborhood is , suburb, exurb or somewhere out in the rural boondocks and commit mayhem. That is why Jethro needs an arsenal that repell even ZEE Germans. Try to talk them down if you can.

  27. 27
    efgoldman says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Let the gun-makers make guns like Yugos

    Best idea I’ve seen this weekend.

  28. 28
    Jay C says:

    …where conservatives seem to think it’s perpetually the 19th century and all that stands between their town and its takeover by rustlers, injuns, yankees, and banditos is them and their gun.

    Or “liberals“, which they consider even worse….

  29. 29
    raven says:

    They were called “zip guns”.

    Google that shit if you want to get all “scared”.

  30. 30
    J R in W Va says:

    I heard the story about invading America as being the reason the Japanese Imperial forces didn’t was the number of sharp shooters they would face. It was in a novel by Harry Turtledove about Hawai’i being occupied by the Japanese after Pearl Harbor.

    I’m mostly posting to see if BJ recreates my nym and email…

  31. 31
    Pinkamena Panic says:

    @Jay C:

    …where conservatives seem to think it’s perpetually the 19th century and all that stands between their town and its takeover by rustlers, injuns, yankees, and banditos is them and their gun.

    Or “liberals“, which they consider even worse….

    Or worse yet: Brown people. In fact, that’s what most of it seems to be about, even as far back as the aforementioned 19th century. The whiteys needed their guns just in case all those brown folks got too uppity and tried to leave the place in society we locked them into. Then, once that happened anyhow and utter chaos didn’t result, the whiteys needed guns just in case them grabby uppitys tried to take their hard-earned white-guy stuff.

    Which leads directly to the “most gun crimes in MURKAFUCKYEAR are done by dem damn negro street gang thugs” meme pushed by the gun-fellaters. The words change, but the song is the same.

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    One story gun-rights activists told me, proudly, was that during the Cold War, as Soviet generals were making plans for some final war, they ruled out invading America because of the sheer scale of guns and ammunition in private hands. I doubt this story is exactly true

    “Exactly?”

    Try “so completely untrue it’s not even worthy of the title ‘urban legend.'” Reasons why the Soviets never invaded America go 1) we have nukes, 2) the world’s two largest oceans stand between us and any potential invasion force, and 3) we’re a pretty big fucking country, which would require an enormous amount of troops and resources to conquer and hold. Although really, after # 1 every other reason is kind of just icing on the cake.

    “The Soviets are afraid of gun owners.” LOLOLOLOLOL. Yes, I’m sure they were! That explains why they never invaded Afghanistan!

  33. 33
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Tomolitics: No kidding. Not to mention you can have all the guns in the world, but if you regulated bullet sales, those guns wouldn’t be all that useful. I’ve had gun owners say “I’d make my own!” Ok buddy. Do that. Good luck! Most people wouldn’t bother with all that. Gun violence will probably always be endemic to some degree, but if could get down to a level where it wasn’t every city, every damn day, that would be something.

  34. 34
    bemused says:

    About a month ago, there was an article in the NYT, More Guns=More Killing about countries where guns are everywhere, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Columbia and Venezuela. In Guatemala, it’s risky to ride a public bus, more than 500 drivers have been killed in robberies since 2007. Honduras led the world in homicides, 91.6 per 100,000 people. The US rate is about 5.

    David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Center said, “If you live in a more civilized society, more guns mean more death”. (Suicide, women and children with guns in the home, along with homicide. He also said, “If you living in a ‘Mad Max’ world, where criminals have free rein and there’s no government to stop them, then I’d want to be armed. But we’re not in that circumstance. We’re a developed, stable country”.

    Gun nuts imagine we do live in a Mad Max world.

  35. 35
    Suffern Ace says:

    @Chris: yet Alaska is so close. I remember a mini series from the 80s where the soviets invade the soft Alaskan underbelly, capture the Alaska pipeline and demand that we surrender now that they have the oil. And I think that one ended in nuclear war. I believe this was even before Wolverines was out there as a concept.

  36. 36
    Anoniminous says:

    Given the fact most gun related violence is committed by a family member against another family member I submit there is a Darwinian solution lurking in the underbelly of the problem.

  37. 37

    Right, and now you have “authority figures” like this Milwaukee County sheriff telling people they need to “arm themselves” because it’s basically their duty to their family and community. You know, like you’re a bad citizen if you don’t because in this era of budget cuts, you just can’t count on the police to be there when you need them.

    This message brought to you by your local gun manufacturers! You know, the same ones touting all of that tax-cuttin’ and small-guvermintin’, to make sure your police force is so small you need to arm yourself in lieu of relying on a once functioning institution.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    My guess — and I will say that I don’t actually know you, so I could be talking out of my ass — is that, while you may be afraid of things like starvation, you are not also a control freak who feels compelled to try and make sure that you will never have to ask anyone for help or depend on anyone else, ever.

    To me, that’s the toxic combination: fear plus a conviction that no one else will ever help you so you have to do everything yourself.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    @WereBear:

    For whatever reason, the modern wingnut is right on the brink of pants-wetting fear at any given moment. That’s where the rage comes from, this generates the paranoia, and that’s why they cannot think rationally.

    I think the conservative media echo chamber has a lot to do with keeping the fear alive and building it up to completely insane levels.

    Every single day, these people turn on the TV/radio/Internet and discover a new instance of Obama sending brown-shirted enforcers to shut down free speech, a new government regulation that will kill their grandmas, new evidence incontrovertibly proving that Islamo-fascism has infiltrated our government and the Political Correctness Police is to blame, a new study proving that black and brown lynch mobs are killing whites and the liberal media is covering it up, etc, etc, etc. Every. Single. Day.

    They were always fearful schmucks, but Fox & co have taken that fear and cultivated it to a level that defies comprehension. Hard to break that kind of cycle.

  40. 40
    Xenos says:

    The last couple decades of gun hysteria can not sustain itself indefinitely… at some point the fever has to break. But maybe the best metaphor is not medical but rather financial: that there is a gun bubble driving demand and keeping prices high. Eventually there will be so many guns that they are all worthless.

  41. 41
    PopeRatzo says:

    My father bought me my first gun. I was 10 years old and although he was a hunter and sportsman, his experiences in WWII’s China-Burma theater left him with a steadily decreasing taste for shooting.

    Later, as I became a proficient martial artist, I went through a phase where I believed that proficiency in handguns was just part of making my training more complete. I qualified marksman and later sharpshooter. It never occurred to me to use a gun against a person any more than I would use gongfu or xingyichuan against a person. I just never got around to getting rid of the guns even as I lost my own taste for them.

    Now, I keep them because I’m afraid of an increasingly radical, armed Right Wing. It’s probably not logically sound, but as long as Ted Nugent has a gun, I believe I have to be able to protect myself.

  42. 42
    Culture of Truth says:

    Boris: we should totally invade America

    Vlad: eh why not!?

    Ivan: but the guns!

    Boris: ach, let’s have another drink

  43. 43
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’ve said it for a long time. They believe guns make them bulletproof. It explains everything.

  44. 44
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    They believe guns make them bulletproof. It explains everything.

    That broad-brush covers just about everything, but it doesn’t do much to sustain your Nym.

  45. 45
    Chris says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    Now, I keep them because I’m afraid of an increasingly radical, armed Right Wing. It’s probably not logically sound, but as long as Ted Nugent has a gun, I believe I have to be able to protect myself.

    I have a cousin from New York who moved to North Carolina a few years back and that I remember saying something like this (“now that I live in a red state, I do want a gun.”)

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    Why didn’t Panama invade America?

  47. 47
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Well, I think people shouldn’t have to rely only on themselves to get what they want in life. But the way things are going, I can’t say with confidence that they won’t.

  48. 48
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Ben Franklin: Fair enough.

    But it does seem like many gun enthusiasts view a gun as a device that can prevent a burglary, or assault, or whatever, rather than fight one off.

    If thought of guns like that, you can bet I’d want one too!

  49. 49
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Chris:

    There was a joke Roger Ebert once told in one of his movie reviews: “A friend of mine says he needs a gun because he lives in an unsafe neighborhood. I said ‘it would be a lot safer if you moved.'” Funny and statistically accurate!

  50. 50
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Well, isn’t people overestimating their own competence at everything a pretty standard psychological trait? Everyone thinks they’re John McClane or Rambo and that they can take down a dozen attackers at once. Of course, those movies also have people who take dozens of shots at the hero and miss every one, and there are a lot more of them than the hero.

  51. 51
    ericblair says:

    @Pinkamena Panic:

    Or worse yet: Brown people. In fact, that’s what most of it seems to be about, even as far back as the aforementioned 19th century.

    Um, yeah. This holds for a variety of wingnut-approved “solutions” that would seem to have serious flaws:

    Q: If legal immigrants have to show valid papers but citizens don’t, how can you tell a citizen that doesn’t need them from an illegal immigrant that doesn’t have them?

    Wingnut A: Because the illegal immigrant is brown and the citizen isn’t. Duh.

    Q: If people are allowed concealed carry in most places and a gunfight started, how can you tell the criminals from the law-abiding citizens trying to stop them?

    Wingnut A: Because the criminals are black and the law-abiding citizen’s aren’t. Duh.

    You can apply this to an awful lot of the wingnut social code.

  52. 52
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    I think of a mini-holocaust, wherein I am forced to watch helplessly as my loved ones are slaughtered like cattle.

  53. 53
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Yes, but it’s this undefined sense of a gun as a protection device that’s interesting also explains why someone would want and find it so comforting. As if the house or person carrying a gun projects an aura that says ‘don’t mess with me’ that makes the person or household safer from even the initial attack.

  54. 54
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Ben Franklin: Is that a common occurrence where you live?

  55. 55
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Culture of Truth: Thus all the “Protected by Smith & Wesson” window cards / bumper stickers. They’re the equivalent of a mezuzah or a religious statue on the dashboard/in the yard — protection against evil, temporal OR spiritual!

  56. 56
    👽 Martin says:

    So, we have a security detail a few houses away from us – daughter of a local police. Since Dorners first 2 murders were here (and our PD takes some pride in us having a safest city in America title), they’re taking things pretty seriously. So, there’s a manned patrol car on the street 24/7. They also have details at all of the schools with kids of PD officers (this city or any other – we have a number of LAPD officers that live here).

    Since the officers need to remain on patrol, last night they had a block party for them – brought out a gas fire pit, barbecued, roasted marshmallows, someone brought out a projector and they showed a movie for the kids. Needless to say, we all get along pretty well with the police here and we know quite a lot of them by name. We wandered by and hung out a bit.

    The police indicated they have no fucking clue where Dorner is, but they expect that now that he’s on defense he’s going to lay low, wait for things to calm down. They’re pretty convinced that he’s smart enough to know that once they have a lead on him, he’s fucked. The concern is that he’s planning another move, will pop up somewhere at random, ditch anything that can track him (car, etc.) and they’ll lose him again, and this will just keep repeating.

    I asked and the teatard family that lives next door to the patrol were invited but weren’t interested in participating. Knowing them, they probably figure the patrol is there to spy on them.

  57. 57
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Is that a common occurrence where you live?

    Have you had any shootings in an affluent area, such as the two young people murdered by a copnut who wanted revenge on the girl’s father? Notice the interviews of the neighbors;
    what do they say to the interviewer from TEE VEE News?

    “It’s such a safe neighborhood. We didn’t think it could happen here”

    It can happen anywhere. To be forearmed, you must first be aware.

  58. 58
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Ben Franklin: okay

  59. 59
  60. 60
    russell says:

    the legacy of every home­owner’s fear of a break-in during the eighties is an ­idiot­proof Glock.

    sadly, there is no idiot-proof glock.

  61. 61
    russell says:

    I think of a mini-holocaust, wherein I am forced to watch helplessly as my loved ones are slaughtered like cattle.

    is there any reason for you to think this might actually happen?

    there are places where this might be a reasonable fear. in most places, for most people, it’s approximately as likely as being hit by lightning.

  62. 62
    danielx says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Nice thought, but…gun folks are vary well informed as to the quality of one weapon versus another, right down to the quality of steel or alloy or composites used. They know what’s good and what’s not. There are a few manufacturers out there who do produce crappy weapons, but for a gun to function properly and dependably it has to be well made with high quality materials. Reasonable enough, who wants a gun that might malfunction when you need it the most or worse yet blow up in your hand? In gun sales you get what you pay for more than in most consumer goods, and the difference in quality and dependability between a $200 gun (assuming you can find one these days) and an $800 gun is obvious. Of course they’re going to last for a long time if not abused, they’re meant to.

    That being said, the quality of gun makers’ marketing is what truly stands out. You’d think that with the life of a properly maintained good quality gun measured in decades that demand would become more and more inelastic over time; nay, not so! As witness the current frenzy in gun and ammunition sales, driven by marketing playing upon the fears of owners and potential owners. Much like the one that started in 2009 because the Kenyan Imposter was coming for everybody’s guns, for about a year and a half it was just about impossible to get commonly used ammunition like nine mm because people were buying it and hoarding it. What any reasonable person is going to do with a couple thousand rounds of pistol ammunition is a whole ‘nother question, but that’s what they want to have on hand in a lot of cases – kind of like Linus’ blanket, it makes them feel secure.

    For your true freaks, almost new is not as good as new, and if one or two are good three, four, five or six are much better. Bear in mind that these aren’t poor people, generally – a poor person can’t afford to go out and drop seven or eight hundred bucks on a hunk of metal that’s going to sit in a drawer or safe ninety percent of the time.

    Not rational, no.

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    Brendan in NC says:

    @Pinkamena Panic: Exactly!

    When i lived up north, in Doug and Mistermix’s area, I worked at a grocery store, third shift, open 24 hours on the edge of the city. A Wegmans, no less.

    I got held up at least 3 times a year for the 5 yrs I worked overnights. Never actually saw a gun, but i wasn’t about to call their bluff.

    It only made me more aware of my surroundings and my work pattern. I’ve never owned a gun, or wanted to – even after that.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Have you had any shootings in an affluent area, such as the two young people murdered by a copnut who wanted revenge on the girl’s father?

    It’s kind of funny that you’re less worried about keeping guns out of the hands of insane people than you are about the possibility that someone who holds a secret grudge against one of your family members might try to kill you.

    Here’s a wacky thought: maybe a guy who’d been fired from the LAPD for cause shouldn’t have been allowed to own a gun? Or is that too extremist, so our only option is to wait around for the nuts to come try and kill us?

  65. 65
    Haydnseek says:

    Lots of talk about “fear of a break-in.” They don’t fear it, they hope for it. This way all the fantasies come true. They get to shoot a gen-u-wine honest to god evildoer, legal consequences be damned. But best yet, they can fulfill all their hero fantasies at the same time. This is just a rehearsal for when the blahs, browns, and liberals come for their guns, freedoms, and wimmen. Of course, once they’ve saved the day, the purtiest ones will reward them in the way they have always imagined (especially when nobody else is in the house, or really late at night.) How many times to I have to hear one of these fapping assholes give the “if you shoot him in your yard, drag him into the house before you call the cops” advice. Sure, a lot of it is just Budweiser bravado, but the movies these people play in their heads are truly dangerous.

  66. 66
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Haydnseek:

    “if you shoot him in your yard, drag him into the house before you call the cops” advice.

    People say that? Do the words ‘tampering with evidence’ mean anything to these bungholes?

  67. 67
    p says:

    @danielx: Funny thing about gun folks knowing which weapons are good and which aren’t — the extent to which they argue when any one weapon is described as a more powerful killing weapon than another.

  68. 68
    Haydnseek says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: They just want to be able to say that they shot someone who was in the house. That way they’re off the hook. Kill someone lurking around the side of your house by the trash bins, and it’s murder. The fact that Barney Fife could follow a blood trail from outside through a window or door never seems to occur to them.

  69. 69
    danielx says:

    @p:

    Oh, absolutely. Ridiculous debates, much worse than people arguing over (ahem) the merits of the Yankees – like they’ve got any – versus the Red Sox.

  70. 70
    Ruckus says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    It’s not a stupid idea except that normally one uses a car. It wears out or breaks or succumbs to rust if one lives in a road salting state. Guns do wear out if you use them enough, they last a long time because most people never or very lightly use them. Also, unless you are competing in target shooting, a gun can be pretty worn out and will still function as a killing mechanism.

  71. 71
    shecky says:

    Farnam told me that among his shooting students, he could detect an amorphous anxiety, an “impending sense of doom across Western civilization,”

    Funny. Left/liberals can be pretty prone to this, too. But they tend to retreat into a sullen navel gazey cocoon rather than get all Second Amendment solution-y.

  72. 72
    vhh says:

    People have always loved gadgets that promise to change their lives. Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, watches, Swiss Army knives, high-heeled shoes, expensive sneakers, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, bicycles, cars, and guns. Sometimes these desires have a rational basis, but more often they don’t (the number of people who REALLY need a smartphone with a 5 inch screen is very very small). But NEED doesn’t matter, it is WANT (or perhaps, more accurately, FETISH) that counts. And in this we are like crows who collect shiny objects. The only way to knock something off the wish list is to offer something better.or make it impossibly expensive to buy.

  73. 73
    Paul in KY says:

    @c u n d gulag: Those kinds of guns are already made. They are the Saturday Night special kind of guns.

    Anyone who would want a gun doesn’t usually want one of those, because they may blow up in their hands sometime.

    The gun has to be made well for the same reason a diesel engine has to be made well.

  74. 74
    Trakker says:

    @bemused:

    Gun nuts imagine we do live in a Mad Max world.

    Exactly. Back in the early 90’s I posted frequently on AOL’s gun forum and mentioned that I just had a bumper sticker made that said,”Gun Free and Proud of it” and the gunners were aghast! They warned me not to do it. They said my house would be targeted and broken into repeatedly, putting my wife and children in harm’s way, not to mention being held up at night at gas stations, etc. Some were delighted that finally a gun control freak was gonna’ learn a lesson the hard way.

    They really believed it. I drove around with the bumper sticker all over DC and parked the car in front of my house and nothing ever happened of course. I’ve never forgotten how certain those gun nuts were that admitting I had no guns would make me an instant target.

  75. 75
    Elie says:

    Humans are hard wired for territoriality. We are also, like our primate brethren, the chimpanzee, distinctly homicidal. We are animals first and this instinct for lethal self protection can only be overriden by a lot of learning and mitigating experience.

    a lot of folks are stressed and those stress hormones just bathe the brain. Without the kind of experience, awareness, training to stay cool and that you have other ways to address your threats, the old “R” formation synapses in the hypothalamus fire up and we are off to the races. Guns work because they are unbelievably lethal and easy to work when you are upset. Don’t have to get particularly close to what you fear either. You can see where that goes…

    A few weeks ago after Newton, I was walking from my car in the parkinglot of our building and I saw a big empty Bushmaster box in the dumpster. I truly do not know how anyone feels safe around guns… I felt a chill down my back and realy fear of my neighbors for the first time since I moved in…I just felt really scared and wonderered if anyone was watching and lining up cross hairs upstairs as they looked at me…

  76. 76
    lyford says:

    As with almost any issue, the folks making the noise and getting the attention are probably fringe specimens of the group they claim to represent. The gun owners I know go to the range, shoot, come home and put their guns away, and get on with their lives. It’s just another hobby.

    As for feeling safe around guns — it’s all in what you’re used to. My grandfather had a collection covering flintlocks through modern arms, hunting was common, and children were expected to learn to shoot. If you heard someone shooting you wouldn’t run away — you’d wander over to see what was going on.

    Again, as so often in politics, it’s interesting how the language choices help drive this debate. The term “assault weapon” was almost nonexistent before the ban in 1994. When police buy an AR it’s a “patrol rifle”, the department of Homeland Security called them “personal defense weapons” in a recent RFQ, and a gun industry marketing group calls them “modern sporting rifles”. Most gun owners refer to a specific type such as “an AR” or “an AK” if they don’t specify a make & model. No gun owner I know would think of walking into a gun store and asking for an “assault weapon”.
    So-called “high-capacity” magazines are usually the standard capacity that the firearm was designed for.
    A call to ban modern sporting rifles and standard capacity magazines wouldn’t sound nearly as impressive….

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