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December 20, 2012

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After 9/11, movie posters and lobby cards for films that showed the World Trade towers in the background were pulled, or that part was obscured. I noticed it in particular because of the lobby card for Big Eden, which used the New York skyline as shorthand for half of the protgonist's life, the other half being in Montana. There were also people (who had not read Tolkien) who were protesting the title of the second Lord of the Rings movie, on the grounds that it was named The Two Towers to make money from the attack, which it was not.

Given this, it was a bit of a shock, a few years later, to realize from location shots within the series that the studio in Sports Night was theoretically located in one of the towers. And there's no reason why it shouldn't have been; the New York skyline and in particular shots of the World Trade Center had been visual shorthand for New York City for decades, in all sorts of movies and shows. And this show was off the air long before it happened -- but it was still startling. I think it was more startling to me because I had gotten too used to not seeing them, by that time.

You got the "ex" part wrong - it was mom, not ex-wife or -girlfriend. But I'd say close enough.

It's also a little early to make the call on whether we'll see legislation actually pass or not. So, number 7's up in the air.

But number 8 is now officially nailed.

Uncanny.

I believe the poison used in the grape Koolaid at Jonestown was cyanide, with some Valium added.

I'd be interested to learn if cyanide, and Valium, were also removed from the shelves, or if was just the purple Koolaid?

Some people were shot dead, too. Were the types of weapons removed from shelves, too.

While gun sales are up apparently now, I understand Wal Mart and Dick's have removed the Bushmaster from the shelves.

I would not be surprised either, if I were to take the one-for-one SUV, poison, and baseball bat substitution effect seriously that is proffered from some quarters, if members of our cyanide culture, who held absolutist principles regarding the possession of cyanide, didn't protest at the time that cyanide-laced Grape Koolaid was being denied them.

"I'm sorry, we're not selling grape Koolaid today."

"Blast it, I could care less about that, but where's my cyanide-laced Koolaid guaranteed to me by the Tench Coxe of refreshing poisoned beverages?"

I was wrong about Wal-Mart halting sales of the Bushmaster, 13% of whose sales derive from Wal Mart..

The Man Card is apparently being played willy-nilly, jokers, deuces, double-ought-eights wild.

Maybe Wal Mart could be bribed to withhold their inventory, if it was stated politely in Spanish, as in, "we don't need no more stinking guns!"

But, I doubt it.

The Koolaid aisle is fully stocked without a shopper in sight.

Go figure.

Really. Go.

I'd be interested to learn if cyanide, and Valium, were also removed from the shelves, or if was just the purple Koolaid?

They actually used Flavor Aid at Jonestown. Sometimes I wonder if they feel good that their product never got the Jonestown Massacre pinned on them, or if they were irritated that this prime brand-awareness opportunity was robbed from them.

also, re that Australian thing:

from their 07-08 report:

Since monitoring began, homicides involving the use of firearms have decreased by more than half. For example, 25 percent of homicides in 1989–90 (n=76) were known to have involved the use of a firearm, while in 2007–08, firearms were known to have been used in 12 percent (n=30) of homicide incidents. Conversely, the number of homicides involving knives has remained relatively unchanged since 1989–90, although owing to the decline in firearm homicides, knife-related homicides make up a larger proportion of homicides recorded in the more recent data (Figure 9).

so much for the substitution effect.

Just this once, what Russell said doesn't work for me. ;)

Nothing uncanny about the accuracy of Doctor Science's predictions, even accounting for the yeah-buts.

Her predictions follow from repeated observation, just as it is noticed, but not accepted by all, and peer reviewed over time that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Yeah but, they'll ask, what if ... what if I'm observing the sun from a different position in the universe?

Is that your Right or your Left?

Then I'd check your assumptions about gravity too.

"your" not being you, whomever you are, not that you don't know who you(r) are.

Then one should check one's assumptions about one's gravity too.

Better.

The Capcha on that last comment was "yoUa sststurd".

Is the Capcha subject to posting rules?

I will comment tomorrow. On the road and using clumsy I Phone. Piece of carp.

Speaking of contamination and horror, Wal Mart, guns, suicide, Russian ice sculpture, macaroni and cheese, and other yummies in a crazy Mayan calendar stew to be served up tomorrow.

http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=6518cc22-d41b-4ba7-8db0-52b8f5b54607

Last Friday was the end of the world for too many.

Thank you Dr. Science.

From what I hear another reason for the increased sales is good ol' fashioned capitalism. It's an investment. banned weapons and accessories like high capacity magazines can be sold for a huge profit once a ban goes into place.

You see every timesocial reformers want to enact prohibition they cause a reaction that is worse than the problem they want to solve. Earlier i said there would be a black market and some commenters scoffed at my suggestion. Where would it come from they asked? Well, it comes from all the guns and magazines and ammo that is being stockpiled now. believe me, i know folks that are making this kind of investment.

Then these weapons and accessories will be sold without reglation on the black market after a ban. There's always a loop hole or a way around or under the law.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


btw......countme-in you are hilarious. Luv ya!

Doc, now your announcement appears multiple times on both threads.

Before I dive into pop psychology concerning guns let me give another example of non-contamination of something horrific. It has been observed that newspaper (to a lesser degree also TV and radio) reports of suicides, esp. of headline-grabbing ones, lead to an increase of suicides by that method even if the original suicide grabbed the headline because it went terribly wrong. Vienna decided not to report suicides by public transport anymore because of this copycat effect, and several German cities at least considered doing the same. In Vienna the policy seems to have been quite successful (and the bus and tram drivers are very greatful for that). I have no idea why people are inspired to commit suicide by reading about (terribly botched) suicides and then go for that same obviously ill-advised method.

As for guns, it might be as simple as people suddenly getting the idea to get a gun but the only specific gun they can remember is the one they are told about in all media in detail. "I want to buy a gun, please" "Do you want the Lemmingtown LP-59, the Heckel&Cook JH-39 or rather the Wintilsiter GH-77 with extended bucket and quick henning features?" "Eh..do you have the..what was the name exactly?.." (looks into newspaper) "Ah..the Shrublord XP with high capacitor and failing options..whatever that means" "But of course. It is pretty popular these days, no idea why, esp. with gun newbies".
Then there may be the "wow, this gun is impressive to be able to do so much in so short a time" factor, i.e. the 'successful' use of the gun works as its own advertisement. In a very sick way mass murderers are heroes/victors (even if they end up dead by their own hands) and people like to be like heroes (esp. at low cost to themselves). It's an old secret of advertising to insinuate that by buying product X one becomes like the person advertising for said product.
I am no psychologist and this may all be rubbish though.

I think suzie_Q is right about one thing: there are millions of gun owners who will sell high powered weaponry to anyone. That's the essential feature of the black market, anyone, no matter how crazy or criminal or Al-Queda-affiliated can buy. She's 100% right: millions of gun owners would absolutely undermine our security selling weapons to people like Lanza and Loughner in order to make a few bucks.

That's why the NRA fought like hell to make sure the requirement to run background checks on gun buyers doesn't apply to private sales. Because the NRA, along with millions of gun owners, desperately wants anyone to be able to purchase guns, no matter how violent or criminal or insane they are.

Suzie_Q is absolutely right: people don't buy vast stockpiles of firearms for "protection"; that's just absurd. They do it because they want to sell to anyone and they don't care who's buying.

You see every timesocial reformers want to enact prohibition they cause a reaction that is worse than the problem they want to solve.

Its funny, but I was just explaining this to my spouse. I wanted to quit our jobs and start a new company making surface to air missiles. You know, so that anyone could blow up a jetliner the trespasses over their property (has United Airlines ever paid you anything?). She rejected the idea because it is "prohibited" (actually, she mumbled something about ITAR because I wanted to sell to foreigners too), but I explained that prohibition is always worse, so everyone should be able to take down airplanes (you never know when a plane will bomb you so better safe than sorry I say). Plus, the hood-mounted 50 caliber market is going to boom I tell ya.

But that's the problem with women: they don't have any vision.

I'm just speculating here, but, maybe, once you've internalized that you're engaged in an endless shooting war of good versus evil, it isn't the gun that gets contaminated. It's more that the bad guys just escalated to this awesome weapon, so we need to have them too to beat the bad guys.

Hiroshima didn't repel every major power from wanting the atomic bomb: quite the opposite.

Matt McIrvin:

Now *that* makes sense. And it also makes the instant calls for "More guns!" make more emotional sense.

From this POV, gun massacres aren't the catastrophic failures of civil society they look like to e.g. me, they're breakout successes by The Forces of Evil. So naturally, since surrender is unacceptable, you marshal (=arm) more Forces of Good to push back against this temporary defeat.

I'll have to think about this some more and see what other people say, but so far you have the best explanation I've come across.

By any means necessary, we must do everything to prevent the sapping of ourhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KvgtEnABY>precious bodily fluids.

You want to fight Teh Evil? Bending the arc of justice, economic, social, and racial, will attain that goal. The Forces of Good are too easily distracted.

My 4 1/2 cents.

Turbulence, I don't think there are millions of guns owners who would sell to 'anyone'. They might make mistakes though. Then again there are some small number of gun sellers that are or would be unscupulous. The US government otoh isn't so cautious in its sales clientel, but that is a little bit diferent topic.

No one wants rockets and missiles to shoot down airplanes. That's why prohibition works for that. No one wants to do that. When you compare gun owners to people wanting to commit terrorism it really is insulting to gun owners and tells me, IMHO, that you don't understand guns owners and want to demonize them. It's also kind of juvenile, again IMHO.

I think the cry for more guns is sort of related to what Matt said. At least in part. High profile murders reinforce to people that things in our society are unsafe and the response of certain people is to seek to protect themselves.

I also think that it is really important to understand a fundemental difference between the pro gun crowd and the anti gun crowd. The pro gun crowd believes that the world is dangerous and probably always will be. maybe it will get worse. They believe in the right and the ability to defend themselves. They don't see the goverment as being able to deliver complete solutions.

The anti gun crowd believes that society can be made safe by government and that the people should defer to the government for protection. they also minimize the risks currently out there and the risks that might develop in the future.

I truly believe that is the difference and that is the root of the big debate.

i don't think that revolvers and hunting rifles or shotguns are reasonable compromises to the pro gun crowd given their assessment of what an economic collapse would entail, I guess a shtf situation ( I didn't know what that was until someone mentioned on this blog and I googled it).

If shtf, then you want an assault rifle and high cap magazines, right? It does make sense.

Something else: Europe has ben set up as an example of gun free society. An alternative example. It provides little comfort to pro gunners because Europe may not have personal gun owbership like we do, but their history has been sorry where violence is concerned. In less than a hundred years they have have two major wars that killed tens of million and included genocides. Even before that they were very violent toward each other. They've had fascists dictators and kings and all sorts of transitional and violent governemnts in between. Europeans have slaugtered each other in recent history at levels waaaaaay beyond anything that has ever happened here.

if Nazis could arise in germany, maybe they could arise here too. Or are germans just weird that way? What would you do if a group like nazis tried to take over our society? Pro gunners like to believe they would fight. That's what they mean by watering the tree of liberty. Russell seems to think that it means killing people just because it lost an election. It doesn't. It is about a much more serious situation. Hopefully one that never happens.

pro gunners say that rare school shootings are tragid events and a cost that should be minimized, but not at the expense of the people having the ability to resist the rise of a nazi party, as an example.

Any how, I just wanted to put the put the difference in thinking between pro gunners and anti gunners out there to be considered.

Ugh, it's late. Back to studying for my last final.


oh, on the evil thing, like i was saying, most gun owners and even owners of assault rifles are NOT bad people. They are mostly good folks. Yes, they see themselves as being individuals ready to stand up to evil in this world.

I know a lot of liberals are athiests so maybe it sounds strange to talk in those terms. Maybe even something to laugh at. What if we substitute chaos, pain and injustice for evil? Would it make more sense?

I will say again the issue is not one of whether or not 'evil' exists. It's one of who is properly to deal with it: the individual or the government - or both?

I get the sense that liberals want to pass the responsibility of the toughest fights, the real fights, off to the government. I know that conservatives believe in individual responsibility in this area.

Not that guns are the way to fight every problem. Sometimes peaceful ways are much better, like MLK. But I think nazis would have shot MLK and then gone about their business.

banned weapons and accessories like high capacity magazines can be sold for a huge profit once a ban goes into place.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Perhaps it has escaped your notice, but if high capacity magazines are banned, it will be a crime to sell them.

So, folks who are stocking up now in the hopes of cashing in later will run the risk of going to jail. Perhaps for a long time.

If your point is that somebody, somewhere will try to game any law or regulation anybody tries to pass, yes, I think we're all aware of that.

If you hold public policy captive to the actions of criminal opportunists, you might as well call it a day. Those folks are like cockroaches, they pop up everywhere.

And, as with cockroaches, you can't let their existence stop you from doing what you need to do. Squash 'em when you can and carry on.

It's true, good intentions have a mixed track record, but I'm not sure it's all on the negative side. They've had their victories.

In my experience, the real road to hell is paved with sitting on your @ss and pretending that nothing is actually wrong.

Oopsie!

One way in which to keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them is to make sure that gun stores stop thieves, especially ones that brazenly walk into a store, take a gun off the rack and walk out. Or, at the very least — like, the absolute least there's ever been — gun stores should realize that a gun has been stolen in the first place. A gun store in East Windsor, Conn. failed miserably at both of these tasks earlier this week, and consequently was raided by the feds tonight. Oh, in a poetic coincidence, the store sold one of the guns used in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

. . . Police said Riverview Gun Sales had no idea the AR-15 Marsh stole was missing. Management at the store didn't know about 11 guns that Marsh had allegedly stolen last year until they were notified by detectives.

Inventory control issues at Riverview Gun Sales have occurred before. In 2007, state police raided a Somers home and found a bunch of stolen guns from the store.

Because FREEDOM.

.

The idea that guns are cool has multiple roots. The idea that access to assualt weapons is a right is manufactured bullshit from the gun lobby part of the rightwing hate machine.

Dr. S, to try to address the question you raised (why don't we see the same sort of instinctive revulsion towards guns?), I think it comes down to this. There are a fair number of people who feel like their guns are all that lets them feel safe in a scary world. So the prospect of having those guns restricted amounts to the prospect of suddenly becoming at even greater risk. So they rush out to get whatever gun is in the news -- just to feel a little safer.

In short, paranoia trumps revulsion. It's rationalized paranoia; they can come up will all kinds of reasons why the risk is real. But it is still an irrational fear of being defenseless that drives them.

Earlier i said there would be a black market and some commenters scoffed at my suggestion. Where would it come from they asked? Well, it comes from all the guns and magazines and ammo that is being stockpiled now. believe me, i know folks that are making this kind of investment.

I personally have no doubt there would be a black market. The question is how large of black market and how that would compare to the current market. That, and how long would such a market be sustained, given that we're talking about manufactured durable good (as opposed to plants and such), which would be confiscated over time when used in crimes or found in the possession of people not legally allowed to have them by some sort of grandfathering.

The supply chain would be regulated from the point of manufacture. And you can't make guns in your bathtub.

...banned weapons and accessories like high capacity magazines can be sold for a huge profit once a ban goes into place.

Yes. Because they would be hoarded and would become very scarce. So, mission accomplished.

I'm out of my league here, but what's the internet for if not that?

Let me posit that when gun folk encounter a gun-related experience, the convenient part of the experience gets processed by their dominant, gun-identified self and the inconvenient bits get swept into a latent or shadow self.

Perhaps when an experience is so inconvenient that the shadow self threatens to break through into identity, then the dominant self may try to assert identity more strongly. In this case, how better to hold on to identity than to buy the identical model weapon that was used?

Some of the elements of this awful event are particularly challenging to many gun owners, I think. Buying this particular weapon may be a necessary physical act to keep a grip on their identity.

"But I think nazis would have shot MLK and then gone about their business."

No doubt true. Hitler was so evil, we broke down and gave guns to black American citizens and shipped them in segregated ship quarters over to Europe and let them have at him.

A segment of the American gun culture got to MLK first, alas, along with the Kennedys, while the American Nazis were content to play dress-up in Skokie.

They'd have shot Malcolm X, too, if his own home-grown self-defense league and gun culture hadn't turned on him first.

Medgar Evers in his driveway. Others too numerous to count.

I will give the southern gun culture credit for utilizing the replacement effect many times, the noose.

As was noted on another thread, the Black Panthers were and probably still are big proponents of heavy gun ownership and public carrying.

You know, those dangerous-looking types holding the doors at hardly any polling locations just a month and a half ago.

Back in the day, it scared Ronald Reagan into being a pansy liberal enabler of the black market in guns.

I could do a search for how many times THEY were compared to Nazis just 40 days ago by the usual suspects and how many times THEY compared Richard Nixon, George Wallace, etc to Nazis back in the day when the Godwin deal meant something and we could have a 500-comment thread on the relative merit of the accusations with me dropping in to provide light relief in the form of a few verses from "Springtime For Hitler" or maybe do John Cleese's funny walk back and forth while having my forefinger stand in for the moustache, and then, well, thanks for the compliment, glad you're not banned, love ya, too, mein liebchen. ;)

I could accuse Wayne LaPierre of being a Nazi too, and probably will given time, perchance this afternoon, if I haven't already. I'd start with "Aryan" and work my way down.

I could speculate on LaPierre's position via the Nazis and the Jews (academics, liberals, elites, Marxists, gay, pacifists) had he been on hand in Germany in 1932, but that would be unfair to both Nazis and Jews.

The word "Vichy" might come to mind, given the freedom fries-sounding last name, no doubt intoned with rapturous admiration and with pinkies aloft by beer-gutted bulletheads at American gun shows as we speak.

But I know the difference between a putsch and a putz.

So do the Israelis:

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=296480

every timesocial reformers want to enact prohibition they cause a reaction that is worse than the problem they want to solve

somebody should've told that Moses guy. the history-long backlash against the 10 commandments has been pretty terrible.

BTW Wayne LaPierre is giving the NRA press conference now. Guess what's responsible for this horrible tragedy? (Hint: EVERYTHING BUT GUNS.)

Just to clarify, my previous comment was meant to respond to Dr. Science's query about why this event doesn't seem to be resulting in contamination of this weapon.

Buying the weapon may be functioning as a kind of counter spell against contamination. Not that I believe in spells, but, notably, you don't have to believe in them for them to be effective.

In my previous post, I was not attempting to quote Wayne LaPierre a day in advance, but I appear to have done so.

LaPierre suggested "shut up, we need more and more guns" and "I'll talk about mental illness, and you shut up and buy more guns."

Talk.

"O.K., Wayne. Here's a Rorschach ink blot of a Bushmaster (pick your poison). What's the first thing that comes to mind?"

Wayne: "Sanity .... and Mom, but not necessarily in that order. I have to pee."

I think we've localized the problem.

I want action, and the kickoff should be armed motherf*ckers in white suits taking LaPierre to the happy farm where the armed guards (that's right, I'm for many fewer, smaller, lower capacity guns, not for repealing the Second Amendment) keep him inside.

Meanwhile, at nearly the same time LaPierre was (as Kotaku.com put it) blaming a 10-year-old Flash game for Sandy Hook:

http://www.wjactv.com/news/news/sources-1-trooper-shot-another-injured-blair-co/nTcf5/

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. — Multiple sources say several people have been shot on Juniata Valley Road just outside Geeseytown, Blair County.

6 News has been told that the two state troopers are among the wounded. Both are in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to be in the hospital.

There are conflicting reports of other possible fatalities at several locations.
Courtney Brennan of WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh reported that three people are dead and five injured.

The gunman is believed to be among those who dead. Brennan reported that emergency officials believe the suspect was “mobile” at one point and went up and down a rural road and shot victims.

That's a genuinely interesting question. My guess would be that the attitude, this "contamination", is viewed as thinking the way gun controllers think, and almost instinctively rejected. Gun owners pride themselves on *not* having irrationally hostile reactions to firearms, and the phenomenon is, after all, an irrational one.

So, now we're being attacked for not reacting irrationally enough?

The NRA and gun manufacturer's money, represented by a comma in the First Amendment, told the CDC to "shut up, the First Amendment doesn't apply to you" a long time ago:

"Over the past two decades, the NRA has not only been able to stop gun control laws, but even debate on the subject. The Centers for Disease Control funds research into the causes of death in the United States, including firearms — or at least it used to. In 1996, after various studies funded by the agency found that guns can be dangerous, the gun lobby mobilized to punish the agency. First, Republicans tried to eliminate entirely the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the bureau responsible for the research. When that failed, Rep. Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas, successfully pushed through an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget (the amount it had spent on gun research in the previous year) and outlawed research on gun control with a provision that reads: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

David Satcher, the then-director of the CDC, wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post in November of 1995 warning that the NRA’s “shotgun assault” on the CDC was dangerous both for public health and for our democracy:

“What ought to be of wider concern, is the second argument advanced by the NRA — that firearms research funded by the CDC is so biased against gun ownership that all such funding ought to cease. Here is a prescription for inaction on a major cause of death and disability. Here is a charge that not only casts doubt on the ability of scientists to conduct research involving controversial issues but also raises basic questions about the ability, fundamental to any democracy, to have honest, searching public discussions of such issues.”

Hat tip. Balloon Juice.

Speaking of mental illness, I would be sick in the head, nuts in the noggin, to sit down unarmed to have a "conversation" with a guy like Wayne LaPierre, who, along with the other violent radicals who have debauched the once civil non-profit NRA, threatens to shoot unarmed me with the gun that is most assuredly strapped somewhere to his person (though I think he'd prefer one of his members do deed through a telescopic sight, so it could be called hunting, hyah heh heh) IF I so much as touch a hair on his Second Amendment.

So, now we're being attacked for not reacting irrationally enough?

Ever the victim. It's not an attack. (And who's "we"? Did you run out and buy a Bushmaster?) It's a curiosity as to why the reaction for some people, irrational or not, is the opposite of what usually happens among humans.

As you said, Brett, an interesting question - interesting not simply because of a lack of revulsion among those purchasing the weapon used in the shooting of young children, but because of the subsequent attraction. Sales went up.

It's pretty clear that those on the left really, really don't understand firearms owners in general or the mentality of the subset of firearms owners who own assault rifles. Or, the overlap between ordinary firearms owners and assault weapons owners, which is semi-automatic pistols for target shooting and home defense.

That's ok, because very few on the gun owning, conservative side understand their leftish counterparts and they tend to have attitudes that very much mirror much of what I see here and read about.

The conversation is not advanced by mocking and ridiculing people you don't understand--one either side--or by generalizing or mind reading (and getting that woefully wrong) or by making grossly erroneous and offensive imputations of really, really bad faith.

Several things are at work on the 'gun fan' side of things.

First, they have the same access Doc S does to Wikipedia and they can do basic arithmetic. They know that spree killings are as statistically anomalous as they are horrific. They also know that ordinary crime is rampant, and that a sizeable portion of ordinary crime involves crime against people in their homes. They've made the decision to use a firearm of some type for personal defense and the very best arguments against defending oneself with a firearm have failed to persuade the vast majority of gun owners who keep guns for their personal protection.

My sister is a case in point. She is single and lives alone. She's 55 and (1)really not up for waiting for the police to arrive, (2) not very handy with a baseball bat, (3) absolutely comfortable with the notion that, fueled with adrenalin and fear, she could punch out 911 and have a conversation with someone coming up the stairs and (4) has been criminally assaulted and hospitalized as a result. Even though the assault happened on a public highway, having been through it once, she's not interested in a second round where she can't fight back.

Second, people who own guns, for the most part, are familiar with how they work, are comfortable with having them in the home and, for the most part, keep them in a place and under circumstances where they are either unloaded or, for personal defense, in a handy but hidden location where visitors are highly unlikely to be. I keep my regular hunting rifles and shotguns in a second floor closet, inside cases, and the ammunition is stored in the garage.

So, people who know next to nothing about guns on a personal basis, who find the concept of gun ownership unusual-to-bizarre, who are frightened of guns, etc simply cannot identify with people who understand what they are doing and have done so safely and without incident for years if not decades.

The correct analogy is not Jonestown/Kool Aid (although I don't recall anyone having that reaction). It is 9/11 and commercial pilots. Simply because terrorists commandeered commercial jets and flew them into buildings didn't cause commercial jet pilots to be repulsed by their jets. They well understood the underlying difference between who they were and who flew those jets into the twin towers and the Pentagon. Another analogy is car owners and car bombs--just because terrorists use car bombs and because McVeigh used a rented delivery truck to commit mass murders doesn't cause many folks to be repelled by either style of vehicle. The reason for this is, like gun owners, we know and are familiar with our cars and we know we aren't mass murderers, so there really isn't any reason to feel as if, by owning cars or being in the delivery business, we bear any kind of responsibility for those kinds of events.

Third, and kind of in line with number two, only the .00001% of the population who fantasize about a murderous rampage sees the Sandy Hook as anything even remotely on their horizon. The rest, including the vast majority of gun owners, see Sandy Hook and say to themselves "Jesus, what IS wrong with that person" or some variation on that theme.

Gun owners do not identify with insane shooters and do not understand why Doc S et al think that they should be held to account for an act they never, ever would even begin to contemplate. In their view, it is irrational to demand that law abiding citizens who pose no threat to anyone who leaves them alone (in a criminal sense) should not only be vilified and mocked and marginalized as seems to the case in some quarters, but held responsible in some way for the murder of small children and their teachers.

Fourth, which is entirely unrelated to one thru three, involves three phenomena which I am confident are at play but which I can't begin to quantify.

A. Capitalism/Supply and Demand--when the assault weapons ban was on the horizon back in '93, the manufacturing community did not foresee the run on stocks that would follow. They won't make that mistake this time. Shrewd observers know there won't be a 'ban and confiscate' law, and they are betting/hoping there will be a ban on new sales. They are simply trying to corner the market. I think it will be a big fat fail because the market will be saturated (if it isn't already)--talking about unintended consequences from the left's point of view--and assault-style weapons will be selling at a discount in 2-3 years on the private market whether new sales are banned or not.

B. Resistance to Authority Seen as Illegitimate--in 1991, when I hunted avidly and owned far more hunting weapons than I could use in any reasonable fashion, I had two thoughts about assault style weapons: stupid and waste of money. But then, I thought George H.W. Bush would retain the presidency. When he didn't and it became apparent that an ban on new purchases would pass, my thought was: damn, what if I need one of those someday? Now, the fact that I really couldn't come up with a scenario where I actually would need to lay down a field of fire wasn't really on my horizon. My gov't was telling me I couldn't do something in the future, I didn't much like being told that, so I spent way above market price for the only assault weapon my-then gun importer client could find (everything had pretty much been bought up, as I indicated above) which turned out to fire a 7.62 NATO round. The Bushmaster is a 5.56 NATO, or .223 centerfire 22 caliber rifle with minimum recoil. The 7.62 is a 30 caliber and kicks like a mule. So, I spent a pile of money on a gun I couldn't shoot comfortably, figuratively shooting myself in the foot. I got rid of it years ago.

C. Fear--to Doc S et al, but not to folks who think differently and who understand guns, what they see is a reflexive over-reaction by many Americans being exploited by politicians with control issues (this may come as no surprise, but conservatives see the left has having a real thing for control: guns, health care, the economy, what have you). Anticipating a ban on assault weapons as the current likely outcome and understanding guns as they do, gun owners know full well that any deranged human being who so desires, can pull off a Sandy Hook-like atrocity with ordinary hunting weapons. There might be a lower body count, but that won't stop--in their estimation of such a future horror--the same reaction we see today, only next time, it will be the left saying "confiscate all guns". Now, you can question the rationality of this all day long, but there are regular commenters here who would do just that and who would barely pay lip service to the fact that their net catches millions of law abiding citizen and very few criminals.

Fifth, which kind of follows 4C, and again ties in with the foundational gap between gun owners and non-owners, is the thin functional line between assault style weapons and pistols owned for personal protection. My 9mm Glock holds 15 rounds. If I ever have to use it, I plan to fire as many bullets as fast as I can in the direction of someone who breaks into our home. So, I very definitely want a semi automatic pistol, not a six shot revolver that requires me to pull back the hammer with my thumb every time I shoot and to aim every shot carefully only to run the risk of emptying out without having hit anything. Efforts to persuade me otherwise will not succeed, just as Doc S will never be persuaded that perspectives like mine can have enough validity to be protected by law. That's the gulf that lies between us.

But that personal aside was a bit of a digression.

The Virginia Tech horror was done with pistols functionally identical with mine and many millions of other legal, law abiding gun owners. If every assault style long gun were to magically disappear tomorrow, the next spree would likely involve some combination of pistols and shotguns. The pro-gun control crowd as a whole has given no evidence that it would hesitate to move on the majority of gun owners in such an instance. So, there is a real concern that because banning assault weapons won't accomplish anything meaningful, every pistol or shotgun owner in the US will be subject to the next round of reflexive response to the next, but inevitable, rampage.

Here are a couple of final, random points:

1. High magazine capacity assault rifles are useful for home defense only in a pitched battlefield scenario. They are too awkward and bulky for quick reaction and use inside a home. People who think they need that particular kind of weapon for home defense have issues that many on the left view as paranoid. Of course, a common trope on the left is that conservatives and Republicans want to bring back Jim Crow. I'll leave it to our panel of independent judges as to who is better grounded in reality.

2. The Bushmaster, as I mentioned above, fires a .223 caliber bullet weighing 55 grams. My deer rifle is a .27 caliber and fires a bullet that is three time heavier and has a much higher muzzle velocity and a much greater lethal range. It is way short of a sniper-type rifle, but way more potent than the Bushmaster. There is a reason for this--when you shoot a deer or an elk, you want to put it down as quickly and painlessly as possible. More and faster weight does that through the processes of organ displacement and hydrostatic shock.

Similarly, the 9mm is about in the middle in terms of lethality when it comes to pistol cartridges. It is the minimum sized cartridge knowledgeable shooters would select for personal defense. There are many cartridges that are far more lethal. I've hunted deer successfully with both a .357 and .44 magnum pistol. They are, nonetheless, poor choices for personal defense because they have a heavy recoil and, if you aren't wearing hearing protection, will produce a degree of impairment in the shooter by induced shock to the ears.

The point here is that everything you read about the power of assault rifles and military caliber pistols is pretty much written out of ignorance. What makes a gun lethal is, primarily, who is holding it, and, secondarily, magazine capacity.


They also know that ordinary crime is rampant,

Running out to pick up my wife for an office Xmas party, but this needs to be addressed: Crime of all types, including violent crime, is falling and has been for the last 40 years, so what "rampant" is doing here needs to be explained.

(That being said, 45% of all deaths in mass shootings over the last 30 years have happened since 2007. And this year had nearly twice as many mass-shooting deaths as any other year. Make of that what you will.)

If I ever have to use it, I plan to fire as many bullets as fast as I can in the direction of someone who breaks into our home. So, I very definitely want a semi automatic pistol, not a six shot revolver that requires me to pull back the hammer with my thumb every time I shoot and to aim every shot carefully only to run the risk of emptying out without having hit anything.

So you're looking to win a gun fight, rather than convincing an intruder it's time to get out of your house as quickly as possible?

Gun owners do not identify with insane shooters and do not understand why Doc S et al think that they should be held to account for an act they never, ever would even begin to contemplate.

Held to account? Have Doc S et al called for something along the lines of the mass-incarceration of gun owners?

First, they have the same access Doc S does to Wikipedia and they can do basic arithmetic.

Not likely actually. There's a substantial partisanship bias in gun ownership. The same people that were convinced that Romney was going to crush Obama in a landslide are more likely to be gun owners. Moreover, just because you have access to wikipedia doesn't mean you can use it: that's what epistemic closure is all about.

people who own guns keep them in a place and under circumstances where they are either unloaded or, for personal defense, in a handy but hidden location where visitors are highly unlikely to be.

There's just no evidence to believe this; you're making things up here based on nothing but anecdote. The gun store that sold Lanzos her AR-15 lots dozens of weapons without even knowing it: if a major gun store can't even keep track of their own weapons, why should we trust your anecdotes about how non-professionals handle their weapons?

What's more, we don't have good studies on this because the NRA is determined to kill any federally funded research on gun violence.

people who know next to nothing about guns on a personal basis simply cannot identify with people who understand what they are doing and have done so safely and without incident for years if not decades.

It is genuinely weird how out of touch this is. Look, I have very little experience with guns. But my policy preferences line up very well with people who do have lots of experience with guns. The insistence that everyone who wants to regulate gun ownership is an ignorant emotional person is just bizarre.

What's more, I can form solid policy opinions without being a gun afficianado. I think the government should require that all pilots be licensed and undergo regular medical checkups even though I am not a pilot -- even if I don't the first bloody thing about how aircraft stay aloft.

Gun owners do not identify with insane shooters and do not understand why Doc S et al think that they should be held to account for an act they never, ever would even begin to contemplate.

Because NRA members have fought tooth and nail to eliminate common sense safeguards: the FBI can't even legally measure how many firearms are sold in this country. The CDC can't do research on how gun accidents without the NRA's approval. Rules prohibiting violent felons or disturbed people from buying weapons have been completely undermined by the NRA. That's why non-gun-folk hold gun owners responsible.

"Running out to pick up my wife for an office Xmas party, but this needs to be addressed: Crime of all types, including violent crime, is falling and has been for the last 40 years, so what "rampant" is doing here needs to be explained."

Wait, so crime is down while guns are up? Whose side are you on? Much like the "crime is down so why are so many people in jail talking" talking point, everyone just takes their preconceptions and assumes the statistic confirms them.

Sebastian, you seem to make the assumption that those trends are causally connected, which itself is unproven.

"Ever the victim. It's not an attack."

No, it damned well is an attack, when you invite negative conclusions based on somebody's failure to have an irrational reaction.

"But I don't know if significant numbers of gun fans[2] are starting to have that reaction, that rushing out to buy a weapon famous for slaughtering little children is -- or should be -- repulsive, not an automatic response. And I guess I'm asking those of you who *are* gun fans what it would take to break that response, to make the weapons of mass murder seem hideous, not attractive."

That's an attack.

Wait, so crime is down while guns are up?

The number of households owning guns has declined from almost 50% in 1973 to just over 32% in 2010

...

U.S. gun owning population is on the decline and those gun owners are stockpiling more firearms. "Those who own guns, own more guns," said Josh Sugarmann, the executive director and founder of the Violence Policy Center

So no, I don't think "guns are up" is a complete picture. There are about 115 million households in the US, if 32% of them have a gun in the house, that is 37 million. If the gun ownership rate was the same as it was in 1973, another 20 million households would have guns.

The presence of 20 million extra gun-free households is related to the decline in the crime rate. No I don't believe it is simple causation.

As for the question of what motivates gun owners, a photographer drove across the country asking people why they own guns. Business Insider has a slide show of some of the photographs here.

As I understand it, thinking everyone is attacking you is generally not considered a feature of rational thinking.

Some charts on gun ownership and gun violence here and worldwide, via the link Duff Clarity provided.

http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-on-firearms-in-gun-nation-2012-12#gun-ownership-in-america-has-actually-declined-pretty-drastically-since-the-1970s-1

As I understand it, refusing to notice when you ARE under attack isn't a feature of rational thinking, either.

Keep telling yourself that Brett. Or go and make some atlatls.

"Running out to pick up my wife for an office Xmas party, but this needs to be addressed: Crime of all types, including violent crime, is falling and has been for the last 40 years, so what "rampant" is doing here needs to be explained."

Wait, so crime is down while guns are up? Whose side are you on? Much like the "crime is down so why are so many people in jail talking" talking point, everyone just takes their preconceptions and assumes the statistic confirms them.

Since I neither stated a preconception nor drew a conclusion, but merely took issue with the simple statement "crime is rampant" (which it is not), I assume you are not talking to me here. If you are, you are more confused than you ever have been.

Quoting McKinney:

"If every assault style long gun were to magically disappear tomorrow, the next spree would likely involve some combination of pistols and shotguns. The pro-gun control crowd as a whole has given no evidence that it would hesitate to move on the majority of gun owners in such an instance. So, there is a real concern that because banning assault weapons won't accomplish anything meaningful, every pistol or shotgun owner in the US will be subject to the next round of reflexive response to the next, but inevitable, rampage."

There is no escape from the slippery slope, whether it's abortion rights, tax rates, gun regulation, any issue that doesn't have a broad, consistent consensus in society. There are, in fact, some people out there that want to take away all your guns, some people out there that want to confiscate your wealth, some people that want to ban all abortions.

If you're not satisfied with the status quo on a particular issue, you're going to need the votes/funds/activism of some absolutists to help move things in the direction you would like to try and go. That doesn't mean you yourself are an absolutist.

But yes, some people will always come back demanding more. The point of these discussions here at the Voice of Moderation seems, to me, to be what are reasonable things that we can try to make society better, with the recognition that different people will have different inclinations as to what "reasonable" and "better" might mean. It's not about "control", it's about trying to address our flaws as a society.

I don't think it's particularly helpful to generalize to the point of "those on the left really, really don't understand firearms owners in general or the mentality of the subset of firearms owners who own assault rifles." My brother would certainly have been a lefty by McKinney's standards, owned over 40 guns, including an AR-15 (or at least a knockoff), which even I, lefty that I am, fired a few times at the range.

Guns can be a useful tool, shooting guns can be a fun hobby. But when I have to surrender more of my privacy to buy a pack of Sudafed than I would buying a gun (in some circumstances), that suggests, to me anyway, that there is room for prudent, non-rights-infringing steps that might help.

"But when I have to surrender more of my privacy to buy a pack of Sudafed than I would buying a gun (in some circumstances), that suggests, to me anyway, that there is room for prudent, non-rights-infringing steps that might help."

Absolutely. Lots of room to ease the stupid restrictions on buying Sudafed.

Regarding the FOX news crowd (not really addressing anyone here; FOX News reads OBWI don't they?) expressing exasperation with anti-gun gun nuts talking about gun control so soon after the Connecticut school shootings, I would like to register my own exasperation with those murdering with guns across the country, the latest being the PA shooter (cops wounded, too), to refuse to stop interrupting the rest of us with the sound of gunfire and viscera splattering before we're DONE talking about the previous murders.

I'm beginning to see a method here. Step One: kill 27 people; Step Two: shush those who jump in with loose talk about tighter gun regulation; Step Three: as soon as the talking waiting period expires, and just as folks open their mouths to speak, shoot five people somewhere else; Step four: sorry, we need another talk-free block of time here to get our wits about us and, I expect, to reload ..... rinse and repeat, but more rapidly with shorter time to talk in between shootings.

Bullets travel faster than words and the speed of sound.

Shhh! Yeah but .. Zip it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK8mneO8yvU

I would also like to destroy with two words the myth perpetrated by the NRA and others that the active proliferation of weaponry in the country will cause us to be a more polite, courtesy people and polity:

Ann Coulter.

Others might have two other words.

But her continuing existence could also be proof that we don't yet have enough guns, or maybe the guns are in the hands of the wrong people.

I've got to say, too, that the continuing emphasis on the remarkable killing power of even "smaller" weaponry by even the eminently reasonable folks with differing views from mine causes the perverse effect on me of wanting even tighter gun regulation than I might otherwise suggest.

I'm unarmed and under attack by Wayne LaPierre and Grover Norquist, both armed thugs, who have threatened violence against the government on C-Span if, in the first instance, the Second Amendment is curtailed or repealed, and in the second instance, if the Second Amendment is etc, AND if taxes are raised.

I once had cites for both instances, which I
used years ago when I was banned from OBWI for a short period (deserved) for threatening violence against Norquist for threatening violence against friends of mine in the government.

This was shortly after the fertilizer replacement effect was implemented in Oklahoma City.

Erick Erickson tweeted a threat to shoot with his wife's shotgun (honey, all I have is the carving knife) any Census worker who came to his door during the 2010 Census and who asked nosy questions about the fact that his wife's and kids' rooms are furnished with not but straw on the floors.

Tench Coxe, who may have favored the Constitutional provision of a Census, may have responded by shooting Erickson in the face in self-defense and then making an honest woman of his wife, but I can't speculate, because Coxe of natural causes (no Sudafed, nohow) in 1824 and has missed the most recent 188 years of weapons and pharmaceutical development.

I'm thinking one of the little kids who survived in Connecticut could grow up to become a part-time Census door-to-door canvasser in Macon, Georgia and have another shot at being shot by a slightly paunchier, balding, upper-middle-aged Erickson wielding some new and improved caliber of weapon.

Maybe his gun culture will develop human forefinger protheses that actually shoot bullets, sparing his wife a trip to the closet to rummage for the shotgun.

Democratic Congresspeople were threatened with armed violence as they held town hall meetings in Arizona to discuss Obamacare two years ago.

They weren't, you say?

Maybe the terrorists with the big honking weapons strapped to their midsections were just silently inviting their Congresscritters to go bird-hunting and kind of chew over the finer points of the healthcare mandate over the campfire?

Yeah, that's what they were doing.

It was legal.

Well, alright then.


yes, the idea of liberals/left of center types not understanding what it is like to have guns and being so anti gun is so "common". wearing a gun for a long time and having to qualify/hit the target/ to keep my job, i still think gun control is the better idea. all that the "bigoted, presumptive " left is, those kind are automatically ignorant of what gun owners do and feel is just a wash to cover for the desire to impose your "beliefs" about guns on those you feel don't "know" what they are talking about when it comes to guns.

you know, all that emotional stuff. trying to control the waste of life by gun crazed idiots. and that sensible people wouldn't dare to step on your right to have guns. they are not sensible if they take away your right to have guns, Right?

somewhere the concept of society being the collection of/ e pluribus unum/the many into one/ dies a fast and furious death. like we have to suffer such unmitigated death and destruction and cost to the taxpayer for the unrestricted joy of having guns. i know of gun related injuries causing "inability" to work issues. causing "freeloaders" to the working people, OH the indignities!!!

God Forbid we stop just one nut, just one nut who wouldn't do what i've seen done to the kids at Sandy Hook, Tucson, and the rest of the innocents, that is obviously too much of those that love guns. those who love guns more than the rights of others to live free of the fear that someone "angry" upset in the moment or one contemplative planning to "get back" at those who did them some injustice, by killing, willingly, other innocents. Heat of the moment idiocies need not apply here.

gosh, it's not like we don't have enough reasons to fear the Government. they can't even keep the loonies from stealing guns and killing innocent children in grade school. how ineffectual do you the Government to be. So it can't even protect our most important asset, our Childrern. Our society has already been sacrificed to the individual, lest society actually work, that would be anti Rigth, having Government do what it is supposed to. Success!!!!

something about "promoting the general welfare and defense of the Public." or some such nonsense as that found in the Constitution.

laws so some of us could live without the penetrating overwhelming fear of some such gun crazed person finishing off "innocents' who are at the wrong place at the wrong time.

but i guess the rights of the individual to have guns supercedes the rights of us to live wihout fear of crazies with guns.

some people are more equal than others, as i gather from some story i once read. and this obviously is one of those times.

Russell seems to think that it means killing people just because it lost an election.

You don't need to speculate about what I mean, what I write is what I mean. So, no "seems" required.

If you're going to cite my point of view, you need to pick from the following very short list:

1. Read what I write and cite it accurately
2. STFU

Your choice. Thanks.

I appreciate McK's comments upthread, and in general I agree that a lot of the heat of the pro gun / anti gun argument comes from prejudices that the two sides hold toward each other.

I think it makes sense for your sister to have a gun for self-defense. I think it makes sense for you to have one, and frankly if I thought there was a 1-in-1000 chance that I would be subject to armed home invasion I'd probably get one myself.

There are lots of very good reasons for private individuals to own guns. And, it's highly unlikely that private ownership of firearms per se ever will, or should, be banned.

I recognize all of the arguments explaining why assault weapons are no different than any other rifle, however the fact is that they are different. They are specifically engineered to be effective when used in a firefight at close(r) range. That's why they exist.

They're also popular for target shooting, and they are light, reliable, and durable firearms for general use other than, specifically, hunting or home defense. And they are interesting simply as an artifact, as an example of ballistic engineering, which makes them appealing to collectors.

But the reason they exist is to offer tactical advantage in a closer-range firefight, which is to say, people shooting at each other from a few hundred feet or less.

Regarding the .223 vs other rounds, my understanding is that the .223 was designed to provide a very high muzzle velocity. So, not particularly massive, but it would still f*** you the hell up because of the very high speed - ~3,000 fps.

Again, as I understand it, the design goal was that it would be capable of penetrating a steel helmet at about 500 feet. I don't know how that compares to other rounds, but that's a pretty lethal round.

So, a lightweight, low-recoil round that is still highly lethal. Designed for maximum efficiency for the shooter when used in a close-range firefight.

Long story short, not really just another gun.

My world will not end if assault weapons are banned, and it will not end if they are. I'm not that heavily invested in, specifically, an assault weapons ban, and to some degree talk in that direction is window dressing. There are probably more important things to address, policy-wise, as regards gun ownership and use.

But, all of that said, no, it's not just another firearm.

I don't care if folks have a gun for defense of their person, home, or property. I don't care if folks hunt or shoot target. I don't care if responsible people, trained in the use of their weapon, and licensed to do so, carry a firearm on their person.

I also think the idea that private individuals must be allowed to own any firearm they wish, of any type or capacity, free of any kind of government regulation, is insupportable. Constitutionally, legally, and as a matter of simple common sense.

I'm sure that any ban, or any talk of any ban, will immediately be met with stockpiling of whatever weapon or device is being considered for banning. That speaks, in my mind, to some deep weirdness, but human beings are deeply weird.

IMO, the desire to not disturb or trouble the deep weirdness of human beings is not a sound basis for making public policy. In fact, I would argue something like the opposite.

"I recognize all of the arguments explaining why assault weapons are no different than any other rifle, however the fact is that they are different. They are specifically engineered to be effective when used in a firefight at close(r) range. That's why they exist."

No, that's why assault rifles exist. Assault weapon is a PR term http://www.hkweaponsystems.com/cgi-bin/quote.pl?josh_sugarmann>deliberately designed by the Violence Policy Center to confuse people into thinking it's assault rifles being banned.

The only real common thread between various "assault weapons" is the fact that they're the current target for banning; That's why the '94 assault weapon ban included a long list of guns called out by name; Because they weren't really a technically distinguished group of firearms. Just the current list gun controllers wanted to ban.

"IMO, the desire to not disturb or trouble the deep weirdness of human beings is not a sound basis for making public policy. In fact, I would argue something like the opposite."

Our views are certainly opposite on this. The desire to not disturb or trouble people is ALWAYS a good reason for refraining from passing a law, which requires substantial countervailing reasons to overcome. If those "deeply weird" people aren't actually giving anybody trouble, that countervailing reason will be lacking.

We're all "deeply weird" in the eyes of somebody, somewhere.

No, that's why assault rifles exist

The distinction is noted, thanks for the clarification.

If those "deeply weird" people aren't actually giving anybody trouble

There's the rub.

We're all "deeply weird" in the eyes of somebody, somewhere.

Whole-hearted agreement.

Yup, there's the rub; Almost everybody these laws that are being proposed would impose on aren't going to do anything to hurt anybody, because all the stuff you can do with a gun to hurt somebody is already illegal.

Brett, Nancy Lanza believed the wheels were coming off of civil society. She bought herself an assault rifle, two semi-automatic handguns, and some other firearms, so she could defend herself from what she imagined would be mobs of people coming to take her stuff, and she taught her kids how to use them.

IMO that's deeply weird. Opinions may vary, that's mine.

Her kid was disturbed, in ways and for reasons that aren't really clear and may never be clear, and he used those guns to kill Lanza herself and 26 other people, including 20 little kids.

That's the rub.

Nancy Lanza almost certainly intended no harm to the folks at Sandy Hook Elementary. It's quite possible, although not a certainty, that she intended harm to nobody.

And yet, all those kids are dead.

The danger presented to other people by what any of us, personally, do or don't do doesn't always come through our own, personal, deliberate intent and action. Sometimes events play out in ways beyond our own, personal, control.

To the degree that that presents a risk to everybody else in the world, everybody else in the world has something to say about it.

Some things are just completely unpredictable freakish accidents. There is no action, public or private, that is going to remove those kinds of risks from the world.

An assault rifle being used to carry out an assault is not one of those things.


To me the rub in failing to restrict access to weapons is that innocents will be killed with them. I guess I think human life is more important than self-indulgence.

" She bought herself an assault rifle"

No. She. Did. Not. You're demonstrating nothing more than your ignorance of actual firearms terminology. An "assault rifle" is a rifle of intermediate caliber capable of select fire, which is to say, it can fire one shot per trigger pull, or be set to operate as a machine gun. Lanza did not buy one of those. She had a Bushmaster .223, widely used in hunting and target shooting, and not capable of operating as a machine gun.

The rub is that innocents will be killed with weapons whether or not they're restricted.

An "assault rifle" is a rifle of intermediate caliber capable of select fire, which is to say, it can fire one shot per trigger pull, or be set to operate as a machine gun. Lanza did not buy one of those.

Thank you for clarifying what the definition of "is" is.

Accurate terminology is essential to reasoned discussions. Generally if somebody rejects using accurate terminology, its because they're rejecting reason. An understandable thing in people whose aims aren't supported by reason.

So russell used a term incorrectly (I take Brett at his word on that), therefore his aims aren't supported by reason? I'd say focusing on details that don't really change the point isn't indicative of someone interest in reasoned discussion.

Almost everybody these laws that are being proposed would impose on...

Impose on? I'd say being shot to death is quite an imposition.

Brett, I don't think anyone disputes that shooting people is illegal, usually at least, or that most gun owners have no intention of shooting anyone unless absolutely necessary. Pretty much everyone gets that, which shouldn't be surprising, because those things are readily apparent.

I get that you disagree about the effectiveness of gun bans and what the constitution allows where they are concerned. But for people who do advocate for gun control, it is because the general conditions of lots and lots of people owning lots and lots of highly dangerous weapons, even if most of those people are generally trustworthy, makes it all too easy for people who aren't trustworthy to get their hands on them, making Sandy Hook-like events more likely.

You disagree about what can or should be done about that. Fine. But stop acting like people who think something can and should be done about, within what the constitution allows, in their opinions, are simply out to make life hard for gun owners just for the hell of it.

I favor a federal law mandating that shooters, such as the Lanza kid, must explain the technical specs of the weaponry they are brandishing to their victims before they shoot them.

That way the survivors could calm the media and hysterics like me regarding the level of nausea, outrage, and despair warranted by the context of these crimes.

"You were shot and wounded by a big honking automatic weapon?"

"Well, honkish and weaponish. It was a Bushmaster .223, commonly used in hunting and target practice. It's not a machine gun, if that's what you are implying. The shooter was using a perfectly legal weapon, which he explained in detail before he broke the law and shot up the school."

"O.K. Well then, we're done here. We've gotta run now because there's a cat caught up a tree. You'll call us if this ever happens again so we can sort of follow up?"

"Yeah, but heck, this happened at my last school too. Give it a week. No big deal."

Perhaps school kids should be provided a primer by the school districts on the myriad types of weaponry available on the market, what's legal, what's not, what used to be legal, etc and then they can relax a little as the gunfire commences, knowing that whatever happens, the citizenry at large is at least within its rights.


It's odd how rightwiger see themselves as being the people who care about responsiblity when they are nevver ever willig to accept responsiblity for the consequences on society of the kinds of policies that they support or the kinds of ideas that they promote.

Because WE define responsibility as being responsible for what WE do. You define responsibility as being responsible for what somebody else who is assigned to the same group as you does. They're completely different and incomparable understandings of "responsibility". And I categorically reject your understanding of the term.

Hold me responsible for killing somebody when I kill somebody. Not before.

Ms. McArdle, my third grade economics teacher decades ago, provided our class with the rudiments of defensive tactics in the event a shooter entered the classroom armed to the teeth and spraying bullets.

http://crookedtimber.org/2012/12/22/rimbaud-conservatism/

She favored the "flying wedge formation" in which we students would swarm the shooter with Wolf Blitzkrieg, who was big for his age, leading the charge at the point of the "V".

The boys were to whoop and holler like wild Indians as we advanced. I suppose today kids could ululate like the Muslim hordes and scare the living crap out of whomever had interrupted our studies.

The girls were to break into a steadfast chorus of "We'll Meet Again" or "Bungalow Bill", whichever came to mind in the heat of the moment.

When I timidly raised my hand (she was an authoritarian libertarian, which to my tender mind was fearsome in the unpredictability of its contradictions) from the back of the classroom and asked Ms. McArdle what happened to the usual approach to life's rough edges she pontificated on ceaselessly for our edification, which could be summed up as "Every Man For Himself", she quoted Bismarck, sent me to the Principal's Office, and dove headlong under her desk.

Later, in seventh grade, we had a toffee-nosed kid, Scupperworth T. Fookly -- from a good family -- who dined on thesauruses for breakfast and who would sit in the back and suggest unctuously to all within earshot that when he grew up, he would sock Gore Vidal right square in the nose if the latter dared get uppity, which Gore could do, and viciously, not that anyone had any sympathy for him either.

Mr. Magee, the teacher in this particular class, who could fling a chalkboard eraser across the classroom and hit an errant slumberer in the brisket with the accuracy and velocity of Michael Vick on second down 20 yards out from the end zone, once caught Fookly midsentence and precisely in his open mouth with a piece of chalk, as he intoned a word we'd never of and haven't since.

The Fookly kid choked and had to be excused from school to visit his orthodonist for some refurbishing in the mouth area.

I would parody this too, but I can't find a hook that isn't already realized in the real item:

"NRO’s Charlotte Allen is back at it again:

I am also responding to David Weigel, who told me I gotten my facts wrong: that there are actually two men, a custodian and a fourth-grade teacher, on Sandy Hook’s 52-person staff. He’s right, and I stand corrected. This does help prove my point, though: just two adult men in a building containing 500 people — and it’s not clear that both of them were at work that day. Indeed, a visit to Sandy Hook’s staff website is a depressing experience, the sea of women’s names. Why aren’t there more men? Perhaps not enough want the job? But why? Because they are tacitly discouraged from careers in elementary education? It’s certainly not the money, because union rules typically require kindergarten teachers and high-school chemistry teachers to be paid on exactly the same salary scale. Another depressing page on the Sandy Hook website is the “Safe Schools Climate” page. It’s a page of links to “anti-bullying” resources. Yes, the Sandy Hook staff’s idea of a “safe school” was a school where kids didn’t say mean things about each other on Facebook! The Sandy Hook massacre was a tragedy, but it was at least in part a tragedy of the collision between feminist delusions and reality."

via Balloon Juice.

Kafka asked Max Brod to destroy every jot and tittle of his written work chronicling the absurd because he knew it added nothing to the perfect absurdity of life itself.

Has anybody asked Brett whether Ms. Lanza was a "responsible gun owner"?

You know: the kind of person whose personal decision to own non-assault weapons was the kind of personal decision that society has no business meddling in because the 2nd Amendment confers personal rights on persons who are sometimes (but not always) ungrammatically called "the people" in the Bill of Rights.

Brett has no intention that his guns be used to murder anybody, let alone himself. He is a "responsible gun owner". So far, anyway. Mother Lanza would no doubt claim the same about herself, today, were she still in a position to say anything at all.

--TP

I didn't say that an individual who fights to protect the imaginary right to bear assualt weapons is responsible for murder. But I do say that such an individual is responsible for helping (with others of his/her ilk)to create the conditions that guarantee that there will be more mass killings and, like not or not, is responsible for that.

This isn't a discussion about abstractions. Policies have consequences. Responsible people know that and are careeful about what policies they support.

Tony, are you under the impression that somebody is by definition irresponsible if they don't accomplish an absolutely zero chance of anything bad happening? Do you perchance lock your car in a vault, so nobody can hot-wire it and go for a joy-ride, and maybe run somebody over? Do we require pool owners to surround their pools with steel cages, not just fences, so that nobody could deploy a ladder to enter and drown? Are all the cliffs in national parks equipped with hand rails to prevent falls?

You can be responsible and still have something bad happen.

As it happens, I think her precautions were, given the circumstances, (A son she was getting ready to have committed living in the same house.) a trifle inadequate. Are we going to enact a law stating that you have to store your guns in a safe if you're planning on having your son committed? How fine grained do you want this legislated caution to be, anyway?

Or maybe you want everybody to be forced to live as though somebody in their household were homicidal deranged? Wouldn't that be lock your car in a safe when you're not driving it overkill? (Yeah, I used that word just to annoy you.)

I grew up in a world where pools didn't have to be fenced, and guns were stored in closets, and survived. I don't think my parents were madly irresponsible for their conduct in this respect. Rather, I think what's mad is the conviction that, any time something bad happens, you have to identify who's responsible, and God forbid you pin it on the guy who actually pulled the trigger.

You're demonstrating nothing more than your ignorance of actual firearms terminology.

Hey, I stand corrected.

I try to keep up, but sometimes stuff gets ahead of me. Occasionally I fall prey to the usus loquendi.

And the difference between automatic and semi-auto is actually significant.

I would like to claim some bonus points for at least doing some homework, and trying to make sense of the bewildering array of fine points involved.

In any case, I appreciate your forbearance.

Allow me to try again:

Nancy Lanza believed the wheels were coming off of civil society, so she bought a lightweight semi-automatic rifle with a 30 round magazine capable of firing about 45 high-velocity intermediate rounds per minute capable of piercing a steel helmet at 500 feet and designed to be an effective offensive weapon for close range firefighting, along with two semi-automatic pistols, and taught her sons how to use them.

One of her sons was a disturbed individual and he used those weapons to kill her and 26 other people, including 20 little kids.

He apparently felt the need to shoot some of those kids 10 or more times, each, so he had to go through a few clips to get it done, but by god he got it done.

I hope you find that a more accurate characterization of the situation.

As noted previously, what your comments and those of McK have accomplished in my case is move me from being a person who would have been perfectly content with a ban on large capacity magazines, to being a person who thinks what we really ought to consider is a ban on semi-automatics.

So at the hearts and minds level, you're on the negative side. If that matters to you.

I understand that it's dead obvious to you that the 2nd ought to guarantee your right to keep and carry any firearm issued to US military.

I'm not sure you understand how absolutely f**cking nuts that sounds to a hell of a lot of people.

I don't know if that matters to you or not, but the consequences of that reality just might.

You know how pissed off you get when you talk about Waco and Ruby Ridge? Since we're talking about bloody shirts and all.

That's how pissed off people get when they, for example, think about 20 dead kids in Sandy Hook while listening to, frex, Wayne LaPierre drone on about how everybody is demonizing gun owners. Or, Aurora, or Columbine, or any of the other dozens of mass shootings that have gone down in the last couple of decades.

Just a heads up for you, buddy.

Everybody understands that you, personally, didn't shoot anybody.

However, it's NOT ABOUT BRETT BELLMORE AND HIS PERSONAL FONDNESS FOR GUNS AND SHOOTING.

It's about whether the widespread availability of firearms, especially firearms capable of delivering lots and lots of bullets in short amount of time, present a risk to the population as a whole that outweighs our desire, for various historical and legal reasons, to let people own and use firearms if and how they wish to.

The common sense, intuitive take on this is that more guns means more guns get fired, which in turn means more people get shot. If you think that the common sense, intuitive take is wrong, it behooves you to demonstrate how that is so.

Because it is extremely not clear that it is so.

Which reminds me that I'm still waiting for the criminological studies demonstrating that the rate of gun ownership in this country is unrelated to the level of gun violence in this country. When you get a chance, I'd like to see them.

I know things can get hectic around the holidays, but it's been about a week since you brought it up, and you've found the time to make plenty of other posts.

You make a fairly counter-intuitive claim, I ask you to back it up. It doesn't seem to be a lot to ask, if your aims are actually supported by reason.

Thanks.

Because WE define responsibility as being responsible for what WE do.

Yeah, see, there's a difference.

I define responsibility as being responsible for the consequences of my actions.

A fine distinction, perhaps, but a real one, and quite often a very large one.

Because WE define responsibility as being responsible for what WE do.

Who is WE, kimosabe?

"Am I my brother's keeper?"
OK, that was the guy who had just effed a quarter of world population at the time using (likely) a blunt instrument, definitely not a firearm, and then got lifelong immunity from persecution or retribution (and used it to commit incest and foster urbanisation).

"I hope you find that a more accurate characterization of the situation."

Yes, rather more accurate. Now,

1. If a gun accepts a magazine at all, it will accept a 30 round magazine. Magazine capacity is determined by the magazine, not the gun. So a proposal to outlaw any gun that accepts a magazine capable of blah blah blah, is a proposal to ban any gun that accepts a magazine. That's most of them.

1a. And if an after market magazine of 30 round capacity didn't exist for a particular rifle you wanted to ban, you could simply pay to have one developed to extend the reach of the law, it's fairly cheap.

2. Any hunting firearm is going to be, by this standard, high velocity, and at least intermediate caliber, unless you're gunning for squirrels or birds, or rabbits, or something similarly tiny. So, again, you're talking about most hunting guns, and all self-defense guns.

3. Additional accessories, such as flash hiders, are easily removed or added, and generally have little utility outside of special circumstances. (Such as pig hunting, where AK-47 variants with large magazines are actually recommend; Feral pigs have mean streak, don't die easy, and often run in packs.)

So, while the jerk (I continue my boycott of mentioning his name.) did in fact use the sort of pseudo-military firearm gun banners want to go after first, most hunting guns with common aftermarket magazines would be absolutely equally suitable for dishing out mayhem.

So, to sum up, while you freak over a Bushmaster, your ban, if it were to have any effect at all, (Even granting the laughable assumption of no effective black market.) would have to extend to the majority of firearms in America. Essentially every hunting arm that accepts a magazine, and pretty much all self-defense arms as well.

So, can we dispense with the idea that it's a modest compromise measure? No, it's pretty darn radical, would have an impact on tens of millions of people.

You'd think people would have learned there lesson from Prohibition, but the War on Drugs proved they didn't, and now you're proposing a War on Guns.

Of course a person is not responsible for the unforeseeable consequences of actions they advocate for. However, in the case of civilian access to military style weapons, the reuslts are entirely foreseeable and the advocates bear responsibility for the consequences.

I think that what is being exposed here is the essential selfishness of the conservative point of view when it comes to actions iin the politica arena. It always comes down to this with conservatives:me, me, me.


The defiitioin of responsibility is "I am responsible for making my choices and the consequences to me'. So the conservative can deny the respsonsiblity for the conseqwuences to other people of his/her role in poitical life. The same selfishness mainfested itself inthe conversation on health care . The conservative position was "I am ideologically opposed to Obamacare and accept no repsoniblity for the consequences of putting my ideoplogy ahead of real human beings"

The flip side of the conservative me, me, me definitioin of responsiblity is "And screw you, Jack"--an abdication of responsiblity for other people and for the social contract.

Related to this comes the coservative definiton of the resposiblities of governemnt: to serve the conservative and no one else.

The heart of the defense of civilian access to military style weapons is, "But I want one! For me! FOr me! For me! And accordig to my principles, that's all that matters!"

I guess we should just be glad they they don't seem to want short range nuclear weapons.

"The definition of responsibility is "I am responsible for making my choices and the consequences to me'. So the conservative can deny the respsonsiblity for the conseqwuences to other people of his/her role in political life."

I am responsible for my choices, and their effects on pretty much anybody, but you're trying to make me responsible for the effects of other people's choices.

I notice you're not blaming the marketers of first person shooter games. You're not blaming newspapers for giving the jerk notoriety, leading to the perfectly predictable string of copy-cat events. You're not blaming the drug warriors for gang violence, which kills a lot more people than school shootings. Why, you're not even blaming the ACLU, which a few months earlier managed to defeat a law in Connecticut which would have streamlined the process for committing the jerk, maybe preventing the massacre.

No, you're blaming me, who, like most gun owners, has never hurt a soul, and never will. Because blaming the jerk is unsatisfying, him being already dead and all. Ditto for the mom who didn't properly store her guns knowing she had a crazy son.

You're blaming me, because you fundamentally don't believe in individual guilt or innocence, you're a collectivist to the core. And I'm an individualist.

We're never going to agree with each other.

...you're a collectivist to the core. And I'm an individualist.

Spoken like a http://scholarsandrogues.com/2012/12/13/libertarians-engineers-and-climate-disruption-denial-part-1-libertarians/>true libertarian/engineer.

I grew up in a world where pools didn't have to be fenced, and guns were stored in closets, and survived."

So did I.

It was an idyll in gauzy memory and like most childhood memories not what it seemed, though we were the lucky toddlers, weren't we?

I speak of unfenced pools since that is the second reference to the likenesses between swimming pools and guns here in the past few days.

Both of my grandfathers kept sizable bodies of water on their properties in Ohio when I was a child.

One kept koi in a surprisingly large pool during the summer months, transferring them to galvanized tubs in the basement during the winter months.

This house was in town and at the time there were no local jurisdictional regs regarding protective fencing despite the fact that there were toddlers in the neighborhood.

I'm quite sure there are tighter rules now, although the last time I looked that pool had been filled in.

The local laws changed, as I'm certain the home insurance liability rates did too over time as toddler drownings across the country drew attention.

My other Grandpa had a large swimming pool on a rural property in northeastern Ohio, unfenced, neighbors some distance away.

Some of my earliest memories are of that pool because I learned to swim (well, not to drown) there. I remember standing at the edge staring into its depths as I tried to summon the courage each time to jump in -- the surrounding people, all but my Mom now long dead, but then seemingly going quiet as they watched to see if I took the plunge, and my grandfather, a gruff German, would unfailingly break the silence by muttering to no one in particular, but loud enough, "The best way to teach a child to swim is to just throw them into the deep end. They'll learn or they'll purtinear drown!"

"Oh, Bert, leave him be," my grandmother would protest, a smirk just visible on her face.

My grandfather would make a noise of mighty Teutonic dudgeon, the very phlegm in his throat rattling with what seemed to be pent-up explosive rage, throw up his hands, and stalk off as part of what, I now know in retrospect, was one of their dramatic play-acting set-tos.

In I would go with a splash just to avoid being hurled in bodily before I was ready, and I might have been wishing I was wearing some scuba gear like Ben Braddock in "The Graduate" and I could go to the bottom of the deep end and gaze up, buck naked with bubbles, at the watery, wavering figures of my family backlit by the brilliant summer sun and be left alone to go at my own speed, thank you very much.

I was 32 years old at the time. No, I wasn't.

Maybe four years old.

At any rate, this grandfather kept guns too, rifles in the closet behind the coats for hunting (we have pictures of him and my Dad and his brother and sister as kids holding up so many squirrel carcasses that it's a wonder the species isn't extinct), but I remember one time when I was maybe 9-years-old, now at a different house, during some holiday, as my grandfather and the rest of the men, including me, in the family sat in the living room watching a football game and the ladies bustled about in the kitchen, my 7-year-old brother, who had a penchant, and still does, for nosy exploring, appeared in the hallway entrance to the living room and caught my eye by some subtle motioning, summoning me like a gangster with a conspiratorial backward nod of his head and up I got trying to appear nonchalant and followed him into my grandparents' master bedroom in the back of the house.

He knelt down between the twin beds (my grandparents at that point slept in separate beds like Rob and Laura Petrie), lifted the bedspread and there holstered to the bed frame was a snub-nosed pistol of some caliber.

We looked at each other awestruck, breathing out of the question. I think both of us touched it.

Of course, we got of there tout suite because the aforementioned Teuton, a wonderful man, lived to be 97, as did my grandmother, would have opened a can of Hun on us had he walked in.

Now, you may have thought in my long-winded suspense here that I was going to say we took the weapon and walked through the house shooting the entire family, my brother reloading and me asking him along the way whether this was such a good idea, and then lighting out in grandpa's Pontiac for a high-speed killing spree through several states.

No, but I will say this. Knowing my brother as I do now (never mind the details), when he became a teenager and even later in life I'd lay even odds that that gun, had my grandparents not sold their stuff and moved into a retirement home by then, would have gone missing, if only for a time.

Which brings me back to fenced pools.

The laws changed. In the U.S. and elsewhere.

Population density increased as pool-studded suburbs proliferated and with that came increased incidence of toddlers wandering a few feet from their yards for a few minutes and to the bottom they went.

Too many times for society's comfort, which then sought redress through their elected governments, the latter of whom had to be dragged kicking and screaming along because many of those individuals had fond memories of a time when.

"These things happen in a free society" didn't "hold water" in a free society any longer.

Zoning and code changes were tightened. Insurance companies began to look askance.

The fences went up, which by the way would have made the movie "The Swimmer" with Burt Lancaster in the lead role (based on a short story by John Cheever) a little more awkward if the character had to climb over fencing every time he trespassed on his former neighbors' properties as he swam his odyssey to an unreclaimable past, but art is not life.

Gun laws are going to change too.

True, federal law was not enacted regulating pool safety, as far as I know, though the Consumer Product Safety Commission might contradict my guess, because toddlers weren't crossing state lines out of some long-distance curiosity regarding shimmering pools of water.

As far as I know, as cleek pointed out too, no one has yet attacked a school with large pools of chlorinated (a diminuation of the human freedom to cultivate bacteria and algae) water through a hose with a high-speed nozzle.

Individual swimming and hunting won't decrease, but collectively things are going to change.

There will be more fencing of a sort.

Tough sh*t, as my grandfather might have muttered.

Here's a link to an Australian study of sorts on toddlers and pool deaths with and without fencing, which that country also addressed with tighter regulation with stellar results.

http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/6/4/288.full

I'll splash around in the shallows of Google of find more links to stats on unprotected swimming pool fatalities on request.

Entertaining, Bobby; I especially enjoyed this:

"The Iyer et al studies conclusively demonstrated that the single libertarian moral good of liberty, specifically “negative” liberty, is quite different from the morals of either liberals or conservatives. This single moral good is the driving factor from which all other libertarian values are derived."

Well, duh, that's why we call ourselves libertarians. The real mystery is why you call yourselves liberals, given your values.

Countme-In, the point here is that "responsibility" exists on a continuum, which means you're not rejecting "responsibility" if you don't accept somebody elses preferred level of it.

Well sure, but individual and collective responsibility exist on a continuum as well, shifting over time as context and circumstances change and dictate.

Tench Coxe's "preferred level" may have shifted over time as well had not mortality interfered.

He's gone, unfortunately, but the continuum, it continues.

I love that the Brett Bellmore lunatic fringe is now reflexively, as an article of faith, blaming video games and the media for mass shootings despite a) there being absolutely no demonstrated causal connection between FPS or any other video games and mass shootings/rampage killings, and b) there being no demonstrated "copycat" effect due to media coverage, nor even any evidence that the perpetrators of mass shootings that occur nearby in time had any evidence of the others' existence. Yep, it's all the fault of the New York Times and HALO that people shoot other people. Nothing to do with the fetishization of guns.

Sorry, crazy people, but not even Rupert Murdoch is buying it anymore.

(Next up, McKinneyTX can explain to my father, who has actually killed a sizeable number of human beings with guns up to and including whatever would have been mounted on the door of a helicopter in 1970 or so, that he doesn't know anything about guns and that's why he things the 2nd Amendment should be repealed.)

The New York Post, huh?

That's like Vince and Linda McMahon calling for the prohibition of Hulk Hogan's flying leg drop in the WWF.

I notice you're not blaming the marketers of first person shooter games.

Um, Brett, you are aware, I trust, that the US is about the middle of the range in terms of popularity of countries where such games are available. And if you graph murder rates vs. violent game popularity, what you get is a pretty flat line, with a serious outlier in the middle which is the US. So I think we can skip that particular potential culprit.

I grew up in a world where pools didn't have to be fenced, and guns were stored in closets, and survived.

Like you and the Count, so did I. It was also a world where the NRA was focused on gun safety (I took their training course) and responsibility. In fact, a few years later the NRA was a strong supporter of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Hmmm, something changed there....

Ok, hip hop artists. Focus on the difference between Montana and D.C., not the difference between D.C. and London. Because right now you're blaming Montana for murders in D.C., and that doesn't make any sense.

Yeah, before the Cincinnati revolt the NRA viewed it's job as managing the decline in our rights. They figured that if they sold them away in dribs and drabs, they could stretch out the process of losing them for another generation. Turned out the membership thought we could keep them, and didn't like having the organization run by sell-outs.

Focus on the difference between Montana and D.C.

What would your position be if the city of Washington DC passed a law banning all semi-automatic firearms?

You don't live there, why would you even give a crap either way?

Murder rates with firearms per state per capita:

http://www.statemaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-death-rate-per-100-000

Washington D.C. wins, yup, but what's this, Montana is up there pretty high, in the running for the top ten.

Still above the national average.

Murder rates via firearms country by country
per capita.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

United States up there with some pretty ugly places.

Montana, while half the murder rate of Washington D.C., many, many times greater than England and myriad others with stricter gun laws.

If the Japanese had won World War II, after blowing everything to smithereens and taking over Montana, the place would be comparably peaceful, by some exponentiality.

Cultures on the gun violence continuum.

First table cited was for death rate by firearms, not murder rate.

As was the second chart.

"You don't live there, why would you even give a crap either way?"

I'm fond of the rule of law, and the Bill of Rights doesn't incorporate local option. Suppose Greenville re-instituted slavery; You don't live there, why would you give a crap either way?

the bill of rights doesn't mention semi-automatic weapons.

which brings us back to what the intent of the 2nd was, and what a reasonable understanding of the 2nd means in a current-day context.

which is probably where we part ways.

the bill of rights doesn't mention semi-automatic weapons.

I don't find this persuasive. Sure, the framers had no concept of semi-automatic weapons (let alone those that could be cheaply upgraded to fully automatic ones). But they also had no concept of the internet yet we're pretty comfortable broadly applying the first amendment to it.

If the second amendment means anything, it has to allow for pretty significant limits. Otherwise, why can't I have my suitcase nukes and build shoulder launched anti-air rockets and cook up sarin in my kitchen? And if the second amendment can encompass all those limits, banning high capacity magazines doesn't seem a bridge too far.

I don't find this persuasive.

If I'm not mistaken, we were making the same point.

Sorry for my lack of clarity.

The more reading I do on the original intent of the 2nd, the more I conclude that what it's about was, quite simply, not allowing the feds to disarm the various state and local militias that existed at that time.

Period.

What that means in the modern context is, to me, less than obvious, because the fundamental context - the existence of local and state level militias, separate from the federal military, and under the command of the civil government, with widespread if not near-universal participation, doesn't really exist anymore.

There are the various guard organizations, but I don't think they have the same level of grass-roots citizen-soldier participation as was, apparently, typical in the late 18th C.

What I don't see in the 2nd is an indefeasible right to private ownership of any firearm used by the federal military.

That's my take, based on what I've read so far. If anybody here wants to convince me otherwise, they'll need to point me to resources other than their bald assertions in a blog comment.

The more I listen to the gun rights advocates here, the more I am convinced that regulation of semi-automatic weapons is a very, very, very good idea indeed.

Again, just my point of view. But I do vote, and spend my money and time, to advance things that I think are good public policy.

And over and above all of the back and forth about what the 2nd means, and what the muzzle velocity of a .223 is, and whether a revolver needs to be cocked prior to firing each round, what really strikes me in the Newtown case is the fact that thousands and thousands of people in this country are building private arsenals so that they can shoot their neighbors when the SHTF.

That is a really dangerous scenario, both for them and for their neighbors-slash-potential-future-targets, and folks who fall into the "potential future target" category sure as hell will have something to say about it.

Abetting violent paranoid fantasies was not the original intent of the 2nd.

I'm thinking about now that there are some people who are firmly settled on their positions on guns, and the rest will be convinced about what makes sense based on events they see unfold. (how insightful...)

Between things like Sandy Hook and Wayne LaPierre's subsequent appearances, our semi-democratic politics will go the way they'll go. And that will be that.

What else is there to say at this point? May the best side win.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


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