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December 14, 2012

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Supposedly it was the shooter's mom that was the target. Just completely devastating. Just so horrible.

"Why else are gun defenders are so willing to water the tree of liberty with the blood of kindergartners?"

Why are defenders of the First amendment so willing to publish Hustler, and racist diatribes?

Could it be that people are responsible for what THEY do?

Brutus's sons had attempted to overthrow the government and restore the monarchy, so the father ordered their death to maintain the republic.

So.

As someone who has his CCW and intends to possess a large number of guns than he currently now has let me say the following:

1) Yes, let's discuss this in light of the tragedy.

2) Yes, guns made it more convenient for the tragedy to happen.

3) I'm open to ways to institute reasonable, rational gun control/restriction laws.

4) By reasonable, I mean based on a reasonable good faith effort to prevent these style of incidents.

4a) Needs to take into account American culture of gun ownership. Outright bans aren't going to happen.

4b) Needs to take into account the Supreme Court's reading of the 2nd Amendment (unless you are of the "let's nullify the 2nd Amendment, in which case, I say "Good luck and you deal with item 4a").

4c) Deal with the reality that guns will be available for the manufacture at home via the use of 3d printers. Right now it is a niche market of a niche market and quality control is shoddy; but this will change dramatically in the next few years, IMO; and controlling the plans will be difficult to say the least.

My thoughts on the matter are simple -

1) arming everyone won't work. Not everyone is trained shooter, and dramatically increases the chances of accidental/incidental incidents.

2) Background checks and investigations are good things to have; however, working in the industry I do, they are not full proof.

3) Tracking ammo sales/microtagging will prevent some types of attacks, but the suicide spree killers won't much care if the bullets can be tracked.

4) Mental health awareness and availability seems to be the best options; however, this involves a huge change in our societal and political culture to function with, if someone becomes ostracized for having mental health concerns, people of that person's social network will be less likely to do something about it.

I think the shooter was angry at his mother and his brother. Families have conflicts for sure. Most of the time they don't kill each other. Something else going on here. I don't know why he had to kill children either. Whatever. He was sick and crazy. Not normal at all.

I think video games, the violent ones which there are more of these days, are to blame for a lot of this. It programs young boys to become violent killers. I don't know why a good parent would let a child play all of these gangster assassin games.

Are video games protected by the first amendment?

4c is not going to happen. You can only print parts of the weapon that can be plastic, and efforts to date have resulted in guns that break rather quickly. You still need the barrel and chamber, and those are not going to print anytime soon.

"Most firearms in America are actually used to make men feel better about their dicks -- sorry, as symbols and reinforcers of masculinity."

Can't really respond in detail, as we're about to leave for the company Christmas party. But a brief reply in regards to this:

You can't really call this pop-psychology, pop-anti-psychology might be a better term. (Here's a hint: Freud would have accused *you* of penis envy...) But it's really no kind of psychology at all, just a puerile gutter insult anti-gunners like to level when they think they can get away with it.

I'd respond in kind, just to underscore this, but expect I'd be banned as a result, so I'll try to keep to the higher ground.

A little time, as the babysitter was late.

8. You do realize that this is because it is normally anticipated that people like you will chose that weapon for efforts at enacting bans, right? Though I know you mean to imply sales pick up because gun owners say, "That was used for murder? Cool!"

Yeah, I expect you realized that.

Could it be that people are responsible for what THEY do?

Or what they passively choose to allow to happen.

It would seem having the position that holding individuals responsible for their actions AND observing that nearly all of the individuals responsible for these types of mass murder via firearms have dicks could be equally true and compatible.

It could be the "culture" that makes young white men into mass murderers via firearms, if it's not the dicks.

There are cultures, as we have learned here, and there are cultures; the similarity between the two seems to that the bedicked members of both cultures like seeing the bullets fly.

I notice the dickless among us (Vive la difference!) rarely dick around with weaponry in schools.

True, they swat the kids with rolled up copies of Hustler (dicks unconcealed), occasionally, but the kids get over it.

Are we going to hold the entire individual responsible, except for his dick, which I guess is the only part of the male anatomy that doesn't bear responsibility?.

So, guns and people with dicks don't predominately kill people (despite the stats for the coincidence of guns and dicks), people kill people?

I could live with a national law that made it illegal for young people with dicks below the age of, say, thirty, to own or operate any kind of firearm, including rifles, which are for fighting.

They may keep their dicks, because those are for fun. The dickless of all ages may keep their firearms, because I have feeling many of the bedicked would resort to a substitution effect.

So, possession of fewer puerile gutter insults would lead to less umbrage and a safer world, but possession of fewer weaponry would lead to ... what again?

It's fun to hear the word "dick" go off like a gunshot and observe the startle reflex among grown men.

Dr. Science, I would add one further predickion to your list. Tonight on FOX News a bevy of bedicked and dickless, though dickISH, types will bemoan the exercise of the First Amendment rights of those of us who dare have the bad taste to talk about gun control so soon after 28 people are shot dead in an elementary school, where they could just as well have been stabbed to death with the cafeteria cutlery, like the fully bedicked do in China, as happened today, but with alarmingly deficient efficacy.

I'm not sure FOX has given the waiver of the statute of limitations yet on talking about the Aurora theater shootings.

We're developing a backlog.

It just occurred to me that my keyboard can act as sort of a drum clip for spraying the word "dick" around limitlessly for a little recreational internet plinking.

Just by holding down the trigger. It only fires asterdicks.

I'll refrain. I don't own a weapon either because my dick tends to get the better of me by sending signals via glands and the brain to go off half-cocked when I'm angry.

I may change my mind if Grover Norquist doesn't shut his trap because that bedicked one threatening armed force against the government from time to time (yeah) for levying taxes is growing tiresome.

No fair that he has a dick and a gun and I'm stuck with just a dick.

Look, I give up. There's nothing to do.

Next week, I look forward to something deadlier in the way of school shootings, because I don't really give a sh*t any longer and hoping we won't have another one next week is fantasy for the dickless, according to the first rules of dicks.

So, bring it on. If it's unsolvable, then it must be funny, I always say.

I'd say "F*ck it!" but that may be too large of a caliber for some.

Let's have a thread on global warming, but close it before comments can begin, because there's nothing to do.

And on and on.

I see now that Russell has requested a moratorium on this topic on the other thread and I'll now shadup .... because Russell.

He fries different and more reasonable fish than FOX News.

All this talk about "dicks"......my guy definitely has nothing to compensate for. Nothing to woryy about in the man parts and service department, but he owns guns.

I like to shoot too once in a while at the range.

Now the news is reporting that the guns used in the school shooting were registered to the teacher who was the mother.


I like to wear dresses and have men open doors for me. I know that some women like to wear the pants and find traditional gender roles insulting. It's usually that type that complains about men and their "dicks". I think they are jealous.

I see now that Russell has requested a moratorium on this topic

To be honest, if folks find it useful to talk about it, I have nothing against that.

Have at it if that's what you need to do.

I just don't think I personally have much to say about it right now. I'm just really f**king sad.

I'm angry and sad.

I just cannot understand what kind of sick mind targets children.

I'm sad too.

The problem is, there are kids who will die tomorrow and the next day until we do something about it. It happens every single day, not in this spectacularly large way, but every day. But even these massive shootings happen more than once a month. This week, more than once a week.

I had given up for awhile, but that was wrong. We can't give up.

More than half of the victims will be female.

Breaking news! Genital checks on kindergartners show 11 victims of the war on women and nine dead things that don't count.

sorry, you can't stop gun owners. the same old line about "guns don't kill, people do" will be bandied about as an excuse. and it has worked everytime and will continue to work.

banning guns will not happen as long as men are out there wanting to kill whatever they choose to aim at. animals, people or whatever. the power of guns and their destructiveness is always going to win in America. the 2nd amendment has been used to excuse any type of gun related incident

and will continue to be. sad and predicaably American.

this kind of rationale allows sick people like today's killer to get away with what he did and will allow tomorrow's killer to do the same. all this talk about sadness and death is just inherent in the "guns don't kill" paradigm.

guns are more important in America than people. like some armed militia, 2nd amendment types, are going to stop the Government with all it's firepower from winning any battle.

that's such a specious argument. so full of irrationality. but we are dealing with irrationality and the use of guns to "solve" problems. so we will continue to see more of this type of "2nd Amendment "excuses". maybe these kindergarteners will die for some good, but i doubt it. more carnage in the war on America by some "Mad" gun owners.

"Most firearms in America are actually used to make men feel better about their dicks -- sorry, as symbols and reinforcers of masculinity. "

I have a .22 rifle; my wife has a .38 special. Is she more comfortable with her dick than I am with mine?

This post has some things in it that are less than what I would expect from Dr. Science; I am blaming the lapse on tragedy.

You know, I absolutely agree with slarti here. Cheap pop-Freudianism is not only nonsense, it detracts from attempts to solve the problem.

You do realize that this is because it is normally anticipated that people like you will chose that weapon for efforts at enacting bans, right? Though I know you mean to imply sales pick up because gun owners say, "That was used for murder? Cool!"

Brett, can you point to the specific bans that were enacted after each of the last 5 mass casualty shootings in the US?

I get that gun owners have this incredible fear that guns are going to get banned after mass casualty shootings. But at some point, when the thing you're convinced will happen keeps not happening, your conviction becomes...evidence of delusion. I'm really not thrilled at the prospect of a large number of delusional people desperately hoarding lots more weapons because they've lost touch with reality.

"I have a .22 rifle; my wife has a .38 special. Is she more comfortable with her dick than I am with mine?"

That's a loaded question.

I would guess the 22 is more for target practice, but the .38 special is more for self-defense against OTHER people with dicks.

I'd guess I'm off by some ridiculous margin, but since you asked.

The more relevant question is why do young bedicked men predominately in our "culture" murder indiscriminately with firearms and you and your wife, and other women, don't, or least rarely do? Your wife and you never and other women rarely, of course, with all due apologies to other women.

"Dick", if we follow the lesson provided us the other day regarding analogy, meaning not just an appendage but also a set of hormones and the mindset that goes with when coupled with the ready availability of guns.

For which a vaccine has not yet been developed.

Why don't football players' wives and girlfriends shoot the former instead of the other way round, nearly all of the time?

Also, why is castration sometimes recommended as punishment for male rapists by a segment of the conservative, gun-loving end of the spectrum if dicks and the violence of dominance have nothing to do with anything?

Personally, I believe today's shooter should have been encouraged to play with his dick more and guns less.

But our culture prefers the reverse.

That the weapons apparently were registered in the shooter's now-murdered Mom's name merely illustrates the possibility of jagoffery in all sexes, races, and creeds, although young males in our culture seem to maintain a sizable lead in that category at all times.


I agree with McManus that the bedicked rarely discriminate between the genders of their victims in the event of mass murder, but seem to favor killing the dickless at home, when a wider range of victims aren't available.

I could raise the question too of why oh why do some women yearn for the right to engage in war combat like their bedicked colleagues, but life is confusing.

The over/under on Bellmore is 54 comments on this thread.

Odd that he will acknowledge the validity of even one of anybody else's points: No line. Prohibitive favorite.

200+ comments: Probability > 75%

Nate Silver told me so.

Bring this shit to a vote. That "right" has outlived it's usefulness.

Repeal it.

All you amateur cowboys will have to find some other way to make believe. Because your hobby makes it too fncking easy for people to kill each other and the rest of us are sick of watching the bodies pile up.

"Bring this shit to a vote. That "right" has outlived it's usefulness."

I'm not sure what shit you have in mind. I suspect that Congress is probably also not clued in.

So: what, specifically, do you propose?

People are responsible for what they do. Employers should allow people to drink on the job, except maybe for AB's beer tasters. They obviously can't handle that responsibility.

People who aren't highly functional are able to get their hands on guns in this country because there are so many fnkcing guns here. We have to live with that because Constitution! and 2nd Amendment!

Look, it's really just about process, which is why an amendment rescinding or modifying the 2nd amendment is a-okay with conservatives. They'll be happy that we're dealing with the gun problem in a way that respects the constitution. It not just "I want guns." It's about the rule of law.

bobbyp:

Well, I was saving this because it is tangential, but here is something that Brett might at least nod agreement to, though others might take umbrage at the invocation of gender differences.

Generally speaking, there is a harmless engineering aesthetic that goes along with precision hardware and gadgets that seems to fascinate men more than it does women.

There is something about machined tooled metal and composites with their exquisite tolerances and delicious fitting together of crafted metal against crafted metal that more often than not is seductive to the male mind.

The crafting of a device that can accelerate a bullet to such velocities is an engineering marvel to men, mostly, but not exclusively, in my experience.

I'm not slighting function.

I, for one, despite my utter disinterest in engineering and tools and such, can watch and re-watch segments of movies like Mission Impossible, or The Professional, and similar films in which exquisitely engineered weapons and their accessories are revealed each in their cushioned compartments in a suitcase and then assembled with excruciatingly exact clicks noting the fitting together of the parts.

I love it aesthetically when the silencer is threaded onto the barrel of the weapon and then some intricate but elegant apparati unfold, the metal making its wonderful muffled noises, to form a butt and a sight.

"The Ipcress File", starring a very young Michael Caine, featured a scene in his kitchen early in the film in which he prepares expresso, probably for a goil. The scene has little or no dialogue; it's merely his silent, exact manipulation of the finely tooled parts of the very coolly designed European machine.

I imagine a comparison, in the meditative sense, with participating in the Japanese Tea Ceremony, with its aesthetic exactitude.

My Ipad. There's something about the sound of my finger tapping against the gorilla glass of the screen and the all of the beveled, exact edges that makes me want to give up playing with my dick altogether.

None of this rises quite to the level of say, the sexual fetish of the human body meeting up at high speeds with the instrumentation on the car dashboard, as displayed in J.G. Ballard's novel "Crash", but there is something nearly sexual (here, Brett stops nodding, if not before) about technology and sex in many cultures.

I had a best friend, now deceased, in college who went on and on for weeks about the coolness of how firearms are engineered precisely to carry out their function.

He couldn't wait to get home and try out a 22 rifle someone in his family had procured, a weapon that I excelled at using for target practice in high school on the rifle team.

Home he went for the summer and I visited him and asked about the 22. He looked at me kind of sheepishly (what, what, I asked) and explained that he had taken it out on his parents sizable rural property and winged a shot at a groundhog some distance away who was standing in some weeds.

The groundhog disappeared and my friend search for it and sure enough, the weapon performed exactly as it was engineered to do -- one dead groundhog.

My friend looked at me and said "Yeah, guns are very cool technology, but they are made to do only one thing -- kill."

So then we went out and looked under the hood of his Dad's diesel Mercedes, which was engineered to do only one thing -- drive --- like I care.

Despite the substitution effect.

So: what, specifically, do you propose?

You keep ignoring what people propose as if they didn't say it. I propose a Constitutional amendment repealing the Second Amendment. And then then passing legislation banning assault rifles and passing whatever laws are necessary to regulate guns.

I'm not a fan of killing animals, and don't get the thrill of hunting, but I understand the point of hunting for food. Other than that, you need a law to allow it, not to prohibit it.

"I think video games, the violent ones which there are more of these days, are to blame for a lot of this. It programs young boys to become violent killers."

This must be why Japan has such regular and rampant violent outbreaks.

" I propose a Constitutional amendment repealing the Second Amendment. And then then passing legislation banning assault rifles and passing whatever laws are necessary to regulate guns. "

This is the proper way to deal with Constitutional amendments that you don't like.

1. Objecting to the dick comment can't stand in for refutation of the underlying claim that the American concept of masculinity is deeply connected to fantasies about the use of Righteous Violence against one's foes.

2. Pointing out that a gun ban is politically impractical is not a valid means of avoiding the question of whether one would, in the abstract, be a good idea. It isn't politically practical to fund infrastructure maintenance in the United States, but that doesn't mean that doing so wouldn't be worthwhile.

3. These shootings are probably a cost of our national views on gun ownership, and of our national politics related to gun ownership. The ability to successfully use violence is of course related to decision making on whether to engage in violence- arguing otherwise marks you as a petulant child emotionally incapable of discussing serious matters with adults. And an unwillingness to acknowledge both the benefits and the costs of your political positions marks you a coward.

To borrow Brett Bellemore's challenge from above, I acknowledge that the publication of racist screeds is a cost of freedom of speech. I think it is worth it. I can state this clearly because I am emotionally mature, and not a coward.

It would be nice if gun rights supporters could be capable of the same, instead of trying to distract the issue with infantile fantasies of law abidin' citizens engaging in righteous shootouts with black hatted criminals.

Every gun is sacred. No right is more important than the right to own as many guns as one wishes, of any kind, and to carry them wherever one wishes.

Every gun is sacred. More than children and teachers; more than people shopping at a mall; more than folks going out to see a movie or down to the neighborhood coffeeshop.

Guns are sacred. The right to own and carry trumps the right to not have to own and carry. Non-gun rights stop at your front door; gun rights don't stop anywhere.

You don't like it? Too bad. Get a gun and be ready to defend yourself.

Delightful.

Generally speaking, there is a harmless engineering aesthetic that goes along with precision hardware and gadgets that seems to fascinate men more than it does women.

Count,

I'm not so sure it is harmless, but I would agree there is an engineering aesthetic that experiences near hallucinatory anticipatory pre-orgasmic pleasure from the precise and perfect execution of a planned and exquisitely engineered marvel, irrespective of how many and what types of parts are harmoniously rubbing against each other in sensuous perfection, ingeniously anticipated in all particulars to the gnat's ass.

However, having dealt extensively with both male and female engineers, this observed behavior does not appear to be gender specific.

It's an engineering thing, and it is the arrogance that really grates.

I could handle the dick thing well enough (you should have seen me!), but this engineer stuff is enough, and enough is too much.

I mean, first they came for the engineers, and no one said anything. Then they came for the physicists, and, still, no one said anything. Then they came for the mathematicians, and it was too late. Now no one is safe. You'll see.

This must be why Japan has such regular and rampant violent outbreaks.

I've been trying to write a post about this, based on the fact that though I'm sure this isn't anyone's intention, the gun control debates are a sure way to make blogs more US centric. I'm not really sure how any non-American (I include myself in that) can participate in a thread like this, except like an anthropologist trying to explain some strange aspect of a recently discovered culture. Still, Sebastian's comment gives me a hook, however small, to hang some observations on and recycle some of the post material

I'd like to try and suggest that there is ecosystem where gun laws are simply viewed as a portion of how crime, personal freedom, etc etc are dealt with. If people accepted that, it would be interesting to have non-Americans describe their 'ecosystems' and see what's there.

On what I think was the same day as the Conn. shootings, I had to run home because I forgot something, and when I got to my cho (basically a town or city district), there were police all over the place. My cho is about a square kilometer (though I don't think there is a standard size), and there were 3 black and whites with 2 cops and at least 4 cops on bikes simply going up and down the street, cars with their lights on and the bike cops looking in various nooks and crannies. I pulled into my driveway, and went in the house, so I didn't ask what was happening. but it was in response to a report that a stranger was seen carrying a long tube like black object. (I found that out from an email that was sent to my wife's cell phone from the school's email notice system) I'm not sure if it was confined to our cho, or if the larger administrative unit was included and what the density of police was, but I thought that the ability to basically 'flood the zone' and respond to a report like that was an aspect of the japanese ecosystem. I went to find what the per capita of police were and apparently Japan is down the list, with 1.8 policemen per 100,000 residents, about 40 in the world.

In looking for that, I came across this pdf, which was a 2010 International Symposium on Crime Reduction
Anti-Crime Collaboration between Citizens, Communities, Governments, and Police. The first speaker, David Johnson, who wrote an interesting book called 'The Japanese Way of Justice: Prosecuting Crime in Japan' made some observations and his paper, which is first in the pdf, has this

Figure 7 shows that suicide has become so common in Japan that the country’s overall rate of “lethal violence” (homicide + suicide) exceeds that for every other industrialized nation for which decent data exist, and is about twice the average for all industrialized nations.

Men commit almost three-quarters of all suicides in Japan, and the big rise in the number of suicides after 1998 can largely be attributed to increases in the suicide rate of men aged 25 to 65. As mentioned above, 40 times more Japanese kill themselves than kill other people; the analogous figures for the US, the UK, and France are about 2, 8, and 20, respectively.

Johnson also cites Bayley, who wrote a book called Forces of Order, and he says:

According to Bayley, “the primary function of the Japanese police is not deterrence; it is crime prevention through enhancing the capacity of the society to discipline itself”... Bayley believes the police do this in three overlapping ways: by prodding, guiding, and alerting the public.

Prodding refers to the activities of the Japanese police in continually urging and encouraging the populace to report suspicious activities, buy security hardware, learn crime avoidance techniques, join crime prevention groups, and read and circulate crime prevention material. An important part of prodding the public is frequently telling people that “the situation is worse than they imagine,” which heightens public sensitivity to crime issues (Bayley 1991:184).

...

The second mechanism by which Japanese police prevent crime is guidance of the kind that the founder of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (Toshiyoshi Kawaji) stressed in the 1870s when he referred to police as “nurses of the people.” ... Most notably, police enlist thousands of citizens to participate in crime prevention
activities by monitoring and supervising behavior in their neighborhood. ...The result is “thousands of respectable ‘busybodies’…[who] work hand in glove with the police to
extend the boundaries of family and school discipline into public places”

...

The third crime prevention mechanism—alerting—refers to the Japanese police focus on “anticipating emerging problems of order” and then working with other actors and agencies to “take preventive action” (Bayley 1991:188). We have seen that many kinds of street crime are relatively infrequent in Japan, and that the police are hypersensitive to small changes in the “order” situation. They do not wait until a crisis emerges in order to respond. In their view, that is like trying to close the barn door after a horse has already escaped. Instead, Japanese police aim to stop problems before they become too hot to handle. This may also help explain why the police tend to exaggerate the seriousness of crime challenges. As Bayley put it, they, and the other actors in the crime-control network that they coordinate, “are like white corpuscles in the human body,” swarming around the first signs of infection in order to prevent society from getting more than a mild fever. In this way, “the Japanese police are always alert to departures from social order and are ready to take the lead in developing encompassing strategies of response” (Bayley 1991:189).

Sorry about the long quotes, but I put this in to try and describe how different things are here and to give some context to what happened to me the other day.

Looking at all this from here, it seems that there has to be a more global approach rather than simply the small question of gun control.

@Countme-in: I could raise the question too of why oh why do some women yearn for the right to engage in war combat like their bedicked colleagues, but life is confusing.

I assume that a lot of it is a desire for equal recognition. Like it or not, serving in combat has served as an important point of advancement for many minority groups. Denying women the opportunity to serve in combat denies them that avenue to advance the social standing of all women. And the individual women who want to serve in combat may be interested in personal advancement within the military, which tends to favor veterans with combat records. Keeping women out of combat will effectively keep them from making it to the top of the military, while allowing them into combat will open up those top jobs.

I fully subscribe to the idea of the extreme, bordering on fetishistic, pleasure about marvels of engineering with special emphasis on firearms. I marvel at the fact that it is possible to design and build something that has the precision of a Swiss watch but has to withstand violent powers equivalent to multiple sledgehammers in operation. But when I have violent fantasies, it rarely involves riddling bodies with bullets. The tool of violence for that is a blunt object or an axe. It's not about the result of a person ending up dead but about the visceral act of killing or maimimg with a premature death of the victim being a serios flaw.
The definitive depiction of that is likely http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24wPVy79HkI>this scene (2:30 to 3:30). A mass shooting would be just a poor substitute trying to make up in numbers what the individual 'cheap' kill lacks. I do not deny the intermediate of the hunt* though where the mental torture of the hunted fulfills at least parts of the visceral 'needs' of the hunter. The problem (or part of it) is that this substitute is much more available and easier to execute. I assume (having no practical experience) that it is far easier (mentally and physically) to attack a random crowd with a semi-automatic than with a melee weapon. At home the frying pan may easily substitute for the bullet (in the heat of the moment, less so for deliberate murder), less so outdoors.
---
I remember mass stabbings having happened over here but they are quite rare. The most spectacular case was one where the perpetrator was strongly suspected of having tainted the blade with HIV positive blood. He also did not charge a crowd but was inside it and suddenly began stabbing around. Not overly wildy but with deliberate single stabs per person (into the back until he got noticed). Instant lethality was obviously not the main goal. Iirc he managed to hurt 20-25 people in total. I do not remember whether a motive ever got established or whether anyone got infected.

*I do not mean hunting for the simple act of acquiring food. Many countries even enshrine the old honour code of hunters in law making the swift and clean kill mandatory and the disablity or unwillingness to deliver it a disqualifier (i.e.your licence can be revoked temporarily or permanently if you make a mess of it, esp. if there is evidence that it is deliberate).

From an outsider's point of view, the contrast between America's willingness to make rather drastic changes (not entirely without constitutional implications) in the way you order your society, as a result of 9/11, and the unwillingness to contemplate even the possibility of a change in the easy availability of firearms, is deeply puzzling.

"From an outsider's point of view, the contrast between America's willingness to make rather drastic changes (not entirely without constitutional implications) in the way you order your society, as a result of 9/11, and the unwillingness to contemplate even the possibility of a change in the easy availability of firearms, is deeply puzzling."

There was money to be made off a status quo change after 9/11. With guns, money to be lost.

I wanted to talk about the "every teacher should carry a gun" argument. Doesn't sound smart. Let's posit that this year is typical for "mass shootings" as defined in this link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/us-mass-shootings-2012/

So 13 mass shootings, 81 dead excluding shooters, not sure how many injured.

Every gun comes with an error rate: teacher might use the gun when not justified, kid might get access to the gun, etc. Giving teachers guns will, at best, reduce fatalities from 13 mass shootings a year, and/or deter some of those mass shootings. So we're talking a ceiling of 81 lives saved in the most wildly optimistic scenario, namely that teachers-carrying-guns stops ALL mass shootings as defined in the link above.

But now we have teachers carrying guns in thousands or tens of thousands of schools across the country. The error rate of usage and ownership applied to a huge pool is going to risk completely erasing or overmatching the 81 lives saved in the small number of cases where a teacher carrying a gun does any good.

Add to that the cost of arming and training all these teachers with guns.

I expect the rebuttal is that we'll train the teachers really well so they don't make mistakes, but that doesn't convince me - since when can we eliminate errors? I mean, why don't we just snicker at people who complain about car deaths and say we'll just train people to be better drivers?

"You keep ignoring what people propose as if they didn't say it"

Thanks for answering for cleek. Sorry for not having connected "this shit" to your somewhat more detailed description.

Sure, bring that to a vote now. It's better that it fails sooner than later.

lol slarti

"Bring this shit to a vote. That "right" has outlived it's usefulness.

Repeal it."

the operative phrase was "Repeal it."

please explain how you could both a) have bothered to read his post and b) failed to understand what "repeal it" referred to in this context.

I throw myself on the mercy of the court, Julian.

Roger Moore:

Yes, your observations are accurate.


Nigel:

I've been thinking along these lines as well.

Brett has pounded on the point in numerous threads about the "cultural" roots of black and Hispanic violence, mostly urban.

In fact, our crime prevention and penal industry has tailored specific remedies to deal with the culture.

Others decry the loss of God in our culture and the public sphere. Not enough God.

The country in its absolute security response to 9/11 has, especially in certain quarters, sometimes available for viewing on C-Span, been ready and willing to believe in a monolithic Muslim "culture" -- too much God -- as the root of a problem, and have been willing to stereotype every single one of the billion or so Muslims in the world as a dangerous carrier of this culture.

But, when it comes to the specific and repeated incidences of mass violence and murder with firearms by young, relatively affluent, white men and boys who generally speaking seem to suffer from variants of clinical depression, no cultural roots, especially in reference to the gun culture, are permitted.

No. We're all autonomous individuals responsible for our own actions and there will be no cultural referents.

How dare we stereotype? How dare we ask impertinent questions?

How many tens of millions of Federal tax dollars have gone into shoring up mostly suburban and affluent police forces and public schools against the minute threat of attack by individuals who happen to be Muslim, when the perpetrators -- young white men -- are sitting a few blocks away plotting terrorism?

How many times does innocent me have to explain the size of the f*cking shampoo container in my airline carry-on, though not pulled aside because of shampooing while swarthy, before I'm permitted to ask a few f*cking questions about the gun culture and ownership, and the use of its most lethal instruments for mass murder, among the white middle and upper middle class, of which I was raised a member?

It's a either a cultural problem in all cases or in none of them.

Either everyone on the planet is a culturally autonomous individual or none of us are.

Could be somewhere in the middle, maybe?

Well, for THOSE people. What are those vague paranoid signals of alarm going off in my (to put myself on the line) central nervous system when I hoof it through the wrong side of town or notice the vaguely Mideastern man standing in line for the airplane toilet, that don't seem to occur when I'm in a school and I notice a young white teenager or man sauntering by on the sidewalk outside.

Knowing what we know about THOSE people, why am I not requesting their frisking at least and maybe even my own.

My house was 1.5 miles from Columbine High School. My son is a young white, middle class kid, now young adult.

But my people are all autonomous individuals, responsible for their own actions at all times, unlike those other threatening monolithic cultures.

This Connecticut deal has nothing to do with me.

lj's comment regarding the Japanese culture's approach to law enforcement plays into this too.

Slarti, your sham contrition is all the apology I need

It wasn't a sham. If you like, I can apologize at length and in detail for this and all past and future shoddy reading.

But as shoddy reading is kind of thoroughly ingrained in me, it seems pointless.

this may be a boon to you in future human interactions: when you make a small mistake and someone else notes it, lavishly overapologizing comes off as sarcasm. A simple "oops, sorry about that" would've been splendid. I've misread many things here and elsewhere so I know how you feel.

I suppose we could put signs up on all schools that school personnel are armed, without actually arming Miss Janey down in Kindergarten.

But considering that most of these young white, heavily armed, depressed men all seem to end up dead, usually by their own hand, I think they'd be up, as in stoked, for the challenge.

I suspect, with good planning and training and equipment, these individuals could stalk and invade gun shows and do plenty of human damage before even the heavily-armed and innocent within could respond, despite the concentration of arms and training.

After all, it would be like war, where both sides take casualties.

I suspect the preference for schools and malls and is only partly because of the fear of being blown away from all directions by armed people, considering that being blown away one way or the other seems to be the fate of all of these perpetrators.

I suspect these guys are merely too lazy to plan a real military type of assault.

They'll get better at what they do and hone their fantasies if trends continue and then more fortified targets will face the culture too.

The Second Amendment in its original wording is here to stay.

That's one cultural artifact against which we may do nothing.

They'll kill us if we do.

Some of them have said so.

I've seen Grover Norquist, the motherf*cking vermin, on C-Span say exactly that.

So, f*ck it.

I has nothing to do with me.



Thanks for the pointer, Julian. I really do suck at this kind of thing, and I no longer have the excuse of inexperience to fall back upon.

Thank you, sincerely, for being receptive. I screw these kinds of things up too so sometimes I'm oversensitive to them when I see someone else doing it.

I made a mistake in my math - that 81 killed in "mass shootings" as defined by the Washington Post isn't just at schools. Which means arming the teachers has even less of a possible upside.

Back from the party, and internet working again.

"You keep ignoring what people propose as if they didn't say it. I propose a Constitutional amendment repealing the Second Amendment. And then then passing legislation banning assault rifles and passing whatever laws are necessary to regulate guns."

We're ignoring it as though proposing it demonstrated an utter disconnect from reality. Ignoring it was the polite thing to do.

The great majority of state constitutions, (44 of them!) guarantee this right, often in terms more stark than the 2nd amendment. State constitutions are typically easier to amend than the federal Constitution. I can think of at least a couple of states which have recently added such amendments to their constitutions, none have repealed them.

You're essentially raving about climbing Everest, when you live in a 1 story flat because stairs are too much for you to handle.

Gun controllers talking about this sort of thing by the legislative process are like Libertarians explaining their plans to repeal 95% of the legal code. Enlightening as to the movement's goals, but if thought of as a serious plan, evidence of insanity.

The high water mark of the gun control movement was the 1994 ban, barely passed, and followed by a landslide election erasing the majority that accomplished it. You've been losing political ground ever since. Even when you manage to elect somebody who shares your views, doing so usually involved them publicly denying it in order to avoid going down to defeat.

Sure, you have sufficient political dominance in a few specific areas of the country to win elections, which is why Heller and especially McDonald were important. But as a political program for the nation as a whole, proposing repeal of the 2nd amendment and enactment of gun bans is stark madness.

We aren't the gun nuts, YOU are.

Brett, abolishing slavery was politically unrealistic for a while too, which, by your logic, means an abolitionist stance on slavery (in the 1820s) was unreasonable.

Ignoring it was the polite thing to do.

I now resume my usual and better practice of ignoring Brett.

This isn't politically unrealistic in an abolishing slavery way. It's unrealistic in a restoring slavery way. People don't lie down and let their rights be taken away, after finally getting them back.

Doctor Science is right that gun-nuttery is mostly masculine fantasy, but women are not particular objects. Most homicidal gun violence is among young men or among family members or neighbors irrespective of sex. And mass killings are a small fraction of gun deaths. Focus on mass killings can be misleading. It is not completely illogical to argue that if all the adults in the Connecticut school had guns and were willing to open fire the total death toll would have been smaller - maybe only a few students accidentally killed in the crossfile instead of 26 people methodically killed with no resistance. The argument against everyone carrying guns is not based on mass killings, it is based on preventing every minor argument from degenerating into a gun battle. It may be that mass killings occur in supposedly gun-free zones, but that is because these are places where there are masses of people and where any weaponry would be dangerous. People bent on mass killings don't look for victims out in the country where there are no restrictions on guns. Mass killings are a special phenomenon and preventing them would not come close to preventing gun deaths in the US.

I think that the gun lobby has successfully polarirized the discussion in the coundry along irrational and (to themselves)self-aggrandizing lies in the same way that so-called pro-lifers have made it nearly impossible to discuss abortion.

Most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in some circumstances but our discussions always degenerate into the sin-of-priders claiming moral superiority without even accurately discribing their won positions (which mostly are pro-choice in reality) and other people responding emotionally to their self-rightwousness or rereacting by going to the opposite extreme and claiming that abortion should always be a choice.

Second Amendment extremists have done the same thing by treating to every discussion of gun conrl as if it was an either/ or discussion with them on the patiortic highground defending the Constituion which leaves everyoe else in the psoition of reacting negatively to their self-rightwousness by calling them gunnuts.

What we should be talking about is practical aspects of the situation: what sorts of laws and regulatios woudl keep guns out of the hands of crazy people, away from children, and in the hands of people who have training in safety.

Of course gun nuts further their reputation for nuttiness by discounting every sensible suggestion with "arguments" that aren't really arguments at all.

BTW polling sata shows that gun ownership and violence crime in general is significantly down in the US as compared to twenty years ago and that most Americans oppose guncontrol in general but support specific guncontrol proposals. Which is why gun nuts don't want a discussion of specific guncontrol proposals, of course, and derail such discssions with rhetoric about personal respsonbility, their interpetations of the Second Amendment and scarey stories about crime.

I expect the rebuttal is that we'll train the teachers really well so they don't make mistakes, but that doesn't convince me

Yes, especially since the very same people who say that teachers should be armed and apparently trained to police levels of tactically assessing a combat situation and reacting appropriately also tell us the rest of the time that these teachers are overpaid, lazy, union-loving, merit-pay-rejecting, tax-dollar-gobbling, cushy-pension-having wastrels who can't even be arsed to work 12 full months.

Laura, you're right, but because the Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment in a very gun-nut-friendly way, there's now little opportunity for a meaningful discussion about rational gun laws until we do something about the Second Amendment. And any discussion of that, of course, drives the gun nuts into full crazy.

Everyone should read this. It couldn't be sadder.

I wish I could get some of my cop and firefighter friends to post here and laugh at Bellmore, though, who because he shoots cans and used to play G.I. Joe with a bunch of wetbrains in Michigan fancies himself a tactical genius. It is more the job of the police to "just go charging in" than it is of firefighters to just show up and start spraying hoses at everything in sight.

"I think that the gun lobby has successfully polarirized the discussion in the coundry along irrational and (to themselves)self-aggrandizing lies in the same way that so-called pro-lifers have made it nearly impossible to discuss abortion.

Most Americans believe that abortion should be legal in some circumstances but our discussions always degenerate into the sin-of-priders claiming moral superiority without even accurately discribing their won positions (which mostly are pro-choice in reality) and other people responding emotionally to their self-rightwousness or rereacting by going to the opposite extreme and claiming that abortion should always be a choice."

This is an interesting analogy, but the conclusion seems wrong. If you want to draw the parallel, the NRA and NARAL are precisely the same in how they have shaped the debate so that even very modest and very limited controls are effectively impossible to address. They are precisely the same in resisting compromises that work in other countries. They are precisely the same in using propaganda against the other side by claiming that any compromise toward the position held by the middle is impossible because the other side wants a total ban. They are eerily similar in their callousness toward the idea that a side effect of their policies means that innocent human children end up killed in certain low frequency but definitely occurring crimes. They talk about how important the right is such that we must ignore these low frequency but definitely occurring cases. And when they happen, see Kermit Gosnell for example, we are assured by them that the proper focus is a laser like look at the individual actors personal responsibility--with no interest whatsoever in how the laws and political climate they helped erect contributed to the problem.

You've made me think of the NRA in a different way. (That isn't sarcastic).

"If you want to draw the parallel, the NRA and NARAL are precisely the same in how they have shaped the debate so that even very modest and very limited controls are effectively impossible to address."

We have serious, and long-standing, controls, on anything you can do with a gun that actually hurts someone. This only leaves regulations prohibiting things which don't hurt people. I would never characterize regulations doing that as "modest and very limited".

The alleged parallel between the rights of people to carry death inducing instruments, and the right of people not to carry fetuses in their bodies (unless they are in their second trimester, when that right is regulated, or third trimester, when they have that right only if the fetuses are a threat to their health or life) is a bit of a stretch, since most pro-choice advocates are trying to preserve a woman's right not to have this happen. So I'm not going to continue in the derailment of the discussion with any more of that ludicrous comparison.

But, as predicted, more random gun violence - this time in a hospital - happened today. Nobody dead this time, except for the shooter, thank goodness.

"We have serious, and long-standing, controls, on anything you can do with a gun that actually hurts someone. This only leaves regulations prohibiting things which don't hurt people. I would never characterize regulations doing that as 'modest and very limited'."

Should iran be allowed to have whatever nuclear technology it wants because we can always regulate just the wrongful use of that technology?

Setting aside the fact that I don't think governments have any rights, wouldn't Iran be in the same position as somebody who has a history of violence, and has announced their intent to murder somebody?

"wouldn't Iran be in the same position as somebody who has a history of violence, and has announced their intent to murder somebody?"

Arguably no. This would get into what was said about Israel and how it echoed something said about the USSR by a different Iranian (regimes can disappear without the people disappearing), and whether threats to bomb Iran from countries with more of a record of doing such things would count as intent, but all this is a distraction.

I'd favor much stricter gun control, but frankly don't know it if would work. There should also be more focus on trying to help people with mental problems (I'm assuming that's relevant here) and spotting the ones likely to do these things ahead of time. But maybe that's also going to fail. I don't have any confidence in any solution, but would be willing to try various things.

What did these loner types do decades ago? The US has always had problems with violence, but these utterly senseless mass killings (I mean killings not motivated by anything, not even fanaticism of one sort or another) are on the increase, or so it seems, and I wonder why. Is it just the weaponry?

"Setting aside the fact that I don't think governments have any rights, wouldn't Iran be in the same position as somebody who has a history of violence, and has announced their intent to murder somebody?"

This is a non sequitur.

You said

"We have serious, and long-standing, controls, on anything you can do with a gun that actually hurts someone. This only leaves regulations prohibiting things which don't hurt people. I would never characterize regulations doing that as "modest and very limited"."

Maybe this example will make a dent:

Why do we outlaw speeding? Speeding doesn't hurt people. Only hitting people with cars hurts people. Any law that goes beyond outlawing "things that hurt people" is not modest or limited.

Or

Why do we outlaw private ownership of strains of the ebola virus? The ebola virus in laboratory isolation doesn't hurt people. Only if the ebola virus escapes etc etc

One of my favourite bloggers once asked on a gay marriage thread that if you make a comment along the lines of "don't have gay marriage, let's get the government out of all marriage" then you need to back that up with links to your own activism for and advocating of that change, *outside* of discussions about extending marriage, lest your wise analysis be mistaken for derailing, tone trolling and attempts to silence.

I can't make anyone, but I'd really like it if people tutting about the good doctor's overreaction or the misguidedness of gun-control would take the same approach to supporting their comments here.

You really think it's a mental health issue, truly? Or maybe you acknowledge that easy availability is a factor but don't want it to change cos of the 2nd. Well, what are you doing about it? Surely you're just as horrified by massacres like these - Where's your campaigns and posts on the issue? Where is your TED talk? When did you last write your representatives on this and what did you advocate?

Cos presently your comments read like they're just intended to silence the liberals. Like it's up to them to come up with a proposal that's acceptable to you before anything can be done.

Here's a sort of leftwing libertarian viewpoint that was linked by "Thoreau" over at Unqualified Offerings--

link

I think most of what he says about our society is plausible and wonder if a serious effort at gun control would just lead to more government abuse (as with the war on drugs), but all the same, I can't see the need for civilians to have automatic or semi-automatic weapons with large magazines. You can hunt deer or even large dangerous animals with just bolt action rifles (you shouldn't be spraying the countryside with bullets anyway), and as for self-defense, it seems like a revolver would be good enough. (And slower to reload, which I think is a good thing.)

" you need to back that up with links to your own activism for and advocating of that change, *outside* of discussions about extending marriage, lest your wise analysis be mistaken for derailing, tone trolling and attempts to silence."

I don't agree with this. Accusing people of tone-trolling seems like another way of attempting to silence. Maybe this or that person is tone-trolling. So what. Nobody has to listen. Also, one should be able to argue for or against a position without having to prove a long history of consistent activism on a given topic. Otherwise most of us probably shouldn't be commenting on most topics.

I haven't noticed if anyone has linked to this yet, but James Fallows points out that coincidentally, a madman in China attacked children with a knife yesterday. Andrew Sullivan has also been making the comparison. The difference in the results speaks for itself--

Fallows article

"and wonder if a serious effort at gun control would just lead to more government abuse"

Why would you have to wonder this? Didn't live through the late 80's, early 90's, maybe?

Making an exception here, not ignoring Brett.

Didn't live through the late 80's, early 90's, maybe?

What? Were you injured at that time?

We really need to step up. That's what government is for at its most basic, primitive, level - to protect people from the kind of violence that this shooting represents. I can't imagine the pain these families must be feeling, and I don't want to try. People's gun lust is not worth this.

Hey Brett, would you mind answering the question I asked in this comment? Thanks.

Donald, you quoted part of (my paraphrase of) a request for that discussion at that time, and I suggest it reads nicer as part of the "if..then..else" where I put it. They had requested a particular discussion on an aspect of that particular, sensitive topic and questioning the premise would indeed derail that discussion.

I'm not doing that here. I note that I can't make anyone, I'm saying what would help convince me of integrity and seriousness of those arguments.

Asking for activism is over the top. My apologies for that. I'd happily start with any examples of serious non-gun-control approaches outside of a discussion of guns.

What? Were you injured at that time?

Sapient,

I believe Brett is referring to Ruby Ridge and Waco, the two greatest crimes perpetrated by the federal government since its inception, the pure evil of which supersedes even the genocidal Roe v. Wade decision (If only Earl Warren had been impeached as the billboards implored).

Compared to these outrages, death by drone is a mere piffle.

Thank you, bobbyp.

Gosh, you missed the obligatory false equivalency--courtesy of Jeffy Goldstein--from the gunloons.

http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=45993
"Obama, silent about union violence in Michigan, immediately reacts to Connecticut school shooting.”

Ah, the wisdom of conservatives.

SEb, you may be right that NARAL is as rigid in an expreme position on an issue as the NRA. I'm ot a member and don't follow NARAL much. However, I don't thik it can be denied that the anti-abortion folks by claiming moral superiority and by turnig every discussion of issues related to abortion and the prevent of it into an "us moral people vs those ot moral people" have unnecessarily degraded the debate over the issue.

And my point was that the same unnecessary polarization has dominated the gun control debatge because the, for lack of a better term, NRA side hasa consistantly imposed a false framing on the issue. The false framing is their specious claim that people are trying to take away the right to bear arms/the second amendment is under attack and so on.

In the case of the gun control debate I do't think there is an orgainzation that is the equivalent of NARAL. That is, I don't thik there is an organized effort to remove the second amendment or an organized effort to take away the right of poeple to the sortsof guns that normal people need for normal civilian purposes.

Which gets to this fromm Balloon Juice: (John Cole starts out by explainiing that his mother knew the father of oe of the kids killed.) "So in my town of 350 people, there are two connections to the horrible violence that occurred yesterday hundreds and hundreds of miles away. When these events happen, no one is left untouched. This sickness, the obeisance and fealty to the NRA, the tea party lunatics, and “gun enthusiasts,” has got to stop.

The right of Mrs. Lanza to own a shitload of guns and sire a child with mental health issues with easy access to those guns should not trump the right of Caroline Previdi to make it 2nd grade.

This has to end. This has to stop. And outraged blog posts are not going to do it. Money will. There needs to be a coordinated effort to fund the Brady Campaign and other gun control groups in the way that the NRA is funded, so congresscritters will listen. We have got to stop this violence. We need to shame gun enthusiasts who put their penis extensions ahead of sensible gun laws that might help keep their fellow citizens alive. We need to make it so have an NRA sticker on your car is as toxic as claiming membership in the KKK."

The NRA position is that the elementary teacher had a right to weapons for which she had no normal purpose. She didnot need three weapons, nor did she need weapons of the type she had for self defense, or hunting, or target practice. If she had not chosen to over arm herslef with unnecessary fire power her son would not have been able to kill as many people as he did. He could have killed at the most six people if he had been on the spree with a revolver.

It's the false framing of the issue that leads to this ridiculous notion that people have the "right" to arm themselves in a way that no rational person needs to be armed unless they are actually a trained member in good standing of a duly constituted militia and the weapons are owned as part of that service.

"Hey Brett, would you mind answering the question I asked in this comment? Thanks."

Turb, this comes down to the difference between trying to do something, and succeeding at doing it. We're not obligated to ignore everything gun controllers attempt and fail at.

"Compared to these outrages, death by drone is a mere piffle."

I never asserted that these, and the lesser events that led up to them, were the worst government abuses in history. Do you care to assert that they WEREN'T abuses?

'cause I think burning dozens of people alive is at least a little bit abusive.

Ruby Ridge and Waco are worse than slavery, according to some.

"The right of Mrs. Lanza to own a shitload of guns and sire a child with mental health issues with easy access to those guns should not trump the right of Caroline Previdi to make it 2nd grade."

Well, Sister, then can we agree that Doctor Science's man hating post got it completely wrong? Because this seems like it is at the bottom line a case of a stupid irresponsible woman having guns unsecured in a home with a crazy son. She should have known better. A reasonable person would.

Reports say that the gun store acted responsibly and denied sale to the shooter. Then his mother bought guns.
The reports are that the shooter stopped to reload several times. I am having difficulty seeing why if he was limited to a revolver he wouldn't still would have stopped to reload with speed loaders and killed just as many. I don't think that small children could have rushed him and stopped him while reloading. Maybe he would have had two or three revolvers and that would make it harder to stop him as well as making the reload less.

On the other thread about guns blackhawk got banned because he said that russell was being dishonest by saying that no one wants to take guns away and that really people like liberals DO want to take guns away from US citizens. Now on this thread people are wanting to repeal the second amendment. Was blackhawk wrong then? Was he banned for telling the truth? Is that the kind of blog this is? Only the liberal "truth" is allowed?

I was just reading about how many people die as a result of abusing presciption pain pills like oxycontin. Huge numbers and an epidemic in places like Kentucky. What could be more regulated and hard to obtain than prescription narcotics? All the same people get them, abuse them and die leaving their mother or fatherless children as the victims.


They were worse than slavery for the people involved, who just incidentally ended up dead. Not, I suppose, for the people on the outside watching.

I think it pretty clearly indicated that, yes, beyond a certain fairly minor point, efforts at gun control in the US do seem to involve abuses. Atrocities, even.

Somewhat similar to the war on drugs, which had the Move bombing to it's credit. When you're trying to prohibit possession of something, you tend to end up committing abuses, because non-abusive law enforcement techniques just can't get the job done.

So, for one, Doctor Science seems to be about 8 for 8.

Two, there are people who believe Ruby Ridge and Waco are worse than slavery, because you know, those were a little bit abusive.

Three, some people who live in towns where there has been one murder in the last ten years, and who have a mentally ill person living in the house, think that it is a good idea to keep semi-automatic weapons around the house.

What the hell?

Annit Laurie at Balloon Juice ahs a smart suggestion: frame the issue as gun safety rather than gun control. ANd then talk less about controlling guns and more about controlling people's access to them and their use of them.

So, for one, Doctor Science seems to be about 8 for 8.

Other than predicting the dead woman as an ex, rather than this mother, Doc Science's list was uncannily right on.

So, you know, however cheap shot Freudian folks may have found her analysis, its predictive power appears to be pretty f***ing mighty.

I'm damned if I can explain it away.

So in my town of 350 people, there are two connections to the horrible violence that occurred yesterday hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

A Boston area jazz DJ circulated this today. The performer is jazz saxophonist Jimmie Green. The piece is "Ana Grace". Ana Grace is Green's daughter. She was killed at Sandy Hook, she was six years old.

So one way or another, more or less closely, this touches a lot of people. Maybe even all of us.

I don't really give a shit if you want to own a gun. Everybody has their hobbies.

What gun ownership advocates have to explain to the rest of us is why their right to pursue their particular hobby is worth the lives of thousands of people, each and every year.

Somebody, probably Brett, will respond that there is no real connection between the level of gun ownership, and the ease with which somebody can get their hands on a gun in this country, and the number of folks killed in this country, each and every year, with a gun.

My reply is, you need to prove that, because at a simple, intuitive, common sense level, it's horseshit.

Somebody, probably Brett, will also point out that the right to keep and carry is also guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.

My reply is, when I see your ass on a militia training field, preparing to defend the US of A from some threat of invasion or insurrection, you will have my full support.

Most people that own guns in this country are not involved in the defense of the country, will never be involved in the defense of the country, and frankly aren't particularly interested in being involved of the defense of this country.

At most, they are interested in their right to keep and carry so they can defend their right to keep and carry. And even those folks are, frankly, damned few and far between.

Most folks like to hunt, or are just into guns, the way other folks are into cars, or coins, or fishing, or bass guitars.

In other words, it's a hobby.

All of those folks need to explain to the rest of us why their right to pursue their hobby is worth the death of thousands of other folks, each and every year.

There may well be a case there, I'd just like to hear it.

And Brett, I'm still waiting for pointers to your criminological studies explaining how fewer guns doesn't really equate to fewer folks killed with guns.

If you want to make the claim, you need to come up with the information. I'm not saying it's not there, I'm just saying you haven't been particularly forthcoming with it.

The scion of the 1%-5%'ers gets revenge against his own. Whats the mystery about this loser? Haven't we all been urged to hate the well to do and blame them for the "inequality"? These self-satisfied and complacent people thought that they knew that violence, that Normal American homicide is black-on-black; This is not some "Southern Gun Culture", this is about Killing Your Parents ++.

I'm not a fan of killing animals, and don't get the thrill of hunting, but I understand the point of hunting for food. Other than that, you need a law to allow it, not to prohibit it.

sapient, there are three reasons for hunting:
1) because you really do enjoy it.
2) because you need to do so for food.
3) because it is a great excuse to shoot off your gun(s).

For those who fall into the first category, may I point out that you can equally get the thrill (maybe more so) by hunting with a bow and arrow. You probably won't be as successful (in the sense of actually killing something). But you will take a lot more satisfaction when you do succeed.

I'm not convinced that there are a significant number of people in America that fall into the second group. Everyone feel free to prove me wrong.

Anybody in the third group gets no sympathy at all. If you just want to shoot off your gun, at least have the courage to admit that is what your real interest is.

So much for the "legitimate hunters" defense for gun ownership.

As for the self-defense argument, does anybody have statistics handy on the number of successful uses of guns for self defense? Vs. the number of people shot by the gun that someone in their home got for "self defense"? I have a guess as to which is larger, and by how much. But I'd really like to see some statistics, if they are available.

And finally, can anyone honestly say that they think that they (and their family and friends and neighbors) could succssfully stand up to the US Army? Because that's what the defense against tyrrany position comes down to. Perhaps you could manage to inflict significant casualties -- taking "significant" to mean at least wounding as many of them as there are of you. But at the end, you will all be dead, and the Army as an institution will still be just fine. As will the government which it supports. So who are you kidding? Yourselves, perhaps? Realistically, you have a far, far better chance of rallying enough voters to get rid of the government/policies that you dislike by a vote than you do of getting rid of them by force of arms.

So, for one, Doctor Science seems to be about 8 for 8.

Identifying the Patriarchy with misogyny is like confusing Capitalism with money.

wj, hunting with the bow is not legal everywhere (to my knowledge). Although a skilled archer can do the swift and clean kill (mandated by the hunting code in many places), the average guy is unlikely to achieve that. The reason for the ban is the ensuing cruelty to animals.
---
It's a common misconception that revolvers are necessaryly slow to reload. In the old days of the West is was common to have several reserve cylinders preloaded, so an emptied one could be replaced in a few seconds. A bit heavier than a magazine for a semi-automatic but not that much of an inhibition.
---
A bolt or lever action pistol with a three shot magazine would make for a nice self-defense weapon, I think

As for the self-defense argument, does anybody have statistics handy on the number of successful uses of guns for self defense? Vs. the number of people shot by the gun that someone in their home got for "self defense"?

This study, cited at TPM, says that someone with a gun is 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than someone not possessing a gun.

Russel, I'm not sure this is exactly what you're looking for, but Mark Kleiman has this:

"There’s simply no evidence that keeping guns out of the hands of those currently eligible to own them under Federal law (adults with no felony convictions, no domestic-violence misdemeanors or restraining orders, and no history of involuntary commitment for mental illness) reduces the level of criminal violence. Nor is there evidence that allowing anyone who can pass a background check and a gun-safety course to carry a concealed weapon increases the level of criminal violence. All that matters is keeping guns away from people who demonstrably shouldn’t have them. Present law does that, but the gun lobby has done many things to make that law impossible to enforce.

With any luck, taking the “gun confiscation” card out of the political pack might actually reduce the fervor of the opposition the NRA can whip up to sensible measures such as requiring background checks for gun sales by private individuals (the current rule that requires them only for purchases from gun dealers), computerizing data on which dealers are selling the guns that get used in crimes, and developing and deploying technology that would allow police to identify, from a bullet or a shell casing found at a crime scene, when, to whom, and by whom the gun that produced that metal was lawfully transferred."

He is liberal and normally very reliable with statistics--which I don't say often.

A more recent study.

Sapient, that study has a rather blatant sample bias problem: they did nothing to control for the concept that people who buy guns for self defense might be living in more dangerous circumstances than those who don't. See also you're more likely to die in hospitals than almost anywhere therefore hospitals create illness and you're more likely to be in a car accident within two miles of home therefore people drive I safely near home (has to be controlled for how much more driving you do within two miles of home compared to 50 miles from home).

I was responding to your first link. The second one is statistically much worse. It conflates gun murder and suicide drawing most of the weight from the suicide (necessarily, because suicide is much more frequent than homicide). There is literally zero evidence that guns increase the suicide rate--only the method of suicide. See for example countries with much higher suicide rates but lower gun suicide rates: South Korea, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and France.

Sebastian, thanks for the Kleiman cite, especially the first paragraph.

I don't think the gun confiscation card can be taken out of the political pack, since gun confiscation is the assumption underlying the origin of the Second Amendment.

Further, gun sales and hoarding have ballooned since President Obama was elected (though I understand sales backlogs have diminished appreciably for the gun manufacturers since just before and after his re-election) despite his refusal to even mention gun control measures over the past four years, including the entirely reasonable measures Kleiman proposes.

IMHO, I don't think politicians who favor gun control measures and/or confiscation and have been intimidated by the NRA et al into completely shutting up about the matter since the 1990s are afraid of NOT being elected over their stances, I believe they are afraid of being gunned down.

Sebastian, unfortunately it is impossible to take the 'confiscation card' out of he deck since it is the NRA* (or its even more radical split-offs) that put it back in each time the 'liberals' take it out. Their current schtick is to declare Obama's refusal to do what they said he would do (i.e.confiscate all guns etc. etc.) as the proof of his sinister agenda to really, really confiscate all guns** (etc., etc.). As long as these organisations get enough money from the companies they shill for, they will press the message and impress enough people to believe it. And as we all know there is nothing that a few million citizens would not believe when bombarded with it long enough***.

*to be precise: the current (and imo totally corrupt) NRA leadership. The rank and file are far more moderate
**except those in the hands of his brownshirt army of course
***the US is slightly but measurably worse there than other Western countries. Iirc the value is 17% for the average but 21-23% for the US.

Sebastian, it's impossible to control for all factors. The only way to do a fair study would be to randomly choose a number of people and to give them guns, compared to a control group without guns. Clearly, then there would be training, motivation, etc.

The statistics stand - guns are a lousy self-defense measure, and they stand as an incredibly convenient means for someone to commit suicide.

Seb, thanks for the link, I will check it out.

Also:

Sapient, that study has a rather blatant sample bias problem: they did nothing to control for the concept that people who buy guns for self defense might be living in more dangerous circumstances than those who don't.

Of course they're living in more dangerous circumstances! There's a gun in the house.

The other half of the Newtown equation.

That's difficult reading, Russell.

I'm so grateful the flesh of my flesh is such a balanced, well-adjusted individual.

I blame his mother.

That article reminds of a harrowing Doris Lessing novel "The Fifth Child".

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Whatnot


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