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Guns and Tribalism

yellow-tribe-dancers

Josh Marshall has an interesting essay titled “Speaking for My Tribe,” in which he explains what it’s like to be a non-gun person in a very pro-gun culture.

It’s customary and very understandable that people often introduce themselves in the gun debate by saying, ‘Let me be clear: I’m a gun owner.’

Well, I want to be part of this debate too. I’m not a gun owner and, as I think as is the case for the more than half the people in the country who also aren’t gun owners, that means that for me guns are alien. And I have my own set of rights not to have gun culture run roughshod over me.

I don’t have any problem with people using guns to hunt. And I don’t have any problem with people having guns in their home for protection or because it’s a fun hobby. At least, I recognize that gun ownership is deeply embedded in American culture. That means not only do I not believe there’s any possibility of changing it but that I don’t need or want to change it. This is part of our culture. These folks are Americans as much as I am and as long as we can all live together safely I don’t need to or want to dictate how they live.

I’ve never owned a gun. I’ve never shot a gun. (I’m not including the bb guns I shot a few times as a kid.) Once about ten years ago, my friend John Judis and I were talking and decided it would probably be educational for us as reporters and just fun to go to a firing range and do some shooting. For whatever reason it never happened.

He follows this by recounting a childhood incident that ensured he’d never join the other tribe.

As regular readers will be aware, I’m a member of the other tribe.

The formative incident in Josh’s experience with guns would never have happened with me simply because guns were always around and my dad made damned sure that I understood from a very early age what guns were and instilled in me the consequences of handling them—both from the weapons themselves and from my dad. So, I never touched them without explicit permission.

I shot guns, including BB guns, rifles, shotguns, and my dad’s .357 magnum, as a child–always under strict parental supervision. I spent several years as a cadet and Army officer, during which I received extensive training with a couple variants of the M-16 and familiarization training with several American and Soviet weapons, including various machine guns and heavy weapons. For that matter, I’ve fired RPGs, mortars, howitzers, and tanks. I led a rocket artillery platoon in combat. I own a couple of hunting rifles and a shotgun; all of them used to belong to either my late father or my late wife’s late father.

The upshot of all of this is that I’m much less leery of guns than people in Josh’s tribe. Still, our disagreement is only at the margins here:

 But do I want to have people carrying firearms out and about where I live my life — at the store, the restaurant, at my kid’s playground? No, the whole idea is alien and frankly scary. Because remember, guns are extremely efficient tools for killing people and people get weird and do stupid things.

A big part of gun versus non-gun tribalism or mentality is tied to the difference between city and rural. And a big reason ‘gun control’ in the 70s, 80s and 90s foundered was that in the political arena, the rural areas rebelled against the city culture trying to impose its own ideas about guns on the rural areas. And there’s a reality behind this because on many fronts the logic of pervasive gun ownership makes a lot more sense in sparsely populated rural areas than it does in highly concentrated city areas.

But a huge amount of the current gun debate, the argument for the gun-owning tribe, amounts to the gun culture invading my area, my culture, my part of the country. So we’re upset about massacres so the answer is more guns. Arming everybody. There’s a lot of bogus research (widely discredited) purporting to show that if we were all armed we’d all be safer through a sort of mutually assured destruction, pervasive deterrence. As I said, the research appears to be bogus. But even if it was possible that we could be just as safe with everyone armed as no one armed, I’d still want no one armed. Not at my coffee shop or on the highway or wherever. Because I don’t want to carry a gun. And I don’t want to be around armed people.

There are a lot of perfectly good reasons to own guns. While I’m not a hunter, it’s been a part of the human experience from practically the beginning of the human experience and remains a pursuit with a lot to commend it. Sport shooting, whether skeet or target, is also a wonderful pastime. And, while I tend to think keeping a gun around for “personal protection” is likely more hazardous than beneficial, I support people’s right to do it.

But, like Josh, I’m quite leery of people walking around with a Glock in their waistband or driving around with one under their car seat or in their glovebox. People that afraid of the world around them are likely to shoot first and ask questions later.

Unlike Josh, I’ve spent most of my life in something other than a proper city. Even Houston and El Paso, where I spent a lot of my childhood, are relatively spread out places that require people to drive everywhere. And, while I’ve been in the DC area for a little over a decade now, I’ve never lived in DC proper (although I’ve now worked there for more than five years). At the same time, I’ve not really spent much time living “out in the country,” either.  People living miles from their nearest neighbor need guns more and use guns differently from even those who  in the suburbs of middling cities.

The two tribes clash, though, because both are trying to nationalize a solution. The anti-gun tribe sees the wave of senseless shootings and simply insane murder-by-guns rate in this country and wants to do something—and what that something is ranges from relatively minor measures to full-blown bans—about it. The pro-gun tribe, fearing that giving an inch leads to a slippery slope to an outright ban, fights everything.

The 2nd Amendment, which is easily the mostly hotly debated of the freedoms guaranteed under the Bill of Rights, pretty much forces the debate to be national. As do the practicalities; it’s really difficult to have a restrictive gun control regime in New York City while allowing people to have all the guns they want in rural Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Ditto  Washington, DC and Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

The nature of tribalism, alas, is that it’s very hard to even have a conversation. Josh hardly knows any gun people; most gun people don’t know any non-gun people. And, of course, gun/no-gun is generally not a standalone distinction in this country; it’s usually part of what social scientists call a reinforcing cleavage.  People in Texas aren’t going to take kindly to people in New York telling them how to use their guns. Hell, they’re not even over the picante sauce thing yet.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I read Josh’s piece the other day and found it very thoughtful and compelling.

    I grew up in the suburbs part of a non-gun family. Moved to Canada to work on my Aunt and Uncles hunting and fishing camp after HS graduation for 6 months. Fell in love with hunting there and bought my first shotgun. I subsequently spent time in various parts of the west where I expanded my gun ownership. When I finally came back to St. Louis I moved into the city where I became first hand acquainted with the dark side of guns. I had friends robbed at gun point, one friend got shot, and witnessed a murder suicide. (also had a friend get his head bashed in with a brick, so it wasn’t all guns). Really, the violence of the early 80′s was insane. Guns just made it more lethal.

    Over the years, I found myself in many situations where guns would have only made it worse, and avoided many others by being aware of my surroundings and the people I was with (stopped hanging out with one guy who, nice as he was, got just plain stupid when drunk. He was dead 6 mos later) Hence, I never wanted to carry and am uncomfortable with any one carrying. Very few are the people who need to.

    I live pretty deep in the boonie woods, 11 miles from the nearest town and 30+ miles from the county seat. Been living here for almost 3 years now and have never yet seen any kind of law enforcement any where near my place. I own guns for a variety of reasons but personal protection is a ways down the list.

    All that being said, I sincerely feel that nothing says “pussy” like concealed carry.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 3

  2. aFloridian says:

    The formative incident in Josh’s experience with guns would never have happened with me simply because guns were always around and my dad made damned sure that I understood from a very early age what guns were and instilled in me the consequences of handling them—both from the weapons themselves and from my dad. So, I never touched them without explicit permission.

    I realize I’m essentially echoing an NRA talking point here, but I think the question of education is very important. Though I’ve no empirical data, as a Southerner most of the (males at least, and quite a few females) that I have interacted with are familiar and grew up around guns. I was a bit different, having not grown up around many guns (save maybe a 12 gauge for water moccasins) so I got to see my own feelings about guns involved. I think most normal gun owners lack the fear of guns that many non-owners have (I mean to say, that the gun itself is frightening and creates a sense that it could go off any time and wreak havoc) as they are familiar with guns and there mechanical nature, whereas it is surely reasonable for any gun-owner or non-owner to worry about WHO has a gun a where they are carrying. That leads me to:

    But, like Josh, I’m quite leery of people walking around with a Glock in their waistband or driving around with one under their car seat or in their glovebox. People that afraid of the world around them are likely to shoot first and ask questions later.

    I think James is wrong here, at least about the psychology of those likely to carry a concealed handgun. Then again, there is a great difference, I think, between the type of person who carries “a Glock in their waistband.” That is, a CCW holder practicing sensible carry practices who will almost certainly use some form of holster and different method of carry. I think most people who do carry concealed have given a great amount of thought to the implications of actually firing that gun, and hardly will “shoot first and ask questions later.” There are, of course, very unpleasant examples of CCW holders doing just that, but those are the outliers.

    At the same time, I think I sympathize with the general sentiment more than many more vociferous gun advocates. I do not agree with the author’s original assertion that concealed carry by other citizens is an imposition on his own rights, as he really should never be aware that others are carrying if it is done properly, but this does explain why I am strongly opposed to “open-carry” laws, such as Alabama has. In Florida, as many of you know, we have the most developed CCW approach in the country, yet open-carry is still not permitted. That is as it should be. I do not want to be sitting in a coffee shop and see someone walk in with a gun on their hip (and I have seen such things on occasion in Alabama) which is unnecessary and makes others incredibly uncomfortable. At the same time, if they walk into that coffee shop with their gun in a “Inside-the-Waistband” holster no one will ever be the wiser.

    I take the same approach to the many restrictions on where you can carry a gun even with a CCW license. While I do truly believe that these “gun-free zones” are precisely the places that mass shooters normally target (and perhaps this is even a factor in the choice), I respect the fact that many people don’t want every teacher armed or similar drastic measures that have been proposed by the NRA – measures that make it apparent that that lobbying group truly does answer to the gun manufacturers before their rank-and-file members.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    People in Texas aren’t going to take kindly to people in New York telling them how to use their guns. Hell, they’re not even over the picante sauce thing yet.

    I don’t hear people in New York telling people in Texas what they can and can’t do with their guns, I hear them telling Texans or whoever else not to bring their hee-haw-shoot-em’-up sensibilities into New York.

    Maybe the Clampett’s should stay in Bugtussle.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 9

  4. Mark Ivey says:

    I´m from Nevada, i grew up around guns and was in the “gun biz” on and off and i was with Joyner in Field Artillery in Desert Shield/Storm.

    Honestly, about 25-30% of people i´ve know over the years with guns should not be allowed to have them, and it seems that these people today are now assault weapon firearm freaks.

    And i just pack this on the mean streets of Darmstadt these days:
    www-guardian-angel-com

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  5. Jc says:

    How much fear and paranoia is inside people who CC or OC a weapon? Why do so many people want to own military grade weapons? It’s like we have this bad ass syndrome. No problem with gun ownership, but can we have some common sense laws for a tool that can kill people so quickly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  6. JKB says:

    Well, if you read the article, he doesn’t want people around him with guns so he doesn’t want the police to carry them either. Or is he purposely being obtuse? Police are just people, who carry firearms for self defense.

    And if the author is from DC or NYC, he lives in an environment where there are more guns in evidence than in most of the rest of the country where private ownership and carry is less circumscribed.

    So he really needs to re-think the “And I don’t want to be around armed people.” Perhaps he means he doesn’t want to be around armed people who do not draw a government paycheck or don’t work for a security company?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 31

  7. michael reynolds says:

    I’ve belonged at different times to both tribes. I’ve owned guns and fired them. My father is still of the gun tribe.

    1) On Hunting: We hunted with bows or with spears for centuries longer than we’ve hunted with guns. If hunting is the issue, why not try a nice spear? I can guarantee you that if you spear a buck your male member will be orders of magnitude more impressive than those who merely shoot one from three hundred yards through a scope. And if you should spear a bear we will promote you to Head Man in the village.

    2) On skeet-shooting. Try one of, oh, a thousand different video games.

    3) On personal protection: We’re talking about protection from whom? Oh, right: other people with guns. I don’t understand why we’re content to merely own guns, shouldn’t we escalate and try to pull a Reagan on those who merely own a gun? Shouldn’t we have home artillery systems? Seriously, the gun tribe creates a problem, then “cures” it by doubling down on the problem they created. Brilliant. More of that, I say: more!

    Like I said, I’ve been both tribes. Just like I’ve been both tribes on religion. But here’s the thing: there’s a right and a wrong. There’a a logical and an illogical. The right and logical is all on the side of the anti-gun tribe. It’s not a close call. My new tribe (new since the 70′s in my case) is right. It makes sense. It owns all the logical arguments.

    And I think we of the larger Tribe of Reason (which includes the anti-gun and anti-religion sub-tribes, as well as the anti-tribe-tribe) get weary dragging a heavy wagon full of the slow-witted through life. We feel we could get a lot more done if we weren’t having to spend 50 years convincing the Tribe of Superstition and Dumb Tradition of things which are either obvious on their face or should require no more than 10 minutes of explanation to grasp.

    So, you say there’s a tradition of trudging around the woods drunk blowing squirrels out of trees with shotguns? Despite the fact that you have access to the Costco meat department? And despite the fact you frequently hit innocent people and/or Vice Presidential friends? Well, rethink your tradition. Because just saying, “We’ve always done dumb sh!t,” isn’t all that convincing. We’re trying to make progress, make life better, and explaining the obvious to morons is time-consuming and unproductive.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 31 Thumb down 20

  8. wr says:

    @JKB: Do you really think acting like you’re an idiot is going to convince anyone? Or are you just trolling now?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  9. JKB says:

    @Jc:

    Before people keep talking ignorant about the AR-15 and the many variants, they might want to read this very informative piece by Daniel Foster over at NRO. Don’t worry, the worst that will happen is you’ll come to understand something about this versatile platform and why it is so popular.

    You will however be confronted with the fact that it isn’t all that surprising that the killers in recent attacks have used the most popular firearm in the most popular caliber for their crimes. Had a few of the mass killers used the same less popular firearms in less common calibers then looking into their weapon choice might yield some insight. but not when statistically a random choice is more likely to be for the most popular firearm.

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  10. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Like I said, I’ve been both tribes. Just like I’ve been both tribes on religion. But here’s the thing: there’s a right and a wrong. There’a a logical and an illogical. The right and logical is all on the side of the anti-gun tribe. It’s not a close call. My new tribe (new since the 70′s in my case) is right. It makes sense. It owns all the logical arguments.

    Of course you think so.

    But so does everyone in the other tribe.

    Now what?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

  11. anjin-san says:

    I grew up around guns and have always enjoyed shooting. Still own some guns. That being said, the thought of carrying a pistol gives me the creeps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  12. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Or is he purposely being obtuse?

    I guess you are missing the irony here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  13. Scott says:

    Here is my problem with guns (or more precisely, gun laws): Last week, in the next neighborhood over (an middle to upper middle class suburb of San Antonio), a homeowner came out of his house, saws two guys burglarizing his SUV (parked on the curb), shot one of the burglars dead and wounded the other. This is all perfectly legal and, according to police, probably no charges will be brought. The neighbors quoted in the paper thought this was just fine.

    I don’t. Basically, we decided that an individual can impose the death penalty for burglary. I have a problem with that.

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  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    Well, now, in a perfect world the other tribe does some reflection. And they think, well, let’s see: we were wrong about witch-burning, slavery, evolution, women’s rights, gay rights and pretty much every single point where we argued vociferously against the Damned Liberals Tribe. So, rather than just going on as a huge drag, why don’t we take a new approach and actually listen to reasoned argument that contradicts our superstitions?

    I grant you it’s unlikely.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 13

  15. CSK says:

    @Jc:

    If you go to a site like Lucianne.com, you’ll find that the folks who want military grade weapons want them in order to fight the U.S. government, an occasion they feel is imminent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  16. Mr Evilwrench says:

    So, you don’t want to be around people who are armed? How about the police? They’re special why? Most of them qualify once a year on the range and don’t touch the gun otherwise. Many of us go to the range much more frequently, take training courses, whatnot. How many people did the NYPD shoot recently going after one bad guy? Plus, carrying, to a reasonable person, causes great introspection, a realization of the responsibilities that come with the right.

    Maybe someone comes around you armed, with bad intent. What do you do then? Call 911? Only took them 20 minutes to get to Sandy Hook. Doesn’t inspire my confidence. As well, over the last 20 years or so, there has been all of ONE of these mass shootings that did NOT occur in a “gun free zone”, and that was the Gabby Giffords thing. Guess how that ended? Good guy with a gun.

    I carry, concealed by default. I’m one of the most level-headed people you could hope to meet. You could get all up in my face with the most offensive things you could think of saying, and still be safer with me there than with me not there. I carry not from paranoia, not even a specific fear, but because bad things happen out there in the world, and I want the tool to deal with them. I’m no longer physically able to confront a thug without it. Unless one of those bad things happens, you’d never know I have it.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 32

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jc:

    Why do so many people want to own military grade weapons? It’s like we have this bad ass syndrome.

    No, it’s like we have a weak ass syndrome. I’ve never needed a gun to win a fight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  18. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jc:

    Why do so many people want to own military grade weapons? It’s like we have this bad ass syndrome.

    Let’s keep in mind that this is a relatively recent phenomenon, historically speaking. It’s only in the past 20-30 so years that there was any widespread feeling among gun owners that they needed or wanted to own military-grade weapons. Back when Men Were Men, this wasn’t actually the case. My father didn’t have an M-16 at home and my grandfather didn’t have a BAR.

    The push to sell military-derived guns, rather than normal shotguns or hunting rifles, was a very deliberate push by the gun industry. 30, 50, 70 years ago, there was absolutely no widespread idea among the public that they needed or should be able to have such weapons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  19. Argon says:

    Archery has been part of the human experience for far longer than guns. I’ve shot many arrows and became well versed in bow and crossbow safety at a young age. I’ve got few issues with people carrying bows in public, even those archers with high-capacity quivers. It takes much more training to become proficient with the bow but arrows can be just as deadly or debilitating on a per shot basis.

    The suicide rate with bows is effectively zero and I’ve rarely heard of a child picking up a bow & arrow, pointing it at a friend and killing them accidentally.

    And bows are protected under the 2nd amendment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  20. Rafer Janders says:

    @CSK:

    If you go to a site like Lucianne.com, you’ll find that the folks who want military grade weapons want them in order to fight the U.S. government, an occasion they feel is imminent.

    And they never seem to get to step two in their thinking, where they’d consider exactly how their sad little AR-15 would do against a missile launched from a remote-controlled drone circling a mile overhead.

    Or, if the government felt like giving them a fighting chance, how it would do against a battalion of combat-veteran Marines armed with heavy machine guns, grenade launchers and mortars and supported by over the horizon artillery, tanks, attack helicopters and fighter jets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  21. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mr Evilwrench:

    and that was the Gabby Giffords thing. Guess how that ended? Good guy with a gun.

    Moron. The gunman was wrestled down by the crowd. The “good guy with a gun” didn’t shoot Laughner, but did almost shoot one of the men who took Loughner’s gun away from him:

    The new poster boy for this agenda is Joe Zamudio, a hero in the Tucson incident. Zamudio was in a nearby drug store when the shooting began, and he was armed. He ran to the scene and helped subdue the killer. Television interviewers are celebrating his courage, and pro-gun blogs are touting his equipment. “Bystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help,” says the headline in the Wall Street Journal.

    But before we embrace Zamudio’s brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let’s hear the whole story. “I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready,” he explained on Fox and Friends. “I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this.” Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. “And that’s who I at first thought was the shooter,” Zamudio recalled. “I told him to ‘Drop it, drop it!’”

    But the man with the gun wasn’t the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. “Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess,” the interviewer pointed out.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41018893/ns/slate_com/t/armed-giffords-hero-nearly-shot-wrong-man/

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  22. matt bernius says:

    @michael reynolds:
    So, basically in other words, you are assuming that (a) the other tribe (gun owners) are 100% conservative and (b) 100% wrong. Even more so, you’ve lopped them in with slave owners and witch burners.

    And you wonder why pro-gun people might not be open to having a conversation with you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  23. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mr Evilwrench:

    I carry, concealed by default. I’m one of the most level-headed people you could hope to meet.

    Why carry concealed? Why not carry open, where it would actually be a deterrent, as you claim? Why are you hiding it?

    We had a very long conversation about this yesterday, and if people are going to carry, I want them to carry out in the open so that I know who does and who doesn’t have a gun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  24. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mr Evilwrench:

    I carry, concealed by default. I’m one of the most level-headed people you could hope to meet. You could get all up in my face with the most offensive things you could think of saying, and still be safer with me there than with me not there.

    You know what? I don’t care. I don’t care how level-headed you claim to be. That means jack to me.

    First, because everybody, to some extent, thinks that they’re the reasonable guy and that everyone else is a is a jerk. Some of the biggest hotheads I know go on and on about how “level-headed” they are.

    Second, even if you are, many others aren’t, and until we start handing out gun permits only to the level-headed, as determined by a 100% accurate psychological assessment, giving guns to the level-headed also means giving them to the crazy, stupid and angry.

    And second, I don’t want my safety to depend on your mental state. Sure, you say you’re fine now. But I don’t want to meet you on the day you find out your wife is cheating on you, your daughter was raped, your job fired you, or your son committed suicide.

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  25. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I grant you it’s unlikely.

    You are a master of wry understatement. A lot of people in that tribe still haven’t made it through evolution and gay rights.

    I have a couple of thoughts, as a non-religious, socially liberal gun owner.

    First, I think one reason you’d find it very difficult to convince members of the rural gun culture that their guns are a problem is because they don’t see the problem up close. 96% of all the murders in the state of Illinois in 2011 occurred in the city of Chicago. John Q. Gunowner in Peoria is quite likely to think, “Why do they want to grab my guns, my guns never killed anyone, I don’t know anyone who’s killed anyone. That all happens in Chicago.”

    Second, you shouldn’t underestimate the intelligence of those in the other tribe. As demonstrated in the results of this study, on differences of opinion about another liberal/conservative split issue, climate change, conservatives with higher levels of intelligence and scientific literacy were actually LESS likely to express concern about it. This may carry over into the gun debate as well.

    You don’t have to convince people they’re wrong, you have to convince them they’re ready to question their long-held beliefs. As someone who’s done a lot of that lately, I can tell you it isn’t comfortable (although from what you’ve written earlier, I think you’ve been down the same road). And it’s probably harder than just proving them wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  26. Modulo Myself says:

    The formative incident in Josh’s experience with guns would never have happened with me simply because guns were always around and my dad made damned sure that I understood from a very early age what guns were and instilled in me the consequences of handling them—both from the weapons themselves and from my dad. So, I never touched them without explicit permission.

    One of the real questions here is how much trust one puts into the notion of a father making damned sure that kids understand how dangerous guns are (and conversely, how much is invested by a father in believing himself capable of controlling the outcomes of a life spent with guns.) How many gun accidents were preceded by years of education followed dutifully?

    I think this also goes into what one is concerned about. If you are most concerned with randomness and accidents and misunderstandings, guns are not going to be as useful as they are to someone who thinks in terms of criminals and intentional violence and an enormous other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  27. Mikey says:

    @Argon:

    The suicide rate with bows is effectively zero and I’ve rarely heard of a child picking up a bow & arrow, pointing it at a friend and killing them accidentally.

    Definitely a lot easier to pull a trigger (5-pound pull) than to draw a bow (50-pound pull).

    I do know someone who killed his brother-in-law with a bow and arrow. Shot him straight through the head. That was on purpose, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mr Evilwrench:

    As well, over the last 20 years or so, there has been all of ONE of these mass shootings that did NOT occur in a “gun free zone”,

    That’s a lie. Colorado, for example, is a open-carry state and has very permissive gun laws, and yet the Aurora movie theatre shooting happened there nonetheless. One minute of Google searching pulls up dozens of mass shootings over the last 20 years in states with permissive gun laws, such as the Luby’s Cafeteria shooting in Texas, the GMAC office massacre in Florida, the Nidal Hassan shooting spree at Fort Hood, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  29. john personna says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    The that strikes me about today’s repeat is that carriers are characterized as weak men, unable to use their fists, and never women with legitimate fears.

    … it seems pretty obvious that you are filtering your worldview to support your previous position.

    (And now it’s time for “why wouldn’t a 98 pound woman feel more safe with a $600 Glock dangling from her belt in an inner city crowd, than with a pistol tucked away from view in her purse?” and other idiocy.)

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  30. Andrew E. says:

    Another more disgusting theme I’ve seen pop up, especially on Twitter, is the idea that Conservatives today are just like the Jews in Germany and all that’s between them and being rounded up by Obama and Liberals is their guns.

    And of course the Obama=Hitler comparisons are gaining traction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  31. john personna says:

    I won’t let it drag on today, but yesterday the no-carry types allowed themselves to be put in a “screw the weak” position. “No carry” is more important than the few, limited, cases where carry is appropriate for someone with great and genuine risk.

    The rational (moderate, pragmatic) way to deal with this is to limit carry to people facing real and genuine risks, without safer plans for self-protection, and then to let them decide their path.

    People with real and genuine risks deserve that much sympathy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    I agree. And I am being somewhat though not entirely facetious in my earlier comments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  33. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    I won’t let it drag on today, but yesterday the no-carry types allowed themselves to be put in a “screw the weak” position. “No carry” is more important than the few, limited, cases where carry is appropriate for someone with great and genuine risk.

    Um, no. Not at all. First of all, yes, I’m generally a no-carry person. In the absence of being able to get no-carry, though, I want open-carry. If someone around me has a gun, I want them to carry it openly so I can know it and get the hell away from them.

    But I’m no more “screw the weak” than anyone in any other advanced nation, virtually all of which do not allow concealed carry. It’s not available in Canada, Sweden, England, Germany, Australia, Japan, etc. etc.. Yet I don’t think we’d characterize those as countries in which the weak are helplessly preyed on by the strong.

    if we could limit gun carry permits to the few genuine cases in which someone has a real, identifiable fear, someone who’s received multiple death threats, is a kidnap target, etc., then sure, I’d have no problem with that. But we don’t and we won’t do that. We simply have too many yahoos who don’t feel like a real man until they can wrap their fingers around a gun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  34. Mikey says:

    Let me tell everyone something that informs my particular position on gun ownership. It’s difficult and personal because it involves a close family member, my brother.

    He was 19 and hooked on drugs and one day he decided to rob a store. He went into the store and the store’s owner didn’t hand over the money, he came at my brother with a hammer. My brother had a knife and stabbed the shop owner nine times. One of those wounds was fatal.

    My brother was a lowlife druggie. The store owner was married with teenaged kids. My brother is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, young and strong. The store owner was about 5-foot-7 and middle aged and plump. Why the hell didn’t he just empty the damn register?

    I love my brother. I do. But I have never forgiven him for what he took from that family. And in the years since this happened, I have more than once wished the store owner had had a gun rather than a hammer. Not that I wish my brother dead–I’d hope just seeing the gun he would have run out of the store. But I’ve no doubt it would have made all the difference.

    Perhaps the emotional impact of all this makes it impossible for me to think objectively about this issue. Goodness knows I try. But a gun would have made it far more likely that store owner would have gone home to his family.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  35. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    The that strikes me about today’s repeat is that carriers are characterized as weak men, unable to use their fists, and never women with legitimate fears.

    That’s how Mr. Evilwrench characterized himself, not how I did. He was the one who said he was unable to defend himself.

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  36. elizajane says:

    I grew up in a gun-owning and gun-using family. We had a hunting camp. I shot rifles (admittedly I never killed anything). We had rifles and handguns in the house. It never seemed like a big deal: this was before the Second Amendment became a political rallying cry. In fact my grandfather who hunted was Church of the Brethren (= Amish lite) and my father with the guns in the house had been a card-carrying Socialist.

    In my 20s I moved to Europe for my work. I had lived in an American city, but in cities in Europe I felt safe all the time. Yes, I was pick-pocketed, and even burgled, but I never felt in physical danger. I walked around alone at night. I told my European friends how we had guns at home and I’d fired them, and they looked at me as if I were slightly demented and they were frightened of me.

    I realized that I did not actually want to go through life needing to frighten people. I do not own a gun now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  37. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mikey:

    But a gun would have made it far more likely that store owner would have gone home to his family.

    In this case, sure. In another case, the junkie who comes in is a 150 pounds and scrawny, the store owners shoots and kills him, and has just executed a man for the crime of stealing.

    We can all come up with individual cases and anecdotes which prove our position one way or the other. But overall, the facts are clear: societies with guns, such as the US, suffer from far more murders and gun murders than comparable societies without guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  38. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mikey:

    To expand on my point above, this is what it looks like when the junkie has the gun:

    MEDFORD, N.Y. — A gunman shot four people inside a pharmacy in a New York suburb Sunday morning, killing everyone inside the store in what police said looked like a robbery gone wrong.

    The massacre happened at about 10:20 a.m. inside a family-owned pharmacy in a small cluster of medical offices in Medford, a middle-class hamlet on Long Island about 60 miles east of New York City.

    Police rushed to the scene after getting a 911 call from someone in the pharmacy’s parking lot. When they arrived, they found two employees and two customers dead, said Suffolk County Police Department’s Chief of Detectives Dominick Varrone. No one inside the shop survived.

    Suffolk County Police identified the dead employees as Raymond Ferguson, 45, of Centereach, and Jennifer Mejia, 17, of East Patchogue. Bryon Sheffield, 71, of Medford, and Jamie Taccetta, a 33-year-old woman from Farmingville, were identified as the two customers.

    Rene Mejia, of Medford, said one of the victims was his daughter, Jennifer. He said she worked part-time at the pharmacy while attending Bellport High School, where she was finishing her senior year. “I don’t know what happened,” he said. “She was supposed to graduate Thursday.”

    The pharmacy, Haven Drugs, had opened for business at 10 a.m., and Varrone said investigators’ initial belief was that a single gunman was responsible for the bloodbath, and that the motive was robbery….

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/19/pharmacy-shooting-4-killed_n_880118.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  39. Dave says:

    @Rafer Janders: The rise of desire for military hardware corresponds with fewer people having actual military experience. Bring back the draft, after a couple of years of carrying an M16 / M4 and facing the possibility of deployment overseas people will lose any need to live out their fantasies through buying dangerous equipment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  40. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Andrew E.: The irony is that yesterday was the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, it did not go well of course. Also, the reason I’m not comfortable with arming civilians is that when something really horrible happens I think most of them will react as Fredo Corleone did when the Godfather was shot. No one, except a well trained and constantly re-trained professional should be armed and assigned as a protector.As to CCW, I don’t know. After Viet Nam I was never shot at and I have never been in a physical fight as an adult or been mugged or assaulted. I think I’m pretty average and I don’t feel the need to be armed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  41. Franklin says:

    People that afraid of the world around them are likely to shoot first and ask questions later.

    Whether that’s true or not, it sure seems like it from most of the Internet posts made by gun lovers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  42. matt says:

    @michael reynolds: I have some honest questions I’d like to see you answer. So if you could spent 15 or so minutes of your time to respond faithfully to my questions I would appreciate it.

    So you really think that just because I own a gun I’m in that tribe? How do you explain away the large number of Democratic party voters who are gun owners (me included)? I’m against the patriot act, torture, the forcing of religion into schools. I’m for gay rights access to abortion and all kinds of liberal views. I’ve voted Democratic almost exclusively since the late 90s.

    I’m finding more and more liberals are interested in hunting and as a result acquire a gun. How does gun ownership suddenly make these liberals support witch-burning, slavery, and are against evolution, women’s rights, gay rights?

    Do you see anything in grey?

    Do you always classify everyone as either with you or against you?

    Thank you for your time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  43. grumpy realist says:

    Gun people might get a little more respect if you didn’t have people like this. .

    And don’t say that it’s just two individuals and how you can’t blame a group for crimes of the individuals blah blah blah. The stupidity of members of your tribe presents a clear and present danger to EVERYONE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mr Evilwrench:

    I’m one of the most level-headed people you could hope to meet.

    A question: Who here can attest to being 100% level headed 100% of the time? Go ahead, don’t be embarrassed, hold up your hands….

    Let me just say before you do hold up your hands, better to be silent than proven a lying sack of sh!t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @matt:

    Do you always classify everyone as either with you or against you?

    Not always, but when the subject is guns…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  46. matt says:

    @grumpy realist: You find those people in and around everything (including your tribe/party). All we can do is punish those people for their transgressions. In the future those people won’t be able to legally possess another gun. So in effect problem solved since making something illegal to do or possess will stop it according to the gun banning crowd.

    @OzarkHillbilly: Using that standard most cops if not all cops shouldn’t be allowed to wield weapons either. I know the CPD itself is full of ass-wipes who will curb stomp you then arrest you for resisting arrest. If not outright shoot you and then plant a gun…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  47. matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well there’s an honest answer thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    Well, if you read the article, he doesn’t want people around him with guns so he doesn’t want the police to carry them either.

    Uhhhh, JKB? If YOU had bothered to read the article, you would have read this:

    That frightens me. I don’t want to have those in my home. I don’t particularly want to be around people who are carrying. Cops, I don’t mind. They’re trained, under an organized system and supposed to use them for a specific purpose.

    Next time, if you can’t take the time to actually read the article maybe you should not bother to speak at all?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  49. matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: So if someone doesn’t agree entirely with all your positions on guns then they are against you?

    Have you ever found someone you could vote for?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I think we should all hold ourselves up to this standard of levelheadedness:

    In 2003, David Keene’s son, David M. Keene, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for discharging a firearm in a crime of violence after he shot at the driver of another car from his BMW on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in northern Virginia. Police said the shot missed the other driver’s head by inches. At the time, the younger Keene, then 21, was serving as [American Conservative Union] ACU’s director of online communications.

    That would be David M Keene, son of NRA President David Keene.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  51. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    societies with guns, such as the US, suffer from far more murders than comparable societies without guns.

    Wrong

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2013/01/great-fact-little-fact/

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

    The USA is in a fairly unique position with our country taking up the full width of a continent with very long borders to the north and south. The ability for smuggling is so great that we’re busting drugs a ton at a time. We’re spread out and we have a wide range of cultures residing here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @matt: @matt:

    So if someone doesn’t agree entirely with all your positions on guns then they are against you?

    Have you ever found someone you could vote for?

    Matt, you were asking about Michael Reynolds who while reasonable most of the time gets a little rabid when the subject is guns.

    My own position on guns can be found in the first comment on this thread. If that sounds too rabid and unreasonable for you, let me suggest that maybe it is you who is inflexible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  53. matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think little rabid is an understatement. Since you decided to answer the question I decided to take the opportunity to poke your brain a bit.

    So by disagreeing with some aspect of your inflexible stance it’s others that are being inflexible.. Interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  54. JKB says:

    @Scott: Basically, we decided that an individual can impose the death penalty for burglary. I have a problem with that.

    Your solution is simple. Move out of Texas.

    Where I live deadly force cannot be used to stop someone from committing a property crime, nor, by non-law enforcement, to stop someone fleeing. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a firearm if you confront someone committing a property crime but you can only justifiably use it to stop an imminent threat of serious bodily harm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  55. matt says:

    @matt: I would like to clarify that I find Ozark’s position to be very reasonable. I think we probably only disagree on the nitty gritty of things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @matt:

    Using that standard most cops if not all cops shouldn’t be allowed to wield weapons either. I know the CPD itself is full of ass-wipes who will curb stomp you then arrest you for resisting arrest. If not outright shoot you and then plant a gun…

    I have been witness to many excesses by the STL PD, that said I have been witness to many incidences of extraordinary restraint. So what? Cops have a dirty ugly but necessary job to do among which is arresting meth heads and angel dusters on a full high. I once watched 4 cops do battle with someone on angel dust in a hospital ER and they almost lost. If it had been me, I’da probably shot him in an alley.

    I’ll take a cop with a gun any day over some scared citizen packing heat in a moment of sheer panic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  57. matt says:

    @Scott: Well if you’re worried about getting shot and killed then I suggest you avoid committing blatant criminal acts. That’s guaranteed one less criminal out there and probably two as the fellow who was wounded will hopefully reconsider his career choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  58. JKB says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    That just shows his ignorance. Cops have a wide variety of training. Many private gun owners are far more trained and practiced than your average police officer. We all operate under the legal system of the jurisdictions we are in. Cops can be fired for use of their firearm in violation of procedure but if they discharge it, they are subject to the same laws everyone else are with a few exceptions that make used prohibited for private citizens legal for police. What that means is if they aren’t charged criminally or found at fault civilly, cops can still be fired administratively. And they carry their firearm for self defense like everyone else. They are permitted to brandish and target individuals in manners that would create legal jeopardy for private citizens.

    So, instead of “people”, he should have said he didn’t want non-government employees with guns around him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  59. matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’ll take a cop with a gun any day over some scared citizen packing heat in a moment of sheer panic.

    A cop is a citizen packing heat.

    That being said I’ll take whoever has the cooler head and better shot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @matt: To fully state my position:

    I am uncomfortable with concealed carry. I recognize the fact that there are times when it may be necessary but I think those can be decided on a case by case basis. I do not like concealed carry as the default position.

    I am against 30 round clips. I feel that if you need a 30 round clip, you are either a wanna-be mass murderer (in which case we don’t want to help you realize your fantasies), or a really lousy shot (in which case you need practice). And take note, I said “need”, not want. I know why people want them. It is fun to shoot up some sh!t. But “fun” is not a constitutional right.

    Assault weapons: I go back and forth on them. The devil is in the details in the defining of them, but it’s kinda like porn, you know it when you see it.

    And Matt? I have voted for people who disagree with me on all 3 of those. In southeast MO it is impossible not to without foregoing the vote entirely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  61. matt bernius says:

    @JKB:

    Cops have a wide variety of training. Many private gun owners are far more trained and practiced than your average police officer.

    You’re right. Many are more trained than cops. But on the other hand, many are not. And unfortunately many states allow people to acquire handguns and conceal carry permits without requiring them to do adequate training.

    And, lest we forget, successful policing requires more than being able to shoot. It requires a certain amount of physical fitness (which cops are trained and tested on), it requires conflict training, both verbal and physical (which cops are trained and tested on).

    And all of that means that cops are typically better equipped to (not to mentioned experienced) in handling a violent confrontation from start to finish than your average gun owner.

    So, I ask you this, who would you rather have a gun? A cop or George Zimmerman? I’m willing to be that if a cop had confronted Trevon Martin, even if things had come to blows, that the young man would still be spending his days above ground.

    I’m not saying that every CCW is a George Zimmerman. But I’d like to see anyone suggest he had training equal to or exceeding his local law enforcement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  62. matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I live in Texas these days but I lived in Illinois for almost 30 years. I’ve seen people get shot in Chicago by very illegal guns (back in the uber ban days). I also have a CCW license but most of the time I don’t carry because I don’t feel the need. I’ve never felt the need to draw my gun but I did physically intervene once at a bus station here because a dude was beating his gf/wife/whatever. He was kicking punching etc so I had to intervene. Long story short she went a different direction then him.

    Even in the height of fury it’s never occurred to me that I should use my gun first. I guess it’s probably the result of my upbringing around guns. We settle our differences with words or fists(which can be quite deadly as evidenced by the FBI stats) not guns.

    It’s similar to me as refusing to hit a woman that is trying to beat me up. Even in the height of my fury I’ve never hit a woman and I’m proud of that too.

    For the most part 30 round magazines are mostly for fun but I do have some uses for them down here. At the range dumping a 30 round magazine is a fast way to an expensive day. Despite having what others would consider an assault weapon (my hunting rifle) and 30 round magazines a day at the range for me is full of carefully aimed shots. I’ll do some practice double tap shots but nothing much beyond that. You’d be instantly kicked out and banned if you tried to do bump firing at the ranges down here.

    I have voted for people who disagree with me on all 3 of those. In southeast MO it is impossible not to without foregoing the vote entirely.

    Yeah I asked that question because I knew the area you lived in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. matt says:

    @matt bernius:

    But I’d like to see anyone suggest he had training equal to or exceeding his local law enforcement.

    I completely agree and as a CCW holder I make it a point to train more then is required by law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. Mikey says:

    @Rafer Janders: I pretty much agree, although I think in this particular context (what happens when someone tries to rob a store) we have to use relatively rare events as examples.

    Things like what happened with my brother, or in that pharmacy you posted about, are still relatively rare. They’re like Taleb’s “black swan” events–uncommon, difficult to predict, with very high impact. And as we see with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, it is very difficult to respond to a “black swan” because you have to try to predict the unpredictable.

    In the case of store owners, depending on their location, it would seem wiser for them to have a gun in the store in the event of a robbery, but not many I know do. When my father dealt in precious metals, he had a gun in his store, because obviously when you’ve got a bunch of gold laying around you’re a target. When he changed his business to music (records and cassettes, later CDs), he didn’t feel a need to have it, so he didn’t, and never needed it. The guy my brother murdered didn’t think he needed one, but he probably should have had it because he wasn’t in a good part of town and had been robbed before.

    I still think the overall problem of gun violence in America goes back to a tendency to default to a violent response that isn’t present in other places, and a lot of the time it isn’t “black swan.” But that’s just my hypothesis, which I am not sure how to test.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s similar to me as refusing to hit a woman that is trying to beat me up. Even in the height of my fury I’ve never hit a woman and I’m proud of that too.

    This is not be to be insulting, but you are unwittingly painting a monstrous and violent picture of yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  66. matt says:

    @Modulo Myself: Well it’s good to know that you’re unwilling to acknowledge your ability to get angry.

    Or that you’ve lived such a sheltered life that you’ve never been exposed to any events that would cause you anger. I’m more then willing to admit that I had a shitty upbringing and some serious bad luck.

    What you say will only occur to those who are not honest with themselves and others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  67. matt says:

    @Mikey:

    I still think the overall problem of gun violence in America goes back to a tendency to default to a violent response that isn’t present in other places, and a lot of the time it isn’t “black swan.” But that’s just my hypothesis, which I am not sure how to test.

    That tendency has already been noted in some studies. It’s what I mean when I point out cultural differences. We are a violent culture and I have no idea how to solve that problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  68. Modulo Myself says:

    @matt:

    Lots of people have tempers. I do. But most of my anger seems to come from easily forgettable and stupid situations that are never worth anything real. And it’s controllable, and certainly not something I think of as a default position in my life. Overall, I’ve seen enough fighting to think that most violent situations are constructed out of similar negligible materials.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  69. stonetools says:

    @aFloridian:

    Let me guess, you’re a white guy, right? Because that’s the ONLY way you would view the Florida CCW experience as a success. If you are an African American male,like me, you would think of it as a giant bag of hurt.

    I think most people who do carry concealed have given a great amount of thought to the implications of actually firing that gun, and hardly will “shoot first and ask questions later.” There are, of course, very unpleasant examples of CCW holders doing just that, but those are the outliers

    No sh!t. Two of those ” outliers” killed black teenagers for no good reason and are hiding beyond a ridiculous legal defense cooked up by the gun lobby. That’s two too many for me, which leads me to discuss open carry.

    I do not want to be sitting in a coffee shop and see someone walk in with a gun on their hip (and I have seen such things on occasion in Alabama) which is unnecessary and makes others incredibly uncomfortable.

    There’s uncomfortable and there’s dead. If I know someone has a gun, then I can get the hell away, especially if its a white man and I’m visiting my mother in Florida. There’s other coffee shops.
    If this society is going to be an armed camp, then let the gun owners give everyone fair warning that they’re armed. We’ll know to stay away from you and not to interact with you should you choose, like George Zimmerman, not to be ” level headed” and ” law abiding”. You see, that’s the problem with these gun owners . You can never tell when they might decide to be lawbreakers and if you guess wrong, you might end up dead.
    So, yeah, show your d@mned guns-and give me a chance to stay alive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  70. stonetools says:

    @matt:

    The USA is in a fairly unique position with our country taking up the full width of a continent with very long borders to the north and south. The ability for smuggling is so great that we’re busting drugs a ton at a time. We’re spread out and we have a wide range of cultures residing here.

    You could take the entire European Community, add in the UK, and not total 1000 gun deaths a year. Indeed, I doubt you could total 500. And that covers a big area that is far more culturally diverse than the United States. They also have a drug problem there.
    Let me repost, so you get some idea of how grotesquely “exceptional” the USA is:

    Gun Deaths in 2011: Japan 48, Great Britain 8, Switzerland 34, Canada 52, Israel 58, Sweden 21, Germany 42, UNITED STATES 10,728 #

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  71. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    It’s similar to me as refusing to hit a woman that is trying to beat me up. Even in the height of my fury I’ve never hit a woman and I’m proud of that too.

    You’re PROUD of not hitting a woman??? Not hitting a woman is what you’re SUPPOSED TO DO! You’re not supposed to be “proud” of things that normal, everyday, well-adjusted, sane people manage to do as a matter of course and never even consider doing. That’s like being “proud” of not abusing children or of not torturing animals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  72. Nan says:

    @Rafer Janders: At a movie theater that was a gun-free zone. The shooter wasn’t taking the chance that someone armed would be there to shoot back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  73. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    You are aware, aren’t you, that neither of the two links you provided — to supposedly disprove my claim that as a rule, countries with more guns, such as the US, have more murders than similarly situated countries without guns — actually disprove it? You wrote “wrong” and then tried to back it up with two nonsense links that don’t, in fact, prove me wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  74. stonetools says:

    @Mikey:

    I still think the overall problem of gun violence in America goes back to a tendency to default to a violent response that isn’t present in other places, and a lot of the time it isn’t “black swan.” But that’s just my hypothesis, which I am not sure how to test.

    Here’s my hypothesis. The problem of gun violence in the US goes back to guns.

    Germany had 42 gun deaths on 2011. Given its history, its ludicrous to describe Germany as a naturally pacifistic nation. The same for Japan. Yet somehow, they don’t have a gun violence problem.
    Countries like Canada and Australia are quite close culturally to the USA-continental English speaking settler cultures who subjugated and ethnically cleansed the original inhabitants of their countries. Yet they’ve figured out the gun thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  75. Rafer Janders says:

    @Nan:

    At a movie theater that was a gun-free zone. The shooter wasn’t taking the chance that someone armed would be there to shoot back.

    Uh huh. And if he thought no one would shoot back at him, then why was he covered head to toe in body armor?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  76. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    Countries like Canada and Australia are quite close culturally to the USA-continental English speaking settler cultures who subjugated and ethnically cleansed the original inhabitants of their countries.

    And the English, in fact, have a reputation throughout Europe for being violent, belligerent, booze-fueled morons (and I’m just talking about the women). And yet one thing at least that no one fears when they’re around the English is being shot to death.

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  77. JKB says:

    @matt bernius:

    You seem to be confusing a lot of issues. The police have training to do their job. The police have the authority to order compliance. A person with a carry permit avoids conflicts because if you are armed, altercations, even ones that don’t involve use of the firearm, become serious crimes. The firearm is only applicable in justifiable deadly force response to imminent threats of death or serious bodily injury. Do some private citizens make mistakes while carrying a firearm, yes, and they are far more likely than a police officer making the same mistake to be held accountable.

    You mention the Trayvon Martin case. Perhaps Martin would have survived, but either because he refrained from attacking a police officer, or because more officers arrived on scene, but if he had gotten on top of an officer and was bashing his head into the concrete, he would still likely have been shot. (Let us stipulate, final arbitration of the events that night awaits the pending trial). There is no assurance that any police officer would have had better grappling skills than Zimmerman or that a police officer would have avoided being bested in the altercation. But to speculate, had Zimmerman not been armed, he might very well be dead and Martin would be facing murder or manslaughter charges.

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  78. matt says:

    @Modulo Myself: You are correct.

    I only consider it “normal” in that everyone at some point in their life has something happen that makes them angry. I do NOT consider it normal as a daily state of existence.

    @stonetools: Europe =/= USA.

    @Rafer Janders: It’s fairly common for men to hit women in most of the poor areas in the USA (and based on the data it happens a lot in non poor areas). I grew up in an environment where my dad broke my mom’s nose when I was a young kid (trailer park trash if you wish). Currently I’m paying my way through college to expand my electrical engineering degree.

    I think people should be proud of not resorting to violence. If more people existed like that we wouldn’t have such a huge violence problem.

    @Rafer Janders: I linked a blog post full of information on violence and other countries which includes information countering your claim. I also directly linked to a Harvard study which disproves your claim.

    @stonetools: Yes gun violence goes back to guns. That’s why it’s called gun violence. Violence in general is a problem with our country and the fact that 40% of murders don’t even involve a gun is a clear indicator of that.

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  79. Argon says:

    Moar gun safety during gun appreciation day. Two people injured when gun goes off at safety check-in location

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  80. Rafer Janders says:

    @Argon:

    In other news, local man playing with fire burns himself, others.

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  81. matt says:

    @Argon: Apparently the fellow wanted to sell it and didn’t inform anyone that it was loaded. The exact details of what the person was doing when it went off hasn’t been released yet.

    This is why anytime anyone hands you a gun the first thing you should do is make sure that it’s cleared by racking the slide/bolt. I have a feeling that the person who was holding the gun didn’t do that check. Whoever it was also wasn’t following the standard rules of barrel control either.

    Hopefully a thorough investigation will occur and if the fellow holding the gun or the owner is found negligent that he’ll be punished.

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  82. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    The USA is in a fairly unique position with our country taking up the full width of a continent with very long borders to the north and south. The ability for smuggling is so great that we’re busting drugs a ton at a time. We’re spread out and we have a wide range of cultures residing here.

    One word: Canada.

    Takes up the full width of a continent, very long borders, spread out, a wide range of cultures residing there, also has a frontier history, also has lots of hunters, proud military tradition. And yet, somehow, not the gun-crazy shooting gallery we are.

    (I’m not even going to mention Australia, or Brazil, or Indonesia, or Russia, or China, or India, or other large, diverse countries with long borders).

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  83. Jim Henley says:

    I’m amused that, “Many cops shouldn’t be trusted with guns” is supposed to be a *pro* CCW argument. Hey, I’m happy to talk about ratcheting down the weaponry of cops too.

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  84. Rafer Janders says:

    I’m out for the evening, everyone. Enjoy playing with matt….

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  85. matt bernius says:

    @JKB:
    Zimmerman is a textbook case for everything that is problematic about CCW with little to no training.

    1. He made the decision to police his neighborhood carrying a gun. He did not have the training to do what he was trying to do. I ask you if anyone believes Mr. Zimmerman would have taken to the streets if he didn’t have “gun muscles.”

    By your own account a person with a CCW should “avoid conflicts because if you are armed, altercations, even ones that don’t involve use of the firearm, become serious crimes. ”

    Yet he set himself into a situation that provoked a conflict. The only reason he did — he was armed. That’s against both CCW and Neighborhood Watch training.

    2. You use the phrase “might have been killed.” This gets to a broader issue that any fight is now apparently assumed to be to the death.

    I have seen ALL of the photos made publicly available of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries. He was getting a mild ass whoopin’ and that was all. The wounds he received (and related medical reports) do no back up the “head repeatedly bashed on concrete” story. A broken nose is not a good enough reason to shoot and kill someone.

    And, this was the opinion of the investigating officer as well, who wrote that Zimmerman’s injuries were “marginally consistent with a life threatening violent episode.” Further they note that Zimmerman was not “in an extraordinary or exceptional disadvantage of apparent physical ability or defensive capacity.”

    If you are looking to defend CCW holder, this isn’t the case that anyone should be taking up.

    This was a guy, who because he had a gun, thought he could play cop without any training. This wasn’t a self defense situation — at least not one that you imagine.

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  86. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: It has one border and an inhospitable climate to the north. It’s sea access is limited and so is it’s warm water access. Canada doesn’t have nearly as much smuggling options as we do.

    We have a very long length of land based borders and a lot of water based opportunities for smuggling. There really isn’t a country that has such a large number of smuggling options. That’s a large reason why the war on drugs has been such a failure.

    @Jim Henley: Who said it was?

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  87. Modulo Myself says:

    One major thing I’ve always noticed about guns is that they are relatively easy things to master sounding knowledgeable about. The rules to them require little time and outside of shooting better, there’s really not much to learn. It’s not like learning getting into programming, building one’s own home, trying to learn another language, playing a musical instrument, or anything that is actually hard.

    I wonder if part of the craziness comes from the fact that so many gun-obsessed people do not have the mental discipline to become involved with something more difficult.

    I mean, I’ve shot guns. I can see why it would be fun to get better. But I can’t imagine how dull it would be to head to a shooting range with one of my eighteen guns every weekend or something.

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  88. matt says:

    @matt bernius: The Zimmerman case is not one that the pro-CCW movement should be planting their flag on..

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  89. JKB says:

    Well, if we are going to play dueling headlines:

    12 Year Old Shoots Home Intruder

    @matt bernius:
    there is no need to rehash this case here. The facts will be considered during the trial. Your opinion, nor mine, has any bearing.

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  90. matt says:

    @Modulo Myself: Honestly building your own home is a pretty easy process. It’s when you decide to do fancy things like having an upstairs balcony that stuff suddenly starts to get harder. I say this as someone that learned basic carpentry as a kid (my dad was a repair contractor for some modular home sellers). I have also been involved in building some garages and housework as an adult.

    I can play a couple instruments but I mostly focus on the bass guitar. Learning an instrument is the biggest problem as once you get technique down (strum/picking/fingering) the rest becomes easy/easier.

    Programming is almost always a nightmare especially if you slightly mess one line of code up in a program that has a million lines of code ugh..

    Of all those you listed shooting a gun well at distance and learning a foreign language would be the hardest things for me. When shooting a gun at range you have to account for the ballistics of the specific ammo you’re using (bullet weight/design, propellant amount/type) and the gun itself (rifling and barrel length). You then have to account for windage based upon current atmospheric circumstances. Here it’s windy a lot so it’s not uncommon for a 30 mph cross wind.

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  91. matt bernius says:

    @JKB:
    BTW, the reason I was referencing the ancillary training that police get, is this — Many CCW folks talk about how much more additional shooting practice and training that they have.

    One has to assume that one chooses to CCW because they feel that they are regularly in situations or places where their lives are at risk. Otherwise why carry?

    To that point, if one feels that conflict is a real possibility, they should be training other conflict management skills beyond shooting — verbal deescalation, basic hand-to-hand, sprinting, etc. Yet, strangely, I rarely hear many of the “I can outshoot a cop” folks talking about any serious training in reality based self defense or verbal deescalation (beyond what’s covered in some CCW courses).

    The ability to own a basic firearm might be a right, but carrying one on a day to day basis is a responsibility that one needs to continually earn.

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  92. matt bernius says:

    @matt:

    The Zimmerman case is not one that the pro-CCW movement should be planting their flag on.

    Yet its the one that so many of them go out of their way to defend.

    Personally, as someone who supports licensed CCW, earned through significant work, they would be smart to acknowledge all of the problems that case presents.

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  93. wr says:

    @matt: “A cop is a citizen packing heat.”

    That’s exactly right — just as a surgeon is a citizen packing a really sharp knife.

    I can tell from your previous posts you’re not a stupid man. Doesn’t it make you wonder why you need to resort to such stupid arguments — that you must know are stupid arguments — to make your point?

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  94. Mikey says:

    @stonetools: Canada and most of Europe have lower murder rates that the U. S. by EVERY means, not just guns. And that has been true for decades. Their murder rates don’t jump up to match ours when you control for the rate of gun ownership. They’re much lower no matter what.

    On the other hand, Russia’s firearms ownership rate is one-tenth that of the U. S. and their murder rate is double ours. Brazil’s firearms ownership rate is one-tenth that of the U. S. and their murder rate is five times ours.

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  95. JKB says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    How is wanting to be able to possess and use a tool, “gun-obsessed”?

    Yes, people do like to go shooting. Just about everyone finds it fun and exciting. Even small children.

    The rules to them require little time and outside of shooting better, there’s really not much to learn.

    You could say the same about golf. So is that what you are saying about our golf-obsessed President?

    But in reality, basic safe operation isn’t that difficult. More and more precise use of the tool and the varied capabilities of the many variations of the tool makes it very interesting to people who choose it as a hobby and as a means of self defense. Just like golf, is relatively simple but people spend hours and hours, to gain precision and control and they use many variation of the same basic tool.

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  96. matt says:

    @Scott: “At that point he saw the male in his vehicle. He confronted that male and the male turned on him. There were shots fired by our victim.”

    He only shot after giving the thieves warning and one of the thieves charged him. I am very familiar with the case you’re talking about and you intentionally left out crucial information..

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  97. matt says:

    @wr: Yeah cause the 2 years of college to become a cop is just like the +11 years required to become a doctor???

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  98. wr says:

    @matt: “What you say will only occur to those who are not honest with themselves and others. ”

    Um, no. I was going to post that I don’t feel proud about the fact I’ve never hit a woman anymore than I feel proud that I’ve never robbed a bank or sold heroin or sprayed swastikas on a synagogue. These are things I would never contemplate doing, so why take pride in avoiding them?

    And then I thought that you must be a troubled man with a history of anger, since refraining from beating up women was a source of pride for you, and the fact that you’ve exhibited restraint means a lot to you. So I wasn’t going to mock you up for it.

    But now you’re saying that only people who, like you, struggle with the desire to brutalize women, are honest with themselves. That those who say they don’t suffer from those urges are hypocrites. And that’s simply wrong.

    It also doesn’t really make me feel a lot more comfortable about your fondness for firearms.

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  99. wr says:

    @Rafer Janders: “And if he thought no one would shoot back at him, then why was he covered head to toe in body armor? ”

    Fashion statement?

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  100. matt says:

    @wr: Now you’re just twisting my words greatly. Hitting a woman attacking you is not generally considered a criminal act.

    But now you’re saying that only people who, like you, struggle with the desire to brutalize women, are honest with themselves. That those who say they don’t suffer from those urges are hypocrites. And that’s simply wrong.

    Not even remotely close.

    When I can resolve a violent situation with non violence I feel proud. Sorry you can’t understand such a simple concept or that your desire to slander me is so great as to cloud your ability to comprehend text.

    I thought surely even you could agree that we’d be better off if people felt pride at resolving violent situations without the usage of violence.

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  101. JKB says:

    @matt bernius: Otherwise why carry?

    I have carry permit mostly to avoid legal hassles when I go to the range. Otherwise, I would have to drive 20 miles there and then straight back and couldn’t go do shopping along my way. Also, my home is isolated and if I come home on some on burglarizing my home, their only way out is through me. If they head for the woods, they are a police matter but if they come at me, I like having the capability to defend myself.

    The ability to own a basic firearm might be a right, but carrying one on a day to day basis is a responsibility that one needs to continually earn.

    But the “gun control” movement underway now is not about carrying a firearm which is, in most jurisdictions, a controlled and government licensed activity, but on possession and use of firearms in ones own home and other private property where the owner permits firearm use.

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  102. JKB says:

    @JKB:

    12 Year Old Shoots Home Intruder

    Deputies say, the girl was home alone when a man she’d never seen before, rang the front doorbell. They say when no one answered the door, the man went around to the back of the house and kicked a door open. That’s when authorities say, the girl grabbed a gun and hid in a bathroom closet.

    “He had worked his way all the way through the house and into the bathroom. And from what we understand, he was turning the doorknob when she fired through the door.” Says Bryan County Under sheriff, Ken Golden.

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  103. wr says:

    @matt bernius: Just wondering, are you the same person as mattb, or is everybody here named matt

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  104. wr says:

    @matt: “Yeah cause the 2 years of college to become a cop is just like the +11 years required to become a doctor??? ”

    Because some number of years of specialized education followed by a licensing process are exactly the same as buying a gun at a flea market and playing vigilante?

    Again, Matt, you’re not stupid. It’s not helping your case to pretend you are.

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  105. matt says:

    @wr: You’re not even making sense now..

    Are there people going to a flea market buying a gun and then calling themselves a cop?

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  106. wr says:

    @matt: “Are there people going to a flea market buying a gun and then calling themselves a cop? ”

    You were the one who said that a cop is just an armed civillian.That’s what I’ve been responding to — the idiot notion that you and JKB have been sharing that there is no difference between an armed law enforcement officer and an armed civillian.

    So I’d say there are people going to flea markets and buying guns — and then are called cops by you.

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  107. matt says:

    @wr: I never said there was no difference between a police officer and your average civilian. I just said that a police officer is an armed civilian. I know civilians who have far more training then your average police officer. I have more training then the average officer that are currently employed by my home town.

    This is the point where we get into a debate about what is a civilian and what isn’t. I don’t consider fire fighters or policemen to be non civilians but I certainly consider military troops on deployment to be non civilians.

    I consider the whole police mentality that they aren’t civilians to be a problem. Police tend to think they aren’t beholden to the same rule as the civilians aka the rest of us. That’s not right and that’s why I don’t believe they should be afforded special status outside of civilian status.

    I agree with the statements made here.
    @matt bernius:

    That’s why I’m proud that I’ve deescalated situations..

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  108. matt says:

    I’d like to see CCW training cover more material including deescalation techniques as a requirement.

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  109. stonetools says:

    @matt:

    Europe =/= USA.

    You may want to crack a history book. Europe was a pretty warlike continent all the way to that little unpleasantness in 1939-45. Also too, Canada, a country so close to the USA in so many ways that Canadians are frequently mistaken for us (much to their consternation). Bottom line, culture is not an excuse. At all.

    Violence in general is a problem with our country and the fact that 40% of murders don’t even involve a gun is a clear indicator of that.

    Its a problem elsewhere too. Soccer hooliganism is a big problem in Europe , especially in the UK. Yet 8 handgun deaths in 2011.
    There is zero indication that Germans, Italians (ever heard of the Mafia?), Serbians, Dutch or Spaniards are genetically or culturally less violent than Americans. They just arrange their societies so that they don’t have guns at hand when they get violent.

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  110. matt says:

    @stonetools: We weren’t talking about culture we were talking about geography….

    Your second part is irrelevant.

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  111. Jim Henley says:

    @JKB: The reference to the Texoma case illustrates the central problem with gun fandom. You people think in anecdotes.

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  112. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Every side has people who do. I’ve seen plenty of the gun grabbers focusing on anecdotes here.

    You can see it done in this thread too.

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  113. Jim Henley says:

    Let’s be glad things worked out for the girl in this case, but consider the evidence before us.

    1. In a very short time an unsupervised child could lay hands on a loaded weapon. There’s no way we are dealing with guns locked away separately from ammunition given the time frame.

    2. The girl did not run out the front door while the intruder came in the back. This is the safest play! Run through every scenario from “The intruder is armed and never gives the girl a chance to shoot” to “some friend of the family is concerned the girl is in trouble and needs help and has broken in for that reason” and in the overwhelming majority of them she’s better off just getting out of the house.

    The first issue illustrates the central limitation of guns for so-called home defense. The safest protocols for storing and handling guns in the home mean they’re not accessible in the extremely unlikely case where having a gun is your only recourse. Having a gun easily available for that extremely unlikely recourse means you’re following less safe protocols. That increases the likelihood the gun instead gets used in an accidental shooting, domestic violence or suicide. In this case we got a semi-storybook ending. In many more cases, we get tragedy.

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  114. JKB says:

    @wr:

    No one has claimed there ” is no difference between an armed law enforcement officer and an armed civilian.” What has been stated is that police and private citizens carry and use firearms for the same lawful purpose, self defense and defense of others. That police, as a function of their job, engage and subdue dangerous people simply means that as a matter of statistics they are more likely to use their firearm than a private citizen. But that job function does not alter the fact that private citizens do end up in situations where they are subjected to threats of death or serious bodily injuries where use of deadly force to stop that threat is justifiable under the law.

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  115. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: I take your point. But gun fandom has only anecdotes (all their favorite research has been discredited) and not even that many. Hell, this one girl has come up in almost every OTB gun thread since Newtown.

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  116. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Bullshit I’ve provided links to the FBI crime database to backup my anecdotes.

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  117. Jim Henley says:

    It was, for instance, extremely reckless of the girl to fire through a closed door without knowing who was on the other side or what their intent was. That can go very wrong and has, many times. Here’s just one.

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  118. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: What anecdotes did you back up with links to the FBI crime database?

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  119. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: That more people are murdered with the usage of hands then with rifles?

    Earlier when I linked the harvard study proving that higher rates of gun ownership doesn’t translate into higher rates of murder. Or that lower rates of gun ownership doesn’t automatically produce lower rates of murder.

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  120. JKB says:

    @Jim Henley:

    The girl had obviously been properly gun-proofed as evidenced that she did not have the firearm until under threat.

    She also had been properly taught the safe handling and use of the firearm, although shooting through the door is problematic but understandable for a 12-yr old under active threat.

    As it is, the girl survived and the bad guy is going to jail.

    Now if we want to make up a scenario like your “run out the front door”. what if there were two bad guys, what if she lives a far distance from the nearest neighbor. If you read the story, you’ll learn that she was online with 911 and did everything possible to leave the matter to the police. Plus the intruder went after her in a bathroom closet, so he had ill intent to her person rather than just steal some stuff.

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  121. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: I have statistics handy for 2008 and IIRC they’re pretty representative, 9,484 murders by firearm; 801 with bare hands. Are you stressing deaths by rifle particularly? I’m sure they are a minority of gun murders, yes. What’s the number?

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  122. Jim Henley says:

    @JKB: He may well have had ill intent toward her. Or he may have been trying every door in the house to see what was where. And under your “what if there were two intruders who explicitly want to keep someone from escaping the house?” well, what if? In a two-intruder scenario, the girl fires through the bathroom door, takes one out, and the other empties his magazine through the door and reduces her to a bloody mess.

    Meanwhile, you acknowledge that firing through the door was reckless, good. And you say that it’s understandable that a 12-year-old girl would act recklessly in that situation, and I agree! That’s the whole problem! It is understandable that a 12-year-old girl will make poor decisions. I have one right on the other side of the wall as I’m typing this and, man, truer words. SO IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT NOT TO LET THEM HAVE ACCESS TO GUNS!

    One more thing. You say, “She also had been properly taught the safe handling and use of the firearm,” though we don’t actually know that. But let’s say that happened. What’s important is not just that she was taught, but that up through October 2012 she has actually heeded what she was taught. Which, if you have children, you know is a thing you can not count on in every case.

    This is the weakness of thinking in terms of anecdotes and heroes instead of probabilities and populations.

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  123. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Read what I typed?

    Stats for 2011 are lower BTW.

    Murders in 2011
    rifle :323

    hands/feet : 728

    Shotguns : 356

    Interesting fact. The majority of people murdered knew the person murdering them. Also a large percentage of people who were murdered were involved in an a separate illegal activity (drug dealing, gang banging etc).

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  124. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: Thanks. So your problem is bad statistics. Household gun ownership rates (all types) have varied between 30-50 percent over the last forty years, so household rifle ownership rates are below that. Meanwhile household fist ownership rates approach 100%.

    There are also suicides and accidents to layer on top of the murders, though I’ll grant that rifles must account for a relatively small share of the 18K gun suicides every year.

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  125. Jim Henley says:

    Oh yes, suicides. Boy do I want a typical tween girl@matt:

    Interesting fact. The majority of people murdered knew the person murdering them. Also a large percentage of people who were murdered were involved in an a separate illegal activity (drug dealing, gang banging etc).

    You see how this cuts two ways, right?

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  126. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Bad statistics? I’m getting them straight from the FBI.. If you have a problem with the statistics take it up with them.

    I frankly don’t care about suicides. If someone is serious they’ll find a way.

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  127. Spartacus says:

    @matt:

    @Rafer Janders:

    societies with guns, such as the US, suffer from far more murders than comparable societies without guns.

    Wrong

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2013/01/great-fact-little-fact/

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

    Nice try, but these links don’t seem to say what you think they say.

    The data in these links show that there are some countries mostly in western Europe with higher gun ownership rates and lower murder rates than other countries (still mostly in Europe) that have fewer guns. But the differences in gun ownership rates among all of these countries is extremely small when compared to the difference in gun ownership with the US.

    Consequently, at most, it seems that the links show that among western European countries rates of gun ownership do not explain the differences in murder rates. However, if you compare the extraordinarily high rate of gun ownership and murder in the US to the extraordinarily low rate of gun ownership and murder in any of the western European countries, then there’s every reason to believe that having a lot of guns in a society will result in lots of murders.

    More importantly, it wouldn”t matter if western Europe had gun ownership rates as high as the US while maintaining an extremely low murder rate. The fact that Europeans may be able to handle high ownership rates doesn’t mean Americans can. Apparently, Americans are much more violent than Europeans and giving us greater access to lethal weapons inevitably leads to more murders.

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  128. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: Bad statistics as in bad statistical procedure, not incorrect numbers. I’m sure your absolute numbers are fine. But without factoring in an access rate, the absolute numbers mean nothing.

    Let’s say two people in the country own neutron bombs in 2011. One guy accidentally sets his off, killing 400 people. (He lived in Idaho, as did his poor neighbors.) We don’t say, “This shows hands and fists are more dangerous than neutron bombs.” Because statistically, half our cases of neutron bomb ownership ended in disaster. Meanwhile, about 330 million-minus-800 cases of hand-and-fist ownership worked out fine.

    On the suicide thing, research suggests you are simply wrong.

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  129. matt says:

    @Spartacus: /facepalm…

    So in the end you admit it says that higher gun ownership rates doesn’t automatically equal higher murder rates.

    Spin it all you want but the reality simple. More guns doesn’t equal more murder automatically.

    There must be something culturally different about this country that results in our high violent crime rate. We’re more like Russia in some statistics then people would like to admit.

    Apparently, Americans are much more violent than Europeans and giving us greater access to lethal weapons inevitably leads to more murders.

    Even without weapons we’re still going to have an abnormally high level of violence as witnessed by the large number of murders and other violent crime committed without a gun present. Apparently you think banning guns will solve the problem while I think fixing the underlying problem will produce greater overall results.

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  130. Spartacus says:

    @matt bernius:

    And, lest we forget, successful policing requires more than being able to shoot. It requires a certain amount of physical fitness (which cops are trained and tested on), it requires conflict training, both verbal and physical (which cops are trained and tested on).

    And all of that means that cops are typically better equipped to (not to mentioned experienced) in handling a violent confrontation from start to finish than your average gun owner.

    Exactly. This point about conflict resolution and gun safety/training is one that I’ve made several times on OTB. JKB et al, however, seem to believe that since some gun owners are the type who don’t need this kind of training, then no gun owners should be required to obtain this training.

    Strangely enough, JKB refuses to identify in advance which people are the ones that need the training and which ones do not.

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  131. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Really? You’re going to try to argue semantics now? The conversation has always been about actual numbers and actual violence not some magical % of access bullshit. We’ve been discussing increasing gun control or keeping it at current levels NOT DECREASING gun control. If we were discussing decreasing gun control measures then you would have a point but we’re not or at least I’m not.

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  132. aFloridian says:

    @stonetools:

    Let me guess, you’re a white guy, right? Because that’s the ONLY way you would view the Florida CCW experience as a success. If you are an African American male,like me, you would think of it as a giant bag of hurt. … Two of those ” outliers” killed black teenagers for no good reason and are hiding beyond a ridiculous legal defense cooked up by the gun lobby.

    I am indeed. I never said it was an outright “success” but I do think that Florida’s liberal gun policies present the best model for other states wishing to implement a concealed-carry regime going forward (much better than, say, Alabama’s). I also believe that the concept of Stand Your Ground is solid, but if individuals like Zimmerman (and the vehicle shooting guy) successfully use that law as a defense then it likely needs a major overhaul. I would be curious to know what the figures on black CCWs in Florida are, particularly given this country’s hate rate of violent crime against blacks. With one million CCWs here and counting, I imagine the number is likely higher than we might guess among middle- and upper-class blacks (the cost of weaponry and licensing no doubt makes a CCW license more difficult to obtain for those with low income of any race).
    Merely as an anecdote, my black fiance is a CCW holder, and, often working late, takes comfort in the potential advantage. Even so, she normally carries only pepper spray and I pretty much never carry concealed unless I am traveling. I do take advantage of my CCW to frequently carry a sizable assisted-opening knife ,(sort of like a “switchblade”) but more for its use as a tool rather than a defensive weapon.

    There’s uncomfortable and there’s dead. If I know someone has a gun, then I can get the hell away, especially if its a white man and I’m visiting my mother in Florida.

    Well, I guess we both envision a similar outcome from open-carry but still differ on our conclusions. I would think it a far greater imposition on the right of those who are uncomfortable around guns to have to constantly flee from establishments where people walk in with a gun on their hip like Wyatt Earp. I suppose some shop owners could take advantage of the situation by catering to one of the two camps, thereby excluding the other.

    Of course, I recognize that you really aren’t arguing for open-carry but against concealed carry. Again returning to the demographics, I am quite certain that the majority of CCW holders ARE white men and yet, beyond a very small number of inexcusable and enraging murders, young black men are not being gunned down en masse in Florida as your phrasing might suggest. That doesn’t make it any better for those that have been murdered, and I hope to see those responsible brought to justice. As a responsible gun owner, humanitarian, and respecter of the rule of law, I wouldn’t dream of defending murderers to advance an agenda. Unfortunately, many of the right have done just that in the Zimmerman case, partly out of racism and partly out of a myopic failure to see that, at the end of the day, guns ARE inherently tools of violence, the use of which is sometimes indefensible.

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  133. michael reynolds says:

    @matt:
    Those are excellent questions but sadly I am stuck subbing for my wife (down with a cold) at a conference in a rustic place called Asilomar. By rustic they mean no functioning wifi. I’m typing this with my thumb on my iPhone which is no way to write multiple paragraphs. So I’m not dodging, but I do not have a teenagers thumb so without a keyboard this is about my limit. Apologies.

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  134. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: Matt, your claim is just plain unsound. We always talk about rates when we discuss social phenomena. And there’s nothing “magical” about looking at access to implements of death in terms of household ownership. It’s just a reasonable thing to control for when assessing the scope of a problem.

    Take Britain’s recent proposal to ban sharp pointy knives. Surely it matters, when looking at the numbers of accidents, suicides and murders involving sharp pointy knives, how many homes have sharp pointy knives in them.

    Your other claim is also unsound. Of course we are also discussing decreasing gun control. Expanded CCW rights constitute decreased gun control. Arming teachers constitutes decreased gun control. Requiring bar owners to allow patrons to bring registered guns into their establishments constitutes decreased gun control. Heller constituted decreased gun control. We have spent more than a dozen years of initiatives to decrease gun control.

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  135. aFloridian says:

    @stonetools:

    You could take the entire European Community, add in the UK, and not total 1000 gun deaths a year. Indeed, I doubt you could total 500. And that covers a big area that is far more culturally diverse than the United States. They also have a drug problem there.
    Let me repost, so you get some idea of how grotesquely “exceptional” the USA is:

    I think the USA is, unfortunately, somewhat “grotesquely ‘exceptional’” from the top on down. While we are outwardly most similar to the Western liberal democracies of Europe and elsewhere, many of our government’s policies and, strikingly, our cultural attitudes, put us more on the level of states like China, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Consider all the treaties we are not signatories to that nearly every other Western power has signed. Our continued use of capital punishment, the use of firearms, unceasing drone attacks and a generally belligerent nature suggest to me that this really is an inherently violent society.

    It makes sense that we could be so similar to Europe in many ways and yet remain so staggeringly stubborn to our vices in others. When one considers that this country largely took its current form through acts of genocide and slavery it almost makes it a wonder that we have achieved the relatively low level of barbarity we see today.

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  136. matt says:

    @michael reynolds: I thank you for your response. I’ll continue to monitor this thread in case you get a chance to respond properly.

    @Jim Henley: No just no.

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  137. JKB says:

    @Jim Henley: SO IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT NOT TO LET THEM HAVE ACCESS TO GUNS!

    But as this incident shows, a 12-yr old with access to a gun saved her life and prevented her rape.

    But all we can determine from these stories and your stories about your tweenagers, is that guns are sometimes used wrongly by them and others have saved their life with a gun.

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  138. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: Again, this is the problem with gun advocacy.

    Also, whoever is down-voting my comments is a wimp. That goes for your posts too. You’re not being abusive or frivolous, just wrong-headed.

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  139. Jim Henley says:

    @JKB: We don’t know that this girl prevented a rape. The internet is remarkably empty of reporting on subsequent investigation into the case and into the reasons Mister Stacy Jones broke into the house. She may well have prevented a rape with her shot, and that’s good. And she may well have prevented a rape by running out the front door. She may well have prevented a rape by standing there with her gun drawn when the guy opened the door and saying, “Now run, @sshole.”

    Again, this is the problem with gun fandom: “It could happen!” Even, “It did happen this one time!” But ex ante we have to look at the likelihood that having a gun in an given household leads to preventing a rape versus causing an accident versus enabling the rage-killing of someone living there to ensuring the successful suicide of a depressed person to getting stolen and used in a crime to actually being completely useless in a violent encounter because that’s how the ball bounced.

    To be clear, we have to look at this regardless of what we decide is the right gun policy. Sensible reckoning of the costs and benefits should precede any individual decision on whether to own guns, how many of what kind to own and under what sort of storage protocols.

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  140. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Essentially you’re just trying to play with the numbers in an attempt to manipulate them into your advantage.

    I’m arguing from the perspective of tightening gun control some and that doesn’t require dissecting the numbers in the manner you wish. I’m requesting less access to guns overall.

    Look even if we outright banned guns we’d still have plenty of them floating around or smuggled in thanks to our geography. I’ve posted a few links of batches of guns being stolen from the police.

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  141. Jim Henley says:

    @matt:

    1. Wait. You want to tighten gun controls some?

    2. We’ll never get rid of all guns or eliminate all gun murders, suicides and accidents (five people wounded at gun shows TODAY). I’m not after perfection; I’m after reducing the rates of these kinds of mayhem.

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  142. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: That’s why I want to address the underlying cause of violence and our willingness to quickly commit to violence means.

    We need a public option with strong treatment options for mentally ill people (especially for the poor).

    We as a society need to stop glorifying violence and insisting on using it to solve our problems (Iraq the drumbeat for war with Iran etc).

    We need to stop glorifying everything military even when clearly we shouldn’t be.

    We need to close any NICS related loopholes and provide for a free easy way for private sales to involve a NICS. That will fix the gun show loopholes that do exist.

    We need for some tightening in CCW requirements with training and background checks as a minimum requirement.

    We need to stop militarizing the police and focus on community outreach. Removing the stigma of snitching will increase the chances of discovering a shooting plot before it happens.

    We need to look at our culture and ourselves in an honest light.

    We should consider if not outright require gun owners to carry insurance to cover accidents with their firearms.

    We should implement a national FOID card like system with required training classes. I’m worried about this bit because we cannot even get a national ID passed. There’s also the problem that such a requirement could become a method for the government to restrict ownership solely by passing ever ridiculous fees. There’s also the unintended consequences of such a precedent.

    I had to modify the wording on the last two points because people picked fights over them. Other then that I’ve been pasting this in pretty much every gun control related thread for the last couple months.

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  143. Jim Henley says:

    I…don’t have a problem with any of that. I would add drastic deescalation of the war on drugs, starting with marijuana legalization. As Jason Kuznicki has noted, the most violent countries in the world strongly concentrate along the drug pipelines to America.

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  144. Spartacus says:

    @matt:

    So in the end you admit it says that higher gun ownership rates doesn’t automatically equal higher murder rates.

    Spin it all you want but the reality simple. More guns doesn’t equal more murder automatically.

    It is now rather obvious that you either didn’t read, or don’t understand, the links you provided.

    Do you really want to argue that data comparing differences in murder rates between, say, a country that has 246 guns per 100k people (Sweden) with a country that has 41 guns per 100k people (Austria) is applicable to a country that has over 100,000 guns per 100k people (US)?

    That Harvard study shows only that the relatively small differences in rates of gun ownership among western European nations does not explain the extremely small differences in murder rates among those same countries. The study does not in any show that the ubiquity of guns in America is unrelated to the extraordinarily high murder rate here.

    Do you have any studies that disprove my theory that a gun-fetishized society is not more dangerous than a society that doesn’t have a gun fetish?

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  145. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Yes I should add something about my support for the legalization of marijuana (possibly more)to that list. The war on drugs is definitely directly related to our problem with violence (and others).

    If I knew I could trust the Democratic party (I know I can’t trust the Republican party BAZING) I’d even be fine with registration and such. Unfortunately there are far too many “ban all of them” in the Democratic tent for me to be willing to risk it.

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  146. Spartacus says:

    @matt:

    @matt:

    So in the end you admit it says that higher gun ownership rates doesn’t automatically equal higher murder rates.

    Spin it all you want but the reality simple. More guns doesn’t equal more murder automatically.

    It is now rather obvious that you either didn’t read, or don’t understand, the links you provided.

    I don’t really mean that. To be clear, I don’t believe that more guns always equal more murder automatically and I have not argued this either.

    My point is that that ubiquity of guns in America inevitably increases the number of murders. I believe this was Rafer Jander’s point as well, and you provided two links to dispute that. The links you provided show that more guns do not always mean more murder automatically, but the links do not dispute the point we were making.

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  147. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: Were you aware of what I’ve been advocating?

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  148. Jim Henley says:

    @matt: Nope. I was focusing strictly on the statistical issue. It’s a big thread and I got into it because of the Case of the Twelve-Year-Old Girl.

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  149. matt says:

    @Spartacus: So basically the argument comes down to how much or little of an influence the availability of guns has on the actual murder rates?

    @Jim Henley: roger

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  150. JKB says:

    Here is an interesting observation on the national conversation on guns. It’s a given none of Obama’s 23 executive actions would have stopped the Sandy Hook attack. Or the other mass killer attacks in gun free zones. And they do little to address the real factors with the spree killers. Namely, mental health and near impossibility to commit someone for being a danger to themselves or others.

    Seems Connecticut is particularly hard and the legislator denied a bill that would make it easier just months earlier. We need to see if the pattern of spree killers is coincident not only with “gun free” zones but also states where civil commitment is particularly onerous. Now this isn’t a funding issue but a legislative issue.

    I wrote about it at the time, but it’s worth repeating. Nancy Lanza wanted to have her son Adam committed, but it’s nearly impossible to do so in the state of Connecticut. Months before the Sandy Hook massacre state legislators in Connecticut rejected an effort to make it easier to commit people against their will.

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  151. Jim Henley says:

    @JKB: Nancy Lanza kept an arsenal in the house for self-defense. That worked out great.

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  152. matt says:

    @Jim Henley: She obviously didn’t secure her guns…

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  153. george says:

    @matt:

    It has one border and an inhospitable climate to the north. It’s sea access is limited and so is it’s warm water access. Canada doesn’t have nearly as much smuggling options as we do.

    Actually Canada has all season ports open on both coasts – unless you mean something different by warm water access. And both west and east coast have lot’s of great places to smuggle into, because the population density is low and a lot of the coast is wilderness (ask the rum runners, who made fortunes doing it during prohibition).

    I assume you mean smuggling from Mexico and south, and the reason there’s less of it in Canada isn’t lack of available ports or landing spots, but simply because the US lies between Canada and Latin America.

    I don’t think that has much to do with the relative gun murder rates though, I think its mainly cultural. Western Canada has a high percentage of gun owners, but they’re almost all long guns of various kinds (much more useful on the farm, or for defending your home, if that’s what you’re worried about). The firearm restrictions are considerably tighter in Canada (especially against handguns – and most long gun owners, like myself, see no problem with that, if I had to defend myself I’d take the long gun every time, and trying to defend livestock with a hand gun is just about impossible), and that might well be a big reason for the much lower rate of gun murder here.

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  154. matt says:

    @george: Do keep in mind that my post was comparing the geography of Canada to the USA.

    You’re entering a conversation that was well developed by that point. I have already stated that I believe cultural differences matter greatly.

    Interesting side note but apparently someone tried to break my back door last night while I was passed out. Because of work and school I had been up for two days so I passed out hard as soon as I could. Something work me up at the early AM hours but I didn’t think anything of it till I noticed the broken door knob much later.

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  155. matt says:

    Apparently my secondary lock stopped them.

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  156. anjin-san says:

    The rise of desire for military hardware corresponds with fewer people having actual military experience.

    I think there is a lot to this. When I was growing up, the older dads had been in WW2, men my father’s age in Korea, and a lot the younger fathers were active military. They had nothing to prove. A guy like JKB would have been laughed out of town.

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  157. anjin-san says:

    “They are used to defend our property and our families and our faith and our freedom, and they are absolutely essential to living the way God intended for us to live.”

    – California Rep. Tim Donnelly (R), talking about guns on The Bottom Line.

    Are you shitting me?

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  158. stonetools says:

    @matt:

    You should understand that the study you cited on homicide rates is by Gary Mauser, who is pretty much one of the NRA’s pet academics. His ” studies” are crap. The guy is a professor of marketing at some university in Canada, for Pete’s sakes. He is about as credible on gun safety as creationist Dr. Kent Hovind is on biology. His academic record:

    According to Scopus and Web of Knowledge, since he became a professor in 1974, he’s had one book published (in 1983, and not related to gun control) and a total of… about 15 papers! Of those, only 12 or so were related to gun control (over the last 20 years). Those on gun control are the ones important for this piece anyway. I said ‘about’ since even looking at his CV, it’s unclear whether some of the papers are peer-reviewed articles or opinion pieces, a trick unproductive faculty members often use to hide their true track record (mix all publications under one category and label them as ‘academic papers’).

    Looking at Scopus, his papers on gun control have been cited 7 times (which also includes self-citation, which doesn’t count). For comparison purposes, I so far published 65 published papers, most of which were produced after 2001; they have been been cited 483 times (self-citations removed); this track record is actually very high in my field of work. Furthermore, many of the journals where Dr. Mauser published his work have what are called low impact factors, meaning that the journals are not well-regarded by the research community.

    You need to find another expert to cite, other than some NRA hack. He is the one expert cited repeatedly by the gun lobby, now that John Lott, the previous champ, was discredited. A nice living-for a professor of marketing.

    More on Dr. Mauser’s hackery here, when in a letter he claimed that violent crime rates in Canada increased since Canada enacted gun safety laws. It actually decreased.

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  159. stonetools says:

    @aFloridian:

    ll, I guess we both envision a similar outcome from open-carry but still differ on our conclusions. I would think it a far greater imposition on the right of those who are uncomfortable around guns to have to constantly flee from establishments where people walk in with a gun on their hip like Wyatt Earp. I suppose some shop owners could take advantage of the situation by catering to one of the two camps, thereby excluding the other.

    Funny you should mention Wyatt Earp. He was in favor opf gun control. When you came into Tombstone, you were supposed to check your guns with the town marshal and pick them up when you left.The gunfight on OK Corral was about the Earps trying to enforce a gun control ordinance.
    To be honest, I really don’t care about how you or your fiancee feel about wearing a gun. I care about non-gun people like me getting fair warning that we are coming into the presence of someone who could blow us away for whatever reason. You and your fiance may be nice people, but I’d like me to be the judge of whether I want to be around someone wearing a death machine.
    So far as I can tell, CCW and the “stand your ground law” is a vehicle for well off mostly white Floridians to go around carrying the power of death with them , with special legal protection in case they make a “mistake” by blowing away someone they shouldn’t . That’s how its functioned so far and two dead black teenagers tell me its functioning just fine as giving a dangerous privilege to the already privileged.

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  160. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Nancy Lanza wanted to have her son Adam committed

    {Citation needed}

    That may be true but I’ve not seen that stated clearly anywhere.

    Also too, this:

    The friend also rejected a report that Nancy was planning to have her son committed to a psychiatric facility.
    “Nancy was so dedicated to Adam,” the friend said. “She would never send him away. She just couldn’t do that.”

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/exclusive-mind-newtown-killer-article-1.1223612#ixzz2IUhQnzXQ

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  161. matt says:

    @stonetools: Yeah I’m not too sure I believe the whole story about her trying to commit him. If you’re trying to commit your son you don’t leave your rifles unsecured like she did.

    You and your fiance may be nice people, but I’d like me to be the judge of whether I want to be around someone wearing a death machine.

    Do you worry about people who are physical strong and well trained killing you?

    Should I have to warn people what I’m able to bench press and what martial arts I’m trained in?

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  162. wr says:

    @matt: “Apparently my secondary lock stopped them. ”

    Wait — you mean it’s possible to stop bad guys without shooting them? Incredible!!!!

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  163. george says:

    @matt:

    @george: Do keep in mind that my post was comparing the geography of Canada to the USA.

    You’re entering a conversation that was well developed by that point. I have already stated that I believe cultural differences matter greatly.

    So you did – my bad.

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  164. alkali says:

    The formative incident in Josh’s experience with guns would never have happened with me simply because guns were always around and my dad made damned sure that I understood from a very early age what guns were and instilled in me the consequences of handling them—both from the weapons themselves and from my dad.

    I have heard this line of argument on numerous occasions. It amounts to:

    1) As a child, my dad/mom/uncle/etc. taught me about guns.
    2) As a child, I never had an accident with guns.
    3) Therefore, children who have accidents with guns were not taught about guns.

    The logical fallacy here (faulty generalization) is pretty obvious. I certainly wouldn’t argue that teaching kids about guns has no effect on their safety — it surely has some effect — but teaching your kids about guns is no substitute for safe storage, or simply not having a gun in the home at all. Also, being taught about guns is not going to be effective about some gun risks (in particular, suicide).

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  165. alkali says:

    @Mikey: First, I think one reason you’d find it very difficult to convince members of the rural gun culture that their guns are a problem is because they don’t see the problem up close. 96% of all the murders in the state of Illinois in 2011 occurred in the city of Chicago.

    This is not correct. In 2008 and 2009, the most recent years for which data is available, about 60% of homicides in Illinois occurred in Chicago (in 2008, 511/791, and 2009, 459/773). So although the homicide rate is about 6x higher in Chicago than in the rest of the state, it is not the case that virtually no murders occur in Illinois outside of Chicago.

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  166. stonetools says:

    @alkali:

    We need to be reminded that Ms. Lanza zealously taught her son about guns and took him to the shooting gallery to practice. She purchased a mini arsenal of high-powered guns and matching ammunition and kept them in the house . Until the day of Sandy Hook, she was the perfect NRA mother. She was locked and loaded for home defense-except against her son, unfortunately.
    Too bad 26 other people lost their lives because of her oversight.

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  167. Mikey says:

    @alkali: Well that’s the last time I use that particular source. Thanks for pointing out the error.

    There is data available for 2011, 721 (state) and 433 (Chicago). Not particularly different from the preceding years.

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  168. alkali says:

    @Mikey: I was using “official” Illinois State Police data, for which 2009 is the most recent year currently available (why, I have no idea). What you quote for 2011 is no doubt correct.

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  169. Mikey says:

    @alkali: I got the Chicago number here: City of Chicago Police Department – 2011 Murder Analysis

    The state number is from the FBI 2011 Uniform Crime Report.

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