OK

      I posted a diary the other day looking at gun fails from a different perspective. I learned a few things from it, not in a pleasant way, and figured it was worth sharing the experience.

      The diary got a decent reception; a few recs, a couple of republishings, and some comments. It was inspired by a couple of things Josh Marshall had put up over at Talking Points Memo. One was his near Gun FAIL as a child, the other was an e-mail from a reader about what happened with them with a gun.  I thought it was worth pointing to because while the weekly GunFAIL series here at Kos has grim stories week after week, this was about two stories from the viewpoint of the people who lived them.

      It was the rest of Marshall's commentary I should have paid more attention to:

...But it captured a mentality that does seem pervasive among many more determined gun rights advocates — basically that us non-gun people need to be held down as it were and made to learn that it’s okay being around people carrying loaded weapons.
      That, and the limits of communication by words on a screen. More below the Orange Omnilepticon.

UPDATE: There are two diaries up at Daily Kos that have some perspective on the whole concealed carry issue. The first is from a person who had a really good reason to need to carry a weapon. The second links to an article which describes what carrying a weapon does to the person lugging it around. They are must-reads on this topic.

       What happened unfolded over several days. The diary had been up, gone through the usual spate of activity early on, and then largely faded - except for one thread. I'm going to be quoting from it directly - you can see it all at the link, of course. I'm editing out tag lines and active links to save space, but otherwise leaving it pretty much as it was. I'm going to add comments on the comments in italics.

It started with this comment:

Something most gun folks used to understand (3+ / 0-)
This:

"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?" [From Josh Marshall's comment.]

Keeping a gun in your own home is one thing. Carrying one into public spaces is something else entirely. It's the point where the gun owner's rights clash with other peoples' rights.

I believe I can reasonably make an argument that keeping my guns in a safe in my home, going to the range, or going hunting in an area where such is legal and customary don't affect your rights.

But it's absurd to make the same claim about strapping on a handgun and going to the grocery store. That impacts the rights of other people - and there is no reason that my rights should be considered as trumping yours in that situation.

The whole "carry everywhere" fetish is relatively new - it only got going over the last 20-30 years. It is a big part of the reason why today's gun culture appears so threatening to non-shooters.

by rodentrancher on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:38:57 AM PDT

That drew a reply:
How does my carrying a firearm impact your (1+ / 0-)
rights if we're in the same public space?

by KVoimakas on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:38:53 AM PDT

This is the point at which I stepped in, (and in it as it played out.)
Short Answer (1+ / 0-)
Do I have to worry someone around me is carrying a gun? Do I have to watch what I say, what I do? Can I relax while being in a place where people assume they have the need and the right to be able to use deadly force at any time? Can I count on them participating in the norms of civil order when they obviously don't trust in it? Do I have to maintain constant awareness of possible lines of fire and where the nearest shelter from gunfire might be? Is it safe to assume they are competent to handle a firearm? How do I tell someone carrying a gun for self defense from someone carrying a gun for criminal purposes - and how would they if something started to go down?

It becomes the difference between a shared public space, and a no man's land...

by xaxnar on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:37:22 PM PDT

Mind you, that was the short answer. It's a topic that could demand a lot more exposition, but I thought Josh Marshall had done a pretty good job spelling it out already. It drew the following response.
Thats an awful lot of worrying and fear... (2+ / 0-)
I thought it was supposed to be the RKBA crowd who were the ones scared of their own shadow?

by in the middle but all by myself on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:41:05 PM PDT

For those wondering, RKBA is short for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. And that turns out to be a factor in where this thread goes from here on. I replied:
Problem is, they're carriers of the disease (0+ / 0-)
And they're spreading it.

by xaxnar on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 05:03:12 PM PDT

To which came the rejoinder:
No, they're usually sitting/standing/walking there (2+ / 0-)
just like you.  Totally minding their own business.

People who carry concealed typically want to be left alone.  They want to go about their day without getting beat up, robbed, shot just as much as you do.

Maybe the real disease vector is the criminal element of society?

by in the middle but all by myself on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 05:16:44 PM PDT

My response:
If you truly believe that... (0+ / 0-)
You need to carry a concealed weapon to be left alone, to go through the day without getting beat up or robbed, you have bigger problems than a gun can solve.

And carrying a gun is the surest way to increase your chances of getting shot. Your family's too.

by xaxnar on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 02:21:21 PM PDT

In hindsight, I think this is where things began to go really pear-shaped. in the middle but all by myself goes on (as you'll see below) to accuse me of pretending to know what other people are thinking and other sins. I'm guessing he either reacted to my response by taking it as a personal attack, or was just simply outraged by my attitude although I didn't realize it right away. (Or it may have been something else. He takes great pains farther down to point out I know nothing about him or what he thinks.)

I wasn't intending a personal attack - I assumed that since he had begun by talking about people who carry in general terms, that's how the discussion was going. My "you" was a rhetorical you, prefaced by an if. The bigger problems I was referring to were not personal problems - I meant that feeling the need to carry a gun is a sign that there is something seriously wrong with the society in which that person lives. I could have been clearer about that, in retrospect - but I don't think it ultimately would have made any difference.

As for the observation that carrying a gun or keeping one around carries an inherent risk, well do I really need to justify that? GunFAIL has chapter and verse on that. But never mind.

two quick points: (0+ / 0-)
"You need to carry a concealed weapon to be left alone, to go through the day without getting beat up or robbed, you have bigger problems than a gun can solve."

No, I have a pretty good track record of avoiding confrontation.  That in no way precludes me from carrying anymore then my spotless driving record precludes me from buying vehicles with as many airbags as possible.

We don't always have 100% control of our environments no matter how hard we try or how lucky we've been so far.

"And carrying a gun is the surest way to increase your chances of getting shot. Your family's too."

Sorry, but thats myth busted here and here and here too.

by in the middle but all by myself on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 05:06:56 PM PDT

I gave it a try:
You miss my points (0+ / 0-)
What you are implying in your comments is that you consider yourself to be living in a society where criminals are to be encountered everywhere, or at least so frequently that you feel the need to carry a gun to be ready at all times to protect yourself when you are out in public. (And doubtless to defend your home as well.)

This is what I mean by the bigger problem - not simply that you feel the need to carry a gun to protect yourself, but that you feel you live in a dysfunctional society. You carrying a gun does nothing to change that society for the better. In fact, it might be ventured that you've tacitly come to accept that society as normal.

As for the second point you took issue with, the studies you link to are hardly unambiguous. (Statistics for gun violence are problematic because of industry and RKBA efforts to keep the issue as confused as possible. As per what happened to N.I.H. and C.D.C. for example.) When I say your odds of you or a family member getting shot are greater, it's an inevitable consequence of being in proximity to a gun as a gun owner and carrier.

If you kept rattlesnakes as pets, your odds of getting snake bit would go up; if you carry dynamite around to blow up stumps, your chances of getting accidentally blown up increase as well.

Accidents happen, people make mistakes and/or do stupid things. If guns are part of your daily routine, your environment, sooner or later the odds will catch up with you.

Did you even read the stories in the links at Josh Marshall's place? Sheesh!

by xaxnar on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 06:00:28 PM PDT

And in response:
I see... (0+ / 0-)
"What you are implying in your comments is that you consider yourself to be living in a society where criminals are to be encountered everywhere, or at least so frequently that you feel the need to carry a gun to be ready at all times to protect yourself when you are out in public. (And doubtless to defend your home as well.)"

Nope.  False assumption...

"This is what I mean by the bigger problem - not simply that you feel the need to carry a gun to protect yourself, but that you feel you live in a dysfunctional society. You carrying a gun does nothing to change that society for the better. In fact, it might be ventured that you've tacitly come to accept that society as normal."

Leads to false assertion.

Either you're projecting, or you simply don't understand other people.  Or their motives.

"When I say your odds of you or a family member getting shot are greater, it's an inevitable consequence of being in proximity to a gun as a gun owner and carrier."

Because you say so, right?

by in the middle but all by myself on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 06:21:10 PM PDT

Well, I suppose it's nice to know my assumption is false and therefore everything that follows from it is false as well. I suppose it would have been nice if in the middle but all by myself had bothered to explain what are the actual facts of the matter from his viewpoint, since that might have led to a better understanding on my part. Who knows? He might have actually come up with some credible motivations, instead of leaving me to blunder along in my ignorance and prejudice. (sarcasm)

And "Because you say so, right?" is absolutely devastating as an argument. Note that at no point does he acknowledge that there is any risk from carrying or owning firearms.

Note that at this point, the debate has switched from being in general terms to distinctly personal. And thus the general point I was trying to make has now been invalidated as well. in the middle but all by myself has succeeded in maneuvering me onto terrain where he holds the advantage. My mistake - I was hoping to have an honest discussion and didn't yet realize what I'd gotten into. I've listened to enough Sean Hannity that I should have recognized that tactic.

My response was less than stellar.

 

Bingo (0+ / 0-)

by xaxnar on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 07:22:50 PM PDT

At this point in the middle but all by myself decides to magnanimously share an insight with me.
so there lies the rub. (1+ / 0-)
Those who are not gun people (because they never had guns in their lives, due to how/where they were raised) can't get their head around the concept of living with guns.

Those who grew up around guns (because they grew up in 'gun' families, lve out in the sticks, whatever) can't get their head around the concept of having an unfamiliarity. uneasyness, or outright fear of an inanimate object.

Naturally the person unfamiliar with guns will want to control the presence of guns their environment, because that's what they're familiar with.  Naturally, they are going to find the people who live with guns working against their goals.

What you may call 'gun safety'  I call prohibition.  What I call gun safety, you might call 'an accident waiting to happen'.

by in the middle but all by myself on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 07:43:25 PM PDT

I can see where that argument has some attraction - it's framed in such a way as to preclude anything from being done about the issue, since it's just the way things are, now and forever, Amen.

It's also pretty damned simplistic and more than a little patronizing.

Again, I'm just guessing here, but it's possible this was intended as a counter to my remarks that in the middle but all by myself found just as simplistic and patronizing. Or, it might have been a simple statement of his beliefs. Or both. Or something else entirely. My response was to try to explain where I'm coming from on this, and what my concerns are.

Glad you've got that all sorted out (0+ / 0-)
Just one thing.

What makes you think I've never been around guns, or had guns in my life? What makes you think I don't own a gun? What gives you the idea I don't know what it's like to live in the sticks? What makes you think my family has never been involved with guns?

I can understand the idea of a gun as a tool, one that needs to be respected and used competently. I can understand the gun as a piece of sporting equipment. I can understand the idea of a gun as a collectible of fine craftsmanship. And I can understand it as a means of self-defense if it comes to that.

My problem is with people who think of guns like a combination security blanket and lucky rabbits foot. My problem is with people who confuse Main Street with Dodge City. My problem is people who think carrying a gun is a sign of authority or moral clarity. My problem is with people who aren't comfortable dealing with the world unless they're armed and dangerous.

Because that's what carrying a gun makes you, whatever else your reasons, rationalizations and fantasies may be. If you can ignore or deny that inescapable consequence of carrying a gun, concealed or not, then maybe it's no wonder you're in the middle but all by yourself.

by xaxnar on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:43:59 PM PDT

In hindsight, I should have understood why in the middle but all by myself was such an expert on recognizing projection, knowing what other people are thinking, and misunderstanding motivations. And also expert at baiting. As per what follows:
just one thing (0+ / 0-)
What makes you think a firearm is a combination  security blanket / lucky rabbits foot? Especially to people who's background you know nothing about?  What makes you think people who carry legally have a wild west mentality?

Or that carrying a gun is somehow makes them an authority/morality figure?  Or that you are somehow morally superior to somebody who is licensed to carry?

My problem is with people who think they know what another is thinking, or who believe that they can caricature another person's beliefs without knowing them.  My problem is with people who carry themselves as some kind of all-knowing, holier/more-liberal-then-thou because they life a different life then others, yet they have all the answers.

Because thats how you come off, whatever else your reasons, rationalizations, and prejudices may be.

by in the middle but all by myself on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:55:55 PM PDT

At this point I've finally realized that this is going nowhere. This has continued in fits and starts over two days; in the middle but all by myself wants to win this more than I do. (And I'm beginning to think I'm in Room 12 with Mr. Barnard.) I decide to fold.
You know... (0+ / 0-)
You're pretty well reduced to plagiarism here. Go play somewhere else, troll.

by xaxnar on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 09:51:18 PM PDT

YES! in the middle but all myself can now declare victory, pick up his marbles and depart the field in glory.

I do know.... (0+ / 0-)

It took all of about 20 seconds there to reflect your argument against itself.  Its not hard to assign somebody a position and traits they don't deserve .  And apparently you can't take what you dish out.

You've digressed to petty name calling, I'm done here. It's apparent you've made up your mind and further conversation is more or less moot.

by in the middle but all by myself on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 05:10:36 AM
PDT

In the face of this masterful example of projection on steroids, the best I can muster is a pathetic whimper a few hours later.
Considering you've nothing new to add, (0+ / 0-)
And no effective counter points, that's just as well.  Good riddance.

by xaxnar on Sat Jul 20, 2013 at 11:11:47 AM PDT

So Why Bother Rehashing This?

   If nothing else, I did get a few things out of this, and I'm trying to make this into a learning experience. The discussion I was trying to have about the larger issues got dragged down to the personal level - and thus the larger points I was trying to make got thrown out. I was trying to explain where I was coming from, and trying to get some honest give-and-take. I try to write in an empathic style, try to imagine how arguments feel from the inside - and the other side. This is the risk that comes with that style - it can get too personal.

I'm willing to change my mind IF someone can come up with convincing arguments and understand where other people are coming from. I need to remember there are those who prefer annihilation to persuasion. I'm not going to back down on this. I have yet to hear a convincing reason for concealed carry that doesn't involve fear of some kind. And I'm not going to take blithe assurances that "I have nothing to fear from someone going about their own business who just wants to be left alone" as anything more than wishful thinking. I know too much about human beings and good intentions.

in the middle but all by myself had a different agenda. He didn't respond to any of the points I was trying to make except to dismiss, deny, and ridicule them. He conceded nothing, and attacked relentlessly once he had gotten me where he wanted me. He knows how he feels about guns, and has no intention of changing his mind on anything, based on what he said.

There are trade-offs here. Want to be left alone? Stay at home. Want to go out in public? Then be prepared to accept that you can't dictate all the terms of that engagement. The personal benefit in the middle but all by myself gets from being able to carry a concealed firearm comes at the cost of the risk of some kind of misadventure to all those around him, and to himself from that same weapon. We have very different evaluations of that cost-benefit ratio, and I'm not convinced by anything he said that it's a price I should pay for his peace of mind.

Interestingly enough, for all his condemnation of my assigning motivations to him and projecting beliefs without having any real understanding of who he is or where he is coming from, he gave away surprisingly little about himself. Never explain, never defend - always attack seemed to be his preferred metier. He put surprisingly little effort into trying to build a positive case for his views.

And yet a little investigation shows he could have brought quite a bit more to this than he did. According to his profile page, he's a member of Kos Right to Keep and Bear Arms group. Skimming through some of the diaries and comments he's posted, I gather he's an Army veteran, an engineer, and a businessman. He is familiar enough with firearms (not surprising given his background and hobbies) that he has no hesitation in considering himself an expert. He didn't choose to share any of that in this thread, beyond his observation that he believes we don't have a gun problem, we have a criminal element problem. (Speaking of criminal elements, it might be useful to take the findings in this article into account in this kind of discussion over the need to be armed.)

What a waste of both our times.

    I mentioned I should have paid more attention to Josh Marshall up top. He got into a similar set-to with a correspondent who took issue with TPM's coverage of this story.

Police say two men openly carried assault rifles in the Portland’s Sellwood area to demonstrate their 2nd amendment rights and “educate the public”.

Steven M. Boyce, of Gresham, and Warren R. Drouin, of Medford, both 22, were spotted by officers about 1:50 p.m. Wednesday near Southeast 7th Avenue and Spokane Street and have concealed handgun licenses, said Sgt. Pete Simpson, a Portland Police Bureau spokesman. They were not arrested because the rifles remained on their backs, he added.

Officers warned the duo that the sight of their rifles would generate 911 calls, but neither man seemed concerned, Simpson said. No shots were fired.

Marshall got quite a bit of blowback from reader "AA" on the TPM take on the story.
Now, even most people who support the idea that basically any law-abiding citizen should be able to get a license to carry around a handgun probably get that this is not a great idea. After all, for other things beside carrying weapons there are disturbing the peace ordinances that give police some ability to intervene if people are doing normally legal things in a way that creates havoc or public disturbances.

But guns, in many cases, seem to have more rights than you or I.

Marshall quotes from some of the exchanges he had with AA at the end of this editorial. From AA:
I can only infer on their motives in this case, and yes there are some idiots who just want attention; but from knowing others who open carry they believe that they must show that there is nothing to fear, to show the community the difference between psychopaths, real or imagined, and normal people who choose to carry. The first time you see something scary, that you may not understand completely, are you less afraid when nothing bad happens? The second time, third time? I believe that is what is meant by ‘educate the public’ and is not meant to be derogatory.
As Marshall finishes (and I'll let him do so here),
I wrote back at more length. But at this point I was already starting to see red. I don’t pretend that AA is representative. But it captured a mentality that does seem pervasive among many more determined gun rights advocates — basically that us non-gun people need to be held down as it were and made to learn that it’s okay being around people carrying loaded weapons.

Well, I don’t want to learn. That doesn’t work where I live — geographically or metaphorically.

So, to the non-crazy gun owners (who I know make up the vast majority of gun owners), I’ve put out my experience and my take. Now I’m ready to talk.

Ditto for those who don't own guns who think you should be heard as well.

UPDATE: I'm including this update down here as well because if you didn't follow the links up above, you really should now after reading your way down here. There are two diaries up at Daily Kos that have some perspective on the whole concealed carry issue. The first is from a person who had a really good reason to need to carry a weapon. The second links to an article which describes what carrying a weapon does to the person lugging it around. They are must-reads on this topic.

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