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Like many of you I am sure, I receive a lot of right-wing diatribes from acquaintances and others who seem determined to convince me of the justice of their cause by insulting my intelligence with their diatribes. I try to respond, as much as I may feel up to it, with reference to known facts and studies where they exist.

The recent slaughter at the school in Connecticut has seemed to, temporarily I fear, have turned their attention from Obama's supposed socialism to waxing apoplectic in opposition to calls for moderate gun controls in the wake of the most recent assault weapon attack on school children. I had a close relationship with the people involved in the assault of the Law firm in San Francisco a few decades back. As a result I have always supported gun control.

I recently received the following e-mail.

In the wake of a monstrous crime like a madman’s mass murder of defenseless women and children at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation’s attention is riveted on what could have been done to prevent such a massacre.
Luckily, some years ago, two famed economists, William Landes at the University of Chicago and John Lott at Yale, conducted a massive study of multiple victim public shootings in the United States between 1977 and 1995 to see how various legal changes affected their frequency and death toll.
Landes and Lott examined many of the very policies being proposed right now in response to the Connecticut massacre: waiting periods and background checks for guns, the death penalty and increased penalties for committing a crime with a gun.
None of these policies had any effect on the frequency of, or carnage from, multiple-victim shootings. (I note that they did not look at reforming our lax mental health laws, presumably because the ACLU is working to keep dangerous nuts on the street in all 50 states.)
Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes: concealed-carry laws.
The effect of concealed-carry laws in deterring mass public shootings was even greater than the impact of such laws on the murder rate generally.
Someone planning to commit a single murder in a concealed-carry state only has to weigh the odds of one person being armed. But a criminal planning to commit murder in a public place has to worry that anyone in the entire area might have a gun.
You will notice that most multiple-victim shootings occur in “gun-free zones” — even within states that have concealed-carry laws: public schools, churches, Sikh temples, post offices, the movie theater where James Holmes committed mass murder, and the Portland, Ore., mall where a nut starting gunning down shoppers a few weeks ago.
Guns were banned in all these places. Mass killers may be crazy, but they’re not stupid.
If the deterrent effect of concealed-carry laws seems surprising to you, that’s because the media hide stories of armed citizens stopping mass shooters. At the Portland shooting, for example, no explanation was given for the amazing fact that the assailant managed to kill only two people in the mall during the busy Christmas season.
It turns out, concealed-carry-holder Nick Meli hadn’t noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone. He pointed his (otherwise legal) gun at the shooter as he paused to reload, and the next shot was the attempted mass murderer killing himself. (Meli aimed, but didn’t shoot, because there were bystanders behind the shooter.)
In a nonsense “study” going around the Internet right now, Mother Jones magazine claims to have produced its own study of all public shootings in the last 30 years and concludes: “In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.”
This will come as a shock to people who know something about the subject.
The magazine reaches its conclusion by simply excluding all cases where an armed civilian stopped the shooter: They looked only at public shootings where four or more people were killed, i.e., the ones where the shooter wasn’t stopped.
If we care about reducing the number of people killed in mass shootings, shouldn’t we pay particular attention to the cases where the aspiring mass murderer was prevented from getting off more than a couple rounds?
It would be like testing the effectiveness of weed killers, but refusing to consider any cases where the weeds died.
In addition to the Portland mall case, here are a few more examples excluded by the Mother Jones methodology:
– Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas, this week: Jesus Manuel Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant; as he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack. Total dead: Zero.
– Winnemucca, Nev., 2008: Ernesto Villagomez opens fire in a crowded restaurant; concealed carry permit-holder shoots him dead. Total dead: Two. (I’m excluding the shooters’ deaths in these examples.)
– Appalachian School of Law, 2002: Crazed immigrant shoots the dean and a professor, then begins shooting students; as he goes for more ammunition, two armed students point their guns at him, allowing a third to tackle him. Total dead: Three.
– Santee, Calif., 2001: Student begins shooting his classmates — as well as the “trained campus supervisor”; an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Total dead: Two.
– Pearl High School, Mississippi, 1997: After shooting several people at his high school, student heads for the junior high school; assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieves a .45 pistol from his car and points it at the gunman’s head, ending the murder spree. Total dead: Two.
– Edinboro, Pa., 1998: A student shoots up a junior high school dance being held at a restaurant; restaurant owner pulls out his shotgun and stops the gunman. Total dead: One.
By contrast, the shootings in gun-free zones invariably result in far higher casualty figures — Sikh temple, Oak Creek, Wis. (six dead); Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. (32 dead); Columbine High School, Columbine, Colo. (12 dead); Amish school, Lancaster County, Pa. (five little girls killed); public school, Craighead County, Ark. (five killed, including four little girls).
All these took place in gun-free zones, resulting in lots of people getting killed — and thereby warranting inclusion in the Mother Jones study.
If what we care about is saving the lives of innocent human beings by reducing the number of mass public shootings and the deaths they cause, only one policy has ever been shown to work: concealed-carry laws. On the other hand, if what we care about is self-indulgent grandstanding, and to hell with dozens of innocent children being murdered in cold blood, try the other policies.
 
I am quite capable of fashioning a response to the seeming absurdity of the usual argument against any gun control, which the above quote implies, that if someone wants to kill someone with a gun they will do so no matter the law and that an emphasis on crime prevention and arming yourself would be better approaches than regulating gun possession.

It seems to me that, since other civilized countries find it not to be the case that people wanting to do harm to others grab guns and do it even in the face of strict gun control laws, that argument implies Americans are a bunch of uncivilized and out of control beasts that should be quarantined by the rest of humanity.

However I would like to prepare a more scholarly factual reply. Unfortunately, after some cursory research, I could only find some lackluster responses to the Landes and Lott study.

Can anyone assist me in gathering the factual and scholarly material for a response.

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Comment Preferences

  •  to begin with (6+ / 0-)

    Americans are free to cross state borders.

    So any gun control law that is not national is effectively irrelevant to the debate, unless the study shows that criminals don't cross state lines.

    Not particularly scholarly, but sometimes commonsense is relevant.

  •  Shooters are better armed and armored (6+ / 0-)

    requiring an arms race.  As mentioned on the front page, the armed policeman at Columbine was outgunned and withdrew to call for backup.  What's required is tanks and sniper rifles to overpower these shooters.

    It sounds like his examples are people who just grabbed a gun and went off like firecrackers but hopefully someone will followup on those cases if they really exist.

  •  asdf (19+ / 0-)

    As it happens, I found myself responding to this yesterday on facebook where it was presented as a shared post, no mention of a chain email.  The original post began with "You will notice . . ."  I did some research and found out some information that the author of this email did not include.  Far from the author's contention that these were cases of 'citizens' stopping 'aspiring mass murderers', most involved law enforcement/military professionals.  

    San Antonio - the shooter was stopped by an off-duty law-enforcement professional, as acknowledged by the author.

    Winnemucca - the shooter was after specific members of a rival family, not the crowd.  The person who shot the shooter was a civilian.  He did get the bad guy.  I'm sure he got blown for days because of it, but he didn't stop a mass shooting like the author claims.

    Law School - the shooter had apparently used all 16 rounds of ammo he brought, then raised his hands, at which point he was tackled. The police officer/former Marine who actually subdued the shooter says that the two armed off-duty police arrived after the shooter was down.

    Santee - the shooter was stopped by an off-duty law-enforcement professional, as acknowledged by the author.

    Pearl High - Myrick, described in the original post as 'assistant principal', was a Commander in the US Army Reserve.

    Edinboro - Shooter had already run out of bullets for his .25 and was reloading when confronted by the restaurant owner with a shotgun.  Imagine this same story with an assault weapon with 30-round magazines.

    I don't think many people have been pushing for a law that would prevent off duty military/law-enforcement professionals from having weapons off-duty.  I don't think many people have been pushing for a law that would prevent property owners from having a gun on their property.  

    What none of these examples show are 'mass shootings' being stopped by anything resembling a 'civilian' who just happened to be there and was carrying.  

    So what about the Portland mall case?  First, the concealed carrier (Meli) is an aspiring police officer and a licensed security professional.  Second, his version of the story is that he drew his gun, aimed at the shooter while the shooter was messing with his own weapon, including smacking it on the side.  Meli decides he has no shot and hides in a nearby store.  Then the shooter killed himself.

    Why does the author make it seem like the two are in a stand off when the shooter kills himself?  According to Meli himself, he had already broken off and hidden before that happened.  Why does the author obscure the motives in Winnemucca?  Why does the author hide the professions of the 'citizens' involved in the law school and Pearl High cases?

    Obviously, the author doesn't know the basic facts of these cases that took me 15 minutes of Google work to gather, or the author is deliberately trying to mislead the reader.  In zero percent of these cases was a mass shooting stopped because some random citizen was armed.  One was a double homicide, not a mass shooting.  Five involved people whose career involves being well trained in the use of firearms and being well trained in handling violent situations.  The last one involved a  property owner using a gun to protect their own property.

    You could forbid concealed carry for all citizens who do not handle firearms as part of their profession and the only one of these cases that would change is Winnemucca, where the motive was personal vendetta, not mass killings.  A simple truth that the author seems to take great pains to hide, perhaps because it's the exact opposite of the argument they are trying to make.

    No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful. Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful.

    by Kid Zemo on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 03:54:43 AM PST

    •  Now *that's* a beefy comment. Thanks. /nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mumtaznepal, Kid Zemo, Smoh




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:02:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes - it seems clear that (9+ / 0-)

      the author was editing/shaping details to support his argument. I'd love to hear what his response would be to your detailed analysis.

      Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

      by Miniaussiefan on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:49:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles, Sylv, Smoh, Bob Friend

        In my experience, conservatives tend to simply shift to a new argument when you poke holes in the one they just made.  That certainly happened with my facebook friend who shared the 'original' post.  After I pointed out the professions of those involved in these cases, he said:

        "Of the 6 cases cited, 6 were prevented from higher mortality rates by citizens in a non-official capacity who used their firearms to prevent further bloodshed. The fact that 5 involved in the stated cases were military/law-enforcement (who more often than not carry when not in their military/law-enforcement roles) leads me to believe that if MORE non-military/law-enforcement related citizens had legal carry permits then incidents such as those stated would be more likely to be prevented or curtailed or even deterred. "

        I did not point out that an off-duty police officer who responds to an incident IS working in official capacity.  Seemed like nitpicking.  When I pointed out that he was wrong, because in at least one case, the shooter had stopped before being subdued, he said:

        "and so nobody should ever be armed to prevent any other shootings then..."

        See how the argument shifts?  Where is the recognition that the original post was full of shit?   Nowhere, of course.  A few more exchanges later and:

        "In arguing that because they were of military or law-enforcement background you make it sound as if they were not citizens acting in their own capacity and not in a military or law-enforcement capacity. The fact that they DO have military and law-enforcement backgrounds lends credence to my belief that a citizen, acting as a citizen in a non-official capacity, would be better equipped to prevent or curtail such a tragic incidence as in these cases if they were well-trained and in posession of a firearm when faced with such an incident. Are you proposing that we do as Israel and compel all young people into military service so that we have a well-trained and equipped citizenry?"

        Why did we get here from where we started?  Because I pointed out that he was wrong.  I took the opportunity to mention that more than a quarter of those eligible for Israel's draft receive exemptions (I happen to be pretty well-versed in mid-east affairs, and have had that conversation before so I knew the stats) so no, Israel does not compel all young people to military service, not even close.  He shut up.

        Later, one of his other facebook friends came along with this gem:  "Liberals will always try to find reasons to be right. They absolutely hate the thought that their ideals are wrong for any reason as that may make them questions other things that they believe. It is like arguing with a selfish child about sharing his candy."

        LOL, project much?

        No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful. Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful.

        by Kid Zemo on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:12:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, good try anyway. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kid Zemo, Sylv, Smoh

          Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

          by Miniaussiefan on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:45:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's one of the many problems I have with (0+ / 0-)

          gunnys.  They like nothing better than nitpicking and we try avoid those petty rises.  One thing for sure, I will no longer allow RKBA to dictate vocabulary and semantics!

          Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

          by Smoh on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:14:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Duh huh wha? (0+ / 0-)
          "In arguing that because they were of military or law-enforcement background you make it sound as if they were not citizens acting in their own capacity and not in a military or law-enforcement capacity. The fact that they DO have military and law-enforcement backgrounds lends credence to my belief that a citizen, acting as a citizen in a non-official capacity, would be better equipped to prevent or curtail such a tragic incidence as in these cases if they were well-trained and in posession of a firearm when faced with such an incident. Are you proposing that we do as Israel and compel all young people into military service so that we have a well-trained and equipped citizenry?"
          Wow. Those goal posts may have exceeded the speed of light. Alert the physicists!

          Um... wonder if the poster is capable of ever realizing that they just made the argument for strict regulation?

          That is, licensing of owners. Mandate training, safety classes, testing at ranges, the works. Real background checks. Regular renewals. Such things.

          (Which, by the way, as a gun owner who isn't a crazy person, I think we should do. I don't believe handing a deadly weapon to an untrained individual is doing anybody any favors. Certainly not them. They're more like to shoot themselves or a family member or not safe guard the weapon properly and end up with a dead child.)

          I'd go for the "well trained" argument. But it would mean a lot of people would not qualify to own a gun. I don't think that's what the poster actually wants.

          (Not that the modern "conservatives" ever think anything through. Wait, I can tighten that sentence up. "Not that modern 'conservatives' think." There, that's better.)

          Giving tax payer money to subsidize banks and Wallstreet: capitalism. Giving tax payer money to provide health care for the payers of the taxes: socialism.

          by mkbilbo on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:38:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Kid Zemo (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kharma, FloridaSNMOM, Kid Zemo, Miggles, Smoh

      Great Comment Thank you. May I use it to respond to my correspondent?

      •  Yes, of course. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles, Sylv, Smoh

        I recommend sending it to everyone they sent the email to, if they weren't clever enough to use BCC

        I'd also mention the John Lott stuff from further down.  I wish I knew that part of it when I had this exchange on Thursday.  Like I said, the post was a shortened version of this email and all mention of Lott had been removed.

        No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful. Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful.

        by Kid Zemo on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:16:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks Kid Zemo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kid Zemo, Smoh
    •  Excellent post... (0+ / 0-)

      Guns are, after all, inanimate objects. They're tools. Handing me a scalpel won't make me a surgeon will it? Picking up hammer doesn't turn me into a carpenter does it?

      Handing someone a gun does not magically confer skill on them.

      Now, I own a handgun. But I took training and practiced at the range at my own expense. I know about where my skill level is and where my limits are. I would not "carry". I've only considered a carry license so I could legally put the range bag in the cab of the pickup instead of the bed. I bought quality. It ain't a cheap gun. I still don't have a CHL (the carry thing in my state). I don't see getting one any time soon even just for being legally able to carry the range bag in the cab.

      These right wingers who yap about their hero fantasies... I'm not sure they even know what a gun is. I told one online I doubted he'd ever picked one up in his life and he was fantasizing about being Clint Eastwood or some damn thing. The things he was posting were... stupid.

      Part of training for a carry is knowing when not to draw. And it's a decision that has to be made under severe stress in a chaotic situation and even for our cops with training, it's not an easy one.

      I started going after people after that theater shooting. The things being said were just loony. Theaters are, oh you know, dark? And people were running, panicking, I'm sure screaming in fear. Chaos everywhere. Adrenaline going to beat the band. How the hell do you get a good aim in that kind of situation?

      I'm not sure these loons who think "more guns are the answer to everything" even have one. Or have ever shot one. I'm quite sure they don't have clue one about handling a gun intelligently, sanely, and responsibly.

      In short, they probably shouldn't be allowed a gun. Of any kind. If they want "hero fantasies", go play video games or something.

      Arming more untrained people means more deaths. End. Of. Story.

      Whatever happened to that "rights carry responsibilities" and that "personal responsibility" thing the right wing used to talk so much about?

      Giving tax payer money to subsidize banks and Wallstreet: capitalism. Giving tax payer money to provide health care for the payers of the taxes: socialism.

      by mkbilbo on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:26:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guns like the AR-15 shouldn't be (4+ / 0-)

    necessary in the first place. They're figuratively, and literally, overkill. It's the lunatic walking around with one of these things drawn and loaded, capable of unleashing a torrent of bullets, that's the problem.

    What do these concealed carry commandos think they're going to achieve that a SWAT team cannot? Being on location at the time?

    This isn't a problem you solve by throwing more of the problem at the problem. You remove the the access to the problem-causing element.

    Not that any of the above rant qualifies for use in your request, but this really is a no-brainer.

    It sounds to me like the person you would be replying to really isn't interested in having his/her mind changed to a completely opposite view.




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 03:56:12 AM PST

  •  "Control" is highly overrated. Mostly, controlling (5+ / 0-)

    the environment seems to appeal to people who have no self-control, as well as to insecure people, who are convinced that regular is always better than random. As a result, we have a host of controls:

    drug control
    pollution control
    population control
    access control
    climate control
    animal control
    environmental control
    inventory control

    When you come right down to it, control and patrol have about the same effect -- lots of data collection and no reduction of negatives. Which might well be expected, since collection has its own impulse. The more collectors collect, the more they want to collect. I think it's called perseverence.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:03:12 AM PST

  •  Biased "findings" (7+ / 0-)

    Landes and Lott have obviously cherry-picked the "results" they wanted. I always find it interesting to check who funded the study. Was there a vested interest in their "findings"?

    The question I have for these two "scholars" is how many cases did they turn a blind eye to where a significant number of people were killed in locations that were NOT gun-free zones? Sure, they mentioned a few, but only those that supported their intended conclusion. They seem to be overly biased in what they want to report and not take into consideration any number of cases that could significantly oppose their intended outcome. Gun-free zone or not, the first to shoot always has the advantage when it comes to killing people. Take away that advantage (i.e. easy access to guns) and bingo! Problem solved.

    The point about other countries not having a problem of gun-related homicide rates is well taken. It's fun to watch gun advocates hyperventilate when that fact is thrown at them. As far as I know, no other country in the world averages 34 deaths per day via gunshot wounds.

    Yes, wouldn't it be great if mental health care in this country were as easily accessible as, say, guns?

  •  If you see "John Lott" (10+ / 0-)

    you know BS will follow. He hasn't been at Yale for years. Nor would they have him now. Go HERE. He's a completely discredited propagandist. Period.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:05:15 AM PST

  •  Here's some info on John Lott (8+ / 0-)

    You can bomb the world to pieces but you can't bomb it into peace - michael franti

    by FarmerG on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:07:08 AM PST

  •  here's some stuff (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, Miggles, Sylv

    about the effects of gun control laws during the Clinton administration.

    You will probably want to find an independent link for these stats so that the FB idiot doesn't argue about bias, but that should be easy enough to do.

    Common-Sense Gun Safety Laws: the Brady Act and the Assault Weapons Ban
    THEN:     Gun violence reaches record levels.
    Gun violence reached its highest point in 20 years; a record 565,000 Americans were victims of gun crime in 1992. Murders by juveniles increased by 65 percent between 1987 and 1993, reaching the highest level ever in 1993. In 1992, an average of nearly 15 children every day were killed by firearms through violence, accidents or suicides.
    NOW:     Common sense gun safety laws bring down gun crime by 40 percent.
    President Clinton fought the gun lobby and won common sense gun safety laws including the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, overall gun crime has declined 40 percent, and firearms related homicides committed by juveniles have dropped by nearly 50 percent. There were 227,000 fewer gun crimes in 1999 than 1992, and 1,246 fewer children were killed by guns than in 1992.

        Background checks performed under the Brady Law have prevented more than 611,000 felons, fugitives and domestic abusers from buying a gun.
        The Assault Weapons Ban, passed as part of the 1994 Crime Bill, banned the manufacture, sale and importation of 19 of the deadliest assault weapons.
        The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked with state and local governments to increase prosecution of gun crime. Since 1992, the number of federal firearms cases has increased 16 percent, and as a result of this Administration’s unprecedented partnership with states and localities, overall gun prosecutions - federal, state, and local combined — are up 22 percent. In addition, federal gun offenders are serving sentences that are about two years longer than in 1992 and the number of serious gun offenders sent to federal prison for more than five years is up more than 41 percent.
        Clinton-Gore Administration U.S. Attorneys in Richmond (Project Exile) and Boston (Operation Ceasefire) were instrumental in innovative efforts to crack down on armed drug traffickers, violent criminals, gang members and violent youth which has helped to reduce crime in these cities. The Clinton-Gore Administration has also implemented a comprehensive crime gun tracing initiative — the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative — in 38 cities to trace crime guns and identify and arrest illegal gun traffickers.
        Finally, to combat violence in schools, the Clinton-Gore Administration enacted the Gun Free Schools Act, which requires schools to adopt zero-tolerance policies toward guns in schools and expel students bringing firearms to school. Over the 1996-98 school years, nearly 10,000 students were expelled from public schools for bringing a firearm to school.

  •  The impetus behind these stories is to say... (4+ / 0-)

    essentially that if someone else has a gun (of any kind) and wants to do you harm, and you don't, you're screwed.  And, unfortunately, that's pretty much true...unless someone comes along to help...with his / her gun.  

    Unless all guns are banned, and that's not likely to happen, a large number of people in America are therefore going to arm themselves.  The NRA has pushed this scenario for years.  And, stories like those above are frequently published in the news...where someone saved themself or others because they were armed.  

    I can't speak to the study, but hardly a week goes by in my home town when someone isn't killed / raped / robbed.  Not always, but usually, it appears the victim knew he/she was being stalked/set-up and was helpless to do much except scream or run...and there wasn't time to call 911.   That's a strong impetus to say "that's not going to happen to me" and arm oneself.  And, I can say from personal experience...it has worked for me and others I know.  

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:27:36 AM PST

    •  that's why we need effective gun control laws (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Persiflage, Miggles

      Left to themselves, people will reach a terrible Nash equilibrium in which most people are armed and everyone is in more danger as a result.

      It's the same principle behind the tragedy of the commons.

      •  Well, there you are.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tom Seaview, happy camper, 43north

        if you can't stop crime, you can't stop people from wanting / needing to protect themselves.  If you can't keep guns out of the hands of criminals, law abiding people aren't going to let their guns go either.  Reality sets in....  

        The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

        by Persiflage on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:13:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  except that you CAN keep guns away from criminals (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Miggles

          But it takes national laws and a desire to stop sacrificing children on the alter of the NRA.

          Not easy, but absolutely doable.

          •  I should have said... (0+ / 0-)

            can't or won't....

            But, you know, all this is going to likely remain just another heated moment of national outrage because the assholes in Washington won't do anything.   If they'll screw 400 million people with their bullshit on taxes, they'll find a way to turn their heads on this.

            The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

            by Persiflage on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:54:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think this time is different (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Miggles, Persiflage

              I don't know why -- maybe the proximity to Christmas, or the fact that the guns were legal and the killer's mother had them for the express reason of protecting herself, or the outrageous response from the NRA, the current dysfunction of the Republican Party, the fact that they've been exposed as accomplished and deliberate bullshitters about cigarettes and climate change, or some combination of all that.

              It just seems different.  The NRA has become political poison.  Republicans are fighting with each other.   The media are openly appalled at their callousness.

              It's just different.

  •  We have to refocus the discussion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miggles, Sylv

    from "gun control" to "assault weapons" control. We don't want to take away your deer rifle, or duck shotgun, or handgun to protect your family from intruders, or handgun carried by a jeweler or small store owner making a weekly bank deposit.

    But we do want to outlaw assault weapons and extended bullet clips. We also want 100% background checks on anyone buying a gun with very stiff penalties for selling a gun illegally without a background check.

    No civilian needs an assault weapon or extended bullet clip. Don't apologize for this stance.

    the Republican brand is totally bankrupt.

    by vlyons on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:36:46 AM PST

    •  vlyons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miggles

      You should not apologize. Portions of the issue are more complicated than others. Assault weapons bans and greater regulation of the sale of guns as well as increased liability for gun dealers who do not adequately follow the regulations and the gun is used in a crime would be good places to start.

  •  "Australia" is best single word answer. (6+ / 0-)

    The assertion that concealed carry reduces the crime rate is dubious at best, with limited low quality evidence to support it. There is lots more evidence to the contrary, but the NRA and its Congressional toadies have blocked any further data collection here in the U.S.

    However, the best pre/post intervention test to date is the case of Australia. In 1996 a maniac with two semi-automatic rifles murdered 35 people. Australia promptly and sharply limited public access to semiautomatic rifles and handguns. They have had no mass murder events since (other than an intentional fire), and both suicide and murder rates dropped sharply.

    Banning civilian personal ownership of these lethal military weapons works. It ends mass murder events. It saves lives.

    So, naturally, we won't do it here, to avoid ruffling the feathers of our gun nut contingent.

  •  I'd have to research it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miggles, Sylv

    and I don't have time to do that today. But I would be willing to bet that none of your 'friend's' examples were using an assault rifle. I would be willing to bet that those situations worked they way they did because they were not using an AR-15 or Bushmaster with a high capacity clip. They likely also weren't wearing body armor.

    In those conditions yes, it is possible for someone with training (like an off duty cop) with a gun to stop a shooting before it becomes a complete massacre. Can you imagine an officer trying to stop the shooting in Aurora or in CT like that? Even if one had had the luck to be in the right place at the right time?

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:12:27 AM PST

  •  Just so you know (8+ / 0-)

    the author of that "email" is Ann Coulter. It's a syndicated column that appeared in my local newspaper today. You're reproduced it in its entirety, and this violates FAQ, unfortunately.....which in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I believe you have done unknowingly.

  •  Without trying to insult anyone (4+ / 0-)

    I know 5 people who have concealed carry where I live. This is a very rural area where violent crime is all most nonexistent. Of the 5,  3 should not even have a gun at all based on how they acted and talk. These 3 carry a gun at all times and if asked will  tell about how they will shoot anyone who comes for their guns or anyone they find on there property with at least according to them no questions asked shoot first . The other 2 never carry a gun and don't talk nonsense.  Of the 3 who at least I think are not right one of them a few years ago had pulled his gun out and was going to shoot a 16 year old kid for the crime of following him to close in a car.  another one has pulled a gun on his wife several times and yet they still have a license to carry WHY?  So as far as I can see a lot of people who carry probably should not! Now I have nothing against people owning guns for hunting, I hunted myself at one time before deciding that taking a life for entertainment was wrong and that is how I feel. I do not attempt to use the force of law to impose my feeling on others unlike the pro life people. It is just how I feel thanks in no small part to my wifes dog  and all the dogs we have had since then animal deserves better from us. Since high capacities magazine and assault rifle have  no legal role for hunting people don't have a real need for them and once again I know people who have them and to hear them talk it some times makes my blood run cold to think people who believe as they do have that much killing power. Maybe it just where I live but I think people like this are the same all over! And yes the people who I think are not right I stay away from as much as possible.

  •  A few comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    1.  Note the lack of a complete reference to any study, including its date, title, and place of publication. Without those, your correspondent has not provided you the opportunity to verify any of his or her claims, so they may be safely disregarded. If the broad and expansive conclusions he or she purports are actually substantiated by the document, why not provide a complete reference so you can see for yourself?

    2.  I can only comment from knowledge on one of these cases: the recent mall incident in Portland. The note reads:

    At the Portland shooting, for example, no explanation was given for the amazing fact that the assailant managed to kill only two people in the mall during the busy Christmas season.
    It turns out, concealed-carry-holder Nick Meli hadn’t noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone. He pointed his (otherwise legal) gun at the shooter as he paused to reload, and the next shot was the attempted mass murderer killing himself. (Meli aimed, but didn’t shoot, because there were bystanders behind the shooter.)
    The lies come thick and fast.  Let's deconstruct:
    no explanation was given for the amazing fact that the assailant managed to kill only two people in the mall during the busy Christmas season.
    The most complete news report of the sequence of events is in the local paper, The Oregonian.

    What we can surmise is this:

    1.  The shooter was using a stolen, unfamiliar weapon

    2.  The shooter shot many, many times, but only hit three people, at least one evidently at random. Not surprising as he was wearing a mask, was using a stolen gun, and was not a highly-practiced shooter.

    3.. The shooter, using an unfamiliar weapon, had trouble realoading it, dropping one or more full magazines. Most reports, as noted in the linked article, indicate the weapon jammed.

    4.  The police arrived one minute after receiving the first 911 call.  And, unlike with past mass shooter incidents, immediately entered the mall rather than wait for SWAT teams to arrive, as they had been trained specifically to do.

    So, instead of "no explanation was given" we have an inexperienced shooter using an unfamiliar weapon, who dropped "several fully loaded magazines on the floor" according to police, and who very possibly heard police sirens arrive at 15:30 approximately 5 minutes after he himself had parked in the parking lot (at "about" 15:25), and within only a couple of minutes of when he initiated firing, since he had to walk across the lot to Macy's, and walk through the entire length of the Macy's store to get to the mall interior where he began firing.

    I think a reasonable person would conclude that there might, just possibly, be an explanation if one's eyes and mind were open.

    Your correspondent then goes on to state:

    It turns out, concealed-carry-holder Nick Meli hadn’t noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone.
    What a curious statement. Mr. Meli is a young (22 y.o.) man with a concealed carry permit who claims to have seen the shooter during the spree. I rather doubt that Mr. Meli "hadn't noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone."  Why?  Well, because Mr. Meli has been a security guard at the mall for the past 6 months, working through contractor Valor Security Services. A reasonable person might think the chances that he "hadn't noticed that the mall was a gun-free zone" are rather small, if not negligible. It was, after all, his job.

    We then have this:

    He pointed his (otherwise legal) gun at the shooter as he paused to reload, and the next shot was the attempted mass murderer killing himself. (Meli aimed, but didn’t shoot, because there were bystanders behind the shooter.)
    Several points:

    1.  Mr. Meli's story has been published without corroborating evidence, as admitted by the reporter for The Oregonian in the paper's comment session:

    Ben
    Ms. Terry -- were you able to find any independent evidence that substantiates Mr. Meli's claim? It seems a bit like braggadocio to me. What's to stop anyone from making similar claims to get a bit of publicity or to push their agenda?

    Lynne Terry, The Oregonian
    He was not pushing his agenda with The Oregonian. He did not want to talk about it. And yes, we are trying to independently verify his account.

    To my knowledge, no such independent verification has been found.

    Commentators on the article note Mr. Meli's young age, the lack of independent corroboration, and the possibility that a bit of braggadocio or hero fantasy might have something to do with his version of events. Regardless, the dramatic description of events your correspondent provides ("...and the next shot was the attempted mass murderer killing himself") is a bit, well, incomplete.  No one has claimed to have seen the shooter kill himself, because unlike what is implied in your correspondent's breathless description, the shooter moved to a stairwell and then entered a service corridor in the mall, where he evidently shot himself. Again, due to the extraordinarily prompt response by law enforcement, this very likely would be after police had begun arriving with their sirens wailing and had immediately entered the mall.

    Mr. Meli is an interesting case. As noted in the response from The Oregonian's reporter quoted above, when talking to objective reporters who are generally known to try to challenge statements and verify facts, Mr. Miel "did not want to talk about it."

    But his reticence to talk was not universal.  You see, when he was in the company of fellow travelers, the gun-loving subculture, why, Mr. Meli is a bit of a songbird.  

    The purveyors of the so-called "Easy Bake Gun Club" (that's their website here, with the "Will you Let Obama Take Your Guns?" header, so you know they're objective) contacted Mr. Meli and -- unlike with The Oregonian -- he was quite willing to "talk about it."

    The "real" story, according to our crack reporters at the "Easy Bake Gun Club" is much more interesting, with "locked eyes" and "taking cover while keeping in view."  Why, Mr. Meli, that cool-as-a-cucumber-concealed-carry hero,  is even a bit of a cultural anthropologist, as he reports that "No, he [the shooter] was not white, he was Hispanic (Nick noticed that from a small gap of neck that was uncovered between the shirt and mask)."

    Well done, Mr. Meli.  Well done indeed.  

    And guess what?  the crack reporters at the "Easy Bake Gun Club"  even found someone to corroborate Mr. Meli's brave story.  Why, it's his girlfriend, Ashley:

    No recognition is exactly what Nick would like. He has eschewed interviews and plans to continue doing so simply because he did what he felt he had to. [note: except for this one, of course] Nick doesn't feel he is a hero so Ashley gets the final word:

    "What Nick did and the actions he took saved lives. Whether he shot or not, he changed the situation and he is the reason nobody else was shot"

    Now, maybe I'm old and a bit too cynical, but I find this situation surrounding Mr. Meli's story a bit less than convincing. But you can guarantee that, as it gets passed down from one eager ear to another, his story will continue to metamorphose into yet a grander and grander example of the LaPierrism that postulates "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

    Given the weakness of that example and the lack of a reference, I would toss your correspondent's missive into the trash can where it belongs.  

  •  No. (0+ / 0-)

    Responding to right-wing emails or Facebook postings is a complete waste of time. You will never, ever convince any of them of anything, especially through the use of logical argument. The only chance you have is to assert that Jesus appeared to tell you that gun policies need to change, and that He said it is the Devil that wants AR-15s. You'd probably pull a couple over to our side with that one; that's your only hope.

  •  If people armed with deadly guns make us safer, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Colossus, Miggles

    how come Nancy Lanza is dead?

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:28:06 AM PST

  •  Factual and scholarly material is (0+ / 0-)

    unavailable.  The NRA and lawmakers have made sure of that.  ATF has very pertinent statistics which they prohibited by law to share.  Funding for research has been withheld.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:43:27 AM PST

  •  Look at shootings on military bases (0+ / 0-)

    These are places where everyone is armed, everyone is trained, and yet mass murders occur there.  Ft. Hood is a case in point, where 13 were killed and 29 wounded in the middle of a well-armed army base.  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Camp Liberty is another such case:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Ft. Bragg:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/....

    In most of the modern cases, the gunman kills himself and is not killed by law enforcement or anyone else: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    •  You are promoting a lie.... (5+ / 0-)

      and I respectfully ask you to stop doing so over the bodies of my dead comrades.

      places where everyone is armed
      Not even close to true, which you'd know if you knew anything about the military.
      everyone is trained
      Also untrue.  Unless your job is direct combat, you generally get a qualifying day every year or two, much less frequently in some jobs.  It's getting to the point where most military members only qualify just before deploying.  And it's generally less than a full-day course.

      And even if the latter assertion were true, it wouldn't mean squat due to the first assertion being true.  All the firearms training in the world does nothing if one has no access to a firearm.

      •  Explain how and why there aren't guns "everywhere" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PavePusher, gerrilea, Otteray Scribe

        I mean after all it's the Army, and we see photos and video of soldiers with guns all the time.

        With sufficient forethought and planning what could go wrong?

        •  Perhaps I should have specified (for the unwashed) (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea, Otteray Scribe, 43north

          that military members are unarmed on non-combat-zone bases, i.e. U.S. bases, Europe, Kuwait, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Japan, Korea, etc.  

          In fact, all too many are not armed on combat-zone bases.  

          Oh, and a correction for a typo:

          And even if the latter assertion were true, it wouldn't mean squat due to the first assertion being not true.
      •  Pave (0+ / 0-)

        Thank you. Good comment.

        One point I am unclear about from your comment. Are you saying that at these non combat bases, most military personnel are not permitted to carry weapons, especially concealed ones?

        If true, it would seem to me that the military understands the issue better than the NRA and gun right's advocates do.

        •  In non-combat zones, military personnel are not... (0+ / 0-)

          given issued weapons (unless required by duty position, very rare) or allowed to carry private firearms on base.  This despite the fact that a much higher proportion of military people seem to have carry permits and carry off-base than the civilian population.  And I have not heard of any problems.

          From my perspective of 22+ years of USAF service, this is more due to the curretn military "zero risk, zero service record blemishes" promotion-at-all-costs policies, and refusal to actually provide weapons training to the military, than any other reason.  

          So service members go out and get the training on their own dime, and aren't a problem.  

          And respectfully, getting 13 people killed and many wounded by having them defenseless (Ft. Hood) seems to me to demonstrate a complete failure to understand anything about security and safety and concern for people.

  •  Lott's "study" is junk science (0+ / 0-)

    "Lott and Mustard were comparing trends in Idaho and West Virginia and Mississippi with trends in Washington, D.C. and New York City. What actually happened was that there was an explosion of crack-related homicides in major eastern cities in the 1980s and early 1990s. Lott's whole argument came down to a claim that the largely rural and western "shall issue" states were spared the crack-related homicide epidemic because of their "shall issue" laws. This would never have been taken seriously if it had not been obscured by a maze of equations."

    http://crab.rutgers.edu/...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

  •  As a gun owner... no, bear with me now... (0+ / 0-)

    First, start with things like this in the author's own email:

    "...an armed off-duty cop..."

    "...an off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school..."

    That was a big part of the MJ article the author of the email sneers at. How many times these stories of armed citizens are actually about armed off duty police, military, and such. Trained individuals. Not yahoos with penis substitutes and hero fantasies.

    I don't know about the other cases and, frankly, I'm too tired today to do much digging (have an elderly mom, yesterday was a busy one helping her out, I'm a gonna be lazy today :) ).

    Yes, I have a handgun. Yes, I believe in individual ownership. Yes, I also believe the NRA is a gun manufacturer lobby machine and is total scum and the system is badly broken.

    Handing guns to untrained people is NOT doing them nor anybody else any favors. I can tell you I'm a very good shot (and that's not my opinion, that's the opinion of the guy at the range that works with city cops). But would I carry?

    No.

    Not without a lot more training and practice. The decision to draw is not like in the movies. It's fraught with risk. Risk to innocent bystanders and absolutely risk to the guy who draws. You draw, you become Target Number One. You are more likely to end up dead before you get a good aim on the shooter.

    And what if the nutcase is wearing body armor? Those "one shot between the eyes" is a movie thing. Not the real world. You're talking about trying to get a good aim in the midst of panic, chaos, with your adrenaline going to beat sixty. And the one at the theater? Colorado was it? They're starting to blur together we've had so many lately. You're also talking being in the dark.

    No sane gun owner who does have a carry license (and there's a lot of us out here, millions even, who are sane) would take that kind of risk. I know I'm good at the range. I believe if I had a home intrusion and the person meant me serious harm, I'll stop them. But a massacre situation? All the yelling, screaming, panicked running... no way. I'd be on the floor. Trying to make myself as little a target as possible. I am damn well aware I do not have the training nor skill nor experience to handle that situation.

    Maybe if I were to take cop level training. Maybe. It'd still be a risky decision. And one in which you better be damn sure you get the guy in the first shot or two. Else, you're gonna die.

    The author of that email is being disingenuous. The argument MJ was making is that the successful ending of shootings by armed individuals involved trained individuals. Now maybe they missed some and maybe it's not that it's "never happened" that an ordinary citizen has stopped a massacre. But they are far more right than wrong and the email author is far more wrong that right.

    If anything, the author's own email argues for mandatory training. Which I strongly support. I believe in licensing gun owners. Mandated safety courses, mandated general training on handling a gun, testing at certified ranges, such things. And no buying guns nor ammo without the license.

    I will argue, and keep in mind as a gun owner, that this is not a violation of the 2nd. If anything, it would be in line with the 2nd. The founders did not mean untrained civilians running amok with guns. That's why that "well regulated militia" part is in there.

    At the time, the "militia" was the citizenry as a whole (albeit, in those days, that meant white males only but that was then, this is now). Yes, times have changed a great deal. But there is also the "the people" which implies an individual right.

    My "take" from reading actual source documents is that the founders believed the 2nd meant the Congress had the power and duty to ensure the public was trained and disciplined. Not yahoos with hero fantasies.

    Frankly, the extremists who strut around acting as if they represent all gun owners scare me. They're idiots. They shouldn't have guns. I doubt they have a clue about actual safety and use of one.

    I'm tired of lunatics and the NRA running the "debate". That's got to stop. Surveys show the two "sides" of this issue have more in common than they seem to realize.

    Such as, I want assault weapons banned. Yesterday if not sooner. I have not once seen a sane argument for individual ownership of military grade hardware. It's always "preppers" and conspiracy nuts and "Obama's a Moose Limb Commie Kenyan" whack jobs.

    Assault weapons are not defensive. They are offensive. They are designed to kill en masse and fast. They're not for hunting and they're damn sure not for home defense. And the people who want them are kooks.

    I do not believe we have reached a point where a gunless society is possible. It's still a dangerous world. But the system we have now is insanity. Handing out guns like party favors to untrained people is detrimental to them, their families, their neighbors. It's not a "right", it's a cruelty. The untrained are more likely to injure or kill themselves, a family member, a friend, or have the gun taken from them and used against them. That's not right. In either sense of the word.

    I want licensing. If you're not willing to go through training and testing to learn and prove you learned what a gun is (hint: not a toy) and how to handle one properly, you're safer not having one.

    The current system is flat irresponsible and driven purely by nutcases and gun manufacturers who don't give a damn how many people die long as they make a profit. And that's who took over the NRA. I was actually a member once. I quit. They don't represent me. Nor most of their own members. Nor any sane gun owner in this country. They represent corporations. They're just another corporate lobbyist machine.

    Survey after survey after survey shows that gun owners and gun control advocates agree on far more things than groups like the NRA want any of us to discover. There are terrible, stupid, insane gaps and holes in our current system most all of us want dealt with. There's a ton of "low hanging fruit" as Rachel Maddow put it recently.

    Yeah, there are some disagreements and quibbles in there. But we could get a hell of a long way to dealing with this problem if we start with the common ground. Of which there is a great deal.

    I've been on a real tear about this one lately. As a responsible, sane, law abiding gun owner, I have had ENOUGH. The inmates are running the asylum and I'm tired of it. Most of my friends are gun control advocates and, no, they're not planning on bringing in the UN black helicopters to confiscate all the guns and shove us in FEMA camps. We agree on all kinds of things that could be done without the slightest "infringement" on anybody's rights.

    Like that "gun show loophole"? What the hell is that? Most of us run around with computers connected to a global network and call them "phones". We can't run background checks at a gun show? What? They never heard of the iPad maybe? Gimme a break.

    We damn well can do secure database systems that protect privacy. That would just hurt gun manufacturer profits. So what systems we have are lax and poorly implemented and are basically a joke.

    It's all crap. That's one reason I say it's time to license gun owners. I'll be happy to carry a license. I don't see that as a "violation" of my rights. It would mean I've done the responsible thing and taken the classes and training and proved I'm not a nutcase.

    What to do with that email? I have no idea. The extremists left reality ages ago. But truth is, they are a tiny fraction of gun owners (if the author of that email even knows what a gun looks like, a lot of the screeching right wing I don't believe know anything about guns, don't own one, haven't shot one, and would probably shoot themselves accidentally first time they picked one up).

    Consider that with millions of gun owners in this country, it simply cannot be that we're all universally fruity as nutcakes. If we were, this nation would look like Somalia. Or worse.

    Meaning there's millions of potential allies in this fight. Like me. Regulation is not a ban. We have plenty of common ground to work with. Whatever differences we have, we can hash that out later. There's a lot we already agree on that would make a difference.

    Screw the NRA. I wish our "press" would stop giving them a pass. Their deep and deepening connections with gun manufacturers needs to be exposed and hammered at daily. The disconnect between what the members still seem to think the NRA is about and what it really is about is so huge, the NRA could shrink to half or a third or less its current membership if it were exposed.

    I'm ranting. I should cut this off. But I'm angry. I have gone and go to great lengths to be a responsible gun owner only to see kooks and greedy lobbyists take over and claim to represent me. I've had enough of that crap.

    Read a blog post by a gun owner saying it's time we spoke up. He's right. All us millions of sane owners? Time we shoved the NRA and the Twit Party and the paranoid schizos aside and had an adult conversation with the gun control side.

    We can do this. We can't end all gun violence and people who go truly crazy won't be deterred by the fear of armed teachers or some other nutty idea like that. They're, you know, crazy? They also often finish up by committing suicide. So the potential of being shot is a deterrent? How does that work?

    But.

    There are too many stupid, idiot, insane holes in the system. There's a lot both sides agree on that would plug a great many of those gaps.

    I just hope the gun control side doesn't fall for the lies. There are more allies on this side than you may realize. The one who wrote that email? Probably not.

    So you have ask are they worth the time? Or is your time better spent finding those of us with whom you have common ground?

    Giving tax payer money to subsidize banks and Wallstreet: capitalism. Giving tax payer money to provide health care for the payers of the taxes: socialism.

    by mkbilbo on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:54:52 AM PST

    •  "So the potential of being shot is a deterrent?" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, Otteray Scribe

      It's not so much about deterrence as about the ability to actually stop them.

      Being denied effective tools to do so empirically doesn't work.

      •  Tools do not equal training (0+ / 0-)

        You say "effective tools" but tools are not innately "effective". If they were, I could pick up a scalpel and poof be a surgeon.

        The vast majority of "examples" of people who stopped a shooter that are passed around by the "more guns is always the answer" crowd are stories involving off duty cops or even Marines.

        Trained people may well be able to stop crazy shooters. But handing somebody a gun doesn't make for an "effective tool".

        And what about the shooters that come in wearing body armor? That's happened. I'm a damn good shot and I'm not "saying so myself", that's the opinion of a trainer at the range who works with city cops.

        I can't imagine being in a seriously stressful situation--with adrenaline going to beat sixty and people panicking and all the chaos--getting a good aim at the far, far smaller "target" we call "the head".

        Basic self-defense training with a handgun is about going for the big mass of the torso. If I ever (but hope never) had a violent home intrusion and somebody meant me bodily harm or intended to kill me, I'm very confident I'll stop them.

        If they're some nutcase with body armor... I don't know. My reflex is to go for the center. The big mass. In the incredibly short period of time of having to realize that's not going to work and trying to re-aim, I'd probably end up dead.

        That "between the eyes" thing is a Hollywood thing. A kill shot to the head in a chaotic life or death situation is pure luck. Even for heavily trained police. Ask one sometime.

        It is insanity to arm teachers and school officials willy-nilly. They'd have to undergo extensive training. You're talking billions. Where's that going to come from? The education budget? Why not just shut the schools down and give up?

        Handing guns to the untrained is a cruelty. You endanger them, their families, their friends, their neighbors, and, oh, me. I don't like that.

        The end result of arming teachers and school officials without major training will be more deaths. It's an insane proposal being made by a corporate gun manufacturer lobbyist organization that claims to be a 2nd Amendment organization. The truth is, the NRA makes money boosting gun sales. The current "leadership" doesn't actually give a damn how many people die. They just want the cash.

        Tools are only effective in the hands of people who know how to use them. Just as picking up a hammer doesn't magically make me a skilled carpenter.

        Giving tax payer money to subsidize banks and Wallstreet: capitalism. Giving tax payer money to provide health care for the payers of the taxes: socialism.

        by mkbilbo on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 06:50:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Body armor doesn't work the way you seem to think. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oldpunk

          It's not some magic layer of invincibility.  It will allow a person to survive some handgun-fire to the torso, but they're still going to think they were kicked by Bruce Lee, and want to lie down for a while.

          And what shooters have used "body armor"?  It was mis-reported that the Aurora shooter did, but all he actually had was a "tactical vest" (fancy name for a vest with pockets), and apparently wore hockey-style pads on his legs and possibly arms.  Those won't provide any ballistic protection against handguns.

          So your comment about center-of-mass shots is still effective, and you keep firing until the attacker stops.

          As for training, no it doesn't take "extensive training" to defend a classroom.  The defensive options are very limited and consist mostly of getting the students as far from the shooter as possible, out of line-of-sight if possible, stay somewhat out of line with the students, and put rounds on-target when presented.

          This isn't quantum physics.  Teachers are, generally, smart people.  (They'd damn well better be.)  You could train the average teacher already familiar with guns everything they need to know in two or three days.  Four to five if you are starting from scratch.  A day of refresher training annually.  (I'm talking 10-12 hour days.)  You don't have to be Delta Force or Air Marshal level of shooters.

          The end result of arming teachers and school officials without major training will be more deaths.
          If this were true, you'd be able to point to the vast numbers of shot bystanders from defensive shootings in other environments.  Can you do so?  

          Even it were partly true, that defensive shooters tend to hit bystanders, the basic math still doesn't work out.  If a criminal comes into a room full of children and shoots three, then is brought down by an armed teacher who accidently shoots two students, that's still a better result than 26 children and adults dead.

          Handing guns to the untrained is a cruelty.
          Then it's quite unfortunate for your Strawman(tm) that absolutely no-one has suggested doing so.
          The vast majority of "examples" of people who stopped a shooter that are passed around by the "more guns is always the answer" crowd are stories involving off duty cops or even Marines.
          This may be due to off-duty police being more likely to carry everywhere, and because they are allowed to carry in places the commoners can't.  It might also be perception bias.  I urge you to look up more defensive-gun incidents.  There are several places to do so, staring here: http://gunssavelives.net/
          Just as picking up a hammer doesn't magically make me a skilled carpenter.
          No, but it sure puts me closer to driving the nail than if I only have pliers... or nothing at all.
    •  mkbilbo (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you. Thoughtful reply.

      For everyone's information, I sent my correspondent with whom I have been discussing these issues for three years now a response to his email based primarily on the comments I have received here. His reply, "Who can sanely argue for the sale of automatic assault rifles ???"

      Alas, he added, "but still wish Ron Paul was the president .. Certainly Soros would not allow that, though.."

      Small steps count too...

      •  Yeah, small steps... (0+ / 0-)
        Alas, he added, "but still wish Ron Paul was the president .. Certainly Soros would not allow that, though.."
        Face.

        Palm.

        I was a card carrying Libertarian party member once. Hey, I was young okay? But somewhere around the discussion of whether the 2nd allowed individual ownership of nukes, I started realizing I may have wandered into the wrong room.

        His reply, "Who can sanely argue for the sale of automatic assault rifles ???"
        As you say, small steps.

        And a big part of my rants these days. There is common ground. We have starting points. There's a big area of what Maddow deemed "low hanging fruit". We could get a long way toward the goal of reducing gun violence if we start with the things we actually already generally agree on. Like assault weapons. A ban on such weapons has broad support. Including--to the right wing's disappointment--among gun owners and even NRA members.

        The conspiracy kooks and the cash mongering NRA need to be marginalized so the vast majority of us can have an adult conversation.

        Giving tax payer money to subsidize banks and Wallstreet: capitalism. Giving tax payer money to provide health care for the payers of the taxes: socialism.

        by mkbilbo on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 06:59:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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