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I have a little experiment I'd like you to try.

You and a friend of mine are going to come to my backyard. You two are going to stand ten yards apart. Then, when I give the signal, he is going to point his hand in the shape of a gun. He is going to point his hand at you and by the mere act of pointing at you, try to kill you. He will not be allowed to send any physical object of any sort in your general direction, nor will he be permitted any sort of explosives with area-of-effect damage or anything else that could physically harm you. His only weapon will be his bare hand, which will not be allowed to come anywhere near you. You will not be allowed to move or hide.

In part two of this experiment, everything will be done exactly as before, with one single change: He will be given a loaded .45, and he will be allowed to shoot at you. You will not be given body armor, a firearm, or any other way to defend yourself. Again, you will not be allowed to move or hide.

If you truly and sincerely believe that "guns don't kill people," then you should have no problem participating in this experiment.

I am willing to have an honest debate with someone whose views on gun control differs from mine. What I am NOT willing to do is to sit there and listen to drivel that consists not just of bad judgment but flat-out lies. And one of the biggest lies put forth by the Far Right regarding guns is that "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Not only is this grammatically incorrect--there should be a semicolon in place of the comma--it is logically incorrect. It should read, "People use implements, usually guns, to kill." It's not just the guns, but it's not just the people, either. It's a hell of a lot harder to kill someone just by pointing your finger at that person.

Now, to be fair, one could argue that if it were the person that were the variable, and not the presence of a gun, this too would make a difference. I.e., giving a rational, minimal-risk person a gun vs. giving an insane, high-risk person a gun makes a huge difference, and could well be the difference between having the gun be fired or not. Granted. To which I respond, which kills people, guns or people, the correct answer is: They both do, in tandem. Without the implement, killing will not happen. Without a crazy person behind that implement, killing will not happen. It's like a fire: A fire needs heat, oxygen, and fuel to start and to keep going. Take just one of these away and the fire will go out. It's incorrect to say that "fuel alone causes fires" or "sparks alone cause fires," because you need all the components in the same place and the same time, with the right conditions present. The same it is with guns: If a person no longer makes a decision to kill, OR if he is denied the physical means by which to kill, then the killing will no longer take place. It's a lot harder to kill someone with your bare hands, and it's a lot easier to evade a knife than a gun.

Originally posted to Risen Tree on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:52 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How about , instead of the 45 (8+ / 0-)

    we let the people who say guns don't kill
    fling as hard as they can by hand ,
    a bullet at someone 10 feet away ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 07:59:55 PM PST

  •  I don't think anyone would disagree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that guns kill people.  The question is:  for what are you advocating?

    There are pro- and anti-gun arguments that have been described in many diaries over the past couple of months.  Proposals to address the situation come from both extremes, either no regulation at all or a complete ban on gun ownership (sometimes coupled with a proposal to repeal the Second Amendment).  Many other proposals are middle-of-the-road, such as universal background checks, limits on ammunition capacity, etc.

    I'm in favor of strengthening reasonable regulations, but not a complete ban.  You?

  •  next you'll want to make old age illegal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady

    that's snark, of course. I've seen arguments that are basically "look over there!" to distract us from talking about guns.

  •  NRA's arguement allowing discussion re: Newrtown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy of Fishes, a2nite

    situation brings too much emotion to the talks frightenes me.  If studying the reasons behind the killing of these children isn't allowed because of emotion, what kind of "heartless" monsters are running the NRA?  

  •  If you can get that 45 (11+ / 0-)

    to walk out into the yard and shoot at me . . . I'll start being afraid of it.

    And a bit of advice . . . if you (heaven forbid) ever have to defend yourself against someone shooting at you, don't aim at the gun . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:15:10 PM PST

  •   I don't think this is a day to talk about guns (10+ / 0-)

    because approximately 88 people in America died as a result of gun violence today. Of course, every day approximately 88 people die due to gun violence, so there is never a day to talk about guns.

    Anyone still thinking that wanting to own a gun is normal? Wanting to own a gun is an immediate indicator that you should be the last person to have one.

    by pollbuster on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:23:08 PM PST

  •  Don't understand... (8+ / 0-)
    if he is denied the physical means by which to kill
    Having hands is means to kill.  See Get Tough by W.E. Fairbairn.

    Most run-of-the-mill crazies don't know this and think guns are magic items that enable killing.  There is another group of crazies that like knives too much but that's beyond the scope of this post.    Just as the war on Drugs and institutional racism that makes selling drugs on the corner a better option for young black men than asking if you "want fries with that?"

    Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

    by DavidMS on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 08:34:09 PM PST

  •  But Guns Save Lives... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bugsydarlin, slapshoe

    I've seen this from a couple of Facebook friends lately: Guns Save Lives.  It's a campaign - multiple examples of how someone with a gun managed to prevent something bad from happening.

    So repeat after me:

    Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
    People don't save lives, guns save lives.

    Got it?

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt

    by Phoenix Rising on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:01:12 PM PST

  •  just curious (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Risen Tree

    is there any recorded incident of someone being killed by a thrown bullet ?

    if not, then we also have the statements that bullets don't kill people.  only people with guns and with bullets kill people.

    now the analogy to fire is complete - you need three things


    to kill people.

    me, i vote for reducing the number of guns and the number of bullets.

    I am, as apparently we all are,

    by doomedtorepeathistory on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:15:50 PM PST

  •  If your experiment is to see if... (7+ / 0-)

    The problem is that guns are killing people, or if the problem is that people kill people, it will have to be run with a few slight changes.

    First, find a gun, or maybe two guns (any kind), put them on bar stools in the yard, about 10 yards apart.  Make sure that both guns are loaded.  Make sure that both guns are pointed at one another.

    Get a high speed camera, and make sure that both guns are visible in the view shot.  Stabilize the camera so that it can film with you safely away from the action.

    Next, watch from behind some thick bullet proof glass, or plastic.  Keep watching.  You will soon notice that the two guns on the bar stools are lollygagging, and aren't moving at all.  

    Now, go out and remove one of the guns.  Put the human victim, who ever that may be - on the bar stool that you just took one of the guns off of.  Make sure that the human isn't equally armed.

    Do some more high speed filming, just as before.  Keep watching.  Notice that the gun on the bar stool hasn't killed the unarmed human victim on the other bar stool.

    When a human shoots a human, he or she is using a gun.  When a human stabs a human, he or she is using a knife or sword.  When human decides to use the worlds most dangerous weapon, one that will end the lives of many, many millions of people, he is using a nuclear weapon.

    Remember to go back and review the films, just in case you might have missed the part where guns are inanimate steel and wood/plastic objects that do not move or shoot anyone at all when not in the hand of a human (or sometimes the rare curious bear or raccoon).

    People kill people every day - true!  People have killed other people for possibly millions of years.  Visualize a world in which no one ever kills anyone else.  Imagine a world in which that were possible.  It would be beautiful and kind.

    Unfortunately, humans are often neither beautiful, or kind.

    Now, let's repeat some of these tests with a psychopath and see if we can find an aberrant human!  It's said that one in five people is a sociopath of one level or another.  There are probably a few that are also gun owners.  There might even be a few with the ability to use even more destructive weapons - like our politicians.  They scare me even more.  Don't get me started on Health Insurance Corporations.  They kill a lot of humans, usually through neglect.

    Should there be complete background checks on gun purchases?  Of course.  Should we repeal the 2nd Amendment?  No way! Will I get insulted and attacked by commenting here?  Quite possibly.

    I'll say it once more.  35% of Democrats are gun owners. They don't appreciate being called murderers.  They don't like their Constitution being dismissed or spit upon.  They love little kids and would like to find a sensible way to protect all of our children.
    The ridiculous vitriol against gun owners is unwarranted.  87 million gun owners didn't commit mass murder today.  They probably won't tomorrow either.

    They always want to take away the guns from all the people that didn't do it.

    The 'gun controllers' on this site are driving away the 'moderate' Democrats.  Nobody wants little kids or anyone else being shot at - unless an adult psychopath is armed and headed that way.  Let's focus on the teen and adult psychopaths or sociopaths first.

    The inanimate objects can wait.  They aren't especially busy if their human owner isn't using them.

    Those people are the ones we need to be concerned about.  Wouldn't you say?

    #OccupyOMC - "We have a permit, its called The Constitution".

    by Evolutionary on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:28:41 PM PST

    •  A grain of truth, but I think you may be reading a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      little too much into this. Of course the gun sitting on the stool won't go off, barring an extremely unlikely freak accident. But that is not the point. A gun that isn't there will NEVER shoot. It's like the old saying in basketball, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." And guns miss 100% of the shots they don't fire.

    •  As long as the guns are sitting on the stools (0+ / 0-)

      they will never go off.  But how long can you guarantee they will sit on the stool and never be picked up and fired.

      However, if the stool is empty, I can guarantee that no gun ever be picked up from that stool and fired, and you could film that forever.

      Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

      by 88kathy on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:31:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ok, here's another thought experiment (9+ / 0-)

    you have to choose a housemate for the next six months.  You get to choose.
    One guy hass gone to prison seven times for various types of assault and battery, using various types of knives and blunt instruments.  But he's never used a gun, and you know for an absolute fact he will never bring a gun into your house.

    The other guy is a hunter who owns a shotgun and a handgun, and has a concealed weapons license.  He refuses to tell you how the guns are stored, or whether he's carrying at any given moment.  But you know, again as an absolute fact, that he's never broken any law, not even a speed limit.

    Who do you think is safer to live with?

    "The Taibbi article is a defense of status quo" -- citizen k

    by happymisanthropy on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:13:36 PM PST

  •  Guns don't kill people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zane, Risen Tree

    Bullets kill people.

    If bullets cost $5000, people would be saying, "I'd blow your fucking head off if I could afford it. I'm gonna get another job and save up for a bullet." People would say, "He got shot twice? He must have deserved it. That's 10,000 bucks!"

    “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

    by Dbug on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:23:51 PM PST

  •  So (6+ / 0-)

    we should put the guns in prison instead of the murderers?

    The judge is not going to hear that defense.

    This is pretty fundamental.

  •  Some people are quite content to take the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock, PavePusher

    intent for the act. It's a shorthand that allows them to be lazy, to not actually do anything or even think. And for some people it even works for the simple reason that other people respond to their intent and act in their stead.
    That's what happened with Dubya's intent to bring democracy to Iraq. The Pentagon took it as a prompt and bombed a whole lot of Iraqis to death; until those that were left cried Uncle Sam and said they'd accept the democracy we brung. Everybody went along with the script and even believed, but that's not what happened on the ground.
    Guns, like bombs, are manufactured to destroy. Whether or not they are deployed is another matter. But, at each stage, it's people who act, some on instinct and some with intent. Who knows which is more lethal. Apparently, a lot of people with poor instincts are driving around and getting killed in car "accidents" at a rate of over 30,000 a year. And that's not the worst of it. How many more are seriously injured and/or maimed for life?
    Funny how the cost of those repairs never even shows up in our medical care discussions. Why? Because the U.S. is fixated on death and dying and gives injury and abuse a pass. After all, a simple assault that leaves no broken bones or unhealable damage is a mere misdemeanor. We have to designate it by the characteristics of the victim (spouse, child, gay person) to get such behavior serious attention, 'cause "he-men" are supposed to take a beating and come out swinging. The culture of obedience relies on physical abuse to keep it ticking.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 02:46:32 AM PST

  •  A corollary to that is gun control. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Only the gun owner can control their gun.  Currently that control is the butter finger grip.

    If their gun is stolen, they come to me, their face wet with tears, a victim of a crime.  Meanwhile I have to figure out what to do when someone is pointing that gun in my face.

    I can't control their gun.  Only they can do that.  They should do a 99.99% job in controlling their gun and take responsibility for the 0.01% when they lose it.  

    They should not be able to transfer that 0.01% to me (society).

    Please sign my petition and get my novel interpretation of the keep wording in the 2nd amendment into the conversation.

    Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

    by 88kathy on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:16:02 AM PST

  •  Yawn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theatre goon


    by raincrow on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:57:05 AM PST

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